Page:The slave trade of east Africa.djvu/15

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dition of some successful hunter, probably an Arab sheikh, whose sacred writings inform him that all the African tribes south of the Somalis are proper subjects for his sword and his bow. Before starting on his expedition, he obtains from some agent at Zanzibar the needful articles either for barter or murder and kidnapping—beads, common cotton cloth, muskets, and ammunition; and the party starts for the interior, on what is now a long and toilsome march across a country once well cultivated and populous, but now desolated by the ravages of these marauders. The beads and cloth are used for paying their way during the early part of the journey, and for the purchase of ivory. According to Dr. Livingstone, these slaving parties seem to preserve their mercantile character for a large portion of the trip. They usually settle down with some chieftain and cultivate the soil, assisting him from time to time in raids against neighbouring tribes for the sake of the captives which their invariable success in these expeditions throws into their power. Either by this means, or by barter and purchase, the slave gang gradually accumulates; and we may form some conception of the value set on life by these traffickers in human flesh, by the price paid for the slave at his home, which we learn to be a few yards of cotton cloth, or, as the case may be, theft and murder. When the gang is sufficiently large to cover the terrible percentage of deaths due to the march down, and all preparations are completed, then commences the weary awful march to death or captivity. We have before us two records whence we can draw details of the atrocities perpetrated, during the march down, on these hapless "misérables." Both accounts are given by eye-witnesses. The first is Dr. Livingstone. In the work already mentioned, "The Zambesi and its Tributaries," is the following account of a slave party he met with in the valley of the Shiré:—

The slave party, a long line of manacled men, women, and children, came wending their way round the hill and into the valley, on the side of which the village stood. The black drivers, armed with muskets, and bedecked with various articles of finery, marched jauntily in the front, middle, and rear of the line, some of them blowing exulting notes out of long tin horns. They seemed to feel