Imagens das páginas

quet followed the Zouaves, the Algerian rifle i tion to oppose to the fire of the Allies; men, and the Chasseurs d'Afrique. These on the 14th November they had two hunregiments were followed at a short distance dred and forty, although during the same by three battalions and a field-battery com interval of time eighty of their


were manded by General d'Autemarre. These

dismounted and one hundred and fifty troops were to decide the issue of the fight."

gun-carriages destroyed. The most imThe retreat of the Russians, however, portant works for strengthening the dewas far from degenerating into a rout. fences, especially those round the MalaIndeed it would seem that the French khow tower, were not commenced until were temporarily repulsed, for in the the middle of November, when the Alnext page we find :

lies had been seven weeks before the “In proportion as the French advanced place. They consisted principally of successfully, the English, a little rested, and works closed at the mouth or entrance supplied with ammunition, hastened to join (fermés à la gorge), on each of the eletheir allies. Whilst this was going on, about vated points of the enceinte commanding twelve o'clock, the troops of D'Autemarre, the place; so that, if the enemy broke who had taken up a position on a hill, as well through a weak place in the connecting as those of General Monet, also engaged in portion of the line, they would be prethe battle."

vented from entering either of these inThe retreat, covered by the fire of the sulated strongholds or fortresses from ships in the harbor, and by some skir- the rear : mishers opportunely brought up and

“The closing of the Bastion No. 2 was beposted by Todleben, was deliberately gun on the 15th November,* and on the 19th and safely effected; but out of the 34,835 of the same month we set to work to transRussians who had taken part in the bat- form the fortifications of the Malakhow mound tle on the plateau, six generals, 256 offi- into a great closed polygon, which, by its vast cers, and 10,467 rank and file were put dimensions, as well as by its commanding situhors de combat—more than double the ation, should serve as a point of support to loss of the Allies.

all the Karabelnaia. Its plan was detined in accordance with the existing works.

The The loss of the battle is attributed by semi-circular glacis before the tower, and two Todleben to the want of simultaneity in batteries at its extremities, formed the direct the advance of the Russians, the superi- front; the two batteries (28 and 44) formed ority of the French and English small- part of the right front, which had received a arms, and the omission of the Russian broken formation, having been made to conartillery to follow and support their in- form in this respect to the configurations of

the borders of the mound. The left front, fantry—a service, he says, which was excellently executed by the corresponded by two jutting posts, arranged so as to in

disposed on the opposite slope, was augmenting arm in the English army. He thinks close two large powder-magazines. A breastthat, although the Russians were re. work which had been raised behind on the pulsed, the battle of Inkermann was favorable to them in its results. "It

Bastion No. 2 is the Little Redan. It would

produced a deep impression on the Allies. seem that this work was not completed. After

describing the manner in which the Russians, In the first moment they had even the taken by surprise, were driven out of the Malaidea of raising the siege. But although khow and the Little Redan, Bazancourt states this idea was abandoned by them, this that, rallying and supported by their reserves, important result followed, that the as- they tried in vain to retake the Malakhow, but sault meditated against the Bastion No. vain the captain of engineers, Renoux, exerted

succeeded in retaking the Little Redan. “In 4, which for many reasons seemed about himself with his sappers to close the opening of to be crowned with success, was ad- the Little Redan, in which he is already begin. journed, and that henceforth the opera- ning to intrench himself. Unhappily the obsta

cle he has created is still insufficient, and cannot tions of the Allies assumed gradually a

cover our troops, who, forced to abandon the defensive character.”

ground which they had so vigorously seized, The besieged were constantly adding ihrew themselves into the ditches," eic. The to the strength of their works and their closing of the Malakhow, therefore, was apparbatteries, as well as to the numbers of ently the cause of an irreparable disaster to the their army. On the 17th October, when of the gorge was very useful to the French, in

besieged. General Niel states that the closing bombardment began, they had only enabling them to withstand all the efforts of the one hundred and eighteen guns in posi- Russians.- Journal, etc., p. 37, note.

borders of the mound, and which was intend- | just decreed a new levy throughout the ed to protect the reserves placed on the slope, whole of his vast empire for the proseor those posted between the houses of the cution of the war. Malakhow suburb, served as bases for the en

It will be collected from our remarks trance or gorge front. In arranging the two lateral fronts, care had been taken to flank and extracts, literal and abridged, that their ditches as much as possible.

the work before us is of unequal merit “ The execution of these immense works and authority, and that we are seldom was accompanied by very great difficulty, by permitted to forget that it is edited, reason of the excessive hardness of the rocky not written, by the distinguished and soil, which reached almost to the very surface eminently scientifio soldier whose name of the ground, especially on the side of the adorns the The plans of deright front, where the work could only be fence, the construction of the new works, done during the night, without being exposed and the siege operations, strictly so call. to the fire of the English ritlemen.”

ed, which were directed by him, or fellFrom Todleben's summary of the sec- under his own personal observation, are ond period of the siege, including De always clearly described; but the accember, 1854, and January, 1855, we counts of engagements and maneuvres learn that although the Allies also had boyond the walls are too frequently open added to their batteries, their fire had to the same criticism as his narrative slackened considerably, and that they of the battle of the Alma: they want had even suspended their approaches the unity, succinctness, and perspicuity whilst they were employed in strength- which betoken the hand of a single wellening the positions on the side of the informed and impartial historian. We Tschernaia as well as on the side of Se- refrain from further comment till the bastopol. Their trenches had been ad- completion of the work; and by that vanced sufficiently close greatly to dis time most probably Mr. Kinglake's anxquiet the besieged, who in most other iously expected continuation will be berespects had reason to entertain better fore the world. hopes of the result than when the Allies first appeared before the place. The second volume of the first part

Satarday Reviex. concludes with a chapter in which the respective conditions of the besiegers

A MISSION TO DAHOMEY.* and besieged, as regards the supply of provisions, hospital accommodation, and

CAPTAIN Burton's peculiarities as a ihe health of the troops, are stated and narrator are now tolerably well known, compared. We learn from it, that al- and everybody who takes up his book is though the Russians were never actually sufficiently aware beforehand how many in want of provisions, they were fre. literary eccentricities will be found to quently straitened in their supplies, and offend or amuse him. These peculiarities that at one time, with twenty-five thou are certainly not less conspicuous than sand sick and wounded in the town, they

usual in the present work. A haughty were unable to find room, attendance, and undisguised contempt for other tray. and medicines for more than half ellers,an equally undisguised confidence in Through the blunders of their commis- himself, and a detestation of most things sariat, much of their winter clothing did which the rest of the world generally not arrive till it was no longer wanted ; approves — all this gives a tone to Capbut the wonder is how they managed, tain Burton's writing which is at least

He wastes no with only a single line of road open striking and uncommon. to transport men, food, ammunition, time in paying compliments, he leaves clothes, and necessaries sufficient to nothing out because it may rather hurt keep pace with the constantly increasing common notions of decorum, and he laudarmies and resources of the Allies. The ably refuses to conciliate the British pubsacrifice of men and animals was doubt lic by any eulogy on the operations of less enormous, but it was endured with:

"missioners." The plainness of speech out a murmur; and at the point of time where the bistory breaks

off, towards Richard F. Burton.
*A Mission to Gelele, King of Dahome. By

2 vols. London: Tinsley the end of February, 1855, the czar had Brothers. 1864.

with which he talks of various matters | book, and as bright and gay as its chrowhich are for the most part passed over mo-lithographs. It was reserved for by travellers either in discreet silence or Captain Burton's blunt style, and careful else treated with mincing periphrases, is minute observation, to put clearly before sometimes a little startling; but in this us the pitiful meanness, the puerility, and and in some of his other oddities, Cap- the squalid misery of the Dahoman savatian Burton is, in a way, manly and ges. In the poet's raptures about the straightforward. The only virtue of a freedom of the eagle's eyrie we forget writer of travels is to tell the truth accu- that it is, as a matter of fact, a foul derately and fully, and the author's very pository of bleached bones or mangled offences against good taste are such as to carcases; and in the same way, Commaninspire the fullest confidence in the trust- der Forbes' good language, and frequent worthiness of his statements. He evi- use of such general terms as ferocity, dently tells what he thinks to be the atrocities, deplorable barbarism, conveytruth, if he does not exactly shame the ed a very faint notion of the stench, filth, devil; and it is so much the fashion shabbiness, din, and loathsome discomamong travellers to doctor their books, fort which are revealed by the more reas the wine- merchant doctors sherry, cent traveller. The force with which all with an eye to the English market, this is brought out in Captain Burton's that we may readily overlook occasional book is cheaply purchased at the cost of coarseness and very frequent unamiabil- some slight iteration, which, though now ity and intolerance.

and then rather wearisome, is perhaps the The interest which has always been only way of enabling us to realize the taken in everything connected with Da- naked truth. Though in one respect homey has, according to Captain Burton, Captain Burton, by showing that the been much greater than Dahomey really popular estimate of the number of human deserves. Principally, no doubt, this beings annually put to death is an enorinterest was excited by the rumors which mous exaggeration of the truth, has effectreached Europe from time to time of ap- ed a sort of rehabilitation of Dahomey, palling massacres and ghastly sacrifices. in another he has diminished its EuroPeople could not but feel the keenest curi- pean repute by pointing out its present unosity about a country whose monarch was importance and approaching decay. The reported to divert himself by paddling a older travellers represented the Kingcanoe in the blood of two thousand of his dom of Dahomey as of enormous extent; subjects, or stamping frantically about and Commander Forbes, though admitamong their putrescent carcases. The ting the difficulty or impossibility of arhorrible mysteries of slave-hunting, the riving at any accurate measure, asserts strange stories of female warriors, the that the actual extent may“ with safety abominations of their warfare, and the be taken at about one hundred and eighty alleged vastness of the Dahoman empire, miles from east to west, and nearly two conibined to make Dahomey more famil hundred from the sea-coast at Whydah iarly talked about than any other part at to its most north ward boundary,” thus least of Western Africa. The two vol- giving a total area of thirty-six thousand umes published in 1851 by Commander square miles. This may perhaps have Forbes, containing an account of his been a reasonable approximation to the mission to the Daboman court two years truth thirteen years ago, but at the previously, were rather calculated to ent time, as Captain Burton very posiheighten this interest than to diminish it, tively asserts, we must reduce the area though correcting some of the delusive to four thousand square miles, or to just notions formerly entertained about the one- ninth of Commander Forbes' estiterrific amount of annual bloodshed. mate. In population, in the same way, Some neatly - colored though poor illus- the author is convinced that similar extrations, an easily - flowing style, a few aggeration has been perpetrated. proper ejaculations, and a general litera. French traveller fixed the number of the ry trimness, made his book sufficiently subjects of the Daboman king at nine pleasant reading, but also served to give hundred thousand, Commander Forbes one the idea that things in Dahomey at two hundred thousand. Commodore were as compact and well-ordered as the Wilmot, whose visit to the father of the


present king in 1862–3 was the occasion of them than has been permitted by more of Captain Burton's mission, puts it at sentimental writers expels with rude the slightly lower figure of one hundred promptitude any idea which the reader and eighty thousaud ; while Captain may have had of Amazons as a troop Burton would even say one hundred and of brave, resolute, and comely virgins. fifty thousand, confessing, however, that Their chastity is far from unimpeachable, all the numbers are mere guess-work. and in appearance they are a pack of It is perhaps pretty safe to assume that “old, ugly, and square-built frows,” who the truth lies somewhere between one“ trudge grumpily along with the face hundred and eighty thousand and one of a cook after much nagging.” If the hundred thousand. Considering that hideous creature in Captain Burton's the country could support three times as frontispiece is an impartial representation large a population, and that there is little of the average of Amazon comeliness, bis or no commerce in produce, the cultiva- written account is no calumny; but it tion is obviously of the scantiest descrip- may be added, that in Commander tion. The disproportion between the Forbes' book there is a picture of an extent of territory and the number of the Amazon who would be distinctly atinhabitants is easily explained. The fe- tractive but for a dripping head which male troops are variously calculated at she carries in her left hand. They affect ten thousand, five thousand, and by Cap- a Zouave swagger, but in spite of this tain Burton at twenty-five hundred, and they cannot disguise the mildness of they contribute no increase to the king's countenance with which nature stamps subjects. In a country where the doc- their sex. Although bulky in appeartrine of the superiority of the female had ance, their size is due more to fat than made less progress, these women would muscle, and, in the author's opinion, they represent seventy-five hundred children. are "too light to stand a charge of the In the second place, Dahomey is sur- poorest troops in Europe.” The whole rounded by hostile tribes, and constant force is divided into five arms— -blunderwarfare both employs and annihilates buss-women or grenadiers, razor-women, large numbers of men who would other infantry, elephant-huntresses, and archwise be forced to do at least a certain ers, the infantry composing the corps amount of work. So long as these two d'élite of the army. The elephant-huntcheeks-one preventive, and the other resses have a great reputation for skill positive-are actively at work, the dis- and daring, and, notwithstanding rude proportion between the surface of the and worn-out muskets and bad ammunicountry and the number of dwellers on it tion, twenty of them can bring down seven will go on widening, until at length the animals out of a herd at a single volley. whole Dahoman power will dwindle The razor-women, we presume, cut off away. Since Captain Burton's visit, it the heads of those who have fallen before has received a severe blow by the rout the bullets and poisoned arrows. The of Gelele and his followers in their long. archers, formerly the most distinguished threatened .attack upon Abeokuta - a portion of the force, have become more blow from which it will take them many lightly esteemed as the inferiority of years to recover, “and before that time, their weapon, even with the most deadly says the author, “I hope to see Dahome poison on the arrow-tips, to the clumsilevel with the ground.”

est blunderbuss, has grown more apparBut though we may no longer regard ent. The bravery of the Amazons seems the King of Dahomey as a terrible po- to be on a level with that of their brethtentate, ruling over boundless regions ren in arms, but in both cases, as might and a comparatively enormous people be expected among barbarians of this with undisputed sway, there remain, even peculiarly degraded type, their courage in a petty and decaying territory, abun. only sustains them for one furious onset, dant points of extreme interest to the and if this is not successful they soon civilized European. The practice of em- beat a retreat. The Daboman warrior ploying female troops, or "fighteresses," possesses none of the stubborn perseveras Captain Burton absurdly calls them, ance in combat which is often found in is one of the most remarkable of Da- tribes indiscriminately classed as savage, homan peculiarities. A closer inspection and to this, among other causes, the final

are also

overthrow of the nation will doubtless be every possible direction. Everybody largely due. Commodore Wilmot saw acquainted with Hindoo dances will a troop of Amazons fire at a mark, and agree with the author, that “as all these declares they fired exceedingly well, con- several actions, varied by wonderful sidering the fint musket and the iron shakings, joltings, grimaces, and contorball, which fits loosely to the barrel. He tions, must be executed rapidly, simultaadds, very absurdly, that "they would neously, and in perfect measure to the prove formidable enemies with good music,” it must be a more difficult perweapons, and if they possessed discipline formance than the feats of the Nautch and real courage”—which is as true and girl of India or the Alimeh of Egypt. as valuable as if he had told us they King Gelele himself is a dancer of great would be men if they were not women. fame, and one ca the most popular parts The people of Abeokuta are exasperated of the “So Sin Custom,” or annual festibeyond all bounds by the use of female val at Agbome, is his energetic dancing troops, which they very naturally regard and singing. as the grossest military insult. Captain These Customs, the rumors of which Burton's contemptuous estimate of the have so long filled all Europe with horDahoman forces, both male and female, ror, are of two kinds. The "Grand Cushas received remarkable confirmation in toms” take place only after the death the utter repulse which they met at the of a king, and are marked by superior hands of their inveterate enemies only grandeur and more profuse bloodshed. six weeks after his visit to Agbome, the Gelele performed the rites in honor of capital of Dahomey. The respect paid his father in 1860, and it was of these to the female slaves of the Amazons is that what appears to have been a highly not less exasperating to their country- exaggerated account reached this counmen than the Amazons are to the people try. The “ Yearly Customs”. of Abeokuta. Whenever they sally forth of two kinds, being performed in alterthey ring a little bell, like a sheep-bell, nate years, but, according to Captain at the sound of which every male must Burton, the ceremonies of the So-Sin year get out of the way as fast as possible, and those of the Atto year are substanand hold his face averted until the women tially the same. The author was present have passed on. As slaves are passing at the So-Sin Customs, and he has reto and fro all day long, and their pace is corded all he saw with a minuteness of the slowest, the tinkle of their bell, and which would be tedious were it not that the consequent flight of every native hitherto there has been no plain and demale, however occupied, become a pro- tailed account of what really occurs on found nuisance to the traveller. The these occasions. Customs of one sort or women rather enjoy the scampering another are spread over the whole year, which their presence creates, and the except when the king is on his annual older and uglier they are the more noise slave-hunting expedition, which employs they make," which," as Captain Burton him for from six weeks to two months. says, “is natural.” Dancing is quite as They are a mixture of " carnival, general much a part of Amazon business as fight- muster, and lits de justice.The troops ing, and it must be fully as hard work. are paraded, there is a vast amount of One of the most common of these dan- drinking, firing, gambling, and dancing, ces consists in an imitation of the pro- cowries are distributed among the popcess of cutting off an enemy's head, ulace, and the victims are put to death. but this is mere repose when com- The name So-sin literally means

“ Horse pared with some of their performances. tie," and is given to the “ Customs” beÎn what Captain Burton calls the regu- cause all the horses are taken from their lar Dahoman dance, every part of the owners, tied up, and not released until body is in the most violent motion. they have been redeemed with a bag of The arms, bent at the elbow, are moved cowries, this being the Dahoman mode swiftly backwards and forwards, and of collecting taxes. The ceremonies exalmost meet behind the back; the hands tend over five days, and their combined paddle like a fish's fins, the feet shuffle childishness and monotony must be abafter the approved negro fashion, and the solutely unendurable to a European onwhole trunk is incessantly jerked in looker. One element, however, gives a

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