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bay, is an independent stream, having its source in the Ashankolo Mountains, we come to the Ogobay, probably the largest river of western equatorial Africa. The Ogobay is formed by the junction of two considerable streams of the interior—the Rembo Ngouyai and the Rembo Okanda. The first I partly explored; of the Rembo Okanda I know only by report of the natives, who state that it is much larger than the Ngouyai, and that its navigation is in some places partly obstructed by vast rocky boulders, which, scattered about the hill-sides and on the higher plains of the interior, form a very remarkable and peculiar feature of the landscape. The banks of the Ogobay, so far as I have explored them, are in many parts subject to annual overflow.
The Rembo Ngouyai is a large stream, flowing through a mountainous and splendidly wooded country, which is the most magnificent I saw in Africa. It has numerous smaller feeders. Its navi. gation is unfortunately interrupted by the great Eugenie or Samba Nagoshi fall; but it is quite possible for steamers to reach this fall from the sea; and the upper portion, above the fall, is navigable for the largest class of river steamers during the greater part of the year, and flows through a region the tropical magnificence of which is quite unrivaled, and which abounds in many precious woods, while it is also well calculated for a rich agricultural country. I could not help longing heartily for the day to come when this glorious stream will be alive with the splash of paddle-wheels, and its banks lined with trading and missionary posts. Ebony, bar-wood, and India-rubber, palm-oil, beeswax, and ivory, are the natural products of this region, so far as my limited opportunities allowed me to ascertain. But any tropical crop will grow in this virgin soil; and it needs only the cunning hand and brain of the white man to make this whole tract become a great producing country.
My little knowledge of geology, and the impossibility of carry. ing heavy specimens, prevented me from making useful observations on the geological structure of this region; and I can only say that micaceous schist, talcose shale, and quartz, are found
abundantly in the mountains, together with conglomerates and various sandstones, while a red sandstone seems most to abound in the Ashira country. Iron is plentiful; the ore, which is rich, is found cropping out of the ground in many parts. Copper I did not meet with, though it is brought by the Loando negroes from the southern interior to the sea-shore, where it is purchased by Europeans.
The mountain range which I explored on my last journey, and which is laid down on the map as far as my extreme point, or terminus, seems to me, beyond doubt, to be part of a great chain extending nearly across the continent without ever leaving the line of the equator more than two degrees. Not only were the appearances such, as far as I was able to penetrate, but all accounts of the natives and of their slaves tend to make this certain. Some of the slaves of the Apingi are brought from a distance to the eastward which they counted as twenty days' journey; and they invariably protested that the mountains in sight from their present home continue in an uninterrupted chain far beyond their own country—in fact, as far as they knew.
Judging, therefore, from my own examination, and from the most careful inquiries among people of the far interior, I think there is good reason to believe that an important mountain range divides the continent of Africa nearly along the line of the equator, starting on the west from the range which runs along the coast north and south, and ending in the east, probably, in the southern mountains of Abyssinia, or perhaps terminating abruptly to the north of Captain Burton's Lake Tanganyika.
In the northern slope of this great range originate probably many of the feeders of the Niger, the Nile, and Lake Tchad; while of the streams rising in the southern slope, it is probable that some join their waters to the Rembo Okanda, the Rembo Ngouyai, and the Congo, and others flow south into the Zambesi, and into the great lake or chain of lakes in the eastern part of Africa.
To this mountain range, so far as I have followed it and ascer
tained its existence, I propose that the native name, Nkoomoonabouali, be given, from the splendid peak which I discovered, and which forms the western point of the range. I think it probable that the impenetrable forests of this mountain range and its savage inhabitants together put a stop to the victorious southward course of the Mohammedan conquest. South of the equator, at any rate, these have never penetrated.
Of the eight years which I have passed in Africa, the present volume contains the record of only the last four, 1856, '7, '8, and '9, which alone were devoted to a systematic exploration of the interior. As a traveler, I had the very great advantages of tolerably thorough acclimation, and a knowledge of the languages and habits of the sea-shore tribes, which proved of infinite service to me among the tribes of the interior, with whom I was in every case able to hold converse, if not by word of mouth, then by a native interpreter with whose language I was familiar.
A brief summary of the results of my four years' travel will perhaps interest the reader. I traveled—always on foot, and unaccompanied by other white men—about 8000 miles. I shot, stuffed, and brought home over 2000 birds, of which more than 60 are new species, and I killed upward of 1000 quadrupeds, of which 200 were stuffed and brought home, with more than 80 skeletons. Not less than 20 of these quadrupeds are species hitherto unknown to science. I suffered fifty attacks of the African fever, taking, to cure myself, over fourteen ounces of quinine. Of famine, long-continued exposures to the heavy tropical rains, and attacks of ferocious ants and venomous flies, it is not worth while to speak.
My two most severe and trying tasks were the transportation of my numerous specimens to the sea-shore, and the keeping of a daily journal, both of which involved more painful care than I like even to think of.
The volume now respectfully presented to the public has been written out from my faithfully-kept journals. I have striven only to give a very plain account of a region which is yet virgin ground
to the missionary and the trader—those twin pioneers of civilization—and which affords a fertile field for the operations of both.
Before closing, it is my duty as well as pleasure to acknowledge gratefully very many kindnesses received from the officers and members of the Boston Society of Natural History, whose cheerfully-given aid greatly lightened for me the tedious task of cataloguing my large collection of specimens of Natural History. Also I owe especial thanks to my friend, Dr. Jeffries Wyman, the eminent Professor of Comparative Anatomy in Harvard University, for much valuable assistance; to Dr. S. Kneeland, the able recording secretary of the Boston Society of Natural History; to the Geographical and Ethnological Societies of New York; to my publishers, Messrs. Harper & Brothers, who have borne with kindly patience the many delays and troubles caused by my inexperience in the labors of authorship; and, lastly, to the many friends whose kind memories were proof against my long absence in Africa, and whose welcome on my return lent additional force to my gratitude to that God who watched over and preserved me in my wanderings.
The long and tedious labor of preparing this book for the press leaves me with the conviction that it is much easier to hunt gorillas than to write about them—to explore new countries than to describe them. In the year which has passed since my return to the United States I have often wished myself back in my African wilds. I can only hope that the reader will not, when he closes the book, think this labor wasted; and with this hope I bid him a friendly farewell.