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1855.]

DAHOMEY.

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thousand odd were shipped. Is the slave-trade extinct? Not so. It never will be extinct until, by the action of the gospel, the African mind becomes indisposed to it. But that change is already taking place to a considerable extent in those countries where there has been Missionary effort, such as the Yoruba country. As yet it has only been partially effected; and shall England prematurely withdraw her cruisers, or leave a squadron crippled and unequal to the duties to be discharged? Our fleets in the Baltic and Black Sea will be nothing the stronger by taking away from the African coast the vessels needed for the repression of the slave-trade. It is remarkable that the "Penelope," Admiral Bruce's flag-ship, which did such good service in the African seas, was transferred to the Baltic, and there disabled. She got ashore under the range of the enemy's guns at Bomarsund, and was with difficulty saved from utter destruction.

On landing at Whydah, the Missionaries had their attention directed to "the extraordinary number of Fetish women parading the streets, at almost every hour of the day, adorned with the barbarous paraphernalia of their craft, and chanting most dolefully in chorus as they went along." At this dark part of the coast, indeed, Satanic energy, both on sea and land, seemed in special activity. They entered the snake temple at Whydah, which they thus describe

It consists of a small circular mud building, about fifteen feet in diameter, having three entrances and a pointed thatched roof. On entering this habitation of serpents, and looking above head, there were fifteen or twenty of these disgusting reptiles knotted around the poles forming the roof, whilst others were stretched at full length on the top of the wall.

As we were leaving, a Fetish woman entered, with one of these loathsome objects of superstitious worship coiled round her neck, supporting its head and tail with either hand. As she approached the side of the building, she elevated the head of the reptile, which stretched itself till it had gained the summit of the wall, where it speedily nestled itself among its compeers in veneration.

In approaching the capital, Mr. Freeman thought he could discover traces of impoverishment in the country since his former visit. There is no doubt that the Dahomian government has suffered much in its finances, in consequence of the failure before Abbeokuta and the suspension of the slave-trade. The royal palace was found nearly in ruins, the greater part of it having been recently destroyed by fire.

It was not a favourable moment at which they arrived, it being the season of the great annual custom, at which human victims are sacrificed. A platform, called the Ahtoh, is erected in the centre of the market-place, Ah-jah-ee, about 100 feet square and 12 feet in elevation, with a breast-high parapet. The market-place is crowded

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by a naked mob, consisting of the king's caboceers, soldiers, &c., amongst whom, from the platform, he showers down cowries, cloth, tobacco, &c. But there is another gift they look for. They would not be satisfied without it. These are the human victims. They are bound hand and foot, and, dressed in clean white dresses, with a high red cap, are tied in small canoes or baskets. The foot of the basket is placed on the parapet. Immediately underneath is a band of ruffians, armed with clubs and scimitars. On a given signal the basket is hurled over the parapet, and death follows instantaneously, the head being severed from the body. In this way all the victims are dispatched. The platform had been erected, and was standing in grim preparation for this horrid scene, when Messrs. Freeman and Wharton reached Abomey.

They had several interviews with Gezo, who professed his anxiety for the abolition of slave-trading in his dominions so soon as it could be accomplished consistently with the national prosperity. We can understand his readiness to abandon that which is no longer practicable. There was little use in bringing in slaves, the results of predatory expeditions on other nations, if, when sent down to the coast, there were none to buy them. But should the slave-trade revive, of which there exists at present considerable ground for apprehension, we fear that the temptation will prove too strong for his sable majesty. He, however, readily consented to the commencement of Missionary work at Whydah, and this, we repeat, is the most hopeful intelligence we have as yet heard respecting that dark kingdom.

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THE RURAL DISTRICTS OF CHINA.

THERE is a peculiarity in Chinese customs which attracts our attention, and makes us desirous to know more of the habits of a people in so many respects diverse from ourselves; and undoubtedly Chinese life and its singularities are becoming better known to us as intercourse with foreigners increases. One Englishman, intent on scientific pursuits, has been successful in making long excursions into the interior, and has published a book full of graphic scenes of Chinese life.* His familiarity with Chinese manners appears to have placed the observant spectators whom he met at the different inns completely at fault. They could not help suspecting him to be a foreigner, yet could not bring themselves to believe in the possibility of a foreigner handling the chop-sticks as adroitly as themselves.

One of these expeditions was from Ningpo across the Bohea mountains to Woeshan, the great tea-growing district of China. Various large Chinese cities and towns were passed; amongst others, Hokow, or Hohow, containing 300,000 inhabitants, and the great emporium of the black-tea trade, whither merchants come from all * Fortune's "Wanderings in China.”

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parts to buy teas and have them conveyed to other parts. "Large iuns, tea-hongs, and warehouses, are met in every part of the town, and particularly along the banks of the river. The boats moored abreast of the town are very numerous. There are small ones for single passengers, large passage-boats for the public, and mandarins' boats gaily decorated with flags. Besides these, there are large cargo-boats, for conveying tea or other merchandise." From this commences the ascent to the mountains, for the transit of which a chair is used, expressly constructed for the purpose. "It has above the seat a light bambu frame, covered with oiled paper or glazed cloth. The seat has a back to it, formed at an angle of forty-five degrees; and as the chair itself, footboard and all, is generally about four feet long, the traveller can recline and sleep, if he chooses to do so. Some soft article, such as the wadded bed-cover in common use, is generally spread over the bottom and back of the chair, which makes it very comfortable."

The road soon becomes one of a highland character, now climbing a hill, now descending a valley, then surmounting a higher

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ascent still, from whence beautiful views are to be obtained, and the eye looks abroad upon a land fashioned fair and fertile for the use of man, but where He who formed it is forgotten and unknown. Now and then are met long trains of coolies, laden with chests of tea, many of them carrying only one chest, which contains the finer teas. "The chest was never allowed to touch the ground during the journey; and hence the teas generally arrive at their destination in much better order than the coarser kinds. The single chests were carried in the following manner-Two bambus, each about seven feet long, had their ends lashed firmly to the chest, one on each side. The other ends were brought together so as to form a triangle. By this means a man could carry the chest upon his shoulders, with his head between the bambus. In the centre of the triangle a small piece of wood was lashed under the chest, to give it an easy seat upon the shoulders. The accompanying sketch

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see preceding page "will give a better idea of this curious mode of carrying tea than any description.

"When the coolie who carried his burden in this way wanted to rest, he placed the end of the bambus upon the ground, and raised them to the perpendicular. The whole weight now rested upon the ground, and could be kept in this position without any exertion." The ordinary teas are carried two chests at a time, suspended from either end of a bambu laid across the shoulders. When the porter rests, they of course are set on the ground."

On the sides of the hills, and on the well-drained level ground, the tea-shrubs may be seen dotted about; but as the traveller ascends, these are gradually left behind. Mountain on mountain continues to rise, until, as the higher elevations are gained, the traveller sees stretched out before him a rocky ocean, broken into waves, the crests of which are the summits of the ranges over which he has passed. At the highest point of the pass by which this range is crossed are the celebrated gates or huge doors which divide the provinces of Fokien and Kiang-se. Thence the descent leads to the river Min, at first a mountain stream, but gradually increasing, until, at Fuh-chau foo, it becomes a noble river.

Our Missionaries also make their excursions, which they turn to profit by entering into conversation with the villagers, telling them of Him who came to save sinners, and giving them tracts. The following narrative, by the Rev. R. H. Cobbold, of one of these pleasant trips, is interesting

January 26, 1854-Mr. E. having come down here for relaxation, I had agreed to go a short trip in the country with him, and as the weather had promised more favourably yesterday we had engaged a boat, and started this morning at about seven o'clock. Our course was by canal till noon, and then we were to be drawn over a lock and proceed along the tide river. As the tide was just turning, and would be against us, we determined on a walk, as far as our time would permit, towards the hills, which looked very inviting, about ten miles off. Our

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walk at first was along the canal, and, save as conversation occupied our time, would have been uninteresting enough; but after about an hour we came to the foot of some of the smaller hills, and another hour took us to a small but bustling place, where there is a stone quarry, from which considerable quantities are brought into the city for the purposes of flagging the roads and of building. As we had yet some time before us, we did not stay here, but, leaving a book here and there where a shop or a respectable-looking person promised attention to its contents, we pursued a more rugged road in among the hills. The country here had all the qualities of fine scenery-a swiftly running and winding stream, simple boats, with stone or firewood rafts of bambus, speeding down with the current; hills on either side, covered with verdure, chiefly of the pine and bambu; and all backed by a fine range of hills, whose summits were quite white with the recent snow. This scenery, and the keen air blowing from the snow hills, made our long walk one of much interest. We had heard of a remarkable precipice, which we made now the object of our walk, and managed to reach it: it is called the Teen tang ngæn, and from the following circumstance-Among these rocks a class of monsters called iao-kwae had their residence. The delight of these was to injure men, and one of them managed to get mastership of a chemist's shop at Hang-chow, and thus, by selling wrong medicines, caused the death of several persons. At length, Heaven (Teen) being displeased at the misdeeds of these monsters in human shape, smote (tang) them, and the name of the precipice (ngan) is thus called the Heavensmiting precipice. There are also other legends connected with the place, which we did not learn very accurately, nor was it worth while spending much time about these things. At a turn in the road we sat down to eat a bit of bread we had brought with us, and had some wayfarers soon gathered round, to whom we spoke of the glad tidings of a Saviour from sin, and gave them some books. After some little difficulty and delay, we procured a small boat, and returned by water to the place where the stone quarry is. The scenery by water was more lovely even than by land, and the constant turns of the winding stream, opening continually fresh views of hill, and rock, and wood, and distant snow mountains, quite rewarded us for our toilsome walk.

January 27-We had gone, through the night, up the river, till the influence of the tide was hardly felt, and the shallowness of the water told us that we were again nearing the hills. On awaking this morning, we found that we had stopped about two miles short of the place we had intended, the boatmen maintaining that there was not sufficient water to go higher up. We had early breakfast, and started for a long day's walk to some waterfalls, which had not been visited very often by Europeans. They lay about twenty miles off, in among the hills; and this formidable walk we made up our minds for, hoping on our return to get a raft, which we had heard might be hired where the water was swift, and so to save our feet part of the journey. We took nothing with us but a few books for distribution on the road, and a piece of bread and an orange for our luncheon, trusting to the mountain stream for drink. After about two hours' walk we came to a large place, where was much bustle, this being the last day but one of the Chinese year. At this place we saw a simple development of mechanical

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