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WITHOUT any fear or trembling, I come before 
the public with my third contribution to litera- 
ture on the subject of Africa. 

If I be accused of sketching in this volume 
a less favourable portraiture of the African cha- 
racter than I have done in either of my former 
works, I shall only advance the plea of never 
having set forth anything in my description of 
these people but the naked and unadorned truth 
as it stood before me. 

That I have met native Africans conscious of 
their own inferiority, and anxious for knowledge 


to develop the industrial riches of their country, 
I have already confessed, that "the slave 
population is destined to be the future working 
power in drawing forth Africa's resources for 
their own and their country's good," I still hold 
as an abiding faith that I have witnessed a can- 
nibalistic sacrifice during the past year in one of 
the most important commercial ports of the 
Bight of Biafra, these pages will attest to the 

More than three hundred years have passed 
since Shakspeare made the Prince of Morocco 
thus address Portia, the rich heiress in the 
play of the " Merchant of Venice" : 

"Mislike me "not for my complexion, 
The shadowed livery of the burnished sun, 
To whom I am a neighbour, and nigh bred. 
Bring me the fairest creature northward born, 
Where Phoebus' fires scarce thaw the icicles, 
And let us make incision for your love, 
To prove whose blood is reddest his or mine." 

Despite of the opinion recently given in a 
work by Dr. Bucknill, " On the Medical Know- 
ledge of Shakspeare," that the bard, who "wrote 


not for an age, but for all time," had sound views 
in physiology and pathology, the foregoing ex- 
tract from his writings leads me to doubt it, even 
after making a broad allowance for poetic license. 
In our days more is required to enable us to 
judge of the attributes of humanity than the 
colour of a man's blood; and although any 
negro between Cape Bojador and the Cape of 
Good Hope may possess as healthy life fluid as 
the most vigorous member of the Caucasian 
tribe, it gives me pain to feel obliged to record 
facts that prove the Ethiopian is not exactly a 
" man and brother " in that sense of perfect 
equality which the mistaken enthusiasts who 
advocate the claims of his race represent him to 

Yet, amid such anomalies as I feel it my 
duty to describe here, it is my impression 
that the little which is known of the vast con- 
tinent of Africa even with the labours of Liv- 
ingstone, Barth, Burton, and Speke may be 


considered but as a drop in the great ocean of 
discovery lying hid, and some day to be brought 
to light. When such an occurrence as the butch- 
ery at Bonny comes to our knowledge, only 
in the present year, who would presume to de- 
fine the limits of the strange things yet to be 
revealed ? 

Not 1, at all events. For every day of my 
ten years' connexion with Africa brought to 
light some feature of the country, or of the 
people, whereof I had previously been ignorant. 
Indeed, so sombre is the cloud of mystery enve- 
loping all things in that land of heathen dark- 
ness, that it was only within the last eighteen 
months I became cognizant of the facts con- 
nected with the horrible system of anthro- 
pophagy prevailing there, 

If I am asked to suggest a remedy for the 
barbarity of the people amongst whom this 
custom exists, I freely confess I have none to 


For I pin my faith to an axiom laid down by 
one of the critics [The Spectator, March 20th, 
1858] of my " Impressions of Western Africa" 
that "neither slave-dealing nor marsh-malaria 
causes human sacrifices or gross superstitions, 
accompanied by grosser crimes" leaving the 
reader to deduce his own inferences from my 
"Ten Years' Wanderings." 




Domestic Slavery of Western Africa Difference between this and 
the Foreign Export of Slaves Its Varied Phases Women 
Palm-Oil Trading Cockswains Pull-a-boys Emancipated Ser- 
vants Blood-men Egbo-bos Mangangas Dikuku Mikuka 
Bangolo Of Domestic Slavery at Lagos At Cape Coast, and 
in the Yoruba Country Of the Pawning System in these Places 
Domestic Slavery regarded as a Natural Institution by Rev. 
Mr. Wilson Social Phase in Bonny Importance of considering 
seriously the Pawning System as an Incipient of Civilization 1 


Opinion of Archbishop Whately on Savage Civilization African 
Faculty of Imitation Peculiarity of Anglo-African Idioms 
Specimen of Grumbling Anglo-Africanism Of the Mendicant 
Of the Amatory Of the Didactic Of the Pathetically 
Sublime Of the Grotesquely Artistic Of the Historically 
Descriptive Present Development of Mental Intelligence in 
Native Africans Sir Henry Huntley's Opinion Our Examina- 
tion into the Proofs for or against 16 



The Republic of Liberia Sentiments of Frederika Bremer about 
it Its establishment on the unmixed Negro element a great 
mistake Rev. E. Blyden's " Vindication of the African Race" 
Cases of Defection amongst the Colonists of Liberia Its 
Causes explained by Mr. Blyden His Condemnation of the 
Deference shown to White Men Cases of Intsllectual Develop- 
ment amongst the Native Africans Contrast between African 
and Caucasian mental superiority and obtuseness Position of 
Liberia investing its people with the power of good Depressing 
state of things along the Gold Coast Human Sacrifices at 
New Kalabar, Aboh, Brass, and Old Kalabar The god country 
of the Brass people Brutality of Human Sacrifice up the 
Niger Punishment for Murder at Fernando Po First Ar- 
ticles of War issued by Richard Coeur de Lion Sacrifices in 
the Interior of Africa recorded by Dr. Livingstone Heartless 
Wholesale Murder at Bonny Homoeopathic Punishment for 
Offences in New Kalabar The Long Ju-ju Country Mode 
of Execution at New Kalabar 36 


Wilhelm Humboldt's idea of the human family being one fra- 
ternity Baron Von Humboldt's concurrence in these opinions 
Adherence of native Africans to grr-gris, ju-jus, and fetishes 
Cannibalism Probability of languages assimilating their 
nature to these practices Of the sale of human flesh at Sierra 
Leone Mr. Caulker's explanation of reasons for burning or 
burying alive the Negroes Cannibalism at Omun, amongst 
the Boola tribe and the Ejoemen Sale of Negro flesh at Old 
Kalabar Cannibalism at Brass Reasons given for eating the 
slaughtered bodies of their enemies Of the Pangwes taking 
carcasses out of the ground to eat them Reprisal cannibalism 
at New Kalabar ........ 55 


Author's doubts of foregoing brutalities, removed only by what he 
saw carried out Reprisal Execution at Bonny preparatory to 


a Cannibalistic Feast Private Arrangements to obtain a View 
of the Scene of Execution Sensations on seeing the Ju-ju house 
at early dawn No Similarity between it and Newgate The 
Executioner and the Victim Appalling Nature of the Silence 
prevailing at the Butchery Manner in which the Execution 
was carried out Decapitation Boys and Girls Carrying Bits 
of the Carcasses away with them Two Women Squabbling 
for a Morsel of Negro Flesh Inutility of Moral Force Preach- 
ing to prevent such Scenes The Ju-ju Executioner's Reason 
for not Eating his Brother Negro's Head Accounts of Similar 
Butchery and Cannibalism at Dahomey Heroes Wearing 
Necklaces of Human Teeth 65 


Appalling consideration suggested by the foregoing Inhumanities 
Difficulty of devising Remedial Measures for them Paucity 
of British as well as Missionary Stations amongst the Native 
Africans Questions regarding Great Britain's duty in aiding 
African civilization No faith in the obligation of a National 
Compensation From Serious and Sanguinary to Recreative and 
Refreshing Sydney Smith's appreciation of Tropical Delecta- 
bilities The village of Twa and its Attractions Passage up the 
Creek from Brass Harbour to Twa Architecture in the Village 
Our trip to Brass town, the capital of Nimbe country 
Richard Lander's description of it thirty years ago Our night 
at the King's Country Palace Variety of Serenading and other 
Attractions The King's Fisherwomen Ebony mermaids 
Sensations on parting company 79 


Three glorious nights of jollity between Bimbia and Kameroons 
Reflections on land about Sea-sickness Preparing our Bivouac 
A Game of Nine-pins with Cocoa nuts My first Night's Com- 
fort Conjecture as to the possibility of M. Soyer's making a 
Palatable Dish from Leeches and Ship's Biscuit Attractions in 
the Wrecked Ship Pleasure of a Night passed on Board Min- 
gled attractions of Rats and Leeches Thudding of Waves against 
the Ship Of a Thirty -mile Walk along an African Beach, subse- 


quent Sleep, and refreshing Dreams Sensations of Waking in a 
Boat half -full of "Water At sea once more Dread of becoming 
a second edition of the Ancient Mariner Safe at last 92 


Three Phases of Sierra Leone : the Commercial, the Social, the 
Sanatory Philanthropy of our Government and People towards 
Africa M'Culloch's Account of First Colonization here Its 
Cost to the Mother Country Exports in 1850, 1856, and 
1858 Table of Imports and Exports for the year 1858 Like 
Table for Gambia in the same year Population of Sierra Leone 
Remarkable Absence of Increase since 1836 Commercial 
Importance of Settlements in -Africa defined by Mr. M. Forster 
in Martin's work on the Colonies Of Church Missionary 
organization Of "Dignity Balls" and "Goombee" Dances 
Mortality in 1859 Dr. Clarke's account of Prevailing 
Diseases Sketch of Slaves when landed from Condemned Ships 
Country Doctors Best means of preserving Health in West- 
ern Africa ......... 106 


The Gold Coast Brutalities of the King in Ashantee half a cen- 
tury ago Sacrifices after his Mother's death Bloodshed after 
his own The present King of Dahomey and his sanguinary 
intentions Report of Cruikshank's mission to Dahomey, in 
1848 Festal Recreations, in the shape of Human Sacrifices, at 
Ashantee Men butchered to do honour to the Portuguese 
slave-dealer, De Souza A like ceremony in compliment to the 
Dutch general, Verbeer The Dahomean King's arguments in 
favour of the Slave-trade The French nation in its early con- 
nexion with Africa, especially with the Gold Coast Their repu- 
diation of the Portuguese claims to primary geographical dis- 

i covery in this part of the world Beginning of British legitimate 
commerce with Western Africa First opening of palm-oil trade 

' Number of forts on the Gold Coast Immense wealth of its 
interior districts Its Missionary establishments Its Colonial 
Commerce for 1858 122 



Of the River Niger and Belzoni's Exploration in Benin General 
Scenery at the mouths of rivers falling into the Gulf of Guinea 
Similar to that of Eastern Africa, described by Captain Burton 
Author's Opinions on the Commercial operations up the Niger 
after Pleiad's Expedition of 1854 Memorial presented to Lord 
Palmerston in^beginning of last year Its Arguments, and the 
Assent of Government to them Causes of Attacks by the Na- 
tives upon Steamers sent up by Mr. Laird Commercial Opera- 
tions recorded by that Gentleman during the past three years 
His Present Contract with the Government and its Proceedings 
Impossibility of establishing a Profitable trade up that River 
without Government Help A Gun-boat, War-steamers, and 
Tug-steamer required Sir John Bowring's opinion of the Negro 
Plans in reference to the Niger Mr. Jameson's Views 143 


Despotic Government in the Palm-oil Rivers Pilotage and Trad- 
ing Comeys at Brass, New Kalabar, and Bonny Commence- 
ment of Troubles in Bonny on the Dethronement of King 
Pepple New Articles to Treaty in January, 1854, constituting 
Dappo King Abolition of Trading made imperative on the 
part of the Governing Head in Bonny Prohibition of Chop- 
ping Oil, or of going to War Establishment of Quadruple Re- 
gency Causes of the Inefficiency of such a Form of Government 
Proved by the Experience of Five Years No Foundation for 
King Pepple's Claims on the British Government for Indemnity 
Fact of his Dethronement emanating from his own People 
British Authorities having no Power to nominate or reinstate a 
King in an African Neutral Territory Letter to the Bonny 
Supercargoes 169 


Commercial Dealings in the Palm-oil Rivers The Natives' Distrust 
of European Traders Rev. James Martineau on the Cycle of 
Credit Indiscriminate Trust given by the Supercargoes 
at Old Kalabar Letter of Sir J. Emerson Tennant to African 


Merchants at Liverpool Limited Trust Recommended, com- 
mensurate with the Annual Produce of the River Suggestion of 
adopting the Hulk System Opinion of Government on the Ar- 
bitrary Conduct of Supercargoes in Old Kalabar Advice given 
to the Supercargoes of their Trust being a mere Speculation 
System of Chopping Oil Adoption of Native Laws for Reco- 
very of Debts Present Code of Commercial regulations up the 
Old Kalabar Author's Attempt to improve them With Copy 
of Advice to Supercargoes ..'... . . . 185 


Contemplated Order in Council for Western Africa Formed on 
the Models of those for the Levant and China Earl of 
Aberdeen's Definition of a Consul's Authority with reference 
to the Turkish Order in Council A Consul's Authority being 
limited to be Defined by International Law Difficulty of 
obtaining Treaties with African Kings in a Diplomatic Matter 
of this Kind Causes of this difficulty in the different rivers 
Principle of Latitude and Discretion, in the Exercise of 
Authority by Consul, as laid down in Report of Select Com- 
mittee of House of Commons Mr. Cobden's opinion of Inter- 
national Justice Powers given to Consuls by Orders in Council 
Moral Force of a Consul in Africa is a Moral Farce with- 
out the presence of a Man-of-War Cursory Revision of the 
Paragraphs of the Order in Council intended for Western 
Africa . . . : . -. 208 


To Batanga Reputed Non-existence of Slavery amongst the Ba- 
pooka and Banaka Tribes Provoking Calms and Preposterous 
Currents in the Bight of Biafra View in the Roadstead of Ba- 
tanga The Waterfall at Lobei River The Canoes and their 
Fishing Occupants Canoe Racing on the Rolling Billows 
Universality of Pipe-smoking here A Visit to King William 
Description of His Majesty, his Uniform and his Menage 
General Appearance of the Beaux and Belles of Batanga De-? 
scription of the Chief Koluctoo's Seven Wives Walk along 
shore to the Waterfall Beauty of the scene and its Accessories 
Information about Interior Tribes 223 



Further Information about the Tribes and Countries Interior to 
Batanga Of the Fabulous Green Bird reputed to feed on Ele- 
phants' Eyes Country whence Ivory comes The Rev. Mr. 
Wilson's Account of the Banaka Tribe He records nothing of 
the Absence of Slavery amongst them Countries between Ba- 
tanga and Cape St. John Corisco Islands and their Aborigines 
The Benga Tribe American Mission at Corisco Corisco 
Boats Entrance to Gaboon River The French Establishments 
there Tribes of the Mpongwes, Shekanis, Bakeles, and Pangwes 
Ascent of this River by Governor Beecroft in 1846 Natural 
products of the Country The Rev. Mr. Mackay on the ex- 
ploration of the Rivers Nazareth and Fernan Vas. . .241 


French Voluntary Emigration Its Definition by the Earl of Malmes- 
bury Desire for Information on the Subject Expressed by the 
Emperor Napoleon Count "Walewski's Repudiation of the asser- 
tion that the System has anything to do with the Slave-trade 
Impossibility of inducing Voluntary Emigration from Africa 
Prince Zahr's and the Kroomen's Sentiments about Absence from 
Home History of the affair of the " Regina Cceli " Commodore 
Wise's Sketch of Voluntary Emigrants Stationed at Loanda 
Consul M'Leod's Description of Emigrant's Voyage in a Portu- 
guese Dhow Consul Lawless' Information on the Emigrant re- 
gulations History of the " Charles et Georges " affair at Mo- 
zambique Opinion of an American Commander on the Emigra- 
tion Experience of the Rev. Mr. Townsend on the Subject 
Provisions of the New Treaty in Reference to Coolie Immigra- 
tion 261 


Of Fernando Po under its new Regime Governor Don Chacon, 
and his Proclamation of 1858 Alarm caused to the Residents 
of Clarence (now Santa Isabella) by that Proclamation Their 
Remonstrance against its Provisions Failure of these Remon- 
strances The Commencement of Spanish Work in Colonization 


Mortality amongst the Colonists Its Causes Clearing the 
Bush Ascent to the Peak of Fernando Po The Queen of 
Spain's Decree concerning her Possessions in the Gulf of Guinea 
Example of Fertility in Fernando Po The Aborigines the 
greatest Obstacle to the Development of the Island's Cultivation 
Their Natural Indolence and Social Habits Sketch of an 
Aboriginal Wedding Sensible Evidence of Approach to a 
Fernandian Town Cuisine at the King's Kesidence Dress of 
the Bride and the Bridegroom The Nepees, or Professional 
Singers Matter of their Epithalamium The Mothers being 
Boonanas, or Bishops performing the Marriage Ceremony Pe- 
culiarity of the Mode of Celebration Savage Dance in the middle 
of the Ceremony Procession to the Bridegroom's House 
Natural Politeness Nuptial Offerings Banquet after the 
Ceremony 286 


Removal of Baptist Missionaries from Fernando Po to Amboise 
Bay Constitution of a new Settlement under the Name of 
Victoria Advantages set forth by the Colonists regarding their 
new Settlement King William the Sovereign of Bimbia and 
of Amboise The Isebus, Baquiris, and Batohkes Of the Bati 
reputed to be at the back of Kameroon Mountain Dr. Earth's 
Opinion of them, and of their language Information on these 
Mystical Tribes from the Rev. Mr. Anderson, at Old Kalabar ; 
from the Rev. Mr. Crowther, at Lagos Inquiries about the 
Jetem and Mbafu Of the Ding-Ding, ascertained to be nick- 
named the Nyem-Nyem mentioned by Bayard Taylor 
Prospective Utility of such Inquiries .... 315 





Domestic Slavery of Western Africa Difference between this and 
the Foreign Export of Slaves Its Varied Phases Women 
Palni-Oil Trading Cockswains Pull-a-boys Emancipated Ser- 
vants Blood-men Egbo-bos Mangangas Dikuku Mikuka 
Bangolo Of Domestic Slavery at Lagos At Cape Coast, and 
in the Yoruba Country Of the Pawning System in these Places 
Domestic Slavery regarded as a Natural Institution by Rev. 
Mr. Wilson Social Phase in Bonny Importance of considering 
seriously the Pawning System as an Incipient of Civilization. 

CONNECTED with Western Africa, there seems to 
me no subject on which the general public has 
received information so minute and so extensive 
as on that of the slave traffic. 

It may be needless to explain that there is a 
vast difference between the exportation of slaves, 



which constitutes the slave trade, and the do- 
mestic social slavery which exists as indigenous 
to the whole continent. 

The former part of this subject I leave to 
the blue-books and the African squadron, for 
both of which it is still quite sufficient. On the 
latter there is much more to be spoken and 
written than I possess ability or have had oppor- 
tunity for doing. 

We find many classes of social slaves in West- 
ern Africa first amongst which are the women. 
In all African states they are the work-day 
labourers in many they constitute the artists 
and in whatever position they may be, whether 
wives of kings or of serfs, they are handed over 
to the successors of their lords and masters, who 
have liberty to kill, sell, or dispose of them in any 
other fashion. There are the slaves who have 
the cockswainships of palm-oil trading canoes, 
and who consider themselves an aristocracy 
above the mere commonalty of the pull-a- 
boys, whose work is to tug night and day by 
paddling canoes. To these may be added an in- 
discriminate class, who are to be found at dif- 
ferent places inhabited by Europeans along the 
coast, nominally in the character of servants, 
but who have been bought as human cattle. 


Some of these last named have undergone the 
mockery of being emancipated. Yet I have no 
hesitation in saying because I know it that 
the social treatment of these poor creatures has 
been, and still is, as bad and as brutal as it is 
possible for soi-disant civilization to inflict. 

It is a melancholy anomaly to be obliged to 
confess that the black man has no master so 
cruel as the civilized negro. Sierra Leone, the 
Gold Coast, and Mrs. Stowe's model republic of 
Liberia can show numerons instances of this. 
I do not make such a statement without having 
had ocular, and still possessing written, evidence 
of the fact before me. 

In many of the palm-oil trading rivers sla- 
very is purely mythical except in reference to 
the preposterous superstitions on which the au- 
thority of the governing powers is upheld. In 
Bonny, the men who rule the roast in political 
debate, as well as on the palm-oil 'change, are 
of the slave class; and the same condition of 
affairs, only perhaps in a lesser degree, exists 
in Old Kalabar. The bloodmen of this latter 
place, as well as the Egbo-bos of Brass, rank in 
a very trifling degree inferior to the free- 

A very apt illustration of the influence which 



the domestic slaves possess, and sometimes de- 
monstrate, is apparent from what we find in 
Kameroons. Here, as in Kalabar, there is an 
Egboship amongst the freemen. There are also 
two orders of Egbo, entitled " Mikuka " and 
" Bangolo," to which freemen and slave boys are 
alike admitted ; not, however, to the enjoyment 
of equal privileges ; for the masters or freemen 
are the governing heads, and oblige the serf 
party to be satisfied with what they can get. 
The slaves have also orders of their own, to 
which the titles " Mbwe," " Kosso," and " Kella 
Remba," are given. Of the minutiae of these 
nothing is known, more than of their Egbos 
elsewhere, for they are all kept as secret as free- 
masonry is with its professors. That they are 
invariably used as engines of oppression, is 
patent by every deed of their regulations. On 
the death of a late chief, his son energetically 
carried out a despotic principle in the " Mi- 
kuka" order, rendering it incumbent on candi- 
dates who were going through the routine of 
initiation into the body, that other people's 
yards and houses should be plundered of any 
goats or fowls to be found. The slaves, being 
the least protected class, were chiefly the parties 
on whom these forays were made, particularly 


that portion of them getting into comfortable 
position from their palm-oil trading. The free- 
booterism was carried on in the night, as the 
neophytes, during their period of probation, are 
kept locked up all day, in order to maintain a 
fable of their invisibility. So the slaves were 
driven to a reprisal, and established a new order, 
entitled " Manganga," whose doctrines they 
brought with them from the interior country 
of Abo. One of the chief provisions of this 
was to be opposed to the kings and chiefs in 
everything acknowledge no allegiance to them, 
and use every exertion tending to the subjuga- 
tion of royalty. 

Another of its codes gave power to a slave 
buying oil at an interior market for his master 
to demand one " big ting " (a form of apocry- 
phal currency, representing from fifteen shillings 
to a pound in value) for his commission, no 
matter how trifling the amount of oil purchased. 
If it were not paid, the slave belonging to the 
" Manganga " order had the power of placing a 
supposed witchcraft stick, called " dikubu," out- 
side the freeman's door ; and from that moment 
the fate of the latter was doomed. The pre- 
sence of the dikubu before his house sentenced 
him to drink sangaree (or test-poison) water. 


No one was allowed to communicate with him, 
and on the first time of leaving his home (if 
he escaped the sangaree) his dwelling was 
burnt or razed to the ground. 

With the notable exceptions of Dahomey and 
Ashanti, the domestic slavery of Western Africa 
is, in fact, little more than a nominis umbra, as 
regards the difference in position between the 
children and slaves of a chief. Such horrors of 
daily life as those described by Mrs. Stowe as 
existing in the United States, and those recorded 
as taking place on board slavers in the middle 
passage, are not known in Africa. Neither the 
ordainers of, nor the victims to, superstitious 
sacrifices, look upon this institution as a cruelty. 
It sometimes, and not unfrequently, happens 
that a slave is more wealthy and more power- 
ful than his master or owner. In such a case 
it is where the terrible Egbo law of Old Ka- 
labar acts with so much despotic power.* 

Domestic slavery differs from the feudalism 
and vassalage of English history, chiefly in re- 
ference to the brutalities and superstitions by 
which it is upheld. 

A very good definition of this domestic sla- 

* Vide " Impressions of Western Africa," chap. x. Longman, 
Brown, and Co., 1858. 


very is thus given by Mr. John Chillingworth, 
of Lagos, in a shrewd letter to the Cotton 
Supply Reporter, dated October 10th, 1859 : 
" It is argued in favour of the slave trade, that 
slavery is indigenous to Africa, and that the 
Africans but change a black master for a white. 
But the domestic slavery of Africa is altogether 
different ; the slave, or rather vassal, is on a par 
with his master physically and morally. There 
is no strong line of demarcation. It is difficult, 
indeed, to say which is master and which is 
man. Frequently the master gives his daughte* 
as a wife to his 'boy,' as he calls him, and 
when the master dies without a direct heir, 
his boy becomes possessed of his property. 
This sort of ' boy '-hood comprises all the do- 
mestic slavery, provided cupidity is not excited, 
and evil passion aroused by the European slave- 
dealer. Nearly everyone you meet is a boy, 
who has in turn a boy, and that boy has ano- 
ther boy." 

This system is explained more fully in a com- 
munication I have had on the subject from Mr. 
Bannerman,* of Cape Coast. On the Gold 
Coast he says : " Everywhere domestic slavery 

* This gentleman has established a new paper, the West African 
Herald, at Cape Coast, whose contents are invariably characterised 
by a spirit of manly independence. 


prevails. It is not easy to convey to the mind 
of a stranger precise notions of this institution 
as it exists amongst us, nor to give clear ideas 
of the nature of the tie existing between mas- 
ter and slave. Here there exist hundreds of 
families in which it is quite impossible for even 
the members to discriminate who amongst them 
are slaves, and who free. Thirty and forty 
years communion from intermarriages obliterate 
the distinction. A man may be a slave to his 
own son. For example, I buy a slave and 
marry him to my niece. (Here the line of suc- 
cession is usually, but not invariably, from 
uncle to nephew or niece). If they have a son, 
the child, on my death, becomes possessed of my 
property, and his own father is one of his slaves. 
But ' slave ' is not the proper term for this 
class of persons ; for in very truth they are in 
general nothing less than members of the family, 
who have become part of it by purchase instead 
of by birth. About forty or fifty years ago, 
when the Ashantee invasion had upset the 
whole country, thousands of families were bro- 
ken up, and people were sold right and left 
around the Gold Coast. Now natives of the 
coast ; are not accustomed to be sold. The slaves 
are brought down from the far interior. They 


are of all ages. Purchasers prefer buying them 
at the ages of between ten and twenty, for then 
they can be trained up. The old fellows are 
usually very lazy and obstinate (having been 
probably sold on that account). If brought 
down to the seaside, these slaves fetch from 
thirty to forty dollars a-piece. They are all 
marked in a peculiar manner on the face." 

I need not, I trust, explain that this statement 
is meant to describe the sale of servants to resi- 
dents of a British colony, whose social ordi- 
nances must need thus chime in with the social 
arrangements of the country in which it is 

The domestic slave on the eastern coast of 
Africa does not seem to be the same marketable 
article that he is on the west coast. Dr. Living- 
stone writes: "These various chiefs, though 
nearly independent of each other, are by no 
means independent of their people. Suppose a 
man is dissatisfied with one chief, he can easily 
transfer himself to another ; and as a chief's im- 
portance increases with the number of his fol- 
lowers, fugitives are always received with open 

The fugitives cannot so easily transfer them- 
selves on the west coast, and, indeed, desertion 


of this kind, when it does occur, % is frequently 
the primary cause of civil war. 

Superstitions, in their various forms, constitute 
the chains which bind the slaves to obedience, 
and these are justified as necessary to be oipheld 
by some magical influence amongst a people, two- 
thirds of whom are born and live in slavery, 
subject to the governing authority of the re- 
maining one-third. 

Serfdom of this kind cannot be said to ori- 
ginate in the strong oppressing the weak, or in 
the majority overpowering the minority, and 
therefore the justification may be admitted. 

The system of pawning, as it exists in the 
countries interior to Lagos and the Gold Coast, 
may be described as one of the most despotic 
features of domestic slavery. 

The Rev. Mr. Mann, Church Missionary at 
Ijaye, in the Yoruba country, writes to me : 
" The home slave was as the child in the house ; 
no contempt was cast upon him. Bad treatment 
was prevented by taking the slave away. Now 
every one treates his slave as they like. Three 
days they work for the master, and one for 
themselves. A child of a freeman with a female 
slave was not a slave; also children of slaves 
belonged to the family of the master. 


" The system of pawning the body is largely 
prevailing, to the disadvantage of morals, in- 
dustry, and the peace of families. It enables 
the head of a family to put his relatives, whose 
natural watchman he is, into the hands of 

" He cares then very little for the pawned 
relative (who is little better than a slave), and 
squanders the levied money in idleness." 

The Rev. Mr. Mann further explains that the 
money thus raised by pawning is spent in 
buying "additional wives," and in expensive 
funeral orgies. 

At Cape Coast, according to Mr. C. Banner- 
man, "the system of pawning is infinitely 
more complicated than that of domestic slavery. 
If a person be pawned to another, an amount 
of fifty per cent, interest must be paid before 
he can be redeemed. Children born whilst the 
mother is in paAvn need to be redeemed at four 
and a half dollars each. If a pawn die, his or 
her relatives cannot take the dead body for the 
purpose of burial till they have paid redemption 
money. To this a compromise is sometimes 
made by allowing whoever buries the body to 
be security for the debt." 

The following very curious fact is recorded 


by the principal judicial functionary of the 
Gold Coast settlement,* regarding " domestic 
slaves, who are commonly looked upon and con- 
sidered members of the family, more particularly 
in the rural or bush districts working side by 
side with their masters eating from the same 
dish, and constantly addressing each other by 
the titles of father and son. The master usually 
provides a wife or husband for his slave ; fre- 
quently, if it be a female, taking her to wife for 
himself, or giving her to his son. Indeed, the 
relations of master and slave are here so much 
on the same patriarchal footing that we read of 
in the Old Testament, as, in concurrence with 
many other facts, to convince me that the 
systems are derived from a common origin ; 
and I have more than once availed myself of 
the provisions of the Mosaic code in deciding 
between master and slave, quoting -my autho- 
rity, with a short account of its origin. These 
decisions, as far as I could judge, have been all 
the more respectfully and cheerfully obeyed 
from being found to be based on ancient autho- 
rity, and a code of laws with which many of 
their own are identical." 

The opinion of this gentleman upon the 

* Vide West African Herald, July 27th, 1860. 


pawning system is directly opposed to that of 
the Rev. A. Mann, already recorded, as well as 
to the provisions of the Supplementary Slave 
Trade Suppression Act,* which places pawns on 
the same footing as slaves, so far as British 
subjects are concerned. His opinion on this 
matter is well deserving of serious consideration, 
inasmuch as the first grand obstacle standing in 
the way of African civilization is the relative 
position and mutual dependence of master and 

With reference to the act of parliament just 
mentioned, he observes: "This enactment, 
although doubtless well intended, I consider to 
be a mistake, much to be regretted, for it de- 
stroyed, as it seems to me, a most powerful 
means of the gradual abolition of slavery in 
these countries, and of introducing in its stead 
a system of contracts for labour. For in prin- 
ciple, pawning, when voluntary, as it is com- 
monly, is nothing more. If, therefore, instead 
of being put on the footing of slavery, and so 
made unlawful for British subjects to deal with, 
it had been regulated so as to render the terms 
of the contract equitable, it might have been 
the means, I think, of gradually superseding sla- 

* 6 and 7 Victoria, cap. 98. 


very altogether, as the regular enforcement of 
such contracts would render pawns more valu- 
able than absolute slaves to persons living 
under British rule, which, while on the one 
hand it checks and restrains the master, can 
on the other hand enforce obedience by the 

An opinion which my humble judgment pre- 
sumes to endorse as worthy the attention of our 

The Rev. Mr. Wilson* looks upon domestic 
slavery in southern Guinea as " a natural institu- 
tion, growing out of the wants and circumstances 
of society, but in this case greatly promoted and 
strengthened by foreign traffic." It appears to 
me extremely probable that the change for the 
worse recognized by the Rev. Mr. Mann, in the 
Yoruba country, as existing in the social usages 
of the inhabitants now-a-days, may be traced to 
what they have learned of the degradation of 
the foreign slave trade. I allude more especially 
to the custom of a chief putting his own rela- 
tives in pawn. 

It may be recorded here, as a peculiar phase 
of the social system in Bonny, that when a man 

* " Western Africa, its History, Condition, and Prospects ; by 
Rev. J. Leighton Wilson, sixteen years a missionary in Western 
Africa." Harper Brothers, New York. 


is being conveyed into that place for the purpose 
of being butchered, the fact of his finding any- 
thing eatable even a grain of corn in the 
canoe, is sufficient to ensure his liberation. 



Opinion of Archbishop Whately on Savage Civilization African 
Facility of Imitation Peculiarity of Anglo- African Idioms 
Specimen of Grumbling Anglo-Africanism Of the Mendicant 
Of the Amatory Of the Didactic Of the Pathetically 
Sublime Of the Grotesquely Artistic Of the Historically 
Descriptive Present Development of Mental Intelligence in 
Native Africans Sir Henry Huntley's Opinion Our Examina- 
tion into the Proofs for or against. 

BELIEVING as I do in a doctrine of Arch- 
bishop Whately, that " no savage tribe has 
ever yet been known to have generated per se 
the faculty of working out its own civilization," 
and without going into a description, which 
would be too lengthened, of the benefits de- 
rived by the native Africans from the missionary 
stations along the coast the various British 
colonies of Gambia, Sierra Leone, the Gold 
Coast the intercourse of supercargoes at places 
where trade is established, I come at once to 


consider how far, from the facts before me, the 
intelligence of the negro race, as it exists in the 
present day on the western coast of Africa, 
appears to be developed, or gives us hopeful 
signs of its growing progress in that regard. 

One of the most remarkable peculiarities of 
the native Africans, as I have stated elsewhere, 
is their faculty of imitation. The words " saby " 
and " palaver " are derived from the French and 
Spanish. These two expressions are used by all 
the negro tribes who can mutter some words, 
however few they may be, of other language 
than their own, and comprise all that has been 
engrafted into their mongrel dialects from these 
languages. The latter word is frequently used 
with English descriptive epithets. For example, 
the term " sweet mouf (for mouth) palaver," 
means what is understood in Ireland by " blar- 
ney," in cockneydom by u soft sawder." " Fool 
palaver " expresses what we would entitle non- 
sense ; " sarce (for saucy) palaver," means abusive 
language ; and the term " god-man palaver," is 
applied to missionary teaching. 

A few specimens of the peculiar idiomatic 
forms, which owe their origin entirely to deri- 
vation from the English tongue, will show at 



once the pathway in which their chief imitative 
faculty is tending. 

The word " lib " with some, and " live " with 
others, is used to express the presence of inani- 
mate as well as animate things. " Your hat no 
lib dere, sir," or, " Your tick no lib dat place 
you put 'im," are pieces of information fre- 
quently given by a negro Mercury if sent in 
quest of either of these articles, when one is 
about to proceed out of doors. "My mudder 
done lib for devil-ly," is an expression in which 
a Bonny man once conveyed to me the informa- 
tion of his mother's death. 

The customs-duty paid to kings or chiefs for 
the privilege of trading within their districts is 
expressed by the word " comey," as the nearest 
approach which their philologists can make to 

A present which it is considered essential to 
give to every African potentate, and which is 
indeed expected in all cases of conference with 
them, is expressed by the term "dash" a very 
free and easy style of nomenclature in its origin 
no doubt intended to signify that the gift should 
be (literally) dashed at the recipient without any 
stinginess. There is no harshness about this 


word, like that of the Turkish " backsheesh," 
although possessing the same meaning. 

" Changey for changey " is a very musical 
way of describing one thing changed for another, 
and refers to loves and hates, as well as to palm- 
oil and British goods. 

The phrase, "We go for jam-head," does not 
mean that skulls are to be jammed one against 
another, as goats or rams do in combat or 
playfulness ; but that the thinking powers of 
the brain shall be exercised by two or more 
persons in mutual cogitation and decision. 

Whenever an African talks of his having an 
enmity against any one, he describes it by confess- 
ing that u some bad ting lib for him tummac 
for dat man ; " thus constituting the stomach 
the organ in which the agency of spite and 
malice is engendered and nurtured. 

"One day no be all day," is a very signi- 
ficant way of expressing the hope of a better 

The term " bob " has a meaning in some degree 
resembling that signified by palaver, and seems 
to me an abbreviation of the slang word " bob- 
bery." There is a trade " bob " and a war 
" bob," as well as a hate " bob " and a respec' 



At first acquaintance with the native Africans 
the errors which they commit in sexual nomen- 
clature seem very absurd. A man talks of his 
daughter as being " his son," of " bullocks' 
milk," and of a "cock-jackass." A woman up 
the Niger was introduced as being, in the ab- 
sence of her brother, " the biggest man for 
town." To shew the estimation in which the 
soft sex are held, the brigantine, " George," was 
fired at by some of the Aboh country people, 
when dropping down the Nun from the con- 
fluence of the Kwarra and Tshadda, because it 
was inferred the vessel was a "woman ship," 
therefore helpless, inasmuch as she was unpro- 
vided with engines or machinery, and conse- 
quently considered incapable if she got into a 

But these blunders soon lose their novelty by 
daily repetition in conversation ; and there is 
not much chance of their being assimilated 
to the high style of those inoculated with 
the cacoeihes scribendi. Whether it be to in- 
dividuals in a private or official character, such 
communications as the following are frequent 
amongst the scribbling class. I extract it from 
the New Era, a paper published a few years ago 
at Sierra Leone : 


" To Daddy Nah T ampin Office. 

"HA, DADDY! Do, yah, nah beg you, tell 
dem people for me, make dem Sally-own pussin 
know. Do yah. Berrah well. 

" Ah lib nah Pademba Road one bwoy lib 
dah oberside, lakah dem two docta lib overside 
you Tampin-office. Berrah well. Dah bwoy 
head big too much he say nah Militie Ban 
he got one long long ting, so-so brass, someting 
lib da dah go flip flap, dem call am key. Berrah 
well. Had ! dah bwoy kin blow ! she-ah ! na 
marnin, oh ! nah sun time, oh ! nah evenin, 
oh ! nah middle-night, oh ! all same no make 
pussin sleep. Not ebry bit dat more lib da ! 
One Boney bwoy lib oberside ; nah he like blow 
bugle. When dem two woh-woh bwoy blow 
dem ting, de nize too much too much. 

" When white man blow dat ting, and pussin 
sleep, he kin tap wah make dem bwoy earn do 
so ? Dem bwoy kin blow ebry day eben Sun- 
day dem kin blow. Wen ah yerry dem blow 
Sunday, ah wish dah bugle kin go down na dem 
troat, or dem kin blow them head-bone inside. 
Do, nah beg you, yah tell all dem people 'bout 
dah ting wah dem two bwoy dah blow. Tell am 
Amtrang Boboh hab febah bad. Tell am Titty 


earn sleep nah night. Dah nize go kill me two 
pickin, oh! 

" Plabba done. Good by daddy. 


For the information of those not accustomed 
to the Anglo - African style of writing or 
speaking, I deem a commentary necessary, in 
order to make this epistle intelligible. 

The whole gist of Crashey Jane's complaint is 
against two black boys, who are torturing her 
morning, noon, and night Sunday as well as 
every day in the week by blowing into some 
long, long brass ting, as well as a bugle. Though 
there might appear, to some unbelievers, a doubt 
as to the possibility of the boys furnishing wind 
for such a lengthened performance, still the 
complaint is not more extravagant than those 
made by many scribbling grievance - mongers 
amongst ourselves about the organ nuisance. 

The appellative " Daddy" is used by the Afri- 
cans as expressive of their respect as well as con- 
fidence. "To Daddy, in the stamping (alias 
printing) office," which is the literal rendering of 
the foregoing address, contains a much more re- 
spectful appeal than " to the Editor " would con- 
vey ; and the words " Berrah well " at the 
end of the first sentence are ludicrously ex- 


pressive of the writer's having opened the sub- 
ject of complaint to her own satisfaction, and of 
being prepared to go on with what follows with- 
out any dread of failure. 

The epithet " woh-woh " applied to the cen- 
sured boys means to entitle them very bad ; and 
I understand this term, which is general over the 
coast, is derived from a belief that those persons 
to whom it is applied have a capacity to bring 
double woe on all who have dealings with 

" Amtrang Boboh," who has fever bad, is 
Robert Armstrong, the stipendiary magistrate 
of Sierra Leone, and the inversion of his name 
in this manner is as expressive of negro clas- 
sicality as was the title of Jupiter Tonans to 
the dwellers on Mount Olympus. 

One of the most remarkable features of Anglo- 
Africanism is what may be entitled the mendi- 
cant. From the highest king to the lowest slave 
begging seems to be indigenous indeed, with 
the former class much more than with the latter. 
For those possess a certain degree of mauvaise 
honte, arising from the dread of remorseless re- 
fusal to their caste the only idea that keeps 
them from its indulgence. 

All the " sweet inouf palaver," all the " dad- 


dyism " that can be advanced, is used to effect 
the success of these appeals, whether oral or 
written. In the rainy season especially the 
trading supercargoes in the rivers frequently 
receive letters narrating the writers' promised 
intention of bringing down ivory, palm-oil, or 
other produce, and begging in conclusion for a 
dash of rum, for which a jar is generally sent. 
In the following specimen, addressed to a " dear 
brother," there is a beautiful style of fraternal 
affection shewn by the alternative offered if he 
to whom it is addressed does not undertake a 
voyage of about two thousand miles to see the 
writer's children, that he will send the few things 
enumerated therein, which are to " make him 

The request for " coral and silver rings," and 
the " pair of ladies' shoes for the wife," seem to 
be rather mal-a-propos for the mother of children 
in a state of nakedness. It is redolent, too, of 
the aristocracy of mendicancy amongst a people 
who, as soon as they are able to read or write, 
cease to be negroes, and become developed into 
" coloured ladies and gentlemen." 

"F. Po., 2nd September, 1855. 

" DEAR BROTHER, This is to inform you that 


my childrens, Name of them John, Emily, and 
William, sent there best compliments to you ; I 
am glad to see your Evan this moment come to 
me, because I have sent you this four letters, 
and no answer from you. Aidoouka and Abbian 
come and your grandfather Name is Aisain In- 
tear; dear brother, as you don't wish to come 
here as I wish you to come to see my children, 
my wife, and myself, because I hope and trust 
that all of them to see you with love, joy, and 
gladness. Also all our country people give there 
best compliment to you, and your wife and chil- 
drens, and if you can't able to come, sent me 
something to make me satisfy. Give my best 
love to all the Callenban (Kalabar ?) people who 
join your company ; I am quiet well. Also my 
wife beg you for Close, and her children, for 
they are Naked sent shawl Hondkercif for me 
and the one to tie head, also sent me a large 
coat. Also sent me some corrill and silver Ring 
and the childrens want shoes two blue caps for 
John and William a very nice on and my wife 
sent to beg you for one pair of ladies shoes and 
I want a blue cap or a nice hat. Mouguan jour- 
ton Nhan Obeng Anook " (this must be a private 
phrase in some African tongue perhaps a sort 
of masonic appeal or hint) " give their best love 


to you. Even I myself and children. I remain 
your truly brother in love. 

"T B ." 

The passion which rules 

" The court, the camp, the grove, 
And men below, and gods above," 

is very limited in its poetical existence. It in 
fact seems to be crawling into life only in one or 
two places where our language is the established 
standard one. In the majority of African king- 
doms the gentle god is unknown, and I believe 
the vile system of polygamy very much tends to 
keep him so, as well as the fact that woman in 
all these places is a slave. 

In the colony of Liberia, which has been es- 
tablished by the American Colonization Society, 
and is now a free republic, the civilization of love 
seems to have taken root, as may be judged from 
the poetry, speeches, and a considerable amount 
of amatory Anglo- Africanism which may have 
been observed in the Liberia Herald, a newspaper 
published at Monrovia, the capital. 

I give here an original effusion of a native of 
that place not, however, taken from the news- 
paper addressed to a " coloured lady," with 
whose charms, it appears, he was smitten. Deli- 


cacy, of course, obliges me not to reveal the 
names : 

"January 23rd, 1852. 

"To P. R. 

" MY DEAR Miss, I tak my pen in hand to 
Ernbrac you of my health, I was very sick this 
morning but know I am better but I hope it may 
find you in a state of Enjoying good health and 
so is your Relation. Oh my dear Miss what 
would I give if I could see thy lovely Face this 
precious minnit miss you had promis me to 
tell me something, and I like you to let me 
know I am very anxious to know what it is give 
my Respect to the young mens But to the young 
ladys especially I am long to see you miss 
if I don't see you shortly surely I must die I 
shut my mouth to hold my breath Miss don't 
you cry iny little pretty turtle dove I wont 
you to write to me, shall I go Bound or shall I 
go free or shall I love a pretty girl a she don't 
love me give my Respect all enquiring Friend 
Truly Your respectfully, 

" Nothing more to say Miss." 

I believe that amongst the gentlemen of this 
republic more specimens can be adduced of va- 
rieties of literature than on any other part of 


the coast. Before me is a copy of a letter, bear- 
ing no date, which was sent from shore to 
the commander of a man-of-war steamer that had 
just dropped anchor in the roadstead of Monro- 
via. It runs thus, and the writer held the posi- 
tion of a colonel in the Liberian militia : 

rejoiced to see you on shore. Mrs. H sends 

her love, and will be happy to wash your clothes. 
I have the honour to be, gentlemen, yours affec- 

" J H , COLONEL." 

Here is a specimen of pathetic sublimity of 
appeal, from two chiefs who were rescued from 
slaughter up one of the palm-oil trading rivers, 
and who, in consequence of not being able to 
return to their native district, owing to 
family feuds still existing there, addressed this 
letter to the British supercargoes : 

"July 15th, 1856. 

" GENTLEMEN, Though several months have 
now clasped [sic in orig.] since we were driven 
away from B , we trust that our remem- 
brance may not be obliterated from your me- 
mory. We are the same your former friends 
who now addresses you, but oh, how changed 
from that persons whom you then knew. Where 


is now our former flow of spirits, and our pros- 
perity? they were all fled, all fled, and their 
places usurped by melancholy, poverty, and the 
sneers and contempt of an unfeeling world. 
This to a person of your sensibility must be as 
painful to read as it is for us to write. It is not 
our object to practice on your feelings by artful 
languages. But our distresses have increased to 
that degree, that speak they will in some guise, 
and we urged on them, we have stifled our re- 
pugnance of disclosing them to you. Without 
further circumlocution, let us tell you then at 
once that our state is that of the bitterest po- 
verty, in fact, of destitution, and we make our 
appeal to your kindly feelings in the name of 
that friendship which once existed between us. 
We have said enough. We need add no 

"We subscribe ourselves to be your most 
unfortunate friends, 

" F P . 

G H P ." 

The conclusion, "We have said enough. 
We need add* no more," may have appeared to 
the composer as emphatic as the end of She- 
ridan's great speech on the Warren Hastings 
,case seemed to the servant of the former ; for, 


as Moore tells us, he admired the expression 
with which was delivered the finale, " My Lords, 
I have done," much more than he did any other 
part of that famous three days' oration. 

In Fernando Po, where the majority of the 
inhabitants in its capital have been liberated 
from slave-ships by British men-of-war, there 
appeared stuck on a garden paling, one fine 
morning during my residence there, a notice, of 
which the following is an exact copy : 

"NOTICE is hereby given, that person or per- 
sons whom will attend in company of play, and 

dance at the residence of W L 's house, 

Esquire, (B 1 House) I beg respectfully that 

whom attend in decent and manners, in the pre- 
sence of the Co., and may require glass of wine 
and spirits, will attend with sixpence real in the 
Co., put in subscription of for the company on 
the 9th instant, in the evening, at 5 o'clock pre- 
cisely, the undermentioned signatures are the 
holders of the Co. affixed : 

rT. E. W s. Wm. D o. 

"Bandmasters -JBn. K y. Jn. F. M e. 
(jo. B t. 

*' Clarence, Jan. 5th, 1858." 

The band whereof the above signatures pur- 
ported to represent the masters, comprised only 


the five musicians, so that each was a soi-disant 
bandmaster. The instruments consisted of two 
asthmatic flutes, and three noise-making, though 
far from melody-generating, drums. 

I shall not weary my readers by giving more 
than another example of literary composition. 
It is a compact history of an old palaver, 
which I requested a Kalabar man to put on 
paper for me. Although the main points are 
here briefly laid down in less than twenty 
lines, a detail of them occupied the narrator for 
nearly two hours, when he came to see me on 
board H. M. S. S. V . 

" In King Archibodg's time Henshaw Duke's 
family, that time all chop be very dear, send 
seven big canoes full of yams and konkeys to sell 
at Ikpa market. Then one of King Eyos 
people come and steal some of Abara Ikang's 
coppers, then bob come up and fight, then King 
Eyo's people tief everything that live in the 
seven canoes. Then when Henshaw Duke's 
people come home, Duketown gentlemen want 
to make palaver. Then King Eyo send down 
and say he will to pay for all de coppers his 
people tief. Then Henshaw Duke's people say 
they no want nothing for Eshian Eyo, King 
Eyo's head man at Ikpa, had beg pardon of 


Abara Ikang, and make sorry, and so palaver 
set one time." 

No less remarkable, as a specimen of bre- 
vity, was a proclamation once issued by the 
bellman at Fernando Po, according to the go- 
vernor's instructions. It was intended to tell 
the owners of all pigs, without rings in their 
noses, that these animals were destined to be shot 
if found abroad. The bell, of course, being 
tolled as he walked along, he thus spoke to the 
crowd gathered at each corner : 

" I say I say I say I say suppose a pig 
walk iron no live for him nose ! gun shoot ! 
kill 'im one time ! Hear ee, hear ee." 

Not the most accomplished lexicographer, 
from Johnson's time to ours, could have pro- 
claimed the governor's ukase so happily, because 
so intelligibly, to those for whom it was in- 

When we come to consider that some of 
these productions are emanations from grown- 
up men, who have received an education in 
missionary schools, it may be wondered at that 
so little continuity of ideas or coherence of com- 
position is observable in them. 

The present development of the mental 
powers of the native African is one upon 


which a variety of opinions exist. On this 
subject there appears to me a sound philosophy 
in the following observations, written by my 
friend, Captain Sir Henry Vere Huntley, of which 
he has given me liberty to make use. Few men 
have had more opportunities for acquiring ex- 
perience in Western Africa than Sir Henry, in 
his connexion with the Naval as well as with the 
Civil service of Her Majesty's Government : 

" I fear the intellect of the Tropical African is 
not of that order which some few who have, and 
a vast number who have not, visited Africa pro- 
claim it to be. Had it been so, the chiefs long 
ago would have seen the ruinous consequences 
of slave-dealing with foreigners, and of slavery at 
home ; or otherwise the Tropical African himself 
would have broken from his bondage, and as- 
serted his liberty, as every intellectual race, 
sooner or later, has done. 

" In the origin, no nation had more favourable 
opportunity than others of emerging from bar- 
barism, unless it is admitted that some were 
gifted with a higher standard of mental capacity 
than others, which enabled them to rise to the 
heights of civilization and sound religion. But 
such an admission crushes the claim of Tropical 
Africa to any even moderate scale of intellect. 



With some nations, of the higher order, super- 
stition fell before religion sooner than in others, 
and primitive ingenuity was earlier developed into 
skilful mechanism ; whilst Tropical Africa remains 
unchanged. Even nations which have com- 
pletely succumbed for a time, have, when events 
threw open their gates and ports, shown them- 
selves to have been long in possession of highly 
civilized practices and feelings, as well as much 
advanced in arts and sciences, in spite of their 
self-imposed isolation. Extraordinary powers of 
perception and adaptation have distinguished 
these nations on coming into contact with others. 
With Tropical Africa there is no trace of such 
indigenous, or, as some wildly believe, sup- 
pressed mental powers. 

" I am aware that there are persons who 
strangely argue, that whoever thinks the Tro- 
pical African less intellectual by nature than 
the inhabitants of other countries, must of ne- 
cessity be an advocate for the slave-trade, and for 
all manner of unmitigated oppression in Africa. 
We reply that there is nothing inconsistent, but 
the reverse, in those who see deformities, defects, 
and even vices in the African character, main- 
taining towards them at the same time the 
Christian attributes of commiseration and 


mercy ; and that there is little charity in that 
mind which can argue that the perception of a 
low intellect in the negro must necessarily lead 
to the treatment of him with injustice, cruelty, 
and oppression." 

Probably we shall be able to judge whether 
this reasoning be correct or otherwise, if tested 
by an illustration from our own time, when we 
come to examine the intellectual features which 
are in existence, according to their own showing, 
amongst the citizens of the republic of Liberia. 

D 2 



The Republic of Liberia Sentiments of Frederika Bremer about 
it Its establishment on the unmixed Negro element a great 
mistake Rev. E. Blyden's " Vindication of the African Race " 
Cases of Defection amongst the Colonists of Liberia Its 
Causes explained by Mr. Blyden His Condemnation of the 
Deference shown to White Men Cases of Intellectual Develop- 
ment amongst the Native Africans Contrast between African 
and Caucasian mental superiority aud obtuseness Position of 
Liberia investing its people with the power of good Depressing 
state of things along the Gold Coast Human Sacrifices at 
New Kalabar, Aboh, Brass, and Old Kalabar The god country 
of the Brass people Brutality of Human Sacrifice up the 
Niger Punishment for Murder at Fernando Po First Ar- 
ticles of War issued by Richard Creur de Lion Sacrifices in 
the Interior of Africa recorded by Dr. Livingstone Heartless 
Wholesale Murder at Bonny Homoaopathic Punishment for 
Offences in New Kalabar The Long ju-ju Country Mode 
of Execution at New Kalabar. 

IT may be asserted by the over-captious that I 
ought to search for and adduce illustrations for 
this chapter amongst the Africans, who are compo- 
nent parts of the population of British Colonies, 


and who may, therefore, be expected to give 
evidence of a more highly developed intelligence 
under the fostering care of a Government estab- 
lishment. But I deem it an act of justice to the 
black men, who claim an equality with whites, 
rather to show of what stuff they are made, 
according to their own advocates ; and to 
point out how erroneously writers of their own 
class describe them before the world as possess- 
ing qualities of which they have as yet shown 
no palpable evidence. 

The republic of Liberia has been pictured by 
Mrs. Beecher Stowe as the Eden into which one 
of the characters in " Uncle Tom's Cabin " re- 
tires to spend the evening of his days. It has 
been acknowledged as a free and independent 
republic by the majority of European govern- 
ments, and it is frequently pointed out to us as 
evidence of what the native African can do in 
establishing his independence. 

Frederika Bremer, in all her beautiful works, 
never arrived at a conclusion more true than the 
following* : " To imagine that the emancipated 
slaves of America could, beyond the sea, in Libe- 
ria in Africa, establish a community according to 

* " Homes of the New World, Impressions of America." By 
Frederika Bremer. Translated by Mary Howitt. 


the American republic, is, I believe, a grand 
mistake." No greater mistake has ever been 
made by the friends of the African. In the 
organization of this republic, there was deficient 
or rather discarded what Miss Bremer writes 
of as " that great influence which a man of the 
white race, by his natural intellectual superiority 
and systematic turn of mind, will always have 
over the black." I do not go so far as to say the 
white will always have superiority over the blacks ; 
but I hold that, in the present state of their 
relative development, such a condition of supe- 
riority does exist. I maintain this more strongly, 
for the purpose of showing how the Rev. E. 
Blyden literary champion of that republic 
damages his own position as an advocate of 
progress, by assuming a condition of perfection 
which we know does not exist amongst his re- 
publican brethren. Moreover, he flings down 
the gauntlet of defiance at the whites, without 
whom neither he nor his compatriots would be 
free this day in the republic of Liberia. 

Let me not be misunderstood. I have perused 
sentiments from the pen of this gentleman which 
oblige me to respect him. I have seen his ad- 
vocacy of the spirit of self-reliance, as spoken to 
the people of Monrovia, set forth in language 


worthy of the illustrious Ellery Channing. For 
these reasons I regret to read thus from Mr. 
Blyden's pamphlet, entitled a "Vindication of 
the African race" : 

" Cases are not wanting of coloured persons 
fleeing from American bondage to Liberia, who, 
meeting a few difficulties, and unused to the task 
of self-reliance, wish to return and live their 
former life of ease and freedom from care. 
Some do return, and bear back evil reports of 
this good land. These cases are painful ; but 
they are not surprising : they are illustrations 
of the invariable effects of slavery. Nor is it to 
be wondered at that even in Liberia, an African 
Government, free, sovereign, and independent, 
there should be, as Bishop Scott alleges, 'a 
degree of deference shown to white men that 
is not shown to coloured.' This will be the case 
in every African community for a long time ; 
even after the entire abolition of slavery in the 
Western world. This reverence of the oppressed 
for the oppressor, as we have just seen in the 
case of the Israelites, is not easily shaken off. 
Such is the influence of the latter upon the 
former, that their voice, on any question, has the 
effect to hush into the profoundest silence the 
least murmur of dissent on the part of the former. 


"It is, however, incumbent upon the intelligent 
among the African race to discountenance, as 
much as possible, this servile feeling, and to use 
every means to crush it wherever it appears ; 
for its influence on the mind and morals, and 
general progress of the race, is fearfully in- 

There is a querulousness of petty vanity in 
this which almost forbids us to hope for good 
from such a source. In a republic where no 
white man is allowed to have a voting or 
executive influence in government, " a degree of 
deference to white men" is complained of. We 
cannot wonder at this, indeed, when we remem- 
ber that a few pages previously we read : 

"Let the candid among the enemies of our 
race take, as far as they know, all the cases of 
Africans who have enjoyed any opportunities of 
intellectual development and improvement, and 
see if the majority have not profitably availed 
themselves of those opportunities : or take an 
African of ordinary mind, and a Caucasian of 
like capacity ; place them both under the same 
instructions, with equal privileges, and we hazard 
nothing by saying that the Caucasian will not 
excel the African, if, indeed, he keep pace with 
him. This has been tested, and the result has 


turned out in favour of the African. If, then, 
under given circumstances, the Caucasian will 
arrive at a certain point of intellectual improve- 
ment, and under the same circumstances as the 
facts of a fair induction show the African will 
attain to the same point, where is the absolute 
superiority of the Caucasian ? Where is the 
peculiar mental obtuseness of the African ? 

I take it upon myself to answer the latter 
question that we have, in the very query itself, 
a most palpable proof of " mental obtuseness," 
following up, as it does, the writer's classifica- 
tion of all white men as the " oppressors " 
of the African race. 

Throughout the whole of Mr. Blyden's pam- 
phlet he follows the very style of reasoning 
which he himself condemns in others. " It can- 
not be truly affirmed," he says, " that inferences 
proceeding on such assumptions wait for refuta- 
tion ; but those who avail themselves of them 
follow prejudice more than judgment. And so 
strongly does their prejudice against the African 
bias their minds, that we often find even the 
profoundest of them indulging in such one-sided 

And yet because John C. Calhoun, of South 


Carolina, employed " bold and unblushing 
sophistry with reference to the African race," 
and because Mr. Blyden was refused admittance 
to a literary institution in the United States, on 
the ground that the faculty had failed to realize 
their expectations in one or two coloured persons 
whom they had educated, the white people all 
over the world are enemies of his race, and 
their oppressors. 

Mr. Ely den's objection to " isolated cases the 
most unfavourable being taken as fair specimens 
of the character of the whole race," might seem 
to be very fair, if he would allow this sentence to 
be applied to the few cases he adduces to prove 
the non-existence of intellectual obtuseness, and 
would permit the single change of wrcfavourable 
to favourable. 

What hopes there may be from Liberia can be 
gathered from his concluding sentiments, which 
contain much that is good, and beautiful, and 
true, with a considerable amount of what cannot 
be defined as anything more elevated than vapid 
rhodomontade : 

" The position of the people of Liberia invests 
them with peculiar ability for doing good in 
behalf of the downtrodden race to which they 
belong. If they properly use that ability, they 


may exert no inconsiderable influence in bring- 
ing about the universal disenthralment and 
elevation of Africans. They should not, in 
order to benefit their enslaved brethren, ' render 
evil for evil' to their oppressors. Such a course 
is productive of no good ; it is a plan of proce- 
dure that finds no sympathy in these enlightened 
days it is a progeny of the dark ages. These 
are times when, by argumentation and demon- 
stration, the moral sensibilities of men must be 
appealed to. Physical inconveniences, employed 
for the purpose of correcting moral evils, have 
no true reformatory effect. Men must be led 
not driven. No desirable effect can be produced 
by reiterating doleful complaints and harsh vitu- 
perations against men on account of their pre- 
judices. But a great deal is accomplished by 
furnishing practical demonstrations that such 
prejudices are destitute of foundation. And 
this is the work of the people of Liberia in 
particular and of coloured men in general. We 
must prove to our oppressors that we are men, 
possessed of like susceptibilities with themselves, 
by seeking after those attributes which give 
dignity to a State ; by cultivating those virtues 
which shed lustre upon individuals and com- 
munities ; by pursuing whatever is magnificent 


in enterprise, whatever is lovely and of good 
report in civilization, whatever is exalted in 
morals, and whatever is exemplary in piety. 
Then shall we prove that we do possess ' rights 
which white people are bound to respect;' the 
decision of an enlightened Chief Justice to the 
contrary notwithstanding. But so long as we 
contentedly remain at the foot of the ladder at 
whose top our oppressors stand, it is unreason- 
able, it is absurd, to call upon them to recognise 
us as equals in every respect; and it is worse 
than absurdity to abuse and vilify them for 
their opinions and prejudices with respect to us. 
We must make our way to the position which 
they occupy. And having overstepped the in- 
terval which has so long separated us from them, 
and standing with them on the same summit, we 
shall be welcomed as equals. Then will Shem, 
Ham, and Japheth dwell together as brethren, 
in * liberty, equality, and fraternity.' There 
will be no more slavery ; for Canaan, the * ser- 
vant of servants,' has been exterminated." 

"We must make our way to the position 
which they, our oppressors, occupy," is language 
which, in fact, involves a true principle; but Mr. 
Blyden ought to see the inconsistency of boasting 
of what the Liberians can do for the downtrodden 


race to which they belong, till they get to the top 
of that ladder "where their oppressors stand," 
and at whose foot they acknowledge themselves 
as still remaining. Before they attain that posi- 
tion, too, the boast of intellectual and mental 
equality is a piece of flagrant bombast, and 
nothing more. 

With the instances advanced of the Anglo- 
African tendency, opposed although they be to 
what I cannot avoid designating as erroneous 
reasonings from the Liberian republic, the 
question may be asked Are there no other ob- 
stacles than these latter standing in the way of 
African civilization, and opposing the develop- 
ment of that country's inexhaustible riches ? 

Civil wars all along the Gold Coast do not 
indicate anything like a condition of happiness 
or prosperity ; and as we approach the neigh- 
bourhood of the palm oil rivers, there rises up 
before us a panorama such as I believe no other 
part of the world can show. 

The sacrifice of twin children, as well as of those 
who cut their upper teeth first, is carried on at New 
Kalabar as in Aboh and Old Kalabar. Even as 
late as 1856 an Albino child was sacrificed at 
the bar of the first-named river to the shark, 
who was, up to a late period, the ju-ju of this 


country. Some of the natives up the creeks 
having been devoured by these carnivorous fish, 
the family of the shark species got into disfavour, 
and now goats and fowls are their favourite 
sacrificial offerings. 

At the mouth of Brass river, when an Albino 
girl is sacrificed, the officiator at this ceremony 
is an old man named Onteroo. He has an 
enormous tuberosity on the back of his head; 
but whether his divinity is believed to exist in 
this or not, my informant cannot say. Several 
canoes accompany him and the victim, who, it 
seems, is quite satisfied with her fate, as she is 
indoctrinated with the idea that her future 
destiny is to be married to a white man. As 
soon as they reach the bar, the canoes are all 
turned with their heads homewards ; the word 
is given, and the girl is thrown into the water, 
with a weight round her neck to prevent her 
floating, thus obviating the possibility of an 

The Brass people have likewise an interior (to 
their country) territory, entitled the god country, 
to which they resort for oracular purposes. Keya, 
the King of the Obullum Abry side of Brass 
river, was known to have recently paid a visit 


there to ascertain whether he or a powerful chief, 
named Amanga, was to be the head man. 

On his return, a number of the " god country" 
people came with him, and lived at his place, on 
the fat of the land, whilst they were deliberating. 
Amanga, of course, was now and then present 
at the festivals; but one morning he became 
very sick, and was dead in a few hours after- 

In parts of Benin it is the custom to sacrifice 
two men at the appearance of a new moon. 

The Rev. Mr. Crowther's journal of his last 
ascent of the Niger records : " After the 
inspection of the lands at Idda, as we were re- 
turning to the ship, Kasumo, the Arabic inter- 
preter, who had fallen in with a brother Mallam 
here, and also with a Yoruba slave, was privately 
informed that, about three months ago, an Al- 
bino slave boy, whom we saw here in 1854, 
about nine years of age, was offered in sacrifice 
as a peace-offering in the settlement of their 
political disputes ; that the hands and feet of the 
poor boy were dislocated, after which he was 
put alive into a pit prepared for him, over which 
a large pot was placed ; so the poor creature had 
to linger the remaining days of his miserable 


existence in torture and agony. He was there 
three or four days before he expired, when the 
pit was covered up." 

Something similar to this brutality, but of a 
more aggravated nature, is the mode in which 
punishment for murder is inflicted by the 
aborigines of Fernando Po. When the mur- 
derer is discovered, his crime is proved before a 
meeting of the magnates of his district not with 
any form of trial by jury, or of test by ordeal, 
but simply by the deposition of evidence, be it 
confirmatory or circumstantial. The body of 
his victim is then carried to some distance in 
the bush, and he is tied to it by withes plucked 
from trees. He is left in that horrid position, 
without a bit to eat or a drop to drink, until 
death puts an end to his sufferings. The pro- 
longation of a man's life under such circum- 
stances, bound night and day to a dead body 
advancing to putridity, is a fate that one 
shudders to think of. 

Yet perhaps we should not regard this with 
equal horror, did we reflect that in our own 
Christian country of England, and about A.D. 
1190 in the glorious old times of the Cru- 
sadersthe first "articles of war" issued by 


Richard Coeur de Lion, for the government of 
the Navy, contained a primitive code, which 
punished the murderer by lashing him to his 
victim's body and throwing him into the sea. 

It may be considered a strange coincidence 
that amongst the tribes of the interior, who can 
have no communication with those on the coast, 
similar brutalities are in existence, as if such things 
were racy of the African soil. Dr. Livingstone 
records* that " in several tribes a child which is 
said to 'tlola' (transgress) is put to death. 
'Tlola,' or transgression, is ascribed to several 
curious causes. A child who cuts the upper front 
teeth before the under, is always put to death 
among the Bakaa, and, I believe, also among 
the Bakwains. [A practice similar to this exists 
at Aboh, New and Old Kalabar.] In some tribes, 
when twins are born, one of them is put to 
death. [A modification of the Old Kalabar 
custom of burying twins alive.] And an ox 
which, while lying in the pen, beats the ground 
with its tail, is treated in the same way. It is 
thought to be calling death to visit the tribe." 

On the occasion of a civil war at Bonny this 
year (1859), the following incident occurred : 

* " Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa," p. 577. 
Murray, London. 1858. 



A canoe, paddled by four young boys, the 
eldest not more than seven years of age, and 
steered with a paddle by a man in the stern, was 
observed crossing the river amongst the shipping. 
It was pursued by another canoe, in which were 
eight men propelling, and a man standing up in 
its fore part with a rifle in his hand. As soon 
as the latter had reached to within fifteen or 
twenty yards of the former, the armed man fired 
at and killed one of the boys. He coolly reloaded 
his rifle and shot the other three boys in succes- 
sion. The murderer's canoe having soon arrived 
at that which had now but one occupant, he (the 
last-named) jumped into the water, out of which 
he was soon dragged by his pursuers, to be 
stabbed to death in their canoe with knives. 

The idea that men who had committed a murder 
" should be condemned to the same fate they had 
bestowed upon another," is practically carried 
out in the very mode in which the butch- 
ery had been consummated as thus recorded 
to me, by Mr. Gates, of its occurrence at New 
Kalabar : 

" On the 4th January, 1859, as Dr. Saunders 
and I were leaving the beach, a great commotion 
was raised through the town, in consequence of 
the ju-ju king having been attacked and severely 


wounded in the ju-ju house. "We returned, and 
on going up to the place, found it full of natives. 
On a table in the centre was stretched the un- 
fortunate ju-ju potentate, suffering from a severe 
stab in the abdomen and a fearful gash in the 
wrist. With such appliances as the natives could 
furnish, Dr. Saunders stitched and dressed the 
wounds. It was then related to us that a head 
man of the ju-ju king's establishment had been 
mad for a few days ; that while he was making 
ju-ju, with many of the people attending at the 
ceremonial, the lunatic had rushed into the 
temple and inflicted the wounds on him; and 
that, before the madman could be seized, he had 
rushed away again, supposed to have gone into 
the bush (as the thick wood around is termed). 

" Dr. Saunders wished the king's bed to be 
made up in the ju-ju house, that the wounds 
might not be disturbed ; but all those around 
objected, giving as a reason their dread of the 
assassin coming back and doing something worse. 
Preparations being then made to take him on a 
door to his dwelling-house, we proceeded to 
accompany the bearers, when, on going outside, 
we saw no less than three hundred men armed 
with guns, daggers, spears, and knives. Such is 
the respect shown to white men, that over a 



hundred of these armed people formed a body- 
guard around us to conduct us in safety to the 
beach, where our boats were, as it was then 
getting dark, and the madman might be roaming 
about ; for in his flight he had stabbed two 
women, though not mortally wounded them. 
Some of this escort carried torches, and the 
flashing light in darkness revealing the blades 
of weapons, with the moving ebony of their 
nearly naked bodies, and the glistening savagery 
of their eyes, was a picture not often seen, even 
in Africa. 

" January 5. The ju-ju king died this morn- 
ing. After the ceremonies of his funeral were 
over, he was buried in his own temple, a number 
of armed men afterwards going in pursuit of the 
murderer. They found him in a tree and shot 
him. Athough he fell down dead, they inflicted 
upon him like wounds to those he had given to 
the king namely, a stab in the belly and a gash 
across the wrist. His body was then cut in two 
and thrown into the river for shark food. 

" In a very few days afterwards upwards of fifty 
persons belonging to the murderer's family were 
put to death in a similar manner by wounds in 
the belly and across the wrist. Indeed, there was 
not a single one of his kith or kin left in the 


town that was not sacrificed in exactly the same 
manner as he had butchered the king." 

Although the natives of New Kalabar had 
great faith in this ju-ju king ranking him on 
all state occasions before king Amakree they 
hold in veneration a superior spirit, believed to 
exist in a country some three months' travel' 
from New Kalabar, and in a direction tending 
towards Aboh, up the river Niger. I believe it 
to be in some part of Oru ; and it is entitled by 
them, when they speak of it in English, the 
" Long ju-ju country." Parties are sent there 
to undergo an ordeal for serious crimes. It is 
believed that the ju-ju at that place, who is sup- 
posed to be a woman, knows everything the 
names of all the ships trading in the river, of 
the merchants to whom they belong, and of the 
supercargoes. The country in which this Delphic 
oracle resides is described as a species of amphi- 
theatre, surrounded by hills. As soon as the 
accused arrives near a certain bush only one 
person being allowed to approach at a time his 
accuser makes the charge against him in a loud 
voice. He is then called on to say if he be 
guilty or not guilty. Of course the charge is 
invariably denied. Upon this he is told to re- 
turn. The simple people of New Kalabar, who 


never have been there, believe that if the accused 
be innocent he can go back ; but that if he be 
really guilt} 7 ", his feet become fastened to the 
ground ; that water springs up, which rises, rises, 
rises gradually, till it mounts over his head, 
when he is drowned; and that, as soon as the 
water subsides after his death, the victim is 
found fastened in the earth, with nothing of his 
body visible except his head. 

Mr. Gates informed me that, on one occasion, 
a hundred men were sent away by the authorities, 
being accused of some witchcraft, the particulars 
of which he was ignorant of. Of these thirty- 
nine returned, bringing with them an accusation 
against twenty other persons, who had not pre- 
viously been suspected, and who thus, by the 
revelation of the long ju-ju, were declared guilty. 
These were executed, having been first made 
drunk a privilege which is likewise granted to 
all condemned to die by Egbo authority in Old 
Kalabar. The mode of execution at New Kala- 
bar is hacking the convicted with swords, knives, 
and cutlasses, till death puts an end to his 



Wilhelm Humboldt's idea of the human family being one fra- 
ternity. Baron Von Humboldt's concurrence in these opinions. 
Adherence of native Africans to gri-gris, ju-jus, and fetishes. 
Cannibalism. Probability of languages assimilating their 
nature to these practices. Of the sale of human flesh at Sierra 
Leone. Mr. Caulker's explanation of reasons for burning or 
burying alive the Negroes. Cannibalism at Omun, amongst 
the Boola tribe and the Ejoemen. Sale of Negro flesh at Old 
Kalabar. Cannibalism at Brass. Reasons given for eating the 
slaughtered bodies of their enemies. Of the Pangwes taking 
carcasses out of the ground to eat them. Reprisal cannibalism 
at New Kalabar. 

IN the first volume of Baron Von Humboldt's 
" Cosmos," * an extract is given from a work of 
his brother Wilhelm, in which the following 
passage occurs : 

" If we would indicate an idea, which through- 
out the whole course of history has ever more 
and more widely extended its empire, or which 

* Page 368. 


more than any other testifies to the much con- 
tested, and still more decidedly misunderstood, 
perfectibility of the whole human race, it is that 
of establishing our common humanity ; of striv- 
ing to remove the barriers which prejudice and 
limited views of every kind have erected amongst 
men, and to treat all mankind, without reference 
to religion, nation, or colour, as one fraternity, 
one great community, fitted for the attainment 
of one object the unrestrained development of 
the psychical powers." 

Bearing upon these observations, the Baron 
likewise remarks* : " The principle of indi- 
vidual and political freedom is implanted in the 
ineradicable conviction of the equal rights of one 
sole human race." 

This philosophy puzzles one who contemplates 
such scenes as I have recorded, and am about to 
go on with. There may be allowed a palliation 
for the deeds of the American Indians in scalp- 
ing those who fall into their hands by the for- 
tunes of war, or the chances of raid and foray. 
A plea may, perhaps, be advanced for the 
atrocities committed by Sepoys in the recent 
Indian rebellion, urged on as they were by the 
despotic creed of Islamism. But the thirst for 

* Humboldt's "Cosmos," vol. ii., p. 568. 


blood which marks the lives of many of the 
Negro races, seems to me very incompatible with 
the foregoing, as well as with another idea of 
Humboldt's * : 

" Whilst we maintain the unity of the human 
species, we at the same time repel the depressing 
assumption of superior and inferior races of men. 
There are nations more susceptible of cultivation, 
more highly civilized, more ennobled by mental 
cultivation, than others ; but none in themselves 
nobler than others." 

I fear that "mental cultivation" can have 
little effect on individuals who cannot be classed 
as humanized. Although not denying that a 
few, very few the rari nantes in gurgite vasto 
have manifested an intellectual capacity equal to 
that of white men ; still, even those who for scores 
of years have been intermixing with European 
traders, mostly Englishmen, cling to their gri-gris, 
ju-jus, fetishes, and cannibalism, with as much 
pertinacity as they did a hundred years ago. 

It might be assumed that their languages, assi* 
milating the practices of their daily lives to 
natural organization, may have something to 
do with this adherence to old practices. No 
doubt arguments can be advanced to prove that 

* " Cosmos," vol. i., p. 368. 


they, with all their thirst for their fellow-crea- 
tures' blood, are entirely innocent and uncon- 
scious of many abominable crimes, which are of 
daily occurrence amongst civilised communities 
of Europe. Caligulas and Neros may be said 
to exist amongst these tribes ; although they 
have not yet arrived at that stage of civiliza- 
tion which produces a Robson or a Redpath. 

People in England, who imagine Africa to be 
a land of palms and gold, of elephants and lions 
even those less poetic and more commercial 
folk who look to the growing development of 
that country's resources in the increasing pro- 
duction of palm oil and ivory would scarcely 
believe that in these days whilst I write can- 
nibalism is almost as rampant on the west coast 
of Africa as it has ever been. 

Let us turn backwards a few hundred miles 
from Liberia to the British colony of Sierra 
Leone, where we can read the following para- 
graph in the " African " newspaper of April 5th 
last. It is contained in a report of the sixty- 
eighth (!) anniversary of the Countess of Hun- 
tingdon's connexion in that colony : 

"Mr. Samuel Priddy, who is employed by 
the Society, and has been labouring as a native 
missionary at Bompeh in the Sherbro country, 


supported the same (i.e. a resolution). He stated 
that the cruel and barbarous practices of canni- 
balism were indulged in during the late war, 
and that he saw hampers of dried human flesh 
carried on the backs of men, upon which they in- 
tended to feast. He called for help, and hoped 
that such pecuniary means would be provided 
as would prove sufficient to send him back to 
the sphere of his former labours." 

The editor, in a foot-note, says he would like 
to see the statement confirmed, as if a doubt 
could be thrown on the spoken words of a 
respectable and truth-telling missionary, who 
recorded only what he saw ! 

In a subsequent number of the same paper, 
we observe a Mr. Caulker denying that canni- 
balism exists in the Boinpeh part of the Sher- 
bro country, and asserting that the Boorhdy 
country must be the one meant by Mr. 
Priddy; thereby acknowledging that cannibal- 
ism does exist in his neighbourhood. With 
what a graphic coolness is the following pallia- 
tion given in his defence of the Bompeh people 
against the charge of being man-eaters : 

" Only when one is sick, they would request 
the sick party to confess all that he or she had 
done in order to live; and if the sick party 


acknowledges to have entered into a leopard or 
an alligator, to eat any one that may have been 
killed by such animals, or to have sucked the 
blood of a deceased person while living, then the 
parents of such deceased person (if the deceased 
party was a chief or some high one) will flog 
such person to death, or burn, or bury such 
person alive." 

This is quite enough of the peculiarities of the 
" white man's grave " for the present, so we pass 
Monrovia again and speed down the coast. 

Cannibalism exists in the Omun country, up 
the Cross river; and I am informed that the 
Boola tribe, who reside far interior to Corisco 
bay, come down the Mooney river to get some 
of the sea-shore dwelling people to make " chop " 
of them, because they are reputed to have a salt- 
ish, therefore a relishable flavour. This may 
be defined to be the epicurism of man-eating. 

My late colleague at Lagos (B. Campbell, Esq.), 
giving me some information about the Ejoemen 
or Jomen a tribe spread over the countries ad- 
jacent to many creeks in the Delta of the Niger 
observes, " When I wrote to you about the Ejoe- 
men I forgot to tell you that they are generally 
considered to be cannibals. Some Krooboys, 
who had been badly treated on board a Liverpool 


ship, a few years since, took one of the boats and 
went oif. Hunger and thirst compelled them to 
enter one of the rivers between Benin and the 
Nun. The Ejoemen fell in with them, and after 
a desperate struggle captured the Kroomen, first 
killing two of their number. The survivors of 
the Krooboys were eventually sold at Warree 
town, and redeemed by Mr. Henry. They de- 
clared to Mr. Henry that the Ejoemen had eaten 
those boys who were killed. 

"When Captain Denham was surveying this 
part of the coast, he sent up one of the rivers a 
boat, in which were two young officers. They 
were attacked by the Ejoemen, overpowered and 
killed, and if the surviving Kroomen's story be 
true, were no doubt eaten also. 

"Mr. Carr, of the model farm (second Niger 
Expedition), was most probably killed by these 
people, or by King Boy, who was an Ejoe- 

During the year 1859 human flesh was exposed 
for sale, as butcher's meat, in the market at 
Duketown, Old Kalabar. 

In Brass (or the Nimbe country), cannibalism 
often occurs. Even within the last year a chief 
of that district, named Imamy, killed two of the 
Acreeka people before mentioned, who were sac- 


rificed to the manes of his father, and eaten. In 
Brass, as in Bonny, they eat all enemies taken in 
war; and they put forth, as a justification for this, 
that devouring the flesh of their enemies makes 
them braver. 

Captain Townsend, who is very familiar with 
the internal economy of all the negro tribes, has 
related to me the following illustration. 

The Pangwes, who reside up the river Gaboon, 
exhume, for the purpose of eating them, the dead 
bodies of their friends, when they have been from 
six to eight days in the ground. A Gaboon black 
trader, in the employment of a white supercargo, 
died suddenly. His family thinking that the death 
had resulted from witchcraft, two of his sisterswere 
authorised to go to his grave and bring his head 
away, in order that they might test the fact. 
This testing is effected in the following manner: 
An iron pot with fresh water is placed on the 
floor ; at one side of it is the head of the dead 
man ; at the other side is seated a fetish doctor. 
The latter functionary then puts in his mouth a 
piece of herb, supposed to impart divining 
powers, chews it, and forms a magic circle by 
spitting round the pot, the head, and himsel 
The face of the murderer, after a few incantations, 
is supposed to be reflected on the water contained 


in the pot. The fetish man then states he sees 
the murderer, and orders the head to be again 
put back to its proper grave, some days being then 
given to him for deliberation. In the meantime, 
he may fix on a man who is rich enough to pay 
him a sufficient bribe to be excused of the charge ; 
and if so, he confesses that the fetish has 

In the case just mentioned, when they returned 
with the head, the body left behind was nowhere 
to be found, and on making inquiries into the 
facts connected with its disappearance, it was as- 
certained, beyond doubt, that some Pangwes, who 
had been present at the disinterment for the pur- 
pose of decapitation, had returned to the grave, 
taken the body therefrom, and eaten it. 

Mr. Gates, who was trading for Captain Straw, 
supercargo to Messrs. Horsfall and Sons, of Liver- 
pool, has drawn out for me a picture of his ex- 
perience in New Kalabar : 

" It seems that some few weeks previous to this 
occurrence (27th August, 1858), two natives of 
New Kalabar were on their way to the Aboh 
palm oil market, when they were caught by the 
natives of a district called Acreeka, killed, and 
eaten. On hearing of this, the New Kalabarese 
determined on reprisal. Accordingly, a palaver 


was held, and a message sent demanding that the 
murderers should be given up, at the same time 
intimating that if this request were not granted, 
a war with no mercy to young or old would be 
commenced forthwith. The men, four in number, 
were delivered over, along with a boy, who turned 
king's evidence, in the hope of not being in- 
cluded in the punishment. They were tried 
before the ju-ju King, as well as the chiefs in the 
ju-ju house, and condemned to the same fate as 
they had inflicted on the others. They were 
then brought into the market place, which is hard 
by a sheet of water opposite King Arnakree's 
residence,* and the boy informer was compelled 
to perform the most disgusting mutilations on his 
unfortunate countrymen whilst they stood in the 
water. Worse than tiger-like, the spectators 
drank the water, in which was mingled the blood 
of the victims. The latter were then dragged out, 
hacked and cut limb from limb by the Kalabar- 
ese executioners, whilst pieces of their flesh were 
distributed amongst the natives of the town, 
some of whom roasted, some boiled, and others 
made soup, rendered pungent, no doubt, by palm 
oil and red peppers." 

*Vide "Impressions of Western Africa," p. 101. Longman, 
Brown, & Co., 1858. 



Author's doubts of foregoing brutalities, removed only by what he 
saw carried out Reprisal Execution at Bonny preparatory to 
a Cannibalistic Feast Private Arrangements to obtain a View 
of the Scene of Execution Sensations on seeing the Ju-ju house 
at early dawn No Similarity between it and Newgate The 
Executioner and the Victim Appalling Nature of the Silence 
prevailing at the Butchery Manner in which the Execution 
was carried out Decapitation Boys and Girls Carrying Bits 
of the Carcasses away with them Two Women Squabbling 
for a Morsel of Negro Flesh Inutility of Moral Force Preach- 
ing to prevent such Scenes The Ju-ju Executioner's Reason 
for not Eating his Brother Negro's Head Accounts of Similar 
Butchery and Cannibalism at Dahomey Heroes Wearing 
Necklaces of Human Teeth. 

I MUST confess that the stories which I had only 
recently heard of cannibalism did startle me as 
I believe they will many of the public, to whom 
they are new, with reference to this part of the 

The incidents recorded by Mr. Gates set me seri- 
ously to think. I was already aware of the door- 


pillars, as well as the inside flooring, of the Bonny 
ju-ju house being ornamented with negroes' skulls. 
I had seen within this heathen temple arm and leg 
bones of human bodies arranged on its high altar. 
These were the mortal remains of their enemies 
in the Andoney country, whom they did not 
deny that their forefathers had devoured. But 
I entertained not the slightest suspicion that any 
leaven of the old anthropophagy existed in the 
present time, till I had ocular proof of its appal- 
ling atrocities. 

On the occasion of an official visit to Bonny, 
in the early part of last year, I was privately in- 
formed that a reprisal execution, prefatory to the 
eating of a body, was to take place on the fol- 
lowing morning, opposite the ju-ju house. It 
was in return for a similar murder of one 
of the better class of slaves, who had been a 
palm-oil trader and who was reported to have 
been killed, as well as eaten, the week before, in 
one of the creeks leading up to the Humballah 
country. The poor fellow captured, and now 
doomed to death, was to be eaten too. No white 
man in the river was expected to know anything 
about it. Indeed, if a white man were seen near 
the place of execution when the victim was about 
to suffer, his presence would have either caused 


an adjournment to another time and place, or 
have been the subject of a " big palaver," in- 
volving the payment of a considerable fine. 

Communicating my intentions to nobody, I 
landed, on the evening of our arrival, at the 
sandy beach close by the river's side, and oppo- 
site to where the trading ships are anchored, in- 
stead of going the usual way round by the creek 
into town. I sauntered in the direction of the 
ju-ju house, seemingly with no purpose, and a 
few minutes' survey shewed me a small house, 
with a loop-hole in it, commanding a view of 
the temple's front nothing intervening be- 
tween it and the creek but a heap of garbage. 
The door was within a few yards of the 
creek, which runs at a right angle with the main 
bed of the river. It was empty and unoccupied, 
and had probably been used as a store in past 
times by some trader, who had now grown rich 
enough to buy or builda larger magazine elsewhere. 

Making a detour by another route, I returned to 

H. M. S. S. S. ; and the commander, entering 

into my wishes, gave orders to have a boat ready 
at any time on the following morning when I de- 
sired it. I suggested the small ding} 7 , with four 
Krooboys using paddles. 

Starting from the vessel at half-past four o'clock 



in the morning, after taking my shower-bath, 
cup of coffee, and glass of Quinine wine, the 
Krooboys paddled noiselessly along. The man-of- 
war steamer being anchored a considerable dis- 
tance down the river, we turned into the creek, 
as a faint greyness, indicative of coming day, ap- 
peared in the eastern sky. " Softly, softly," the 
Krooboys sculling, we approach the nearest land- 
ing-place, between which and the river's corner 
arises a dense mangrove bush, ten or twelve feet 
high above the water's surface. I am removed 
from the boat to shore on the shoulders of a Kroo- 
man. Then, telling the men to go back to the 
ship for their breakfast, and to return to the front 
beach for me in two hours, I slipped into the small 
house, and closed the door. 

I know not of what kind are the sensations 
felt by those around Newgate, waiting for an 
execution in the very heart of London's 
great city ; but I know that on the banks of an 
African river, in the grey dawn of morning 
where the stillness was of that oppressive nature 
which is calculated to produce the most gloomy im- 
pressions, with dense vapours and foul smells aris- 
ing from decomposing mangrove, and other causes 
of malaria, floating about, with a heaviness of 
atmosphere that depressed the spirits, amidst 


a community of cannibals, I do know that, al- 
though under the protection of a man-of-war, I 
felt on this occasion a combined sensation of sus- 
pense, anxiety, horror, and indefinable dread of 
I cannot tell what, that I pray God it may never 
be my fate to endure again. 

Day broke, and, nearly simultaneous with its 
breaking, the sun shone out. As I looked through 
the slit in the wall on the space between my 
place of concealment and the ju-ju house, I 
observed no change from its appearance the 
evening before. No gibbet, nor axe, nor gal- 
lows, nor rope no kind of preparation, nothing 
significant of death, save the skulls in the pillars 
of the ju-ju house, that seemed leering at me 
with an expression at once strange and vacant. It 
would have been a relief in the awful stillness of 
the place to have heard something of what I had 
read of the preparations for an execution in Liver- 
pool or London of the hammering suggestive of 
driving nails into scaffold, drop, or coffin of a 
crowd gathering round the place before early 
dawn and of the solemn tolling of the bell 
that chimed another soul into eternity. Every- 
thing seemed as if nothing beyond the routine 
of daily life were to take place. 

Could it be that I had been misinformed that 


the ceremony was adjourned to another time, or 
was to be carried out elsewhere ? 

No. A distant murmur of gabbling voices 
was heard approaching nearer and nearer, till, 
passing the corner house on my left, I saw a 
group of negroes. An indiscriminate crowd of 
all ages and both sexes, so huddled together that 
no person whom I could particularly distinguish 
as either an executioner or culprit was visible 
amongst them. But above their clattering 'talk 
came the sound of a clanking chain that made 
me shudder. 

They stopped in the middle of the square 
opposite the ju-ju house, arid ceased talking. 

One commanding voice uttered a single word, 
and down they sat upon the grass, forming a 
circle round two figures, standing upright in 
the centre the executioner and the man about 
to be killed. The former was remarkable only 
by the black skull-cap which he had on him, 
and by a common cutlass which he held in his 
hand. The latter had chains round his neck, 
his wrists, and his ankles. There was no sign 
of fear or cowardice about him no seem- 
ing consciousness of the dreadful fate before 
him no evidence even upon his face of 
that dogged stubbornness which is said to be 


exhibited by some persons about to undergo an 
ignominious death. 

Save that he stood upright one would scarcely 
have known that he was alive. Amongst the 
spectators, too, there was a silent impassiveness 
which was appalling. Not a word, nor gesture, 
nor glance of sympathy, that could make 
me believe I looked at beings who had a vestige 
of humanity amongst them. 

As the ju-ju butcher stepped back and measured 
his distance to make an effectual swoop at his 
victim's neck the man moved not a muscle, but 
stood as if he were unconscious till 

Chop ! the first blow felled him to the ground. 
The noise of a chopper falling on meat is 
familiar to most people. No other sound was 
here none from the man, not a whisper nor a 
murmur from those who were seated about ! I 
was nearly crying out in mental agony, and the 
sound of that first stroke will haunt my ears to 
my dying day. How I wished some one to 
talk or scream, to destroy the impression of that 
fearful hough, and the still more awful silence 
that followed it. Again the weapon was raised to 
continue the decapitation another blow as the 
man lay prostrate, and then a sound broke the 
silence ! But, oh, Father of Mercy ! of what a 


kind was that noise a gurgle and gasp accom- 
panying the dying spasm of the struck-down 
man. Once more the weapon was lifted I saw 
the blood flow in gory horror down the blade 
to the butcher's hand, and there it was visible 
in God's bright sunshine to the whole host of 
heaven. Not a word had yet been uttered by 
the crowd. More chopping and cleaving, and 
the" head, severed from the body, was put, by 
the ju-ju executioner, into a calabash, which 
was carried off by one of his women to be 
cooked. He then repeated another cabalistic 
word, or perhaps the same as at first, and 
directly all who were seated rose up, whilst 
he walked away. A yell, such as reminded me 
of a company of tigers, arose from the mul- 
titude cutlasses were flourished as they 
crowded round the body of the dead man 
sounds of cutting and chopping rose amidst the 
clamour of the voices, and I began to question 
myself whether if I were on the other side of the 
river Styx, I should see what I was looking at here 
through the little slit in the wall of my hiding- 
place? A crowd of human vultures gloating over 
the headless corse of a murdered brother negro 
boys and girls walking away from the crowd, 
holding pieces of bleeding flesh in their hands, 


while the dripping life fluid marked their road as 
they went along ; and one woman snapping from 
the hands of another both of them raising 
their voices in clamour a part of the body of 
that poor man, in whom the breath of life was 
vigorous not a quarter of an hour ago ! 

The whole of the body was at last divided, and 
nothing left behind but the blood. The intestines 
were taken away to be given to an iguana the 
Bonnyman's tutelary guardian. But the blood 
was still there, in glistening pools, though no 
more notice was taken of it by the gradually dis- 
persing crowd, than if it were a thing as common 
in that town as Heaven's bright dew is elsewhere. 
A few dogs were on the spot, who devoured the 
fragments. Two men arrived to spread sand over 
the place, and there was no interruption to the fa- 
miliar sound of coopers' hammering, just begin- 
ning in the cask houses, or to the daily work of 
hoisting palm-oil puncheons on board the ships. 

Before quitting the house, which I managed to 
do at a moment when all around was clear, I 
asked myself, is this the eighteen hundred and 
fifty-ninth year of the Christian era? are these 
the people amongst whom British commerce has 
been exercising its civilizing influence for more 
than half a century ? two questions which 


it is melancholy and saddening to feel obliged 
to answer by a simple affirmative. 

Two days after, on passing the ju-ju house, 
I saw a small scaffold made of twigs, erected 
at the distance of a few yards from the front of 
the house, on the top of which were deposited 
leg, thigh, arm and rib bones, which had all the 
appearance of having been grilled first, and well 
picked afterwards. 

These executions, and the subsequent harpyism, 
are generally confined to families or houses, and 
therefore cause little or no excitement on the part 
of the general population not directly interested. 
Hence the small number of people present at this 
affair in a town whose population amounts to 
nearly eight thousand. Such scenes may now be 
considered of more frequent occurrence than for- 
merly, as the Bonny people have sworn an oath 
(or, as they call it, taken ju-ju) to exterminate the 
Obetta tribe, who occupy an interior district, and 
their modus operandi of effecting this resolution 
is by waiting for them in ambush, and then cap- 
turing, killing, and eating them. 

It may be asked, is there no moral or social 
law amongst these people to prevent such occur- 
rences ? My answer is simply, that moral and 
social obligations are things of which they are as 


ignorant and unconscious as of the language of 
Kamschatka, or of the condition of affairs in 
the moon. Many persons might suppose that 
the " moral force " presence of a man-of-war in 
the river ought to have acted as a prohibition 
to this butchery. No doubt it would, had the 
steamer been anchored nearer to the town, or 
had it been suspected that a knowledge of the 
event had arrived on board. 

But all the men-of-war in the British Navy 
could have had no power to prevent the execu- 
tion being consummated elsewhere, away in some 
private creek, or swamp, or bush. And if stopped 
for the time being, it would have been carried 
out sub umbra as sure as the day dawns and the 
night darkens over Bonny country. 

Lecture these people on the sin and shame of 
such things, and judge by what I am about to 
record of the effect which such remonstrance is 
likely to have. 

Six or eight months subsequent to my 
having witnessed the foregoing slaughter, 
Mrs. Hutchinson accompanied me to Bonny 
in a man-of-war steamer, as she had had fever, 
and required change of air. Whilst we were 
there staying with Mr. Straw, supercargo 
of the hulk " Ambrosine," belonging to Messrs. 


Charles Horsfall & Sons of Liverpool, there 
came on board one morning the very same ju-ju 
executioner that I had seen at his bloody work 
during my former visit. Rumours had been 
afloat that another affair, like the previous one, 
had come off a few days before. Indeed, so 
much of certainty was attached to these rumours, 
that Mr. Straw asked the ju-ju man, in the pre- 
sence of myself and my wife, how he could have 
so little shame as to stand unabashed before a 
white lady, who had heard of his having eaten 
the head of a brother black man ? With the 
most imperturbable sang-froid he replied, that 
he had not eaten it, " as his cook had spoiled it, 
by not putting enough of pepper upon it ! " 

That a cruel and barbarous practice anala- 
gous to this has existed from time imme- 
morial in other parts of Africa is evident 
from what is recorded by travellers to Dahomey 
in the year 1727.* On their being conducted to 
the king, Guaja Trudo, at that time the fourth 
monarch of this kingdom, they passed by two 
heaps of human heads piled on two large stages. 
These, they were told, were the heads of four 

* Vide West African Herald, July 27th and August 13th, 
1860, in which is a very interesting paper " On the Origin and 
History of Dahomey." 


thousand of the Whydahs, who had been 
sacrificed to celebrate a late victory, which was 
the finishing stroke of King Trudo's invasion, 
and consequent subjugation of the Whydah 
territory, a few months previous to the tra- 
vellers' visit. 

At the ceremonial of reception on this occa- 
sion were present the king's body-guard, amount- 
ing to forty, who were armed with muskets and 
swords, and ornamented with strings of human 
teeth round their necks, hanging down to the 
waist before and behind. These were the teeth 
of enemies slain in battle, which the king's 
worthies or heroes were allowed to wear as 
trophies of their valour. It was death for one 
of these heroes to presume to wear a tooth 
whose owner he could not prove he had killed 
with his own hand. 

Very similar to the sacrifice described in this 
chapter was the following one recorded as having 
been celebrated on the latter occasion more espe- 
cially so far as regards the practice of giving the 
head to the king, the blood to the fetish, and the 
body to the common people to be eaten : " After 
they had dined on some ham and porter, which they 
brought with them from Whydah, the travellers 
repaired to the place where the prisoners were 


to be sacrificed. Four small stages were erected, 
at about five feet from the ground, by the side 
of one of which the English captain took his 
station. The first victim was a comely old 
man, between fifty and sixty years of age, with 
a firm countenance and undaunted bearing. He 
was brought to the side of the stage with his 
hands tied behind him ; and as he stood erect 
the fetishman, or ju-ju priest, laid his hand upon 
his head and made a speech, which lasted 
about two minutes. This ended, he made a sign 
to the executioner, who was standing behind the 
prisoner (?), and who immediately severed the 
head from his body with one stroke of a broad 
sword. The multitude gave a great shout. The 
head was thrown upon the stage, and the body, 
having lain a short time that the blood might 
drain from it, was carried away by slaves, and 
thrown on a spot near the camp. The like scene 
was doubtless exhibiting on the three other 
stages at the same time. The Englishman was 
informed that the blood belonged to the fetish, 
the head to the king, and the body to the 
common people, by which last he understood 
that it was given to them to be eaten. The 
king, it was said, intended to build a monu- 
ment of his victory with these and other skulls." 



Appalling consideration suggested by the foregoing Inhumanities 
Difficulty of devising Remedial Measures for them Paucity 
of British as well as Missionary Stations amongst the Native 
Africans Questions regarding Great Britain's duty in aiding 
African civilization No faith in the obligation of a National 
Compensation From Serious and Sanguinary to Recreative and 
Refreshing Sydney Smith's appreciation of Tropical Delecta- 
bilities The village of Twa and its Attractions Passage up the 
Creek from Brass Harbour to Twa Architecture in the Village 
Our trip to Brass town, the capital of Nimbe country 
Richard Lander's description of it thirty years ago Our night 
at the King's Country Palace Variety of Serenading and other 
Attractions The King's Fisherwomen Ebony mermaids 
Sensations on parting company. 

THE most appalling consideration arising from our 
knowledge of incidents like those recorded in the 
preceding chapter seems to me that we cannot con- 
sider them to be isolated, if for no other reasons, 
from the fact of their being for the most part con- 
summated in the sight of our fellow-countrymen. 
It pains me very much to have it in my power to 


add, that savageries more inhuman than any I 
have recorded here, truculent and indecent enough 
to create a shudder in the nerves of the most de- 
praved, are of frequent occurrence amongst the 
tribes within my jurisdiction. To attempt civi- 
lizing such a race before they are humanized, 
would appear to me beginning at the wrong end. 
I have passed many a serious hour in cogitating 
and trying to suggest to myself some sort of 
education to root out this fell spirit, but I fear 
that ages must pass by before any system, even of 
the simplest form, can produce impressions of ame- 
lioration on temperaments such as they possess. 
The few British stations on the coast, and the pau- 
city of missionaries amongst the immense popula- 
tion (two hundred and fifty millions) of the African 
continent, although producing beneficial results 
within their limited spheres, are but as drops in 
the ocean of Ethiopian barbarism and darkness. 
The question of duty in aiding the civilization 
of Western Africa, is simply one of rendering com- 
pensation for the many miseries our legitimi- 
zation of the slave-trade has caused to these people. 
The spirit of Christian love alone can enable us 
to discharge our duty in this respect to that race 
in the oppression and degradation of which we 
have borne so large a share. The world's 
past history affords very few instances of 


such a palpable penitence as this would imply ; 
for if we look to the records of the desolating 
wars that have overwhelmed dynasties all over 
the habitable globe during the last twelve centu- 
ries, succeeding to none of them can we find the 
proposal of a " national compensation." 

Does our nation constitute itself a public 
schoolmaster for the untutored African? I ask 
not the reasons for doing so, if so it be. But, for 
the sake of our common humanity, let it assume 
this office in a manner different from that which 
obtains at the present time. 

Before leading my readers into anything 
further connected with the socialities of African 
life, I shall ask them to accompany me into some 
of the scenes which are to be enjoyed here, and 
leave them to relish these as a whet to their phi- 
lanthropy; for a little recreation is needed 
after what we have just gone through. 

Many indeed I consider myself safe in writ- 
ing the majority of my friends at home, have 
little idea of the delectabilities incidental to a 
residence within the Tropics. Sidney Smith has 
described, with his usual graphic power, the 
pleasure of finding centipedes crawling over one's 
bed, and of seeing flies drowning in a milk jug, 
or ants dancing quadrilles over the bread and 



butter. Of all places in ttie world between 
the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn I believe 
Western Africa to possess a variety of features 
amongst which even a philosopher of Mark 
Tapley's school could "feel credit in being jolly." 

I am on board a man-of-war, in the harbour 
interior to the mouth of Brass* river, and it is 
the middle of the rainy season. A creek, about 
a quarter of a mile in length, and from six to eight 
yards wide, leads down to the village where 
the native pilots reside. This village is called 
Twa ; and though the course of the water may be 
denned as like what the " Irish Sportheen " desig- 
nated a " turpentine* sthramelet," it certainly 
would require a more intensely poetic imagi- 
nation than I possess to discover in it any re- 
semblance to the stream of Bendemeer, with its 
"bower of roses," where "the nightingales sing 
all the day long." 

As the boat goes ahead, the giant stems of 
the mangrove trees seem like vegetable monsters, 
grasping handfuls of earth ; lizards and amphi- 
bious mud-fish, with occasionally a small water- 
fowl of the crocodile species, are observed ; a 
grey king-fisher flits past me here and there ; an 
odd canoe, fastened to a mangrove branch, is 

* No doubt a poetical expression for " serpentine." 


passed as we move along ; and in this craft I see 
a few lazy negroes stretched on their backs, en- 
joying the dolce far niente to an intensity im- 
possible to be realized by a European. 

The village of Twa contains about a hundred 
huts, in the very best of which no one with a 
spark of feeling in him would compel a pig to 
reside. The fish of the stream and the cocoa-nuts 
of the trees are the only sources of subsistence 
for the inhabitants ; as against the cultivation of 
yams their ju-ju (which in this case may be in- 
terpreted to be their laziness) places an interdict. 
The ground-floors of their houses and these are 
all constructed like Donnybrook tents, having 
no "upstairs" in them are very little higher 
than the water of the adjacent creek. In the 
passages between the dwellings, stagnant pools 
of muddy slough are everywhere collected ; and 
when I saw the soft sex splashing and puddling 
through these, it struck me as very fortunate for 
every paterfamilias in Twa that long-tailed crin- 
olines, or even the bloomer costume, with patent 
leathers, have not yet become the mode in this 
part of the world. If you go into a house, you 
would do well to inquire into the possibility of 
getting out again, as the greater number are so 
low in the roofs that people can talk at each 



other from opposite sides by looking over the 
roof-ridge. Should you require a seat, there is a 
log of mangrove wood for you ; and, in case you 
are thirsty, you must not be particular about the 
style of earthenware that is presented in order to 
quaff some cocoa-nut milk or palm wine thereout. 

This, however, is but a petty village ; and it is 
not fair to judge of the manners or morals of a 
people by the character and customs of those 
dwelling on their borders. Let us proceed to 
Brass Town, the capital of the Nimbe country. 

So we are off next morning in a boat, not 
much cheered by perusing the following de- 
scription of it, written nearly thirty years ago : 
" Of all the wretched, filthy, and contemptible 
places in this world of ours," observed Richard 
Lander,* " none can present to the eye of a 
stranger so miserable an appearance, or can offer 
such disgusting and loathsome sights as this 
abominable Brass Town. Dogs, goats, and 
other animals, were running about the dirty 
streets, half-starved, whose hungry looks could 
only be exceeded by the famishing appearance 
of the men, women, and children, which bespoke 
the penury and wretchedness to which they 
were reduced ; whilst the skins of many were 

* " Travels into the Interior of Africa." 


covered with odious boils, and their huts were 
falling to the ground from neglect and decay." 

But who knows whether civilization, progress- 
ing in the usual festina lente style characteristic 
of everything in this country, may not have 
changed the picture by this time ? I am not 
much cheered into this belief by my voyage ; for 
I find that the passage, as it has been described to 
me by the supercargoes, is a wearisome continua- 
tion of creeky water for upwards of thirty miles 
one of the most remarkable illustrations of 
sinuosity in the delta of the Niger ; not a square 
inch of terra firma along the whole route only 
* mud, mangrove, sky, and water ; no beds of prim- 
roses, buttercups, or daffy- do wn-dillies ; no hotel 
or place of rest on the way not even a "Man- 
grove Arms." Of water there is a superabund- 
ance around, as well as above and beneath us; 
for as our boat is rowed along, the rain comes 
down in drops as large as gooseberries as 
tropical rain always does and though the 
atmosphere is murky, very much resembling a 
London November fog, our pilot knows every 
corner and turning as well as if it were bright 
sunshine. No sign of life is observed the whole 
journey up, save occasionally a solitary female 
paddling a canoe loaded to the water's edge with 


firewood thus clearly proving that the social 
condition described by Dr. Livingstone as exist- 
ing in Eastern Africa, by which " a newly-married 
man is bound over for life to carry home fire- 
wood for his mother-in-law," has not yet reached 
the Brass country. 

But here we are at the capital, and find it, 
like many important cities at home, divided into 
two segments by water running between. One 
side is Obullumabry, of which Keya is the head 
magnate ; the other is Bassambry, over which 
Orishima " rules the roast." Either side might be 
taken as an example confirmatory of Lander's 
portrait. The debris of a small periwinkle-looking ' 
shell, styled in the native language " semee," 
seems to constitute the earth upon which the 
residences are constructed. The only thing vary- 
ing the monotony of the hundreds of similar habi- 
tations, is the ruin of an old slave barracoon, fabri- 
cated of tin plates, which is now falling into decay. 
A visit to the ju-ju house, that Delphic oracle 
to which the high-priest would like, no doubt, to 
see us coming with " a dash," is not to be 
accomplished without an elephant or a canoe to 
carry us across the intervening pools; and as 
neither happens to be come-at-able, we wander 
about in the dirty passages, seeing nothing but 


masses of mud, diversified by quantities of shells 
of the mangrove oysters and of the aforesaid 
semee periwinkle tenements ; heaps of firewood ; 
odd puncheons for holding palm oil ; snarling, 
long-tailed, long-eared curs ; naked boys and 
girls; and a sloughy gutter everywhere. King 
Keya meets us in the street, and offers an in- 
vitation to his country house to spend the night 
there, as evening is approaching, and our Kroo- 
boys are not made of iron to pull back the 
thirty miles. So, having had satis superque of 
African scenery for one day, we accept his 
hospitality, and forthwith proceed to the royal 
suburban residence. 

If I were not alive now, and conscious of 

writing this in the cabin of H. M. S. V. , I 

could not believe that I ever should have been 
fortunate enough to enjoy such an uninterrupted 
continuation of delights as those experienced 
during that night's stay in the royal abode at 

My bedroom was about twelve feet by four, 
with holes in the bamboo roof about eight feet 
high that let the rain and rats come in, and 
holes in the floor, probably to allow both to 
make their exit. There was neither stool, chair, 
nor table, nor any article of furniture except the 


bed. This was made of two empty gun -chests, 
covered with a native country mat, and having 
no pillow save a log of wood. The creek by 
which we voyaged up was within five yards of 
the door, and when the tide was low bull-frogs, 
crocodiles, and mud-fish could gambol about in 
their native parterre, in the remorseless swamp 
of which a human being trying to walk would 
certainly be swallowed up. The odour from this 
place at the time of our visit was indescribable, 
and the sensation that it brought to my olfactory 
nerves was far from being like that of the south 
wind "breathing o'er a bed of violets stealing 
and giving odour." 

As soon as I had seated myself on the bed (?), 
with a cigar in my mouth for to sleep with all 
those accessories would have been a vain attempt 
and had blown out my palm-oil lamp, down 
came the musquitoes in showers followed by 
some rats which descended after them without 
waiting for an invitation. A few of the latter 
fell near to where I was sitting, and I made a 
furious tilt at them with a stick I had placed 
near me. This of course alarmed them, and 
made them beat a retreat for some time. But 
as if in mockery of my chivalry within doors, 
outside the bull -frogs commenced croaking in 


dozens, communicating as agreeable a sensation 
by their music as the rasping of a file over a 
rusty saw. 

I lay down and tried to sleep, but it was no 
use. In a few moments the rats were again 
gambolling on the roof. A slight shuffling 
movement which I heard on the floor made me 
fearful that at any minute I might be rendered 
conscious of something slimy in contact with my 
hand or face, probably a mud-fish (or jump-fish, 
as it is called by Kroomen), a kind of amphibious 
reptile, that appears like a cross-breed between a 
conger-eel and a chameleon. How stupid I was 
to have blown out my light ! 

What noise is that ? Female voices outside ! 
Who in the name of goodness are they? passing 
and repassing by the king's harem ever 
gabbling, gabbling, gabbling. This amusement 
going on during the whole livelong night, with 
the companionship of the rats, musquitoes, and 
bull-frogs, put a thousand strange notions into 
my head. Can they be going to the creek-side 
to sacrifice perhaps infants? Are they on their 
way to undergo the process of laving in that 
sweet stream ? If the former be their purpose, 
they must be out-Herod ing Herod if the latter, 
a Turkish bath, with shampooing of currycomb, 


would seem very appropriate for the majority 
of the ladies whom I saw to-day in the streets (!), 
and whose bodies were daubed over with a 
greasy cosmetic of red (styled in the Nimbe 
language "Umbia"), which gives the anointed 
the semblance of a highly-tinged Red Indian. 
But down they go and back they come never 
tiring never relenting never shewing com- 
passion, till morning dawned, when I opened the 
door cautiously and looked out ! 

Some were standing in the mud others were 
lifting fish and nets out of canoes ! They were 
the king's fisherwomen. Following their pro- 
fessional pursuits during the night, they had kept 
me in this condition of restless curiosity ! Talk 
of Billingsgate, indeed ! I looked at them, and 
there they were wet, muddy, and slimy, like 
so many ebony mermaids but still prattling 
and talking, their tongues clattering as if these 
organs were so many untireable steam-engines. 

There was no use in giving them a " bit of my 
mind," for I did not understand a word of their 
language, and they did not comprehend mine. 
It may be useless to record that I did not go 
down on my knees in the mud to pray for them. 
I was unheroic enough to imagine that a wiser 
thing than that as far as my own comfort was 


concerned would be to quit the Nimbe 
country as soon as I could. So my boys having 
got into the boat, I gave his sable majesty a 
more fervent than friendly shake of the hand 
and turned my back on his territory, with 
feelings in which I cannot say there were any 
sentiments of regret 



Three glorious nights of jollity between Bimbia and Kameroons 
Reflections on land about Sea -sickness Preparing our Bivouac 
A Game of Nine-pins with Cocoa nuts My first Night's Com- 
fort Conjecture as to the possibility of M. Soyer's making a 
Palatable Dish from Leeches and Ship's Biscuit Attractions in 
the Wrecked Ship Pleasure of a Night passed on Board Min- 
gled attractions of Rats and Leeches Thudding of Waves against 
the Ship Of a Thirty-mile Walk along an African Beach, subse- 
quent Sleep, and refreshing Dreams Sensations of Waking in a 
Boat half -full of Water At sea once more Dread of becoming 
a second edition of the Ancient Mariner Safe at last. 

ONCE again in a man-of-war steamer, and away 
to a wreck on the shore between Bimbia and 
Kameroons. Anchor being dropped outside 
Bimbia harbour, I start from the steamer, ac- 
companied by three boats, two officers, a number 
of the crew, and several Kroomen. A pull to 
the scene of disaster was about twelve or four- 
teen miles from the place where we had left our 
man-of-war. The vessel to which we were pro- 

A "HALF-GALE." 93 

ceeding was . stranded in the midst of the 
breakers, close by the beach ; and as it was the 
time of spring- tides, with a very high wind 
blowing, it was deemed advisable by the officer 
in charge to let the boat's anchor drop when 
about a quarter of a mile seaward of the wreck, 
in order to wait till what he styled a "half gale," 
then sniffling about, should take a notion of 
subsiding. I entertained a "mental reserva- 
tion " about the " half gale," yet did not express 
it ; but it was something to the effect of de- 
clining acquaintance with a whole one, if those 
seas and that wind were to be designated only 
as " a half." 

The swell of waves was so enormous near the 
wreck, and the rollers made such a " line of 
beauty " (as a mad poet would call it) in their 
curl, that our pilot, the aforesaid officer, ex- 
pressed his dread of the boats being swamped if 
we attempted to land. 

" Cease, rude Boreas, blustering" I had not 
time to finish the line before a peculiar kind of 
drowsiness came creeping over me ; after that a 
sensation as if the boat were playing leap-frog 
with the waves then nausea of the stomach 
after this the awkward prostration, insensibility, 
and apathy of that ridiculous malady called sea- 


sickness. I felt conscious of being alive, and of 
people talking together in the boat, but no more. 
I fancy, if you have ever been sea-sick, you will 
agree with me, that the most horrible aggrava- 
tion to one's sufferings in that state is that of 
being conscious of persons talking around you, 
who are not sick at all who express their sym- 
pathy in voices as grating as a saw-mill, and who, 
you cannot help thinking, have as much sensi- 
bility or sense of human-kindness in them as so 
many Egyptian mummies. There is no use in my 
attempting to describe what I felt during a time 
that seemed four weeks to me, but which was 
recorded by my fellow-passengers as being only 
three or four hours. If but little pity is felt for 
the actual sufferings of those prostrated by the 
mal de mer, how can we expect to excite the sym- 
pathy of others by any mere description, how- 
ever elaborate, of them ? 

I found myself on the beach, as damp as a 
shark or a salmon in its native element, at 
about five o'clock in the evening, having had suf- 
ficient salt spray over me in getting ashore to 
rouse me from my dulness and apathy. I was 
too happy to stand up and walk, so I sat down 
on the edge of one of the boats, that had been 
hauled up on the beach, and commenced to think. 


"To think" of what Byron meant when 
he wrote of " loving the ocean, and his joy of 
youthful sports upon its breast to be " and of 
Haynes Bailey's rhodomontade about the " blue, 
the fresh, the ever, ever free" feeling at. the 
same time a malignant desire to see both of these 
poets, in company with the sea-god Neptune, 
riding on the billows before me " sated on a 
low-backed car," and in a condition something 
approaching to that under which I laboured a 
few hours gone by. The recollection now flashed 
on my mind, perhaps it was as a punishment for 
this demoniacal spirit, that although our three 
boats were hauled up high and dry upon the 
beach, the getting them launched again through 
such a surf as that which raged there was a 
perfect impossibility. Therefore wreck or man- 
of-war was equally unapproachable; we had 
only one meal's provision with us, save a bag of 
bread for the sailors ; we were all conscious of 
being endowed with stomachs we had not a 
change of clothes there was no hope of a bed 
save in the boats, or in the thicket of tall Guinea 
grass around, where the company of snakes, cen- 
tipedes, musquitoes, land crabs, with other hor- 
rid reptiles, was not likely to be of the most at- 
tractive kind. 


As night approached, our bivouac was pre- 
pared by the sailors and Kroomen rigging the 
sails upon the oars, so as to form a covering over 
the after-parts of the boats. This being accom- 
plished, the tars, true to the lightheartedness of 
British sailors all over the world, commenced play- 
ing at nine-pins with a quantity of cocoa-nuts 
that were strewed over the beach. A fire was 
kindled, and I stowed myself away in the stern 
of my own boat ; but to sleep, with hundreds of 
musquitoes serenading around, delighted, no 
doubt, at having the opportunity of exercising 
their skill in phlebotomy on my face, was a 
thing that Morpheus would not sanction. The 
operations of these blood-suckers were diversified 
during the night with showers of rain, which only 
drove them in greater numbers beneath the awn- 

Morning dawned, and shewed us the breakers 
raging more angrily ; while the wind was like- 
wise blowing with greater fury. One of my 
Kroomen advanced at my call, and, shaking his 
head ominously, mumbled, " Wathery be sarcy 
(saucy) too much, for any dem boat to lib (live) 
in dat say." 

Breakfast was soon got over, as it consisted 
only of ship's biscuit and water from a leech-pool 


hard by, materials that even M. Soyer's artistic 
skill, with his most piquant condiments, could 
scarcely transform into a savoury dish. 

When the tide reached its lowest ebb, we ad- 
vanced in a body to the wreck up to our middles 
in the water, for the ship was so near the beach 
that we could talk to those on board. The gang- 
way ladder had been taken from the ship's side, 
and suspended from the bow, so we clambered 
up and ejected some native as well as British 
pirates who were in the vessel. 

Taking possession of the derelict, and making 
arrangements for setting about saving the cargo, 
occupied so much time, that when I looked over 
the ship the tide had reached in so far, I saw 
it was impossible to regain the shore, so I turned 
into the cabin. 

Here there was a desolation out of my power 
to describe. All the meat, wine, and brandy 
had been abstracted by the natives, and the 
cabin had been dismantled of its furniture 
tables, chairs, and lockers. There was plenty of 
biscuit on board, but no water ; and the latter 
was only attainable when the efflux of the tide 
would permit a Krooman to go on shore to fetch 
it. However, here we were for the night, as re- 
turning, even if we could, to the boats would 



seem to be an " out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the- 
fire" sort of change. 

From the moment I came on board until I 
left, next day, there was a continuous thun- 
dering against the ship's stern, caused by the 
waves rising and breaking with a furious thud, 
as if of a battering-ram, shaking every plank 
and nail, and making every mother's son of us 
within the sphere of these planks and nails to 
quiver in sympathy. 

A Krooboy was sent ashore for some water, 
which he brought back in a calabash-bottle, in- 
geniously tied on the top of his head, and we had 
a cup of tea, with bread, before retiring to rest. 

To rest, indeed ! The only places on which 
we could lie down were either wet sails or hard 
boards. The rats, driven from their abiding places 
below, after the ship's bottom had been stove in, 
were running " for safety and for succour" about 
the cabin deck. Now and then a volume of spray 
dashed over the sky-light, the "biggest half" of 
it coming down in showers on us in the cabins 
without compunction. The waves beat furiously 
against the sides of the ship ; while the abomi- 
nable odour of the bilge water, united with that 
of the palm oil which escaped from the casks, 
was indescribable. 


There was no use in calling the steward, as he 
had nothing at command to comfort us. Some 
water might be left in that calabash, which would 
serve as a refreshing drink, but there might 
also be some leeches in it ; and was there not 
the possibility of one of those blood-augers get- 
ting into a man's stomach, and giving him the 
sensation of a gimlet going through the dia- 
phragm ? Oh ! faugh ! is morning never to come ? 

It did come, but with it no signs of improve- 
ment from yesterday. Goodness gracious ! when 
is this wind to subside ? when are the waves to 
become quiescent ? and, if the " half gale " con- 
tinues, how long can the ship endure this billowy 
battering ? I must do something to get out of 
this ; for two days and two nights of such knock- 
ing about are quite enough for one fit of recre- 
ation. If the wreck should break up ! 

But that thought is too horrible to dwell upon. 
" Here, steward, place a Krooboy to report to me 
when the tide is out sufficiently to let me try 
and scramble ashore; get me some tea, with a 
little bread, and I shall be off." 

" Off! where to ?" you may ask. Clambering 
down the ladder, I reached the shore on the 
shoulders of my Kroomen ; took off my boots 
and stockings, tucked up my trousers, told two 

H 2 


of the boys to accompany me, bringing with 
them a Union Jack, some biscuit in a bag, and 
water in a bottle taking care to include no 
leeches in the latter. 

Away we trudged for a walk of sixteen miles 
along the strand, nearly as far towards Bimbia 
as the western outlet of Mordecai Creek, in 
order to try a chance of signalling to H. M. S. 

V , a request to send us some means of 

delivery. I knew that her place of anchor was 
about eight miles from the nearest point of land 
at which we could arrive ; but if the sky, at the 
time we reached that place, happened to be clear, 
some of her look-outs might observe our flag. 
"When we arrived at the end of our journey, we 
could barely distinguish the outline of a steamer ; 
and the wind was blowing, the surf beating, and 
the rain falling, just as vigorously here as in 
the place which we had left. With these was 
that haziness of atmosphere which is the invaria- 
ble accompaniment of such weather in Western 
Africa; and I could not give myself credit for 
possessing the " animagosity" of a human donkey, 
when half an hour's flag-waving proved to me 
that all my signalling was vain, and that my only 
alternative was either to toddle back the sixteen 
miles, or to try to roost for the night in one of 
the adjacent palm trees. 


You may guess, if you can, with what an 
amiable temper I turned to retrace my footsteps. 
There was no virtue in carrying out this resolu- 
tion; for an old*proverb says, " There is no virtue 
in necessity." The prospect of my night's lodging 
was not very inviting. Nevertheless, I tried to 
persuade myself that the exercise would do me 
good, as walking only made me feel as if I were 
becoming more vigorous. I was even beginning 
to sing, when I was startled by the appearance 
of the dead bodies of two black men on the 
beach, whom neither I nor my Krooboys had 
recognised on our way up. This may be explained 
by the fact that on our first journey we had 
walked through the surf, as the tide was just 
beginning to come in, while on the return we 
were obliged to keep close to the bush, as it was 
nearly up to high water. The bodies were those 
of two poor fellows who had been drowned by 
the upsetting, on the day before, of a canoe that 
was sent to our assistance by King William of 

Thirty miles walk, even along a smooth sand, 
forms no bad anodyne for a sound sleep. Having 
despatched a messenger to the wreck for some 
tea, I partook of a basin of it with bread ; and as 
it was near dark when I arrived at my hotel, I 

102 A DREAM. 

huddled myself up in the boat's stern first 
causing a fire to be lighted at each side, in order 
to keep off the inusquitoes. I was soon asleep. 
Some time in the middle of the night I got into 
a conglomeration of horrible dreams. I fancied 
that the wreck was in Lagos harbour that the 
pounding water was gradually breaking it asun- 
der and that the prospect of a speedy separation 
of its component parts was very much enlivened 
by the sight of a few hundred sharks swimming 
about, with jaws open for their prey, and eyes 
gloating in anticipation over their promised feast.* 
I thought that the grand smash came at last, 
and that I was in the water swimming for my 
life, when 

Suddenly I awoke, and found myself, though 
not in the society of sharks, floating in a pool 
that had collected at the end of my boat her 
bow was a little raised the result of a fall of rain 
that had continued perhaps for hours, with no 
outlet It had an inlet sufficiently spacious, for 
the whole of the boat was uncovered save the 
part wherein I was sleeping. 

Here was a pickle, to be sure ! The acme of 
my three glorious nights' pleasures and comforts. 

* Any one who has been at Lagos must know that numbers of 
sharks may be seen, many with their back fins out of the water, 
prowling about every ship. 


Pitch-dark; the fires of course extinguished by the 
rain, which was still falling. No change of clothes ; 
and therefore, of course, no refuge from this con- 
dition of wretchedness. The sparkle of a light 
in the Krooboys' hut, however, caught my eye ; 
and I was out of the boat in a twinkling indeed, 
I believe that I shivered and shook myself out of 
it, called up a few of the boys to make the fire 
larger, took off my clothes, rolled myself in a 
boat's awning, and waited till my garments were 
dry. No quinine wine to be had no tea nor 
coffee till morning dawned, and the stranded ship 
was approachable ; biscuit and leech-pool Avater 
were the only things at hand or leech-pool 
water and biscuit, by way of variety. 

Flesh and blood could stand this no longer ; so, 
as daylight glimmered, I asked one of my Kroo- 
boys to go out and look at the sea. His reply, 
" Wathery sarcy still all same " almost tempted 
me to knock him down. Another Krooboy, whom 
I soon became weak enough to respect, gave it 
as his opinion that the " wind no be so throng," 
and that he thought " the sarcy wather go down 
when tide done for go out next time." 

His prediction was verified. The large cutter 
belonging to the man-of-war was launched first, 
and got away with safety, having one of the 


officers on board. My gig was shoved off soon 
after, and as soon as we had got outside the 
breakers, and I found myself once more safe 
afloat, I began concocting what kind of certifi- 
cate I should give to my weather-wise Krooman, 
to obtain for him meteorological promotion, per- 
haps at Greenwich Observatory. Being rowed 
in a boat for several hours at sea seeing the 
cutter with sails set going ahead of me as fast as 
the Flying Dutchman and a state of mind and 
body such as any man would be in after four 
days and three nights of such rustication as I had 
endured are not at all predisposing to placidity of 
temper. The cutter had been out of sight for a 
few hours ; no steamer was yet visible, and^we had 
nothing to steer by but land-marks. These, too, 
were often obscured by heavy showers, which 
made the sky thick and gloomy. But we were 
getting along even against a strong current, and 
I was congratulating myself on soon having a 
refreshing bath, with a comfortable change of 
clothes, on board the man-of-war, when oh ! 
horror of horrors ! the sky clearing up disclosed 
the steamer about ten miles off anchor up 
steam up and her paddle-wheels propelling her 
in quite a different direction from that in which 
I was advancing. 


Nevertheless, I did not faint, and having a 
dread of becoming a second edition of the Ancient 
Mariner, I at once roused my energies. For I 
knew that the steamer was not going away, 
leaving me behind, but that the commander had 
determined to come nearer to the wreck for 
future operations, as I had suggested through 
the officer when leaving that morning, and was 
now making a round through the proper channel. 
To accomplish this purpose he was obliged to 
bring the steamer by a detour out of the shallow 
water in which my boat could float. 

So up with my flagstaff and flag at the stern ! 
Putting the helm hard a starboard, we turned 
out to sea, and I urged my Krooboys to pull 
cheerily, although they had been tugging at the 
oars for five hours already. 

Another half-hour's pull the steamer is 
coming towards us the look out espies my flag 
the engines are stopped, and here I am ! 



Three Phases of Sierra Leone : the Commercial, the Social, the 
Sanatory Philanthropy of our Government and People towards 
Africa M'Culloch's Account of First Colonization here Its 
Cost to the Mother Country Exports in 1850, 1856, and 
1858 Table of Imports and Exports for the year 1858 Like 
Table for Gambia in the same year Population of Sierra Leone 
Remarkable Absence of Increase since 1836 Commercial 
Importance of Settlements in Africa denned by Mr. M. Forster 
in Martin's work on the Colonies Of Church Missionary 
organization Of "Dignity Balls" and " Goombee " Dances 
Mortality in 1859 Dr. Clarke's account of Prevailing 
Diseases Sketch of Slaves when landed from Condemned Ships 
Country Doctors Best means of preserving Health in West- 
ern Africa. 

CHIEFLY illustrative of the colony of Sierra 
Leone is the peculiarly interesting fact, that the 
mere mention of its name is regarded as sugges- 
tive of malignant disease and death. 

Our purpose is to view it in its three most 
important phases namely, the commercial, the 
social, and the sanatory points of view. 


The history of the world in past ages does not 
exhibit such evidences of pure and high-minded 
philanthropy as have been manifested for many 
years by our Government and the benevolent 
people of Great Britain towards the natives 
of Africa. Conspicuous among these has been 
the enormous outlay of millions of money for 
the suppression of the slave-trade, with the 
ulterior view of civilizing the Ethiopian race. 

To express my belief that philanthropy is 
an exotic not suited to the climate of Africa, nor 
calculated to produce all the effects anticipated on 
its people, is in no way intended as a disparaging 
reflection on the philanthropic exertions of my 
countrymen. But it is saddening to feel a con- 
viction, as I do from the multitude of sombre 
facts before me, that these efforts bear little better 
fruit than did the wheat in the parable, which 
is recorded to have fallen amongst briars and 

From M'Culloch's Commercial Dictionary, I 
learn that the first importation of settlers to this 
colony took place in the year 1792, when about 
twelve hundred free negroes, who had joined 
the Royal Standard in the American war, were 
obliged to take refuge in Nova Scotia, and were 
thence transferred, from motives of humanity, to 


Africa. From that time to the present Sierra 
Leone has cost our Government nearly ten mil- 
lions of money in civil government expenses 
in naval expenses in cash laid out on captured 
slaves and in salaries to the executive officers 
of the Mixed Commission Court. The value 
of its exports was 

In 1850 123,150 

1856 153,347 

1858 225,349 

The largest amount being, to use the words of 
Mr. Jameson, in his pamphlet on the Niger 
Trade, "not more than the value of produce 
annually passing through the hands of any 
second or third-rate commercial house engaged 
in trade with India, China, or America." 

By the table of its commerce during 1858, 
which is appended, and which I have obtained 
at the Colonial Office, it will appear that our 
exports to that part of the world very much 
exceed the financial worth of our returns from 
its produce. 

In the adjoining settlement of Gambia a like 
condition of affairs may be observed ; and it is 
a fact that the French derive from both colonies 
a much more considerable amount of exports 
chiefly of ground nuts than we do. 







United Kingdom 
Great Britain . . . 

British Colonies 
Bathurst, Gambia . 

Foreign Countries 
France . . . 

108,007 8 7 
720 10 7 
1 45B 6 1 

86,532 5 6 
3,204 18 11 
25 271 16 11 


11 13 10 

Teneriffe .... 
Goree . 

87 5 6 
3 460 4 11 

34795 10 'll 

Leeward Coast . 
America .... 

1,178 5 9 
18,563 11 2 

28,531 16 7 
47,013 6 

133,485 6 5 

225,349 9 4 

GAMBIA, 1859. 




United Kingdom 
Great Britain . . . 

British Colonies 
Sierra Leone . . . 
British West Indies . 
British North America 

Foreign Countries 

33,603 2 7 

5,829 7 6 
456 1 8 

8 398 7 1 

19,984 15 

1,077 6 

52 366 6 3 

Canary Islands . . 
Cape Verd Islands . 
Goree and Senegal . 
Leeward Coast . . 
Windward Coast. . 
Foreign West Indies 
United States . . . 

277 3 
222 14 
5,023 8 5 
7,717 10 9 
119 14 
14,402 2 1 

739 3* 
2,167 6 
7,421 1 10 
154 5 

25,774 9 6 

76,149 11 1 

110.364 12 7 

It appears that in this year there is an in- 
crease of 1,082 Qs. 8d. in the revenue collected, 
as duty on wine and spirits, above that of 1858. 


This is accounted for by bonds given in 1858 
falling due in 1859. There is a decrease of 
duties on the imports of Foreign and British 
vessels, to the aggregate amount of 938 165. Id.-, 
and the Colonial Secretary attributes this in a 
great measure to the failure of the ground nut 
crop, the staple article of trade, which therefore 
required a lesser quantity of goods for its pur- 

According to Martin's work on the British 
Colonies, the population of Sierra Leone in 1836 

Males. Females. 

Whites ... 83 .. 22 

Coloured People 19,895 .. 15,678 

Total, 19,978 .. 15,690 Gross Total, 35,668. 

And by a return which I procured at the 
Colonial Office, I find the total population in 

Males. Females. 

Whites . . . 82 .. 25 

Coloured People 19,660 .. 18,551 

Total, 19,742 .. 18,576 Gross Total, 38,318. 

I do not put forward any arguments against 
our colonial possessions in Africa on the ground 
refuted by Mr. M. Forster of the City Chambers, 
London, as stated in Montgomery Martin's work 
on the British Colonies namely, in reference to 


the attempt said to be often made to depre- 
ciate the commercial importance of our settle- 
ments on the west coast of Africa, compared with 
the cost of maintaining them. It may be that 
the cost of maintaining these settlements in- 
cluding the presentation of 29, 709/. 10s. for the 
service of the colony of Sierra Leone in 1859 
is as extravagant as some assert it to be. If so, 
I can only mourn over money so spent, and to 
so little practical use, to our commerce, or our 

Leavingthe commercial part of the subject aside, 
we turn to the educational, and find, according 
to last year's report sent to the Colonial Office, 
that in the Jourabah grammar-school, of which the 
Rev. E. Jones is president, there are nine young 
men who are being trained for schoolmasters; 
and in the grammar-school which is subsidiary 
to this there are ninety-four pupils. These are 
to be prepared for the Jourabah school, where 
they are educated for commercial and other pur- 
suits. The subsidiary school has been principally 
supported by the Church Missionary Society, 
but most of the pupils pay for their education. 
The Jourabah Institution is wholly supported 
by the Church Missionary Society. There is, 
moreover, a female school, having forty scholars, 


supported partly by the Church Missionary So- 
ciety, and partly by the friends of the pupils. 

There are nearly twenty Dissenting chapels in 
the colony, in most of which an educational 
course is carried on. 

In no part of the colony can be discovered 
native enterprise, self-respect, self-reliance, or, 
amongst its African population, any of the quali- 
ties that tend to make a community comfortable 
or happy, or to elevate it in the scale of human 
civilization. " Dignity balls " and " Goombee " 
dances are favourite amusements of the natives 
both being recreations of the grossest immo- 

Bearing on the subject referred to in the first 
paragraph of this chapter, it may be unnecessary 
for me to remind English readers of the dreadful 
mortality that took place in this colony during 
the year before last 1859. Of its morbific cha- 
racteristics few men have had more extensive 
opportunities for acquiring experience than Dr. 
Clarke, who read a paper entitled " Short Notes 
on the prevailing Diseases in the Colony of Sierra 
Leone," before the Statistical Section of the Brit- 
ish Association at Glasgow, in 1855, which was 
published in the Journal of the Statistical Society 
of London, in March of the following year. 


Although the author has kindly given me 
permission to make what use I desire of it, I do 
not consider its tabular records of sufficient im- 
portance for the general reader. 

They are pre-eminently so for the scientific in- 
quirer, and may be found in the Journal before 

Some of Mr. Clarke's observations on Sierra 
Leone are worthy of consideration, as well from 
the fact of his being an observing man, as from 
his having lived for eighteen years in that 
colony : 

" Although Sierra Leone can no longer be justly 
called ' the white man's grave,' it must not be 
supposed that the climate has in any degree 
changed. That the mortality has diminished is 
unquestionable, but for this several causes may 
be assigned. The style and comfort of the 
houses occupied by Europeans are improved, 
they dress in a manner better suited to the vicis- 
situdes of the climate, a greater degree of temper- 
ance prevails, and the general use of quinine 
has considerably shortened and reduced the 
amount of illness and mortality." 

To these causes of an improved sanitary con- 
dition ought to be added the drainage of the 
town a very important matter in all African 



cities, and whose adoption has led to highly bene- 
ficial results at Bathurst. 

There is no doubt of the following being an 
established fact : 

" It is a fact worthy of note, that the Euro- 
pean, after his constitution has become assimi- 
lated thoroughly to the climate, is better 
able to resist the climatic influences than 
persons of mixed colour. The latter class (in 
the colonial service at least) are, as a body, more 
frequently on the sick list than their European 

The soi-disant humanitarians, who advocate the 
continuance of the slave-system, because it takes 
the serf- class of negroes away from their country 
for their own personal amelioration, would do 
well to read and ponder over the following ap- 
palling picture : 

"At the period I took charge of the Kissy 
hospitals (1837), the slave-trade was in active 
operation, and consequently great numbers of 
liberated Africans were constantly received into 
hospital. It was a most distressing sight to wit- 
ness the arrival of these poor creatures ; and it 
is necessary to make a few preliminary remarks, 
in order clearly to understand the difficulties 
with which the medical officers had to contend. 


The appearance of the slaves when landed from 
the condemned ship was most striking. In some 
the expression of the countenance indicated suf- 
ferings, moral and physical, of the most pro- 
found and agonising nature. Others gazed 
vacantly around in the most utter helpless- 
ness. Occasionally among the newly-arrived 
groups all sense of suffering was merged in 
melancholic or raving madness. The wizened, 
shrunk, and skinny features were lighted up by 
the hollow feverish eye ; the belly was, as it were, 
tacked to the back ; whilst the hip-bones pro- 
truded, and, in some cases, had become the seat 
of foul sloughing ulcers ; the hand and skinny 
fingers seemed much elongated by the great and 
neglected growth of the nails, and they were so 
deplorably emaciated, that the skin appeared 
tensely stretched over, and tied down to the 
skeleton ; the legs refused to perform their 
functions, and the poor creatures reeled and tot- 
tered about from sheer debility ; their squalor and 
extreme wretchedness were heightened, in many 
cases, by the party-coloured evacuations with 
which their bodies were besmeared. They rushed 
towards the water provided for their use, fighting 
with each other to drink and drink again, as if their 
thirst was unquenchable. They would devour 



their food, quarrelling with each other for the 
possession of a bone or fragment of meat, and 
what was left they would carefully put away in 
little bags suspended from their necks, to be eaten 
at leisure." 

What a subject for a painter ! No doubt the 
prototype of this sketch could be found in many 
" middle passages," of which the horrors are only 
known to Him who knows all things. 

Mr. Clarke's observations on fevers and native 
diseases are very useful, but I must leave them 
with the statistics. Here follows a synopsis of 
the present state of medical science amongst the 

" The liberated Africans, and indeed all classes 
of the coloured inhabitants of Sierra Leone, put 
great confidence in country remedies, and, in too 
many instances, recourse is had to European me- 
thods of treatment only after they have tried all the 
native remedies with which they are acquainted. 
At the same time, it must be admitted that the 
more intelligent among them eagerly seek the 
advice and assistance of the European surgeon, 
whenever an opportunity is afforded them of 
doing so. The class of persons in West Africa 
styled "country doctors," impose upon the 
credulity and superstitious fears of their fellow- 


countrymen by means of fetishes and amulets, or 
gri-gris. They likewise prepare a quantity of 
crude decoctions, powders, &c., from the roots, 
leaves, and bark of trees, and from plants culled 
from the jungles ; but their knowledge of the me- 
dicinal properties of these is of the rudest and most 
imperfect nature. Moreover, as the plants are 
gathered without reference to the season of the* 
year, and to other important conditions, they are 
uncertain in their action, and often dangerous in 
their operation. These barbarous remedies are, 
besides, administered in such large doses, with- 
out any consideration as to the age, sex, or 
strength of the patient, that in this way alone 
many lives are yearly sacrificed. It will be ac- 
knowledged by persons at all conversant with the 
African character, that this system of jugglery and 
quackery exerts the most injurious influence in 
retarding the progress of civilization among the 

His observations on the Hygiene of life in 
Africa are very sound : 

" It may not be irrelevant to add a few remarks 
on what appear to me to be the best means of 
preserving health on the west coast of Africa. 
In the foremost rank should be placed temperate 
and regular habits. The moderate use of wine, 


far from being injurious, is necessary to counter- 
act the depressing and debilitating influences of 
the climate. It is a matter of the greatest impor- 
tance to protect the skin from chills, and this is 
best done by wearing under-clothing of flannel, 
or, what is better, a mixture of cotton and wool. 
Out of doors the head should be well protected 
'from the sun by a thick hat of light fabric ; and 
to all who value their health, it is essential to use 
an umbrella during the heat of the day. If a 
person is overheated, and suffers from profuse 
perspiration, he should at once change the whole 
of his clothing, and not simply take off coat or 
jacket, and then sit down to cool himself in a 
current of air. The siestas so much recommended 
are very good, but they certainly cannot be in- 
dulged in by the mass of Europeans resident in 
tropical countries; and it is undoubtedly true 
that on the west coast of Africa, as elsewhere, 
mental and bodily activity contributes largely to 
good health. It is hardly necessary to recom- 
mend retiring early to bed, say nine or ten o'clock, 
and rising early, say six o'clock, when a cup of 
coffee or tea should be taken, followed by a cold 
or tepid bath, the cold bath to be carefully avoided 
when persons are suffering from hepatic or splenic 


"The bedroom should be the largest and best 
ventilated room in all the house, and should be 
provided with a fireplace, so that in the rainy 
season it may be kept dry and wholesome. Piazza 
bedrooms should be avoided. 

" With regard to food, it should be of the sim- 
plest and most nourishing kind, with a moderate 
use of fruit, avoiding pastry. 

"By duly observing these precautions the Eng- 
lishman may live almost as safely at Sierra Leone 
as in his own country ; and he will not find, as 
too many have done, through their own reckless- 
ness, that the magnificent scenery which greeted 
his eyes as he approached the African coast, was 
but a deceitful screen to conceal the horrors of 
the charnel-house. The climate has been made 
the scape-goat of a thousand sins, and those who 
live most in opposition to its dictates have been 
the readiest to blame it for their sufferings. If 
nature wears a perpetual smile in this quarter of 
the world, it is to those only who listen to her 
teachings. To them no sackcloth and ashes lie 
hid beneath her flowery robe ; and to them Sierra 
Leone will no longer appear an object of terror, 
as the ' White Man's Grave.' " 

I think it well to insert the following remarks 
on Lunacy, as it appeared amongst the black 


colonists, not only because they illustrate a novel 
feature in the character of the negro, but because 
they demonstrate the improved care that is now 
taken by the colonial authorities at Sierra Leone 
to separate and classify the patients : 

"The lunatics seldom lived long, being fre- 
quently cut oif by dysentery or dropsy, or be- 
coming epileptic or paralytic complications al- 
most hopeless. The majority, if they did not 
soon recover, died within two or three years of 
their admission to the asylum. A few survived 
for many years, and, in one rare instance, re- 
covery took place after the lapse of twelve 
years. The larger proportion of the patients 
treated were males. The disease manifested all 
its varied forms. Some gesticulated and danced 
about the yard, uttering the foulest abuse. Re- 
ligion was the unceasing theme on which others 
expatiated for hours together, occasionally arro- 
gating to themselves the attributes of our Saviour. 
These delusions in some instances might be traced 
to the effect produced on weak minds by the ex- 
citing and barbarous exhibitions so often wit- 
nessed in their numerous conventicles of ' finding 
the Lord,' * finding peace,' &c. The love of finery 
was shown by several of both sexes who picked 
up rags, which they fastened to their persons 


or feathers, &c., which they stuck in their hair, 
or passed through holes in the alee nasi and car- 
tilage of the nose. The raving madman, the 
melancholic, the imbecile suffering from dementia, 
the idiot, the religious, the suicidal, the epileptic, 
were, until 1858, enclosed together, without distinc- 
tion, in the most miserable cells, where no separa- 
tion could be effected. On the transfer of the co- 
lonial hospital from Kissy to Freetown, in 1858 
(a most desirable and much needed change), the 
lunatics were removed to that building, which, 
although in many important points ill adapted 
for the purpose, is, nevertheless, a very great im- 
provement on former asylums." 

In the tables one case of hydrophobia is 
marked down. Mr. Clarke, however, records it 
as his opinion, concurrent with that of Staff- 
Surgeon Fergusson and Colonial-Surgeon Aitken, 
that that disease never occurs in the colony and 
therefore doubts the correctness of the record. 



The Gold Coast Brutalities of the King in Ashantee half a cen- 
tury ago Sacrifices after his Mother's death Bloodshed after 
his own The present King of Dahomey and his sanguinary 
intentions Report of Cruikshank's mission to Dahomey, in 
1848 Festal Recreations, in the shape of Human Sacrifices, at 
Ashantee Men butchered to do honour to the Portuguese 
slave-dealer, De Souza A like ceremony in compliment to the 
Dutch general, Verbeer The Dahomean King's arguments in 
favour of the Slave-trade The French nation in its early con- 
nexion with Africa, especially with the Gold Coast Their repu- 
diation of the Portuguese claims to primary geographical dis- 
covery in this part of the world Beginning of British legitimate 
commerce with Western Africa First opening of palm-oil trade 
Number of forts on the Gold Coast Immense wealth of its 
interior districts Its Missionary establishments Its Colonial 
Commerce for 1858. 

ON no part of Western Africa have there been 
such scenes of turbulence and bloodshed, chiefly 
connected with human sacrifices, as still con- 
tinue to be enacted in the interior countries 
contiguous to the Gold Coast. 

In the year 1808 (more than half a century 


ago), the King of Ashantee sent an army of 
fifteen thousand men against the Fantees, on the 
Gold Coast, who laid waste a large extent of 
country in the neighbourhood of Anamaboe. 

At that time our fort at the last-named place 
was occupied, and even the small number of 
soldiers which it contained successfully repulsed 
the army of barbarians, and prevented them 
from doing any further harm with their savage 
implements of warfare. 

After ravaging the intermediate kingdoms of 
Akim and Dinkera, in the year 1816, this 
monarch is reported to have sacrificed three 
thousand human victims on the grave of his 
mother. At his own death, some months subse- 
quently, slaves were sacrificed at the rate of two 
hundred every week for three months thus 
making five thousand six hundred victims to 
the horrible Juggernaut of African superstition. 

Knowing as I do the hereditary tenacity with 
which barbarous customs are transmitted from 
generation to generation by those of negro blood, 
it was with no surprise, though with a feeling of 
horror, that I read, in the West African Herald 
of July last, the following paragraph : 

" DAHOMEY. His majesty Badahung, king of 
Dahomey, is about to make the 'grand custom' 


in honour of the late king Gezo. Determined to 
surpass all former monarchs in the magnitude of 
the ceremonies to be performed on this occasion, 
Badahung has made the most extensive prepa- 
rations for the celebration of the 'grand custom.' 
A great pit has been dug, which is to contain 
human blood enough to float a canoe. Two 
thousand persons will be sacrificed on this occa- 
sion. The expedition to Abeokouta is postponed, 
but the king has sent his army to make some 
excursions at the expense of some weaker tribes, 
and has succeeded in capturing many unfor- 
tunate creatures. The young people among 
these prisoners will be sold into slavery, and the 
old persons will be killed at the ' grand custom.' " 
Doubts as to the correctness of the foregoing 
announcement are completely set aside by the 
receipt of a letter, dated Cape Coast Castle, Sep- 
tember 16th, which says: "The atrocities at 
Dahomey have far exceeded the report of which 
you are aware. Thousands have been sacrificed. 
Latterly came a steamer on that coast, and shipped 
off fifteen hundred slaves. A man-of-war being 
on the spot, saw the vessel, but suspected nothing 
of her design. We hear that English people, and 
other Europeans, have been imprisoned there 
most probably from refusing to witness the 


human sacrifices, or to take part in the rites of 
diabolical superstition." 

By this it will be seen that the only rivalry 
ever known to exist between those Arcadian 
neighbours, the potentates of Dahomey and 
Ashantee, still flourishes with all its pristine 

The report of Mr. Cruikshank's mission to the 
present King of Dahomey's father, at his capital 
of Abomey, in the year 1848, showed that the 
exertions of that gentleman, sent out, according 
to report, by Her Majesty's Government, pursuant 
to a motion made in the House of Commons by 
Lord Fermoy, to endeavour to stop such deeds 
of bloodshed, had resulted in utter failure. When 
Gezo, the present king's father, could not be rea- 
soned into a sense of the moral obligation of 
abandoning the slave-trade, it would seem a 
hopeless task to endeavour to convert the son from 
a practice that he had seen carried on in the 
earliest days of his childhood, and in his growth 
to manhood. 

On the occasion of funerals and even of festal 
recreations thousands of human beings are an- 
nually sacrificed in the capital, Abomey. When 
De Souza, the notorious Portuguese slave-dealer 
at Whidah, who is also the King of Dahomey's 


viceroy in that district, visited his Majesty a great 
number of slaves were sacrificed to do him. 
honour. The same practice was carried out at 
Comassie, the capital of Ashantee, when the 
Dutch general, Verbeer, arrived there on a call 
of courtesy to the king. These two events, which 
took place within the last twenty years, were 
nearly contemporaneous in their occurrence. 

Surrounded by barbaric splendour, and having 
early imbibed the thirst for glory as a conqueror, 
although it was only over brother barbarians, the 
late King Gezo advanced to Mr. Cruikshank such 
arguments to prove the inexpediency of his giv- 
ing up the slave-trade, as were the natural rea- 
sonings of a man in his position. They are thus 
laid down in Mr. Cruikshank's own report : 

" His chiefs had had long and serious consul- 
tations with him upon the subject ; and they had 
come to the conclusion that his government 
could not be carried on without it. The state 
which he maintained was great ; his army was 
expensive ; the ceremonies and customs to be ob- 
served annually, which had been handed down 
to him from his forefathers, entailed upon him a 
vast outlay of money. These could not be abol- 
ished. The form of his government could not be 
suddenly changed, without causing such a revolu- 
tion as would deprive him of his throne, and preci- 


pitate his kingdom into a state of anarchy. He 
was very desirous to acquire the friendship of 
England. He loved and respected the English 
character, and nothing afforded him such high 
satisfaction as to see an Englishman in his coun- 
try, and to do him honour. He himself and his 
army were ready at all times to fight the Queen's 
enemies, and to do anything the English Govern- 
ment might ask of him, but to give up the slave- 
trade. No other trade was known to his people. 
Palm oil, it was true, was now engaging the attention 
of some of them ; but it was a slow method of mak- 
ing money, andbrought only a very small amount 
of duties into his coffers. The planting of coffee 
and cotton had been suggested to him ; but this 
was slower still. The trees had to grow, and he 
himself would probably be in his grave before 
he could reap any benefit from them. And what 
to do in the meantime ? Who would pay his 
troops, or buy arms and clothing for them? 
Who would give him supplies of cowries, of rum, 
of powder, and of cloth, to perform his annual 
customs ? He held his power by an observance of 
the time-honoured customs of his forefathers; 
and he would forfeit it, and entail upon himself 
a life full of shame, and a death full of misery, if 
he neglected them. It was the slave-trade that 


made him terrible to his enemies, and loved, ho- 
noured, and respected by his people. How could 
he give it up ? It had been the ruling principle 
of action with himself and his subjects from their 
earliest childhood. Their thoughts, their habits, 
their discipline, their mode of life, had been 
formed with reference to this all-engrossing oc- 
cupation ; even the very songs with which the 
mother stilled her crying infant told of triumph 
over foes reduced to slavery. Could he, by sign- 
ing this treaty, change the sentiments of a whole 
people? It could not be. A long series of years 
was necessary to bring about such a change. He 
himself and his people must be made to feel the 
superior advantages of another traffic in an in- 
crease of riches, and of the necessaries and luxu- 
ries of life, before they could be weaned from 
this trade. The expenses of the English Govern- 
ment are great ; would it suddenly give up the 
principal source of its revenue without some 
equivalent provision for defraying its expenses ? 
He could not believe so. No more would he re- 
duce himself to beggary. The sum offered him 
would not pay his expenses for a week ; and 
even if the English Government were willing to 
give him an annual sum equivalent to his pre- 
sent revenue, he would still have some difficulty 


in employing the energies of his people in a new 
direction. Under such circumstances, however, 
he would consider himself bound to use every 
exertion to meet the wishes of the English 

A curious domestic superstition is thus re- 
corded as existing on the gold coast. It is a cus- 
tom with the natives of position and wealth to 
purchase a young slave of their own sex, or 
sometimes to select one from amongst some of the 
young slaves previously in the house, and to 
bestow on him, or her, the title of " Crabbah," or 
" Ocrah" the meaning of which is, that the slave 
thus entitled is in future to be looked on as the 
soul or spirit of the master or mistress. 

These favoured persons wear a chain of gold, 
or white beads, around the neck, to which is 
attached a large medallion of gold to denote their 

They are treated with great indulgence so 
long as they behave well. 

In Ashantee the favourite Ocrahs of the great 
men are slaughtered on the death of their mas- 
ters, it being considered necessary that they 
should accompany them to the next world. A 
similar wholesale slaughter of slaves, with a like 



purpose, is carried out on the death of any big 
man at Old Kalabar. 

Meditating on the early connexion of Euro- 
pean nations with Western Africa, we find, in a 
work entitled " Memoire sur le Commerce Mari- 
time de Rouen, par Ernest de Freville," that 
the French claim the honour of a first visit to 
this part of the world. So early as November, 
1364, the merchants of Dieppe sent out two 
vessels, of one hundred tons each, which arrived 
at a little river near the mouth of the Sestos, on 
the Kroo Coast. 

Their trade at this place, although its nature 
and extent are not described, was, no doubt, pro- 
fitable ; for, in September the following year, the 
Rouen merchants joined with those of Dieppe, and 
sent out four vessels. One of these passed the 
Ivory Coast, and voyaged on to the Gold Coast. 

Twenty years' commercial connexion between 
Rouen, Dieppe, and the Gold Coast, inspired the 
merchants to send out artisans and materials to 
construct the fort of Elraina, the building of 
which was finished in 1386. 

The civil wars in France having damaged 
their commercial connexion with all parts of 
the world, the trade between Rouen and the 
Gold Coast was necessarily affected ; and, ac- 


cording to the French author from whom we 
derive our information, the Portuguese did not 
commence their reputed discovery of, and com- 
munication with, places on the west coast of 
Africa till more than a hundred years after. 

It was in 1472 that the Portuguese arrived at 
Prince's Island in 1484 at the Congo 1486 at 
Benin and twelve years afterwards they doubled 
the Cape of Good Hope. 

British legitimate commerce in Africa did not 
commence till 1553, when two ships left Ply- 
mouth and visited Sestos, Elmina, and Benin. 
Their touching at these places and no others 
seems to me very strong circumstantial evidence 
that the French account, previously quoted, is 
correct. The cargo with which they returned 
was gold and pepper the latter was brought 
from Benin, whence, in the year 1590, was 
obtained the first cargo of palm-oil, an article 
of commerce which has since been so largely 
exported from Africa. The seventeenth century 
was the great time of African companies palm 
oil and slaves being then the two main products. 
Slave-trading reached its climax in 1771, when 
one hundred and ninety-two slave-ships left 
England for Africa. 

One particular characteristic of the Gold 



Coast is the number of forts that are erected 
along its seabord. These were no doubt in- 
tended by the early European discoverers of 
that coast as fortresses, to prevent strangers 
encroaching upon a land at that time supposed 
to be a veritable Eldorado. 

The chief fortress, and the capital of the Go- 
vernment, was Cape Coast; inland from which 
(Mr. Bannerman writes to me) " The Wassaws 
are in possession of a splendid mining country, 
but they will make no use whatever of the 
wealth which Providence has placed within 
their reach. Under the surface of the soil here 
there lies an almost fabulous amount of wealth. 
Akim, Ashantee, Gaman, Wassaw all these 
countries may be described as one vast mine of 

In Gaman, a kingdom tributary to Ashantee, 
there are mines so prolific that the gold can be 
procured within six feet of the surface of the soil ; 
the king will not allow them to be worked, re- 
serving them for his fetish. 

Apollonia Fort is now dismantled and aban- 
doned, although formerly an extensive trade in 
gold was carried on there. From a Government 
report, published in the year 1841, we learn that 
the king of the country in which Apollonia 


Fort is situated was the terror of all the neigh- 
bouring districts, on account of the frequency of 
his human sacrifices. 

The forts of Succondee, Commenda, Coro- 
manty, and Tantumquerry, are all now in ruins, 
presenting an appearance of the utmost deso- 
lation. The forts that are occupied are Cape 
Coast, Accra, Christianburg, and Dixcove, by 
the English; Elmina and Creve Coaur by the 
Dutch. Neither French, Portuguese, nor 
Spaniards have at present any possessions in this 
part of Africa. 

On the Gold Coast there is a territory extend- 
ing from Cape Apollonia to the fort of Quittah, a 
few miles eastward of Cape St. Paul's, and 
inland to the frontier of the powerful kingdom 
of Ashantee. This territory comprises many 
distinct tribes, all of whom acknowledge some 
kind of allegiance either to England or Holland. 
The Dutch have authority over several towns on 
the seaside, but almost the whole of the interior 
is subject more or less to British influence. 

As it is my desire to lay before my readers 
as complete a description as I can give of the 
social peculiarities of the native African, I copy 
here a curious sketch, which I know to be 


correct, from the West African Herald of May 
31st, I860: 

"A few weeks ago an old man died in Ajumor- 
coong in the interior, leaving to his family over 
three thousand ounces of gold, three hundred 
slaves, and much land. The old fellow when 
alive dwelt in a most wretched hut, and the only 
piece of furniture he possessed was a mat. The 
deceased miser's name was Ocrah Taweah. Now, 
this man was a fair type of a large class of na- 
tives in this part of Africa, who are to be found 
chiefly in those districts of the protected territory 
that are situated at some distance from the forts. 
Near the forts where British authority is more 
generally felt, men know that they are secured 
in the quiet possession of whatsoever they have 
lawfully acquired; and, moreover, contact with 
civilisation has resulted not only in the introduc- 
tion of a certain taste for the comforts of Eu- 
ropeans, but also in an imitation of some of their 
habits and customs. Hence in the towns on the 
seaside there are to be found numbers of natives 
of Africa who dwell in large and well-built houses, 
comfortably and tastefully furnished. And it is 
not the educated native merchants of the higher 
class only who live comfortably. A number of 
educated natives, occupying subordinate positions 


as clerks, overseers, factors, and the like, are 
lodged at least as well as the same class 
of men in England. Nor are these tastes in- 
dulged in only by those who have received the 
benefits of education ; for we see in all the prin- 
cipal seaside towns some very excellent houses 
of two stories, having several spacious, neat, 
arid well-furnished apartments, which are oc- 
cupied by natives who cannot read or write, 
but who, having acquired wealth, prefer to lay 
it out in this way. In the interior, men who 
from small beginnings have acquired riches by 
their industry or their good luck generally hoard 
their money, or, at all events, the greater part of it. 
They do not care for European modes of living. 
They do not buy couches, mirrors, knives, forks, 
spoons, mahogany tables, lamps, pictures, &c., &c. 
On occasions of state most of the native 
chiefs of the interior display much barbaric 
splendour, which the chiefs on the seaside do not; 
yet the private residences of the interior chiefs 
are by no means to be compared with the dwell- 
ings of many poor and subordinate chiefs on the 
beach. We do not speak of course of Ashantee, 
but of those provinces called the Protected 
Territory, which lie between the seaside and 
the kingdom of Ashantee. In these countries 


there is much oppression and extortion, and all 
sorts of rascality are still going on. Wherever 
the authorities have great power, wherever in fact 
the Government, be it British, or Dutch, or 
African, is strong, there the property, life, and 
liberty of individuals are felt to be secure. In 
very many parts of the Protected Territory there 
is no powerful native Government, and the Bri- 
tish have no authorised agent to check disorders. 
In such districts the place of Government is sup- 
plied by what are called Pynins, or elders, who 
very often have no other means of subsistence 
that what they derive from suits tried before 
them. Such tribunals are very frequently 
nothing more than agencies for extortion and 
oppression. In many, nay, most parts of Fantee 
they abound, and from their unrighteous decrees 
it is not always that the injured have the oppor- 
tunity of appealing to the British Courts on the 
seaside. Much injustice is therefore perpetrated, 
and the victims are often those persons who are 
known to have acquired large sums of money by 
their own exertions, originally perhaps slaves, 
pawns, or at least strangers to the place. Such 
men, therefore, are in many instances afraid to 
make a display of their wealth, fearing lest their 
riches should bring upon them the jealousy and 


envy of their neighbours, and be the means of 
involving them in trouble." 

Amongst these people, too, civil wars are con- 
stantly springing up. During the past year 
a system of petty warfare among the natives has 
been general along this coast, as appears fre- 
quently by the paper from which I have quoted 
the foregoing. At Quittah, at Ahguay, and in 
the interior countries of Dinkera and Akim, 
there have been contests. At Anamaboe, which 
is an important town, situated on the sea-side, 
nine miles to the eastward of Cape Coast, and 
where a considerable gold traffic with Ashantee is 
now carried on, a disturbance broke out last year 
between two companies, on the subject of one 
carrying a flag, of which the other claimed a 
patent right. In the principal towns of the 
Gold Coast the inhabitants are divided into com- 
panies, like our clubs in England ; and these 
companies have their flags and captains. On 
native ceremonials, such as funerals and driving 
the devil out of town, these companies turn out in 
grand parade, but generally wind up with a row, 
which most frequently terminates with a pitched 
battle on some day appointed. Even if the affair 
above alluded to had not been settled by the 
intervention in time of magisterial authority, it is 


not at all probable there would have been any 
bloodshed ; for the Africans prefer palavering to 
fighting, and a debate on the subject of a war is 
with them a thing of high and mighty conse- 
quence. My readers may be assured that this 
civil war business is the same all over the coast ; 
the only difference being, that there is no honest 
" Heralder " like that at Cape Coast to record 
their conflicts. In the Bight of Biafra district, 
at all events, there is never a change from palm- 
oil and palavers throughout the year. 

When we read such a paragraph as the fol- 
lowing, referring to missions on the Gold Coast 
at the end of 1859, does it not strike the reader 
that there must be something strangely anoma- 
lous in the condition of this people ? 

" On the 31st December last there were on the 
Gold and Slave Coasts of Africa, 36 Wesley an 
mission schools, 18 chapels, 24 preaching places. 
The number of scholars at that date was 1082 
boys and 315 girls. There were 74 day-school 
teachers, 5 catechists, 33 local preachers, 1869 
full and accredited members, 208 on trial for 
full membership, and the number of attendants 
on public worship was about 8300. During the 
year there had been 51 marriages, 127 baptisms 
of adults, and 122 baptisms of infants," 



If I am asked to show the condition of the 
native African, notwithstanding all the benefits 
of missionary teaching, I do it in the words 
of the missionaries themselves. I find in the 
African newspaper of March 30th last, extracted 
from the Cavalla Messenger, an account of a 
mission convocation at Cape Palmas, at which 
amongst other things the following statement 
was made : " The reports seemed to indicate a 
dead silence everywhere ; nothing like a revival 
of religion, but, on the contrary, a dreadful stir- 
ring up of the power of Satan. The people are 
apparently becoming worse and worse. Remarks 
were made by several persons, in which the little 
success of the Gospel lately was greatly deplored." 

It would not be fair to infer from this that a 
like failure has been the result on all parts of the 
coast ; and yet we can see here, in the places of 
which this chapter treats, evidence that the fol- 
lowing excellent practical plan is bearing but 
little fruit : 

" It has been the practice of the Basel Society, 
according to the precedent of the Moravian Bre- 
thren, to supply all their African stations with 
lay missionaries, who strive to train the native 
converts to industrious habits, and to teach 
them how to employ in the service of God and 


men, the energies with which they have been 
endowed, and the still undeveloped wealth of 
their country. Workshops have been set up at 
Christiansborg, Abokoby, Abude, and Akropong, 
in which wood-sawyers, carpenters, joiners, coop- 
ers, shingle-makers, bricklayers, blacksmiths, lock- 
smiths, shoemakers, and tailors are trained ; and 
although it is not to be expected that negroes 
will soon be able to dispense with European su- 
pervision and instruction in their trades, yet 
their progress hitherto has been encouraging, 
and their assistance has been of incalculable va- 
lue in a country where no tradesmen are pro- 
curable, and where constant exposure to the sun 
is almost certain death to Europeans. Nor is 
the adoption of an improved system of agricul- 
ture of less importance, whilst the natives grow 
with as little trouble as possible their most ne- 
cessary provisions, and, to save labour, select 
every year a new piece of ground, and give up 
the rest to the inroads of the bush, to become the 
hot-beds of fever and the haunts of all sorts of 
noxious animals and vermin. Regular plantations, 
of greater or smaller extent, have been laid out at 
Akropong, Abude, Abokoby, and Gyadam, to 
train an improved class of farmers. These at- 
tempts have proved that, under proper manage- 



ment, the produce of the land may be increased 
tenfold, and that many resources for home-con- 
sumption as well as export have as yet been 
scarcely touched upon. With similar intentions 
a factory has been established at Christiansborg, 
with prospects of advantage both to the mis- 
sion and the people." 

The following is an abstract of the commercial 
operations in this part of Africa, carried on in 
1858, which I have been kindly permitted to 
copy from the records at the Colonial Office : 

GOLD COAST, 1858. 




United Kingdom . 
United States . . . 
British Colonies . . 

Foreign Countries 

76,835 17 9 
31,122 12 

6 012 11 3 

118,553 6 5 
20,421 5 6J 

11 103 7 6 

Holland .... 
Portugal .... 
Other Countries . . 

4,857 6 8 
1,435 11 2 

4,057 16 6 

122,456 18 10 

154,135 15 11J 

" Population. There is no means of ascertain- 
ing the population of the Gold Coast territory 
judging from the poll-tax returns of 1852 to 
1853, it would appear to be 151,346, omitting the 
Axim country, which, however, would not be 
more than 5,000 additional The chief of the 
village has generally a number of Krooms, or 


smaller villages, dependent on him, at the head 
of each of which is a Captain, whose duty it is to 
march before the chief in war time. The chief 
agricultural productions of the Gold Coast are 
yams, Indian corn, banians, plantains, and cas- 
sava males and females being alike agricultu- 
rists. Even in fishing at the sea-side with hand- 
nets flung from their canoes, they keep the 
barter and traffic principle. The fish caught are 
brought into the interior, and there exchanged for 
agricultural produce, which is again bartered by 
the people in the town. Cotton is coming up in 
the Yolta river, under the auspices of the Rev. E. 
Freeman but palm-oil is very small. Connected 
with Wesleyan missions there are twenty-eight 
chapels on this part of the coast, attended by an 
aggregate congregation of 5,600. A public free 
school for boys and girls is held within the walls 
of the Castle. This is under the superintendence 
of the Colonial Chaplain, and the books are sup- 
plied by Government. No industrial schools are 
here, more than anywhere else on the coast." 



Of the River Niger and Belzoni's Exploration in Benin General 
Scenery at the mouths of rivers falling into the Gulf of Guinea 
Similar to that of Eastern Africa, described by Captain Burton 
Author's Opinions on the Commercial operations up the Niger 
after Pleiad's Expedition of 1854 Memorial presented to Lord 
Palmerston ^beginning of last year Its Arguments, and the 
Assent of Government to them Causes of Attacks by the Na- 
tives upon Steamers sent up by Mr. Laird Commercial Opera- 
tions recorded by that Gentleman during the past three years 
His Present Contract with the Government and its Proceedings 
Impossibility of establishing a Profitable trade up that River 
without Government Help A Gun-boat, War-steamers, and 
Tug-steamer required Sir John Bowring's opinion of the Negro 
Plans in reference to the Niger Mr. Jameson's Views. 

WE may imagine ourselves within hail of the 
miasmatous banks of the historical Niger, when 
arriving at the mouth of the musquito-infested 
Benin. What the enterprising Belzoni could 
have told us of the dark secrets of this unknown 
kingdom must ever lie hid with his ashes, which 


repose in the neighbourhood of its capital. 

Coasting along by the mouths of the many 
rivers that debouch into the Gulf of Guinea, 
the eye of the voyager rests upon nothing more 
attractive than a continuation of scenes such as 
those described by Captain Burton in Eastern 
Africa, and which are sketched forth by Earl de 
Grey and Ripon in last year's address to the 
Royal Geographical Society, as of "a fever- 
stricken country, that is skirted by a wide low- 
lying belt of overwhelming vegetation, dank, mo- 
notonous, and gloomy, while it reeks with fetid 

Let us flit over the marshy grounds that border 
the Niger's many mouths, and leave the mangrove 
swamps to the oysters and crocodiles, whilst we 
travel, with the progress of civilization and the 
development of commerce, up the Quorra to Cen- 
tral Africa. 

It would be but a dish of crainbe repetita to de- 
tail all the early explorations and progresses made 
up this river since the discovery of its mouth by 
the brothers Lander in 1831. In my account* 
of our Niger expedition of 1854, I have given 

* Published by Longman & Co. of Paternoster Row, and form- 
ing vols 91 and 92 of " Traveller's Library." 


a brief sketch of these ; and as the views which 
I then expressed, in a report to Mr. Laird, have 
undergone no change since that time, I record 
them here, as they have not before been made 
public by me : 

" S. S. Pleiad, Clarence Cove, 
u November 20th, 1854. 

" SIR, Before I place in your hands my jour- 
nal of our voyage up the Niger Tshadda, 
Binue with a report on the position and pros- 
pects of trade along their courses which 1 have 
in contemplation to prepare on my passage home 
I trust you will not consider out of place a few 
observations I take the liberty of making to you 
now, connected with the report. 

" The account of our trading produce will, I 
have no doubt, be forwarded to you by Captain 
Taylor. Of ivory, the chief article, 42581bs. were 
purchased by me on our passage up and down ; 
and 2781bs. by Mr. Crawford, during a stay of 
six weeks at the confluence/ The cause of such 
a small quantity being bought will be explained 
to you hereafter. All inquiries after copper ore 
have failed in discovering the locality where it 
is procured. I have with me a few specimens of 
copper rings and brass ornaments manufactured 
at Kano the ' London' of Sudan but the peo- 



pie at Rogan Koto, and Hamarrua, where they 
were obtained, say that the metal of which they 
are made of is brought from the Hanssa country. 
At Gandike, they report that lead has been dug out 
of the ground at a distance of about six feet from 
the surface ; but the piece which was given to me 
was evidently molten, and cast in an earthen mould. 
We have about 601bs. of lead ore, in its primitive 
crystals, as it was excavated at a place called 
Afooro, about twenty miles from the river port of 
Anyashi, on the road thence to Wukari. Perhaps 
the few geological specimens which I have col- 
lected will indicate more than I have been able 
to ascertain of correct information. No quartz 
was met with, save a little on a small island, 
nearly opposite Mount Sterling. 

" If a plea of justification were needed for my 
remarks, I think I have it in the fact of our 
crew of sixty-six hands being here to-day in 
nearly as good condition as when the ' Pleiad ' 
left Clarence on the 8th of July. The preserva- 
tion of their health, despite of a few severe cases 
of fever we had on board, may be chiefly attri- 
buted to the following causes : 

" First. To our having entered the river at 
the least unhealthy season of the year, when 
the water is rising. 


"Second. To my having induced all the 
Europeans to take quinine solution* daily, 
without making any fuss for its palpable 

" Third. To our not being required to stow 
green wood in the bunkers, in consequence of 
having iron canoes for its conveyance. 

"Fourth. To attending to the health of the 
ship's crew, by having all the water drunk on 
board passed through the boiler before it was 
filtered dry-scraping the deck instead of washing 
it and passing some of Sir Wm. Burnett's zinc 
solution down the bath floor twice a- week taking 
care to have the bilge water pumped out daily. 

"And last though not the least in consequence 
keeping up the hilarity of all on board by the 
Kroomens' nightly dance to the music of a drum, 
kindly lent to me by Governor Lynslager. 

" I quite agree with your remarks in one of 
your letters of instruction to Captain Taylor, 
that, 'without assistance from Government, no 
steamer can pay in the river trade ; ' and I believe, 
moreover, that, in the present condition of the 
country, 'no trade can be established without the 

* The form of quinine wine used on this and subsequent oc- 
casions by me is prepared by Wm. Bailey & Sons, of Horsely 
Fields Chemical Works, Wolverhampton, and put up for ship- 
ment in cases containing one, two, or three dozen pint bottles. 



assistance of Government.' From Oddokodo up 
to Dagbo the country has been laid waste by the 
Fellatahs, and not a vestige of human habitation 
shews the place where the former town once 
stood. Only three or four months past they 
murdered the king of Pandah (Fundah), burned 
the town of Ikeriko, and drove the king of 
Opotingiah (Potinka) to take refuge at 
Abasha, on the opposite side of the river, and 
the limit of the Egarrah country. Yiuimaha, 
Oketta and Oruko (indeed all the towns of the 
Igbarra and Bassa countries) have been plundered 
by them some burnt and many of the inhabit- 
ants slaughtered, more carried into slavery, and 
the remaining survivors driven to seek refuge 
in other than their native localities. Nearly all 
the islands we passed in the portion of the 
Tshadda referred to were tenanted by refugees 
from these towns, whose exertions for common 
subsistence must meantime be suspended, for they 
know not at what moment, on returning to their 
native districts, the attack may be repeated. The 
Fellatahs, mounted on well-trained steeds, and 
with poisoned arrows, poisoned javelins, and 
Hanssa swords, are ever giving way to an instinc- 
tive thirst for human blood, or urged by ambition 
for extent of territory, which I believe to be as 


much their impelling influences as any truculent 
fanaticism for the propagation of the Mahomedan 

"Now, as the Attah of Egarrah has, in the 
course of my conversation with him, expressed 
his desire to have a British settlement in his 
dominion, and commerce introduced thereby, I 
would propose that the next voyagers up this river 
should be empowered to treat for a piece of land 
at Iddah, or a few miles higher, upon equally ele- 
vated ground, opposite Ototouro, where Abukko's 
people are located. Here is an opening which 
might be followed up by our Government to 
this extent. Drs. Overweg and Barth have con- 
cluded a treaty with the Sheikh of Bornu, who 
expressed his desire to see a squadron of 
European boats on Lake Tshad, and guaranteed 
to substitute commercial traffic with the nations 
of Europe for the slave-trade. Between Egarrah 
and the Bornu kingdom it is nearly all Fellatah 
territory; and from a great part of Bornu com- 
munication may be opened by means of the 
Konadagu river, passing Bossa, to any estab- 
lishment on Lake Tshad. So that, on ami- 
cable terms with the Fellatahs received with 
open arms by establishments protected by 
native military forces, and having a government 


similar to that of Sierra Leone and Cape Coast 
the industrial resources of Central Africa will 
soon become developed, and the riches of the vast 
continent be poured down to us by the continu- 
ous streams of the Binue, the Tshadda, and the 

"To turn the attention of the people of Africa 
to the cultivation of their soil, to teach them how, 
by industry, their slaves may be made to produce 
to them more substantial comforts than can be 
procured by selling them, ought to be our object 
in the first instance. Mawkish philanthropists 
may object to this as being an encouragement of 
domestic slavery. It is no encouragement. It 
is, at the most, a toleration of it for a good pur- 
pose. And of two evils, choose the least, hoping 
and working for the good time to come, when 
the slaves, by their industry, may liberate them- 
selves and become sharers in the prosperity of their 
fatherland. Of their certainty to do this, I have as- 
surance in a fact communicated to me by the Rev. 
Mr. Crowther, that several hundred slaves have 
so emancipated themselves at Abbeokuta. You 
may perhaps consider my suggestions as visionary, 
or the expectation of Government aid towards 
their accomplishment as hopeless. Granted that 
they are, I nevertheless conceive it to be my duty 
to urge their serious consideration on you. You 


are now at the head of a machinery which I con- 
ceive to be the best calculated to carry out such 
a plan 1 mean the African Steam Navigation 
Company ; and the following is an outline of what 
I would suggest : 

st In the first place, to have an understanding 
with the Fellatah Sultan at Sokatu, to secure 
from him the exercise of his influence over his 
extensive dominions, and chiefly to prevent the 
ravages of his people throughout the countries 
on the northern bank of the Tshadda. Whether 
this will need a demonstration of your moral force* 
or not, the Fellatah marauding must be put an 
end to before any commercial step can be taken 
with a prospect of success. Meantime, to pur- 
chase a piece of territory in the neighbourhood 
of Iddah, where a portion of a West Indian regi- 
ment should be established, sufficient in number to 
protect the traders, native as well as European. 

" A small steamer, say the l Pleiad,' with some 
improvements that I shall hereafter mention, 
would answer for a commencement; and it would 
not only strike terror into the minds of the natives 
below Aboh, by the dread of its power, but fortify 
those above by the certainty of its protection. A 

* Mr. Laird, in his evidence before a committee of the House 
of Commons, gave it as his opinion on one occasion that "moral 
force in Western Africa meant a 24 -pounder with a British 
seaman behind it." 


canoe stationed at Aboh, rendered doubly neces- 
sary because the interception of the palm-oil traffic 
between this and the Bonny, Brass, and Benin 
rivers must be the main object of trading 
farther up ; another at the confluence ; besides 
that at Iddah, a settlement near Apokko, on one 
of the Dagbo hills ; and, if farther up, at Anyashi, 
the river port of Wukari, the capital of the 
Kororoofa kingdom. From this place commu- 
nication may be made by native canoes to Gan- 
diko, Zhibu, and Hamarrua. Very little coal 
would be required for a steamer, as the people 
are certain to have wood cut when they are sure 
of a market for it. 

" There is no * break in the navigation of the 
Tshadda,' such as you supposed to be the cause 
of the interruption of traffic upon it; but the in- 
habitants high up dwell in districts thirty or 
forty miles asunder, and are not in friendly rela- 
tions with one another. 

"The steamer should go backwards and for- 
wards, to and from the mouth of the river, and 
the canoes and trading establishments, to deliver 
produce and return with goods, making a trip 
once a year, in August and September, as far as 
the river port of Zola and Hamarrua. Owing 
to a strong current of five and six knots, and the 


absence of eddies in many parts of the river above 
Ojogo, canoes are not applicable for navigation 
so high up ; and where they are used, they should 
have a very different sort of propellers from the 
flattened soup ladles used as paddles for those of 
the ' Pleiad.' 

" From Dagbo to Ojogo, a distance of at least 
forty miles, is a range of country, with a rich loamy 
soil, where cotton and coffee can be produced in 
abundance, and where a bond fide model garden 
could be established, under the superintendence 
of men brought from Sierra Leone. Not such a 
model garden as that which was located on the 
rocky ground at Mount Sterling, nor one sufficient 
to realize such predictions as those of Sir 
George Stephens, in his pamphlet on the Niger 
trade, in being able to clear its own expenses after 
a three years' cultivation of the Delta; but one 
that may be the beginning of a good work, which 
will be the best practical lesson for the Fellatahs. 

" And if the Government do not step in to put 
an end to the lawlessness of the Fellatahs, all 
ideas of a successful trade with the Niger- 
Tshadda-Binue countries may be given up. 
There can be no neutrality on the subject. 
Our Government, which has unfurled the 
British banner as the aegis of civilization and 


Christianity over the world, has still a weighty debt 
on her shoulders to the vast continent of Africa. 
I cannot be accused of any attempt at declamation 
when I assert that the forty millions of money 
spent in West Indian emancipation have been 
little alleviation to the miseries caused by the fact 
that the inhuman slave traffic had been legalized 
amongst us for nearly two centuries that the 
voice of humanity and religion, the glory and 
honour of our empire, and the practically com- 
mercial character of our country, demanded it. 
If the Government commenced the work, I have 
very little doubt that in a few years hence pri- 
vate enterprize will do the rest : British influence 
will be extended; pillage will cease; with its ces- 
sation will flow into Central Africa all the bless- 
ings of civilization, which otherwise centuries 
could not introduce ; the trade will pay ; and the 
industrial resources of the country will become at 
length developed, to the peace and comfort of 
its inhabitants, and to the commercial prosperity 
of Great Britain. 

" I have the honor to remain, sir, your obedient 


"To Macgregor Laird, Esq., 

" 3, Mincing Lane, London." 


In March of last year, a deputation consisting 
of Sir T. D. Acland, Bart., Lord Viscount Mid- 
dleton, Lord Calthorpe, with several other gen- 
tlemen, presented a memorial to Lord Palmerston, 
on the national importance of steam navigation 
upon the river Niger, for the encouragement and 
protection of lawful commerce, and the more ef- 
fectual suppression of the slave-trade. 

This memorial was a repetition of a similar 
one presented to his Lordship in the month of 
August, 1855, after the return of the S.S. 
"Pleiad, "from her exploring expedition of the pre- 
ceding year. To their former application the Go- 
vernment had not acceded till 1857, when a con- 
tractwas entered into with Macgregor Laird, Esq., 
to keep a small steamer on the river Niger for five 
years, for the purposes specified in the memorial, 
as well as for those of geographical exploration. 

The memorialists pointed to the fact of an an- 
nual sum of money being voted by the British par- 
liament for the expenses of a steamer towards the 
encouragment and protection of commerce in 
Gambia of aid afforded to Dr. Livingstone for 
his further exploration of Eastern Africa and of 
subsidies advanced for opening the navigation of 
the rivers of India, very justly submitting these 
as precedents in favour of their request. 


They mention the fact of the vessels sent up by 
Mr. Laird, between 1857 and 1860, havingbeen at- 
tacked by marauding tribes of the Delta, " who are 
deeply interested in opposing legitimate com- 
merce, for the sake of an illicit slave-trade." 
Three of these vessels were attacked, but not by 
any persons having an interest in the slave-trade. 
This is one of the errors of a slave-trade theory ; 
for such traffic in the Bight of Biafra is like that 
recorded at Angola by Dr. Livingstone, " a thing 
spoken of in the past tense." It was the palm-oil 
native brokers, who dwell between the districts 
where that article is manufactured, and the Bri- 
tish receiving-ships at the mouth of Brass river, 
by whom these several attacks were made. 

Further, they presented a statement, made by 
Macgregor Laird, Esq., shewing the prospects of an 
increasing trade up the Niger, after an experience 
of three years, by which it appeared that' three 
factories had been established above the Delta of 
the Niger, viz., at Aboh, Onitsha, and at the con- 
fluence of the Niger and Tshadda. 

Mr. Laird further records : 

"At these permanent stations the produce of the 
country has been collected and prepared for 
shipment by my European and African agents, 
and it is satisfactory to state that their lives and 


property have been protected by the different 
tribes in whose territory they are located, and in 
no instance have they been subjected to insult 
or injury. 

"A free passage was offered to Missionaries of 
all denominations of the African race, and the 
Church Missionary and Wesleyan Missionary 
Societies have established Schools and Churches 
at each of these stations, to the great and marked 
improvement of the people. 

"The value of produce collected at these 
stations, and brought down the river, shows a 
gradual increase 

"In 1857, it realized in Liverpool . . 1800 
1858, 2750 

1859, 8000 to 9000. 

In the last year cotton of quality equal to that of 
the Southern States of America has been brought 
down, and as it is grown extensively on both 
banks of the river, it will form a staple article 
of export. 

" Though these sums show that the existing 
trade cannot support a steam -vessel upon the 
river, the rate of increase holds out a fair pros- 
pect of its doing so in the course of another three 
or four years. The great drawback is the 
hostility of the tribes in the Delta, where the 


river is divided into narrow and tortuous chan- 
nels, where the natives are armed with cannon 
as well as musketry, and where they are en- 
couraged and stimulated to prevent steamers 
ascending by the chiefs and slave-traders on the 

The Government, the memorialists, or Mr. 
Laird, do not seem to notice the fact that these 
muskets and cannon, with powder and shot, were 
sold to the people who used them, and sold, too, 
by the advocates of the extension of legitimate 
commerce as the best means for putting down 
the slave-trade. 

The Government granted in part the application 
of the memorialists, and the following explanation 
of Mr. Laird's regulations is extracted from the 
Cotton Supply Reporter, of August 10th in last 
year : 

"3, Mincing Lane, London, 14th June, 1860. 

"DEAR SIR, I have entered into an agreement 
with Her Majesty's Government to keep up a 
communication by steamers between the mouth 
of the River Niger and its confluence with the 
Chadda, for three years, commencing from the 
1st August next. 

" I engage to make, if not prevented by un- 
foreseen accidents, or the hostility of the natives 


in the Delta, three voyages annually two as 
high as the confluence and one to Onitsha, and to 
keep a floating depot at the mouth of the river, 
which will be visited by the mail-packet monthly. 

"It is my wish to make this arrangement avail- 
able to liberated Africans returning to their 
native countries on the banks of the Niger and 
Chadda ; and in order to do so, I propose to 
charge a fixed rate of ten dollars per head for 
deck passengers of the negro race, finding their 
own provisions, to all parts between the mouth of 
the river and the confluence, and to take goods 
for them at the rate of five pounds per ton 
weight or measurement for the river freight, and 
to arrange with the African Mail Company to 
take passengers and goods from any part of the 
coast, at their printed rates of freight and pas- 
sage money, in addition to the above. By this 
arrangement, the passage money from Sierra 
Leone to the Niger would be twenty dollars, 
from Lagos fifteen dollars ; so that one payment 
should clear passengers or goods. 

" Passengers can only be received under the 
conditions specified in the clause marked in the 
table of fares by the African mail-packets an- 
nexed. Each adult passenger will be allowed to 
take 281bs. of personal luggage free of freight. 


"I think the best plan to encourage this return 
of liberated Africans and their descendants, would 
be for the Church Missionary Society to form a 
committee of natives of the countries bordering 
on the Niger, resident at Sierra Leone and Lagos 
to select such applicants as they deem suitable 
to send out and report to them, either per- 
sonally or by letter, on the advantages and dis- 
advantages of such a return to the interior ; and 
if any assistance is given intended emigrants, it 
should be confined to paying their passage 
money ; and I object strongly to any being 
invited to go until accounts are received of the 
safe passage of the steamer through the Delta, 
and the permanent pacification of that district, 
which I hope will be accomplished this season. 

" All persons settling on the banks of the Niger 
must clearly understand that they do so at their 
own risk, both of person and property; that they 
must conform to the laws of the country in 
which they locate themselves; and that the 
British Government does not undertake to pro- 
tect them : in this respect they will be exactly in 
the position of those liberated Africans who have 
settled at Abbeokuta and other parts of the 
Yoruba country. 

" I have no doubt Mr. Crowther will send full 


reports, on his arrival at Onitsha, of the pro- 
spects for emigrants returning to Central Africa 
by the Niger, to his brethren in Sierra Leone 
and Lagos, and I would be guided greatly by 
his opinion. 

"It is my intention to keep the 'Rainbow' 
constantly on the river ; and I am in hopes that 
during the dry season it may be found naviga- 
ble as high as Onitsha ; and my agent will have 
orders to communicate with Her Majesty's 
Consul at Lagos full information as to the times 
when a departure will take place for the interior. 
" I remain, dear sir, yours faithfully, 


There have been so many theories advanced 
about the best mode of civilizing the negro, 
as well as of aiding him in the development 
of his country's wealth, and so many of these 
have failed to accomplish the ends for which 
they were proposed, that I confess I have no 
plan to offer. 

Of one thing, however, 1 must confess myself 
convinced still to adhere to the principle which 
I enunciated six years ago of the impossibility 
of effecting anything permanently advantageous 
in the Niger trade without the aid of Govern- 
ment in the beginning. Cash, capital, and com- 


panies are very good things in most parts of the 
world, but what is their power when opposed to 
marauding bushmen and treacherous savages ? 

There is no middle course in dealing with 
such people as those to be met with in the Delta 
of the Niger. 

It seems to me an indispensable preliminary, 
for the establishment of healthy commercial 
operations up that river, that Government 
should have a gun-boat permanently attached to 
the service there for at least five years that its 
first visit should be to the town from whence the 
shots were fired that killed the men in the "Rain- 
bow" steamer that notice should be given to 
the inhabitants to clear out in so many hours 
and that its huts should then be levelled to the 
ground. This cannot be considered severe when 
it is remembered that no lives would be sacri- 
ficed, and that the building materials to construct 
new houses can be gathered from the bush in a 
few hours. The " moral force " impression would 
be made, and the presence of the gun -boat 
once a-year would keep this impression, as it 
were, stereotyped. In the meantime, and during 
many months of each season, the vessel might be 
cruising about for the benefit of her crew's 
health. To facilitate the operations of traders, 


be they natives or Europeans, I would likewise 
suggest that the Government should establish a 


steamer, say such a one as the colonial steamer 
" Dover," at Gambia, to tow up and down ships 
engaged in trading. The development of trade 
in its present condition cannot compensate any 
private individual for the expense of building 
and maintaining a steamer. This vessel should 
be commanded by a merchant sailing-master, 
paid by Government, and bound in a heavy 
penalty not to trade himself. A steamer is 
necessary to tow up all vessels against the cur- 
rent of the Niger, which is always running; 
and the experience of all the steamers that have 
gone out since 1854 (including the "Pleiad") 
demonstrates the inexpediency of having Govern- 
ment and commercial operations under one and 
the same management, more especially when 
carried on in one and the same ship. 

This tug, although armed, ought likewise to 
be fitted up in a different manner from the 
steamers of former expeditions. I do not allude 
to the disputed question of screw and paddle- 
wheels, about which I do not presume to judge, 
but to an essential matter connected with the 
safety of the lives of all on board the necessity, 
namely, of a high bulwark of metal around the 



ship's side, to protect the men on deck from 
being shot down as the two poor fellows were in 
the S.S. "Rainbow." 

The passenger traffic of native emigrants and 
missionaries from Sierra Leone ought to be con- 
fined to such vessel. 

The men who theorize on the certainty of 
anti-slave-trade treaties and the cessation of the 
slave-trade leading to the development of Africa's 
industrial resources, seem to me to be as much spe- 
cial reasoners in the matter as Mr. Jameson in his 
pamphlet, inferring that the palm-oil trade became 
developed in a larger increasing ratio when its 
production was concurrent with the slave-export 
The two conditions have no relation to one 
another except on the post hoc ergo propter 
hoc principle. We require to go deeper into the 
social condition of the African races to find out 
why for the last twenty years the palm-oil produce 
in all the rivers has been at a comparative 
standstill. We should study the lax industry 
which is such a prominent characteristic of the 
Ethiopian race; and, above all, we should inquire 
how much their domestic life, their superstitious 
sacrifices, and their civil contentions have to do 
with the stagnation of their commerce. To my 
own knowledge, intestine broils, chiefly with the 


interior tribes, have tended so to reduce the 
amount of palm-oil produce in Bonny, as to 
make the proceeds of 1859 three thousand tons 
less than those of 1856. 

In addressing the audience of the Mechanics' 
Institute at Manchester, during the past year, 
Sir John Bowring observed : " He looked with 
some doubt and hesitation at the powers of 
Africa. He had lived among the blacks, and did 
not find in them the elements of industry to 
which he should look for a large production." 
A generalization of this kind might be regarded 
with distrust, did it not emanate from a man 
with large powers of observation, and were 
it not confirmed by what I have remarked. 
Let me not be misunderstood. I condemn no 
man's idea about what he thinks the best means 
of civilizing the African, or of investing his capi- 
tal to profitable account. An eminent barrister, Sir 
J. Stephen, I believe, once advanced a plan for 
draining the Delta of the Niger, and converting 
its reclaimed acres into a model garden. I do 
not censure this. But I claim the right of enter- 
taining a doubt as to its possibility, when I know 
that white men could not accomplish such a work, 
as its execution would take them off in death by 
thousands ; and I know equally well that black 


men would not do it, whatever reward they 
were offered. This is entirely apart from 
the possibility of accomplishing such a work by 
any human means, in which I confess I have 
no faith. 

The plan proposed a few years back, by some 
gentleman in London, whose name I forget " to 
cultivate the Sahara, and render England inde- 
pendent of the world for her cotton, coffee, tea 
and sugar " may have appeared to its author 
very feasible. His design was to establish a 
joint-stock company, and to commence operations 
by constructing an aqueduct from the Senegal 
river to lake Tshad, or more probably vice ver- 
sa. Shrubs were to be planted the ground of 
the desert was to be watered with watering-pots 
and meteorology was expected to induce some 
change of climate out there that was to cause 
rain to fall and thus, making the desert pro- 
ductive, to render England independent of the 

On Mr. Jameson's proposal to form a company 
for the development of the Central African trade 
through the Cross river to the Niger, I have a 
few observations to make. 

Without reference to the malarious swamps on 
the banks, he seems not to be aware of the ob- 


stacles existing up the Cross river, similar to 
those on the Delta of the Niger and at Bonny 
the ferocity of the natives towards one 
another, and the probability of their extending 
this spirit to those Europeans with whom they 
may come in contact. The tribe occupying the is- 
land of Bosan, in the centre of the stream, have 
not permitted those of the Akoono-Koono district 
to pass by, for more than twelve years, with their 
palm-oil produce ; and thus a yearly damage to a 
great extent is done to the market at Old Kala- 

The great mistake in the plans for civilizing the 
negro seems to be that the designers forget that 
it is next to impossible to apply any one mode 
of action to all tribes, and that it is inexpedi- 
ency to endeavour to assimilate their undeve- 
loped ideas to ours, instead of bringing our higher 
reasoning faculties to the development and improve- 
ment of theirs. However sensible and true may be 
the observation of Captain Allen* " that no un- 
dertaking formed by private individuals for pur- 
posespurely commercial can prosper in the interior 
of Africa" nevertheless the plan of including 
a bazaar, with a government house, hospital, and 
barracks, seems to me to border much on the 

* li Expedition to the Niger." Bentley, 1848, voL, ii., page 434. 


chimerical Our knowledge of the peculiarities of 
each tribe should teach us that a like mode of 
conduct is not applicable to all. 

To develop the industrial resources of Africa, 
by teaching her children how to cultivate cotton 
and coffee, and to increase the manufacture of 
palm-oil, seems to me the first step. It is a ques- 
tion worth the consideration of the legislative 
councils of our colonies in Western Africa, if the 
encouragement of the pawning system* would 
forward this object; but if private or Government 
enterprise can do nothing better towards the 
civilization of Africa, than what it has done up 
to this time namely, making rum and guns and 
powder our chief articles of export in exchange 
for native produce they cannot hope that the 
barbarous tribes of Ethiopia will be much more 
advanced in comfort or civilization a century 
hence than they are at the present time. 

* Vide Chapter I. 



Despotic Government in the Palm-oil Rivers Pilotage and Trad- 
ing Comeya at Brass, New Kalabar, and Bonny Commence- 
ment of Troubles in Bonny on the Dethronement of King 
Pepple New Articles to Treaty in January, 1854, constituting 
Dappo King Abolition of Trading made imperative on the 
part of the Governing Head in Bonny Prohibition of Chop- 
ping Oil, or of going to War Establishment of Quadruple Re- 
gency Causes of the Inefficiency of such a Form of Government 
Proved by the Experience of Five Years No Foundation for 
King Pepple's Claims on the British Government for Indemnity 
Fact of his Dethronement emanating from his own People- 
British Authorities having no Power to nominate or reinstate a 
King in an African Neutral Territory Letter to the Bonny 

THE principles of native government, which 
exist amongst all the tribes on the banks of the 
palm-oil rivers, are purely despotic. 

At Brass the governing power is divided 
between Keyah, head of the Obullumabry dis- 
trict, nephew of the late King Boy, and 
Orishima, a nephew of the late King Jacket, 

170 COMEY. 

who holds the reins over the Bassambry terri- 

The trade regulations enjoin the payment of 
sixteen pieces of cloth, or eighty bars of other 
merchandize, for the pilotage of vessels entering 
and proceeding up this river ; and for vessels 
leaving the river twenty pieces of cloth, or a 
hundred bars of other merchandize. 

The "comey" for vessels coming here for 
trading purposes is at the rate of one puncheon's 
worth of palm-oil, reduced to British goods, 
paid for each mast carried by a ship. 

Besides this, there exists another comey in the 
shape of a bar levied by the supercargo on every 
puncheon of palm-oil brought for sale. This 
is of course out of the property of the man who 
owns the palm-oil, and is expected to be levied 
in behoof of the monarch by the British 

Amongst these governing heads there does 
not exist the same open daring spirit of defiant 
opposition to British influence which we recog- 
nize in Dahomey, Ashantee, and elsewhere. 
As in Bonny and Kalabar, a spirit of commercial 
elevation is rising here amongst certain men, 
which exercises the same commanding influ- 
ence in the councils of the people that the al- 


mighty dollar does in other parts of the world. For 
example, Keya and Orishima are held with a sort 
of curb by the native palm-oil traders, who urge 
them in "palaver" debates to expend their comey 
in settling disputes that may in any way tend to 
intercept the communication with the interior 
palm-oil markets of the Brass brokers. The 
house of Gun, which divided the sovereignty 
with Boy for some time after the death of its 
head, kept the latter in check, till Keya, on the 
sudden death of Amanga (a descendant of Gun's), 
came in to be undisputed ruler. 

By one of the provisions of their native code for 
the regulation of trading with white men, it is 
enacted, " that long detentions having heretofore 
occurred in trade, and much angry feeling having 
been excited in the natives' minds from the de- 
struction by white men (in their ignorance of the 
superstitions and customs of the country) of a 
certain species of boa-constrictor that visits the 
cask-houses, and which is 'ju-ju' or sacred to 
the Brass men, it is hereby forbidden to all 
British subjects to destroy or harm any such 
snake ; but they are required, on finding any of 
these reptiles on their premises, to give notice 
to the chief man in Twa, who is to come and 
remove it away." 


The chiefs of Brass district are the only ones 
in either the Bight of Benin or of Biafra with 
whom no anti-slave-trade treaty has been entered 
into. Nevertheless, no foreign export of slaves 
is carried on from this any more than from the 
other rivers, whose chiefs have been paid by our 
Government an indemnity for its suppression. 

Up New Kalabar river King Amacree may be 
said to be the undisputed reigning head, although 
held in check socially by the superstitious 
tomfoolery of a ju-ju king, named Akoko 
(the death of one of these potentates is re- 
corded elsewhere) ; and commercially by a family 
named Barboy, who are first-class traders, 
and believed by some persons to have a 
presumptive right to the monarchy of New 

The adoption of the principle of free-trade in 
these places would appear to me very unjust, 
inasmuch as the native brokers are obliged to 
pay comey at all the native towns by which 
they pass in conveying palm-oil from the interior 
markets. In all the rivers of the Bights, how- 
ever, the subject of the abolition of " comey " 
has been mooted from time to time. 

In New Kalabar and Bonny, as well as at 
Brass, there existed for a considerable time 


what was styled the " Bar comey." This was a 
customs duty, independent of the ordinary port 
dues. The trader who was entitled to receive 
this comey was one to whose family sway the 
other native traders were subservient; and it was 
levied at the rate of one bar per puncheon for all 
the oil going on board any ship. To ensure 
accuracy in the payment of this duty, a small 
boy was generally placed in the vessel to keep 

It was frequently collected by the super- 
cargo for the native trader to whom it was due; 
and occasionally the supercargo made a contract 
in the gross for an amount of about five pun- 
cheons worth of palm oil as the total of the 
trading voyage. 

It was the commencement of a troublesome 
crisis in the social and commercial history of 
Bonny when King Dappo was constituted as the 
legitimate successor to the deposed king Pepple, 
The clauses of this nomination act were agreed to 
in Bonny Equity Court House, on 23rd January, 
1854, and ratified by Consul Beecroft, in presence 
of Lieut. C. H. Young, commanding H.M.S.S. 
"Antelope," and a number of native traders. The 
very first article embodies ideas directly opposed 
to all principles of African government. It pro- 


hibits the new king from trading directly, or in- 
directly (by giving trust to Bonny men) ; it al- 
lows to him for his support two-thirds of the 
comey of every ship coming to trade in the 
river, applying the other third to meet the ex- 
igencies of the country ; each party also con- 
tributing sufficient for the support of Pepple out 
of their shares, provided he is not possessed of 
sufficient means of his own. By one of its pro- 
visions it allots a puncheon of oil as a reward to 
any person who shall give information respecting 
any breach, on the part of his majesty, of the 
agreement by which he is bound not to trade 
thus placing him under the constant surveillance 
of spies who are paid for giving information 
touching his delinquencies. 

Seizing oil for debts, and the imprisonment ot 
traders for the same reason, were abolished by 
these regulations. 

The other clauses of this code ordained that 
the king or chief should not go to war 
with neighbouring tribes without informing 
the supercargoes of the reason and necessity 
for so doing ; and that he should pay his 
debts before beginning any aggressive war- 
fare : of course an exception was made in case of 
a war for self-defence. The headmen, officers, 


and slaves of the deposed king were allowed to 
trade, whilst Yanibo and Ishaca two adherents 
of Pepple's house were from that time forward to 
be considered chiefs of Bonny, and to take their 
place accordingly. 

Twelve months passed away, and showed the 
transitory nature of empire in Bonny, as in other 
parts of the world. During that year king Dap- 
po died, and Consul Beecroft also was called 
to his last account. 

Dappo having left no successor, save an infant, 
it was considered necessary for the orderly go- 
vernment of the country to constitute a regency ; 
and accordingly this form of executive, though 
somewhat after the model of the provisional go- 
vernment in France, was ordained, pursuantto the 
following declaration : 

" Whereas, in consequence of the death of king 
Dappo, of this river, it has become necessary to 
establish a regency until an heir shall become of 
age, for the government of the country, and the 
protection of British interests and for the fulfil- 
ment of the existing treaties, slave-trade and com- 
mercial we do hereby nominate, appoint, and 
empower the undermentioned chiefs to act as and 
constitute that regency, viz : 




" The last of these four chiefs, Manilla Pepple, 
in all cases consulting with Bannego and Oko 
Jumbo, two gentlemen of the river. 

"We, therefore, empower these chiefs, constitut- 
ing that regency, to act as may be required of 
them for the good government of the country ; 
and that all British subjects will abide by the 
requests or decisions of such regency, and refer 
all matters or questions of dispute to them. 

" Given under our hands, on board Her Britan- 
nic Majesty's Ship ' Philomel,' lying in the river 
Bonny, this llth day of September, 1855. 


" Acting British Consul, Bight of Biafra. 


" Commander of H.B.M.'a Steam-vessel ' Philomel,' 
and Senior Officer, Bights Division." 

The experience of five years has taught the 
British as well as the native traders that this 
government has been no more than a mockery 
and delusion, its paternal care of the country, and 
its protective guardianship over British life and 
property, being alike deceptive. The four Regents, 
so styled, were the representative heads of four 
houses, which never lived in amity or unanimity ; 
they had their little jealousies of trade as well as 
their domestic social bickerings; they took the 


comey, but never joined in concert to expend it for 
obtaining peace in their own immediate circle, or 
in the interior country markets; consequently 
civil war was ever rife around and about them, 
as there existed in the Bonny territory no strong- 
handed man like Pepple to put down such dis- 
turbances, leading to an immense loss of British 
property, by the mastery of physical force. For, 
after all, it is sad to be obliged to confess that 
despotism is the only form of government which 
is calculated to preserve law and order in the 
present social degradation of the native Africans. 
Even the mobocracy, who obliged the Regents 
to do as they pleased, became at length anxious 
for Pepple's return. Combined as they were of so 
many comflicting parties, representing the four 
houses, they distrusted one another, and conse- 
quently were afraid of making unanimous appeal. 
A civil war in the town of Bonny, which had 
occurred just after Dappo's death, and which had 
obliged \ r aniba and Itschaca to seek for shelter at 
Fernando Po, may have been a moral force im- 
pediment. Dappo's son was only three years 
old when his father died; and as a long time 
would intervene before he could assume the 
government of the country, the people wished for 
Pepple's return. 


But although all Pepple's followers were 
exterminated in the last civil war, and although 
during his reign the majority of the inhabitants 
acknowledged Dappo to have been the lawful heir 
to the throne, they privately urged the super- 
cargoes to apply to me, to aid in Pepple's re- 

It will be observed that this application, com- 
ing as if from the supercargoes themselves, could 
not have the support of Her Majesty's govern- 
ment. I pointed out to them, according to the 
additional articles to the commercial treaty with 
Bonny, signed on the 23rd of January, 1854, 
in presence of Consul Beecroft and Commander 
Young, that the native chiefs and traders were 
the only persons whose names were signed to 
that document that they had exercised their 
national prerogative to depose Pepple and elect 
Dappo as king and that it was their prescriptive 
right to do so. I likewise gave it as my opinion 
to the supercargoes, that no British subjects, 
whether they bear Her Majesty's commission or 
not, have authority to supersede, nominate, or 
reinstate an African potentate at the head of 
his tribe or country in any place outside British 
territory, without the consent of the people who 
are his constituents. The law of nations defined 


by Montesquieu to be "founded upon justice, 
equity, convenience, and the reason of the thing," 
is directly opposed to our taking upon ourselves 
any such prerogative as a benefit to our commer- 
cial interests. Were we to take it upon ourselves 
to nominate Pepple as king, and did scenes of 
bloodshed ensue, such as those of late occurrence, 
the consequences to our trade, as well as to our 
feelings of humanity, would be disastrous. 

Supposing such calamitous occurrences did 
not result, no French or American trader coming 
here need obey the ordinance of a man placed in 
power by British authority. There were other 
trifling contingencies, too, that seemed to put 
out of question the possibility of Pepple's return- 
ing to assume the position of a governing mon- 
arch ; namely, that he owned no canoes, possessed 
no house or property in Bonny, and had not one 
single adherent of his family at that place. 

I deem it my duty to explain here the want 
of foundation in Pepple's claims on the British 
Government for compensation, with reference to 
the fact of his being deposed from the sove- 

Pepple applied to Mr. Beecroft,* after he had 

* Vide Journal, enclosure No 1, in Slave-trade 48, February 
20th, 1854 ; Class B, April 1st to March 31st, 1855. 

N 2 


been deposed, requesting that he might be taken to 
Fernando Po, to be there under his protection. 

In his letter to Mr. Beecroft, dated Clarence, 
7th of June, 1854, he writes : 

"Your being Her Majesty's representative 
here led me throw myself into your hands, to 
come to Fernando Po ; " and a letter from all the 
chiefs and traders in the river Bonny, which 
was written to Mr. Beecroft previous to his visit 
in Her Majesty's ship " Antelope," 19th of Janu- 
ary, 1854, announced : "We accordingly declared 
him no longer king."* Consequently Mr. Bee- 
croft had nothing to do with removing him from 
his sovereignty. His proceeding to Sierra Leone 
from Ascension, and from Sierra Leone to Eng- 
land, was neither carried out nor sanctioned 
through the instrumentality or with the con- 
sent of Her Majesty's Government; therefore, send- 
ing him back again to Bonny, even if he should 
comply with the wishes of his people (conveyed 
indirectly through the British supercargoes), is 
a matter in which all those most nearly con- 
cerned should take the primary steps of providing 
for the expense of the voyage, of securing peace 
to his country, and of assuring protection to 
British interests. 

* Vide enclosure No. 2, in Slave-trade 48, ut ante. 


I subjoin a letter of thanks which I presumed 
to give five years ago to the Bonny supercar- 
goes, joined with some opinions on their trading 
transactions. I do this because the principles 
contained therein are equally applicable to other 
trading communities : 

" British Consulate, Fernando Po, 

"April 24th, 1856. 

" To the Chairman and Members of the 
Court of Equity, Bonny. 

" GENTLEMEN, Your kind and courteous let- 
ter, placed in my hand as I was about to leave 
Bonny in H.M.S.S. * Bloodhound,' on the 10th 
inst., I had not the opportunity to reply to and 
thank you for till now. 

"Believe me when I assure you that, al- 
though I cannot feel conscious of meriting, in the 
slightest degree, the high compliments paid to 
me in that letter, the reception of such an honour 
from the representatives of the merchant princes 
of Liverpool will ever be duly appreciated by 
me. My duty to my Government and my 
country cannot fail to be kept before my mind 
by such approbation ; and when I remember the 
source whence it comes from ' gentlemen who 
are first among the first' of African traders the 
pleasure and gratification of it are doubly en- 


" Although yet but a neophyte in consular 
duties, and much the junior in years of the 
majority of members of your court, I trust you 
will not consider I am overstepping the bounds 
of my duty in giving you my opinion of some 
matters relative to your Equity Court. 

" I wish the Bonny Equity Court to be con- 
sidered the model after which institutions of its 
kind are formed in the Bight of Biafra. There 
are many reasons why this ought to be so, and 
which are unnecessary for me to explain now. 
In order to keep it worthy of imitation, it 
should be a Court of Justice, in the amplest 
meaning of the word; and it ought to be an 
institution for the protection of your own in- 
terests as traders, for the generation and nurture 
of amity amongst your body, as well as for the 
endeavour to establish a feeling of confidence 
between the native traders and yourselves in 
commercial matters. I say commercial matters, 
because I believe that a great deal of inj ury may 
arise from the supercargoes meddling in any 
way in the social laws, prejudices, or customs of 
the natives. 

" When you remember that thirty years ago 
fairs were held in Bonny for the sale of slaves 
once or twice a- week and when you know that, 


from July 1854 to July 1855, above sixteen 
thousand tons of oil have been sent from this 
and New Kalabar rivers to Liverpool, you will 
consider that, in such a short space of time, it is 
very hard to expect of the people the growth of 
their knowledge in the morale of civilization to 
proceed pari passu with that of their nascent con- 
sciousness as to how advantageous to their coun- 
try's interests are becoming their relations with 
Great Britain. This is their first-acquired 
learning; and you know as well as I do that 
civilization is in no part of the world the growth 
of a single day. Moreover, you are aware, as I 
have recognized it on my late visit to Bonny, 
that the slaves men of that class which was 
formerly the market commodity there are grow- 
ing up to know that they have as much liberty 
to trade as the head men. 

" Knowledge such as this will, I have no 
doubt, eventually cause revolutions in the prin- 
cipal African kingdoms; and you will find it 
cannot be for your interests in the slightest 
degree to interfere with any of the social strug- 
gles that such a changing condition of affairs is 
likely to lead to, mixed up as they will doubtless 
be with their ancient follies, superstitions, and 


" I would not presume to write to you thus, 
but that I feel confident you will take my 
opinions as they are intended not as implying 
the presumption of offering advice, but as mere 
grounds for your own cogitation and reflection. 

" I quite agree with you that nothing would 
conduce so materially to the prosperity of the 
Bight of Biafra trade as a man-of-war placed here 
at my disposal for frequent visits to the rivers 
within my jurisdiction. I am sending your 
letter home to Lord Clarendon ; and I have 
every confidence that when the war is terminated, 
and his lordship can turn his attention to Africa, 
the condition of this part of the world will not 
be neglected. 

"Accept each of you individually my best 
wishes for your health, happiness, and pros- 
perity; and believe me, gentlemen, your obe- 
dient servant, 


" H.B.M.'s Consul." 



Commercial Dealings in the Palm-oil Rivers The Natives' Distrust 
of European Traders Rev. James Martineau on the Cycle of 
Credit Indiscriminate Trust given by the Supercargoes 
at Old Kalabar Letter of Sir J. Emerson Tennant to African 
Merchants at Liverpool Limited Trust Recommended, com- 
mensurate with the Annual Produce of the River Suggestion of 
adopting the Hulk System Opinion of Government on the Ar- 
bitrary Conduct of Supercargoes in Old Kalabar Advice given 
to the Supercargoes of their Trust being a mere Speculation 
System of Chopping Oil Adoption of Native Laws for Reco- 
very of Debts Present Code of Commercial regulations up the 
Old Kalabar Author's Attempt to improve them With Copy 
of Advice to Supercargoes. . 

ALL men who take an interest in the commercial 
probity of the British nation will regret to see 
such a paragraph as the following, endorsed by 
one who has reason to know its truth : 

" Next to the abolition of the marts for slaves in 
Cuba, we believe that legitimate commerce, carried 
on by honest agents, and on an equitable system, 


is the one thing needful to extirpate the heinous 
practice of bartering human beings. Before this 
can be introduced, however, a complete change 
must come over the spirit of modern commercial 
enterprise with the African coast. Trade, as now 
carried on to that region, is not conducted on the 
principles of fair dealing, if we are to credit the 
accounts which reach us from those who are on 
the spot, and have abundant opportunity of judg- 
ing. Hence has risen a spirit of distrust on the 
part of the African traders towards Europeans, 
which, though it may not, and in fact does not stop 
trade, considerably impedes its development, and 
operates prejudicially in other respects. In no 
direction does it do this more than in causing the 
coast chiefs to prefer the old trade in slaves to any 
other, for at least they have an appreciation of the 
market value of a man, at any given time; whereas 
the market- value of a cask of palm-oil not only 
varies with the coming of every ship, but de- 
pends on the conscientiousness of the trader. 
We can assert, on authority, that were legitimate 
trading prosecuted on equitable principles, the 
coast trade would speedily augment to at least 
two-fold its present extent."* 

The trust system has been the cause of all this 

* Anti-Slavery Reporter, April 1st, 1856. 

CREDIT. 187 

a system having no foundation on any princi- 
ples like those laid down in a " Discourse upon 
Commercial Morals," by the Rev. James Mar- 
tineau, in which he says : 

" Credit is essentially a reliance upon charac- 
ter during the currency of a transaction ; and 
with the cycle of the transaction it should ever 
be susceptible of close. Restrained within these 
limits, the mere existence of incomplete and un- 
realised transactions constitutes no offence against 
the apostle's precept, provided the balance sheet 
which records them be at every moment unambigu- 
ously right, and be reviewed at intervals too short 
for danger to creep in. This is the one point on 
which the question of integrity surely turns. And 
here it is that, to the eye of the mere outward 
observer, the modern notions of honour seem to 
be in danger of deplorable decline. There ought 
to be no difference on these questions between 
the invariable sentiment of the Christian mora- 
list and the feeling of the man of business. But 
in the rapid expansion of relations and the haste of 
human affairs practices slide insensibly inco existence, 
and get a footing as usages, before any conscience 
has time to estimate them ; and when they have won 
the sanction of prescription, they soon shape con- 
sciences to suit them, and laugh at the moral critic 


as a simpleton, and hurry on to the crash of social 

The clash of retribution in financial losses has 
not yet come to all, though it has to some ; and 
the continuance of this laxity of commercial 
principle has been productive of worse results to 
trade than I would venture to describe. 

From the first day of my official connexion 
with the rivers in the Bight of Biafra more 
especially with one, the Old Kalabar I endea- 
voured to impress on the representatives of Bri- 
tish merchants the wrong of their resorting to 
native law for the recovery of debts which in 
their extent so far outraged the cycle of healthy 
commerce. Common sense should have taught 
them, as well as the merchants at home, the 
difficulty of loading ten thousand tons of ship- 
ping an amount of tonnage frequently there 
in a river whose annual produce has never been 
known to exceed three thousand tons of palm- 
oil. The recommendation which I gave, with a 
view to check the growing spirit of discontent 
and distrust amongst them, is well conveyed in 
the following letter sent by the Board of Trade 
to the African Association at Liverpool, which I 
have received liberty from the Right Honourable 
the Lords' Committee of Privy Council for Trade 
to insert here : 


" Office of Committee of Privy- Council for Trade, 
" Whitehall, 28th of May, 1857. 

" SIR, I am directed by the Lords of the 
Committee of Privy-Council for Trade to invite 
(through the instrumentality of your Associa- 
tion) the earnest attention of the merchants inte- 
restedinthe trade of the west coast of Africa to 
the state of things that exists there at the present 
moment ; and to the danger that, if the trade car- 
ried on with the natives be not speedily placed 
on a more legitimate and sounder footing, the 
development of the resources of that region, 
which is now seriously retarded, may be ulti- 
mately checked, and a lucrative commerce, suscep- 
tible of infinite extension, may eventually decline, 
or be altogether withdrawn from European en- 

" Complaints are received by Her Britannic 
Majesty's Secretary of State, by nearly every 
mail from the African coast, against the 
arbitrary and unjust proceedings of the British 
supercargoes towards the native chiefs and 
traders of violence to their persons, and the 
forcible detention of their goods ; and there is 
reason to apprehend that, ruined by their share 
in their transactions, or disheartened and dis- 
gusted by an occupation in which they do not 


find ultimate advantage, these native dealers are 
occasionally driven to abandon peaceful and 
industrious pursuits, and betake themselves 
again to civil anarchy and the slave-trade. 

"Without ascribing this discouragement 
wholly to one cause, my lords cannot doubt that 
it is attributable in a great degree to the system 
of excessive credits, on which, at the present, 
the barter with the African middle-traders is 
mainly carried on by the representatives of 
British houses in the Kalabar, Kameroons, and 
other rivers of Western Africa. 

"To so great an extent is this acted upon, that 
Her Majesty's consul for the Bight of Biafra, writing 
to the Secretary of State on the 21st of February 
last, states that it has been represented to him 
that at that moment from nine to eleven thou- 
sand tons of palm-oil were due by the native 
traders in one single river, the Old Kalabar, 
where the annual produce does not exceed one 
third of that quantity. Thus, in a single district 
the entire produce of three prospective years 
would be absorbed to discharge the obligations 
of one. 

" This alone is a serious consideration in the 
case of an uncivilized people unable to resist the 
temptation of excessive credit in the first in- 


stance; and afterwards impelled, rather than 
discharge engagements of such old standing, to 
convert their available goods to their own imme- 
diate profit, to the disregard of their creditors' 

" But to this dishonest course the natives feel 
themselves impelled by another consideration, 
which, however indefensible in itself, is still suffi- 
cient in their eyes to justify evasion. 

' ' The prices at which E uropean articles are pressed 
upon them in the first instance are unnecessarily 
exorbitant, in order to admit of a profit to the 
British adventurer, who thus intrusts his pro- 
perty to a native about to set off to the interior 
in search of African produce, with which, after 
a lapse of one or two years, he may or may not 
return to discharge his debts. The only security 
of which the supercargo can avail himself in 
such circumstances is to place so high a nominal 
value on the goods which he advances, as may 
protect his employers against partial default, and 
cover not only the risk but the actual cost of 
shipping long detained in the rivers to await the 
returns from the speculative investments, with 
all the .incidental charges for interest of money, 
insurance, depreciation, commission, wages, and 
outlay on the crews. It is not to be wondered 


that the native debtor, aware of the disadvanta- 
geous terms on which he had originally contracted 
his engagement, on returning to the coast, and 
bringing with him the articles collected during 
his long circuit in the interior, should hesitate to 
deliver them to the creditor, and should yield to 
the bait of better terms offered by a rival Euro- 
pean agent. 

" Such a system of comparatively unlimited 
credits, by tempting the native into debt, fosters 
the tendency to dishonesty in him ; whilst the su- 
percargo, for the assertion of his own right, finds 
himself in a condition to resort to force and 
force which may appear ostensibly justifiable un- 
der such circumstances is apt to extend itself to 
other cases in which justice is less colourable; and 
the system degenerates into habitual fraud on 
the one hand, and systematic violence on the 
other. In such a struggle it must be obvious 
that legitimate trade cannot long endure ; and it 
has already been represented to Her Majesty's 
Government that civil commotions, which fre- 
quently agitate the coast and threaten destruction 
to European as well as to native life and proper- 
ty, are probably encouraged by men rendered 
desperate by unsuccessful dealings with Euro- 
peans, who hope to escape in the confusion ; and 


that such individuals eventually betake them- 
selves to a life of turbulence and slaving. 

"With a view to apply a check to the further 
growth of this system, it has been pressed on the 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs that it will 
be expedient to bring back the system of trading 
in the African rivers to a sounder and more le- 
gitimate condition, by calling the attention of 
those interested to the propriety of greatly con- 
tracting the present facilities of credit between 
their supercargoes and the natives dealers. The 
Consul of Biafra suggests, with this view, that in 
his opinion the best plan whereby the merchants 
of Liverpool embarked in the African trade can 
extricate themselves from the probability of se- 
rious losses is by instructing their supercargoes 
(and rendering it incumbent on them to obey 
these instructions), not to give out more than a 
certain amount of trust, in proportion to the 
yearly produce and the amount of tonnage in the 
rivers ; and that they should make it a general 
rule, that where an amount of oil is brought to 
a ship for sale, at least one-third of it should be 
placed to the credit of the old account, and the 
remainder paid for in goods on delivery. 

"Mr. Hutchinson is further of opinion, that 'to 
avoid competition between two agents of one 



house, the hulk system, as adopted by Messrs. Hors- 
fall, in Brass and Kalabar, Kameroons and Bon- 
ny, would be far the best; because common 
sense should teach that a single vessel on shore 
would be a much more profitable investment 
than sending out four vessels in charge of two 
different supercargoes if from no other reason 
than the saving of expense of insurance, of offi- 
cers' and seamen's wages, and of the wear and 
tear of the ships.' These recommendations, ema- 
nating from a gentleman of Mr. Hutchinson's ex- 
perience and opportunities of observation, appear 
to my lords eminently worthy of the attention of 
the merchants interested in the African trade ; 
and their adoption would probably remove one 
source to which the evils adverted to are very dis- 
tinctly to be traced. 

"I have, at the same time, been instructed to 
intimate that measures will be taken to control 
the violent conduct so frequently exhibited by 
supercargoes in the African rivers, that addi- 
tional powers will be conferred for this purpose, 
and that Her Majesty's Government will rely on 
the great mercantile houses interested in the 
development and permanent prosperity of the 
African trade, to co-operate with them, and, by 
their legitimate authority over their agents on 


those rivers, to put an end to those practices 
which have hitherto prejudiced lawful com- 
merce, and hereafter, if not checked, to be pro- 
ductive of still more serious evil. I am, &c., 


" The Secretary to the Association of Merchants 
" Trading to the West of Africa, Liverpool." 

On more than one occasion I have felt obliged 
to tell the British supercargoes in Old Kalabar, 
that " they did not seem to me to know that trade 
on all African rivers, where trust is given, can 
be regarded only as a speculation, inasmuch as 
there exists no international code of commerce be- 
tween Great Britain and these countries, where- 
by they might be enabled to recover their debts 
by civil jurisdiction. The moral force of a con- 
sul, aided by the physical power of a man-of-war, 
could not be applied to this purpose. And where 
a supercargo, as was often the case, had recourse to 
a custom of the country in seizing one man's goods, 
or imprisoning one man's person, for a debt due 
by another, it put aside the possibility of a 
remonstrance on the consul's part for the pay- 
ment of a debt. For such a step as this was 
but the precursor of lawlessness, in leading the 
other supercargoes (deprived for the time of 



the captured man's trade) to urge the native 
traders to reprisal." 

This system of seizing, or, as it was entitled, 
"chopping," a trader or his palm-oil was a 
part of the Egbo institution. On no part of 
the coast was moral force more of a " farce " 
than up this river. To gather together the con- 
flicting temperaments of the Kalabar super- 
cargoes, and amalgamate them into unanimity of 
action, was a task more than Herculean. And 
as long as the system of unlimited trust continues 
to be followed as long as recourse is had to 
native laws whilst the merchants of England 
send an amount of tonnage quadrupling the an- 
nual amount of the country's produce so long it 
will not be possible to make commerce in that river 
what honest trade ought to be everywhere. The 
existing statute, by which the by-laws and regula- 
tions for trading matters between the British su- 
percargoes and the nativeswere settled, was agreed 
to at a conference held on board the ship "Africa," 
Captain Cuthbertson, lying off Duketown, 
Old Kalabar, on the 17th of April, 1852. It 
was ratified by Consul Beecroft, then on an 
official visit to the river in H.M.S.S. " Blood- 
hound." Amongst its provisions one is, that the 
" comey " (or custom bar), levied at the rate of 


twenty coppers per registered ton, be paid in the 
proportion of two-thirds to King Eyo, and one- 
third to King Duke Ephraim the former being 
the head potentate of Creektown, as well as the 
most extensive trader in the country, and the 
latter being chief over Duketown. 

The fourth article of this statute, which enjoins 
that compulsory trust be abolished, and that 
supercargoes be allowed to purchase oil if brought 
alongside, was perfectly useless ; as well on ac- 
count of the large amount of trust which stood 
in the hands of the native traders, as from the 
fact that the new arrivals in the river found it 
impossible to buy oil without giving credit. If 
a native trader were courageous enough to venture 
to a ship with the view of selling his oil, it was 
sure to be " chopped " in its progress before arriv- 
ing at its original destination. This system led 
to mutual distrust amongst the supercargoes, the 
most prominent symptom of which was, that the 
treaty made by Consul Beecroft was broken in 
some of its most important provisions before the 
vessel which bore him had crossed the river bar 
on her return to Fernando Po. 

The fifteenth article, which provided that 
" should any person take trust from any vessel, 
and be unable to pay his debts, his house and 


property should be forfeited and sold by the king 
and duke," was equally unavailing; for each trader 
being in debt to several supercargoes, of course 
none would be satisfied to let the house and pro- 
perty of a man be sold for the payment of a single 

When I visited this river in September, 1856, 
on board H.M.S.S. "Myrmidon," I tried to make 
stronger the ties of friendship between the native 
and British traders, by suggesting a few additions 
to their by-laws, and proposing that they should 
open an equity court for mutual protection and 
the cultivation of mutual amenities. At this 
time several natives of Kalabar, who had been 
formerly sold out of this country as slaves, and 
who had been emancipated as well as educated at 
Sierra Leone, were sent down here by the Rev. Mr. 
Jones of the Fouraboh Grammar School, no doubt 
in the praiseworthy hope that, returning to the 
" Jerusalem of their younger days," they would 
spread the blessings of civilization and Christi- 
anity over the pagan land of their birth. The 
manner in which these men commenced this work 
was by assisting the native traders to ship oil for 
England in the mail steamer, although this oil 
had been bought and paid for from the cargoes 
of vessels then in the river. 


To try and obviate such a practice, of palpable 
injustice and injury to British property, it was 
deemed expedient to insert the following as a 
provision in the new code : 

"Article 12. That no man can be recognised 
as a legitimate trader in the country unless he 
pay, through the court, a comey of twenty thou- 
sand coppers per annum for the privileges of 
purchasing and shipping oil, and that persons 
who may attempt trading without paying such 
comey shall be liable to have their oil seized as 
smuggled produce and delivered to the supercar- 
go next in rotation to leave the river, he giving 
to the king an acknowledgment in book or books 
for debts to the like amount due to him." 

On the face of it this may seem to be pro- 
tecting a monopoly ; but it will appear nothing 
of the kind when the reader comes to consider 
the immense amount of British property that was 
out on trust amounting at this time to more 
than two-and-a-half years annual produce of the 
country. Moreover, the protective comey did 
not exceed in amount what two vessels of five 
hundred tons each would be obliged to pay at 
any time. 

The supercargoes wrote to me a letter of thanks 
for the regulations which I then instituted, and 


which may be seen by those curious in the matter, 
in Hertslet's "Commercial and Slave-Trade Trea- 
ties, Laws, &c." * After some personal compli- 
ments they expressed themselves as confident 
that, under the government of the Equity Court, 
their trading connexions with the natives would 
soon assume a more healthy condition than 

To this I replied as follows : 

" British Consulate, Fernando Po, 

" October 16th, 1856. 
" To the Supercargoes of Old Kalabar River. 

"GENTLEMEN, Your letter of 4th October 
gives me more pleasure from the sentiments it 
expresses of your confidence in the establishment 
of the Equity Court, than from the high and un- 
merited compliments you pay to myself. True, 
I have been longer acquainted with the pecu- 
liarities of your trade than with those of any 
other river in Western Africa ; and therefore I 
should feel doubly interested in the prosperity of 
your commercial dealings with the native 

" I trust you will not be offended with me for 
saying, that ever since my first visit to the Old 
Kalabar river in 1850, I have lamented the defi- 

* Vol. x., page 686. 


ciency of commercial morality which I saw 
existing between the supercargoes and the 
natives. I know very well that the present 
body of supercargoes ought not to be blamed for 
by-laws and regulations that were framed and 
put into practice by their predecessors ; and al- 
though I believe that reform of old abuses can- 
not be effected in a day, I give it to you can- 
didly as my opinion, that the establishment of an 
Equity Court such as that you have just formed 
seems to me to be the most effectual means of 
generating a feeling of confidence between your 
body and the natives, and a more healthy condi- 
tion of amity between yourselves than has hither- 
to existed. 

"And let me assure you, as a point of my 
belief, that without simultaneous and sym- 
pathetic action in trading matters things will 
always be at odds and ends amongst you. I do 
not desire to see men unanimous in their pri- 
vate tastes and habits ; for, without differences 
of sentiments and sensations, the world would 
not go round so harmoniously as it does. 

" For examples in commercial unanimity look 
at the corn exchanges, the stock exchanges, the 
whole series of mercantile communities at home, 
and you will see that they are governed as well 


as kept in prosperity by the unanimity of their 
members. Let it not be said that in the infantile 
trade of Africa the elements of discord are your 
upholding prop; for depend upon it, these 
elements have not an invigorating or enduring 

" The pecular position in which you are placed, 
having so many thousand pounds worth of 
goods out on trust with the natives, has induced 
me to assent to a few provisions in the code of 
bye-laws, for the government of your Equity 
Court, that I would not otherwise have sanc- 
tioned ; but I trust that time will do away with 
the necessity of these (Articles 18 and 22) ; 
and it is my firm conviction that you will find 
yourselves in a more independent position, and 
your merchants' property less liable to be 
sacrificed, if you do not permit the natives to 
take credit from you to such a large amount as 
they have hitherto done. 

"The same advice as I have given to the 
Bonny supercargoes, not to meddle with the 
superstitions or domestic broils of the natives, 
I give to you. On all matters in which the 
brutality of Egbo law interferes with your com- 
merce, I would advise you to appeal to me ; for 
trading can never assume prosperity in any 


country where such an abominable institution 
exists ; and it is my duty to protect you from its 
evil influence. Were there no other reason for 
my opposition to it than the fact that a man 
tried and condemned by Egbo is doomed to 
have all the property and slaves in his posses- 
sion (whether they be his own or not) divided 
as a prey amongst its high-priests, I would deem 
it an obligation on me to oppose its codes. But 
when I see that Egbo affords no protection to 
British life or property, and that it is a system 
maintained to keep the slave population in sub- 
jection by the grossest brutality, I am equally 
justified in setting my face against it. 

"As many of your best and most honest traders 
are of the latter class slaves you will be glad to 
hear that I have received instructions from Her 
Majesty's principal Secretary of State for Foreign 
Affairs, to insist strongly, in the name of Her Ma- 
jesty's Government, on the discontinuance of the 
barbarous custom of permitting a masked man to 
go about the town on Egbo days, with liberty to 
whip all the slaves, men, women, and children, 
whom he may meet. 

" I shall watch with interest and attention over 
the growth of the ' more healthy condition ' of 
trading matters which you anticipate from the 


Equity Court ; and shall at all times be willing 
to give you my assistance, by 'every lawful 
means,' in securing you and the merchants 
whom you represent from loss by the dishonesty 
of the natives. I am, gentlemen, &c., 


" H.B.M. Consul." 

During the short existence of the Equity 
Court it brought to light the fact that, at the 
commencement of the year 1857, goods for debts 
of eleven thousand tons of palm-oil were out on 
trust with the natives. At the then quotation 
of palm-oil 48Z. per ton this made a debit of 
528,000/., more than half a million of money. 
Out of the foregoing amount there were due, at the 
same time, by King Eyo, over and above six hun- 
dred puncheons, or about four hundred tons of the 
article, to the different trading vessels at the time 
in the river. These ships were nine in number, 
capable in the aggregate of carrying home 7832 
tons of palm-oil, and the yearly average of the 
Old Kalabar country has for a long time ranged 
from three to four thousand tons per annum, 
rarely, if ever, exceeding the latter. 

The difficulty of having these debts cleared 
off was aggravated by many causes. 

The growing antagonism between the slave 


and free class, generated by the fact of some of 
the former becoming independent traders, and 
trying to evade the naturally despotic as well 
as consequently jealous character of the latter, 
became a powerful barrier of opposition to mu- 
tual confidence amongst the natives; whilst a 
like spirit of reciprocal distrust between the 
British supercargoes, however it may have been 
engendered, was certainly fostered and strength- 
ened by some merchants sending out two trad- 
ing vessels, each under the guidance and man- 
agement of a separate and independent trader. 

The advice contained in Sir J. Emerson Ten- 
nant's letter was as little heeded as that in 
mine. Merchants sent out their supercargoes 
with fresh consignment of goods, and still the 
same system was persevered in, without any effort, 
by reasoning with the natives, to have the long 
due debts discharged. Indeed, the rivalry be- 
tween British traders in this river was extended 
to such an outrageous length, that at one time 
during the last year more than eight thousand 
tons of shipping were stationed there. 

Such was the condition of affairs, needing 
a Queen's Order in Council, at the end of 
the year 1860. 

Before leaving the Old Kalabar district, I 


may record the existence in it of a curious 
fact in domestic therapeutics, which I omitted to 
notice in my former work on Western Africa. 
From a time so far back that there is no record of 
its origin indeed, perhaps, long before Franklin 
obtained electricity from the clouds the women 
have been accustomed to use the electric fish as 
a remedial agent, by putting two or three of 
them into a tub of cold water, and then immers- 
ing therein a child affected with fits or colic. I 
need scarcely add that the contact of the child 
with the electric influence is always secured by 
the aid of the person administering the bath. 

Dr. Wilson of Edinburgh, who read a paper 
on the subject in the Natural History section of 
the British Association, in Dublin, during the 
meeting of August, 1857, believes it to be of the 
same genus as the Silurus or Malapterurus of 
the Nile. 

The following superstition must strike all stu- 
dents of nature as an illustration of the wide 
prevalence of certain established customs among 
savage as well as civilized communities. Amongst 
the Efik tribe, who are the residents here, there 
exists a practice of cooking food and leaving it 
on the table of a fabric called the " devil house," 
which is erected near the grave of a man or 


woman. The food is placed there in calabashes, 
and it is believed that the spirit of the deceased, 
with those of the butchered serfs who are her or 
his fellow-travellers, frequently come to partake 
of it in their journey to the world of spirits, 
whither they are supposed to be travelling. 

From recent explorations made amongst the 
Fiji Islanders, in the Pacific Ocean, by Dr. Ber- 
thold Seeman,* it appears that an exactly simi- 
lar custom exists among the aboriginal Fijians, 
whose ethnology is not yet decided, as different 
opinions are set forth upon it by various au- 

Dr. Seeman writes, that "the path led through 
numerous taro, banana, and yam plantations, 
and close to an altar made of sticks and native 
cloth, on which food for the spirits of the dead 
was placed. The mass of Fijians will have it that 
these offerings are consumed by the spirits of 
their departed friends and relations, who are sup- 
posed to have great supernatural influence." 

It is a melancholy reflection that a somewhat 
similar analogy, in their anthropophagic ten- 
dencies, exists between the Fijians and many of 
the West African tribes. 

* Vide Athenaeum, No. 1735, Jan. 26, 1861, p. 120. 



Contemplated Order in Council for Western Africa Formed on 
the Models of those for the Levant and China Earl of 
Aberdeen's Definition of a Consul's Authority with reference 
to the Turkish Order in Council A Consul's Authority being 
limited to be Defined by International Law Difficulty of 
obtaining Treaties with African Kings in a Diplomatic Matter 
of this Kind Causes of this difficulty in the different rivers 
Principle of Latitude and Discretion, in the Exercise of 
Authority by Consul, as laid down in Report of Select Com- 
mittee of House of Commons Mr. Cobden's opinion of Inter- 
national Justice Powers given to Consuls by Orders in Council 
Moral Force of a Consul in Africa is a Moral Farce with- 
out the presence of a Man-of-War Cursory Revision of the 
Paragraphs of the Order in Council intended for Western 

HER MAJESTY'S Order in Council for conferring 
magisterial authority on West African Consuls 
is on the same model as that passed (present the 
Queen's Most Excellent Majesty) at Buckingham 
Palace, 19th of June, 1844, which was in- 
tended to confer on Her Majesty's Consular 


officers in the Ottoman dominions jurisdiction 
in criminal cases. 

The chief difference being, that the African order 
includes civil cases (which had been previously 
provided for in the Grand Turk's dominions), 
and likewise makes ordinances for the protection 
of Kroomen, as well as other natives of Africa. 

In the memorandum for the guidance of Her 
Majesty's consuls in the Levant, with reference 
to the exercise of jurisdiction under the Order 
in Council, dated Foreign Office, July the 
2nd, 1844, and signed by the Earl of Aber- 
deen, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 
it is laid down : " The right of British consular 
officers to exercise any jurisdiction in Turkey in 
matters which, in other countries, come exclu- 
sively under the control of the local magistracy, 
depends originally on the extent to which that 
right has been conceded by the Sultan of Turkey 
to the British crown ; and, therefore, the right is 
strictly limited to the terms in which the con- 
cession is made." 

Mr. Tuson, in his British Manual, amongst 
remarks on the duties of a consul generally, 
proceeds to observe : " It may be as well to state 
that it is an acknowledged right, founded upon 
international law, that all offences against the 



marine laws of the country, committed on board 
any vessel belonging to such nation, when in a 
foreign port, are considered crimes against the 
law of the country to which the ship belongs, 
as the vessel's deck is considered the territory of 
the country she appertains to. This will not, 
however, hold good in the case of offences against 
persons belonging to the state in whose harbour 
the vessel happens to be anchored, as then it 
assumes quite a different aspect, for it becomes 
one against the law of that land, and can be 
punished accordingly." 

In the present state of political government 
up the rivers in the Bight of Biafra, it is scarcely 
possible to acquire by treaty any right from the 
rulers there. They do not understand what is 
meant or desired by an Order in Council. They 
consider our Queen has power (or ought to have 
it) to make la,ws for the government, and, if 
necessary, the punishment of her subjects in any 
part of the world. Consequently they will not 
sign a treaty, whose meaning they cannot under- 
stand or appreciate, save so far as they know 
it has no signification of a direct monetary ad- 
vantage. King Amakree confessed to me that 
he did not know how he could give me more 
power than my Queen was fit to give : not being 


able to read the treaty, he suspected its con- 
taining something insidious, but frankly agreed 
to sign any " book " if he were paid for it, as he 
had been paid for his anti-slave-trade treaty. 

In Bonny, as I have explained elsewhere, the 
government is in the hands of a quadruple 
regency, the heads of four factions, each of whom 
is suspicious of the other : these men are in fact 
the governed instead of the governors, being 
dictated to in every act of their executive autho- 
rity by their family mobs. To impress upon the 
minds of these people any idea of such an inter- 
national treaty as is required in the case of the 
Queen's Order in Council I found to be an im- 
possibility; each party, owning a plurality of 
cliques, misrepresented, so far as they could 
understand, the objects which I had in view; and 
some of them even went the length of stating 
their objections to be grounded on the dread 
that our government wanted to do with Bonny 
what the French had done at Gaboon. 

In Kameroons, where there are six petty chiefs, 
each holding sway over his own particular 
district, a similar condition of social distrust is in 
existence. One chief is afraid to do anything, in 
the matter of " putting his hand to book," unless 
it be done by all, and in the presence of all. 



The perpetual civil feuds existing amongst 
these men render it frequently impracticable to 
get all of them together on board a man-of-war 
for any purpose. 

When they do go each is under the care, 
guidance, and soi-disant protection of his own 
particular supercargo friend ; hence may be in- 
ferred the difficulty of getting these men to sign 
any such treaty as that in question. 

The Brass chiefs, Keya and Orishima, never go 
on board a man-of-war ; for their abiding places, 
Bassambry and Obullamabry, both forming 
the capital of Nimbe country, are more than 
forty miles above the reach of ordinary navi- 

In Old Kalabar the two chiefs Eyo and 
Archibong have signed the treaty for the Order 
in Council. I believe their having done so is, in 
a great measure, due to their not being so in- 
fluenced by the supercargoes here as are the 
chiefs in the other rivers. 

No better principle could be laid down, in re- 
ference to executive administration on the coast 
of Western Africa, than that which is expressed 
in the following extract from the report of a select 
committee on consular services and appoint- 
ments : " A latitude of discretion and an exer- 


else of authority may be entrusted to consuls es- 
tablished in a country where the customs and re- 
ligion are more or less antagonistic to those of 
European civilization and where the weakness 
of the rulers is unable to secure a full protection 
to life and property, which would be altogether 
superfluous and unadvisable in the case of those 
who are resident amongst a well-regulated 

There is an important truth in the following 
principle of international law, laid down by Mr. 
Cobden in his letter to the Sheffield Foreign Af- 
fairs Committee, a few years ago, with reference 
to what is styled " the maritime supremacy of 
England " : " If our supremacy be only that of 
arms by sea or land, we should at once take the 
Chinese or Russian monarchy for our model and 
our guide. The supremacy to rule the waves 
with an arbitrary power, or to make laws for those 
amongst whom laws had hitherto been unknown, is 
not one that our Government should advocate, or 
our country sanction, in the nineteenth century. 
Australia and Africa may need our protection. It 
should only be given to thembydemonstratingour 
moral superiority by communicating a know- 
ledge of our industrial arts, as well as manufac- 
tures. England, foremost in the ranks of pro- 


gress, need fear no international competition 
against her in this ; but at the same time all her 

O ' 

codes, which she, or her representatives, are called 
on to sanction between savage tribes and her 
government, should be founded on the eternal 
laws of truth and justice." 

It is a melancholy reflection that neither 
British agents nor native tribes in Western Africa 
can be impressed with the sentiments of Christian 
humanity enunciated in the foregoing remarks. 

The Orders in Council connected with China 
and the Ottoman Empire, and that proposed for 
Western Africa, are all after similar models, giv- 
ing to the consuls three courses of proceed- 
ing : first, a summary decision ; second, a de- 
cision with the assistance of assessors chosen 
from the British community ; third, a recourse 
to the supreme courts for China at Hong Kong, 
for the Levant and Turkey at Malta, and for 
Western Africa at Sierra Leone. 

I hope I shall not be accused of tautology in 
my mode of expression, when I state that up all 
the rivers in the Bight of Biafra as, I believe, in 
all the rivers of Western Africa the moral force 
of a consul, without the moral influence which the 
presence of a man-of-war alone can bestow, is a 
moral farce, as regards his authority and power ; 


therefore the Order in Council, which is the sub- 
ject of the present chapter, needs very serious 
consideration as to the most effectual mode of 
carrying it out. 

Let us cursorily run through its provisions. 
It is founded on an act of Parliament of the 6th 
and 7th year of Her Majesty's reign, cap. 94, in- 
tituled " An act to remove doubts as to the exer- 
cise of power and jurisdiction by Her Majesty 
within divers countries and places out of Her 
Majesty's dominions, and to render the same 
more effectual." 

That act, amongst other things, provides that 
" it is and shall be lawful for Her Majesty to 
hold, exercise, and enjoy any power or jurisdic- 
tion which Her Majesty now hath, or may at 
any other time have, within any country or place 
out of Her Majesty's dominions, in the same and 
as ample a manner as if Her Majesty had ac- 
quired such power and jurisdiction by the ces- 
sion or conquest of territory." 

The first paragraph of the Order in Council pro- 
vides that Her Majesty's consuls appointed to 
reside in any territory or place on the west 
coast of Africa, shall have full power and autho- 
rity to carry into effect, and enforce by fine or 
imprisonment, as hereinafter provided, the obser- 


vance of the stipulations of any treaty, or of re- 
gulations appendant to any treaty, between our 
Government and the native chiefs, or any Euro- 
pean Government. 

The consul is further authorized to make and 
enforce, by fine or imprisonment, rules and re- 
gulations for the observance of the stipulations 
of such treaties, and for the peace, order, and 
good government of Her Majesty's subjects be- 
ing within such territory or place. 

So that here, in limine, we can see the indis- 
pensability of a man-of-war, with accompanying 
executive authority, to levy fines and enforce im- 
prisonment on natives as well as British subjects. 
The " rules and regulations for the observance of 
the stipulations of such treaties" must vary with 
the peculiarities of commercial transactions in 
each river. 

The second paragraph, with reference to affix- 
ing in the consul's office the rules and regulations 
applicable to palm-oil traders in Brass, New 
Kalabar, Bonny, Old Kalabar, and Kameroons, 
seems to me practically of little value. By 
this paragraph it is also provided that a printed 
copy of such regulations, certified under the 
hand of the consul to be a true copy thereof, 
shall be taken as conclusive evidence of the 


existence of such regulations ; that no penalty 
can be incurred for any breach of such rules till 
they shall have been one month posted up in the 
consul's office ; and that the allowance or dis- 
allowance of all similar regulations to be law 
shall depend upon the approbation or disappro- 
bation of Her Majesty's principal Secretary of 
State for Foreign Affairs. 

By paragraph the third a consul is empowered, 
upon the complaint of any party, to summon a 
British subject before him, for disregarding and 
infringing any rules or regulations for the ob- 
servance of the stipulations of treaties ; and to 
award a penalty, not exceeding a hundred 
pounds, or three months' imprisonment. 

The paragraph succeeding this provides that, 
in a case where the period of imprisonment is 
likely to exceed one month, the consul is 
authorized to summon two British subjects of 
good repute to sit with him as assessors ; and 
to do this, of course, before he has heard the 

The remainder of this paragraph provides that 
in the event of the assessors, or either of them, 
dissenting from the conviction of the party 
charged, or from the penalty of fine or imprison- 


ment, the consul shall take note of the dissent, 
with its grounds, and shall require good and 
sufficient security for the appearance of the 
party convicted at a future time, in order to 
undergo his sentence or receive his discharge, 
pursuant to the final decision of Her Majesty's 
principal Secretary of State for Foreign 

It will be, in many cases, out of a consul's 
power to enforce obedience to the latter stipula- 
tion ; as, for instance, where a supercargo may 
have a ship loaded ready to start for England, 
from which he may never return. Moreover, a 
grand difficulty stands in the way of carrying 
out this provision, viz., that the only British 
subjects of good repute available as assessors are 
the supercargoes themselves. 

The three paragraphs succeeding the last are 
on the point of civil suits against British subjects, 
either, by native Africans, or by the subjects of 
the government where the consul resides, or by 
a subject or citizen of any foreign state in amity 
with Her Majesty. A consul's decision, in such 
cases, may be impugned, by giving notice, within 
fifteen days, of appeal to the supreme court of 
Sierra Leone. On this appeal, all the documents 


produced before him, and no other, must be for- 
warded by the consul to that supreme court, he 
at the same time obtaining from the protesting 
party security that he will be satisfied to abide 
by the final decision of said supreme court, 
and that he will be accountable for all costs, 
should there be a failure of such appeal. 

Civil suits instituted by British subjects against 
natives can be heard and determined only pro- 
vided the natives will submit to the consul's 
jurisdiction. Civil suits between British subjects 
are disposed of in like manner, giving a similar 
liberty of appeal to the supreme court at Sierra 

In all cases, whether civil or criminal, the said 
supreme court has authority to admit further 
legal evidence than that which had been brought 
forward on the investigation before the consul, 
if it can be established that the evidence now 
forthcoming was not available at the time the 
aforesaid investigation took place. 

The examination of witnesses on oath, the 
issue of compulsory orders for the attendance of 
British subjects to give evidence, and the settle- 
ment of suits and contentions by amicable agree- 
ment, with power to order the apprehension of 


British subjects charged with crimes or offences, 
and to compel other British subjects to appear 
as witnesses are then provided for. 
The fifteenth paragraph authorises a consul, 
in the case of an individual who proves refractory 
after having been twice sentenced for crimes, and 
for whose future good behaviour proper security 
cannot be advanced, to send him out of the place, 
or territory, on board a man-of-war or British 
vessel, as a distressed British subject, unless he 
is able and willing to defray for himself the ex- 
pense of his passage. 

The moral force bearing of this paragraph 
would seem to me to have a very salutary effect 
in prospectu. 

Passing over several intervening paragraphs, 
which refer chiefly to matters of discipline, I 
come to the thirty- third, one of the most impor- 
tant of the whole, for the protection of Kroomen. 
By this it is provided that all masters of British 
ships shall make an agreement in writing with 
these men, specifying the date of hiring, the 
rate of wages, the allowance of provisions, the 
period of engagement, and the place of dis- 
charge. A copy of this agreement is to be 
given to the head man of the Kroomen, 


and another to the consul at the first place 
he touches at, if there be one there. All such 
agreements are to be ready for inspection by 
any consul, or commander of Her Majesty's 

The foregoing paragraph gives to the Kroo- 
men the same protection as is accorded to 
British seamen by the Merchants' Shipping Act 
of 1854. 

Effectually to carry out the provisions of this 
Order in Council, more especially in a district 
like that of the Bight of Biafra, whose jurisdic- 
tion ranges from Cape Formosa to Cape St. 
John, a coast distance of more than four hun- 
dred miles, the constant presence of a man-of- 
war steamer is perfectly indispensable. 

It is neither my province nor my duty to make 
more observations than I have already made on 
the parts of this Order in Council referring to fines 
and imprisonments, or to the possibility of the 
consul, in the present condition of affairs in 
Western Africa, enforcing his decisions against 
British subjects in any suit ; but I must record my 
opinion here, that the rules and regulations for 
trade require very serious deliberation. Hitherto 
the opinions and principles of the supercargoes 


have been followed ; and when it is recollected 
that no two of these men are ever unanimous 
upon any subject, it may be inferred what a lack 
of principle is exhibited in their application of 
the whole body of existing regulations. 



To Batanga Keputed Non-existence of Slavery amongst the Ba- 
pooka and Banaka Tribes Provoking Calms and Preposterous 
Currents in the Bight of Biafra View in the Roadstead of Ba- 
tanga The Waterfall at Lobei River The Canoes and their 
Fishing Occupants Canoe Racing on the Rolling Billows 
Universality of Pipe-smoking here A Visit to King "William 
Description of His Majesty, his Uniform and his Menage 
General Appearance of the Beaux and Belles of Batanga De- 
scription of the Chief Koluctoo's Seven Wives Walk along 
shore to the Waterfall Beauty of the scene and its Accessories 
Information about Interior Tribes. 

BEING disposed to take a look at one of the outlets 
bordering that unexplored district of central 
Africa which lies between Darfur, Adamawa, and 
Kororoofa, with other localities visited by Dr. 
Barth, and the districts of Congo, Angola, Loan- 
da, with the Mokololo explored by Dr. Living- 
stone, I chose Batanga for my visit. The ex- 
tensive interior terra incognita of that region is 
described, in Mr. Arrowsmith's sketch of Central 


Africa prefixed to the first volume of Dr. Earth's 
Travels, as " inhabited by independent pagan 

Previous information respecting the Batanga 
part of the coast makes me desirous to ask from 
geographical and topographical authorities per- 
mission to divide the Bight of Biafra into two seg- 
ments the one extending from Cape Formosa to 
Rumby Point, on the western side of the base of 
Kameroons mountain; and the other reachingfrom 
that to Cape St. John. One of my chief reasons 
for this is, because the former districts are 
known to me and to everybody out here as the 
swampy, malarious localities whence, in the 
olden times, slaves constituted the principal 
exports, as palm-oil is in the present ; whereas 
the latter reach of shore is represented as being 
diversified by high mountains rising in its 
interior having no swamps, no malaria, pro- 
ducing a little palm oil, and, from the single spot 
of Batanga alone, yielding above forty tons of 
ivory per year. 

Although the maps do not say so, there are 
two Batanga territories. Little Batanga, the 
most northern and westerly, is, with a river of that 
name, included within the greater part of the terri- 
tory enclosed within the Bight of Panavia. Big 


Batanga comprises the territory on the coast ex- 
tending from Cape Gara-jam to the river Campo, 
a distance of about forty-three miles. Both of 
these districts are inhabited by the Bapooka and 
Banaka tribes ; and it seems an additional justi- 
fication (were such a thing necessary) for my 
desire to know something about them, from my 
own personal observation, that, as I am informed, 
no domestic slavery exists amongst them, and 
that they have never been known to sell any 
slaves for exportation. 

Whoever says to the contrary, I maintain that 
there is no benefit to be derived from one's com- 
plaining on board a sailing ship in the Bight of 
Biafra, although calms, in combination with 
preposterous currents, will sometimes make the 
most philosophic person in the world wish all 
kinds of bad luck to the clerk of the weather. 
Here am I on board a little schooner such a 
clipper that even a breeze no stronger than that 
emitted by a parlour bellows would make her 
"walk the waters like a thing of life" here am 
I on board this little craft for twenty-six hours, 
under the lee of the island of Fernando Po, her 
stem at one time pointing to Cape Vidal, and now 
with stern towards it, trending in the direction 
of Cape Horatio ; then disdaining both, and 



swinging lazily towards Kameroons river, on 
the African continent ; yet never moving one 
single yard in the direction which I desire to go, 
namely, to Big Batanga, in lat. 2 53' N., long. 
9 53' E. 

But the longest calm will have an end ; and 
so the land wind at night enables us to creep 
away. In twenty-four hours after starting we 
had dropped anchor in the roadstead, and the 
view from the ship's deck was such a one as dis- 
pelled all our ideas of the unhealthiness of the 
African coast. 

At a distance of what appears about ten miles 
interior to the harbour of Batanga is the Naanga 
mountain, which is marked down in the Ad- 
miralty chart * as one thousand seven hundred 
and seven feet above the level of the sea, but to 
which no name is given. Considerable eleva- 
tions some of pinnacled or sugar loaf, and 
others of table-land formation rise all round, as 
far as the eye can reach ; whilst falling in 
three different streams, appears the white foam 
of the tumbling cataract of Lobei river, known 
as the waterfall of Batanga. Viewed from the 
sea, it has an extremely picturesque and refresh- 
ing aspect ; for we observe two large sheets of 

* Sheet 20 of West Coast of Africa Charts, between Fernando 
Po and Cape Lopez. 


water, separated by lofty trees and clumps of 
rock, from one of which, as it falls, a smoky 
spray is constantly rising. A towering vegetation 
and great black boulders are seen stretching to a 
considerable distance to the westward, amongst 
which the waters, dashed into showers of spray, 
come rumbling down over a large bed of rubbly 
stones ; the course of the stream gradually de- 
clining from the centre of the fall, and thereby 
making a semi-arched shelving, till it trickles out 
at the extreme end, only a few feet higher than 
the river's bed below. Between our vessel and 
the shore, numerous black streaks on the water, 
each having a dot in its centre, soon ap- 
peared distinctly as small canoes, the dots repre- 
senting the negro occupants, each of whom had 
a string in his hand, which, with the country- 
made hook affixed to its end, bespoke its 
owner's occupation of fishing. 

The appearance of these canoes, as well as the 
agility of their tenants, is very remarkable. The 
former are not more than from six to eight feet 
in length, fourteen to sixteen inches in width, 
and from four to six inches in depth. When 
fishing the man sits on the canoe as we 
sit on horseback, his leg at either side being 
the guiding and propelling power. The 



line, with its beardless hook, having a dead 
shrimp for a bait, is " played" up and down with 
one hand, whilst with the other he now and then 
seizes a large wooden ladle and bales out the 
boat with a rapidity of motion that at first sight 
seems really ludicrous. The canoes, being made 
of light wood, are carried to and from the 
sea on the shoulders of their owners, as is 
done by the natives of Ossamaree, up the river 

During my few days stay at Batanga, I ob- 
served that from the more serious and industrial 
occupation of fishing they would turn to racing 
on the tops of the surging billows which broke 
on the sea shore ; at one spot more particularly, 
which, owing to the presence of an extensive 
reef, seemed to be the very place for a con- 
tinuous swell of several hundred yards in length. 
Four or six of them go out steadily, dodging 
the rollers as they come on, and mounting atop 
of them with the nimbleness and security of 
ducks. Reaching the outermost roller, they turn 
the canoes steins shoreward with a single stroke 
of the paddle, and mounted on the top of the 
wave, they are borne towards the shore, steering 
with the paddle alone. By a peculiar action of 

* Vide Author's Narrative of Niger, Tshadda, Binue Explora- 
tion, page 171. London : Longman, Brown, and Co., 1855. 


this, which tends to elevate the stern of the canoe 
so that it will receive the full impulsive force of 
the advancing billow, on they come, carried along 
with all its impetuous rapidity. Sometimes the 
steerer loses the balance of his guiding power; 
the canoe is turned over ; its occupant is washed 
out, and the light little piece of wood gives a 
few lofty jumps from wave to wave, reminding 
one of a horse at a steeple-chase, that, having 
thrown his rider, takes it into his head (or rather 
his heels) to gallop about the country, and jump 
over ditches on his own account. 

Yet, despite of these immersions, no one is 
ever drowned, as they are capital swimmers 
indeed, like the majority of the coast negroes, 
they may be reckoned amphibious. 

In their piscatorial excursions, it sometimes 
happens that a prowling shark, tempted to pur- 
sue the fish which the fisherman is hauling on 
the line, comes within sight of the larger bait of 
the negro leg, and chops it off without remorse. 
A case of this kind had happened a very short 
time before the period of my visit, and the poor 
victim had died ; but this did not diminish the 
number of canoes riding the waves, nor render 
one of the canoe occupants less energetic or 
daring than before. 


These canoe labours constitute the whole of 
the work done here by the males. Digging, 
delving, and planting the ground, as well as 
carrying ivory from the interior, are the occupa- 
tions of the sex who are considered the weaker in 
civilized countries, but who in all African states, 
whether slavery exists there or not, are obliged 
to be "the hewers of wood and drawers of 
water " the laborious serfs on whom every hard 
and burdensome duty is devolved. 

When on shore I saw one young woman, 
evidently on a journey, carrying a large bundle 
of plantains on her back, the weight of which she 
bore by means of a withe of country twine, that 
encircled her forehead, and pressed tightly against 
it ; whilst her husband, or master, or owner, as the 
case might be, walked by her side, swaggering a 
stick, and smoking a pipe, as if these two opera- 
tions were the only duties required of him. 

Every one in Batanga except perhaps the 
sucking baby smokes from a black pipe. As a 
man or woman walks by the piazza of the trade 
store where, resting on my portable bed, I am 
sheltering myself from the rays of the noon-day 
sun, he or she stops to gaze at me, and then, pro- 
ceeding along, gives a strong suck to, and an 
equally vigorous whiff from, the pipe, with an air 


which seems to imply their consciousness that 
smoking tobacco is the ne plus ultra of negro 

Whilst waiting for the sun to descend a little 
lower, in order that I might have an agreeable 
walk of about three miles to the waterfall, I learned 
that the palace of His Majesty King William was 
not far away, and so I sent him word that I 
purposed doing myself the honour of waiting on 
him as soon as he was ready. 

This I found to be the etiquette. In about an 
hour after I was told he was waiting for me, and so 
I proceeded to the royal residence, not with any 
flourish of trumpets, or beating of drums, or 
prancing of steeds, but with the simple attend- 
ance of a brawny negro, who volunteered to hold 
my large umbrella over my head. 

I had not very far to walk through over- 
shading plantain leaves, and between huts till 
I saw a large red banner stretched over the 
street from the top of one house to another, on 
which the name of King William was printed in 
white letters each a foot long. Under the right 
end of the flag, and at the door of a small house, 
was seated an old man, with grey hair, dressed in 
white trowsers, a blue cloth cap with a gold 
band, and a light frock coat. This I was told 


was King William. As he stood up to receive 
me, I saw his upper garment was a white plush 
livery coat, with scarlet lappets to the pockets, 
and bright brass buttons, bearing the effigy of 
some horned animal's head, with its mouth wide 
open and its tongue thrust out, as if it had just 
spurted forth its accompanying motto of Peius 
letho deliquium. 

I hope those who have a reverence for the 
labours of Sir Bernard Burke, and for heraldry 
in general, will not be oifended at this vulgar 
description of the armorial bearings in question ; 
nor with my literal translation of the motto, as 
" Death before dishonor." But there did really 
appear to me something so comically grotesque 
in the tableau vivant before me bearing the title 
of royalty, that it excited my merriment. More 
especially when the king, on introducing me in- 
to his house, shewed me all his valuable pro- 
perty, which consisted of several large deal 
trunks, containing within them a quantity of 
second-hand livery, looking-glasses, jugs, mugs, 
as well as other varieties of crockery-ware, cloth, 
guns, large brass pans entitled Neptunes, pipes, 
and such like articles of virtu. Not a chair, 
table, or bed was visible anywhere. Some of 
the women had stools to sit upon, and nothing 


more like a throne was the seat occupied by His 

Our conference being ended, a few turns 
through the town showed me little more than 
their low-roofed huts and luxuriant plantain 
trees. The houses very much resemble those 
of Kameroons, in their rectangular bearing to 
each other : the streets are wide and straight. 
The only glimpse of social life which one can 
obtain in walking these streets, is that of women 
in groups of twos or threes stretched on mats 
outside a door here and there, each lady having 
a servant occupied in the exploration of 
her hair for what purpose may be guessed ! 
Large glass beads, white or green, woven into 
all kinds of fantastic patterns, on the heads, and 
small seed beads, made into fanciful cinctures, 
round the necks, constitute the chief ornaments 
of the belles and beaux of Batanga. 

On my way back from my ramble I met, and 
was introduced to, a man named Koluctoo, 
a chief of the Benjembi country between 
Batanga and Campo who was accompanied 
by seven of his wives. The appearance of these 
ladies presented nothing so remarkable as its 
variety. One of them was distinguished by a 
ring of small beads hanging from the central 


cartilage of her nose ; another had brass rod- 
wire wound round her legs from ankles to knees ; 
a third was adorned with a piece of some green 
leaf thrust through a large hole that had been 
perforated in the lobe of her right ear. The 
fourth had her hair dressed up into a ridge ex- 
tending from the base of the skull to the fore- 
head, and resembling in its fashion the helmet of 
a dragoon ; the barber's art had made up the hair 
of the fifth in the semblance of an ebony cone ; 
whilst to the sixth the African perruquier had 
devoted more labour, and consequently more 
science, in plaiting it. Amongst this lady's wool 
was here and there a flat cake, with a greasy look, 
the nature of which for some time puzzled me. 
The seventh, who was the oldest of all, and, 
therefore, the first as regarded position, wore two 
plain copper rings round her ankles ; she had an 
ornament on her forehead, which at first seemed 
a slice of sausage, but which I was informed was 
of the same material as that on the head of num- 
ber six, namely, goat's fat, enclosed in a piece of 
mucous membrane. This lady was vigorously 
smoking a pipe of native manufacture. 

As the cool time of day approached, I turned 
my steps in the direction of the Lobei river, to 
see the waterfall. The road lay along the hard 


sand of the beach, save here and there, where 
masses of rock jutting into the surf obliged the 
traveller to seek a pathway behind them, or 
across their summits. 

Yet these rocks, down to the water's edge, had 
upon them sufficient earth to nourish large trees 
and parasitic plants, as well as flowers, from none 
of which was there the slightest emanation of 
heavy odour, such as is generally characteristic of 
African bush. Tall guinea grass grew about in 
many places of course away from the sea-beach 
and as I walked on, there was not a single 
mangrove plant discernible. This absence of the 
malaria-producing mangrove, which I know does 
not exist for several miles on either side of Ba- 
tanga sea-shore, might be likely to induce one to 
form a good opinion of the sanitary condition of 
the place, were we not aware that the same plant 
is not found at Elmina, Cape Coast, Akkra, and 
other Gold Coast districts (save at the very 
mouths of their few rivers) localities which 
certainly have not the reputation of being the 
least unhealthy parts of the western coast. 

Little charm as there is in the surrounding 
scenery of sand, rock, sea, and wild bush, the 
walk is an extremely agreeable one ; and for a 
considerable time before arriving at Point Lobei, 


we become aware of our approach to a waterfall 
by what gives an additional interest to every 
step namely, the peculiar booming sound 
of the river rolling over a considerable 

Every one is acquainted with the surging 
noise which the waves make when breaking on 
the sea-shore. That noise had been sounding 
in my ears for an hour and a half, as I walked 
along the beach. Yet, as I approached the 
fall, the solemn thunder made by its waters 
caused that of the sea to appear in contrast 
like a hissing scream. The mouth of the Lo- 
bei river appeared very rough, having no 
doubt a shallow bar, and being now under the 
influences of a strong sea-breeze ; but we rounded 
its southernmost point, and, after a further walk 
of a few hundred yards, I saw the waterfall in all 
its beauty before me. 

I must confess that I have never viewed in 
Africa a scene so eminently picturesque, and so 
deserving the pencil of a painter, as this cataract 
and its surrounding scenery. At the bottom 
of the left side fall, which is divided in its centre 
by a buttress of stone, is a ledge of rocks, stretch- 
ing three-fourths of the way across, on which se- 
veral naked negro children, each with a fishing-rod 


in its hand, are standing. To the right of this is 

a lofty clump of rock, rising higher than the bed 

of the river, and, therefore, dividing the fall into 

two parts, between which are a few trickling 

streams, that seem pushed aside from the main 

ones, as if they were poor relations compelled to 

find a way for themselves. Each of these falls 

is about thirty feet in width ; and behind the 

lofty clump of rock just mentioned, arises a 

towering red wood tree, sixty feet in height at the 

very lowest computation. There is then another 

elevated rock, backed by a higher tree ; and a 

quantity of surrounding shrubbery separates 

the main torrents from a number of smaller 

ones, spreading over an extent of a few hundred 

feet, and gradually shelving downwards to the 

extreme end of the river's right side. The 

whole stream forms a tranquil lake at the 

bottom, on which were a number of small red 

canoes, whose occupants were fishing in the same 

style as those already described in the roadstead 

of Batanga. Stretching away to the point called 

Ndunga, on the right side of the river, is a 

number of bombax and red wood trees, on some 

of which parasitic creepers mount to their very 

summits ; whilst gardens of plantains, and the 

brown huts of the negroes on the Lobei side, 


lend an additional attraction to the savage beauty 
of the scene, which it is impossible to convey on 

But, above and beyond all, my senses were 
wrapt by the unceasing thunder of the falling 
water, which one cannot help recognizing 

"The voice of the great Creator, 
That speaks in that mighty tone." 

In the rainy season the quantity of water de- 
scending is of course much more copious, but I 
question if even then it has a more beautiful 
aspect than that which it presented on the even- 
ing of my visit. 

The trade which is carried on here by British 
merchants is managed through black interpre- 
ters and store-keepers, all of whom are natives of 

In strolling along the beach one morning for 
the pleasure of the cool air, and the benefit of 
what was to be seen, I met one of those gentry, 
whose air of seeming independence at once at- 
tracted me. I asked him to sit down on a rock 
hard by; and we entered into conversation. 
Very soon I learned that he had been in Eng- 
land, where his chief point of education was in 
what its adepts style " the noble and manly 


art of self-defence." He questioned me about 
the present condition of a number of pugilists in 
England, whose names he gave ; and I have no 
doubt that I fell very low in his estimation by 
confessing to him that I had never even heard of 
the existence of the " fancy men " in question. 

As he was about to walk away, seeing no doubt 
that I did not possess a sympathetic spirit, I di- 
rected his attention to a large crowd of women, 
who had gathered near us on the beach, having 
with them many bundles of yams as well as 
of young living plantain trees, and asked him 
what they were about to do ? He replied, with 
quite a haughty air, that they were the gar- 
deners of Batanga, who were waiting for a canoe 
to take them and the produce up the coast, 
where the gentlemen had gardens " all the same 
as the Bristol gentlemen have their country 
places at Chepstow." 

Of course after this I did not oppose his de- 
parture; for I saw at once that his assumed 
refinement would incline him to regard with 
contempt what I will confess was my main object 
in first addressing him namely, the attainment 
of some information about the people and coun- 
tries interior to Batanga. Such information it is 
impossible to obtain from the people themselves, 


because they have some suspicion of the object of a 
white man's inquiries, under the dread that he may 
penetrate to the interior and injure the trade. 

A ramble to the town of King John, who had 
no more likely or unlikely semblance of royalty 
about him than a very old and very bad black 
beaver hat, with a piece of printed calico round 
his loins, gave me an opportunity of meeting with 
another of these Gaboon factors, from whom I 
picked a few pieces of information, most of 
which seemed to me to be probably near the 

The mountain Naanga, already mentioned, was 
described as having a large lake in its neigh- 
bourhood, called Etibu. Interior to the moun- 
tain are the Boola and Gumbe countries from 
which the ivory is brought down to Batanga and 
Gaboon by a tribe of reputed Bushmen, known 
as the Dauberi, or Diberi. Beyond or around 
the Boola and Gumbe districts no tribe, except 
the Bowela and the Bani, is known of the lat- 
ter of whom ride horses, and wear monkey skins, 
having likewise long hair, which, fashioned into 
three or four plaits, is allowed to fall down on 
their backs. Some of them, wearing the long- 
plaited hair, have been seen at Batanga. 

Can these be the Bati of Dr. Barth ? * 

* Vide chapter xviii. 



Further Information about the Tribes and Countries Interior to 
Batanga Of the Fabulous Green Bird reputed to feed on Ele- 
phants' Eyes Country whence Ivory comes The Rev. Mr. 
Wilson's Account of the Banaka Tribe He records nothing of 
the Absence of Slavery amongst them Countries between Ba- 
tanga and Cape St. John Corisco Islands and their Aborigines 
The Benga Tribe American Mission at Corisco Corisco 
Boats Entrance to Gaboon River The French Establishments 
there Tribes of the Mpongwes, Shekanis, Bakeles, and Pangwes 
Ascent of this River by Governor Beecroft in 1846 Natural 
products of the Country The Rev. Mr. Mackay on the ex- 
ploration of the Rivers Nazareth and Fernan Vas. 

CONTIGUOUS to the Bani country is a large lake 
called Njong, or Ndong, so large that, with our 
limited horizon, it is impossible to obtain a com- 
plete view across it. 

May this be the Ndob of the Rev. Mr. Ander- 
son ? * 

Near this lake, and not far from Bani, my in- 

* Vide chapter xviii. 


formant told me of the existence of a bird, named 
the Newjande, which had been described to him, 
and which measured five fathoms, i.e. thirty feet, 
from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. 
Its beak is a fathom, or six feet long. No man 
dares to go near it, and no gun is fit to kill it. 
Its favorite food is obtained by killing the ele- 
phant, whose eyes it devours. On inquiring 
the colour of this bird's plumage, the answer I 
received namely, that its feathers were green ! 
made me shut my note-book with a " mental re- 
servation" as to the ignorance of Baron Cuvier. 

The greater portion of the ivory conveyed down 
here is brought from the Gumbee country. The 
old days of elephant hunting are gone by, these 
princes of the forest being now slaughtered by 
powder and ball, and by pit-falls. 

No palm-trees are visible along the coast here, 
save a few of the cocoa species : but up the rivers 
Little Benito and Campo a small quantity of 
palm-oil is manufactured. 

Of the Banaka tribe, which inhabits Batanga 
and the neighbourhood, a very interesting de- 
scription is given in the Rev. Mr. Wilson's work 
on Western Africa : * 

* " Western Africa : its History, Condition and Prospects. By 
the Rev. J. Leighton Wilson, eighteen years a missionary in 
Africa, &c." 


" The Banaka people occupy a district of coun- 
try twenty-five miles in length, half-way be- 
tween the Kameroon River and the Bay of Co- 
risco, and have as many villages as they occupy 
miles of sea-coast. As a people, they differ in 
many important respects from all the other 
tribes in this section of the country. 

" It is only recently that they descended from 
the mountainous regions of the interior; and 
while they still bear all the marks of the better 
health which belongs to these higher elevations, 
they also exhibit strong traces of the true sa- 
vage condition in which they have been brought 

" Their complexion is a shade lighter than those 
living on either side of them, and their general 
appearance reminds one much more strongly of 
the Kaffirs of the Cape of Good Hope than any 
sea-coast natives within the tropics. Their lan- 
guage is but imperfectly understood, as yet, by 
any of the neighbouring tribes ; and as none of 
them speak the English with any degree of ease, 
very little reliable information has been obtained 
in relation to the particular part of the country 
they formerly inhabited, or what induced them 
to come down to the sea-coast. 

" Their language, so far as it is understood, 



shows that they belong to the same great family 
which have spread themselves over the whole of 
the southern half of Africa ; but whether they are 
more nearly related to the tribes on the eastern 
or western coast of the continent, remains to be 

" They seem to be simple-hearted and peace- 
ably disposed, and as yet have acquired but few 
of the tricks of their more experienced brethren 
in the same region. It will require very little in- 
tercourse with the civilized world, however, to 
make them perfect adepts in all the petty villan- 
ies of the maritime tribes, provided that inter- 
course is not regulated by the principles of sound 

" Foreign vessels have had no trade with them 
until within the last fifteen years. Previous to 
that time they had no relish for ardent spirits, 
and it was with difficulty that any of them could 
be induced to taste of it in the first instance. 
But those days of happy ignorance are gone; 
that taste has been acquired, and nowhere is rum 
now in greater demand. How very important 
is it that the influences of Christianity should be 
thrown around these people before they are car- 
ried away by this fearful temptation ! 

"They are as simple and primitive in their 


customs and habits as any people in the world. 
In their forest homes they had no covering for 
their bodies, but a narrow strip of cloth made 
out of the inner bark of a forest tree. More re- 
cently they use the cotton cloth which they re- 
ceive from vessels in exchange for their ivory, 
but still in very scant measure. Their women 
disfigure their faces very much by making large 
holes in their ears, and through the cartilagi- 
nous parts of the nose. Weights are attached to 
make the hole large enough to pass the finger 
through. Pieces of fat meat are frequently worn 
in these holes, but whether for ornament or 
fragrance is not known. I inquired of one of 
them why she did it, and received the laconic an- 
swer, " My husband likes it." 

" In their intercourse with white men they 
are peaceable and forbearing. But among them- 
selves they have some stringent laws, which are 
enforced with unsparing severity. Theft and 
adultery are punished with death, and it matters 
not what may be the character or rank of the 

" Passing along the beach on one occasion, my 
attention was called to a half-consumed human 
carcass hanging from the limb of a tree ; and 
upon inquiry I learned that it was the wife of 


one of the principal men of the place, who had 
been hung for stealing a bunch of plantains. 
The corpse was left hanging by the roadside as a 
public warning. 

" Their habitations are the merest huts, and are 
almost concealed from view by the luxuriant 
banana trees with which they are always sur- 
rounded. The huts of some of the wealthier 
men are raised on scaffolds, eight or ten feet 
above the ground, and are entered by climbing 
up a ladder, which is drawn up at nights. Birds 
and animals are carved on their doors and win- 
dow-shutters, and often with a good deal of 

"" " Although they have not been living long on 
the sea-board, they have become the most noted 
canoemen on the whole coast. They have two 
kinds of canoes : one is made of cork wood, 
very small, and intended to carry only one per- 
son ; the other is made of very hard wood, is 
small and tapering at both ends, but is large 
enough to carry thirty or forty persons. 

" The small canoe does not weigh more than 
eight or ten pounds, and is too narrow for an 
ordinary sized person to be seated in it. 

" A saddle or bridge is laid across the middle, 
not more than two inches wide, but several 


inches higher than the sides of the canoe, as a 
seat. They use very light paddles, but send it 
over the roughest sea without danger, and with 
almost incredible velocity. While propelling 
with both hands they will use one foot to bale 
the water out of the canoe. When they would 
rest their arms, one leg is thrown out on either 
side of the canoe, and it is propelled with the 
feet almost as fast as with a paddle. They will 
dash with perfect safet} 7 over a surf that would 
swamp almost any boat that could be made. I 
have often seen them revolve around a ship, 
sailing at the rate of five or six knots an hour, 
half-a-dozen times in the course of half an hour. 
When tired of running around the ship, 'a man 
will climb up her side with one hand, and haul 
up his canoe with the other. 

" In the larger canoe, they perform voyages 
of fifty or a hundred miles. Sometimes half a 
dozen of these canoes set out together, and go as 
far as the Gabun or Cape Lopez. When they 
go in such large troops, and quarter themselves 
upon a single person, to be entertained for 
several weeks, it is felt to be a severe visitation ; 
and the Gabun traders sometimes give them the 
dodge, notwithstanding all the honour implied by 
such a visit." 


It appears to me strange that the Rev. Mr. 
Wilson does not mention a word about the absence 
of slavery amongst these people. If my informa- 
tion about its non-existence be correct, it makes 
one's reflections sadder in cogitating over the con- 
dition of these untutored Africans. The absence, 
in their superstitious rites, of such cruelty as exists 
amongst the tribes of Kalabar, Bonny, and Brass, 
may be advanced as evidence of their moral 
superiority; but when one looks at the lack of in- 
dustrial pursuits among these people, the ques- 
tion starts up "Can the Ethiop change his 
skin ? " or his nature either ? 

Between the Batanga country and Cape St, 
John are some small streams besides the rivers 
Campo and Benito. Itemo is the native name 
of Campo river, and the countries on both sides 
of it are entitled the Egara. The Beku tribe, of 
whom nothing is known save the name, are found 
in this territory. Eeienje is the country through 
which the Benito runs, and Eyo is the name by 
which the river is designated amongst the abori- 
gines on its banks. The people are likewise 
called Eeiengis, and are of course like all 
known to the Batanga Banaka " Bushmen." 

As we pass the mouth of Benito river and 
voyage towards Cape St. John, extensive 


mountainous ranges are visible in the interior, 
none, however, presenting an appearence that 
would lead me to identify them as Saddle Hill, 
Table Hill, or the Seven Hills (one of whose 
sharp peaks are recorded as 2,786 feet high), 
described in the chart before mentioned. The 
Bapooka tribe are in this part of the country. 
We pass Bilove and Beninje points before we 
reach Ninje, which is the native name of Cape 
St. John. 

It is unnecessary for me to mention here, that 
all the names by which these parts of the coast 
are known were given to them by the early 
Portuguese and Spanish geographical explorers. 

Interior to Ninje point, and abutting into Corisco 
Bay, is another point called Malenga. Between 
these two points is a small river named Agei, 
by which communication may be made nearly 
to the base of Mitre Hill, mentioned in the chart 
as 3,940 feet high. In that direction there is 
also a line of rock, containing a large quantity of 
quartz, described to me by a gentleman who 
had some of it in his possession, and who had 
been for several years in Australia, as exactly 
resembling that which he had seen containing 
gold at the diggings. 

The Bay of Corisco is a large basin of water, 


situated between Cape St. John and Cape Esterias. 
It contains four or five islands, only two of 
which Corisco and Big Eloby are inhabited. 
The people are the Benga tribe. Into this 
bay the rivers Muni and Danger debouch. 
Their mouths are several miles apart, but no 
person is aware of their intercommunication, or 
inosculation with each other, in the interior. 
The population of Corisco does not exceed two 
thousand. For many years an American Mis- 
sion, sent out by the Presbyterian Board of 
Foreign Missions, has been established here, 
whose chief, th* Rev. James L. Mackay, has re- 
duced their language to writing, and translated 
into it much of the Gospel. This gentleman, in 
company with the Rev. Mr. Clements, has ex- 
plored more than ahundredmiles of country across 
the Sierra del Crystal range of mountains, which 
lie in the direction between Corisco and Gaboon. 
The neighbourhood of these mountains seems to 
be the stronghold of the Pangwe tribe, of whom 
I shall hear something at Gaboon. 

The natives of Corisco are artificers of very 
large boats, which they scoop, in canoe fashion, 
out of the single trunk of a tree. Some of 
these canoes are from thirty to thirty-six feet 
in length, about five feet in beam, and four in 


depth. They are propelled by oars as well as by 
sails, and are generally schooner-rigged. As we 
were passing Corisco Bay, one of them came 
alongside our ship ; and, from my conversation 
with its occupants, I found that its owner had 
been away to Ninje Point (Cape St. John) on 
some "women palaver" the causateterrima belli 
since the world was created. Although not 
interested in hearing the particulars, I never- 
theless gained some information on a Gradus ad 
Parnassum style of aristocracy that exists amongst 
the tribes hereabouts. 

The Mpongwes of Gaboon hold the first 
position ; the Bengas of Corisco the next ; and 
the Bapookas, with the Banakas, the lowest. 
Thus, a Bapooka or Banaka man would not pre- 
sume to buy a wife from his superior of Corisco 
' or Gaboon ; but those of the latter places will 
buy from the former. In the present case, the 
Benga man had, some time previously, bought 
and paid a high price for his wife. She, not 
satisfied with her lord and master, returned to 
the home of her fathers ; and it was on a mission 
to claim her recovery that my informant was 
now engaged. He had to advance an addi- 
tional sum of money, and to bide his time for 
the performance of certain formula? of heathen 


tomfoolery (but whether of the John Doe or 
Richard Roe class I could not say), ere she was 
given up to him. 

Rounding Cape Esterias, we passed by its inner- 
most corner, entitled Point Joinville, and found 
ourselves in the river Gaboon. It may be need- 
less for me to state that up this river the French 
have a considerable establishment; a guard-ship; 
a military and civil department, with a hospital, 
contained in Fort d'Aumale ; a convent of reli- 
gious sisters ; and a mission, at the head of which 
is a bishop, Monseigneur de Bessieu. From De 
Kerhollet's " Manuel de la Navigation a la Cote 
Occidentale d'Afrique,"* I learn : " Le fleuve ou 
Testuaire du Gubao, dont nous avons francise 
1'orthographe, et que les indigenes appellent 
Mpongwho, est devenu Fran9ais depuis 1843 ; 
e"poque a laquelle d'apres les ordres de M. Bouet 
Willaumez, alors gouverneur du Senegal, le 
capitaine de frigate de Monleon, commandant le 
brick, ' Le Zebre,' y etablit un comptoir fortifie 
sous le nom de Fort d'Aumale. Les deux rives 
du fleuve avaient ete precedemment cedes a la 
France par des traites passes par Monsieur le 
Capitaine de vaisseau Bouet Willaumez, avec les 
differents rois des populations voisines. Ce 

* Tome 2, p. 518. 


Comptoir n'offrit aucunedifficulted'etablissement, 
mais necessita des norabreux travaux de defriche- 
ment, et de mouveraents de terrain." 

In the neighbourhood of Cape Esterias we pass 
by, on entering the river, a creek called Guergay, 
up which is to be found a tribe named the Bulous, 
who speak a different language from theMpongwes. 
The latter are the aborigines of the districts on 
both sides of the river, to a distance of about 
thirty miles into the interior. Their chief towns 
in the neighbourhood of the French station are 
those of King Qua Ben and King Glass. 
Near the latter is an American mission station, 
with which the Rev. Mr. Wilson was connected 
for many years. From twenty to thirty miles 
higher up, on the other side of the river, are two 
other large towns, entitled King William's and 
King George's Towns. On Konig Island, about 
twenty miles from the mouth of the river, a number 
of these people are also located. Contiguous 
to Fort d'Aumale a very pretty garden was laid 
out, a few years ago, by Mons. Bouet, then 
commandant of the Comptoir. It bears, how- 
ever, the appearance of impairment in its 
arrangements now, which everything in Africa 
gradually assumes, despite of the best care-taking. 
There is also here a pretty little Pere la Chaise ; 


and the bishop has a considerable quantity of 
land under cultivation. There is a breakwater 
at the pier, which is very useful. About half a 
dozen French merchants have stores in the 
neighbourhood of the Comptoir. We find one 
re'staurant, kept by a French widow ; and the 
establishments of the English merchants four 
in number are located higher up, in the neigh- 
bourhood of Glass Town. 

The Shekanis, the Bakeles, and the Pangwes 
are the tribes known as occupying the interior 
countries up the river. Petty warfares, joined 
to, if not having their origin in, the foreign 
slave-trade, have reduced the first of these (Mr. 
Wilson says) to a mere handful of people. The 
Bakeles, one of the many migratory tribes of 
Africa, coming from no one knows where, 
usurped and held possession of the territories 
formerly owned by the Shekanis. They, how- 
ever, are now being put to the rout by the 
Pangwes, who, though not heard of till late 
years on the Gaboon side of the Sierra del Crystal 
range of mountains, are coming step by step 
down the river's banks, and settling there. The 
reason which they give for their inroads is that 
their produce did not realize the amount which 
they expected, much of which they deemed 


themselves to have been deprived of through the 
roguery of the Shekanis and Bakeles. The 
Pangwes are reported, upon good authority, 
to be cannibals. Leaving their anthropophagy 
aside, there appear so many other points of 
resemblance between them and the Felatahs, that 
I am disposed to extract the interesting descrip- 
tion given of them by the Rev. Mr. Wilson* : 
" The Pangwes, in some respects, are very 
remarkable people ; among savages, I do not 
know that I have ever met men of nobler or more 
imposing bearing. Their form is indicative of 
strength and energy, rather than grace or beauty. 
Their stature is of medium size, but compact and 
well-proportioned ; and their gait is alike manly 
and independent. The complexion of both males 
and females is two shades lighter than that of 
the maritime people ; and their features, though 
decidedly African, are comparatively regular. 
But their hair, and the mode in which it is worn, 
is, perhaps, the most striking characteristic about 
their appearance. It is softer than the usual 
negro hair, and is usually plaited into four braids, 
two of which are worn in front, and two pass 
over the shoulders, and not unfrequently reach 
more than half-way down the back. At the 
* Op. Cit, p. 303. 


same time, their bodies are smeared over with a 
red ointment, which heightens the singularity of 
their appearance to a very remarkable degree. 
They wear no clothing, except a narrow strip of 
bark cloth between their legs. Their legs and 
arms are decorated with rings of brass or ivory. 
A broad-bladed knife or dirk, in a sheath of 
snake or guana skin, is attached to a leather 
thong tied around the middle. A hatchet of 
peculiar shape is carried on the shoulders ; and 
the men are seldom seen walking out without a 
bundle of long spears in one hand. White pound 
beads are very much admired. Broad belts of 
them are worn around the arms and legs, and 
they are worked into the hair so as to form a 
complete bead wig. 

" They are remarkably expert in throwing the 
spear. In their wars they use cross-bows and 
poisoned arrows, and have shields made out of 
the skin of the elephant. They show a good 
deal of mechanical ingenuity in casting copper 
rings, and in manufacturing knives and other im- 
plements of war. It is said they melt their own 
iron, which is true, unless it is found in a native 
state, which seems to be tne more common 
opinion at the present day. That which is used 
by the Pangwes is regarded as much superior to 


the trade iron brought to the coast ; so much so, 
that they will not use the latter at all. It is not 
only used for the manufacture of instruments, 
but is the circulating medium through the 
Pangwe country. Strips of iron, in size and 
shape like the blade of a horse-phleme, and tied 
up in bundles of eight or ten pieces, are the real 
currency of the country, by which the price of 
every other article is regulated. They are the 
only people in Western Africa I have ever known 
who had a circulating medium.* 

"They cultivate the soil to some extent. 
Yams, cocoa, Indian corn, plantains, beans, and 
a few other articles, are raised in sufficient 
quantities for their own consumption. They are 
much addicted to hunting, and excel all others 
in killing the elephant, which they prize both for 
its tusks and its flesh. The habit of contending 
with this monster of the woods, involving so 
much peril of life as it does, has done much, 
without doubt, to develop their energy, and to 
make them just the men of the dauntless intre- 
pidity which they seem to be." 

* The Yorubas have long had a circulating medium of cowries. 
The Filatahs, up the Niger, have likewise a currency similar to 
that described by Mr. Wilson in connexion with the Pangwes. 
At page 254 of my " Impressions of Western Africa," it will be 
seen that these are not the only people in Western Africa possess- 
ing a circulating medium. 



An ascent of this river was made in March, 
1846, by Governor Beecroft, in the S.S. 
"Ethiope." The steamer did not go farther 
than from sixty to seventy miles up the stream ; 
and Dr. King's report on this voyage comes to 
the conclusion that, "from this ascent, it has 
been ascertained that the river is of no im- 
portance as a highway into interior Africa." 

To the former products of ivory, red wood, 
and bees-wax, coming from the Gaboon country, 
India-rubber has been lately added ; but the 
industrial products of the adjoining districts are 
not likely to make Gaboon a position of high 
commercial importance. 

Nevertheless, since the names of Livingstone, 
Barth, Burton, Speke, and Bowen stand out on 
the roll of successful African explorers, without 
the aid of rivers or steam -boats, I consider it my 
duty to point out that a journey straight across 
the continent from Batanga, Corisco, or Gaboon, 
would enable the traveller to discover the pecu- 
liarities of those " independent Pagan tribes " 
before mentioned, and finally to emerge at a point 
nearly opposite to Aden in the Red Sea. This 
would be a route considerably northward of the 
track recorded by Mr. Macqueen,* as having been 

Vide Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. 3, 
No. 2, p. 362. 


taken by Silva Porto, a Portuguese trader, who 
effected three several journeys from Benguela, 
emerging at Mozambique. Such an enterprise 
might likewise lead to information as to the in- 
country courses of the Kameroons, Gaboon, Con- 
go, and Nazareth, as well as many others of the 
comparatively unknown rivers of Western Africa. 
On the subject of the exploration of this neigh- 
bourhood, 1 extract the following from a letter 
written to me by the Rev. James Mackey, of Co- 
risco : " Whilst your Government is doing so 
much to open up this continent to commerce and 
Missionary efforts, and seems to be willing to do 
so much more, I wish you would direct their at- 
tention to this part of the coast-interior ; for here 
is a vast unknown region. The Muni, Mundah, 
and Gaboon rivers are all shut. They all rise in 
the mountains, at perhaps no more than a hun- 
dred and fifty miles to two hundred miles from 
the sea, and are navigable scarcely half that dis- 
tance, on account of falls in the mountains. But 
my impression is that the Nazareth, which falls 
into the sea just north of Cape Lopez, extends far 
into the interior. This river has, I think, been 
much overlooked. It has several mouths. It is 
united by a kind of network of waters with the 
Mexias and Fernan Vas, the latter of which is 



forty miles or more south of the principal embou- 
chure of the river. I was once, several 
years ago, at the mouth of the main stream, and 
supposed, from its appearance, that it was not 
large ; but I learned from the Rev. Mr. Walker, of 
the Gaboon Mission, who entered the river in a 
boat and ascended over a day's journey, that the 
stream is both large and strong the current not 
stemmed by the tide, and an immense quantity of 
water discharged by it. It is probable there are 
falls at a hundred or a hundred and fifty miles 
from its mouth, as the same range of mountains 
which is to the eastward of us (i.e., of Corisco) 
passes, I believe, at about that distance from the 
Nazareth mouth." 



French Voluntary Emigration Its Definition by the Earl of Malmes- 
bury Desire for Information on the Subject Expressed by the 
Emperor Napoleon Count Walewski's Repudiation of the asser- 
tion that the System has anything to do with the Slave-trade 
Impossibility of inducing Voluntary Emigration from Africa 
Prince Zahr's and the Kroomen's Sentiments about Absence from 
Home History of the affair of the " Regina Coeli " Commodore 
Wise's Sketch of Voluntary Emigrants Stationed at Loanda 
Consul M'Leod's Description of Emigrant's Voyage in a Portu- 
guese Dhow Consul Lawless' Information on the Emigrant re- 
gulations History of the " Charles et Georges " affair at Mo- 
zambique Opinion of an American Commander on the Emigra- 
tion Experience of the Rev. Mr. Townsend on the Subject 
Provisions of the New Treaty in Reference to Coolie Immigration. 

THE subject of the French voluntary emigration 
system might seem a very ticklish one for any 
person in my position to descant upon, were I 
not fortified, at the beginning, by being enabled to 
record thereon the opinion of one of the heads of 
Her Majesty's Government. The Right Honor- 
able the Earl of Malmesbury, in one of his de- 


spatches to Mr. Howard, Her Majesty's Minister 
Plenipotentiary at Lisbon, on the affair of the 
" Charles et Georges," expresses the views of the 
Government with an independence equally evi- 
dent in all his Lordship's correspondence with 
reference to that matter. From the Foreign 
Office, at date of October 15th, 1858, his Lord- 
ship says : " You are aware that Her Majesty's 
Government have never altered their opinion 
as to the analogous nature of the French scheme 
for exporting negroes with that of the avowed 
Slave-trade." * 

I may advance, as one of my chief reasons for 
putting together some evidence touching this 
emigration, the dread that many persons may be 
labouring under the same uncertainty about it as 
the Emperor of France confesses himself to be in 
a despatch dated St. Cloud, 30th October, 1858, 
and addressed to his cousin the Prince Na- 
poleon : 

" Mais quant au principe de 1'engagement des 
noirs mes idees sont loin d'etre fixees. Si, en effet, 
des travailleurs recrutes sur la cote d'Afrique 
n'ont pas leur libre arbitre, et si cet enrolement 
n'est autre chose qu'un Traite deguise", je n'en 

Vide Despatch 41, at page 46 of ' Further papers relating to the 
case of the ' Charles et Georges.' Presented to both Houses of Par- 
liament, by command of Her Majesty, 1859." London, Harrison & 


veux a aucun prix. Car ce n'est pas moi qui prote- 
gerai nulle part des entreprises contraires au pro- 
gres, a 1'humanite, et a la civilization." 

It may be observed that Count Walewski 
" utterly repudiates the idea that the proceed- 
ings for obtaining free negro labour gave any 
encouragement to the traffic in slaves ; and that 
he was prepared to uphold this assertion 
against all who dispute it." 

But I would like the noble Count to prove 
how the so-called voluntary emigration system 
adopted by his nation can be regarded merely as a 
system for obtaining free labour, when there are 
palpable facts contradicting the assertion which 
Count Walewski is prepared to uphold against all 
who dispute it. 

The first and most important is one known to 
all who are acquainted with Africa, that, of the 
two classes of slaves and freemen of which its 
population consists, the freemen will not emi- 
grate, the slaves cannot! 

Love for their native homes and affection for 
their families are two of the strongest charac- 
teristics of the negro tribe. Hear one of these 
chiefs giving utterance to his sentiments one of 
the class who are free to emigrate: * 

* Denham and Clapperton's Narrative of Travels and Disco- 
veries in Northern and Central Africa, p. 264. 


" Zahr, with his followers, after looking at 
me with an earnestness that was distressing to 
me for a considerable time, at length gained 
confidence enough to ask some questions, com- 
mencing as usual with 'What brought you 
here ? They say your country is more than a 
moon from Tripoli.' I replied, 'To see by 
whom the country was inhabited, and whether 
it had lakes and rivers and mountains like 
ours.' He then inquired, 'And have you been 
three years from your home? Are not your 
eyes dimmed with straining to the North, where 
your thoughts must ever be? Oh, you are 
men, men indeed! Why, if my eyes do not see 
the wife and children of my heart for ten days, 
when they should be closed in sleep, they are 
flowing in tears.' ' 

Hear, too, the sad though rhapsodical wailing 
of the Kroomen (all of whom are free to emi- 
grate) on their being engaged in 1856 by a 
Monsieur Chevalier : 

" Oh ! sad it is to us. We are a weak and 
ignorant race of creatures, have no power of 
ourselves to go to French Guiana, and bring our 
men from far to see what they are doing 
whether are sold to different parts of the world. 

" Oh ! my friend, how shall we find out our 


men ? We beg of you with the pleasure of your 
heart to assist us in this matter. Please, oh go 
there, for we willing to do anything for you; 
had we money, we would to pay or reward you, 
we would have done it ; as England is the most 
powerful nation on the globe, we apply to you 
for assistance among these Kroos. There are 
three youngsters belonging to the Mission 
School, one is married, his wife and child. 
Please, oh please, we want our men to come 
home. Mothers' hearts is aching for her chil- 
dren with wishful hearts. Many eyes looking 
upon this wide Atlantic Ocean, and longing for 
their sons to come home, but in vain. As you 
are the people of God, feel for us, and may 
the Almighty bless and preserve you in your 
labours. Amen. 

" Signed by the hands of the principal kings 

and chiefs. 


" King's Secretary, Fish Town, Cape Palmas. 
" To the British Consul at Fernando Po." 

No man with a spark of feeling can read the 
finale of this pathetic appeal, wanting the " men 
to come home," and depicting " mothers' hearts 
aching for her children," without feeling doubt- 
ful of the propriety of describing such a system 


as that which called it forth as one of " volun- 
tary emigration." 

The disastrous affair of the "Regina Coeli," in 
the early part of 1858, afforded very manifest 
evidence of the sense in which Count Walew- 
ski's system of free negro labour was under- 

The account given of this affair by Mr. Blyden, 
of Monrovia, is contained in the following words, 
which I extract from an American Magazine, 
the Anglo- African: 

" In the early part of April last (1858), the 
' Regina Coeli,' a French ship engaged in the 
enlistment of labourers, as above stated, was 
lying at anchor off Manna, with two or three 
hundred emigrants on board, among whom, in 
consequence of some of their number being 
manacled, considerable dissatisfaction prevailed. 
During the absence of the captain on one occa- 
sion a quarrel broke out between the cook and 
one of the emigrants ; the cook struck the emi- 
grant; the latter retaliated, when a scuffle en- 
sued, in which other emigrants took part. This 
attracted the attention of the rest of the crew, 
who, coming to the assistance of the cook, vio- 
lently beat the emigrants, killing several of 
them. By this time those emigrants who had 


been confined below "were unshackled, and, join- 
ing in the fracas, killed in retaliation all the 
crew, save one man, who fled aloft, and pro- 
tested most earnestly his freedom from any 
participation in the matter. The emigrants, 
recognizing his innocence, spared his life, but 
ordered him ashore forthwith, with which order 
he readily complied. 

"The surviving emigrants, having now sole 
charge of the vessel, awaited the arrival of the 
captain, to despatch him as soon as he touched 
the deck ; whilst he, learning their intention, 
did not venture aboard, but sought and obtained 
aid from the Liberian authorities, at Cape Mount, 
to keep the exasperated savages from stranding 
his vessel. Meanwhile the English mail-steamer 
' Ethiope ' arriving at Monrovia, her captain 
was prevailed upon to proceed to the rescue of 
the ' Regina Co3hV He did so, and safely towed 
her into Monrovia Roads. The emigrants all 
made their escape." 

From the same writer, and in the same paper, 
we glean the following fact, affording further 
evidence of the result of this system : 

"Nearly coincident with the above circum- 
stance, and perhaps, in some measure, the result 
of it, was another of similar character in the 


interior of Liberia. One or two native chiefs, it 
appears, had collected a number of persons, and 
were conveying them, manacled, to the coast, for 
the purpose of supplying the emigrant vessels. 
On their way they stopped with their human 
load to pass the night at a native town. During 
the night one of the captives, having worked 
himself loose, untied the others, when a revolt 
took place, in which the prisoners killed their 
kidnappers, and made their escape." 

Further evidence on the spontaneous will of 
the Africans to emigrate is afforded by Com- 
modore Wise* not from hearsay testimony, but 
from facts of which he had visible proof before him. 
His letter is dated H. M. S. S. "Vesuvius," St. 
Paul de Loando, September 5th, 1858: "All 
attempts at disguising the real nature of the 
French emigration scheme have been lately given 
up. It is now a common occurrence to observe 
these unfortunate negroes brought in from the 
interior in twos and threes to the French factory, 
secured by ropes to the forked end of a wooden 
pole encircling their necks, their hands strongly 
bound, and thus dragged along by their owners, 
whilst a third negro hastens their movements by 
the lash. 

* Vide Blue Book, Slave Trade, Class A, 1859, p. 190. 


" At Loango the voluntary free emigrants are 
now guarded in the same manner as slaves. 
Many of them have attempted to escape ; and in 
order to prevent any chances of such an attempt 
proving successful, the French agents make it a 
practice to secure these unfortunate negroes to 
irons in gangs of twos and threes ; they may be 
thus observed every morning, when brought 
down to wash in the lagoon, at the foot of the 

The affair of the " Charles et Georges," on the 
east coast of Africa, being nearly simultaneous 
in its occurrence with that of the " Regina Cceli" 
on the west coast, let us take wings in our 
" labour of love," and transport ourselves to the 
neighbourhood of Mozambique, to ascertain if 
they manage the system more humanely there. 

We may save ourselves the journey, however, 
as on the desk before us lies a blue book,* from 
which can be extracted a morceau from a de- 
spatch of Consul M'Leod's, in which he describes 
the circumstances usually attending the removal 
of emigrants from the coast of Africa, to supply a 
ship waiting for her voluntary passengers at the 
island of Madagascar. The voyage is made in a 
dhow belonging to an Arab named Kallifan, and 
* Slave Trade, Class B, 1859, p. 13. 


their port of departure is somewhere in the neigh- 
bourhood of Zanzibar. " During the voyage they 
receive just sufficient uncooked rice or beans, with 
a little water, to keep them alive, and are left day 
and night without any covering whatever, and 
surrounded by their own excrement. Their 
destination is some port not likely to be visited 
by any of Her Majesty's cruisers ; and arrived 
there, the only improvement in their condition 
is a full allowance of water. Should it happen 
that, by stress of weather, the ship that is to 
take them is retarded in her arrival, their suffer- 
ings are much increased ; and when the poor 
creatures do at last get on board the French 
ship, the sudden change to an ample diet pro- 
duces sickness and sometimes death. The cap- 
tain of a French vessel says that, on one occasion, 
when he landed at Europa Island to get some 
turtle, he found upwards of a hundred negroes 
lying on the beach, without any protection 
against the sun or rain. They were guarded by 
some armed Arabs, and were waiting the arrival 
of a vessel to take them to Bourbon. Their 
provisions were nearly exhausted, and if by any 
accident the vessel should be retarded, it is easy 
to conceive what their fate would be. As these 
dhows are for the most part old and unseaworthy, 


and they often lose their way, there can be no 
doubt that numbers of the negroes die of starva- 

I hope it will not be suspected that I have 
ever been engaged in the cattle trade, from my 
confession that I am able to testify to having 
frequently seen pigs put on board steamers for 
transhipment from Ireland to England ; and 
that I have observed, even in summer, that they 
were protected from casual inclemencies of the 
weather, and not " left a day and night without 
any covering whatever," as is the custom with 
negroes who voluntarily emigrate from Zanzibar 
to the islands of Bourbon or Reunion. 

Having seen so much of the humanity side 
of the question, let us now look at it in a com- 
mercial point of view. I cannot say whether it 
is a peculiarity of the climate or not, but one 
does often see philanthropy and trade on the 
west coast of Africa as nearly related as the 
Siamese twins. 

Although a blue book is not exactly the kind 
of book with which we are likely to try 
and wile away the time in a shady arbour 
on a Summer's day, some startling facts may be 
occasionally gleaned from these interesting an- 


In one before me I see that Consul Lawless of 
Martinique states to Lord Clarendon the fact 
that " with the emigrant, on arriving at 
Martinique, is produced a receipt of his for two 
hundred francs (i.e., SI) expended in procuring 
his ransom." 

Consul Lawless further says, " I am unable to 
inform your Lordship whether the above men- 
tioned sum of 200 francs is really disbursed by 
Messrs. Regis for the emigrant." 

This information I am happy to supply to his 
Lordship and Consul Lawless, from a record in 
my own journal, which will prove that the Messrs. 
Regis actually do not expend this sum in pro- 
curing the emigrant's ransom. 

At Gaboon, as well as at Loando both of 
which places supply Messrs. Regis with emi- 
grants the following prices are paid for them: 

Invoice Price. Net Value 

in Gaboon. 

s. d. s. d. 

1 Gun - - - 10 .. 100 

1 Keg of Powder 12 140 
8 Single pcs of Chill or 

Romals - - 140 .. 280 

2 Shorts (half doz.) - 17 . . 1 14 
2 Gals, of Rum - 050 . . 10 
1 Matchet, 1 Iron bar, 

and a few trifles 

amounting say to- 036 .. 070 

3 11 6 .. 730 


The head man gets a dash of about six shillings 
worth for each negro he succeeds in bringing to 
the voluntary market. 

Turning a single leaf backward in my annual, 
I read a sketch by the same respectable Consul 
(Lawless), a sketch which is too vivid and too in- 
teresting in any way to curtail : 

"I have now to state to your Lordship the con- 
ditions, of a pecuniary nature, subject to which 
the services of immigrants are secured to the Co- 
lony, and the proportionate part of the expenses 
of their introduction, which the Government 
and the proprietors support. In accordance 
with the terms of their contract with the Home 
Government, Messrs. Regis are entitled to re- 
ceive from the Colony, for each adult la- 
bourer landed at Martinique, after such labourer 
has been indented to the proprietor to whom 
he is allotted by the Administration, a sum of 
500 francs, viz., 200 francs, being the amount 
of their stated disbursements for the immigrants' 
use in Africa (I shall presently explain to your 
Lordship the nature of this disbursement), and 300 
francs, the premium given them as compensa- 
tion for their pains and trouble by the Govern- 

" From the sum of 500 francs a deduction of 



3 per cent, is made for the benefit of the Naval 
Pension Fund (Caisse des Invalides de la Ma- 
rine.) The first-mentioned sum of 200 francs is 
repaid the Government by the proprietor before 
he receives the immigrants allotted to him, to- 
gether with a sum of 30 francs, which is 
termed 'registration fees,' on taking up the in- 
denture of each immigrant. Of the remaining 
300 francs so advanced in the first instance by 
the Government, the proprietor is obliged to 
reimburse a further sum of 200 francs, in three 
equal payments, to be made in each twelve, 
twenty-four, and thirty-six months ; he is also re- 
quired to pay a ' proportional duty' (droit pro- 
portionnel) of six francs per annum, in half-yearly 
instalments, being a tax at the rate of 5 per cent, 
on the yearly wages of one engaged labourer. 

" This tax, as well as the registration fees, is, 
however, appropriated to the increase of the Im- 
migration Fund. In case of the immigrant's 
death within the period of his engagement, the 
proportional duty ceases ; but not the obligation 
to complete the reimbursement of the 200 francs, 
which must be paid regardless of that contin- 
gency. But, on the other hand, the proprietor is 
entitled to receive out of the immigrant's wages 
the 200 francs which Messrs. Regis are reputed 


to have paid for his use in Africa; and deduction 
of 3 francs per month is made from each adult 
immigrant's salary, until this sum of 500, I 
mean 200, francs is paid. 

" Your Lordship will remark from the fore- 
going details that the 500 francs allowed to 
Messrs. Regis for each adult immigrant are, in 
point of fact, supplied as follows : 

" 100 francs by the Government, 200 francs 
by the proprietor, and 200 francs by the immi- 

" And the total cost to the proprietors to 
secure the industrial services of the latter for ten 
years, amounts to but 290 francs, viz.; 


Paid in cash . . . .200 

in three instalments . 200 

Registration Fees . . .30 

Proportional tax ... 60 


Less the amount which he re- 
covers from the immigrant . 200 


" According to the engagement subscribed to 
in Africa by the immigrant, which is the same 
document that is afterwards transferred to the 

T 2 


proprietor here by Messrs. Regis, the term of the 
immigrants' obligatory stay in Martinique is for 
ten full years, which are not to be held com- 
pleted until he has worked ten times 312 days. 
During this time he is to be provided with lodg- 
ings, medical attendance, and two suits of cloth- 
ing. His rations consist of salt-fish, rice, and 
cassava flour, in the usual proportions given to 
the native agricultural labourers, and his wages at 
the rate of twelve francs per month, of twenty- 
six working days ; only one-half of his earnings 
are paid to him monthly, and the other half at 
the expiration of the year, when his account on 
the register of the estate is made out in his pre- 
sence before the Juge de Paix, and due deduc- 
tions are made for 'sickness and absences. For 
each day's absence without leave, or from sickness 
occasioned by his own excesses, the immigrant 
forfeits one day's pay actually earned, in addition 
to the days so lost. It may, therefore, be com- 
puted that an average actual residence of twelve 
years will be necessary to entitle the immigrant 
to his ' repatriement,' which even then he can 
claim only in case of his having made a monthly 
deposit of the tenth part of his wages in the 
Immigration Chest." 

I wish particularly to point the attention of 


those who consider a " repatriement " possible to 
the last part of the foregoing extract, from which 
it appears that an immigrant can only claim the 
right of being sent back to his country in case of 
his having made a monthly deposit of the tenth 
part of his wages in the Immigration Chest." 

With reference to the affair of the " Charles et 
Georges," the correspondence on which was the 
occasion of eliciting Count Walewski's famous re- 
pudiation noticed at the commencement of this 
chapter, it appears, from incontestable evidence, 
that all the negroes found in that vessel, when 
she was captured by the Portuguese man-of-war 
" Zambesi," declared that they had been brought 
there against their will. Some of them had 
been stolen or kidnapped from their owners at 
Mozambique ; whilst the delegate from Reunion, 
who was onboard in the character of a government 
officer, could produce no evidence of a single man 
having volunteered his services. 

The history of this matter from beginning to 
end, divested of its official mystification, appears 
to me very simple, and may be briefly told. 

By a Portaria, or decree, of the Marine and 
Colonial Department of Portugal, bearing date 
27th of February, 1856, it appears that the Por- 
tuguese Government does not allow the hiring, 


or otherwise taking away from its African posses- 
sions, of any negro labourers. The exportation of 
negroes from the African colonial dependencies of 
Portugal is not only considered contraband by 
the treaty of 1815, but is made by their own 
laws an act of piracy in the Portuguese ter- 

On the 20thNovember, 1857, acircular had been 
addressed to all the Governors of districts by the 
Governor-general of Mozambique, with the view 
of preventing the exportation of colonists from 
the ports of that province a thing which had 
been in operation in connexion with the provi- 
sions of the voluntary emigration law sanctioned 
by the French Government in 1852. 

Let us bear in mind that this circular primarily 
appeared before the public in the official bulletin 
of Mozambique, of December 19th, 1857, on the 
very first day of which month was dated the re- 
port of the commission appointed by the Gover- 
nor-general of Mozambique to investigate the cir- 
cumstances under which the barque "Charles et 
Georges " was captured on the coast of Quintun- 
gonha by the Portuguese man-of-war " Zambesi," 
which report condemned the vessel and her 
crew to the penalties enacted in the decree of 
10th December, 1836. 


When we investigate the reason of this ship, 
captain, and crew being mulcted for contraven- 
tion of law, of course our first inquiry is into 
the particulars of their offence. 

The fact comes out that she had been anchored 
for several days previous to the 20th November 
in the port of Canducia, having with her, as an 
executive officer, a delegate from the adminis- 
tration of the French island of Reunion, and 
that she had got on board 110 negroes, fifty-nine 
of whom were embarked at Quintungonha, none 
of them as volunteers, for they had been sold to 
the captain ; and some of them had been stolen 
from their masters, a few of whom belonged to 
the city of Mozambique.* 

On the day succeeding the date borne by the 
circular of prohibition, out comes the Portu- 
guese man-of-war " Zambesi " from Mozambique, 
and captures the " Charles et Georges." The 
latter was brought into Mozambique, tried by a 
commission instituted for the purpose, and con- 
demned as a slaver. Captain Rouxel, the 
master, was condemned to two years' imprison- 
ment in irons a sentence which he escaped by 
appealing to the court of Relagao, at Lisbon, 

* From the Journal de Commercio of Lisbon, of February 24th, 


whither he accompanied his vessel to have the 
appeal tried. 

Thereupon appears the French representative 
at Lisbon, the Marquis de Lisle, and makes a 
plea to the effect that the " Charles et Georges " 
had sailed from Reunion before the prohibition 
of the 20th of November was known there a 
thing not at all improbable, when we remember 
she was captured at Canducia, and brought to 
Mozambique on the 26th of the same month ; 
that the men were hired as emigrants, and were 
free to act as they pleased even to return to 
their country after their period of five years 
of servitude was completed. The latter part 
of this, meaning ten years instead of five, arid 
bearing upon the repatriement fund, is perfectly 
intelligible as it stands. 

These facts being proved by papers of agree- 
ment, it conies out on the evidence before the 
commission that the papers were all forged, and 
the emigrants deposed to the fact that they had 
been sold or kidnapped at all events, handed 
over to the captain against their will. 

Meantime the affair, although only one of a 
cargo of negroes, was beginning to assume a 
serious aspect. Our Government did everything 
possible to throw oil upon the troubled waters, 


and bring the affair to a peaceable conclusion, 
but without success. 

A council was held at Paris, presided over by 
the Emperor, on the 2nd of October, in the year 
following, and it was determined to demand the 
release of the " Charles et Georges," with in- 
demnity for her unjust and illegal capture. The 
reason advanced for making this demand im- 
perative was, because " she was a French ship, 
having a government delegate on board, autho- 
rized to hire labourers ; and her condemnation 
as a slaver was tantamount to connecting the 
imperial government with the traffic in slaves, 
therefore derogatory to the honour of France." 

The demand was made by the Marquis de 
Lisle on the part of France, and refused by the 
Marquis de Soule on the part of Portugal. 

Hence two vessels of war were dispatched to 
the Tagus, to frighten the Portuguese ; and on 
the 26th of the same month a squadron of four 
men-of-war two of which had meantime put in 
to Lisbon for coals on their homeward voyage 
steamed out of the Tagus, the steamer "Caligny" 
towing the " Charles et Georges."- 

Passing by the charges of informality made 
against the judge at Mozambique, of having 
omitted to refer (as it seems he ought to have 


done) the proceedings to the superior court at 
Loanda for their approbation as well as an 
accusation brought against the Mozambique 
governor, of having allowed two other ships on 
the same mission to escape namely, the " Marie 
Caroline" and the " Marie Stella," whilst he seized 
the " Charles et Georges it appears to me that 
no unprejudiced person can come to any other 
conclusion on the subject than that the matter 
from beginning to end reflects no credit on either 
the Portuguese or French government. 

The commander of the U.S. ship "Dale"* having 
read over the papers, which were shown to him 
on board one of these emigrant ships, comes to 
the conclusion that, " from the degraded condi- 
tion of the natives of the coast, I cannot but 
believe that this action of the French govern- 
ment will result in their benefit " a conclusion, 
to my thinking, rather premature, seeing it was 
educed from an examination of papers instead of 

No one ever wrote more truly than the Earl of 
Malmesbury did in his correspondence, address- 
ing Earl Cowley, Her Majesty's minister, in the 
following words : " Experience will doubtless 

* Vide " Correspondence with the United States' Government 
on the question of right of Visit," p. 29. Par. Papers. Harrison, 


prove to them " (the French government) " that 
it " (negro emigration) " must give rise to inter- 
national disputes, massacres of the French crews, 
retaliatory cruelties to the negroes, and a general 
encouragement to the illegal slave-trade all over 
the world."* 

That it has given rise to internecine wars in 
Africa is known from the testimony of Mr. 
Blyden, already quoted ; of the Rev. Mr. Towns- 
end, Church of England missionary at Abbeo- 
kuta ; and of Doctor Livingstone. That the 
horrors of the middle passage endured by these 
poor emigrants equal those recorded of bond fide 
slave-trade voyages, may be inferred from the 
fact that the French steamer " Stella," which left 
Longuebonne, near Kabenda, on the south-west 
coast of Africa, with a cargo of 950 voluntary emi- 
grants, arrived at Guadaloupe, after a thirty days' 
voyage, with only 647 one -third of the whole 
lot having perished, at the rate of ten per day. 

I have too strong a faith in the humanity and 
intelligence of the French Emperor, government, 
and people, to believe they would sanction such 
a system as this were they aware of the existence 
of such horrors in connection with it as I have 
deemed it my duty here to record. On the part 

Foreign Office, October 30th, 1858. 


of His Imperial Majesty more especially, the 
strongest evidence has been given of his opposition 
to it by the " Convention ratified between Her 
Majesty Queen Victoria and the Emperor of the 
French, relative to the emigration of labourers 
from India to the colony of Reunion." This 
treaty was signed at Paris on July 25th, 1860, 
and ratified in the course of the following month 
by the plenipotentiaries of the respective nations, 
namely, Earl Cowley and Monsieur de Thouvenel. 

The provisions of this convention are of very 
great importance, and seem calculated to do 
away with all the abominations of the first-men- 
tioned system. 

Although coolies are not definitely mentioned, 
they are nevertheless the tribe of emigrants for 
whom these regulations are instituted. 

Agents chosen by each government, and hold- 
ing the same position as consuls, have to superin- 
tend the proper organization of the emigration. 

It is the agent's duty first " to satisfy himself 
that the emigrant is not a British subject, or, if 
a British subject, that his engagement is voluntary, 
that he has a perfect knowledge of the nature 
of his contract, of the place of his destination, of 
the probable length of his voyage, and of the differ- 
ent advantages connected with his engagement." 


The two most important articles in this con- 
vention are the provisions "that the duration of 
the emigrant's engagement shall not be more 
than five years ; " and that, " in the distribution 
of labourers, no husband shall be separated from 
his wife, nor any father or mother from their 
children under fifteen years of age." 

A code of such regulations as these is pretty 
certain to crown the energy of the French mer- 
chants in their West Indian colonies with more 
success than any plan which bears sorrow to the 
Africans, however unconscious they may be of 
its agency. 



Of Fernando Po under its new Regime Governor Don Chacon, 
and his Proclamation of 1858 Alarm caused to the Residents 
of Clarence (now Santa Isabella) by that Proclamation Their 
Remonstrance against its Provisions Failure of these Remon- 
strances The Commencement of Spanish Work in Colonization 
Mortality amongst the Colonists Its Causes Clearing the 
Bush Ascent to the Peak of Fernando Po The Queen of 
Spam's Decree concerning her Possessions in the Gulf of Guinea 
Example of Fertility in Fernando Po The Aborigines the 
greatest Obstacle to the Development of the Island's Cultivation 
Their Natural Indolence and Social Habits Sketch of an 
Aboriginal Wedding Sensible Evidence of Approach to a 
Fernandian Town Cuisine at the King's Residence Dress of 
the Bride and the Bridegroom The Nepees, or Professional 
Singers Matter of their Epithalamium The Mothers being 
Boonanas, or Bishops performing the Marriage Ceremony Pe- 
culiarity of the Mode of Celebration Savage Dance in the middle 
of the Ceremony Procession to the Bridegroom's House 
Natural Politeness Nuptial Offerings Banquet after the 

IN the year 1858 the Spanish Government 
seemed determined to do something effective, by 
laying claim to its possession in the Gulf of 


Guinea. Fernando Po was visited in the month 
of May of that year by a Spanish war steamer, 
the " Vasco Nunez de Balboa," whose commander 
soon made known the object of his visit, by 
issuing the following proclamation : 

" Commander Don Carlos Chacon, knight of 
the military order of St. Hermenegilda, captain 
of frigate in the Spanish Navy, commander of 
Her Catholic Majesty's squadron in the islands 
of Fernando Po, Anno Bon, arid Corisco, go- 
vernor-general of all the said islands, makes 
known to all 

"1st. The religion of this colony is that of the 
Roman Catholic Church, as the only one of the 
kingdom of Spain, with the exclusion of any 
other; and no other religious profession is 
tolerated or allowed but that made by the mis- 
sionaries of the aforesaid Catholic religion ; and 
no school allowed. 

" 2nd. Those who profess any other religion 
which is not the Catholic should confine their 
worship within their own private houses or 
families, and limit it to the members thereof. 

" 3rd. Mr. Lynslager is appointed lieutenant- 
governor in the colony, until the resolution of 
Her Majesty the Queen of Spain is known. 

" 4th. All the other by-laws and regulations 


for the good government and order of this 
colony, which are not contrary to that enacted 
this day, will remain in full vigour till further 

" Given under my hand and seal, on board 
H.C.M. vessel 'Balboa,' this 27th of May, 1858. 
" (Signed) CARLOS CHACON." 

It is not my business or duty to cast any im- 
putation or disparagement on the Spaniards for 
their first proclamation at Fernando Po. I 
merely record the fact that it fell like a bomb- 
shell amongst the inhabitants at Clarence, who 
had been since 1843 under the religious super- 
intendence of Baptist missionaries, and who since 
their first settlement here, under Captain Owen, 
in 1827, had considered themselves under the 
protection of Her Britannic Majesty's Govern- 
ment, and therefore entitled to perfect liberty of 
religious worship, in whatever form they wished 
to make the profession of their faith. 

A remonstrance was at once made by the 
Baptists against this proclamation, as being 
contrary "to that liberty of worship decreed and 
allowed by Don J. I. de Lerena, Captain in the 
Spanish Navy, and Commander of the brig 
' Nervion,' in the year 1841, and confirmed by the 
Spanish Consul-General (the Chevalier Guille- 


mard), in the year 1846." This remonstrance 
further entreated that the execution of the fore- 
going decree should be delayed till a final appeal 
could be made to the Queen of Spain. 

It was shown that, by a conveyance from the 
West African Company to the Baptist mission- 
aries, dated 13th June, 1843, there were assigned 
to " William Brodie Gurney, his heirs, executors, 
&c., all that the factory, plantation, and settle- 
ment, called or known by the name of Clarence, 
situate and being in the island of Fernando Po, 
on the west coast of Africa, or howsoever else 
the same is or may be called, known, or described, 
and all messuages, dwelling-houses, tenements, 
factories, sheds, huts, stores, warehouses, out- 
buildings, yards, gardens, land, hereditaments, 
and appurtenances whatsoever thereunto belong- 
ing, and therewith had, held, used, occupied, or 
enjoyed. And all the cleared and other land 
and ground lying and being around the said 
factory or settlement, or held with or as part of 
the same, as the same is now or was late in the 
tenure or occupation of the said African com- 
pany, or their agents." 

A legal form, to which the Spanish Governor 
paid no attention, as he did not recognize the 



authority of the "West African Company to make 
any such conveyance. 

His reply, therefore, very courteously stated his 
inability to comply with the request ; but at the 
same time expressed his readiness to forward 
their memorial to the Queen of Spain. 

The only conclusion arrived at was, that the 
Baptist missionary and his family, consisting of 
wife and two daughters, left the island, and emi- 
grated to a place in Amboise Bay, on the con- 
tinent, to which they gave the name of Victoria. 
Two or three certainly not more families of the 
negro members of their church went with them. 

Accompanying Don Carlos Chacon there 
came four Jesuit priests, his secretary, a lieuten- 
ant in the navy, a commissariat officer, and a 
custom-house clerk. Soon after the steamer in 
which he came arrived the transport " Santa 
Maria," with a number of emigrants some 
women and children. 

With the exception of the government staff, 
and the Jesuit Padres, the remainder of those 
who came passed a miserable wet season. No 
houses had been prepared for them, and they 
were therefore obliged to pick up lodgings where 
they could, the only places in which accommo- 
dation was procurable being the huts of the 


negro residents, all of which had earthen floors 
a very unhealthy thing for Europeans in any part 
of Africa, especially in the wet season. 

Rapidly succeeding the proclamation came the 
change of the name of the chief town, Clarence, 
to St. Isabel, and Spanish titles to all the streets 
were posted up on boards at the corners. A 
hospital was erected near Point William, and 
wherever there was an available spot for the 
purpose a staff was fixed in the ground, and the 
Spanish flag hoisted thereon. 

In the month of August, 1859, the war frigate 
" Ferrolana" arrived in St. Isabel harbour, having 
on board His Excellency Brigadier Don Jose de 
la Gandera, who had come to relieve Don Carlos 
Chacon. He was accompanied by his family. 
With him came likewise 150 soldiers, many 
women and children, a staff of executive officers, 
and a regimental band. 

On the first day of his landing under a salute 
from the Spanish and British men-of-war in the 
harbour, the following Royal Decree was read at 
the Government-house, in presence of the staff" 
in their uniform, and of nearly all the inhabi- 
tants of the town : 


" According to what has been proposed to us 



by our Council of Ministers, we have decreed as 
follows : 

"Art. 1. The Minister of War and Colonies 
will adopt necessary measures to colonize the 
islands of Fernando Po, Annobon, Corisco, and 
their dependencies. 

"Art. 2. There will be appointed to that station 
by the Minister of Marine those vessels of war 
which other necessities of the State can spare. 
The way in which this service is to be performed 
will be established beforehand by the Ministers 
of Marine and Colonies. 

"Art. 3. There will be also appointed to the 
said dominions the military forces which the 
Minister of War may consider necessary ; allow- 
ing the commanders, officers, and soldiers those 
advantages considered convenient by the Min- 
ister of War and Colonies. For the necessities 
of these forces, and for those of the inhabitants 
in general, there will be sent to the dominions of 

O ' 

the Bight of Guinea the number of military 
physicians and surgeons considered necessary by 
the Minister of War. 

" Art. 4. A General of Brigade, or at least a 
Colonel, will be appointed Governor of Fernan- 
do Po and the adjacent islands, with an allow- 
ance of six thousand dollars a year. The Gover- 


nor first appointed to this post has a right to 
promotion after three years' residence in the 
country, or before that time if he distinguishes 
himself by his services. 

" Art. 5. The Governor of Fernando Po, Anno- 
bon, Corisco, and their dependencies, is responsi- 
ble for the tranquillity of the islands under his 
government; therefore, besides the authority given 
to him by this decree, and that he may further 
receive, we invest him with the discretional 
power which the nature of the country or the 
urgency of unexpected events may require. 

" Art. 6. The military and naval forces are 
under the command of the Governor. With re- 
spect to the last named, the power allowed by 
the general regulations of the Admiralty to the 
viceroys of the Indies are also granted to him. 

" Art. 7. Should absence, sickness, or any other 
motive prevent the Governor from acting, he 
will be represented, in cases relative to the 
government, by the highest military comman- 

" Art. 8. In the cases before said the receiver 
will take charge of the administrative affairs; but 
should any alterations be necessary, he will be 
obliged to consult the council, according to the 
18th Article. 


" Art. 9. A barrister will be appointed as 
Secretary to the Governor, with an allowance of 
three thousand dollars a year ; and also a clerk, 
with an allowance of one thousand dollars per 

"Art. 10. In order that the Governor may be 
rightly informed of the necessities of these 
islands, a functionary will be appointed under 
his orders, entitled the Special Delegate of Public 
Works. This functionary will have an allow- 
ance of two thousand dollars a year, and one 
thousand more for his expenses ; and will be ob- 
liged to study the quality of the soil, its produc- 
tions, the currents of the waters, to survey the 
country, and to perform any other commissions 
which the Governor may entrust to him. 

"Art. 11. For the administration and collection 
of the rents and taxes established, and those 
that may be established in future, a Receiver 
with three thousand dollars, and a Comptroller 
with fifteen hundred, a year, are appointed. 

"Art. 12. A Judge is appointed, with an allow- 
ance of three thousand dollars, whose duty is to 
assist in all matters relative to the administra- 
tion of justice. 

"Art. 13. From the sentences of the Judge, an 
appeal may be made to the Council, constituted 


in court, with the assistance of the Governor ; in 
such cases the Secretary will fulfil the duties of 
Reporter, and the Judge will be unable to assist. 

"Art. 14. A public notary is appointed, with an 
allowance of fifteen hundred dollars, and is not 
permitted to receive fees. 

"Art. 15. An Interpreter is appointed, with an 
annual allowance of two thousand dollars, who 
must possess the necessary qualifications, in at 
least the English, French, and Portuguese lan- 

"Art. 16. In order that the clearing out of 
lands, &c., may be effected in the manner most 
advantageous to the country, and most con- 
ducive to the public health, a civil engineer is 
appointed to superintend these works, with 
an annual allowance of two thousand dollars, 
and one thousand for necessary expenses. 

"Art. 17. The Governor is allowed 2000 
dollars, annually, for representation expenses. 

"Art. 18. The Governor in Council, with the 
approval of the Receiver, may dispose of 25,000 
dollars a year, for the improvement of the 

" Art. 19. The mission of the Jesuits, sent to 
Fernando Po, and the adjacent islands, may 
dispose of six thousand dollars a year. The 


Superior of the Mission must render an account 
of its investment to the Governor, who will 
remit the same to the Minister of the Colonies. 

"Art. 20. The Superior of the Mission, the 
Receiver, the Judge, and the Secretary, form the 
Council of the Governor, but whatever may be 
the opinion of the said Council, the responsi- 
bility of the resolutions made in it will always 
fall upon the Governor, excepting in cases pro- 
vided for in the 13th Article. When the Com- 
mander of the Naval Forces is on shore he will 
be admitted into Council, and take precedence 
after the Governor. This Council must meet 
for matters of importance, but the Governor 
may convoke it when he pleases 

" Art. 21. With the advice of the Council, the 
Governor may grant lands to natives of our 
kingdom, or to national companies who may 
apply for such lands, either for purposes of 
cultivation, or for the establishment of factories 
or storehouses. 

" Art. 22. As before said, with the advice of 
the Council the Governor may likewise grant 
lands to foreign individuals or companies who 
may apply for them, for the purpose above 
mentioned, but with the payment of an annual 


fee, to be regulated and established by the 

" Art. 23. Before granting the said lands, the 
Governor will select those necessary for the 
building of the church, barracks, hospital, &c. 
With respect to those necessary for the naval 
dependencies, the Governor and Commander of 
the Naval Forces will agree. 

" Art. 24. All cultivated lands will be free of 
contribution or taxes during five years. 

" Art. 25. The Governor in our name will 
grant to the owners of these lands the title of 

" Art. 26. Of such lands as have been con- 
ceded to this day by the Governor, the grant 
is confirmed, and titles of possession will be 
given to the owners. 

" Art. 27. The owners of lands already granted, 
or that may be granted in future, in the islands 
of Fernando Po, Annobon, Corisco, and their 
dependencies, will lose all right of possession, if 
such lands are not cultivated or built upon 
within two years after their respective confirma- 
tion or concession. 

" Art. 28. The duties of five per cent, for im- 
portation, and two and a half for exportation, 
will be continued. Anchorage duties of twenty- 


five reals, for vessels above twenty tons 
and less than fifty; of fifty reals for those 
above fifty and less than three hundred and 
fifty; and of one hundred reals for those 
that guage from three hundred and fifty to 
seven hundred tons above the last guag- 
ing. Vessels under twenty tons are free of 

" Art. 29. All bonded goods or merchandise 
are free of duties for importation or exportation, 
but will pay one per cent, for storehouse ex- 

" Art. 30. A gratuitous passage to Fernando 
Po 3 and the adjacent islands, will be granted by 
the Government to all natives of our dominions 
applying for the same. 

"Art. 31. A sum of one million of reals is 
assigned to the Governor, for the assistance 
during the first year of the colonists to these 
islands; but with the indispensable condition, 
that colonists applying for such assistance shall 
be engaged in some art or occupation. Of the 
sums so expended, and others before mentioned, 
an account will be given to the Minister of the 

" Art. 32. The sum of two millions of reals is 
appointed for installation expenses. 


" Art. 33. These sums, likewise those requisite 
for the support of the military and naval forces 
assigned to these islands, will be furnished from 
the revenues derived from the island of Cuba, 
and included in its budget. 

" Art. 34. The Minister of Colonies will esta- 
blish periodical communications between the 
Peninsula and the possessions in the Gulf of 

" Art. 35. A circular containing all the neces- 
sary information, for commerce in general, of the 
mercantile condition of the said islands, will be 
forwarded to the Governors of all the provinces 
of our kingdom. 

" Art. 36. The Minister of Colonies will adopt 
the necessary measures for carrying the present 
decree into execution. 

" Given at our palace the thirteenth of 
December, eighteen hundred and fifty-eight. 
" Signed by the QUEEN. 

u The Minister of War and Colonies, 

Despite of all former experience, the colonists 
came out, or were sent out, as unprepared as 
ever to resist the deadly climate ; and the conse- 
quence was, that, in a very short time, gaunt 


figures of men, women, and children might be 
seen crawling through the streets, with scarcely 
an evidence of life in their faces, save the ex- 
pression of a sort of torpid carelessness as to how 
soon it might be their turn to drop off and die. 

More than twenty per cent, of those who 
came out died in the space of five months ; and 
the " Patino," screw steamer, carried back fifty of 
them to Cadiz, who looked, when they embarked, 
more like living skeletons of skin and bone than 
animated human beings. 

His Excellency Brigadier Gandera began the 
work of bush-clearing very energetically. One 
hundred Kroomen were obtained from the Kru 
coast, and an area of from four to six miles 
around the town was cleared. But the bush 
sprung up with renewed vigour ; for such is the 
fertility of the soil on this island, that I have 
known of Indian corn, planted on a Monday 
evening, making its appearance four inches 
above the ground on the following Wednesday 
morning within a period of thirty- six hours. 

Concurrent with the erection of spacious 
barracks under Governor Gandera's administra- 
tion, an ascent to the highest peak of the island 
was effected by Senor Pellon one of the Spanish 
Government officials, who was accompanied by 


Mr. Gustav Mann, botanist to the Niger expe- 
dition in 1860. A considerable part of the 
journey up was effected by the aid of donkeys, 
a group of which had been brought some time 
previously from Teneriffe. At the very summit 
they found a huge crater, almost circular in its 
upper edge, of about sixty feet in circumference, 
and apparently about fifty feet deep. 

Near this summit they found a jar, with a 
shred of cloth resembling a piece of an old flag. 
The former, on being brought back to town, was 
recognized by one of the inhabitants as the jar 
left there by Mr. Beecroft in his ascent of 1840. 
The temperature was found to be 39 Fahren- 
heit during the night ; for a thermometer was 
left there, for which they returned on the fol- 
lowing day. While they were up on the mountain 
a shower of hail descended. The vegetation was 
observed to be sparse, chiefly consisting of heaths 
and mosses. Between the last aboriginal town of 
Bassili and the highest peak they passed four na- 
tive huts, and the highest one was not many hours' 
walk from the mountain's summit. Nearly all 
the vegetation about the top had been burned 
by the natives a few weeks before ; and this was 
done by these simple people in the hope of fright- 
ening away the white man, of whose ascent to the 


top of the peak they have a great dread 
because, they say, white man gets too near their 
original home,* and can bring down on them 
any calamity. For example, if an epidemic 
were to break out amongst them after such 
a trip, they would attribute it to the white 
man's evil spirit ; as they did some deaths which 
occurred after Mr. Beecroft's ascent in 1840. 

From this journey, however, some goodresulted. 
Mr. Mann procured for the Royal Botanic Gar- 
dens at Kew a number of the first tree-ferns that 
have been sent to England from Western Africa. 
By the observations of both the explorers, it 
appears that a temperate and invigorating 
atmosphere is found at some elevation, a cir- 
cumstance which proves the existence of those 
natural capacities for a sanatorium that would 
render Fernando Po a health-restoring locale for 
all invalids suifering from debility caused by the 
miasmatous fevers of the continent. 

The question of the Spaniards establishing 
such a position, which would need the clearing 
of a large quantity of colossal trees and bush 
the making of roads and the erection of houses 
is one that I presume neither to asseverate nor 

* Vide page 201, "Impressions of Western Africa," where I 
have mentioned that a Fernandian's idea of the origin of his tribe 
is, that they came originally out of the crater at the mountain top. 


to contradict. But against the probability that the 
soil of Fernando Po should be so cultivated as to 
produce remunerative profit from its natural re- 
sources, the greatest obstacle appears to me in the 
fact that the island occupied by from twenty 
to thirty thousand of the aboriginal Boobees, or 
Fernandians, the laziest and most worthless race 
of negroes to be met with anywhere in Africa. 
They are not warlike ; but they have in former 
times shewn their antipathy to the Spaniards 
by poisoning the sources of the streams that sup- 
plied with water the towns of the early Spanish 
colonizers in 1780. Since then they seem to 
have in no wise become more humane or more 
civilized ; and although the Baptist missionaries 
have laboured with zeal amongst them for a 
period of seventeen years (from 1841 to 1858), 
the influences of their teaching have had no 
effect in christianizing, or civilizing, or even 
humanizing, a single individual of the tribe. 

Of their social customs the most interesting 
appear to me those connected with their marriage 
ceremonies, to oneof which I was witnessin the end 
of the year 1857, which I will attempt to describe. 

Although they keep no chronological records 
nor register of passing time, save that which the 
new moon gives them, they hold yearly festivities 


in the dry season, which they recognise as the 
beginning of a new year. These festivities are 
generally commenced in November, and continued 
during the two following months, being entitled 
"Lobos." They comprise dancing, singing, eat- 
ing porcupine or gazelle chop, and drinking palm 
wine, fermented as well as unfermented. 

During the " Lobo" period, weddings or 
" Boolas" are generally celebrated. 

Having had an intimation from Boobokaa 
("the man of many boxes"),* who is head king 
of Issapoo, that one of his daughters was about 
to be married, I took it for an invitation, and 
walked up to his town a few days before Christ- 
mas to be present at the ceremonial. 

The first thing of which one is sensible, when 
approaching a Fernandian village, is the odour 
of Tola pomatum,f wafted by whatever little 
breeze may be able to find its way through the 
dense bushes. The next is the crowing of cocks. 
Indeed, the poultry tribe seem to be the only 
bipeds endowed with any activity in this island. 

* The names of many of the Fernandian chiefs have significations 
of this kind, like those of the North American Indians. One king is 
named Bosotchee, which is the Fernandian for " thunder ;" an- 
other Borobabagne, which signifies " good deer's flesh." 

f I have explained in my work, "Impressions of Western 
Africa," that Tola pomatum is a compound of ashes of palm oil, 
and thp mashed leaves of an herb having a brownish scarlet hue. 


At St. Isabel, the capital, some of these, who 
may be considered the watchful sentinels, crow 
at ten at night. The refrain is renewed at 
midnight, again at two o'clock in the morning, 
and at day-break the whole host of cock-a- 
doodle-doo-ers join in a universal chorus 
perhaps to announce the coming forth of the 
rising sun. 

On getting inside of the town our first object 
of attraction was the cooking going on in His 
Majesty's kitchen. Here a number of dead 
" Ipa" (porcupines) and " Litcha" (gazelles) were 
in readiness to be mingled up with palm oil, and 
several grubs writhing on skewers, probably to 
add piquancy to the dishes. These are called 
" Inchakee," being obtained from palm trees, 
and look at first sight like Brobdingnagian mag- 
gots. Instead of waiting to see the art of the 
Fernandian Soyer on these components, I con- 
gratulated myself on my ham sandwiches and 
brandy and water bottle safely stowed in my 
portmanteau, which one of the Kroomen carried 
on his back, and sat on iny camp stool beneath 
the grateful shade of a palni tree to rest awhile. 

Outside a small hut belonging to the mother 
of the bride expectant, I soon recognised the 
happy bridegroom, undergoing his toilet from 


the hands of his future wife's sister. A pro- 
fusion of Tshibbu strings* being fastened round 
his body, as well as his legs and arms, the 
anointing lady, having a short black pipe in her 
mouth, proceeded to putty him over with Tola 
paste. He seemed not altogether joyous at the an- 
ticipation of his approaching happiness, but turned 
a sulky gaze now and then to a kidney-shaped 
piece of brown painted yam, which he held in 
his hand, and which had a parrot's red feather 
fixed on its convex side. This I was informed 
was called " Ntshoba," and is regarded as a pro- 
tection against evil influence during the impor- 
tant day. Two skewer-looking hair pins, with 
heads of red and white glass beads, fastened his 
hat (which was nothing more than a dish of 
bamboo plaiting) to the hair of his head; and his 
toilet being complete, he and one of the brides- 
men, as elaborately dressed as himself, attacked 
a mess of stewed flesh and palm oil placed before 
them, as eagerly as if they had not tasted food 
for a fortnight. In discussing this meal, they 
followed the primitive usage of "fingers before 
forks," only resting now and then to take a gulp 
of palm-wine out of a calabash which was hard 

* Small pieces of Achatectonica shell, which represent the 
native currency in Fernando Po. 


by, or to wipe their hands in napkins of cocoa- 
leaf, a process which, to say the least of it, added 
nothing to their washerwoman's bills at the end 
of the week. 

But the bride ! Here she comes ! Led forth 
by her own, and her husband expectant's 
mother, each holding her by a hand, followed 
by two Nepees (professional singers) and half-a- 
dozen bridesmaids. Nothing short of a correct 
photograph could convey an idea of her appear- 
ance. Borne down by the weight of rings, 
wreaths, and girdles of "Tshibbu," the Tola 
pomatum gave her the appearance of an ex- 
humed mummy, save her face, which was all 
white not from excess of modesty [and here 
I may add, the negro race are reputed always 
to blush blue], but from being smeared 
over with a white paste, symbolical of 

As soon as she was outside the paling, her bridal 
attire was proceeded with, and the whole body was 
plastered over with white stuff. A veil of strings 
of Tshibbu shells, completely covering her face, 
and extending from the crown of her head to the 
chin, as well as on each side from ear to ear, was 
then thrown over her ; over this was placed 
an enormous helmet made of cowhide ; and any 


one with a spark of compassion in him could 
not help pitying that poor creature, standing for 
more than an hour under the broiling sun, with 
such a load on her, whilst the Nepees were cele- 
bratingher praises in an extempore epithalamium, 
and the bridegroom was completing his finery 

One of the Nepees, who, for what I know, 
may have been the Grisi of Fernando Po, and 
who had walked eight miles that morning to 
assist professionally at the ceremony, commenced 
a solo celebration of the bride's virtues and 
qualifications. Whether any person of musical 
taste, who had listened to it, would have 
entitled the chaunt a combination of squeel, 
grunt, and howl, I cannot say ; but that it pro- 
duced satisfaction amongst the native audience 
was evident from the fact of the energetic cho- 
russing of several assistant minstrels, who yelled 
out " Hee hee -jee eh ! " at the termina- 
tion of any passage containing a sentiment that 
met with their approbation, the exclamation 
being synonymous with our " bravo." 

The song, as translated to me, set forth 
the universal joy of nature at the festival 
which was approaching; amongst other mat- 
ters, recording the existence of a race 


of wicked amphibious people who lived on the 
African continent, and who would doubtless 
attempt to come over to disturb the universal 
harmony ; but who, they knew, if they went into 
the water on that day, would be all remorse- 
lessly devoured by the sharks. It terminated 
with a recapitulation of the bride's attractive 
qualities, her beautiful form, figure, and good 
temper ; the latter a quality which I had no 
reason to doubt, as I did not enjoy the plea- 
sure of the lady's acquaintance. But when 
the Nepee" wound up her praises by enumer- 
ating, amongst her other prepossessing attri- 
butes, "the sweet smell" proceeding from 
her, which was the cause of inducing a white 
man to come and witness the ceremony, I 
turned away with a shudder, of what kind 
you may guess, at this outrage on poetic license, 
and said to myself, " If Nepe4 only knew the 
truth ! " 

The candidates for marriage having taken 
their positions side by side in the open air front- 
ing the little house from which the bride elect 
had been led out by the two mothers, and where 
I was informed she had been closely immured 
for fifteen months previous, the ceremony com- 
menced. The mothers were the officiating 


priests an institution of natural simplicity, 
whose homely origin no one will dare to im- 
pugn. On these occasions the mother bishops 
are prophetically entitled " Boonanas," the 
Fernandian for grandmother. Five brides- 
maids marshalled themselves alongside the bride 
postulant, each, in rotation, some inches lower 
than the other ; the outside one being a mere 
infant in stature, and all having bunches of par- 
rots' feathers on their heads, as well as holding a 
wand in their right hands. The mothers stood 
behind the " happy pair," and folded an arm 
of each round the body of the other Nepees 
chaunting all the while, so that it was barely 
possible for my interpreter to catch the words by 
which they were formally soldered. A string of 
Tshibbu was fastened round both arms by the 
bridegroom's mother ; she, at the same time, whis- 
pering to him advice to take care of this tender 
lamb, even though he had half-a-dozen wives 
before. The string was then unloosed. It was 
again fastened on by the bride's mother, who 
whispered into her daughter's ear her duty to 
attend to her husband's farm, tilling his yams 
and cassada, and the necessity of her being faith- 
ful to him. The ratification of their promise to 
fulfil these conditions was effected by passing a 


goblet of palm wine from mother to son (the bride- 
groom), from him to his bride, from her to her 
mother, each taking a sip as it went round. 
Then an indiscriminate dance and chaunt com- 
menced; and the whole scene the Tola paste 
laid on some faces so thickly, that one might 
imagine it was intended to affix something to 
them by means of it the dangling musk-cat and 
monkey tails the dish hats and parrots' feathers 
the bunches of wild fern and strings of Tshibbu 
shells, fastened perhaps as nosegays to the ladies' 
persons the white and red and yellow spots, 
painted under the eyes, and on the shoulders, and 
in any place where they could form objects of 
attraction the tout ensemble, contrasted with the 
lofty bombax, beautiful palm, cocoa-nut, and 
other magnificent tropical trees around, pre- 
sented a picture rarely witnessed by a European, 
and one calculated to excite varied reflections. 

When fatigued with dancing, and when all the 
company, from the cracking of the Tola putty, 
looked as if they were about to fall into man's 
original element of clay, the six other wives and 
the Nepees walked away, followed by the bride- 
groom, with the bride and the bridesmaids after 
him all marching down the pathway which led 
to the bridegroom's house. 


Knowing the ceremonials were not yet finished, 
I followed the company for half a mile. As 
they went along, the former wives of the newly- 
married man sang, and jumped, and wheeled 
around, beckoning to the bride to come on; who, 
poor creature ! with her helmet and her cinctures 
of shells if nerves had been in fashion in Fer- 
nando Po would have needed smelling-salts, or 
a douche of cold water, half-a-dozen times on her 

The outside palisading, in which was a faint 
attempt at a gate, was reached. Here I wit- 
nessed an act of natural politeness, which no dis- 
ciples of Chesterfield or Mrs. General could rival. 
The old wives preceded the new bride on her 
way in through the outer enclosure, as if guiding 
her to her new home ; but when they reached 
the inner palisading they all gave way to her, 
allowing her to precede them in her progress. 
Within this the ceremony was proceeded with, 
the bride standing with her back to the door, 
her husband's arm again embracing her, and 
hers round his body likewise. One of his children 
presented a huge brown painted yarn, which she 
received, with a renewal of advice from her mo- 
ther to attend to the cultivation of this esculent. 
Others of his children fixed epaulets of Tshibbu in 


their proper places; the bridegroom put four 
rings of the small shells on the middle finger of 
her right hand ; another piece of advice, or 
lecture, was given to her son by the bridegroom's 
mother, and the ceremony was completed. 

Before the feasting commenced, the bride and 
the bridegroom visited their parents and near 
relations to announce to them the fact that the 
ceremony was completed, and to claim their 

All the friends from distant parts who had 
come to be present brought dishes with them. 
Some poor women, who had nothing better to 
give, carried bundles of fire-wood on their heads 
a present which might appear ridiculous to 
anyone who did not remember the widow's 
mite, and its gracious acceptance. 

When it was all over, I could not avoid ad- 
miring the strength of character of that young 
woman, who had gone through such a day's toil 
with such unshrinking fortitude ; and I protest 
against being called "an old bachelor" for 
recording this sentiment. 

Whether it was the hot sun, or what brother 
Jonathan would call "the loud smell," or a 
combination of both, that urged me not to 
think of waiting to partake of the banquet, I 


cannot say. At all events, I soon turned my 
back on the bridal party, and left them to enjoy 
not their honeymoon, nor their treacle-moon, 
but their "Tola "-moon, without presuming, on 
the de gustibus non disputandum principle, to cast 
any imputation on their peculiar tastes. 



Removal of Baptist Missionaries from Fernando Po to Amboise 
Bay Constitution of a new Settlement under the Name of 
Victoria Advantages set forth by the Colonists regarding their 
new Settlement King William the Sovereign of Bimbia and 
of Amboise The Isebus, Baquiris, and Batohkes Of the Bati 
reputed to be at the back of Kameroon Mountain Dr. Earth's 
Opinion of them, and of their language Information on these 
Mystical Tribes from the Rev. Mr. Anderson, at Old Kalabar ; 
from the Rev. Mr. Crowther, at Lagos Inquiries about the 
Jetem and Mbafu Of the Ding-Ding, ascertained to be nick- 
named the Nyem-Nyem mentioned by Bayard Taylor 
Prospective Utility of such Inquiries. 

WHEN the Baptist missionaries at Fernando Po 
found the first article of Don John Joseph 
de Lerena's proclamation set aside, namely, 
"to secure to every person or persons their 
liberty, their individual property, and their 
religion, so long as they continue to obey the 
laws of the colony," they at once resolved on 


transferring themselves to the mainland of 

Accordingly, Amboise Bay, at the base of the 
Kameroon mountain, was selected for the pur- 
pose ; and their new settlement was at once 
dignified with the title of Victoria. 

The Rev. Mr. Saker, the head of the Baptist 
mission, made a purchase from King William 
of Bimbia, of an extent of land reaching from 
a small stream of water flowing into Man-of 
War Bay to the point eastward of Aboobee, or 
Pirate Island a coast distance of about eighty 

Before visiting this place, 1 had learned from 
the Missionary Herald, of November, 1858, that 
the name of Morton Bay was given by the 
colonists to the inner cove facing the settlement 
of Victoria, as well as to that on the beach. Here 
a market was held every third day, in which 
fish, plantains, yams, and fowls were to be pur- 
chased for the merest trifle. 

The advantages set forth by the Rev. Mr. 
Saker and his congregation as possessed by the 
new settlement were, that it had no mangrove 
swamps no musquitoes that it was a site 
within reach of any temperature, to be at- 
tained by its residents on ascending the 


mountains that there were two islands in the 
middle of the bay, Ambas or Ndami and Mon- 
doleh either being appropriate for a light- 
house ; and that there was a well-sheltered 
bay inside these islands, safe and capacious 
enough for a large portion of the British Navy 
to anchor in. 

A river of fresh water flowed into the bay, 
fish was abundant in the harbour, and, great- 
est advantage of all, they could have what was 
denied to them in Fernando Po freedom of 
religious worship. 

An examination into the hydrographical 
benefits of the bay as an anchoring place, made 
by Commodore Wise, R.N., in H.M.S.S. "Vesu- 
vius," during the year 1859, did not prove it 
to be anything like the description of it given 
by the enthusiastic missionaries. At one im- 
portant point of the bay, described in the Rev. Mr. 
Saker's chart as having from four to six fathoms 
of water, it was found by Mr. Brown, Master 
R.N., who had charge of the soundings, to have 
only from six to nine feet. 

There is no doubt that Amboise bay is the 
least unhealthy station on the west coast ; but 
its iron-bound rocks, and the inaccessibility of 
its islands, would require an immense outlay 


of capital to make the neighbourhood habit- 

The Bimbia people, whose sovereign, King 
William, holds sway over all this neighbourhood, 
are of the Isebu tribe. The natives of the 
islands Ndami and Mondoleh profess to be a dif- 
ferent race from the Bimbians, although speak- 
ing the same language. Of their genealogy, as 
of that of all African tribes, no accurate account 
can be obtained. 

The Baquiri tribe are located above the Isebus, 
or Bimbians, on the Kameroon mountains. They 
are represented by their neighbours with a re- 
ciprocal appreciation which seems universal here 
as being savages. A tribe called Batohke dwell 
near to the Rumby Point, on the western side 
of the base of the mountain ; whilst between 
the latter and Amboise Bay are the Jonghi, 
at a place not twenty miles from Fernando 

Around this interesting locality there seems 
to me a large field for the inquirer into Af- 
rican ethnology a branch of knowledge in 
pursuit of which a larger amount of ac- 
cessories is required than I have been able to 


Nevertheless, I shall take this opportunity of 
stating here the result of some inquiries I have 
been making. 

It will be recollected that a -chart of Dr. 
Earth's explorations in Central Africa had been 
compiled, as well as published, under the super- 
intendence of Mr. Petermann, before the Pleiad's 
expedition up the Niger-Tshadda-Binue, and 
therefore previous to the doctor's return to Eu- 
rope. In that chart was mentioned a tribe called 
Bati, who were described as " Pagans, reputed 
to be of a white colour, and of beautiful shape 
to live in houses made of clay to wear 
clothes of their own making and to exist in a 
country from which a mountain is visible to the 
S.W., and close to the sea." 

From the position in which the Bati country 
was placed in Mr. Petermann's chart, there 
could be no doubt that Kameroons was the 
mountain referred to. 

On my first official visit to the river Kame- 
roons, in January 1856, I made inquiries from 
the British, as well as native traders, if such a 
race were known ; and I received information 
that there was a people styled Bari, not Bati, 
who, instead of being white, were yellow-co- 


loured ; who were of fine shape, and who lived 
near the place indicated on the chart. Any in- 
formation about their peculiarities of worship, 
dress, mode of living, trade, or agricul- 
ture, I found to be perfectly unattainable. I 
learned, however, that they were very warlike, 
as well as that they rode on horses ; and I for- 
warded the result of my inquiries to Dr. Earth. 
He wrote to me, in reply, that he did not think 
the Bari and Bati were of the same tribe. "For," 
he added, " r and , as far as I know, are never 
changed in these languages not like r and c, 
p and/, dh and /, and others. Besides, I think 
the a in Bari is a long vowel, while in Bati it is 
short. I, therefore, must suppose these two 
tribes distinct ; but they may live near together. 
Any information which you will be able to 
gather about that interesting corner behind the 
bay must evidently be of the highest import- 
ance ; but a great difficulty will of course arrive, 
with regard to identifying the various tribes, 
as there is no doubt that the same tribe may 
be called by a very different name on the coast 
and in the interior. So I am almost sure 
that the Ding-ding, who are living in huts 
erected in the branches of large trees, 
will have quite another name ; and the 

same is probably the case with the Tekar." 

" Have you any communication with Duke- 
town ? I ana uncertain with what country 
round the bay I shall identify Mbafu, a dis- 
trict which has been visited by the predatory 
excursions of the Fulbe, and which they repre- 
sent as in continual intercourse with the Chris- 
tians ; it is near the sea-shore 

" Yours truly, 

" H. EARTH." 

Thinking I might obtain some 'information on 
these matters from the Old Kalabar mission- 
aries, I transmitted Dr. Earth's letter to the Rev. 
W. Anderson, and subjoin his reply : 

" Duketown Mission House, 
" Old Kalabar, July 22nd, 1856. 

"Mr DEAR SIR, I have made diligent inquiry 
among the Efik people in reference to the Ding- 
ding, the Tekar, and the Mbafu. 

" 1st Ding-ding. Nothing seems known of 
them here, or of any men living in trees. The 
people laugh heartily when told of them, and say 


' they must be brother to the birds and mon- 

" 2nd Tekar. The people here know of no 
country of that name ; ' suppose it no be the 
Ataka or Atakha or Ataga, who live somewhere 
beyond Akunakuna. None of the Ataka people 
are in Old Kalabar.' 

" 3rd Mbafu. There is a people, or country, 
or both, far on the other side of Qua, called 
Mbafum. Some of them are sometimes brought 
as slaves to Old Kalabar. 

" I have long wished to ascertain the position 
and distance from Old Kalabar of a country 
called here Mbrikum, Mburikum, or Mbudikum. 
Many of them are brought here as slaves. They 
are more liked in Old Kalabar than many 
brought from other countries. They are peace- 
able, honest, energetic; they represent their 
country as being three months' journey from Old 
Kalabar as being destitute of large trees, and 
as being not far from some 'big watery/ on 
which ships are visible. Their country is much 
infested by men who l wear trowsers and ride on 
horseback,' I suppose some Moorish tribe and 
who are called Tibare. They may be the Tilbe 
(Fulbe ?) referred to by Dr. Barth. 


" I observed that Dr. Barth has not found r 
and t interchangeable among the tribes he has 
visited. They are so in many Efik words. The 
word in question, if communicated to twenty 
Kalabarese, would forthwith be pronounced by 
the one-half Bati, and by the other Bari. In 
Efik we can say either. ' Ku wut owo,' or ' Ku 
wur owo,' (don't kill man) ; ' Enye okut osang,' 
or ' okur ' osang (he sees way) ; ' Tat inna,' or 
1 Tar inna ' (open the mouth) ; ' esit ayat (or 
ayar) enye' (he is troubled literally, heart 
troubles him) ; l a dat (or a dar) esit ' (he re- 

" Yours truly, 


I may observe that the word Tibare is pro- 
nounced long (Tibaare) by the Efik people at Old 
Kalabar ; and therefore it seems to me not at all 
improbable that this name, passed about amongst 
men who are entirely ignorant and unconscious 
of lexicography, may have been metamorphosed 



into Baari or Baati when dictated by word of 
mouth. As recorded by Dr. Baikie, there are 
some of the Bati tribe in Clarence, Fernando Po, 
and their characteristics are entirely different 
from those of the Batis described by Dr. Barth, 
or of the Baris mentioned to me by the Kame- 
roons people. 

Determined to pursue the matter further to 
try to ascertain the identity of these hitherto 
mythical tribes I wrote to the Rev. Mr. Crow- 
ther at Lagos, enclosing Dr. Earth's inquiries. 
The following is his answer : 

"I am afraid I cannot enlighten you much 
about Dr. Barth's queries. The name Ding- 
ding is familiar to me ; we have a tribe of Yo- 
ruba living somewhere in the neighbourhood of 
Bargu sometimes spelt Borgoo on the right 
bank of the Kowara, opposite Bousa so called ; but 
the mode of living, in huts erected in the branches 
of trees, leads me to think the Ding-ding 
must be another people, of whom I have no 
knowledge. Dr. Barth's Mbafu is in all pro- 
bability the same as Mbofou of Mr. Koelle (see 
his map to 'Polyglotta Africana,' somewhere 
about the Ibo country. The name may not be 
known as such to the people of Old Kalabar and 


Kameroons ; if it be not this, I cannot otherwise 
guess it. From Dr. Earth's information, the 
Filatahs marched southward in that direction ; 
and from the long intercourse the Kalabarese 
and Ibos have had with European merchants in 
the Bight of Biafra, they might, with all pro- 
priety, be said to have intercourse with Chris- 
tians near the sea-shore. Considering the distance 
of Hamarrua and Adamawa from the Ibo coun- 
try, the people of the latter might be said to live 
near the sea-coast." 

I received further information respecting these 
unknown tribes and localities from the Rev. 
Mr. Anderson in December. From a letter com- 
municated to me by Dr. Barth, he considers 
Koelles Ndob to be the Mburikum of which Mr. 
Anderson wrote in his first communication ; and 
the latter gentleman, extending his inquiries 
still further, thus informs me : 

"1st. The Mburikum (or Mbudikum) call a 
tribe of the warlike Tibare Ding-ding ; but they 
do not live in trees. The Tibare wear cloth, and 
ride on horses. 

"2nd. Teka is the name of a tribe and 
country near the Tibare. 


" 3rd. Mbafum, or Mbafong, or Ekoi, furnishes 
many slaves for Old Kalabar. 

" 4th. Mburikum is the name of a large terri- 
tory, including several other countries or towns, 
of which the following are the chief: 1st, 
Bamum, a tine, strong people, who frequently 
wage war with the Tibare ; 2nd, Ndob big 
water at Ndob, and those who come here (to 
Old Kalabar) from that district can live in water, 
same as Kameroons ; 3rd, Babuk ; 4th, Bariki ; 
5th, Bangora ; 6th, Isa ; 7th, Bansok ; 8th, 
Bambo ; 9th, Balri; 10th, Banam ; llth, Mfon- 
sin ; 12th, Bandyn. 

" All these places are to the east of Efik (Old 
Kalabar). They all lie l on side where sun 

" Yours truly, 


On the occasion of a visit which I made to the 
Kameroons, in February of this year, on board 
H.M.S.S. "Merlin," I inquired of Mr. John- 
son, a very intelligent attache to the Baptist 
mission community there, if he knew anything 
of the Ding-ding, Tekar, Mbafu, Jetem, Mbudi- 
kum, Bari, or Bati, races. He informed me 


that the Bayon people who are of the Mbudikum 
territory, designated all the Filatahs as Baris. 
A man, from the Bayon district, was at that 
time near Kameroons unfortunately, at the 
period of my inquiry, not accessible who 
states that he met a white man and a black man 
in his country a few years before coming 

I left Mr. Johnson a number of questions to 
ask of this Bayon man, but he has not been 
able to get any answers from him. 

In a letter (Feb. llth) which I had from Dr. 
Barth, he writes : "I cannot think that Mr. 
Anderson is right in stating the Ding-ding 
to be a section of the Tibare. They may be 

Subsequent information received from Mr. 
Anderson proves that Dr. Barth is right, and 
seems to me to settle at once the identity of the 

When I paid a short visit to Old Kalabar, in 
the month of April, on board H.M.S.S. " Fire- 
fly," the subject came on in conversation, and 
Mr. Anderson communicated to me the following 
recent intelligence which he had obtained. A 
man was then in, Duketown, who informed him 
that the word Ding-ding with the Tibare is 


synonymous with slave that the story of their 
living in trees would seem to arise from the 
fact of some of the Mbudikums being con- 
stantly posted in the tops of trees to watch 
for the coming of the predatory Tibares, 
which they announce to their people by blowing 
horns, to give warning of the enemy's approach. 

It may be asked by those who have followed 
me so far, what is the practical utility to be 
derived from investigations concerning these 
tribes, whilst these inquiries have tended to no 
' ascertained conclusion? I answer, they may 
at least be considered as an impetus to future 
Explorers, leading them to attempt the discovery 
of facts concerning people about whom we have 
^litherto been entirely ignorant; and that such 
Inquiries may, in the end, prove as useful as the 
discoveries of Dr. Livingstone concerning un- 
known tribes on the eastern side of the continent. 
For I believe the rivers which traverse the hith- 
erto great unknown tract of African land are 
destined to be the great highways by which 
legitimate commerce, and its consequent civiliz- 
ing influence, are to be carried on. Even 
such slight information as this be it only re- 
garded by many in the light of crude conjecture 


may tend to increase our knowledge of the 
native tribes, as well as lead future explorers to 
gain clearer and more defined ideas respecting 
the Ethiopian people a race the lowest in civil- 
ization of all created species ; inhabiting a soil 
the richest in the production of such industrial 
resources as tend to the comfort of the great 
human family. 




=o S 



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