No. 803.
Mr. Beardsley to Mr. Fish.

No. 235.]

Sir: As everything relating to the expedition of Colonel Gordon is [Page 1203] of interest, I inclose herewith certain papers taken from the London Mail.

Inclosure No. 1 is a series of letters, comprising a correspondence between Sir Samuel Baker and others in regard tothe slave-trade in Egypt, and the employment of one Abou Saood by Colonel Gordon. This Abou Saood was mentioned in my dispatch No. 123, of September 3, 1873, as being at that time in Cairo, and under arrest.

Inclosure No. 2 relates to the progress of the expedition.

I am, &c,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 235.]


To the Editor:

Sir: I have always endeavored to uphold the personal sincerity of the Khedive of Egypt whenever doubts have been raised concerning his determination to suppress the slave-trade.

I received from the hands of the Khedive a firm an with stringent orders to suppress the slave-trade of the White Nile, and to establish the government of the Khedive throughout the Nile Basin of Central Africa.

It appears hardly credible that, at the same time I received orders from the Khedive, together with absolute and supreme power, to “annex countries to Egypt and to establish a government,” those countries, which did not belong to Egypt, had already been leased by the governor general of the Soudan at a high rental to piratical slave-hunters, who,’ under the assumed name of ivory-traders, started from Khartoum and desolated the interior—massacreing, plundering, burning, and kidnapping the women and children to be sold as slaves throughout the Soudan.

The most important of these slave-hunters was a firm of Agād & Co., of Cairo, represented by a brother named Achmet Sheik Agād, at Khartoum. The business was under the practical control of a son-in-law Agād, named Abou Saood. This man annually accompanied the vessels from Khartoum with fresh reenforcements of brigands, together with a large supply of ammunition, but no merchandise, as the medium of exchange for ivory was cattle. These were stolen in razzias from one tribe to be exchanged for ivory in another.

Abou Saood had about 2,500 armed men in his employ. These were Arabs, runaway soldiers, villains who had escaped punishment, et hoe genus omne. All were armed with muskets, and were organized after a military fashion in companies, with the requisite officers.

Abou Saood was a respectable tenant of the Egyptian government, to establish commerce in Central Africa without merchandise of any kind, but supported by 2,500 cutthroats!

When I was established at Gondokoro as governorgeneral of the new territory, this man Abou Saood arrived from Khartoum with eight vessels and about 500 of his brigands on the 9th of June, 1871. His people drove along the bank a herd of 1,400 cows and calves, which he had captured, in defiance of my authority, from the Shir tribes where I had left a small detachment of a major, a sergeant, and five soldiers under the protection of a friendly chief.

The result of Abou Saood’s wanton attack was natural. The natives, suspecting complicity on the part of my detachment of regular troops, massacred the five soldiers, and the officers escaped through the devotion of the chief with whom I had left them.

Throughout the long expedition this man Abou Saood not only incited the natives of the interior to resist me by force, but eventually he gave orders to his chief officer, Wat-el-Mek, to attack my small detachment of government troops at Fatiko.

The attack was made on the 2d of August, 1872, according to the orders given by Abou Saood. It was repulsed and Abou Saood, the slavehunter, tied to Cairo to complain to the Khedive of my acts in destroying his commerce—i. e., suppressing the slave-trade.

Upon my arrival at Cairo I requested the Khedive to bring this man to public trial before the medgeldis, or public tribunal. I had brought with me all the necessary witnesses, including Lieut. J. A. Baker, R. N., together with five Englishmen, among whom were my chief engineer, Mr. M. William, and Mr. Jarvis, chief shipwright. These respectable witnesses had been present officially at Gondokoro when Wa-tel-Mek, the agent of Abou Saood, swore upon the koran “that Abou Saood had given orders to him and his people to attack me and the government troops.”

Abou Saood had murdered in cold blood Werdella, the chief of the Madi tribe, whom [Page 1204] he had kept prisoner in his camp, and to whom I had granted protection. His people fired at my messengers when I sent a letter to his camp concerning the protection of this man. Abou Saood had previously murdered in cold blood the chief of Belinian, together with several members of his family, who had accepted a friendly invitation to his camp. The unsuspicious guests were captured and butchered.

Abou Saood, the tenant of the Egyptian government, the greatest slave-hunter of the White Nile, represented the public opinion of Egypt in his opposition to the expedition for the suppression of the slave-trade. The last act of this expedition under my command clinched the evidence against both him and certain unknown authorities who had supported him.

On the 8th of June, 1873, during my homeward voyage to Khartoum, I overtook three vessels belonging to Abou Saood, with 700 slaves on board! These vessels were on their way toward Khartoum, and were prepared to pass the government station of Fashoda, which actually dominates the river. Thus, while I had been strenuously working against the slave-trade in the south, the arch slave-trader, Abou Saood, was carrying down masses of slaves behind my back by the north. The commander of the slave-boat Wat Hojoly assured me that he and others were in the habit of bribing the governor of Fashoda and passing cargoes of slaves during my absence. These three vessels and their slave cargoes were captured, and the curtain fell upon this last act of the expedition.

Upon my arrival at Khartoum I heard that Abou Saood, the slave-hunter, had gone to Cairo to protest against my interference. I telegraphed to arrest him. On my arrival in Cairo, furnished with overwhelming evidence against the ruffian, I literally could not bring him to justice. I begged the Khedive to bring him before the public tribunal. He declined, but ordered that he should be tried by a secret tribunal composed of Nubar Pasha, Cherif Pasha, and Ismail Pasha, the minister of finance. The proposal of a secret tribunal was so un English that I opposed the idea of a triumvirate which smacked of the Inquisition.

For more than six weeks I remained in Egypt, and in spite of every exertion I could not induce the Khedive to bring the malefactor Abou Saood to trial. At length, Nubar Pasha begged me to give him all my documentary evidence, and to go to England, with the assurance, on his word of honor, “that the slavehunter Abou Saood should have a fair trial”—before the “secret tribunal.” I gave up my documentary evidence, but I took a receipt from Nubar Pasha, which I now hold.

No sooner was my back turned than the prisoner was released, and Abou Saood, the great slavehunter of the White Nile, the murderer of native sheiks under government protection, the rebel who gave orders to his people treacherously to attack and murder me if possible—this man has been appointed by the Khedive to be the agent or right-hand man to assist Colonel Gordon in his present expedition.

Abou Saood is not only at large, but he is in a position to spread every false report that villainy can suggest.

I make every allowance for the difficult position of the Khedive, who, in commencing an expedition to suppress the slave-trade, directly opposed the public opinion of his subjects. At the same time, if Egypt is seeking to establish a reputation in Europe as a civilized power that is struggling for independence, and is at the present moment endeavoring to escape from consular jurisdiction, it will be impossible for her to secure the confidence of the civilized world except by an exhibition of good faith.



To the Editor:

Sir: I have read with considerable interest the letter which appears in the Mail this evening signed by Sir Samuel Baker; and, as the English public has heard a good deal of one side of this subject, and generally from the same source, I hope I may be permitted to offer a few observations upon Sir Samuel’s letter, as one who during some years has taken some interest in all matters Egyptian.

I received from Colonel Gordon before he started on his expedition a photograph of Abou Saood, the redoubtable person whose character is so severely handled by Sir Samuel, and in handing it to me Colonel Gordon accompanied it by some remarks regarding him, and generally upon the scope and nature of his intended enterprise. As our conversation had no quality of confidence attached to it, and as it directly bears upon the contents of Sir Samuel’s letter, a few brief words may put a rather different complexion upon the transaction from that which Sir Samuel Baker has sought to convey. It certainly does seem at first sight very singular that Colonel Gordon should seek for his companion the man who it was Sir Samuel Baker’s urgent request should be hanged; and the argument deduced by Sir Samuel Baker from this fact, that the Viceroy has altered his determination to suppress slavery in Egypt, has an appearance, at the least, of plausibility. But both the fact and the argument are capable of a satisfactory explanation.

[Page 1205]

Colonel Gordon informed me that he was going up to a country which was in a state of vigorous hostility to the Egyptian government, caused in a great measure by the imperious manner in which Sir Samuel Baker attempted to carry out his instructions. Sir Samuel Baker had an engagement with the Viceroy for three years, at the handsome salary of £10,000 a year, and during this period he attempted to uproot an institution which had existed as a supposed domestic necessity and a source of commercial profit among a rude people for all time.

The attempt was hopeless, and no other result could be expected. To enable such a policy to be successful, it would have been necessary to maintain a very large force and to assume a hostile attitude to the population in Upper Egypt for many years; bitterness and retaliation, arising from a sense of sudden injustice, would have animated the whole population, and in place of these territories being annexed to the Khedive’s dominions, they would have been alienated and a state of constant warfare would have supervened. No statesman, and least of all the Khedive of Egypt, who is as astute and shrewd a ruler as there is in existence, would have entered upon such a policy, whatever the object might be which he had in view. Sir Samuel Baker’s policy was one in which we heard of nothing but the magnitude of his powers and of his office, of conquests here and battles and victories there, with all the pomp and circumstance of war attached to his dispatches. This was carried so far that when the famous telegram arrived, shortly before he arrived himself in Cairo, announcing the battle and victory in which about two hundred of his army were engaged and an immense territory added to the Khedive’s dominions, a suppressed laugh was visible in all our countenances; but it was no laughing matter to the Khedive’s government, who regretted exceedingly the course which Sir Samuel had pursued.

Colonel Gordon told me that his express instructions from the Khedive were to undo the mischief which Sir Samuel Baker had created, and by a policy of patient conciliation to bring back the lost allegiance of the people of Upper Egypt to the Khedive’s government—a people who, the Khedive stated with some emotion, had been the pride and glory of his grandfather Mehemet Ali’s reign, and whose welfare was always his concern.

While the Khedive was most anxious that slavery should be abolished in his dominions, and Colonel Gordon was to consider this the groundwork of his expedition, he knew that it could only be accomplished in that country by great patience, by giving increased facilities for the expansion of legitimate commerce, and by gradually finding better substitutes for that trade which was practiced.

Seeing the situation of affairs and the duties before him. Colonel Gordon entreated the Viceroy to spare Abou Saood’s life, and to permit him to use him in any way he might see to be of advantage. All Colonel Gordon’s victories have been effected by small numbers, and mainly by moral force. Had Colonel Gordon proceeded to Upper Egypt alone, Mid with the small force at his command, while the passions of the people had been aroused by Sir Samuel Baker’s policy, he could expect nothing but defeat and disaster. It occurred to him to endeavor to utilize Abou Saood and the great power and influence at his command; and I can simply say that, whatever may be the result, Abou Saood gave his most solemn promise to Colonel Gordon that, as Sir Samuel Baker had now left his country, he would endeavor to show Colonel Gordon how anxiously and energetically he would strive to assist where he had hitherto resolved to thwart; and it is my humble conviction that Colonel Gordon’s judgment of, the man will in the end be justified.

I know nothing of the transactions of this man, whom Sir Samuel has so violently attacked; but Colonel Gordon stated to me that it was to Abou Sooad that Sir Samuel mainly attributed the abortiveness of his expedition, and, naturally, Sir Samuel was embittered against him. Abou Sooad denied dealing in slaves; his family are extremely wealthy and greatly respected in Cairo. Abou Saood is a young man of remarkable energy for his age; and he stated it was because Sir Samuel had confiscated the ivory belonging to his people, and because his rule was merciless toward the people, that he offered him all the resistance in his power.

It is nearly five months since Colonel Gordon and Abou Saood started, and I can scarcely imagine that Sir Samuel Baker has been ignorant till July of all that has occurred. Why does he only now write this history to the Mail? Is it because he begins to see that Colonel Gordon’s judgment and policy are likely to be successful, while his expedition was a source of dissatisfaction to the Khedive and his government? Or is it that a book is shortly to be published, and the public must be prepared to take all Sir Samuel’s facts as authentic, and stir their imaginations by sensational incidents?

Whatever may be the reason, I trust the public will suspend their judgment, and wait to hear both sides of the question relative to Sir Samuel’s last Egyptian expedition.

I have no pretension to defend the Egyptian government or to speak in their name; I simply add the quota of an observer and a listener to the subject.

Yours, obediently,


[Page 1206]


To the Editor:

Sir: I decline to enter into any controversy with any person who does not officially represent the Egyptian government, unless he has been an eyewitness to the facts of the late Central African expedition. The object of my letter published in the Mail of the 24th instant is to direct the attention of the public to the fact that seventeen official documents, sworn to on the Koran by numerous witnesses against Abou Saood, were delivered by me to Nubar Pasha, who promised, on the part of the Khedive of Egypt, that the accused should have a fair trial. I hold a receipt for these documents, and I wish to know whether the promise of a fair trial has been carried out, and I request that the evidence contained in the seventeen documents shall be made public. I was employed to suppress the slave-trade It appears from a letter in the Mail of today that Abou Saood “denied dealing in slaves.” I have numerous witnesses in England who will prove that the last act of the expedition was to overtake three vessels laden with slaves, about 700, belonging to Abou Saood. The same witnesses will prove that Abou Saood arrived at Gondokoro with about 1,400 head of cattle which he had stolen from the Shir tribe of the White Nile.

To those who are really interested in the slave-trade and its attendant horrors, these are important facts, which I can and will prove.

Your correspondent mixes Colonel Gordon’s name with the question of Abou Saood in an unnecessary manner. I have the greatest respect for that officer, and I have done all that I can, by advice respecting his iron carts and material, &c, to assist in his success, which will be my greatest pleasure.


To the Editor:

Sir: I have observed a letter, signed by Sir Samuel Baker, under the head of “The slave-trade in Egypt.”

Having had the honor to be engaged in the late expedition in charge of the topographical department, I accompanied Sir Samuel Baker through every step of the journey, and I hasten to bear witness to the atrocities committed by Abou Saood, who caused much of the misery and loss of life which were the results of his intrigues and rebellious connections with the enemies of the government. The evidence against this man was conclusive and overwhelming, as having ordered his forces to attack Sir Samuel Baker’s weak detachment at Fatiko on August 2, 1872.

Although I have been an eyewitness for more than four years to the intrigues and active hostility exerted against Sir Samuel Baker’s expedition to suppress the slave-trade, I could hardly have imagined, even after due allowance for the well-known duplicity of Orientals, that Abou Saood would have been permitted to escape.

I will not trust myself to express my feelings respecting his appointment as Colonel Gordon’s agent, but I am quite satisfied that distinguished officer has no suspicion of the villainies Abou Saood has committed.

I shall be happy at any time to come forward to give evidence to every incident connected with the late expedition, when the “suppression of the slave-trade” which Sir Samuel Baker most faithfully and determinedly carried out raised enemies on every side.

Gratitude or any recognition for such a service could hardly be expected in Egypt, where the suppression of the slave-trade is an idea hateful to all classes.

Your obedient servant,

JULIAN A. BAKER, Lieutenant, R. N.


To the Editor:

Sir: I have seen in the Mail of the 27th instant a letter from Sir Samuel Baker, in which he says to those who are really interested in the slave-trade and its attendant horrors there are important facts he can and will prove by numerous witnesses now in England.

He charges Abou Saood with stealing 1,400 head of cattle from the natives of the Shir tribe and bringing them to Gondokoro; also that he overtook three boats on the way to Khartoum, laden with 700 slaves belonging to Abou Sooad. Now, as I am one of the unfortunate survivors of his expedition, I presume I am one of the parties he refers to, and hasten to give my testimony in the matter.

Previous to Sir Samuel Baker’s leaving Khartoum for Gondokoro, he made arrangements with the firm of which Abou Saood was agent, for a supply of cattle, at so much per head, during his stay in the country. In agreement with this arrangement, Abou Sooad brought up a number of cattle to Gondokoro, which he took from the Shir tribe [Page 1207] in the usual manner. These cattle Sir Samuel Baker took by force from Abou Saood without paying for them. Sir Samuel must have been quite aware that Abou Saood could only obtain them in the manner he did when he made the agreement with his firm in Khartoum. I am not aware that Sir S. Baker ever made any recompense to the Shir tribe for the loss of their cattle, although quite within his power to do so.

It is quite true that we overtook three boats with a number of slaves on board, and I have no doubt that the boats belonged to Abou Saood’s firm. It was very fortunate for us we came up with the slave-dealers, as without their assistance we could not have got through the Sud in the Bahir Giraffe until the river rose. Delay in that dreadful region would have been attended with great disaster in the state of health we were all in. The slavedealers gave their assistance with a hearty good will, and Sir Samuel rewarded the head man of the slave-fleet with suitable presents, and parted with mutual good wishes.

If Sir Samuel Baker wishes at any time for my testimony as to the barbarous manner in which the expedition was conducted, the wholesale murders, pillage, and ruin of the country, he is welcome to it. Or should the Royal Geographical Society, or any body of gentlemen, wish for any information respecting that futile expedition, I shall be glad to give it previous to my departure from this country. Sir Samuel Baker states that he gave Colonel Gordon assistance and advice as to the construction of his iron carts and other means of transport. He may have done so, but Colonel Gordon never acted upon it, they having been designed and ordered by me at Colonel Gordon’s request, I having been in his employ for some weeks previous to his departure for Egypt.

Chief Engineer late White Nile Expedition.


To the Editor:

Sir: Mr. Baker, in the Mail of the 5th instant, states that the reason why Sir S. Baker did not return the cattle he took from Abou Sooad to the Shir tribe, was because they had massacred a small detachment of government soldiers under the impression that they were accomplices of Abou Sooad. This is not correct. Sir Samuel, on his way up to Gondokoro, left an officer and five men with one of the chiefs of the Shir tribe. Soon after this, the chief, thinking firearms a great source of strength, made a raid on one of his neighbors. Four out of the five soldiers went with him, and got killed in fair fight. The officer and remaining soldier were sick and staid at home. They were well taken care of by the natives, and afterward came up to Gondokoro. Sir Samuel gave me this version of the affair himself, after the return of the survivors, in the presence of Mr. Baker and other members of the expedition. Mr. Baker also states that Sir Samuel had no intention of allowing raids to be made on the natives in the future. One of the first acts of Sir Samuel, after the farce of annexing the country had been gone through, was to make a raid on a small tribe near us, taking their cattle to the number of 5,000, besides some thousands of sheep; he also took possession of all their plantations of grain, leaving the people in a state of starvation. Orders were issued at the same time that all natives found near the camp were to be shot down, irrespective of age or sex. This was strictly carried out. The brutal details of these coldblooded murders I would rather not relate. Out of the numerous raids made upon the unoffending natives near Gondokoro, many of them were led by Sir Samuel in person, and cattle and sheep to the number of over 30,000 captured, and their houses plundered and wantonly burned down. Their cattle were not stolen solely for the use of the troops in camp, but were to be given to various tribes up the country on condition of their serving Sir Samuel. Naturally, the poor creatures resisted as well as they could, hut what could they do against firearms? Mr. Baker further states that Sir Samuel always wished to preserve peace, but when, the Bari war broke out, the only chance of success depended on military vigor. The only Bari war that ever existed was a night attack on our cattle-inclosures by the Laquoi tribe, which was not successful. None of our troops were either killed or wounded in the affair. After this Sir Samuel made war on the Belignan tribes, massacring them in great numbers, and burning up their country. They had taken no part in the raid made by the Laquois on our cattle, but as they were not so powerful, and were much more convenient to be got at, Sir Samuel preferred to operate on them as an example to the Laquois tribe.

Mr. Baker remarks that the ruins of Coomassie are no disgrace to the British troops, neither are the deaths occasioned by war to be avoided. Quite true, but any comparison between the British expedition to the west coast of Africa and Sir Samuel Baker’s central African expedition is odious in the extreme.

Mr. Baker concludes with saying that if a military expedition is sent to annex an extensive country, war is a natural consequence, as the history of the world can testify. [Page 1208] True, hut scenes such as I have depicted are not to be met with in modern history. Sir Samuel may be able to cite instances somewhat similar from sacred history, but not Otherwise.

I am at a loss to understand why Sir Samuel and Mr. Baker should have such a horror at Abou Saood being appointed Colonel Gordon’s agent, when Sir Samuel appointed Mahomed Wat El-Mek to be his vakeel, and sent him down from Fatiev to Gondokoro to make cattleraids on our neighbors, for the purpose of paying the natives, of the Laboria tribe to act as porters to Sir Samuel. Perhaps the fact of the Khedive treating with contempt a proposal of Sir Samuel’s to appoint Mr. Baker, “a very young man who served as a midshipman in the British navy,” to succeed him as the governor of Central Africa, and also Colonel Gordon’s refusal to appoint him to the-situation now filled by Abou Sooad, may in a measure account for it. This man Mahomed Wat El-Mek, is described by Sir Samuel in his very interesting romance on the Albert Nyanza as a most bloodthirsty villain, steeped in crime, and the great curse of the country.

Since I last wrote to the Mail I have had a letter from Sir Samuel, in which he states he is exceedingly hurt at my letter, and is astonished I had not expressed my opinion of his mode of conducting the expedition when I was in daily communication with him in Gondokoro. I can only say it would not have been conducive to my comfort to have done so, and would have been an impertinence to my commander-in-chief. Sir Samuel stipulated in the contract made with Dr. Gedge and Mr. Higginbottam that they would not write anything connected with the expedition to the newspapers during their service, or publish any book on the expedition for the space of two years after its completion. I am under no such restraint, although Sir Samuel often entreated us not to write to our friends about the harsh measures he had used toward the natives, as he said they would possibly not understand them.

Sir Samuel has lately written to some of my companions in misery, requesting them to write something about the expedition with a view to contradict my statements. I await their communications with confidence, feeling assured that they will bear me out in the description of what occurred under our own eyes in Africa.

I remain, sir, your obedient servant,

Chief Engineer late White Nile Expedition.

8 Balmoral Terrace, Aberdeen.


To the Editor:

Sir: Having just seen a letter from Sir Samuel Baker in your issue of the 24th ultimo, which is calculated (through ignorance, I am convinced, of the real circumstances) to give erroneous impressions, it becomes my duty, as Colonel Gordon’s representative here, to lay the following facts before the public, which place under a totally different aspect the occurrences which Sir Samuel complains of:

Abou Saood was not “released as soon as Sir Samuel Baker’s back was turned.”
Abou Saood was not “appointed by the Khedive as Colonel Gordon’s right-hand man.”

The real facts are that upon Colonel Gordon’s own solicitation to His Highness the Khedive, after he had made himself acquainted with all the circumstances, Abou Saood was set at liberty, and is now on his way to join the expedition.

In conclusion, as an old resident in Egypt, and officially in frequent direct communication with the Soudan, let me beg the public to withhold their judgment on the reasons which led to the unsuccessful termination of Sir Samuel Baker’s expedition until they have before them evidence in addition to that of Sir Samuel Baker and his nephew.

Your obedient servant,


[Inclosure 2 in No. 235.]

[From the London Mail of July 27, 1874.]


We have been favored with a copy of a letter written by one of the gentlemen attached to Colonel Gordon’s expedition to his father, which gives the most recent intelligence on the progress made in establishing a base of operations at Gondokoro. We understand that the application Colonel Gordon made to the Khedive to ask our government to permit two officers of the royal engineers to join his staff has been acceded to, and that in consequence the gentlemen named will very soon embark for Egypt.

[Page 1209]

“Colonel Gordon turned up last Saturday, having run down from Khartoum in three days, hut he very nearly came to grief on the way at one of the cataracts. There were two fellows at the wheel, and one wanted to go to the left and the other to the right of the reef, and, between them, were making straight on it when Gordon rushed to the helm and just made a shave of it; but, as it was, they carried away a lot of paddles and had rather a smash. When he arrived, he put us all to rights at Berber, and was very kind and considerate. He soon placed the very troublesome gentleman who was ordering us about, in his proper place, and was surprised to rind him with us at all. As he was in the Viceroy’s service, however, and cost no money, Gordon took him and the other, who is a nice fellow, but rather new to this work, as, indeed, we all are. It was arranged we were all to start next day in the steamer for Khartoum, while Gordon remained here (Berber) to meet Abou Saood, and proceed by camel back to join us, a seven-days’ journey. We learned that he had had difficulty with the governor of Khartoum as to the extent of his command. The governor wished to confine it to the district between the river Soubat and the Nile, down to the lakes, but Gordon contended that he had a greater range, and the matter has, I think, been referred to Cairo. The colonel seemed to be put out a little, but I have every confidence that he will carry his point. The governor, Ismail Pasha Agoub, has absolute power and does as he pleases. Gordon has promoted all the smaller officials one step, and gave them to understand he was their master under the Viceroy. The slave-trade appears to be flourishing, and we were shown three large stations on the map. Mr. Giegler, who went from Berber to Khartoum a few days ago, met no less than eleven caravans of slaves on the way. Gordon stopped all the caravans he met, and asked the people if they wished to go on. Those who said ‘No’ were sent back to their families. Those who said ‘Yes’ were allowed to go on. About one hundred and fifty said they wished to enlist, and the colonel said he would form a regiment and give me the command; but when he first appeared all the people bolted, as they are afraid of the face of a white man. He went about the villages distributing beads, and trying to made friends, but they are in mortal fear lest their cattle should be all carried off. Abou Saood has great influence up country, and is styled Sultan’ by the people. Khartoum is as bad as Alexandria for canards, so we must be very cautious in taking what is said about any one for gospel. The chiefs are beginning to trust us. When we get to Gondokoro we are to push on fifteen miles, to the hills, and make a camp. There will be two hundred soldiers armed with breechloaders, and we shall have our own cattle. Our great object is to establish confidence, and show we are not robbers like the Arab traders, taking herds and children. Kemp is to ascertain how far the river is navigable toward the Albert Nyanza Lake, and is to build two large flat bottomed boats to stow the pieces of the steamer on board of, and try and launch it on the lake, and Gordon expects that point will be settled by the time he arrives. Linant is to make excursions with small parties of soldiers and mules among the tribes, and we are all to do our best in that way to get on friendly terms, making presents, &c, but I hope that I shall be allowed to get up my regiment of black fellows. However, Gordon does not seem to expect much from it or myself, and that will make us do our best to surprise him. Mr. Gessi is to remain in charge at Khartoum for a time, and then will accompany the colonel to the Saubat, where lie will be established at the junction of the two rivers, with three of the seven steamers, and close up the slave-trade there, as well as the importation of arms. The German savans will also take up their quarters there, and Gordon, on arriving at Gondokoro with Abou Saood, will see how we are getting on. We expect to reach Gondokoro in twenty-five days in our tenknot steamer. After a delightful day, hot as it was, with Gordon, we made our start from Berber, which I hope, with God’s help, to see again in a few years when our work is done. We had to tow some boats to save delay at Khartoum; but the Nile is very high, and twists and twines in a wonderful way, so that we soon were in trouble with our boats and broke down several times; but, thanks to Kemp, got right, and reached Darner at 9.30 on Sunday night. Next day we made an early start, and continued our course against the powerful stream through a very well cultivated and peopled country, with waterwheels in all directions. Pelicans were numerous, but our shots were not very successful. We passed Jakada at 2.30 p.m. Tuesday; same sort of country; very strong current, rushing past the river bends like a millrace; took the two Germans on board from a small boat, and right glad they were, as these open boats, with only a matting for a cover against the sun, are not very agreeable conveyances. The heat is great in spite of the breeze. We are seven on board and are rather jammed up. We pass enormous herds of cattle; numbers of huge crocodiles on the banks, but they slip away at the noise of the steamer. We tried fishing when we lay to, but the monsters broke all our lines, and we did not even know what they were. It was so hot we were obliged to stay below most part of the day. We reached Shendy in the evening, a large native town, and halted for the night. I got a bad thorn in my heel and could not walk. At 11 a.m. on Thursday left Shendy, but did not take our boats on, as it is too great a [Page 1210] strain on our engines. Here we came to dreadful navigation, rocks, sand-banks, and rapids, so that it seems impossible to work a boat up. We stop at times to take in wood. On Sunday, the 24th, at 12.30, we reached Khartoum, a wretched looking collection of African huts, as seen from the river. The moment we moored the steamer was rilled with people to salaam and congratulate us on our arrival. We had a house belonging to one of the merchants here placed at our disposal, and are very comfortable, all things considered, but the heat is trying. You can have no idea of it, unless you try to remember your hottest days in India. I cannot go about, as my foot is bad, and I must get the surgeon to cut the thorn out. Kemp and Anson were left behind in the steamers to tow up the boats we were obliged to let go as soon as they passed the cataracts, and they came up, all well, about 7 o’clock in the evening. Just fancy! There is a monastery here, and the monks have quite a pretty garden; but it is a wonder what the poor men can do out here. The bazaars are filthy generally, but there are two or three very good stores, where you can get all you want of European luxuries if you have money enough. They are kept by Greeks. What fellows they are! All over Africa wherever there is a chance of making a piaster you find a Greek going in for it.

Friday, 29.—Gordon arrived here last Monday; all well. He is, of course, hampered by the delays of the boats, &c, but he is full of energy and has some to spare for those around him. I had to leave off my letter as I was a little unwell lately, but there was not much to say. Gordon lives on a different side of the river from the governor, and the band, which used to play God save the Queen all day long in his honor, is now mercifully silent. Our plans are altered. Gessi and Anson, started yesterday, in the Saffia steamer for the Bahr el Gazal, taking twentytwo soldiers and two thousand rounds, to cultivate relations with the people and establish themselves till Gordon arrives, Kemp and I start on board the Baraleen, with two hundred soldiers, also, and three months’provisions, and make our Way to Gondokoro; where we await the colonel, whose plan is to distribute his staff as widely apart as is safe, and leave us to work out our ideas the best way we can, making friends with chiefs and people, and keeping our eyes open about slave trading. Next mail I hope to send you some more interesting particulars of our proceedings, mode of life, prospects, &c.”


Letters from Colonel Gordon’s expedition, dated from Fashoda June 3 to 18, have been received, which left the various detachments on the White Nile, latitude 12° north, making the best of their way from Khartoum to Gondokoro. The governor of Khartoum, according to these letters, had evinced great jealousy of Colonel Gordon, and was much displeased at the dispatch of Messrs. Gessi and Anson to the Bahr el Gazelle, as he feared they would interfere with his operations there; but the people of the place were on the best terms with Colonel Gordon, whom they desired to remain with them at Khartoum. Up to May 30 the boats with the heavy goods had not arrived from Berber, and on that day Messrs. Gessi and Anson, with twenty two white (Arab) soldiers, started for the Bahr el Gazelle, towing three large boats, with corn, &c., to make friends with the natives and look about for proper stations. Colonel Gordon has appointed as mudir (governor) there a man who was once a notorious slave-hunter, and who knows every inch of the country. They are at perpetual war, and hate the whites, i. e., the Arabs, who take their cattle and ill-use them. On June 1, M. Witt, the German botanist, and the American major, with sixty soldiers, started in the Khedive steamer, with three boats in tow, for Gondokoro, and next day Kemp and Russell were ordered to follow in the Mansourah, a 100–ton paddle, and take sixty soldiers, Linant remaining behind with the colonel. A letter from the same gentleman from whom we published a letter yesterday says:

“We had a scramble to get our things on board, and I was still quite lame with a thorn in my foot, and could not be of much use. The doctor said, after probing and cutting, there was no thorn in it, but some days after we started out came a huge one in the poultice. So much for the native surgeons. The colonel came on board next day to see us off, and seemed in very good spirits. It was not till 11.30 a.m. Wednesday, June 3, we got fairly off with our boats in tow, and in half an hour had entered the White Nile. You can see the lines of colored water for a long way running side by side, the Blue Nile being now of a fine chocolate hue, and the White Nile being of a sickly pale green. There was a strong stream, and as we were towing boats, one of which belonged to a merchant of Khartoum, who had been very civil to us, and to whom Gordon had been very polite in consequence, our speed was not great. The country is flat and not much cultivated. There were plenty of hippopotamuses to be seen flopping, about and raising their huge heads to take a good look; but they kept a long way off. Next day at 7 a.m. passed Mount Aouli. The river very fine, quite nine hundred yards broad. Heaps of crocodiles on the banks, and all sorts of birds, [Page 1211] great and small—pelicans, geese, ducks. Passed a village of houses made of sticks stuck in the ground, surrounded and covered with matting called inazaini, and saw immense herds of cattle, the natives, guarding them, armed with long, broadheaded lances. The delays in cutting wood for our boilers are most frequent and tedious, and I think we must; have regular wood stations established along the river, with lighters to load the steamer. I have tried fishing to beguile the time when we halt, as we have no books or papers; but the fish break my line, and as yet I have done nothing, nor have I been successful with my long shots with the rifle from the steamer, and I am not able to walk on shore.

Friday, 5.—A gale of wind against us. Tow-ropes snapping. Country very flat. Through my glass I make out great herds of antelopes and buffaloes. On 6th of June we passed Mount Arakol, and our Arab doctor left us to join a detachment of troops. We were regaled with thunderstorms and strong headwinds. The crew troublesome, and Kemp, who is very energetic, has plenty to mind in seeing they do not shirk their work. On the night of the 7th woke up to find a regular émeute, for while we were asleep the men quietly made the boat fast for the night beside a village. But Kemp was aroused from his sleep and forced them to start again. Their excuse was that they had nothing to eat, and wanted to procure food at the village, but we were assured at starting that there were provisions for three months on board. Next day passed through country like an English park, with fine trees to the water’s edge, swarming with monkeys.

Tuesday, June 9.—Arrived at the island of Abba. Caught a very odd fish like a carp, only he had two feelers from his upper jaw and two smaller below, a black head as hard as iron, and a whitish body. He grunted when taken out of the water. The soldiers came up in a body to say they had not enough to eat, and we held a court of inquiry. They showed us a large coarse biscuit each, and said that was their ration for a day. The captain was sent for, and stated that the provisions, calculated to last three months for the soldiers, consisted of these biscuits at the rate of one and a half per diem. So it was plain any way they were being deprived of one third of their wretched rations. We ordered them to get three biscuits each, and the poor fellows went away quite contented. We intend to present them with sheep at Fashoda. I don’t think our English soldiers would have given the biscuits to the pigs in a farmyard at home. Certainly they would not have eaten them but for very hunger. The villages here are pretty numerous—all like groups of haycocks. The riverbanks piled in places with heaps of merchandise waiting for transport.

Wednesday, 10.—Lost twenty-six hours in getting in wood at this island of Abba;. A few hours after we started this morning, a man appeared running along the bank and making signals. We let him come up and took him on board, almost dead with fatigue, for it turned out to be one of our pilots whom we should have taken up at his village two days ago, and there he had been running and walking after ns for forty-eight hours continuously, and would have perished only for our delay. You see there is fine stuff in these fellows, as it was our own lookout if we went without him. The river here changed its character, and becomes lost in marshy land, and there are many islands. Floating plants and beds of weeds come down the stream, and it seemed to swarm with hippopotamuses. One fellow dived below the steamer and must have had a blow of the paddle, for he threw himself like a huge fish clean out of the water. As we got on, the plains appeared covered with herds of cattle, and here and there we saw natives with very long spears capering about. But the engineer, who knows the country, says that a few years ago all the way to Fashoda you would have seen the country full of natives, Shillooks, Denkas, &c, and herds in swarms, but that they are disappearing, as the Egyptians took their cattle. The natives never kill a beast unless he is going to die, but live on the milk and curds, and fine food it must be, for they are great, strong fellows.

Thursday, 11.—Passed Mount Emalia, a fine, bold object, but made slow progress against the current, which grew stronger. Our boats are a great strain on us. Some Shillooks, who are said to be very warlike, and great pillagers, came down to us and seemed to be very friendly. They had no clothes to speak of, but made the most of their hair, which was done up in a peculiar way into a kind of flap round the head and over the ears, so as to form a kind of umbrella for the neck and face projecting in a thick mat, which must be splendid covert for insects. They carried long spears, with long and broad heart shaped blades, and sticks with iron spikes at the end, but had no shields. We took seven of them, with their goats, on board in one of our boats as passengers to Fashoda, at which they were delighted—the Shillooks, not the goats, for the latter objected decidedly to the water. We had a strong breeze, almost a gale, from the south. Magnificent crested cranes stalking by the river. I had several shots at hippos about two hundred yards away, but they were mere snap chances at their heads, and as the steamer is not steady I could not make a hit. This evening, when we stopped to wood, Kemp and I went after some buffaloes, as I am now able to walk a little, but they scented the soldiers and went off. I returned on board and took to fishing, and caught a splendid fellow, twelve-pound weight, who showed great sport. [Page 1212] He had an immense shovel head, provided with six feelers, and as he did not look inviting, I gave him to the men, who were delighted, and made a grand feast.

“Saturday, 13.—The hippos have great fun with us, and the monkeys in the trees appear highly pleased or excited with the steamer, The former must see the hall, for they go down the moment the trigger is pulled. Perhaps they were giving us notice that a storm was coming, as pigs do when they ran wild with straws in their mouths, for it soon began to thunder, lighten, rain, and blow in a way which you have no notion of at home, so we clawed up to the bank and made fast for the night. Hadji, our cock, was in a great state, and crowed against the thunder. We bought him at Jeddah, and he was said to have been born at Mecca, hence his name. Over and over again his life has been in danger, and once it was all up with him in the desert, only Russell and one of the men came into camp with some sandgrouse. Now, if we were all starving, not a soul would touch Hadji, and he will, we hope, astonish the natives at Gondokoro. His spirits and plumage are beautiful, and not all the lions in the world have half his courage. Two days he was without food or water, but he never desisted from his usual crow, though it became very faint at last; and if one of us pointed a finger at him he came up to do battle instantly, though scarcely able to toddle on his miserable legs. The Shillooks and their goats minded the storm far more than Hadji.

“Thursday, 18.—Last Sunday (June 14) the colonel (Gordon) caught us up in the Bandeen, paddle-steamer, and took our six boats in tow, sending the Mansourah back to pick up boats left behind further down, and we were transferred to his steamer, and arrived at Fashoda all well yesterday. Fashoda seems an important place for this country, though most of the houses are the common huts one sees everywhere here, which look like dingy haycocks, but there is a large square of mud and bricks for the soldiers, with two guns mounted at each corner. The colonel was received with all honors, soldiers and people lining the banks, and a salute of ten guns being fired, and the governor came off immediately to pay him a visit. We saw the native in the nude state, and cannot say he was a very interesting subject, though a fine fellow enough in make and stature. There are hundreds of convicts here, most of them from Gairo Fashoda and Khartoum are the convict prisons of Egypt. There are many slaves also, and Hassan Effendi showed us a number of slavehuts, but one must be cautious in taking what one hears to be true. There is reason to think the colonel did not leave Khartoum on very good terms with the governor, but he received a most gratifying telegram from the Viceroy before he started on Wednesday week. He has now full powers over his province, which extends from the river Sanbat, and I think he will most likely take up his quarters on that river for a month, and make a regular station as soon as the things arrive. Kemp and Russell go on to Mount Rufat, at the foot of the falls, 15 miles north of Gondokoro. Gessi and Anson will not remain at Bahr el Gazelle. This morning the colonel, dressed in his uniform, with his decorations on, visited the town. He was met on the bank by the governor and suite, and crossed over to the mainland, where the troops were drawn up. Horses were ready, and the whole party made a tour of inspection of the place. There are seven steamers here, which will be turned to go 3d account and bring in money towing the native boats, and there is to be a regular line established for passengers and traders; so, perhaps, we shall have tourist-tickets for Gondokoro before long. The natives make very clever canoes or boats out of a wonder fully light wood called ambatal, which they fasten in bundles together; and their boats or nuggars are by no means bad. The colonel has written to the Anti-Slavery Association, to say if they send out a representative he will give him all the help in his power. What Colonel Gordon intends to do in reference to slavery I cannot say, but I imagine he is gaining information and resolving the best way of dealing with the open trade. You see the people do not think it is wrong, and one fellow at Khartoum, who knows a good deal of what is going on, said that the English and French carry on the slave-trade when it suits them, and ship off people to work on their sugar and rice fields, and want to keep the markets all to themselves. He declared he knew merchants who had seen our slaves on the Gold Coast. The demand for slaves in Turkey is enormous, and you know that in Cairo slaves are needed for ail the native houses. The other day one of us dismissed a servant, and the fellow was delighted. ‘I will buy a couple of slaves’ he said, and take them to Khartoum, where I shall sell them at a fine profit.’ The colonel has accurate information as to four large trading stations for slaves. A pretty Abyssinian girl can be be bought any day in Khartoum for $40, and it will be difficult to eradicate the practice, which is justified by the Koran. The missionaries do not make any way—in fact, they retrograde; and our own efforts to put down slavery or slave-trade on the coast may give us some idea of the difficulty of dealing with it in these immense regions, where you may travel for months without meeting what is called ‘a constituted authority’ The Khedive is spending enormous sums on this expedition, and has given the most explicit directions that slave-hunting is to be put down at all hazards, and Colonel Gordon, who is a very farseeing, longheaded man, may be relied upon to take the best way of carrying out the Khedive’s wishes.”