The Borno missions

9-6-1710 Carlo Maria di Genoa to P.F.

By way of Malta, on the 14th of last month, in a letter of mine I reverently kissed the hem of your sacred purple. At the same time I informed Your Eminence that, having departed from this bandit kingdom of Bassa, the road from Fezzan was open again, and next month (which is the present one) the caravan would have departed. With the opportunity [to write you] by way of Livorno, I inform your Eminence that through God and the help of Mr. Francesco Passinelli, a Venetian merchant, having paid our dues to the Bey of Fezzan, Sidi Joseph Ellokini], I left for that kingdom. Fr. Severina da Selesia is already outside Tripoli with the bags for the departure, which I hope will be tomorrow, at midday as usual. The above mentioned Ellokini has assured the security for the trip. To show favor to Mr. Francesco Passinelli and perhaps to repay the service I rendered by giving medical attention to him and his children and relatives, he is sending me with a special caravan with the idenity of a doctor, so that I can return to those kingdoms of Black people where I once was. One cannot arrive there without the special assistance of God; there is fatigue and anxiety because of the quality of the country and because no Christians have ever traveled on that road, particularly religious, and that in public [??il ch'č publico]. Praise to God who has protected his cause! I hope he will continue with his assistance for the salvation of souls and the growth of the Church, his Spouse.

In view of the diligence that Mr. Francesco Passinelli has shown for this mission, I think it would be good to appoint him as Procurator or Apostolic Bursar for those missions assigned to me, so that if I happen to have any need he may come to assist me on the trip just as he has assisted me in setting off. He has good communications with the house of the Bey and the merchants of those countries. I leave this desire to the judgement of your Eminence and that of the Sacred Congregation.

As for Fr. Atanasio di San Venanzo who is continuously indisposed, I leave him here in Tripoli to await the decision of the Sacred Congregation. I gave him his allowance and provisions in advance because of the money we received here, which amounts to 89 Venetian zechini, a third of two and a third of so much Genoan money [??zechini ueneti 89, un terzo de due con un terzo di quanto di Genoina]. From this I have withdrawn 15 zechini for his needs. He will have to give account of these 15 Venetians to the proper authority. The remaining 74 Venetian zechini, the third of two and the third of Genoan money he has entrusted to me, and I have put it in the hands of Mr. Francesco Passinelli to use as your Eminence and the Sacred Congregation decide. I have sent the receipt of his reception of the money to Fr. Procurator, so that he may bring it to your Eminence.

We received from this Fr. Prefect during the time of our staying [together] only our common meals. Every other need for my companions, both those who were so sick and those who were well, I provided for according to my duty and status. The only thing I can think of saying to your Eminence is that once by the grace of God I arrive in Fezzan, I will try my best to find out if there are Christians in Kwararafa. Up to now I have not been able to find out for sure, getting some positive and some negative indications. I will let you know of everything, sending letters for better security to Mr. Passinelli for forwarding. With him I pray to God for the good health of your Eminence, and I reverently kiss your sacred purple.

Tripoli in Barbary, 9 June 1710
humilissimo & ?? seruo
Frá Carlo Maria di Genoa, Prefect of Borno

9 6 1710 Francesco Passinelli: Receipt

9 June 1710, Tripoli of Barbary

Mr. Francesco Passinelli has received from the Very Reverend Father Carlo Maria di Genoa, Prefect of Borno 74 Venetian zechini and 2 thirds and a quarter of a Genoan [...??], which was for the provision ?? of Rev. Fr. Attanazio di San Venantio. The above-mentioned Fr. Prefect orders me to hold this money for use as the Sacred Congregation of Rome decides ...?? the value o 74 2/3

Francesco Passinello [..??]

18-8-1710 Propaganda Fide on Carlo Maria da Genoua — S.O.C.G., vol. ??, 14

18 August 1710            Africa

Fr. Carlo Maria da Genoa, a Reformed Observant Franciscan and Prefect of the Mission of Borno, in a letter of the 9th of last June, sent news of his imminent departure from Tripoli of Barbary to his mission, and he says his companion had moved out the day before with all their loads.

He writes that he entrusted about 75 zecchini to one Francesco Passinelli, a merchant, who sent a receipt for the amount, and this is the money he had from this Sacred Congregastion for Fr. Attanasio di S. Venanzio, whom he left in Tripoli because of his ill health. The latter also obtained permission to return to his province on 18 October 1709. The writer also says he left another 15 zecchini for his return to the province.

He then asks that Mr. Francesco Passinelli, whom he highly praises, should be appointed Procurator and Bursar for the Borno mission.

On this, I must tell your Eminences that this was also done for the missionaries to Ethiopia on 8 February 1700, by the appointment of Mr. Nicolň Trulliardo, and on 6 March 1705 that of Mr. Stefano Berardi as co-responsible for Egypt. Yet for the payment of the provisions of the missionaries, the Sacred Congregation wishes that it always be made to the Fr. Procurator of the missions, as was approved 19 January 1700...

18 August 1710

17-10-1710 Carlo Maria di Genoua — S.O.C.G., vol. 577, 125r-v.

The 16th of last Augut I wrote to your Eminence, through Tripoli of Barbary, from Marzuk, a province of Fezzan, telling you of my save arrival, by God's grace, with my companion to the territory of this kingdom on 26 July, and to the royal city on 30 September. We were well received by both by the people and by the king, who treatus us well. Since I have an opportunity to send this letter by way of Cairo, I hereby humbly and reverently kiss the hem of your Eminence's sacred purple, letting you know that because of the death of the former king, the father of the reigning king, this kingdom is in a state of confusion, uprisings and fear, fear that the Tripoli party may come and take possession of the kingdom, as happened in the past. Because of this fear, this king let for Marzuk and has taken refuge in Taraghen, a walled town with some security where, at his command the people of Marzuk and of the surrounding towns, both native and foreign, have come to live. I too have come with my companion at the order of the king, who has provided us with housing, which is no small favor, with so many people here, most of them living in shelters made of palm branches. This kingdom presently lives in this state of fear, yet with the hope that the religious representatives sent to Tripoli may bring peace. This state is an obstacle for me to make inquiries so as to prepare the report I owe about this mission according to the style laid down by the Sacred Congregation, if I am not to arous some evil suspicion in the people. Nevertheless I have sent the Father Procurator a brief report, so that he may present it to your Eminence, waiting for a more peaceful and less suspicious time to give you better information about this kingdom.

The son of the king of the Tuareg nation then arrived here from Mecca with a caravan, to go on to his kingdom near the kingdoms of the Blacks. I went to great him and gave him a little present of medicines, which pleased him. I asked him about the road, since I had to pass through his kingdom to continue my trip. He kindly accepted me in his caravan and promised me the security to make the trip. So I hope to join him when he leaves, together with Fr. Severino, for Agadez, the gate and key to the kingdoms of the Blacks, so that I can go on to Kwararafa, an important mission for this Sacred Congregation —that, however, when I receive permission from this king, without which no white person, even Muslim, can enter the kingdoms of the Blacks. I asked him for this, and he gave me a good answer. May God hasten his departure for the salvation of souls. I will inform your Eminence of everything in due time as I get the chance. I humbly and reverently kiss again the hem of your sacred purple, praying to the Lord for your continued good health, and with this I stop.

Taraghen in Fezzan, 17 October 1710
Your most humble and unworthy servant
Frá Carlo Maria di Genoa, Prefect di Borno

14-10-1712 Francesco Maria di Sarzana to P.F. — S.O.C.G., vol. 586, 41r-42v

So as not to fail in my obligation, by this letter I wish to inform your Eminence how, by God's disposition, in August 1711, after a long and tiring journey, the Missionary and Preacher Fr. Carlo Maria di Genoa, Prefect of the mission of Borno, and his missionary companion, Fr. Severino di Selesia, of German nationality, passed from this life to the other in a land or town near Sudam, the capital of the kingdom called Katsina. They died from sickness caused by the bad water and pestilence of that place. The sickness of the Prefect Missionary Fra Carlo Maria lasted 8 days, an that of his missionary companion Father Severino lasted 13 days after the death of our Father Prefect. Maybe they did not die from the same malady. Of the ten persons who came with that caravan to the kingdom of Sudam, only one survived, perhaps to bring the news. The other merchants all died. Most Eminent Lord, all this information I received from a Moorish merchant of Tripoli called Hajji Milleit, a good friend of Fr. Carlo Maria, who has always been faithful to him, something unusual for Muslims to do. He was in his company the whole trip, beginning from Tripoli of Barbary as far as Fezzan, from Fezzan to the kingdom of Agades. From Agades, since Fr. Carlo Maria and his companion could not leve for the kingdom of Borno becaue of the great dangers there, they undertook a month's trip towards the region of Lebekio, so as to enter the kingdom of Sudam, as in fact they succeeded in doing, although they could not carry out their purpose.

Finally, 4 or 5 days after the arrival of the caravan from Fezzan in Tripoli of Barbary, on the 10th of October I had the luck of being able to speak with the Moorish merchant Hajji Milleit, who had always accompanied the two Fathers. Without any flattery, he swore on the text of Muhammad, his religion's founder, and told me that he had heard of the death of these religious in Agades from the one who survived among those who went with these religious to the kingdom of Sudam. The story is that when they arrived in Sudam, the capital of that kingdom, in a land called Katsina, one of the ten who were in the caravan became sick. Fr. Carlo Maria did not hold back from acting to cure him from that sickness, but everything he did was in vain, beause the poisonous water swells with dropsy the bodies of those who are not used to it, and every foreigner who goes to that kingdom falls victim to it. Then Fr. Carlo Maria became sick himself, and after 8 days breathed out his soul. And, since the Turk [= king] confiscates the goods of all the foreigner who die in his kingdom, so he confiscated all the goods of the deceased religious. The the poor missionary Father, his companion, went to that commander and asked him for those goods so he could support himself, saying that he was the companion of the decease, and that they held those goods in common. The commander of Katsina answered him that if he wanted the goods taken from his deceased companion he should become a Turk [= Muslim]. The poor missionary did not agree to that wicked proposal, and left the presence of that barbarous commaner. A short while aterwards this missionary Father caught the same sickness as Fr. Carlo Maria, and in 13 days breathed out his soul.

Besides, the Moorish merchant Hajji Milleit tells us that in many lands of the kingdom of Sudam the people are almost all Christian, but they do not keep to the proper rites either of Christians or of Moors or of Turks or of Jews. In the capital city of Sudam all are Muslim, and one cannot enter that kingdom without danger of death —infallibly— because of the infected water. All the foreigners who go there die there, and when they die they are not buried, since this is the custom, but are taken outside the walls of the city or land and at night the tigers and lions go there to eat, and in the morning you can hardly find even the bones. So, to save themselves from the animals, the inhabitants of that kingdom are constrained to enclose their land with walls, even though they are built of mud and earth.

This is the report which in all faithfulness I can give to your Eminence. Be assured that I have made every effort to get to the bottom of the story, without any passion or hiding, and that the merchant Hajji Milleit has told me everything. He was even looking for me to give me the news, with such a show of sorrow for the two deceased missionary Fathers, because he himself had accompanied them. About this matter there is nothing I doubt, since the deceased Fr. Carlo Maria, Prefect of Boro, and his companion said, in his last letter written to me on 11 October 1710, that he was constrained to undertake the journey by way of Agades to go to Kwararafa. He could not go to Borno because of the dangers on the way. Since he could do nothing there, he finished by going to the kingdom of Kwararafa. I also believe that in the Moorish language —as those languages are totally different from Arabic— Kwararafa means Sudam, where he finished his days in the grace of God. In Tripoli I offered the suffrages for their souls according to the custom of our Order.

Concerning the affairs of this mission of your Eminence in Tripoli of Barbary, everything is going well, and I have no particular news to give you. Between Alexandria and Derna there was a contagious disease, and the Barcarecci, who came from there to Tripoli, gave us much reason to fear, but with the help of God and St. Rocco, our glorious advocate, nothing has happened. Meanwhile, I come to an end, so as not to fatigue you, and in company of my missionary companions I kiss your sacred purple, praying Heaven for your perfect happiness and satisfaction.

Tripoli of Barbary, 14 October 1712
Your most humble servant and son
Fra Francesco Maria di Sarzana
Prefect of the missione

13-3-1713 Death notice of Carlo Maria di Genoa — S.O.C.G., vol. ?, 17


Rev. Fr. Prefect of the missions of Tripoli of Barbary, in a letter of 14 October 1712, informs your Eminences of the death of Fr. Carlo Maria da Genoa, a Reformed Observant Franciscan, Prefect of the mission of Borno, and of Fr. Sevario da Silesia, his companion, which took place in the kingdom of Sudam, or Kwararafa, a few days after their arrival. It happened because of the bad quality of the water, which does not allow any foreigner to live there. Besides, he says that he has information that in that kingdom there are many Christians, but only nominal ones, not practicing the rites of Christianity nor of Islam nor of Moors nor of Jews.

Die 13 Martij 1713
.. The Secretary, with Fr. Procurator, for transmission to others.
Written by [??] Athonar, Secretary.

20-7-1710 P.F. ms found in a convent at Tripoli — In "Narrative of an expedition to explore the river Zaire, usually called the Congo, in South Africa, in 1816, under the direction of Captain J.H. Tuckey, R.N. - to which are added the Journal of Professor Smith, some general observations on the country and its inhabitants; and an appendix, containing the natural history of that part of the kingdom of Congo through which the Zaire flows," Quarterly Review, 36 (Jan. 1818), 335-379; this section is in a note on 374-5.

The following is a close translation of an extract from this curious manuscript:

1710, July 20th. - The before-mentioned Rev. Carlo Maria, of Genoa, prefect of Bornou, and Father Serafino, his companion, departed from Fezzan, leaving in Tripoli Father Anastasio, who, being unable, from infirmity, to prosecute the mission to Bornou, returned to Christendom, having embarked July 13th.

1711 - In the month of August Father Carlo, prefect of the mission to Bornou, not being able to undertake his journey in that direction, the passes being closed in consequence of the multitude of robbers and other impediments, set off from Fezzan accompanied by Father Sevarino di Salesia. They took their way together towards the kingdom of Agadez. Having at length arrived there, they found that the objects of the Propaganda could not be prosecuted there; and, having received intelligence that in the kingdom of Cassina they would have an opportunity of exercising their spiritual office, particularly in some village or other of that kingdom, but not in the capital, they set off in the name of the Lord, leaving the kingdom of Agadez. After a journey of a month with the caravan through the desert, they arrived at the capital of the kingdom of Cassina. Since, however, the secrets of God are inscrutable, it so happened that, though the malignity of the water there, the above-mentioned Father Prefect grew sick, being attacked with the swelling of the whole body, and in eight days gave up his spirit to God. On hearing this, the king of that kingdom, then dwelling at Cassina, had him strip of everything that he possessed. Father Sevarino di Silesia, his companion, seeing everything thus wrongfully taken away, presented himself before the king, and told him that those clothes were his property, that which his deceased companion had, being not his own private property, but in common; he therefore begged him to make restitution; hereupon the king answered, "If you desire me to do this, turn Mahommedan as I am." The missionary declined this proposal; upon which the king rejoined, "Begone then, and for they deeds thou shalt die like they companion." In fact, within two or three days, he fell sick of the same infirmity as the prefect, and in the course of eleven days, he also gave up his spirit to his Creator.

The whole of this account we received from a Moorish merchant, a native of Tripoli in Barbary, named Hadjie Milleit; he gave it us with an air of compassion, having been the faithful companion of these fathers from Tripoli to Fezzan, and from Fezzan to Agadez. The tidings of their death, with all its circumstances, he received from a merchant who accompanied these fathers form the kingdom of Agadez to the kingdom of Cassina, and who, out of ten that set out on that journey, was the only one that did not perish by this sickness, he having escaped by the will of god, that he might bear the tidings of the unhappy end of these religious. He further informed us, that in the said kingdom of Cassina the sickness has always existed, in consequence of the badness of those waters - those who are not accustomed to them dying infallibly upon drinking them; those therefore who wish to trade there negociate with the caravan of Agadez, and go on no farther. He also stated that all foreigners dying in Cassina are not interred, not even the richest merchants, but are carried out into the country and left a prey to the wild beasts.

1850 Filippo da Segni: trip to Borno In the year 1849 I, Father Filippo da Segni of the Order of Friars Minor Reformed, left Rome for the mission of Tripoli in Barbary. While living there I frequently heard of some Catholics living in the Sudan who longed for a missionary so that they could fulfil their religious duties. I resolved to visit them although the journey would be both long and dangerous. I knew that the Lord would help me since I would be travelling for such a good purpose. Everything was prepared for the journey, but as it was impossible to travel there alone or with only a few companions, I had to await the arrival of a caravan. This was not long in coming: a caravan had arrived from Borno and would depart for the Sudan in a few days' time. It comprised about a hundred and ten Moors, and the richest merchant among them was the leader. The caravan had two hundred camels bringing goods from Europe to the interior, in exchange for such goods as come from the interior to Europe. these include elephant tusks, animal skins, gold dust, logwood, medicinal herbs, incense, gum, works of ivory, multi-coloured leather cushions, ostrich eggs, tigers, many kinds of monkeys, parrots of various colours and other birds and animals. The european merchandise consists of arms, silks, cottons of various colours, papers, fruit, toys, crystal trinkets and glass beads, which come in large quantity from Venice or Trieste to Tripoli. The leader of the caravan fixed the date of departure and all the Moors prepared their packages to load on the camels. The entire caravan would assemble at an appointed time outside the city. I spoke to the leader of the caravan and told him of my wish to travel with him. As he was not willing to accept me, the French Consul intervened but this too was to no avail. Both of us then approached the Bey of Tripoli who sent for the leader of the caravan. He told him to leave a deposit of 100 mahabub (nearly 100 scudi) and to take me and my companion, a Catholic Moor, to the Sudan. He added that he would receive his money back on my safe return. Furthermore, his son together with the money, would remain in Tripoli: if I did not return safely he would lose his money and his son would be made a soldier of the Bey's army. the Bey also gave me two letters to deliver: one was for Murzuk, the other for borno. In these he asked his friends and subjects to look out for my return, in case the leader of the caravan should leave for Tripoli without me. The leader of the caravan replied that he did not have 100 mahabub. The Bey then told him to leave the equivalent in merchandise. When he protested the Bey bruskly told the interpreter to put both father and on in prison and to call somebody else from the caravan. When the leader realized that the Bey was serious, he agreed to leave part of his merchandise together with his son (who would remain in Tripoli to buy and complete other business). Then turning to me he asked how much I would give him for bringing me to the Sudan. Not knowing how I should answer, the Bey replied for me, and said that when I returned I should give him a double-barrelled gun. The leader agreed and told me to prepare my camels as on the day after tomorrow we should leave at midday. The Bey again warned him to take good care of me or he would lose both his son and merchandise, and that he himself would be beheaded. And then, having paid our respects to the Bey, we left the castle. I returned to the Hospice and informed my missionary companions of the favourable outcome. It only remained to find three camels and make necessary arrangements. These included biscuits, water bottles, spirit, other necessary foodstuffs, equipment for Mass and presents. My own camel had a big pack-saddle on his back, with poles which supported an awning, and a mattress on which I could sit or lie back. The other two camels were loaded with necessities and were in the care of my servant, Fedele a Moor. Before our departure the leader of the caravan inspected the three camels and their loads. when the caravan was assembled, it consisted of more than two hundred camels. There were over a hundred Moors, most of them armed with guns and spears. Amid great confusion the caravan began its journey at midday on the 20th of January, 1850, and carried on all through the night. At day-break I opened the tent and saw that we were in a great sandy plain. Far away I could see some mountains with olive and palm trees, and by evening we were close to them. The journey continued all the following night and the next day I could see the greenery of the mountains, with cattle, goats and sheep, although the plain was still arid. On the third day we arrived at Meslata. By now I was very tired, but the caravan continued on throughout the following night: only at daybreak did we stop and unload the camels. We had a meal and fed and watered the camels, as there was a stream nearby. We were able to replenish our empty water bottles and rested all day. At dusk the signal for departure was given, and the next day the caravan was at the foot of a mountain, which was visible all day. We continued throughout the night and by noon next day we passed through a forest. On the following morning we stopped by the side of a hill which had some vegetation. I was told that we were not far from a village called Faun. we continued our journey for a further seven or eight days until we reached Murzuk. We passed through a great sandy plain with occasional mountains and forest. I asked why the caravan had not stopped in some village and was told that they were afraid of being attacked by the Bedouin. At this stop I saw an archway half covered in sand: and from the letters of an inscription, itself well worn, I knew that it was the work of the ancient Romans. Early in the morning we arrived in Murzuk where the caravan made a halt. The loads were placed in a pen with the camels. I wished to rest, but when word got round that a Catholic priest had arrived, many Christians - including one named Francoviggi - came to greet me, and brought me to their homes. Murzuk could be called a city. It is well populated and surrounded by a wall. It is situated on the summit of a hill covered with palms, olives and other trees. It also has some turreted mosques and a small castle. This is the residence of the Bey, that is the Governor, who is subject to the Bey of Tripoli. The streets are not straight and the houses are low, being of a single storey. There are no fountains but only wells. Orchards can be seen and very many palm trees. Some Catholics vied to bring me, each to his own house. I asked to present the letter from the Bey of Tripoli, and going to the castle was introduced to the bey. He was solicitous for my welfare, and asked whether my journey had been successful and whether I had suffered any indignity. I replied that all was well. He advised me against journeying into the Sudan, for this was a very dangerous journey especially for Europeans. He added that some days previously two Europeans had come to his country. One had died and the other wished to continue his journey to the sudan, and would perhaps join our caravan. This encouraged me as in any dander I would have a companion. The Bey asked whether I had brought many beautiful things from Europe. I replied that I had nothing of value, only ordinary things for use by Europeans. He asked whether I carried firearms. I told him that I had a good revolver and would let him have it the next day. He was very happy to hear this. A Maltese who had accompanied me to the Bey insisted on bringing me to his house where I enjoyed great hospitality. The castle is a mass of houses connecting to each other and dominating the town. I did not see any cannons either in the castle or on the walls. On the following day the few Catholic families assembled for devotions and fore three days I offered the Mass. The Bey sent me a messenger to remind me of my promise to give him a revolver. And so I opened the box given to me by my missionary companions which contained presents for my journey to the Sudan, and brought one of the two revolvers it contained to the Bey. He was really amazed at seeing this firearm which was of a new style, and told me that before departing he would give me a letter for the Sudan. The caravan remained for four days at Murzuk. before departing I called again on the Bey. He gave me a letter addressed to the same person in Borno to whom the Bey of Tripoli had written. He repeated that the journey to the Sudan was very dangerous and then dismissed me. That evening I was again en route for the Sudan. We continued our journey all night and ad daybreak were in a sea of sand without mountains or trees. But we did see some ostriches and gazelles and some mounds of sand as high as a man with a large hole in the centre where millions of huge ants were swarming. On one occasion in the evening I heard from far away a peal of thunder: the air thickened and the breeze swept up all the fin particles of sand, so that those at the rear could no longer see the front of the caravan. We all stopped: the camels were unloaded and placing the merchandise in the centre, the camels were placed in a circle around it. We remained in the centre except for those armed with guns who were on patrol. The wind became a howling gale and the flying sand entered the mouth, the eyes, the nostrils and ears, and it became so hot that one could scarcely breathe. I thought I would die that night: I covered myself with ram's hide and lay down on the ground. It was almost daybreak when I heard a loud peal of thunder. It was followed immediately by a deluge of rain which lasted for most of the day. By now my eyes were swollen: I had a most acute headache, was badly constipated and had rheumatism all over the body. continuing the journey across the vast desert I suffered from the heat which was more like a burning furnace than the sun, and I offered my soul to God. After six days the caravan stopped at the side of a hill near a little stream. The leader came to me, and seeing me more dead than alive and with swollen eyes, took care of me himself. Picking a fruit which grew in that place, he place half on each eye and in a few hours I was cured. It was a pleasant stopping place, green with very big trees and grassland. There were many parrots and a small lake with reeds growing inside it and around it. Many animals were also to be seen. A Moor told me that these animals were waiting until a rhinoceros would submerge its horn in the water: this would purify the water from poison so that they could all safely drink. I did not believe the Moor as he was superstitious. After a day's rest, being completely exhausted, I was back on the camel. The heat made it difficult to breathe and I developed such a strong fever that I no longer cared for anything. Fedele mounted my camel to help me but in fact he believed that I would die. when the caravan stopped at bilma I knew I could no longer continue the journey. the leader was called and seeing me in such dire straits, he brought me a drink made in this way: a hole is made high up in a date tree; a leaf is placed there which serves as a funnel to collect the juice which gushes out. this is poured into a dish and is drunk immediately. If it is left for a day it turns sour. By this means I was a little refreshed. Next day we left Bilma in suffocating heat. On the morning of the fourth day we were in the middle of a desert when the caravan made a stop. There were just a few palm trees and a sunken well which one reached by camel and whose water could on no account be drunk unless treated with spirit. In the archway of the well there are some stones from the Roman era. while we were resting near the well we saw a caravan in the distance coming towards us, much smaller than our own. Some of the Negroes decided to plunder it and were prepared to do so. In fact they did not, as the leader reminded them that there was a "dog" - referring to me - with them: by putting me in danger he was afraid that he should lose the goods left in deposit in Tripoli. The smaller caravan was afraid of us however and passed us by through the desert. We continued our journey towards Borno. On the third evening we heard voices and singing: we had reached a populated area. We marched through the night and ad midday came to the outskirts of Borno. Many natives, men and women, joined the caravan singing and beating drums out of tune, and with music and dancing accompanied us to our destination. Now that I had arrived in Borno I sought out the Catholic family, who were also called "dogs". They lived at a short distance from our halting place, and a youth of the family escorted me to their home together with Fedele and the three camels. The two elderly parents and their children were overcome with joy to see a Catholic missionary. They showed me great kindness and seeing my poor condition made me rest. In their younger days both husband and wife had lived in Benghazi. A Negro had an accident outside their house and had broken his leg. They had taken him in and cared for him until he was quite cured. The Negro was grateful: he offered to bring them to Borno and o they went with him. He gave them accommodation in his own house for some time: afterwards he gave them a house of their own and some cattle. They lived quietly and were respected by everybody, as the Negro had spoken of their good deeds. They had often planned to return to Benghazi, but dismissed the idea when they recalled the length and hardships of the journey. And so they decided to live among the Negroes, maintaining their Catholic Faith and instructing their children in our holy religion. Two of these were now over twenty years of age but had never wished to mary natives. The population of Borno is very large. The houses are huts constructed of mud, round square or rectangular, and with only one opening or doorway. A ditch surrounds each house outside so that to enter one must descend from one to two metres. Here live the Negroes. In front of the houses and on their roofs, one finds the hors of animals and the heads of snakes, monkeys and other animals. The city as such is like a labyrinth of houses, trees and hedges. the streets are crooked and unpaved. When it rains, all becomes mud. There are also very many animals of all kinds. The Negroes move around with very little clothing and I saw many without even a shirt. The women wear a sort of rough dress open at the neck and reaching down to the knees. but some women are completely naked. The men are very precocious by nature and by the age of ten years girls are already mothers. After a birth a great number of men and women gather together for a feast, with much dancing and shouting, and beating drums (made from pipes covered with animal skins), just like a military concert. I often saw small boys and girls who had three or four facial disfigurements; these had indeed healed but had left welts. I asked what was the reason for these marks and was told that these poor children were for sale. The mothers had these marks incised on their children, hoping that should they ever return they would recognize them by these marks. The people have no idea of honesty or modesty and public indecency is common. I believe that the women are even more shameless than the men. Married people divorce for the slightest reason so that their unions could rightly be called concubinage. They are also very prolific. There are many traders who take in the little ones, feed them like animals and then sell them. The negroes eat the meat of not only cattle, rams and goats, but also monkeys and birds which abound in great quantity. The land is green with very big trees and grass, and there are many kinds of fruits which I have never seen in europe. Were in not for all the trees, one could see all the houses scattered throughout the area which is well populated. there is also a very large lake which has some small islands in the centre and with dwellings on its shores. If this were in Europe, it would be a favourite pleasure resort. The hunters have weapons suitable for hunting elephants, zebra, rhinoceros and tigers, animals which abound. crystal pieces and shells are used as a means of exchange and commerce. Every day there is a large market where merchants buy the goods which they bring to the coast: these include skins, ivory, elephant tusks, all kinds of animals and everything in fact which is to be found in the interior. While in Borno I delivered the two letters, one from the Bey of Tripoli, the other from the Bey of Murzuk. both were for an Arab who had been living there for a long time. some days later he came to greet me. He enquired whether I needed anything and informed me that within a few days a caravan would be leaving for Tripoli. he also advised me to call on the Governor or king of the place, and offered to accompany me himself. Next morning, taking the best presents I had and giving them to the Catholic youth to carry, and together with Fedele, we went with the Arab to visit the king. I was forewarned of the customary etiquette. The king's residence is in the centre of the city, and his house is not unlike the others. But it is larger and has more rooms on the sides, all of them roofed. At the entrance to the first hut there were about twenty Negroes. They would permit nobody to enter until a servant brought word from the king. One is then brought by him to the first room where many negro men and women sing in their own fashion and beat the drum to no tune. When they had finished singing, they led us to a second room dancing and jumping. As soon as we entered, many young girls who were singing together sprinkled me one by one with a fragrant water. We were then escorted to the residence of the king. Here we were made to take off our shoes before we entered. The king sat on a huge cushion. He had a gold ban on his front and there were two most beautiful plumages right over his head. He wore a short but very richly decorated tunic. He seemed to be about fifty years old, and was surrounded by boys and girls. We were told to prostrate ourselves before him. He touched our heads with an ivory staff and we then arose. He asked me why I had come to visit him. I answered that I had come to see his splendour for myself. He asked whether I had brought tribute: I gave him the revolver, showing him how to load and fire it. I also gave him some crystal balls with a variety of figures inside, and a small case with a crystal glass and some beautiful views which could be changed at will. He was more astonished at this than at all the other gifts, telling me that it was the work of the devil. I assured him that it was both simple and natural, and showed him how he could look at the sides one by one just as they were. He was quite satisfied and told me that I was free to stay in his country for as long as I wished. We again prostrated before him and at the touch of his staff arose: amid shouting, dancing and singing we left the palace. I thanked the Arab, and then Fedele, Paolo (the name of the young Catholic) and I returned to our house. During the twenty days that I stayed in Borno I suffered from dysentery. In order to cure it I was given certain acrid fruits to eat which were like small pumpkins. They helped to stop the dysentery. Finally the Arab came with the leader of the caravan and informed me that the caravan would depart for Tripoli on the following day. I immediately told Fedele to prepare my things for our departure. The same family where I had lodged - named Lanzon, of Maltese origin - provided me with all necessities for the journey, although they wished that I could remain longer with them. I would indeed have waited longer to rest and be fully cured before undertaking the journey: but realizing that there would not be any other caravan that season, I decided not to delay. In the morning Fedele had disappeared and could not be found. This troubled me as I thought I would have nobody to help me on the journey or to look after the camels. Then Paolo and his brother Carmelo eagerly offered to accompany me, and their parents willingly gave their consent. Indeed had the journey not been so dangerous, the whole family would have come, leaving the Sudan for good. The caravan was smaller than that in which I had come. The Arab gave me one letter for Murzuk and another for Tripoli. We set out accompanied for most of the night by natives, men and women, who snag and danced. On the return journey the stops were fewer and the caravan made longer trips: the shortest of these was five days. We stopped for only a day at Murzuk, although I would have like to remain longer, as I again had a fever. continuing the journey we reached Tripoli in April of the same year. My missionary companions took care of me, and also paolo and Carmelo, and gave the promised firearm to the leader of the caravan. I was laid up with fever, but after a fortnight began to pick up again. Paolo and Carmelo lived with us. The former married a girl from Tripoli: afterwards Carmelo married a Maltese widow who was without children. both opened a small business and were quite well off. They wished to bring all their family to Tripoli: but whether they did so or not I cannot tell, as I returned to Rome.