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Prince Auguste d'Arenberg, in order to favour by all peaceable means the extension of French dominion in Africa. This committee at once sent M. Jean Dybowski to join the Crampel mission, to revictual it, and then go and found a permanent establishment in the region of the Shari. Dybowski left Bordeaux in March, 1891, but reached Brazzaville, the French post on Stanley Pool, only to hear of the death of Crampel. With a view to punishing those responsible for Crampel's death, he pushed forward from the Mobangi to the upper
waters of the Shari, when want of provisions compelled him to retrace his steps.
Nearer to the west coast, M. Fourneau had in 1891 explored the Sanga river, another tributary of the Kongo, till he was attacked by very superior forces and had to turn back; and in 1891-92 Lieut. Mizon travelled from Yola on the Benue to the Lower Kongo.
Like Dybowski, Maistre was sent on his expedition by the Comite1 de l'Afrique Franchise, his object being to reinforce and act conjointly with Dybowski. Though his was not, therefore, primarily a Government expedition, the French Government gave him a large subventionjind considerable material, besides giving him power to sign treaties with the native chiefs in the name of France. On January 10,1^92, the young traveller—he was only 23 years of age— left Bordeaux with three companions, MM. Clozel, de Behagle, and Bonnel de Mlzieres. Recruiting a number of laptots at Dakar, in the French colony of Senegal, he landed at Loango, and travelled overland to Brazzaville. Here the carriage of goods is effected solely by the aid of human carriers, of whom Maistre required for his impedimenta no less than 400, making the transit to the navigable waters of the Kongo a costly affair. The importance of Brazzaville lies only in its position on Stanley Pool at the commencement of thousands of miles of navigable waterway; for the town consists only of about a dozen buildings scattered over a bare plain above the river, which serve as dwellings or magazines, a flagstaff with the tricolor, some very recent plantations, and two or three walks planted with bananas. However, here, where he met Dybowski returning home ill from his expedition, Maistre was provided with two French gunboats in which to ascend the Kongo and the Mobangi, and his voyage as far as the station of Bangi was thus accomplished with ease. The rapids above Bangi form an impediment to steam navigation, and the goods had here to be transferred to pirogues. On this river Maistre was joined by two members of the Dybowski expedition, MM. Brunache and Briquez, and the party now consisted of six Europeans, an escort of sixty armed men, and about 120 native porters.
Leaving the river at Wadda, a post established by Dybowski, on June 9, Maistre first proceeded to Kemo, another post formed on the river of that name by Dybowski, beyond which his route lay in altogether unknown country. He remained at Kemo a fortnight to complete his arrangements, and then on June 29 plunged into the unknown. He first traversed the country of the Ndris, and in the first village signed his first treaty in the name of France with the chief Azamganda. This was all done with full ceremony. The chief was formally received before Maistre's tent, the Frenchman being surrounded by his European companions and the whole personnel of the expedition under arms, whilst Azamganda was followed by other chiefs and all the natives of the village. A big, sly-looking fellow was this chief, with matted hair ornamented with several rows of red and white beads and three long ivory pins stuck in a sort of chignon, that was all that distinguished him from his subjects, his costume being of the smallest dimensions. The Ndris are thoroughly unsophisticated people, and no trace of any European or Arabic articles was to be found amongst them. The chiefs and people were very friendly. They are big men, strong and well built, with very black skin. Their costume consists of a morsel of cottoncloth made in the country, or bark, passed between the thighs and attached to a cord round the waist. The women are generally ugly, and wear as their sole vestment a bunch of leaves suspended to a small cord, which serves as a belt . This very simple costume, which Maistre found amongst other tribes visited, has, we are told, the advantage that it can be frequently renewed without any expense.
Beyond the Ndri country, to the north, Maistre entered a forest or " brush," which was uninhabited, and which separated it from that of the Manjias. These Manjias have an evil reputation with their neighbours to the south; Maistre's guides endeavoured to draw him away to the east so as to avoid their country, and he had to find his way by compass. The first meeting with these people was certainly not encouraging, for they assailed with spears the Senegalese who were at the head of the cavalcade. But a volley from the little force quickly drove them off through the bush and long grass. Though surprised at the unwonted visitors they were not daunted, and reassembled with war cries and wild dancing, evidently intended to intimidate the intruders. The latter, to show their friendly disposition, offered beads and cloth, but the peaceful overtures were only answered by a shower of arrows. Then Maistre gave the command to fire, and the discharge of the guns quickly cleared the Manjias off, leaving one or two dead on the ground. So scared were they that they deserted their village, in which the travellers took up their camp. There was thus no fear of hunger for the present, the food question being the chief difficulty in travelling with a large party through a strange country. Further attempts were made to bring about a peaceful understanding with the natives, but they kept at a respectful distance, suspicious of the motives of the whites. At last they were sufficiently emboldened to attack the camp with their primitive arms—firearms were evidently quite a new experience for them—and again were they driven back by a volley from the guns. Maistre gave orders to capture one of the natives if possible, and presently the Senegalese proudly brought in a big bestial-looking man of a low type, whom they had surprised. It was a long time before the prisoner could be got to reply to questions, but realising after a time that the whites meant him no harm he became more communicative, and was at last sent off with some small presents to show his fellows the goodwill of the French. But it was not until after another, yet more determined, encounter that peace was finally brought about. The Manjias now saw that it was hopeless to contend against European weapons, and in the last combat they had suffered considerable losses. Presents were exchanged, and the Manjias were induced to come into the camp and to provide the travellers with food, the supply of which was getting low, and on August 21 the inevitable treaty was signed with Kandia, one of the principal chiefs, and the French flag was given him.
In the Manjia country Maistre had come to a large river, flowing to the north, called the Nana, which was evidently a feeder of the Shari. This river he followed to the northward till it united with a still larger river, the Gribingi, flowing from the east, which he identifies with the Kukuru of Dybowski. In the countries of the WiaWia, Auaka, Akunga and Aretu, along the courses of these rivers, he found the people more friendly. Yagussu, the great chief of the Auakas, signed a treaty placing his country under French protection. Maistre did not wish to cross the Gribingi, but his guides persuaded him that on its west bank he would have to traverse an uninhabited country, where food was scarce. He had no boats to navigate the river itself, and to cross it with his goods he had to make a number of rafts with branches of trees, for the river was too deep to ford. The peaceful peoples here were subjected to the ravages of the Smussus, Mussulmans of Dar Runa, away to the south of Wadai, who make periodical raids on the villages for slaves and plunder, and numerous ruined and deserted villages were passed which they had practically depopulated. So friendly were the Akungas to the travellers that they even helped the carriers with their loads. But they carefully kept all their women out of sight, fearing that the newcomers might treat them in the same treacherous manner as the dreaded Smussus.
At the village of Finda, Maistre at last persuaded the Aretu to bring one of the women before him. He did not find her at all prepossessing; she was by no means so good-looking as the men; but then, he adds naively, perhaps they only sent the oldest and ugliest woman in the village so as not to tempt him. Her clothing was exceedingly scanty, and consisted of a cord belt to which was attached in front a sort of small apron a few inches long formed of a number of small finely-plaited cords; behind, a great bunch of grass, also attached to the belt, completed the costume. Her hair was matted very short, with a small chignon on the left side. The men's attire was similarly primitive, and consisted of a small piece of bark of the Width of the hand attached to the belt in front, and attached also from behind by a little cord passing between the thighs. These Akungas were most friendly and hospitable, brought presents of fowls, corn, &c., to the travellers, and willingly entered into treaty relations with the French.
Had he been provided with boats, Maistre would have descended the Gribingi and Shari to Lake Chad, but in default of these it was necessary to push on to the West Coast, as his barter goods were not sufficient for a more extended journey. So he again crossed the Gribingi to its left bank to turn his steps towards the west, in order to reach the Benue river.
Coming into the country of the Saras, an evidence of the influence of the Moslems of the Sudan was met with. The chief, Manjatezze, came to receive the travellers clad in a short sleeveless shirt or tunic, formed of strips of cotton cloth about two inches wide sewn together. These strips were of different colours : white, yellow, black, blue, brown, &c., and Maistre was told that it came from .Bagirmi, the first he heard of that country from the natives.
Manjatezze brought some presents of welcome, and offered the use of his pirogue for crossing the river. At the same time the chief seemed to be relieved when the travellers passed on their way with their treaty of protectorate, of the importance of which he probably had a very hazy idea. These Saras are the finest race of people that Maistre met. Some of them have been brought into subjection to Bagirmi, a country made known to us by Barth and Nachtigal, and at the village of Gako, Maistre was welcomed by a representative of the Sultan of Bagirmi. Si Said spoke Arabic, so the difficulty of communicating with people of an unknown tongue was now at an end. From him, Maistre learnt of the events that had transpired in Bagirmi since Nachtigal had left in 1874. The country was then desolated by civil war, and divided between two competitors, Mohammed Abu Sekkin, whose guest Nachtigal had been, and Abderrahman. The latter having vanquished his rival, drove him from Massenya, his capital, and installed himself there. Hostilities continued a long time with divers fortunes; at last, about 1882, Mohammed Abu Sekkin entered Massenya, and within the walls of the town gave battle to his competitor, who was killed during the combat. Abu Sekkin, now without a rival, established himself first at Maiba, then at Buguman, the present capital of Bagirmi, about 1885. Peace has since reigned, and Bagirmi has preserved the best relations with its neighbouring states, Bornu and Wadai. The pre