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of peculiar authenticity, from which the following particulars are extracted:
Cormarçie is situated in 6° 30' N. latitude. The space which it occupies is vaguely estimated at somewhat less than that of Liverpool. None of the buildings exceed one story in height; they are all constructed of wattled bamboo, having the interstices filled up with clay: the doors and windows are very roughly executed, and are made of the soft spongy wood of the silk cotton-tree (bombax). The size of the houses depends on the consequence and wealth of the owner, and they are each surrounded with a court yard. The palace stands in the centre of the town, and is a very extensive building, or rather cluster of buildings. The streets, from 15 to 20 feet wide, are arranged parallel and at right angles to one another; and there are two spacious market-places. The town is surrounded by a ditch, which always contains water, even in the driest seasons, and during the rains is of considerable breadth: it is crossed by bridges in various parts. The surrounding country is composed of low hills, with valleys between; and abounds in underwood intermixed with abundance of large trees; which latter, however, are applied to no use, their timber being too hard to be worked by the tools of the natives. Cotton is cultivated in gardens in the suburbs, and also grows plentifully about the country. The same is the case with tobacco; but the consumption of this article in all its usual forms being very great, there are large quantities of Portuguese roll tobacco annually imported into the country.
Almost the only fruits cultivated here are papaws, oranges, limes, and a few pine-apples: the two former are in great abundance. One man has a few cocoa-nut trees in his garden, which are much admired.
No kinds of corn are cultivated, the inhabitants depending chiefly for subsistence on yams and plantains. Ground nuts are grown in large quantities, and are principally used by the traders on their journeys; they are first roasted, and then made into a coarse flour, and in this state form the most portable kind of food. Sweet potatoe, ochrè, and tomata, are also cultivated to a considerable extent. Cassava is grown only as food for hogs and cattle. They prepare palm oil, but it always fetches a high price. Palm wine is the common fermented liquor of the country, and is very largely consumed.
The animal food consists of mutton, beef, buffalo, hogs, deer, and monkeys, which latter are the most esteemed. Neither the King nor any of his family taste beef, it being contrary to his religion, or fetish.
Elephants and camels abound; but neither the one nor the other are domesticated. Panthers are both numerous and daring even in the very skirts of the town, from three to four persons nightly being carried off out of their houses.
There is said to be a gold-mine near the capital, which, however, the King will not allow to be worked, all the supplies of this metal in the country being obtained, either from washing the sandy earth, or in barter from the Dinkaras and Waisaws. About 30 miles from Cormarçie is a plantation belonging to the King, where he often goes, being conveyed in a basket on men's shoulders. The road to this place is a very fine one, but is the only one in the country, all the other outlets being merely paths. It is the custom of the King (Poco) to sit three times each day in public, in order to hear and decide disputes; and his generals, captains, and caboceers also pay their respects to him three times a day, when he regales them with palm wine. The laws are very severe, death being the general punishment: the sentence, however, may in many cases be commuted for a large sum of money. The gainer of a cause always pays the expenses of the suit. It is not unusual, in cases where the King is a party, for him to submit his cause to the determination of the caboceers, and other principal men. If the affair is decided against him, as happens not unfrequently, it is his custom to make an apology, and a proportionate compensation, to the injured party. The government, however, is a pure despotism, and the Sovereign is the universal heir. One of his generals, the second in command in his army, having offended him, the King deprived him of his command, took away his 300 wives and his slaves, leaving only two of each for his use, and appointed him overseer of the ferry over the Bossumpra and of the fishing canoes. After, however, the degraded favourite had occupied his new post for about six weeks, he was found hanging, having first dispatched his two wives and his slaves.
The wives of the King are said to amount to 3334. They inhabit a particular quarter of the city which is walled in; and it is death for any person even to pass near the gate leading to their residence. When any of them walk abroad, they are attended by a train of boys and eunuchs, and by a military guard, who shoot without scruple all who do not fly on their approach,
Human sacrifices are so frequent as to render Cormarçie on this account a very disgusting residence for an European. They play with a man," as they term it, every 43 days. A criminal, or, if none is to be had, a prisoner of war, if of high rank the more acceptable, is brought out into an open space, and taken possession of by 12 or 14 men hideously painted, and dressed in tiger skins, each being armed with two knives. They commence by thrusting a knife through the cheek, transfixing the tongue, so as to prevent their victim from uttering any cries; they then insert a knife near the shoulder-blade on each side of the backbone; and, lastly, pass a cord through the eartilage of the nose. The poor wretch is then made to dance, and is mangled with deliberate cruelty for five or six hours. He is then led before
the King's residence, that the Sovereign may be gratified by the spectacle of his last sufferings, and finally of his decapitation. Whenever the King goes to visit the tombs of his ancestors he is obliged to propitiate them by the slaughter of from six to 12 human beings. The son of the King of Akim, a child seven or eight years old, taken at the conquest of the country, was placed in a brass pan on a man's head, the people dancing around him in front of the chief temple, or fetish house; he was then ripped open, his head cut off, and the mangled carcass thrown into the enclosure of the temple, as a present from the King. The daily sight of these and similar cruelties produces its natural effect on the manners of the people, who make no scruple of sacrificing any person at the instigation of revenge or gain: and though no one by law is allowed to sacrifice a human being without the consent of the King being previously obtained, yet it is frequently done by the rich, either as an offering to their ancestors, or from respect to their own fetish. The ditch round the town is the general receptacle for these dead bodies, in consequence of which all water for domestic use is obtained from wells.
The dress of the higher classes is chiefly silk, or finelywrought cloths, the manufacture of their own country, intermixed with silk, which they obtain by unravelling the manufac tured silk which they get from the European traders and interweaving it with their own cotton. A profusion of gold ornaments is also worn. The lower orders wear cotton cloths of blue, white, and black stripes, the manufacture of their own country: whence it may be inferred that the Indian and Manchester articles which they purchase on the coast are employed in their commerce with the interior of Africa.
The only river which the embassy passed on its way to Ashantee is the Bossumpra. It flows through the Assim country: about four days' journey from Cormarçie it is as broad as the Thames at Vauxhall, and is deep. Hence it takes an easterly direction, entering the Akim country at the back of Acra. It is not navigable, being obstructed by rocks and numerous falls, and is supposed to be the Volta, or a branch of that river.
Eighteen miles north of Cormarçie runs the river Tando, which at this place is a broad deep stream: it appears to run west, and is probably a branch of the river of Assinee. The rains never set in at Cormarçie before the month of August.
The territory of Ashantee proper is but of small extent; but the whole kingdom, including the conquered countries, is reputed to extend from the capital 20 days' journey to the east, 15 to the west, 12 to the south, and 40 to the north.
Design for a Bridge across the Mersey, at Runcorn. By
J. C. Loudon.
(With a Plate.)
I SEND you herewith some sketches, with explanatory remarks, of a design for a suspended bridge, which I had prepared for the committee at Runcorn (see Phil. Mag. for May last); but from some untoward circumstance, the choice was made before I learned that it was time to give in the plans. I had constructed a model for a similar design; which I mention here, merely to record that I have sent it to a friend in Poland, to be presented to the Royal Society of Warsaw. It was in that city, in the spring of 1813, that the idea of a suspended bridge first occurred to me, as suitable for crossing the Vistula, there nearly 2000 feet wide. Having passed the following winter in Petersburgh, the magnificent ramifications of the Newa, the want of a permanent communication between the two principal parts of the city (sometimes unconnected for two or three weeks together by the floating ice), and the inspection of numerous designs and models for bridges adapted to these circumstances, induced me to pursue the subject still farther. After my return to England, in July, 1816, I made some sketches; and having shown one of these to Mr. Telford, that gentleman obligingly showed me his design for Runcorn (since engraved), which I concluded was approved of, and therefore paid no attention to the subject, till in May last I saw an advertisement inviting artists to give in designs, &c. I have no other object in wishing to publish my design than that of inducing scientific men to direct their attention to a subject which is of considerable importance, not only to this country, but to every other.
am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
Bayswater House, Aug. 10, 1817.
J. C. LOUDON.
As the merits of every design must necessarily have a reference to the object in view, the author of that now submitted begs leave to premise the data and information on which he has proceeded in its arrangement. It is considered as desirable to establish a communication between the counties of Lancaster and Chester, by a bridge across the Mersey, at Runcorn Gap, about eight miles from Warrington; and it is a sine qua non that the navigation of the Mersey, which is considerable, be uninter