Page:The slave trade of east Africa.djvu/16

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that they were doing a very noble thing, and might proudly march with an air of triumph. But the instant the fellows caught a glimpse of the English, they darted off like mad into the forest; so fast, indeed, that we caught but a glimpse of their red caps and the soles of their feet. The chief of the party alone remained, and he, from, being in front, had his hand tightly grasped by a Makololo. He proved to be a well known slave of the late commandant at Tette, and for some time our own attendant while there. On asking him how he obtained these captives, he replied he had bought them; but on our enquiring of the people themselves, all save four said they had been captured in war. While this enquiry was going on, he bolted too.

"The captives knelt down, and, in their way of expressing thanks, clapped their hands with great energy. They were thus left entirely on our hands, and knives were soon busy at work cutting the women and children loose. It was more difficult to cut the men adrift, as each had his neck in the fork of a stout stick, six or seven feet long, and kept in by an iron rod which was riveted at both ends across the throat. With a saw, luckily in the Bishop's baggage, one by one the men were sawn out into freedom. The women, on being told to take the meal they were carrying, and cook breakfast for themselves and the children, seemed to consider the news too good to be true; but, after a little coaxing, went at it with alacrity, and made a capital fire by which to boil their pots, with the slave sticks and bonds, their old acquaintances through many a sad night and weary day. Many were mere children, about five years of age and under. One little boy, with the simplicity of childhood, said to our mien, 'The others tied and starved us; you cut the ropes and tell us to eat. What sort of people are you? Where did you come from?' Two of the women had been shot the day before, for attempting to untie the thongs. This, the rest were told, was to prevent them attempting to escape. One woman had her infant's brains knocked out, because she could not carry her load and it; and a man was despatched with an axe, because he had broken down with fatigue.'

Our next witness is Reuten, one of the party of eight Sepoys sent from Bombay with Dr. Livingstone, who, overcome with terror, deserted the traveller in the interior, and joined themselves to the slave gang of one Suleiman, an Arab chief. After accompanying them to the coast, the Sepoys found their way to Zanzibar, and the following is the deposition of the Sepoy, made to Mr. Seward, the British Consul there. He says:—

"We left Mataka with the slave-caravan of one Suleiman, an Arab. His band numbered 300 slaves, besides porters and servants, but there were many other smaller bands varying in number; altogether there started about 900. It seemed one great regiment.