TO THE GOLD COAST FOR GOLD
A Personal Narrative
BY Richard F. Burton AND Verney Lovett Cameron
In Two Volumes—Vol. II.
CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME
XII. THE SA LEONITE AT HOME AND ABROAD
XIII. FROM SA LEONE TO CAPE PALMAS
XIV. FROM CAPE PALMAS TO AXIM
XV. AXIM, THE GOLD PORT OF THE PAST AND THE FUTURE
XVI. GOLD ABOUT AXIM, ESPECIALLY AT THE APATIM OR BUJIA CONCESSION
XVII. THE RETURN—VISIT TO KING BLAY; ATABO AND BEIN
XVIII. THE IZRAH MINE—THE INYOKO CONCESSION—THE RETURN TO AXIM
XIX. TO PRINCE'S RIVER AND BACK
XX. FROM AXIM TO INGOTRO AND AKANKON
XXI. TO TUMENTO, THE 'GREAT CENTRAL DEPOT'
XXII. TO INSIMANKAO AND THE BUTABUE RAPIDS.
XXIII. TO EFFUENTA, CROCKERVILLE, AND THE AJI BIPA HILL
XXIV. TO THE MINES OF ABOSU, OF THE 'GOLD COAST,' AND OF THE TAKWA ('AFRICAN GOLD COAST') COMPANIES
XXV. RETURN TO AXIM AND DEPARTURE FOR EUROPE
* * * * *
I. Sec.1. THE ASHANTI SCARE Sec.2. THE LABOUR-QUESTION IN WESTERN AFRICA Sec.3. GOLD-DIGGING IN NORTH-WESTERN AFRICA
II. PART I.—LIST OF BIRDS COLLECTED BY CAPTAIN BURTON AND COMMANDER CAMERON
PART II.—LIST OF PLANTS COLLECTED ON THE GOLD COAST BY CAPTAIN BURTON AND COMMANDER CAMERON, R.N. (FURNISHED BY PROFESSOR OLIVER)
* * * * *
TO THE GOLD COAST FOR GOLD.
THE SA LEONITE AT HOME AND ABROAD.
In treating this part of the subject I shall do my best to avoid bitterness and harsh judging as far as the duty of a traveller—that of telling the whole truth—permits me. It is better for both writer and reader to praise than to dispraise. Most Englishmen know negroes of pure blood as well as 'coloured persons' who, at Oxford and elsewhere, have shown themselves fully equal in intellect and capacity to the white races of Europe and America. These men afford incontestable proofs that the negro can be civilised, and a high responsibility rests upon them as the representatives of possible progress. But hitherto the African, as will presently appear, has not had fair play. The petting and pampering process, the spirit of mawkish reparation, and the coddling and high-strung sentimentality so deleterious to the tone of the colony, were errors of English judgment pure and simple. We can easily explain them.
The sad grey life of England, the reflection of her climate, has ever welcomed a novelty, a fresh excitement. Society has in turn lionised the marmiton, or assistant-cook, self-styled an 'Emir of the Lebanon;' the Indian 'rajah,' at home a munshi, or language-master; and the 'African princess,' a slave-girl picked up in the bush. It is the same hunger for sensation which makes the mob stare at the Giant and the Savage, the Fat Lady, the Living Skeleton, and the Spotted Boy.
Before entering into details it will be necessary to notice the history of the colony—an oft-told tale; yet nevertheless some parts will bear repetition. [Footnote: The following is its popular chronology:— 1787. First settlers (numbering 460) sailed. 1789. Town burnt by natives (1790?). 1791. St. George's Bay Company founded. 1792. Colonists (1,831) from Nova Scotia. 1794. Colony plundered by the French. 1800. Maroons (560) from Jamaica added. 1808. Sa Leone ceded to the Crown; 'Cruits' introduced. 1827. Direct government by the Crown.]
According to Pere Labat, the French founded in 1365 Petit Paris at 'Serrelionne,' a town defended by the fort of the Dieppe and Rouen merchants. The official date of the discovery is 1480, when Pedro de Cintra, one of the gentlemen of Prince Henry 'the Navigator,' visited the place, after his employer's death A.D. 1463. In 1607 William Finch, merchant, found the names of divers Englishmen inscribed on the rocks, especially Thos. Candish, or Cavendish, Captain Lister, and Sir Francis Drake. In 1666 the Sieur Villault de Bellefons tells us that the river from Cabo Ledo, or Cape Sierra Leone, had several bays, of which the fourth, now St. George's, was called Baie de France. This seems to confirm Pere Labat. I have noticed the Tasso fort, built by the English in 1695. The next account is by Mr. Surveyor Smith, [Footnote: He is mentioned in the last chapter.] who says 'it is not certain when the English became masters of Sierra Leone, which they possessed unmolested until Roberts the pirate took it in 1720.' Between 1785 and 1787 Lieutenant John Matthews, R.N., resided here, and left full particulars concerning the export slave-trade, apparently the only business carried on by the British.
Modern Sa Leone is the direct outcome of Lord Chief Justice Mansfield's memorable decision delivered in the case of Jas. Somerset v. Mr. James G. Stewart, his master. 'The claim of slavery never can be supported; the power claimed never was in use here or acknowledged by law.' This took place on June 21, 1772; yet in 1882 the Gold Coast is not wholly free. [Footnote: Slavery was abolished on the Gold Coast by royal command on December 7, 1874; yet the Gold Coast Times declares that domestic slavery is an institution recognised by the law-courts of the Protectorate.]
Many 'poor blacks,' thrust out of doors by their quondam owners, flocked to the 'African's friend,' Granville Sharp, and company. Presently a charitable society, with a large command of funds and Jonas Hanway for chairman, was formed in London; and our people, sorely sorrowing for their newly-found sin, proposed a colony founded on philanthropy and free labour in Africa. Sa Leone was chosen, by the advice of Mr. Smeathman, an old resident. In 1787 Captain Thompson, agent of the St. George's Bay Company, paid 30l. to the Timni chief, Naimbana, alias King Tom, for the rocky peninsula, extending twenty square miles from the Rokel to the Ketu River. In the same year he took out the first batch of emigrants, 460 black freed-men and about 60 whites, in the ship Nautilus, whose history so far resembled that of the Mayflower. Eighty-four perished on the journey, and not a few fell victims to the African climate and its intemperance; but some 400 survived and built for themselves Granville Town. These settlers formed the first colony.
In 1790 the place was attacked by the Timni tribe, to avenge the insult offered to their 'King Jimmy' by the crew of an English vessel, who burnt his town. The people dispersed, and were collected from the bush with some difficulty by Mr. Falconbridge. This official was sent out from England early in 1791, and his wife wrote the book. In the same year (1791) St. George's Bay Company was incorporated under Act 31 Geo. III. c. 55 as the 'Sierra Leone Company.' Amongst the body of ninety-nine proprietors the foremost names are Granville Sharp, William Wilberforce, William Ludlam, and Sir Richard Carr Glynn. They spent 111,500l. in establishing and developing the settlement during the first ten and a half years of its existence; and the directors organised a system of government, closely resembling the British constitution, under Lieutenant Clarkson, R.N.
Next year the second batch of colonists came upon the stage. The negroes who had remained loyal to England, and had been settled by the Government in Nova Scotia, found the bleak land utterly unsuitable, and sent home a delegate to pray that they might be restored to Africa. The directors obtained free passage in sixteen ships for 100 white men and 1,831 negroes. Led by Lieutenant Clarkson, they landed upon the Lioness range in March (1792), after losing sixty of their number.
Bred upon maize and rice, bread and milk, the new comers sickened on cassava and ground-nuts. They had no frame-houses, and the rains set in early, about mid-May, before they had found shelter. The whites were attacked with climate-fever, which did not respect even the doctors. Quarrels and insubordination resulted, and 800 of the little band were soon carried to the grave. Then a famine broke out. A ship from England, freighted with stores, provisions, and frame-houses, was driven back by a storm. Forty-five acres had been promised to each settler-family; it was found necessary to diminish the number to four, and the denseness of the bush rendered even those four unmanageable. Disgusted with Granville Town, the new comers transferred themselves to the present site of Freetown, the northern Libreville.
The Company offered annual premiums to encourage the building of farm-houses, stock-rearing, and growing provisions and exportable produce. Under Dr. Afzelius, afterwards Professor at Upsal, who first studied the natural history of the peninsula, they established an experimental garden and model farm. An English gardener was also employed to naturalise the large collection of valuable plants from the East and West Indies and the South Sea Islands supplied by Kew. The Nova Scotians, however, like true slaves, considered agriculture servile and degrading work—a prejudice which, as will be seen, prevails to this day not only in the colony, but throughout the length and breadth of the Dark Continent.
Meanwhile war had broken out between England and France, causing the frequent detention of vessels; and a store-ship in the harbour caught fire, the precursor of a worse misfortune. On a Sunday morning, 1794, as the unfortunates were looking out for the Company's craft (the Harpy), a French man-of-war sailed into the roadstead, pillaged the 'church and the apothecary's shop,' and burnt boats as well as town. The assailant then wasted Granville, sailed up to Bance Island, and finally captured two vessels, besides the long-expected Harpy. Having thus left his mark, he disappeared, after granting, at the Governor's urgent request, two or three weeks' provision for the whites. Famine followed, with sickness in its train, and the neighbouring slave-dealers added all they could to the sufferings of the settlement.
In the same year Zachary Macaulay, father of Lord Macaulay, became Governor for the first time. The Company also made its earliest effort to open up trade with the interior by a mission, and two of their servants penetrated 300 miles inland to Timbo, capital of that part of Pulo-land. A deputation of chiefs presently visited the settlement to propose terms; but the futility of the negro settler was a complete obstacle to the development of the internal commerce, the main object for which the Company was formed. Yet the colony prospered; in 1798 Freetown numbered, besides public buildings, about 300 houses.
In 1800 the Sierra Leone Company obtained a Charter of Justice from the Crown, authorising the directors to appoint a Governor and Council, and to make laws not repugnant to those of England. During the same year the settlers, roused to wrath by a small ground-rent imposed upon their farms, rose in rebellion. This movement was put down by introducing a third element of 530 Maroons, who arrived in October. They were untamable Coromanti (Gold Coast) negroes who boasted that among blacks they were what the English are among whites, able to fight and thrash all other tribes. They had escaped from their Spanish masters when the British conquered Jamaica in 1655; they took to the mountains, and, joined by desperadoes, they built sundry scattered settlements. [Footnote: In 1738, after regular military operations, the Maroons of Jamaica agreed to act as police and to deliver up runaways. In 1795 the Trelawny men rebelled, and, having inflicted a severe loss upon the troops, were deported to Nova Scotia and Sa Leone.] Introducing these men fostered the ill-feeling which, in the earlier part of the present century, prevented the rival sections from intermarrying. Many of the disaffected Sa Leonites left the colony; some fled to the wilds and the wild ones of the interior, and a few remained loyal.
Rumours of native invasions began to prevail. The Governor was loth to believe that King Tom would thus injure his own interests, until one morning, when forty war-canoes, carrying armed Timnis, were descried paddling round the eastern point. Londoners and Nova Scotians fled to the fort, and next day the Timni drum sounded the attack. The Governor, who attempted to parley, was wounded; but the colonists, seeing that life was at stake, armed themselves and beat off the assailants, when the Maroons of Granville Town completed the rout. After this warning a wall with strong watch-towers was built round Freetown.
Notwithstanding all precautions, another 'Timni rising' took place in 1803. The assailants paddled down in larger numbers from Porto Loko, landed at Kissy, and assaulted Freetown, headed by a jumping and drumming 'witch-woman.' Divided into three storming parties, they bravely attacked the gates, but they were beaten back without having killed a man. The dead savages lay so thick that the Governor, fearing pestilence, ordered the corpses to be cast into the sea.
The first law formally abolishing slavery was passed, after a twenty years' campaign, by the energy of Messieurs Clarkson, Stephen, Wilberforce, and others, on May 23, 1806. In 1807 the importation of fresh negroes into the colonies became illegal. On March 16, 1808, Sa Leone received a constitution, and was made a depot for released captives. This gave rise to the preventive squadron, and in due time to a large importation of the slaves it liberated. Locally called 'Cruits,' many of these savages were war-captives; others were criminals condemned to death, whom the wise chief preferred to sell than to slay. With a marvellous obtuseness and want of common sense our Government made Englishmen by wholesale of these wretches, with eligibility to sit on juries, to hold office, and to exercise all the precious rights of Englishmen. Instead of being apprenticed or bound to labour for some seven years under superintendence, and being taught to clear the soil, plant and build, as in similar cases a white man assuredly would have been, they were allowed to loaf, lie, and cheat through a life equally harmful to themselves and others. 'Laws of labour,' says an African writer, [Footnote: Sierra Leone Weekly Times, July 30, 1862.] 'may be out of place (date?) in England, but in Sierra Leone they would have saved an entire population from trusting to the allurements of a petty, demoralising trade; they would have saved us the sight of decayed villages and a people becoming daily less capable of bearing the laborious toil of agricultural industry. To handle the hoe has now become a disgrace, and men have lost their manhood by becoming gentlemen.' I shall presently return to this subject.
Thus the four colonies which successively peopled Sa Leone were composed of destitute paupers from England, of fugitive Nova Scotian serviles, of outlawed Jamaican negroes, and of slave-prisoners or criminals from every region of Western and inner Africa.
The first society of philanthropists, the 'Sierra Leone Company,' failed, but not without dignity. It had organised a regular government, and even coined its own money. In the British Museum a silver piece like a florin bears on the obverse 'Sierra Leone Company, Africa,' surrounding a lion guardant standing on a mountain; the reverse shows between the two numbers 50 and 50 two joined hands, representing the union of England and Africa, and the rim bears 'half-dollar piece, 1791,' the year of the creation of the colony. The Company's intentions were pure; its hopes and expectations were lofty, and the enthusiasts flattered themselves that they had proved the practicability of civilising Africa. But debt and native wars ended their career, and transferred, on January 1, 1808, their rights to the Crown. The members, however, did not lose courage, but at once formed the African Institution, the parent of the Royal Geographical Society.
The government of the Crown colony has undergone some slight modifications. In 1866 it was made, with very little forethought, a kind of government-general, the centre of rule for all the West African settlements. The unwisdom of this step was presently recognised, and Sa Leone is now under a charter dated December 17, 1874, the governor-in-chief having command over the administration of Bathurst, Gambia. Similarly farther south, Lagos, now the Liverpool of West Africa, has been bracketed, foolishly enough, with the Gold Coast.
The liberateds, called by the people 'Cruits,' and officially 'recaptives,' soon became an important factor. In 1811 they numbered 2,500 out of 4,500; and between June 1819 and January 1833 they totalled 27,167 hands. They are now represented by about seventeen chief, and two hundred minor, tribes. A hundred languages, according to Mr. Koelle, increased to a hundred and fifty by Bishop Vidal, and reduced to sixty by Mr. Griffith, are spoken in the streets of Freetown, a 'city' which in 1860 numbered 17,000 and now 22,000 souls. The inextricably mixed descendants of the liberateds may be a total of 35,430, more than half the sum of the original settlement, 53,862. Being mostly criminals, and ergo more energetic spirits, they have been the most petted and patronised by colonial rule. There were governors who attempted to enforce our wise old regulations touching apprenticeship, still so much wanted in the merchant navy; but disgust, recall, or death always shortened their term of office. Naturally enough, the 'Cruits' were fiercely hated by Colonists, Settlers, and Maroons. Mrs. Melville reports an elderly woman exclaiming, 'Well, 'tis only my wonder that we (settlers) do not rise up in one body and kill and slay, kill and slay! Dem Spanish and Portuguese sailors were quite right in making slaves. I would do de same myself, suppose I were in dere place.' 'He is only a liberated!' is a favourite sneer at the new arrivals; so in the West Indies, by a curious irony of fate, 'Willyfoss nigger' is a term of abuse addressed to a Congo or Guinea 'recaptive.' But here all the tribes are bitterly hostile to one another, and all combine against the white man. After the fashion of the Gold Coast they have formed themselves into independent caucuses called 'companies,' who set aside funds for their own advancement and for the ruin of their rivals.
The most powerful and influential races are two—the Aku and the Ibo. The Akus [Footnote: This is a nickname from the national salutation, 'Aku, ku, ku?' ('How d'ye do?')] or Egbas of Yoruba, the region behind Lagos, the Eyeos of the old writers, so called from their chief town, 'Oyo,' are known by their long necklaces of tattoo. They are termed the Jews of Western Africa; they are perfect in their combination, and they poison with a remarkable readiness. The system of Egba 'clanship' is a favourite, sometimes an engrossing, topic for invective with the local press, who characterise this worst species of 'trades-union,' founded upon intimidation and something worse, as the 'Aku tyranny' and the 'Aku Inquisition.' The national proverb speaks the national sentiment clearly enough: 'Okan kau le ase ibi, ikoko li asi imolle bi atoju imolle tau, ke atoju ibi pella, bi aba ku ara enni ni isni 'ni' ('A man must openly practise the duties of kinship, even though he may privately belong to a (secret) club; when he has attended the club he must also attend to the duties of kinship, because when he dies his kith and kin are those who bury him').
The Ibos, or 'Eboes' of American tales, are even more divided; still they feel and act upon the principle 'Union is strength.' This large and savage tribe, whose headquarters are at Abo, about the head of the Nigerian delta, musters strong at Sa Leone; here they are the Swiss of the community; the Kruboys, and further south the Kabenda-men being the 'Paddies.' It is popularly said that while the Aku will do anything for money, the Ibo will do anything for revenge. Both races are astute in the extreme and intelligent enough to work harm. Unhappily, their talents rarely take the other direction. In former days they had faction-fights: the second eastern district witnessed the last serious disturbance in 1834. Now they do battle under the shadow of the law. 'Aku constables will not, unless in extreme cases, take up their delinquent countrymen, nor will an Ebo constable apprehend an Ebo thief; and so on through all the different tribes,' says the lady 'Resident of Sierra Leone.' If the majority of the jury be Akus, they will unhesitatingly find the worst of Aku criminals innocent, and the most innocent of whites, Ibos, or Timnis guilty. The Government has done its best to weld all those races into one, and has failed. Many, however, are becoming Moslems, as at Lagos, and this change may have a happier effect by introducing the civilisation of El-Islam.
Trial by jury has proved the reverse of a blessing to most non-English lands; in Africa it is simply a curse. The model institution becomes here, as in the United States, a better machine for tyranny than any tyrant, except a free people, ever invented. The British Constitution determines that a man shall be tried by his peers. Half a dozen of his peers at Sa Leone may be full-blooded blacks, liberated slaves, half-reformed fetish-worshippers, sometimes with a sneaking fondness for Shango, the Egba god of fire; and, if not criminals and convicts in their own country, at best paupers clad in dishclouts and palm-oil. The excuse is that a white jury cannot be collected among the forty or fifty eligibles in Freetown. It is vain to 'challenge,' for other negroes will surely take the place of those objected to. No one raises the constitutional question, 'Are these half-reclaimed savages my peers?' And if he did, Justice would sternly reply, 'Yes.' The witnesses will forswear themselves, not, like our 'posters,' for half a crown, but gratis, because the plaintiff or defendant is a fellow-tribesman. The judge may be 'touched with a tar-brush;' but, be he white as milk, he must pass judgment according to verdict. This state of things recalls to mind the Ireland of the early nineteenth century, when the judges were prefects armed with a penal code, and the jurymen vulgar, capricious, and factious partisans.
Surely such a caricature of justice, such an outrage upon reason, was never contemplated by British law or lawgiver. Our forefathers never dreamt that the free institutions for which they fought and bled during long centuries would thus be prostituted, would be lavished upon every black 'recaptive,' be he thief, wizard, or assassin, after living some fourteen days in a black corner of the British empire. Even the Irishman and the German must pass some five years preparing themselves in the United States before they become citizens. Sensible Africans themselves own that 'the negro race is not fitted, without a guiding hand, to exercise the privileges of English citizenship.' A writer of the last century justly says, 'Ideas of perfect liberty have too soon been given to this people, considering their utter ignorance. If one of them were asked why he does not repair his house, clear his farm, mend his fence, or put on better clothes, he replies that "King no give him work dis time," and that he can do no more than "burn bush and plant little cassader for yam."'
But a kind of hysterica passio seems to have mastered the cool common sense of the nation—a fury of repentance for the war about the Asiento contract, for building Bristol and Liverpool with the flesh and blood of the slave, and for the 2,130,000 negroes supplied to Jamaica between 1680 and 1786. Like a veteran devotee Great Britain began atoning for the coquetries of her hot youth. While Spain and Portugal have passed sensible laws for gradual emancipation, England, with a sublime folly, set free by a stroke of the pen, at the expense of twenty millions sterling the born and bred slaves of Jamaica. The result was an orgy for a week, a systematic refusal to work, and for many years the ruin of the glorious island.
If the reader believes I have exaggerated the state of things long prevalent at Sa Leone, he is mistaken. And he will presently see a confirmation of these statements in the bad name which the Sa Leonite bears upon the whole of the western coast. Yet, I repeat, the colony is changed for the better, physically by a supply of pure water, morally by the courage which curbed the black abuse. Twenty years ago to call a negro 'nigger' was actionable; many a 5l. has been paid for the indulgence of lese-majeste against the 'man and brother;' and not a few 50l. when the case was brought into the civil courts. After a rough word the Sa Leonite would shake his fist at you and trot off exclaiming, 'Lawyer Rainy (or Montague) lib for town!' A case of mild assault, which in England would be settled by a police-magistrate and a fine of five shillings, became at Freetown a serious 'bob.' Niger, accompanied by his friends or his 'company,' betook himself to some limb of the law, possibly a pettifogger, certainly a pauper who braved a deadly climate for uncertain lucre. His interest was to promote litigation and to fill his pockets by what is called sharp practice. After receiving the preliminary fee of 5l., to be paid out of the plunder, he demanded exemplary damages, and the defendant was lightened of all he could afford to pay. When the offender was likely to leave the station, the modus operandi was as follows. The writ of summons was issued. The lawyer strongly recommended an apology and a promise to defray costs, with the warning that judgment would go by default against the absentee. If the defendant prudently 'stumped up,' the affair ended; if not, a capias was taken out, and the law ran its course. A jury was chosen, and I have already told the results.
At length these vindictive cases became so numerous and so scandalous that strong measures became necessary. Governor Blackall (1862-66) was brave enough to issue an order that cases should not be brought into the civil courts unless complainants could prove that they were men of some substance. Immense indignation was the result; yet the measure has proved most beneficial. The negro no longer squares up to you in the suburbs and dares the 'white niggah' to strike the 'black gen'leman.' He mostly limits himself to a mild impudence. If you ask a well-dressed black the way to a house, he may still reply, 'I wonder you dar 'peak me without making compliment!' The true remedy, however, is still wanting, a 'court of summary jurisdiction presided over by men of honour and probity.' [Footnote: Wanderings in West Africa, ii. pp. 231-23.]
It cannot be said that the Sa Leonite has suffered from any want of religious teaching or educational activity. On the contrary, he has had too much of both.
After the collapse of Portuguese missionary enterprise on the West Coast, the first attempts to establish Wesleyan Methodism at Sa Leone were made in 1796, when Dr. Thomas Coke tried and failed. The Nova Scotian colonists in 1792 had already brought amongst them Wesleyans, Baptists, and Lady Huntingdon's connexion. This school, which differs from other Methodists only in Church government, still has a chapel at Sa Leone. Thus each sect claims 1792 as the era of its commencement in the colony. In 1811 Mr. Warren, the first ordained Wesleyan missionary, reached Freetown and died on July 23, 1812. He was followed by Mrs. Davies, the prima donna of the corps: she 'gathered up her feet,' as the native saying is, on December 15, 1815. Since that time the place has never lacked an unbroken succession of European missionary deaths.
The Church Missionary Society, founded in 1799, sent out, five years afterwards, its first representatives, MM. Renner and Hartwig, Germans supported by English funds. In 1816 they devoted themselves steadily to converting the 'recaptives,' and many of them, together with their wives, fell bravely at their posts. In twenty years thirty-seven out of seventy died or were invalided. The names of Wylander and W. A. B. Johnson are deservedly remembered. Nearly half a million sterling was spent at Sa Leone, where the stone church of Kissy Road was built in 1839, and that of Pademba Road in 1849. The grants were wisely withdrawn in 1862. At the present moment only 300l. is given, and the church is reported to be self-supporting. The first bishopric was established in 1852. In 1861 Bishop Beckles instituted the native Church pastorate: its constitution is identical with that of the Episcopalians, whose ecclesiastical functions it has taken over.
According to the last census-returns, Sa Leone contains 18,660 Episcopalians; 17,093 Wesleyans and Methodists of the New Connection; 2,717 Lady Huntingdonians; 388 Baptists, and 369 Catholics. These native Christians keep the Sundays and Church festivals with peculiar zest, and delight in discordant hymns and preaching of the most ferocious kind. The Dissenting chapel combines the Christy minstrel with Messieurs Moody and Sankey; and the well-peppered palaver-sauce of home cookery reappears in hotly spiced, bitterly pious sermons and 'experiences;' in shouts of 'Amen!' 'Glory!' and 'Hallelujah!' and in promiscuous orders to 'Hol' de fort.' Right well do I remember while the rival pilots, Messieurs Elliot and Johnson, were shamelessly perjuring themselves in the police-court, [Footnote: Wanderings in West Africa, i. pp. 256-58.] the junior generation on the other side of the building, separated by the thinnest of party-walls, was refreshing itself with psalms and spiritual songs.
We went to hear the psalmody. Ascending the staircase in the gable opposite the court-house, we passed down the hall, and saw through the open door the young idea at its mental drill in the hands of a pedagogue, apparently one of the [Greek: anaimosarka], who, ghastly white and thatched with Paganini hair, sat at the head of the room, the ruling body of the unruly rout. Down the long length, whose whitewashed walls were garnished with inscriptions, legal, moral, and religious, all sublime as far as size went, were ranged parallel rows of negrillons in the vast costumal variety of a ragged school. They stood bolt upright, square to the fore, in the position of ' 'tention,' their naked toes disposed at an angle of 60, with fingers close to the seams of their breeches (when not breekless), heads up and eyes front. Face and body were motionless, as if cast in ebony: nothing moved but the saucer-like white eyes and the ivory-lined mouths, from whose ample lips and gape issued a prodigious volume of sound. Native assistants, in sable skins and yellowish white chokers, carrying music-scores and armed with canes, sloped through the avenues, occasionally halting to frown down some delinquent, whose body was not perfectly motionless, and whose soul was not wholly fixed upon the development of sacred time and tune. I have no doubt that they sang—
The sun, the moon, and all the stars, &c.
precisely in the same spirit as if they had been intoning—
Peter Hill! poor soul! Flog 'um wife, oh no! oh no!
and that famous anthropological assertion—
Eve ate de appel, Gib one to daddy Adam; And so came mi-se-ry Up-on dis worl'. Chorus (bis) Oh sor-row, oh sor-row! Tri-bu-la-tion Until sal-va-tion day.
It is a pity that time and toil should be thus wasted. The negro child, like the Hindu, is much sharper, because more precocious, than the European; at six years he will become a good penman; in fact, he promises more than he can perform. Reaching the age of puberty, his capacity for progress suddenly disappears, the physical reason being well known, and the 'cute lad becomes a dummer Junge. Mrs. Melville thus describes her small servant-girl from one of these schools: 'She looks almost nine years old; and, as far as reading goes, she knows nothing more than her alphabet; can repeat the Prayer-Book Catechism by rote, and one or two hymns, utterly ignorant all the while of the import of a single word.' Even in Europe education, till lately, exercised the judgment too little, the memory too much; consequently there were more learned men than wise men. The system is now changing, and due attention is paid to the corpus sanum, the first requisite for the mens sana. The boys at Sa Leone are kept nine hours in school, learning verse by heart, practising a vocalisation which cannot be heard without pain, and toiling at the English language, which some missionaries seem to hold a second revelation. Far better two or three hours of the 'three Rs' and six of the shop or workyard. Briefly, the system should be that of the Basle Missionary Society, [Footnote: I deeply regret that Wanderings in West Africa spoke far less fairly of this establishment than it deserves. My better judgment had been warped by the prejudiced accounts of a fellow-traveller.] which combines abstract teaching with practical instruction in useful handicraft, and which thus suggests the belief that work is dignified as it is profitable.
The Sa Leonites from their earliest days were greedy to gain knowledge as the modern Greeks and Bulgarians; but the motive was not exalted. Their proverb said, 'Read book, and learn to be rogue as well as white man.' Hence useless, fanciful subjects were in vogue;—algebra, as it were, before arithmetic;—and the poor made every sacrifice to give their sons a smattering of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. The desire of entering the 'professions' naturally affected the standard of education. What is still wanted at Sa Leone is to raise the mass by giving to their teaching a more practical turn, which shall cultivate habits of industry, economy, and self-respect, and encourage handicrafts and agriculture as well as trade.
I have already noticed the Fourah Bay College. The Church Missionary Grammar-School, opened in 1845, prepares boarders and day-scholars for university education; and the curriculum is that of an ordinary English grammar-school. The establishment, which has already admitted over 1,000 boys, is now self-supporting, and has an invested surplus, with which tutors are sent to England for higher instruction in 'paedagogia.' The Wesleyan High School for Boys, opened in 1874, receives youths from neighbouring colonies; that for girls, originating with Mrs. Godman, the wife of a veteran missionary still on the Coast, was founded in 1879. It was cordially taken up by the natives, who subscribed all the funds. The founders thought best to adopt the commercial principle; but no one as yet has asked for profit, and the school shows signs of prosperity and progress. The Annie Walsh Memorial School for Girls, dating from a bequest by the lady whose name it bears, is under the management of the Church Missionary Society. The Catholics are, as usual, well to the fore. The priests keep a large school for boys, and the sisters educate young women and girls. I have before described the dark novice,—
Under a veil that wimpled was full low; And over all a black stole shee did throw.
The masters also make their children learn Arabic and English. There is a manliness and honesty in the look of the Mandenga and the Susu never seen in the impudent 'recaptive.' The dignity of El-Islam everywhere displays itself: it is the majesty of the monotheist, who ignores the degrading doctrine of original sin; it is the sublime indifference to life which kaza wa kadar, by us meagrely translated 'fatalism,' confers upon the votaries of 'the Faith.' These are not the remarks of a prejudiced sympathiser with El-Islam: many others have noted the palpable superiority of the Moslem over the missionary convert and the liberated populace of Sa Leone.
As a rule journalism on the West Coast is still in the lowest stage of Eatanswillism, and the journal is essentially ephemeral. The newspapers of twenty years ago are all dead and forgotten. Such were the 'African Herald,' a 'buff' organ, edited by the late Rev. Mr. Jones, a West Indian, and its successor, the 'African Weekly Times.' The 'Sierra Leone Gazette' succumbed when the Wesleyans established (1842) the 'Sierra Leone Watchman.' Other defuncts are the 'Free Press,' a Radical paper, representing Young Sa Leone, and a fourth, the 'Intelligencer,' which strove to prove what has sometimes been asserted at negro indignation-meetings, namely, that 'a white man, if he behave himself, is as good as a black man.' Cain, like the rest of the family, was a negro; but when rebuked by the Creator he turned pale with fear, a tint inherited by his descendants. The theory is, par parenthese, as good as any other. The only papers now published are the 'West African Reporter,' whose proprietor and editor was the late Hon. Mr. Grant, and the 'Watchman,' a quasi-comic sheet.
The worst feature of journalism in West Africa is that fair play is unknown to it. The negroes may thoroughly identify themselves with England, claim a share in her greatness, and display abundant lip-loyalty; yet there is the racial aversion to Englishmen in the concrete, and to this is added the natural jealousy of seeing strangers monopolise the best appointments. The Sa Leonite openly declares that he and his can rule the land much better and more economically than the sickly foreigner, who spends half his service-time on board the steamers and at home. 'Dere goes another white raskel to his grave!' they will exclaim at the sight of a funeral. 'Wish dey all go and leave colony to US.' And as the reading and paying public is mainly composed of Nigers, the papers must sooner or later cater for their needs, and lose no opportunity of casting obloquy and ridicule upon the authorities and Albus in general. We can hardly blame them. I have shown that the worst and most scandalous display of journalism comes from London.
After the church, the school, and the newspaper, the most important civilising institution is the market. Sa Leone is favourably situated for collecting the interior trade, and yet seven-tenths of the revenue is derived from articles passing through the Loko and Rokel rivers; the rest is levied from wines, spirits, and tobacco, and in the form of preposterous harbour-dues. The export duties are light, but the exports do not seem to have increased as rapidly as they should have done during the last twenty years; this, too, despite missions into the interior and the hospitable reception of native chiefs and their messengers. There are no assessed or house taxes. The revenue and expenditure of the past five years have averaged, respectively, 63,869l. and 59,283l., leaving a surplus of 4,586l., which might profitably be expended upon roads. But the liabilities of the colony early in 1881 still amounted to 50,637l., being the balance of a debt resulting principally from the harbour-works.
The present population of the original settlement—including British Kwiah (Quiah), an early annexation—is 53,862. The dependencies, Isles de Los, Tasso, Kikonkeh, and British Sherbro, according to the census of 1881, add 6,684, a figure which experts would increase by 4,000. The total, therefore, in round numbers, would be nearly 65,000. At the last census only 163 were resident whites; the crews and passengers of ships in port added 108.
On the whole the Sa Leonite cannot be called a success. Servants in shoals present themselves on board the steamers, begging 'ma'sr' to take them down coast. In vain. The fellow is handier than his southern brother: he can mend a wheel, make a coffin, or cut your hair. Yet none, save the veriest greenhorn, will engage him in any capacity. As regards civility and respectfulness he is far inferior to the emancipado of Cuba or the Brazil; with a superior development of 'sass,' he is often an inveterate thief. He has fits of drinking, when he becomes mad as a Malay. He gambles, he overdresses himself, and he indulges in love-intrigues till he has exhausted his means, and then he makes 'boss' pay for all. With a terrible love of summonsing, and a thorough enjoyment of a law-court, he enters into the spirit of the thing like an attorney's clerk. He soon wearies of the less exciting life in the wilder settlements, where orgies and debauchery are not fully developed; home-sickness seizes him, and he deserts his post; probably robbing house or till.
Even a black who has once visited Sa Leone is considered spoilt for life, as if he had spent a year in England. Hence the eccentric Captain Phil. Beaver declared that he 'would rather carry a rattlesnake than a negro who has been in London.' I have met with some ugly developments of home-education. One was a yellow Dan Lambert, the son of a small shopkeeper, who was returning—dubbed a 'Templar'—from the Land of Liberty. He was not a pleasant companion. His face was that of a porker half-translated; he yelped the regular Tom Coffee laugh; and when asked why Sa Leone had not contributed to the Crimean Widow Fund, he uttered the benevolent wish that 'the damned —— and their brats might all starve like their husbands.' Another was a full-blooded negro, a petty huckster at the 'Red Grave,' who, in his last 'homeward' voyage, had met at Madeira the Dean and Deaness of Oxbridge. The lady resolved to keep up the creditable acquaintanceship: so strong is feminine love for the 'black lion.' Shortly afterwards Niger paid his promised visit, which he described graphically and sans sense of shame—how he had been met at the station by a tall gentleman in uniform and gold-laced hat, how he was invited to enter a carriage, and how great was his astonishment when the 'officer' preferred standing in the open air behind to accompanying him inside. After this naive debut he showed tact. Mr. Dean wished to know if anything could be done towards advancing the interesting guest in his 'profession'—not trade. We talk of an English school-master, but a mulatto or a negro becomes a 'professor.' Niger whispered 'No,' which, ladylike, meant a distinct 'Yes.' He ended by graciously accepting an introduction to a Manchester firm, and soon relieved it of 16,000l.
No one who knows the West African coast will assert that the influence of Sa Leone has been in any way for good. All can certify that this colony, intended as a 'model of policy,' and founded with the object of promoting African improvement, has been the greatest obstacle to progress. She fought to keep every advantage to herself, and she succeeded in securing a monopoly of 'recaptives,' who were more wanted elsewhere. She became an incubus in 1820, when all British possessions from N. Lat. 20 to S. Lat. 20 were made her dependencies. The snake was scotched in 1844 by the Gold Coast achieving her independence. Yet Sa Leone raised herself to a government-general in 1866, and possibly she will do so again.
The Sa Leonite has ever distinguished himself by kicking down, as the phrase is, the ladder which raised him. No man maltreats his wild brother so much as the so-called 'civilised' negro: he never addresses his congener except by 'You jackass!' and tells him ten times a day that he considers such trash like the dirt beneath his feet. Consequently he is hated and despised withal, being of the same colour as, while assuming such excessive superiority over, his former equals. No one also is more hopeless about the civilisation of Africa than the semi-civilised African returning to the 'home of his fathers.' He feels how hard has been his struggle to emerge from savagery; he acknowledges, in his own case, a selection of species; and he foresees no end to the centuries before there can be a nation equal even to himself. Yet in England and in books he will cry up the majesty of African kings,—see, for a specimen, Bishop Crowther's 'Niger Diary.' He will give his fellow-countrymen, whom he thoroughly despises, a thousand grand gifts of morals and industry. I have heard a negro assert, with the unblushing effrontery which animates the Exeter Hall speechifier, that at some African den of thieves men leave their money with impunity in the storehouse or on the highway. I read the assertion of a mulatto, who well knew the contrary, 'A white man who supposes himself respected in Africa, because he is white, is grievously mistaken.' The 'aristocracy of colour' is a notable and salient fact in Africa, where the chiefs are lighter hued and better grown than their subjects; and the reason is patent—they marry the handsomest women.
Finally, the Sa Leonite is the horror of Europeans on the West Coast. He has been formally expelled by his neighbours, the Liberians. At Lagos and Abeokuta he lost no time in returning to his original fetishism, which the 'recaptive' apparently can never throw off. Moreover, he became an inveterate slave-dealer, impudently placing himself under native protection, and renegading the flag that saved the crime-serf from lifelong servitude. These 'insolent, vagabond loafers' were the only men who gave me much trouble in the so-called 'Oil rivers,' where one of them accused a highly respected Scotch missionary of theft. Finally, the Gaboon merchants long preferred forfeiting the benefits of the mail-steamers to seeing themselves invaded by a locust tribe, whose loveliest view is, apparently, that which leads out of Sa Leone.
Part of this demoralisation arose from the over-tenderness of the British Government, in deference to the philanthropist and the missionary. Throughout the Bights of Benin and Biafra, where the chief stalks about with his fetishman and his executioner, there is still some manliness amongst men, some modesty amongst women. There the offending wife fears beheading and 'saucy water;' here she leaves with impunity her husband, who rarely abandons the better half. Consequently the sex has become vicious as in Egypt—worse than the men, bad as these are. Petty larceny is carried on to such an extent that no improvement is possible: as regards property, the peninsula contains the most communistic of communities. The robbers are expert to a degree; they work naked and well greased, and they choose early dawn or the night-hour when the tornado is most violent. The men fight by biting, squeezing, and butting with the head, like the Brazilian capoeira. The women have a truly horrible way of putting out of the world an obnoxious lover. Ask an Aku if an Ibo is capable of poisoning you: he will say emphatically, 'Yes.' Put the same question to an Ibo touching an Aku, and he will not reply, 'No.'
With respect to the relative position of Japhet and Ham—perhaps I should say Ham and Japhet—ultra-philanthropy has granted all the aspirations of the Ethiopian melodist:—
wish de legislator would set dis darkie free; Oh, what a happy place den de darkie world would be! We'd have a darkie parliament, An' darkie code of law, An' darkie judges on de bench, Darkie barristers and aw.
I own that darkey must be defended, and sturdily defended too, from the injustice and cruelty of the class he calls 'poor white trash;' but the protection should be in reason, or it becomes an injustice. Why, for instance, did the unwise negrophile propose to protect the Jamaica negro against the Indian coolie? Because Niger wants it? Pure ignorance and prejudice of gentlemen who stay at home! Though physically and mentally weaker than Europeans, the negro can hold his own, as Sa Leone proves, by that combination which enables cattle to resist lions. Japhet Albus is by nature aggressive; if not, he would not now be dwelling in the tents of Shem and the huts of Ham. He feels towards Contrarius Albo as the game-cock regards the dunghill-fowl. Displays of this sentiment on the part of the white population must be repressed; but this should be done fairly and without passion.
I do not for a moment regret our philanthropical move, despite its awful waste of life and gold. England, however can do her duty to Africa without cant, and humbug, and nonsense about the 'sin and crime of slavery.' Serfdom, like cannibalism and polygamy, are the steps by which human society rose to its present status: to abuse them is ignorantly to kick down the ladder. The spirit of Christianity may tend to abolish servitude; but the letter distinctly admits it, and the translators have unfairly rendered 'slave' and 'bondsman' by 'servant,' which is absurd. England can fight, if necessary, against a traffic which injures the free man, but she might abstain from abusing those who do not share her opinions. The anti-slavery party has hitherto acted rather from sentiment than from reason; and Mr. Buckle was right in determining that morality must be ruled by, and not rule, intellect. We have one point in our favour. The dies atra between 1810-20, when a man could not speak what he thought upon the subject of slavery, ended as the last slave left the West African coast; and yet I doubt whether the day is yet come when we can draw upon the great labour-bank of Africa and establish that much-wanted institution, the black ouvrier libre.
There are several classes interested in pitting black man against white man. An unscrupulous missionary will, for his own ends, preach resistance to time-honoured customs and privileges which Niger has himself accepted. An unworthy lawyer will urge litigation; a dishonest judge or police-magistrate will make popularity at the expense of equity and honour; a weak-minded official will fear the murmurs, the complaints, and the memorials of those under him, and the tomahawking which awaits him from the little army of negrophiles at home. But the most dangerous class of all is the mulatto; he is everywhere, like wealth, irritamenta malorum. The 'bar sinister,' and the fancy that he is despised, fill him with ineffable gall and bitterness. Inferior in physique to his black, and in morale to his white, parent, he seeks strength by making the families of his progenitors fall out. Had the Southern States of America deported all the products of 'miscegenation,' instead of keeping them in servitude, the 'patriarchal institution' might have lasted to this day instead of being prematurely abolished.
My first visit to Sa Leone showed me the root of all her evils. There is hardly a peasant in the peninsula. Had the 'colony-born' or older families, the 'King-yard men,' or recaptives, and the creoles, or children of liberated Africans, been apprenticed and compelled to labour, the colony would have become a flourishing item of the empire. Now it is the mere ruin of an emporium; and the people, born and bred to do nothing, cannot prevail upon themselves to work. But the 'improved African' has an extra contempt for agriculture, and he is good only at destruction. Rice and cereals, indigo and cotton, coffee and arrowroot, tallow-nuts and shea-butter, squills and jalap, oil-palms and cocoas, ginger, cayenne, and ground-nuts are to be grown. Copal and bees'-wax would form articles of extensive export; but the people are satisfied with maize and roots, especially the cassava, which to Sa Leone is a curse as great as the potato has proved to Ireland. Petty peddling has ever been, and still is, the 'civilised African's' forte. He willingly condemns himself to spend life between his wretched little booth and his Ebenezer, to waste the week and keep the Sabbath holy by the 'holloaing of anthems.' His beau ideal of life is to make wife and children work for, feed and clothe him, whilst he lies in the shady piazza, removing his parasites and enjoying porcine existence. His pleasures are to saunter about visiting friends; to grin and guffaw; to snuff, chew, and smoke, and at times to drink kerring-kerry (cana or caxaca), poisonous rum at a shilling a bottle. Such is the life of ignoble idleness to which, by not enforcing industry, we have condemned these sable tickets-of-leave.
Before quitting the African coast I diffidently suggested certain steps towards regenerating our unhappy colony. For the encouragement of agriculture I proposed a tax upon small shopkeepers and hucksters, who, by virtue of sitting behind a few strings of beads or yards of calico, call themselves traders and merchants. This measure, by-the-by, was attempted in 1879 by Governor Rowe, but the strong opposition compelled him to withdraw it. I would have imposed a heavy tax upon all grog-shop licenses, and would have allowed very few retail-shops in the colony. Police-magistrates appeared to me perfectly capable of settling disputes and of punishing offenders. I would have discouraged the litigation which the presence of lawyers and a bench suggests, and which causes such heartburn between Europeans and Africans. I would have established a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, and never have allowed a black jury to 'sit upon' a white man, or vice versa; and in the case of a really deserving negro or mulatto I would rather see him appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland than Governor or Secretary of Sa Leone.
On my last journey I met the Hon. Mr. T. Risely Griffith, a West Indian and Colonial Secretary at Sa Leone. He kindly read what I had written about the white man's Grave, and found it somewhat harsh and bitter. At the same time he gave me, with leave to use, his valuable lecture delivered before the Royal Colonial Institute. [Footnote: The Colonies and India, a weekly newspaper. London: December 17, 1881.] Making allowance for the official couleur de rose, and reading between the lines, I found that he had stated, in parliamentary language, what had been told by me in the rude tongue of a traveller. The essay, he assured me, had been well received at Sa Leone; and yet, to my knowledge, the newspapers of the western coast had proposed to make it the subject of an 'indignation-meeting.'
Hear what Mr. Griffith has to say upon the crucial question—agriculture. 'The ordinary observer cannot fail to be impressed with the great number of traders and hawkers. In the peninsula of Sierra Leone there are returned 53,862; of these, traders and hawkers number 10,250, or about 19 per cent., or, including hucksters, 23 per cent. Little good can result to a country as long as one-fourth of its people are dependent for their livelihood for what they sell to the remaining three-quarters.... The same tendency to engage in the work of distribution rather than the production of wealth seems to be a general characteristic of the negro race.
'The real number of artisans or mechanics who have any right to the term is very limited; and it is to be regretted that in Sierra Leone, where the people are apt to learn, and tolerably quick to apply, there is not a greater number of thorough workmen to teach their handicrafts and make them examples for the rising generation. A youth who has been two years with a carpenter, boat-builder, blacksmith, or mason, arrogates the name to himself without compunction, and frequently, whilst he is learning from an indifferent teacher the rudiments of his trade, he sets up as a master. There is hardly a single trade that can turn out half a dozen men who would be certificated by any European firm for possessing a thorough knowledge of it. Of all trades in Sierra Leone, and certainly in Freetown, that of tailoring is the most patronised, but this arises from the love of dress, which is inherent.
'The proper cultivation of the soil is, and must always be, the true foundation of prosperity in any country. The shop cannot flourish unless the farm supports it, and the friends of the colony regard with anxiety the centralisation of capital at Freetown. I have been gratified, however, to notice that the desire to acquire land and cultivate it has lately increased to a very great extent, and I regard it as a very hopeful sign for the future. The people still want two things, capital and scientific agricultural knowledge. The native implements are of the rudest kind—their hoes little more than sufficient to scratch the ground, and their only other implement a cutlass to cut down the bush. Ploughs are unknown, and spades very little used. Wheelbarrows are detested, although they are not quite unknown; the people would sooner "tote" the soil in a box on their heads, and instances are on record where the negro has "toted" the wheelbarrow itself, wheel, handle, and all.'
Mr. Griffith further informs us that the Colonial Government is desirous of fostering and encouraging agriculture; that it proposes to establish, or rather to re-establish, a model farm; that lands have been granted at a trifling sum to Mr. William Grant on condition of his devoting capital and labour to the development of agriculture; that Mr. Thomas Bright has laid out a coffee and cocoa farm at Murray Town; and that Mr. Samuel Lewis, a barrister-at-law, universally well spoken of, is engaged in cultivation, with a view of studying the best methods and of influencing his fellow-countrymen in favour of agricultural pursuits. Major Bolton also is working the land seventeen miles down coast, and planting cocoa-nuts, chocolate, and Kola-trees. The latter, when ten years old, are said each to fetch 15l. per annum. Here, therefore, we have at least a beginning.
During the discussion on Mr. Griffith's lecture, some home-truths were told by the Hon. Mr. Grant, [Footnote: This 'eminent African,' who had gone to England with the view of buying agricultural implements and an ice-machine, died in London on January 28, 1881. His speech, therefore, was delivered only a week or so before his death. Much fulsome praise of him followed in the press, which seemed completely surprised that a black man could talk common sense.] a full-blooded negro, of the Ibo tribe, and a member of the Sierra Leone Legislative Council. He objected to the term 'white man's Grave.' He bravely and truly told his audience that if the French held possession of Sa Leone they would have made it a 'different thing.' After praising the present Governor's instruction-ordinance he spoke these remarkable words:—
'But education from the point I allude to is that practical education which develops the man and makes him what he is, not the education which makes him simply the blind imitator of what he is not. Of course the education, as originally introduced into the colony, was an experiment, and a grand experiment it was. They said, "There are these people, and we will educate them as ourselves." It was a good idea, but it was defective, because there is as great a difference between the negro and the white man as there can be. He is capable of doing anything that the white man can do; but then, to get him to do that, you must educate him in himself. You must bring him out by himself: you must not educate him otherwise. He must be educated to carry out a proper and distinct course for himself. The complaint has been general of the want of success in the education of the negro; but it is not his fault: the fault is from the defect of his education. He fancies, by the sort of education which you give him, that he must imitate you in everything—act like you, dress in broadcloth like you, and have his tall black hat like you. Then you see the result is that he is not himself; he confuses himself, and when he comes to act within himself as a man he is confused, and you find fault that he has not improved as he ought to do. But if he is properly educated you will find him of far greater assistance to you than you have any idea of.'
The remarks on agriculture and on capital were equally apposite; and Captain Cameron remarked that these were the 'truest words of wisdom about Africa that it ever was his lot to hear.' They will leave a sweet savour in the reader's mouth after a somewhat acid chapter.
But the ingrained idleness of generations is not so easily cleared away. The real cure for Sa Leone will be an immigration of Chinese or of Indian coolies, that will cheapen labour and enable men of capital to farm on a large scale. It may be years before agriculture supplants trade with its light work and ready profits; but the supplanting process itself will do good. At present Sa Leone finds it cheaper to import salt from England than to lay out a salina, and to make an article of commerce which finds its way into the furthest interior. Immigration, I repeat, is the sole panacea for the evils which afflict the Lioness Range.
FROM SA LEONE TO CAPE PALMAS.
Frowsy old Sa Leone bestowed on us a parting smile. After a roaring tornado at night and its terminal deluge, the morning of January 19 broke clear and fine. We could easily trace, amongst the curious series of volcanic cones, the three several sanitary steps on the Leicester or Lioness Hill. These are, first the hospice of the French Jesuits, now officers' quarters; then a long white shed, the soldiers' hospital; and highest (1,700 feet) the box which lodges their commandant. Even the seldom-seen 'Sugarloaf' was fairly outlined against the mild blue vault. Although the withering hand of summer was on the scene, the old charnel-house looked lovely; even the low lines of the Bullom shore borrowed a kind of beauty from the air. The hues were those of Heligoland set in frames of lapis lazuli above and of sapphire below; golden sand, green strand of silky Bermuda-grass, and red land showing chiefly in banks and thready paths. Again we admired the dainty and delicate beauties of the shore about Pirate Bay and other ill-named sites. Then bidding adieu to the white man's Red Grave and steering south-west, we gave a wide berth to the redoubted 'Carpenter,' upon which the waves played; to the shoals of St. Anne, and to a multitude of others which line the coast as far as that treacherous False Cape and lumpy Cape Shelling or Shilling, whose prolongation is the Banana group.
Sherbro, fifty miles distant, was passed at night. Then (sixty miles) came the Gallinas River, a great centre of export, which has not forgotten Pedro Blanco. This prince of slavers, whose establishment appears on the charts of 1836-38, imported no goods; he bought cargoes offered to him and he paid them by bills on England, drawing, says the Coast scandal, upon two Quaker brothers at Liverpool. Not a little curious that our country supplied the money both to carry on the traite and to put it down. Three miles south of the Gallinas the Sulayma River flows in. Here the scenery suggests a child's first attempt at colouring in horizontal lines; a dangerous surf ever foams white upon the yellow shore, bearing an eternal growth of green. Two holes in the bush and a few thatched roofs, separated by a few miles, showed the Harris factories, which caused frequent teapot-storms between 1865 and 1878. The authorities of Liberia, model claimants with a touch of savage mendicancy, demanded the land and back-dues from time immemorial. 'Palaver' was at last 'set' by the late lamented David Hopkins, consul for the Bights, in the presence of a British cruiser and two American ships of war.
The weather resumed its old mood, a mixture in equal parts of 'Smokes' and of Harmatan or Scirocco. At noon next day we steamed by Cape Mount, the northernmost boundary of Liberia, [Footnote: The 'liberateds' of Liberia, who lose nothing by not asking, claim the shore from the Sam Pedro River southwards to the Jong, an affluent of the Shebar or Sherbro stream, 90 miles north of Cape Mount. We admit their pretensions as far only as the Sugary River, four miles above the Mafa (Mafaw), or Cape Mount stream.] a noble landmark and a place with a future. Approaching it, we first see the dwarf bar of the Mafa, draining a huge lagoon ('Fisherman's Lake'). On the banks and streams are sundry little villages, Kru Town and Port Robert, the American mission-ground. The harbour is held to be the first of five, the others being Monrovia; Grand Bassa (Bassaw), with Edina; Sinou, and Cape Palmas.
The Mount is an isolated rocky tongue rising suddenly like an island from the low levels, and trending north-west to south-east. The site is perfectly healthy; the ground is gravel, not clay, and the stone is basalt. The upper heights are forested and full of game; the lower are cleared and await the colonist. With the pure and keen Atlantic breeze ever blowing over it, the Mount is a ready-made sanatorium. Its youth has been disreputable. Here Captain Canot, [Footnote: Wanderings in West Africa, vol. i. chap. v.] the Franco-Italian lieutenant of Pedro Blanco, sold the coast till compelled by H.M. cruisers to fall back upon honest trade. His name survives in 'Canot's Tree,' under whose shade he held his palavers. Let us hope that the respectable middle age of Cape Mount will be devoted to curing the sick coaster.
Beyond this fine headland, a handsome likeness of Holyhead seen from the south, stretch the long, low, dull shores of Liberia, canopied by unclean skies and based on dirty-looking seas. The natives, who, as usual, are new upon the coast, and who preserve curious traditions about their predecessors, are the Vai (not Vei), a Mandengan race still pagan. They call, however, the world 'duniya,' and the wife 'namusi,' words which show whence their ideas are derived. Their colour is lighter than the Kruman's; there are pretty faces, especially amongst the girlish boys, and the fine feet and delicate hands are those of 'les Gabons.' And they are interesting on two other counts. Their language combines the three several forms of human speech, the isolating (e.g. 'love'), the agglutinating ('lovely'), and the polysynthetic ('loving,' 'loved'). Furthermore they developed an alphabet, or rather a syllabary, which made much noise amongst missionary 'circles,' and concerning which Lt. Forbes, R.N., Mr. Norris, and Herr Koelle wrote abundant nonsense. Its origin is still unknown. Some attribute it to direct inspiration (whatever that may mean), others to marks traced upon the sand originally by boys stealing palm-wine. My belief is that the suggestion came from the Moslems. Of late years it has been waxing obsolete, and few care to write their letters in it.
The Vai, who extend as far as Little Cape Mount River, are depicted in a contrast of extremes. Mr. H. C. Creswick, [Footnote: Late manager of the 'Gold Coast Mining Company.' Mr. Creswick treated the subject in 'Life amongst the Veys' (Trans. Ethnol. Soc. of London, 1867). He tells at full length the curious legend of their immigration, and notes the same reverence for the crocodile which prevails at Dixcove and prevailed in Egypt.] who long dwelt amongst them, and dealt with them from Cape Mount, gives a high character to those who have not been perverted by civilisation. He found the commonalty civil, kind, and hospitable; active and industrious, to a certain extent. Their palm-oil is the best on the coast, and can be drunk like that of the olive or the cod-liver. The chiefs he describes as gentlemen. The missionaries assert that they are wholly without morals, never punishing the infringement of marital rights; petty thieves, and idle and feckless to the last degree. Certain Monrovia men have laid out farms of coffee and cacao (chocolate) upon the St. Paul River, which, heading in Mandenga-land, breaks the chord of the bay; but nothing can induce these ex-pets or their congeners, the Golas and the Pesis, to work.
Like most of the coast-races, the Vai seem to be arrant cowards. The headmen salute their visitors Arab-fashion, with flourishes of the sword; but swording ends there. Of late they were attacked by the savages of the interior, Gallinas, Pannis, and Kusus. The latter, meaning the 'wolves' or the 'wild boars,' is the popular nickname of the Mendi or Mindi tribes, occupying the Sherbro-banks. They did excellent service in the last Ashanti war (1873-74) by flogging forward the fugitive Fantis. Winwood Keade, [Footnote: The Story of the Ashanti Campaign. Smith & Elder, London, 1874. It is a thousand pities that the volume was pruned, to use the mildest term. My friend's memory seems to brighten with the years, doubtless the effect of his heroic honesty in telling what he held to be the truth. His Martyrdom of Man, in which even his publisher did not believe, has reached a fourth edition; it was quoted by Mr. Gladstone, and Mrs. Grundy still buys it, in order to put it behind the fire.] an excellent judge of Africans, declares that they are very courageous, 'keen as mustard' for the fray. On the raid they creep up to and surround the doomed village; they raise the war-cry shortly before sunrise, and, as the villagers fly, they tell them by the touch. If the body feels warm after sleep, unlike their own dew-cooled skins, it soon becomes a corpse. They advance with two long knives, generally matchets, one held between the teeth. They prefer the white arm because 'guns miss fire, but swords are like the chicken's beak, that never fails to hit the grain.' Some 250 of these desperadoes lately drove off 5,000 of the semi-civilised recreants and took about 560 prisoners, including the 'King' of the Vai.
After covering forty-three miles from Cape Mount we anchored (5 P.M.) in the long, monotonous roll under Mount Mesurado. The name was probably Monserrate, given by the early Portuguese. It is entitled the Cradle of Liberia. The idea of restoring to Africa recaptured natives and manumitted slaves was broached in 1770 by the Rev. Samuel Hopkins, of Newport, R.I. The scheme for 'civilising and christianising' the natives assumed organic form at Washington in 1816. In January 1820 the first emigrants embarked from New York for 'Liberia.' The original grant of land was made (April 1822) to the 'American Society for Colonising the Free People of the United States,' by King Peter and sundry chiefs of the Grain Coast, who little knew what they were doing. The place was described in those days as an Inferno, the very head and front of the export trade, the waters swarming with slavers, the shore bearing forty slave-factories, and the whole showing scenes of horror which made the site 'Satan's seat of abominations.' It has now changed its nature with its name, and has become the head-quarters of Dullness, that goddess who, we are assured, never dies.
Mesurado Mount, with the inverted cataract rushing white up its black rocks, is a picturesque feature. Halfway clearings for coffee-plantations, with a lime-washed bungalow, the President's country-quarters, lead to the feathered and forested crest which bears the 'pharos.' This protection against wreck is worse than nothing; it is lighted with palm-oil every night, and then left to its own sweet will. Consequently the red glimmer, supposed to show at thirteen miles, is rarely visible beyond three. A dotting of white frame-houses and curls of blue smoke betray the capital. It lurks behind the narrow sand-bar which banks the shallow and useless Mesurado River, and few men land without an involuntary ablution in the salt water. Usually the stream mouths by an ugly little bar at some distance from the roadstead; after heavy rains it bursts the sand-strip and discharges in straight line.
We had visitors that evening from the Yankee-Doodle-niggery colony, peopled by citizens who are not 'subjects.' Bishop C. C. Pinnock, absent from his home at Cape Mount, dined with us and told me about the death of an old friend, good Bishop Payne. His successor objects to learning and talking native tongues, and he insists upon teaching English to all the mission-scholars. His reasons are shrewd, if not convincing; for instance, 'most languages,' says the Right Reverend, 'have some term which we translate "love." But "love" in English is not equivalent to its representative in Kru or in Vai. Therefore by using their words I am expressing their ideas; I bring them over to mine by the reverse process.'
We shipped for Grand Bassa two citizens, a lawyer and an attorney. Of course one was an 'Honourable;' [Footnote: Even the Coast English are always confounding the Hon. John A. (son of a peer) with the Hon. Mr. A. (official rank), and I have seen sundry civilians thus mis-sign themselves.] as Mr. H. M. Stanley says, [Footnote: Coomassie and Magdala. New York, Harpers, 1874.] 'mostly every other man is here so styled.' They talked professionally of the 'Whig ticket' and the 'Re-publican party,' but they neither 'guess'd' nor 'kalklated,' and if they wore they did not show revolvers and bowie-knives. They did not say, 'We air a go-ahead people,' they were not given to 'highfalutin',' nor did they chew their tobacco. They were, however, accompanied by an extremely objectionable 'infant,' aged seven, who lost no time in laying hands upon Miss M.'s trinkets, by way of returning civility. Her father restored them, treating the theft as a matter of course.
The citizens gave me sundry details about the 'rubber'-trade, which began in 1877. Monrovia now exports to England and the Continent some 100,000 lbs., which sell at 1s. 4d. each. Gum-elastic is gathered chiefly by the Bassa people, who are, however, too lazy to keep it clean; they store it in grass-bags and transport it in canoes. Liberian coffee is, or rather would be, famous if produced in sufficient quantities to satisfy demand. At present it goes chiefly to the United States, where, like Mocha, it serves to flavour burnt maize. Messieurs Spiers and Pond would buy any quantity of it, and of late years Brazilian coffee-planters have taken shoots to be grown at home. Here it fetches 1s. per lb.; in England the price doubles. This coffee requires keeping for many months, or the infusion is potent enough to cause the 'shakes;' it is the same with Brazilian green tea. The bouquet is excellent, and the flavour pretty good. There is a great difference in the shape of the beans, which range between the broad flat Harar and the small, round, horny Mocha.
I could obtain few details concerning the 'Black Devil Society,' which suggests the old 'Know-nothings.' It has been, they say, somewhat active in flogging strangers, especially Sa Leone men. Most of the latter, however, have been expelled for refusing to change their style from 'subjects' to 'citizens'—a foreign word in English and Anglo-African ears.
At the time of our visit the republic was in a parlous state. H.E. Mr. Gardiner, the new President, refused to swear in the Upper House, and the Lower refused to acknowledge the Presidential authority. Consequently business had been at a standstill for six weeks. We were disappointed in our hopes of being accompanied by the Honourable Professor E. W. Blyden, ex-minister to England and afterwards principal of the college. He had travelled with Winwood Reade, and I looked forward to hearing the opinions of an African Arabic scholar touching the progress and future of El-Islam in the Dark Continent. That it advances with giant steps may be proved by these figures. Between 1861 and 1862 I found at most a dozen Moslems at Lagos; in 1865 the number had risen to 1,200, and in 1880, according to my old friend M. Colonna, Agent Consulaire de France, it passes 10,000, requiring twenty-seven mosques.
The latest charts of Liberia show no less than twenty-six parallelograms stretching inland, at various angles with the shore, and stated to have been acquired by 'conquest or purchase' between 1822 and 1827; but the natives, especially the Krumen, complain that after allowing the foreigners to dwell, amongst them they have been despoiled of their possessions, and that, once lords of the soil, they have sunk to mere serfs. Hence the frequent wars and chronic bad blood. Every African traveller knows the meaning of land-purchase in these regions. There are two ideas peculiar to the negro brain, but apparently inadmissible into European heads. The first is the non-alienation of land. Niger never parts with his ground in perpetuity; he has always the mental reservation, while selling it to a stranger, that the soil and its improvements return to him by right after the death or the departure of the purchaser. Should the settler's heirs or assignees desire to remain in loco, they are expected to pay a fresh gratification; the lessor will raise his terms as high as possible, but public opinion will oblige him to remain content with a 'dash,' or present, equivalent to that paid by the original lessee.
The second idea is even more repugnant to European feelings. In Africa a born chattel is a chattel for ever: the native phrase is, ''Pose man once come up slave, he be slave all time.' There is no such thing as absolute manumission: the unsophisticated libertus himself would not dream of claiming it. We have on board a white-headed negro in an old and threadbare Dutch uniform, returning from Java on a yearly pension of fifteen dollars. According to treaty he had been given by the King of Ashanti to the Hollanders, and he had served them so long that he spoke only Low German and Malay. He will be compelled to end his career somewhere within the range of our fort-guns, or his owner's family will claim and carry off their property.
At 8 A.M. we steamed against a fine fresh wind past mount Mesurado en route for Grand Bassa (Bassaw), distant fifty-five miles. To port lies Montserrado County, where the shore-strip looks comparatively high and healthy. The Bassas begin some thirty miles below the Jong River, and now we enter the regions of Grand, Middle, and Little Piccaninny (pequenino), Whole and Half, i.e. half-way. Thus we pass, going south-wards, Bassa, Middle Bassa, Grand Bassa, and Bassa Cove, followed by Cestos and Cess, Settra and Sesters, Whole and Half. The coast is well known, while the interior is almost unexplored. Probably there is no inducement to attract strangers.
We are grateful for small mercies, and note a picturesque view from the open roadstead of Grand Bassa. The flats are knobbed with lumpy mounds; North Saddle Hill, with its central seat; Tall Hill; the blue ridges of the Bassa Hills, and St. John's Hill upon the line of its river. Nothing can be healthier than these sites, which are well populated; and the slopes are admirably fitted for that 'Arabian berry' whose proper home is Africa. But, while hill-coffee has superior flavour lowland-coffee is preferred in commerce, because the grain is larger and heavier.
Grand Bassa is the only tract in Liberia where the Sa Leonite is still admitted. The foreshore of yellow sand, pointed and dotted by lines and falls of black rock, fronts a shallow bay as foul and stony as the coast. Here are three settlements, parted by narrow walls of 'bush.' Edina, the northernmost, is said to do more business than any other port in the republic; she also builds fine, strong surf-boats of German and American type, carrying from one to five tons. The keels are bow-shaped, never straight-lined from stem to stern; and the breakers are well under the craft before their mighty crests toss it aloft and fling it into the deep trough. They are far superior to the boats with weather-boards in the fore which formerly bore us to land. The crew scoop up the water as if digging with the paddle; they vary the exercise by highly eccentric movements, and they sing savage barcarolles the better to keep time.
The middle settlement is Upper Buchanan, whose river, the St. John's, owns a bar infamous as that of Lagos for surf and sharks. The southernmost, Lower Buchanan, is defended by a long and broken wall of black reef, but the village is far from smooth water. All these 'towns' occupy holes in a curtain of the densest and tallest greenery. They are composed of groups and scatters of whitewashed houses, half of them looking like chapels and the other like toys. Each has its adjunct of brown huts, the native quarter. These Bassa tribes must not be confounded with their neighbours the Krumen; the languages are quite different, and the latter is of much harsher sound. There is no doubt of this being a good place for engaging labour, and it is hoped that in due time Bassa-hands, who work well, will be engaged for the Gold Coast mines. At present, however, they avoid English ships, call themselves 'Americans,' and willingly serve on board the Yankee craft which load with coffee, cam-wood, and palm-oil.
We steamed along the Cape, River, and Town of Sinou, the very home of the Krao, or Krumen, strictly speaking a small tribe. Returning homeward-bound, we here landed a host of men from the Oil-rivers, greatly to my delight, as they had cumbered the deck with their leaky powder-kegs, amid which wandered the sailors, smoking unconcernedly. In the 'good old times' this would not have been allowed. At least one poor fellow was drowned, so careful were the relatives to embark the kit, so careless of the owner's person. Next day we sighted the 'Garraway-trees,' silk cottons some 200 feet high, fine marks for clearing the Cape shoals. Then came Fishtown and Rocktown, once celebrated for the exploits of Ashmun and his associates; and at 2.15 P.M. we anchored in the heavy Harmatan roll off
The Cape of Palmas, called from palmy shade.
A score of years ago the A.S.S. steamers lay within half a mile of shore; and, 'barrin'' the ducking, it was easy to land. But the bay is bossed with rocks and skirted with shoals; they lurk treacherously under water, and have brought many a tall ship to grief. As for the obsolete hydrographic charts, they only add to the danger. Two wrecks give us ample warning. One is a German barque lying close to the bar of the fussy little river; the other, a huge mass of rust, is the hapless Yoruba. Years ago, after the fashion of the Nigritia and the Monrovia, she was carelessly lost. Though anchored in a safe place, when swinging round she hit upon a rock and was incontinently ripped up; the injured compartment filled, and the skipper ran her on the beach, wrecking her according to Act of Parliament. They once managed to get her off, but she had not power to stem the seas, and there she still lies high and dry.
Cape Palmas, or Bamnepo, with its outlying islet-reef of black rock, on which breaks an eternal surf, is the theoretical turning-point from the Windward coast, which begins with the Senegal, to the Leeward, and which ends in the Benin Bight. We are entering the region
Unde nigerrimus Auster Nascitur.
Practically and commercially the former is worked by the Bristol barques and the latter commences at Cape Threepoints. The bold headland, a hundred feet tall and half a mile broad by a quarter long, bounded north by its river, has a base of black micaceous granite supporting red argillaceous loam. Everywhere beyond the burning of the billows the land-surface is tapestried with verdure and tufted with cocoas; they still show the traditional clump which gave the name recorded by Camoens. The neck attaching the head to the continent-body is a long, low sand-spit; and the background sweeps northward in the clear grassy stretches which African travellers agree to call 'parks.' These are fronted by screens of tall trees, and backed by the blue tops of little hills, a combination which strongly reminded me of the Gaboon.
The prominent building is still the large white-washed mission-house with its ample windows and shady piazzas: the sons of St. Benedict could not have placed it better. In rear lies the square tower yclept a lighthouse, and manipulated like that of Monrovia; its range is said to be thirteen miles, but it rarely shows beyond five. An adjacent flagstaff bears above the steamer-signal the Liberian arms, stripes and a lone star not unknown to the ages between Assyria and Texas. The body of the settlement lying upon the river is called Harper, after a 'remarkable negro,' and its suburbs lodge the natives. When I last visited it the people were rising to the third stage of their architecture. The first, or nomad, is the hide or mat thrown over a bush or a few standing sticks; then comes the cylinder, the round hovel of the northern and southern regions, with the extinguisher or the oven-shaped thatch-roof; and, lastly, the square or oblong form which marks growing civilisation. The American missionaries laboured strenuously to build St. Mark's Hospital and Church, the latter a very creditable piece of lumber-work, with 500 seats in nave and aisles. But now everything hereabouts is 'down in its luck.' This puerile copy, or rather caricature, of the United States can console itself only by saying, 'Spero meliora.'
FROM CAPE PALMAS TO AXIM.
I had no call to land at Cape Palmas. All my friends had passed away; the Rev. C. E. Hoffman and Bishop Payne, both in America. Mr. Potter, of the stores, still lives to eat rice and palm-oil in retirement; but with the energetic Macgill departed the trade and prosperity of the place. Senator John Marshall, of Marshall's Hotel, has also gone to the many, and the stranger's only place of refuge is a mean boarding-house.
Much injury was done to the settlement by the so-called 'Grebo war.' These wild owners of Cape Palmas are confounded by Europeans with the true Krumen, their distant cousins. The tribal name is popularly derived from gre, or gri, the jumping monkey, and it alludes to a late immigration. A host of some 20,000 savages closely besieged the settlement and ravaged all the lands belonging to the intruders, especially the fine 'French farm.' Fighting ended with a 'treaty of peace and renewal of allegiance' (sic!) at Harper on March 1, 1876, following the 'battle of Harper' (October 10, 1875). The latter, resulting from an attack on Grebo Big Town, proved a regular 'Bull's Run,' wherein the citizens lost all their guns and ammunition, and where the Grebes slaughtered my true and trusty steward, Selim Agha.
I must allow myself a few lines in memory of a typical man. Selim was a Nubian of lamp-black skin; but his features were Semitic down to the nose-bridge, and below it, like the hair, distinctly African: this mixture characterises the negroid as opposed to the negro. In the first fourth of the present century he was bought by Mr. Thurburn—venerabile nomen—of Alexandria, and sent for education to North Britain. There he learned to speak Scotch, to make turtle-soup, to stuff birds, to keep accounts, and to be useful and valuable in a series of ways. Then his thoughts, full of philanthropy, turned towards the 'old mother.' The murder of Dr. Barth's companion, Vogel, in 1856, originated seven fruitless expeditions to murderous Waday, and he made sundry journeys into the interior. I believe that he took service for some time with Lieutenant (now Sir John H.) Glover before he became my factotum between 1860 and 1865. When I left the Coast he transferred himself to Liberia, where, he wrote, they proposed to 'run him for the presidency.' Selim joined the Monrovians during the Grebo war as an assistant-surgeon, his object being to mitigate the horrors of the campaign; and he met his death on October 9, 1875, during the mismanaged attack on Grebo Big Town. Captain A. B. Ellis, in his amusing and outspoken 'West African Sketches,' quotes from the 'Liberian Independent' the following statement: 'Mr. Selim Agha was also overtaken by the barbarous Greboes, and one of them, "Bye Weah" by name, after allowing him to read his Bible, which he had by him in his pocket, and which he made a present of to the barbarian, chopped his body all about, chopped off his head, which he took to his town with eighteen others, and threw the body with the gift into the swamp.' The account sounds trustworthy, especially that about the Bible: it is exactly what the poor fellow would have done. But many have assured me that he was slaughtered by mistake during the rout of his party. R.I.P.
Although it has melancholy associations, I can hardly remember without a smile my last visit to good Bishop Payne. He led me to the mission-school, a shed that sheltered settles and desks, tattered books, slates and boards, two native pedagogues, and two lines of pupils sized from the right, the biggest being nearest the 'boss.' We took our places upon the bench, and the catechiser, when bade to begin, opened, after a little hesitation, as follows:—
Q. Who he be de fuss man?—A. Adam. Q. Who he be de fuss woman?—A. Ebe. Q. Whar de Lord put 'em?—A. In de garden. Q. What he be de garden?—A. Eden. Q. What else he be dere?—A. De sarpint. Q. What he be de sarpint?—A. De snake. Q. Heigh! What, de snake he 'peak?—A. No, him be debbil.
And so forth. The reading was much in the same style. The whole scene reminded me of a naive narrative [Footnote: The Gospel to the Africans: Narrative of the Life and Labours of the Rev. William Jameson. London: Hamilton, Adams, & Co., 1861.] which gives the 'following account of the fall of our First Parents from the lips of an aged negro at the examination of candidates:'—
'Massa (God) said Adam must nyamee (eat) all de fruit ob de garden, but (be out, except) de tree of knowledge. And he said to Adam, "Adam! you no muss nyamee dis fruit, else you dead." De serpent come to say to Mammy Eve, "Dis fruit berry good; he make you too wise." Mammy she take lillee (little) bit, and bring de oder harf gib Daddy Adam. Daddee no will taste it fuss time, but Mammy tell him it be berry good. Den him nyamee de oder harf. Den Daddy and Mammy been know dat dem be naked. Dey go hide for bush. Massa come from heaven, but Him no fin' Adam all about. Den Massa strike Him foot on de ground and say, "I wage Adam been nyamee de fruit." Massa go seek Adam and fin' him hidin' in de bush, and put him out ob de garden. Then Daddy and Mammy dey take leaves and sew 'em for clothes.'
The Bishop looked on approvingly. We then spoke of the mysterious Mount Geddia, the Lybian Thala Oros of Ptolemy. [Footnote: Lib. iv. 6, Sec.Sec. 12, 14, 16, the home of the Thala tribe.]