Page images
PDF
EPUB

nication, the well-known mistrust which Africans entertain towards all whites, made them often doggedly sullen for days together; whilst at other times his efforts only excited their mirth, and made them ridicule him, as he said, "literally with hands and feet.” In this manner he labored many tedious months, under the most disheartening difficulties; when, by his kind attentions to one of them in a short illness, he succeeded in winning their confidence. He gleaned from them, little by little, that they belonged to four nations, Galla, Umale, Darfur, and Denka. They had been forcibly carried from their homes and sold in Egypt as slaves : they spoke each a different language; but during a year's stay in Egypt, had picked up enough of the rulgar Arabic to make themselves mutually understood.

Mr. Tutschek was particularly struck by the euphonious language of the Galla; and deeming that he might, perhaps, gain some valuable information concerning that people by learning their language, he gave his chief attention to it. At the end of a year and a half, he was able to speak it with considerable fluency; and had, in the mean time, constructed a very complete vocabulary and a sketch of the grammar of the Galla tongue, which he laid before the Royal Academy of Sciences in Munich, in January, 1841. He had likewise written many tales, prayers, and songs, at the dictation of his Galla pupil. This gifted young man, whose name was Akafede Dalle (of the tribe of Boranna Gallas, from Hambo in the province of Liban), was able to give him very full accounts of the language, manners, religious belief, etc., of his native land. He had, not long after, an opportunity of proving what he had learned, by conversation with another Galla, Olshu Aga, from the province of Sibu, who had been liberated from slavery by Mr. Pell, an English gentleman, and whom the latter was kind enough to place, for two months, at Mr. Tutschek's disposal. Through him, his stock of Galla literature (if it may be so called) was greatly increased. He afterwards enjoyed an opportunity of pursuing his investigations with two others; one from Guma, and the other from Hibi in Goma. The last, whose name was Aman, had received a good education in his country, and spoke his language with great correctness.

From these representatives of four distinct and distant provinces, Mr. Tutschek gained his information; the philological part of which he has embodied in his Dictionary and Grammar of the Galla Language. The dictations and records of his ethnographical and topographical researches, amount to several manuscript volumes.

After the death of Charles Tutschek, which took place in Sept. 1843, and was lainented as a loss to science, his brother, Dr. Lawrence

1849.]
Tutschek's Account of the Gallas.

755 Tutschek, engaged in the same path of investigation ; and, by the aid furnished by Sir Thomas Acland, he published, in English, the volumes now under consideration. In his extremely interesting Preface to Part I. of the Dictionary, he has furnished an account of the internal life of this people, which tends to mitigate the unfavorable impressions that foriner statenients were calculated to produce. We insert here a brief summary of it, in the belief that it will be acceptable to many friends of Africa.

The chief occupations of the Gallas are agriculture and the raising of cattle. The lands in the neighborhood of the villages are so extensively cultivated, that their herds, which are very nunierous, must often be driven to a considerable distance to find sufficient pasturage. This often brings the different tribes into collision, and is one of the chief causes of hostilities. In the villages, many of the inechanical arts are cultivated, particularly weaving, the manufacture of leather, earthen ware, and the working of metals into various articles of use and ornament.

They carry on some trade with the Mohammedans; but this is chiefly confined to an exchange of products. In their commercial operations they employ, as coin, an oblong, brick-shaped piece of rock-salt, about two hands long, one hand in breadth, and two fingers in thickness. This bar of salt, which is called amole, is divided into regular fractions, for change : thus they have , 1, 2, and / of an amole. They have also pieces of twice the size of an amole, called a moyor.

The form of government is a despotic monarchy, except in the tribes which are tributary to some neighboring power. The kingly office is, in most cases, hereditary in the male line; though, in a few tribes, a female may succeed to the crown. In some instances, also, the moti or king is changed by election. There are two classes of nobles : 1. the zoreza, or princes of the blood royal, who are appointed to posts of command; 2. the aba lafa, who answer to the lords of manors, or landed proprietors, in England. It seems probable that admission to this order depends simply on the circuinstance of wealth, like that into the ordo equestris among the Romans. The governor of a town or village, must be a prince by birth. As in many Oriental countries, polygamy is allowed, and very com

In the choice of wives, no attention is paid to birth, as the female holds a very inferior rank; the number depends on the amount of property. The king enjoys the prerogative of taking, besides his lawful wives, girls ont of any family he chooses, and making them his concubines, and that without asking permission; as such a preference is esteemed a great honor, no one making any objection.

| This salt coin is probably the same with that mentioned by Bruce, as current all over Gondar and Abyssinia, and about an English shilling in value. See Bruce's Travels, Vol. III. p. 585.

mon.

When the common man wishes to marry, which every youth does as soon as he arrives at the age of maturity, he goes to the father of the inaid whom he has selected and demands her ; at the same time stating the amount of his property in oxen, horses, sheep, etc. If a maiden has several wooers, she presents a gold ring to the one whom she prefers, who then gives her a similar one and leads her home as his wife. On an appointed day the marriage is solemnized, in presence of the friends and relatives of both parties, by prayers and sacrifices. The wise does not receive the dowry till after the birth of a son ; if her first child be a daughter, she receives little or nothing; and this circumstance frequently causes separation. The husband is lord and master, and should he become dissatisfied from any other cause, he nay send her off without difficulty. The wife's inferior position allows her no redress; she has not even the consolation of taking her children with her ; they must remain with the father.

They have courts of justice, and laws for the protection of the weaker against the stronger. In every town are regularly appointed judges, who decide disputes and punish offenders against order and morality. This may appear incredible amongst a people capable of committing such atrocities as are related of them above; but the fact is corroborated by Ritter, who says, "bei ihrenkriegszügen und Ueberfällen ist alles erlaubt, aber zu Hause leben sie unter strenger Zucht ihrer Stammhaupter."' Capital punishment is not unusual; one method of execution is, to throw the culprit down a high waterfall, in Hambu.

The religion of the Gallas is a monotheism, which is, however, obscured by many superstitions. They believe in one supreme, spiritual Being, who possesses infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, and who governs and directs all the affairs of the world: they attribute to him, in short, similar qualities to those which Christians ascribe to the Deity. With the Gallas, religion enters into all the affairs of life; nothing of importance is undertaken without being preceded by ceremonies of prayer and sacrifice. Their prayers are characterized by great humility and submission to the Divine will; without, however, exhibiting any tincture of fatalism. They seem rather to believe in a special Providence. The following is one of the public prayers, communicated by Akafede : "it was composed and offered,” says the editor, “after the close of a long and bloody war between his native province, Hambu, and the neighboring State of Hamaya, in which the former suffered many severe calamities.”

1849.]

Prayers of the Gallas.

757

“Good God of this earth, my Lord! thou art above me; I am below thee. When misfortune comes to me, as trees keep off the sun from me, mayst thou keep off misfortune; my Lord, be thou my shadow!

"Calling upon thee I pass the day, calling upon thee I pass the night; when this moon rises do not forsake me, when I rise I do not forsake thee, let the danger pass by me. God, my Lord, thou Sun with thirty rays, when the enemy comes let not thy worm be killed upon the earth, keep him off; as we, seeing a worm upon the earth, crush him if we like, spare him if we like. As we tread upon and kill a worm upon the earth, thus if thou pleasest thou crushest us upon the earth.

"God, thou goest holding the bad and the good in thy hand; my Lord, let us not be killed, we thy worms, we pray to thee.

“A man who knows not evil and good may not anger thee; if once he knew it and was not willing to know it, this is wicked, treat him as it pleases thee.

"If he formerly did not learn, do thou God, my Lord, teach him; if he hears not the language of men, he learns thy language. God, thou hast made all the animals and men that live upon the earth; the corn also upon this earth, on which we are to live hast thou made, we have not made it; thou hast given us strength, thou hast given us cattle and corn, we worked with them and the seed grew up for us.

“If I know one or two men, I know them when I have seen them with my eye; thou, even if thou didst not see them with thine eyes, knowest them by thy heart.

" A single bad man has chased away all our people from their houses; the children and their mother has he scattered like a flock of turkeys hither and thither. The murderous enemy took the curlyheaded child out of his mother's hand and killed him; thou hast permitted all this to be done so; why hast thou done so ? Thou knowest.

The corn which thou lettest grow dost thou show to our eyes ; the hungry man looks at it and is comforted. When the corn blooms thou sendest butterflies and locusts into it, locusts and doves; all this comes from thy hand, thou hast caused it to be done so; why hast thou done so? Thou knowest.

“My Lord spare thou those who pray to thee! As a thief stealing another's corn is bound by the owner of the corn, thus do not thou bind, O Lord; binding the beloved one thou settest free with love.

"If I am beloved by thee, so set me free, I entreat thee from my heart; if I do not pray to thee with my heart, thou hearest me not; if I pray to thee with my heart, thou knowest it, and art gracious unto me." Vol. VI. No. 24.

64

This petition was pronounced in a public assembly, by the priest whose composition it probably was; it may have been repeated more than once; but at all events, among a people where all instruction is given orally, it would soon be familiar to all. The two following little prayers are replete with beauty; it is difficult to imagine how they could have originated among heathens, who have been taught only by the light of nature. We give the text with the translation.

A Morning Prayer.

Ya Waca nagan na bultshite nagan O God thou hast let me pass the night na oltshi. Ede inand'aca karakora in peace, let me pass the day in peace. kan naga naf god'te, ya Waca, milkiko Wherever I may go, upon my way which na gadyèlzi. Dubad'e dubiza nati d'owi; thou hast made peaceable for me, O God, belawe, tità nati d'owi; gufe, badjika lead my steps When I have spoken, keep nati d'owi; zi wamad'chan ola gofta off calumny from me; when I am hungry, goftar cabne.

keep me from murmuring; when I am satisfied, keep me from pride; calling upon thee I pass the day, O Lord, who hast no Lord !

An Evening Prayer.

Ya Waca nagan na oltshite, nagan O God, thou hast let me pass the day na bulishi ; gofta goftají cabne; zi in peace, let me pass the night in peace, male dyahan hindyira, tokitchi gidiú O Lord who hast no Lord; there is no cabne. Harkake dyaladan ola, harkake strength but in thee, thou alone hast no dyaladan bula, had'ikozi, abankozi. obligation. Under thy hand I pass the

day, under thy hand I pass the night,

thou art my mother, thou my father. The Gallas have several sorts of priests; it is the office of some lo teach, of others to sacrifice; one class inspects the entrails of the victim, another interprets dreams or the flights of birds, etc. Public worship is always performed under particular species of trees, which they regard as sacred. On this account, soine have supposed that they worshipped the trees themselves; but Mr. Tutschek rejected this opinion, which is, indeed, opposed to the whole tenor of their religious views. No trace of idolatry has otherwise been observed among them; and certainly if credence be given to the communications of Mr. T.'s youthful authorities, the idea of an omnipresènt, spiritual deity is too fully developed and too clearly defined 10 admit of their adoring anything material. It is on this account, principally, that many persons in England, as well as on the continent, have thought that the Galla nation offered a field of unusual promise for missionary enterprizes.

« PreviousContinue »