Ismailia - A Narrative Of The Expedition To Central Africa By Sir Samuel W. Baker



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by SIR SAMUEL W. BAKER, PACHA, M.A., F.R.S., F.R.G.S., Major-General of the Ottoman Empire, Member of the Orders of the Osmanie and the Medjidie, late Governor-General of the Equatorial Nile Basin, Gold Medallist of the Royal Geographical Society, Grande Medaille d'Or de la Societe de Geographie de Paris, Honorary Member of the Geographical Societies of Paris, Berlin, Italy, and America, Author of "The Albert N'yanza Great Basin of the Nile," "The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia," "Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon," "The Rifle and Hound in Ceylon," etc. etc



I. Introductory

II. English Party

III. The Retreat

IV. The Camp at Tewfikeeyah

V. Exploration of the Old White Nile

VI. The Start

VII. Arrival at Gondokoro

VIII. Official Annexation

IX. New Enemies

X. Destruction of the Shir Detachment

XI. Spirit of Disaffection

XII. Vessels Return to Khartoum

XIII. Moral Results of the Hunt

XIV. The Advance South

XV. The Advance to Lobore

XVI. Arrival at Patiko

XVII. The March to Unyoro

XVIII. March to Masindi

XIX. Restoration of the Liberated Slaves

XX. Establish Commerce

XXI. Treachery

XXII. The March to Rionga

XXIII. Build a Stockade at Foweera

XXIV. No Medical Men

XXV. I Send to Godokoro for Reinforcements

XXVI. Arrival of M'Tese's Envoys





An interval of five years has elapsed since the termination of my engagement in the service of His Highness the Khedive of Egypt, "to suppress the slave-hunters of Central Africa, and to annex the countries constituting the Nile Basin, with the object of opening those savage regions to legitimate commerce and establishing a permanent government."

This volume - "Ismailia" - gives an accurate description of the salient points of the expedition. My thanks are due to the public for the kind reception of the work, and for the general appreciation of the spirit which prompted me to undertake a mission so utterly opposed to the Egyptian ideas of 1869-1873; at a time when no Englishman had held a high command, when rival consulates were struggling for paramount influence, when the native officials were jealous of foreign interference, and it appeared that slavery and the slave trade of the White Nile were institutions almost necessary to the existence of Egyptian society.

It was obvious to all observers that an attack upon the slave-dealing and slave-hunting establishments of Egypt by a foreigner - an Englishman - would be equal to a raid upon a hornets' nest, that all efforts to suppress the old-established traffic in negro slaves would be encountered with a determined opposition, and that the prime agent and leader of such an expedition must be regarded "with hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness." At that period (1869) the highest authorities were adverse to the attempt. An official notice was despatched from the British Foreign Office to the Consul-General of Egypt that British subjects belonging to Sir Samuel Baker's expedition must not expect the support of their government in the event of complications. The enterprise was generally regarded as chimerical in Europe, with hostility in Egypt, but with sympathy in America.

Those who have read "Ismailia" may have felt some despondency. Although the slave-hunters were driven out of the territory under my command, there were nevertheless vast tracts of country through which new routes could be opened for the slave caravans to avoid the cruising steamers on the White Nile, and thus defeat the government. The Sultan of Darfur offered an asylum and a secure passage for all slaves and their captors who could no longer venture within the new boundaries of Egypt. It was evident that the result of the expedition under my command was a death-blow to the slave trade, if the Khedive was determined to persist in its destruction. I had simply achieved the success of a foundation for a radical reform in the so-called commerce of the White Nile. The government had been established throughout the newly-acquired territories, which were occupied by military positions garrisoned with regular troops, and all those districts were absolutely purged from the slave-hunters. In this condition I resigned my command, as the first act was accomplished. The future would depend upon the sincerity of the Khedive, and upon the ability and integrity of my successor.

It pleased many people and some members of the press in England to disbelieve the sincerity of the Khedive. He was accused of annexation under the pretext of suppressing the vast organization of the White Nile slave-trade. It was freely stated that an Englishman was placed in command because an Egyptian could not be relied upon to succeed, but that the greed of new territory was the actual and sole object of the expedition, and that the slave-trade would reappear in stupendous activity when the English personal influence should be withdrawn. Such unsympathetic expressions must have been a poor reward to the Khedive for his efforts to win the esteem of the civilized world by the destruction of the slave-trade in his own dominions.

Few persons have considered the position of the Egyptian ruler when attacking the institution most cherished by his people. The employment of an European to overthrow the slave-trade in deference to the opinion of the civilized world was a direct challenge and attack upon the assumed rights and necessities of his own subjects. The magnitude of the operation cannot be understood by the general public in Europe. Every household in Upper Egypt and in the Delta was dependent upon slave service; the fields in the Soudan were cultivated by slaves; the women in the harems of both rich and middle class were attended by slaves; the poorer Arab woman's ambition was to possess a slave; in fact, Egyptian society without slaves would be like a carriage devoid of wheels - it could not proceed.

The slaves were generally well treated by their owners; the brutality lay in their capture, with the attendant lawlessness and murders; but that was far away, and the slave proprietors of Egypt had not witnessed the miseries of the weary marches of the distant caravans.

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