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Lander's Travels by Robert Huish

Part 10 out of 15

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hour, surrounded by an immense multitude of people of all ages, the
chief's approach was announced by a general rush from their quarters,
to the other end of the square, where he was walking. They went
towards him in order to pay him the accustomed salutation of shaking
hands, &c., but one of his followers fancying that John Lander kept
his master's hand clasped in his, longer than the occasion warranted,
looked fiercely in his face, and snatched away his hand eagerly and
roughly, without, however, uttering a word. "I could have pulled the
fellow's ears with the greatest goodwill, in the world," says John
Lander, "had not the fear of secret revenge deterred me. As it was, I
smothered my rising choler, and with my brother quietly followed the
chief, to his principal hut, under whose verandah we were served with
goora nuts in a huge pewter platter."

Presently the chief squatted himself down on a handsome rush mat, of
native manufacture, and they were desired to sit by him, on an
elegant Turkey carpet, which had been laid there for the purpose. He
was rather fancifully dressed; and wore two tobes, the one nearest
the skin being of black silk velvet, and the other of crimson velvet,
lined with sarsenet; his boots were of yellow leather, neatly worked,
and his wrists were loaded with bracelets of silver and copper. The
countenance of the chief betrayed much seriousness and solidity, and
the diverting laugh of his countrymen was suspended by a sober
cheerfulness. Many of his wives sat behind him in rows, some of whom
were of a bright copper colour, indeed a great number of the
inhabitants of Larro have fairer complexions than mulattoes. The yard
of the hut was crammed full of curious and inquisitive people, who
stood with open mouths during the audience. The chief wished to
imprint strongly on their minds his own dignity and power; he said he
was greater than the governor of Jenna, inasmuch as the latter was a
slave to the king of Katunga, but himself was a free man. He would
give them permission to depart to-morrow, he continued, and in the
mean time would supply them with provisions. The chief was as good as
his word, for shortly after they had quitted the hut they received a
goat and some game, and he returned their visit in the cool of the
evening. It appeared that it was not his general practice to drink
spirituous liquors in presence of his people, as it may be against
the law to do so, for having carefully excluded all prying eyes from
their dwelling, and ordered a mat to be hung over the door-way, he
even then turned his face to the wall, whenever he attempted to
swallow the brandy that was offered to him. He remained with them
rather better than an hour. On the presentation of the chief to them,
a religious ceremony was performed, which was not observed in any
other part of the country. A chapter from the Koran was repeated to
him by a mahommedan priest, to which both he and his people seemed to
pay great attention.

Public schools are established in the town of Larro, for the avowed
purpose of teaching the rising generation the rudiments of the
mahommedan religion.

A singular custom prevails in the town, of compelling children at the
breast to swallow a quantity of cold water from a calabash. An infant
was nearly choked on this morning by the injection of more than a
pint of water down its throat. Whether the mothers follow this custom
for the purpose of curing the children of any imaginary complaints,
or, as is more probable, in the hope of rendering them less eager for
their natural food, was not exactly to be ascertained.

The inhabitants possess horses, asses, and mules, though not in any
considerable numbers, they have, however, great abundance of sheep
and goats, which are bred in the town; and their yards and huts are
the common place of resort for those animals, indeed they may be said
to grow up and live with the children of their owners. The Landers
amused themselves during the greater part of the day, in looking at
the gambols of some very handsome goats, which had strayed into their
abode, but the sheep were not near so tame or frolicsome, repelling
all the advances towards a more familiar acquaintance, by timidity
and ill nature. Shrimps and fish, which are caught in the streams in
the vicinity of the town, are daily exposed for sale, and the
inhabitants appear to be in possession of a greater share of the
necessaries and comforts of life, than their neighbours of the sea

They this day observed the country to be sensibly rising, and
agriculture appeared to be conducted on a regular system, which was
an evident proof of the active and industrious habits of the people.

The gloomy fastnesses and wildnesses of nature, such as they passed
on the first day or two of their journey from Badagry, were less
common as they advanced, and open glades with plantations of bananas,
fields of yams and Indian corn, all neatly fenced, met their view
from the path of yesterday as well as on the present day. The
inhabitants of Larro also exhibit greater cleanliness of person and
tidiness of apparel than the tribes nearer the sea-shore. Those pests
also, the unfortunate beggars, entirely disappeared, for the
inhabitants of Larro appeared to possess too much pride to beg.

It was at Larro that the two brothers began to feel the relaxing
influence of the climate, but still their hearts were good, and they
hoped, by the blessing of Heaven, that their progress through the
country might not be impeded by sickness.

On Tuesday, April 6th, the sun had scarcely risen above the horizon,
and the mists of the morning yet hung upon the hills, than they
quitted the town of Larro, and pursued their journey on horseback.
Three horsemen from Jenna followed them on the path, and they were
enlivened by the wild jingling of their animals' bells, till they got
within a mile of that town, where they alighted at a kind of
turnpike, and fired a salute of two muskets. Here they were met by a
number of fellows with horns, who blew on them with the accustomed
energy of the natives; these men preceded them over a bridge, which
was thrown across a moat that surrounds Jenna into the centre of the
town, where they again alighted, and waited the chief's pleasure in
an open shed. They had not been seated many seconds before an immense
crowd of people pressed in upon them on every side, subjecting them
to the accustomed inconvenience of want of air, strong unwholesome
smells, and a confused hubbub, that defies description. Never were
the people more eager to behold a white man; the little ones formed
themselves into a ring close to the shed, then followed those of
maturer age, after them came a still older class, and the last circle
consisted of people as tall as steeples; most of whom held infants in
their arms. Altogether a large amphitheatre was formed of black
woolly heads, and white teeth set in jetty faces, and although the
Landers felt rather amazed at their innocent curiosity, and were
obliged to wait a considerable time for the new chief, they could
not help being highly diverted with the spectacle around them; at
length, to their great relief and joy, intelligence was brought that
the chief was ready to receive them. It appears that the principles
of etiquette at the royal courts, whether of Europe or of Africa, are
not definitively settled, for that which at the court of a William
the fourth, would be considered as the extreme of rudeness and
disrespect, is at the African courts construed into the most decisive
testimony of good breeding and politeness. It may be difficult to
determine to which the preference ought to be given, but as etiquette
is an essential in all courts, no matter how far it departs from
common sense and reason, we do not see why, as amongst the many
fooleries which are enacted at courts, the African system should not
be introduced. It happens, however, that the etiquette of the
European and African are decidedly dissimilar: to make an individual
wait is certainly considered in the former, as a breach of good
manners, whereas in the latter, the longer a person is made to wait
before the introduction takes place, the greater is the honour done
him, and the higher is the rank of that person supposed to be, who
exacts that ungracious duty. They discovered the chief, or rather
governor, sitting on a piece of leather, under a large verandah at
one end of a commodious square yard. He was clad in the prevailing
finery of crimson velvet tobe and cap, both edged with gold lace. At
his right hand sat his wives and women, and the brothers were desired
to place themselves on his loft. The women sang the praises of their
master in a loud unpleasant voice, in which they were assisted by the
music, equally inharmonious, of drums, fifes, clarionets, and horns.
On their wishing the chief all the happiness in the world, all the
people who had flocked into the yard after them, and every one near
the chief, prostrated themselves on the ground, and clapped their
hands. Goora nuts were now presented to them in water, and a
profusion of compliments passed on both sides; but the dignity of the
newly-made governor seemed to sit rather awkwardly upon him for he
was as shy and bashful as a maiden, and really appeared agitated, and
afraid of his white-faced visitants. Strange as it may appear, the
patience of the most patient people in the world was completely
exhausted, as might be seen by the desertion of the premises before
the travellers quitted them, notwithstanding the few words that had
passed between them and the chief. The ceremony being over, they bade
adieu to the chief, and having visited the grave of Dr. Morrison on
their way, they repaired to a hut which had been got ready for their

The former governor of Jenna, who it will be recollected treated the
gentlemen composing the last mission so handsomely, died about
fifteen months before the arrival of the Landers, and the king of
Youriba chose one of the meanest of his slaves as his successor. This
appears, however, to be an invariable rule with the sovereigns of
that country, of which Jenna is a province; for they fear as its
distance from the capital is very great, that a person of higher
rank, if possessed of talents and spirit, could easily influence the
natives to throw off the yoke, and declare themselves independent of
Youriba. The then governor was a Houssa man, and was raised to the
dignity he then held, in all probability, on account of his childish
simplicity, and artlessness, for a person with a countenance more
indicative of innocence, and perhaps stupidity also, they never
recollected to have seen. The qualities of his heart were, however,
said to be excellent, and his manners were mild and amiable. He had
been twelve months in coming from Katunga to Jenna; being under the
necessity of stopping at every town between that place and the
capital, to receive the applause and congratulations of the
inhabitants, and to join in their festivities and amusements.

The showers were now becoming heavier, and fell more frequently than
heretofore, indeed the rainy season may be said fairly to have
commenced, the thermometer, on the 6th of April, fell suddenly from
94 deg. to 78", and remained stationary there for the whole of the day.

On the 7th April they carried a present to the governor, which he
received with every mark of satisfaction and gratitude; but he
declared with sorrow that he should be obliged to send some of it to
the king of Katunga, who would not allow him to wear red cloth, till
he had been a longer time established in his new situation.

It is related in Captain Clapperton's journal, that one of old
Pascoe's wives eloped from him in Katunga, whilst he was asleep,
taking with her the trinkets Mr. Belzoni had given him, and said that
she was never afterwards heard of. This woman had the effrontery to
introduce herself into the house of the Landers with an infant,
whereof she asserted with warmth that Pascoe was the father, and that
she was determined to leave it upon his hands. She had prevailed upon
a number of Houssa women to accompany her, that they might endeavour
to induce her quondam husband, who was a countryman of theirs, to
receive the child, and make up the breach between them; but the
infant not being more than nine or at most twelve months old, and
three or four years having elapsed since the elopement took place,
they were convinced that, independently of the age and infirmities of
Pascoe, it could not by any rule or law be his. Accordingly,
notwithstanding the uproar occasioned by the women's tongues, which,
whether in Africa or elsewhere, is a very serious matter, the mother
with her spurious offspring, and the ladies who came to aid and abet
her imposition, were turned out of the yard without any ceremony, to
the great relief of Pascoe, and his present wife, who felt rather
uncomfortable, whilst the palaver was carrying on.

The fetish priest of the town came dancing into the hut, shortly
after the ladies had retired, looking exceedingly wild, and roaring
as if possessed by an evil spirit. They paid little attention to the
fellow's fooleries, who, not liking his reception, left the hut,
after he had received the accustomed fee of a few kowries. The person
and dress of the man, together with his whimsical ornaments, were
admirably adapted to impose on the credulity and superstition of the
inhabitants; although many people of the town, influenced perhaps by
the spreading doctrines of Mahomet, spoke their minds pretty freely,
calling him a scoundrel and a devil. There was something peculiar in
this priest's countenance, which could not be defined. On his
shoulders he bore a large club, carved at one end with the figure of
a man's head. A vast number of strings of kowries were suspended on
this weapon, which were intermixed with shells, broken combs, small
pieces of wood with rude imitations of men's faces cut on them, large
sea-shells, bits of iron and brass, nut shells, &c. &c. Perhaps, the
number of kosries on his person did not fall far short of twenty
thousand, and the weight of his various ornaments almost pressed him
to the ground. After this fellow had left their apartment, three or
four others came to torment them with drums, whistles, and horns, and
began and ended the evening's serenade to their own infinite delight
and satisfaction. The native drum answers the purpose of a
tambourine, and bagpipe as well, and is of peculiar formation. Its
top is encircled with little brass bells, and is played upon with one
hand, whilst the fingers of the other were employed at the same time
in tapping on its surface. The instrument itself was held under the
left arm, but instead of an outer wooden case, strings alone were
used from end to end, which being pressed against the musician's
side, sounds somewhat similar to those of a Scotch bagpipe, but very
inferior, are produced. The drummers, with their companions of the
horns and whistles, subsist entirely on the charity of the public,
who require their services on all occasions of general merriment and

On the morning of the 8th of April, the two messengers who arrived at
Badagry whilst the Landers were there, and stated that they had been
employed for the purpose by the governor of Jenna, were discovered to
be impostors, and put in irons accordingly. But as the poor fellows
had really been of essential service to them, inasmuch as by their
representations, they had prevailed upon Adooley to give them leave
to proceed on their journey much sooner than they themselves could
have done; they thought proper to intercede, in their behalf, and
although they were to have been sold for their deception, they were
set at liberty. The person also who had met them with a horse after
crossing the river Yow near Bidjie, proceeded thither on his own
account, without the knowledge or consent of the governor, but as he
was a Fellata and a respectable man, little was said or done about
that matter. The only motive, which could have influenced these three
men in their projects of assisting the travellers, had been without
doubt in the expectation of receiving a trifling remuneration, and of
this, notwithstanding an injunction to the contrary from the
governor, they did not disappoint them, their services were well
timed and very acceptable, and amply deserved the reward of a few
needles and scissors.

The travellers were this morning witnesses to a specimen of native
tumbling and dancing, with the usual accompaniments of vocal and
instrumental music; by far the most diverting part of the
entertainment was the dancing, but even this did not at all answer
the expectations they had formed of it. The dancers were liberally
supplied with country beer, and like most amusements of the kind,
this one ended in wrangling and intoxication.

The fellows who accompanied them as guides from Badagry, and who, in
their native place would sell their birthright for a glass of rum,
had now washed themselves, and thrown aside their rags, appearing in
all public places in borrowed finery. They now never left their
habitations without Adooley's sword, which they had with them, and a
host of followers. On this morning, they attended the celebration of
the games in showy apparel, with silk umbrellas held over their
heads; and amongst other articles of dress, the principal of them
wore an immense drab-coloured quaker's hat of the coarsest quality.
So great were their ostentation and pride, that they would scarcely
deign to speak to a poor man.

It was now they learned with great regret, that all the horses of the
late governor of Jenna, had been interred according to custom with
the corpse of their master, and they consequently began to be
apprehensive that they should be obliged to walk the whole of the way
to Katunga, as the present ruler was not the owner of a single beast
of burthen. This piece of ill news was carefully withheld from the
travellers, until the presents had been all duly delivered to the
governor and his head men; but in this instance, the latter alone
were to blame. Matters being thus unpleasantly situated, they sent a
messenger to the chief of Larro, informing him of the circumstance,
and entreating him to redeem his promise of lending them a horse and
mule; and another messenger was sent to Adooley, requesting him to
despatch immediately, at least one of their horses from Badagry, for
they had found it impossible to proceed without them. It was not
supposed that he would pay any attention to the request; and yet on
the other hand, it was scarcely to be imagined that he would carry
his chicanery so far, because he must fear that the variety of orders
they had given him, to receive valuable presents from England, would
never be honoured by their countrymen, if he refused to fulfil his
engagements with them.

Since the demise of the late governor, it was calculated that Jenna
had lost more than five hundred of its population, chiefly by wars,
intestine broils, &c. and all for want of a ruler. It must not,
however, be imagined, that because the people of this country are
almost perpetually engaged in conflicts with their neighbours, the
slaughter of human beings is therefore very great. They pursue war,
as it is called, partly as an amusement, or "to keep their hands in
it," and partly to benefit themselves by the capture of slaves. As
they were sailing down the coast, they were informed that the natives
of La Hoo, and Jack-a-jack, had been warring for three years
previously, and were still at variance, but during that long period
only one single decrepit old woman, who found it no easy matter to
run as fast as her countrymen, was left behind, and became the
solitary victim of a hundred engagements. Much after the same fashion
are the bloodless wars of Jenna. Success depends much more on the
cunning and address of the parties, than on any extraordinary display
of intrepidity, and living not dead subjects are sought after, so
that it is their interest to avoid hard blows, and enrich themselves
by the sale of their prisoners. Perhaps the extraordinary decrease in
the population of Jenna, has arisen principally from the desertion of
slaves, who embrace the opportunity, whilst their masters are from
home, engaged in predatory excursions, of running away; and thus the
latter often become losers instead of gainers by their unnatural
passion for stealing their fellow creatures. The individuals captured
are sent to the coast, and the chiefs of those unsettled and
barbarous tribes that inhabit it, are appointed agents to regulate
the sale of them, for which they receive half the profits.

Late in the evening, the young Fellata already mentioned, paid them a
visit, and offered his horse for sale. He was a mahommedan priest,
and was accompanied by a countryman of the same persuasion, but
neither of the holy men appeared in their dealing to understand the
meaning of truth or justice. An agreement was made and thirty dollars
paid. The merchant implored them not to tell his father, who was the
real owner of the horse, that he had sold him for less money than he
had received, and in this request, he was seconded by his more
venerable friend, because he said he wanted a small sum for his
private use, which he knew his parent would refuse him. The words
were hardly out of their mouths, before the two Mussulmans publicly
went through their ablutions in front of the house, where, turning
their faces to the east, they seemed to pray very devoutly to the
founder of their faith. When this was concluded, they sang an Arabic
hymn with great solemnity, and the whole had a wonderful and
immediate effect on the feelings of many of their followers in the
yard, who, mistaking loudness of voice for fervour, and hypocritical
seriousness for piety, made the two worshippers a present of money.
The Fellatas are generally supposed to be spies from Soccatoo, but
although this is a very prevalent opinion, no measures whatever have
yet been taken either to watch their motions, or question them as to
their intentions.

The women of Jenna employ themselves generally either in spinning
cotton, or preparing Indian corn for food. Much of the former
material grows in the vicinity of the town, but the cultivation of
the plant is not carried on with that spirit which it deserves. Silk,
which is brought over land from Tripoli, the inhabitants sometimes
interweave in their cotton garments, but such being very expensive,
are only worn by the higher class of people. They have abundance of
sheep, bullocks, pigs, goats, and poultry, but they prefer vegetable
food to animal; their diet, indeed, is what we should term poor and
watery, consisting chiefly of preparations of the yam and Indian
corn, notwithstanding which a stronger or more athletic race of
people is nowhere to be met with. Burdens with them, as with the
natives of many parts of the continent, are invariably carried on the
head, which, it is more than likely, occasions that dignified
uprightness of form, and stateliness of walk, so often spoken of by
those acquainted with the pleasing peculiarities, of the African
female. The weight of a feather is borne on the head in preference to
its being carried in the hand; and it not infrequently requires the
united strength of three men to lift a calabash of goods from the
ground to the shoulder of one, and then, and not till then, does the
amazing strength of the African appear. The greater part of the
inhabitants of Jenna have the hair of their head and their eyebrows
shaven. But the governor's ministers and servants wear their hair in
the shape of a horse shoe as a mark of distinction. It is confined to
the crown of the head by large daubs of indigo, and none of the
people presuming to imitate it, it answers the purpose of a livery.

The early part of the morning of April 10th, was obscured by a mist
or haze, which was as thick, and at least as unwholesome, as a London
fog in November, but between nine and ten o'clock it dispersed; and
the sun shone out with uncommon lustre. The hut which they occupied
was in a large square yard, and was the property of the late
governor's wife, whose story is rather romantic. Each of its sides
was formed by huts, which had all at one time been inhabited, but a
fire having broken out in one of them by some accident, the greater
part perished. A few huts were only then standing, together with
black, naked walls, and stakes, which supported the verandahs, the
latter reduced to charcoal. The tenantable buildings were inhabited
by the female slaves of the owner of the square, and the travellers
and their suite.

It is the custom in this place, when a governor dies, for two of his
favourite wives to quit the world on the same day, in order that he
may have a little, pleasant, social company in a future state; but
the late governor's devoted wives had neither ambition nor
inclination to follow their venerable husband to the grave, not
having had or got, according to their opinion, enough of the good
things of this world; they therefore went, and hid themselves before
the funeral ceremonies were performed, and had remained concealed
ever since with the remainder of their women. On this, day, however,
one of these unfortunates, the individual to whom the house belonged,
which the travellers resided, was discovered in her hiding place at
the present governor's, and the alternative of a poisoned chalice, or
to have her head broken by the club of a fetish priest, was offered
her. She chose the former mode of dying, as being the less terrible
of the two; and she, on this morning, came to their yard, to spend
her last hours in the society of her faithful slaves, by whom she was
addressed by the endearing name of mother. Poor creatures! as soon as
they learnt her misfortune, they dropped their spinning; the grinding
of corn was also relinquished; their sheep, goats, and poultry were
suffered to roam at large without restraint, and they abandoned
themselves to the most excessive and poignant grief; but now, on the
arrival of their mistress, their affliction seemed to know no bounds.
There is not to be found in the world perhaps, an object more truly
sorrowful, than a lonely defenceless woman in tears; and on such an
occasion as this, it may very easily be conceived that the distress
was more peculiarly cutting. A heart that could not be touched at a
scene of this nature, must be unfeeling indeed. Females were arriving
the whole day, to condole with the old lady, and to weep with her, so
that the travellers neither heard nor saw any thing but sobbing and
crying from morning to the setting of the sun. The principal males in
the town likewise came to pay their last respects to their mistress,
as well as her grave-digger, who prostrated himself on the ground
before her. Notwithstanding the representations and remonstrances of
the priest, and the prayers of the venerable victim to her gods, for
fortitude to undergo the dreadful ordeal, her resolution forsook her
more than once. She entered the yard twice to expire in the arms of
her women, and twice did she lay aside the fatal draught, in order to
take another walk, and gaze once more on the splendour of the sun and
the glory of the heavens, for she could not bear the idea of losing
sight of them forever. She was for some time restless and uneasy, and
would gladly have run away from death, if she durst; for that
imaginary being appeared to her in a more terrible light, than our
pictures represent him with his shadowy form and fatal dart. Die she
must, and she knew it; nevertheless she tenaciously clung to life
till the very last moment. In the mean time her grave was preparing,
and preparations were making for a wake at her funeral. She was to be
buried in one of her own huts, the moment after the spirit had
quitted the body, which was to be ascertained by striking the ground
near which it might be lying at the time, when, if no motion or
struggle ensued, the old woman was to be considered as dead. The
poison used by the natives on these occasions, destroys life, it is
reported, in fifteen minutes.

The reason of the travellers not meeting with a better reception when
they slept at Laatoo, was the want of a chief to that town, the last
having followed the old governor of Jenna, to the eternal shades, for
he was his slave. Widows are burnt in India, just as they are
poisoned or _clubbed_ at Jenna, but in the former country no male
victims are destroyed on such occasions. The original of the
abominable custom at Jenna, of immolating the favourite wives, is
understood to have arisen from the dread on the part of the chiefs of
the country in olden times, that their principal wives, who alone
were in possession of their confidence, and knew where their money
was concealed, might secretly attempt their life, in order at once to
establish their own freedom, and become possessed of the property;
that, so far from entertaining any motive to destroy her husband, a
woman might on the contrary have a strong inducement to cherish him
as long as possible, the existence of the wife was made to depend
entirely on that of her lord, and this custom has been handed down
from father to son even to the present time. But why men also, who
can have no interest to gain on the death of their prince, should be
obliged to conform to the same rite, is not to be so easily accounted
for. The individual, who was governor of Jenna at the time of the
visit of the Landers, must of necessity go down to the grave on the
first intelligence of the demise of the king of Youriba, and as that
monarch was a very aged man, the situation of the former was not the
most enviable in the world.

Previously to her swallowing the poison, the favourite wife of a
deceased chief or ruler destroys privately all the wealth, or rather
money of her former partner, in order that it may not fall into the
hands of her successor. The same custom is observed at Badagry also,
and although the king's son may be of age at the period of his
father's death, he inherits his authority and influence only. He is
left to his own sagacity and exertions to procure wealth, which can
seldom be obtained without rapine, enslavement, and bloodshed.

Whenever a town is deprived of its chief, the inhabitants acknowledge
no law; anarchy, troubles, and confusion immediately prevail, and
until a successor is appointed, all labour is at an end. The stronger
oppress the weak, and perpetrate every species of crime, without
being amenable to any tribunal for their actions. Private property is
no longer respected, and thus, before a person arrives to curb its
licentiousness, a town is not unfrequently reduced from a flourishing
state of prosperity and of happiness to all the horrors of

Considerable surprise was now excited at the delay of the messenger,
who was sent to Badagry for the horses, on which they placed so much
value, for he had not yet returned, although he promised to be back
in four days from the time of his departure. As he had exceeded the
time by a whole day, and being a native of Badagry, the travellers
had given up all hopes of again seeing either him or the horse, or
even the message sword they had lent him as a token that he had been
sent by them. Positive assurances were given them that leave would be
granted to depart from Jenna on the following week, but as they had
only one horse, they would be obliged to take it in turns to ride, or
procure a hammock, which it would be a difficult thing to get, and
attended with considerable expense.

In the mean time, the devoted old queen dowager engrossed the chief
part of their attention, although her doom was inevitably fixed, yet
her cheerfulness appeared rather to increase, and she seemed
determined to spin out her thread of life to its utmost limit; spies
were now set over her, and she was not permitted to go out of
the yard.

On Monday the 12th of April, the travellers had the customary visit
to their yard of a long line of women, who came every morning with
rueful countenances and streaming eyes to lament the approaching
death of the old widow. They wept, they beat their breast and tore
their hair; they moaned, and exhibited all manner of violent
affliction at the expected deprivation. Perhaps their sorrow was
sincere, perhaps it was feigned; at all events their lamentations
were ungovernable and outrageous; the first woman in the line begins
the cry, and is instantly followed by the other voices; the opening
notes of the lamentation were rather low and mournful, the last wild
and piercing.

The principal people of the place finding the old lady still
obstinately bent on deferring her exit, sent a messenger to her
native village, to make known to her relatives, that should she make
her escape, they would take all of them into slavery, and burn their
town to ashes, in conformity to an established and very ancient law.
They therefore strongly advised the relatives of the old woman for
their own sakes, and for the sake of the public, to use all their
endeavours to prevail upon her to meet her fate honourably and with
fortitude. A deputation was expected from the village on the morrow,
when no doubt, after a good deal of crying and condoling, and talking
and persuading, the matter will eventually be decided against the old
lady. It was well understood that she had bribed a few of the most
opulent and influential inhabitants of Jenna with large sums of
money, to induce them to overlook her dereliction from the path of
duty, and by their representations that she had obtained the tacit
consent of the king of Katunga to live out the full term of her
natural life. But the people for many miles round, horror-struck at
such impiety and contempt for ancient customs, rose to enforce the
laws of her country against her.

On Tuesday April 13th, the town of Jenna was visited by one of those
terrific thunder storms, which are so prevalent in those latitudes.
The thatched hut in which the Landers resided, afforded but an
insecure and uncertain asylum against its fury. Part of the roof was
swept away, and the rain admitted freely upon their beds, whence the
most awful lightning flashes could be seen, making "darkness
visible." It appeared as if the genius of the storm were driving
through the murky clouds in his chariot of fire to awaken the
slumbering creation, and make them feel and acknowledge his power. It
was, indeed, a grand lesson to human pride, to contemplate the
terrors of a tornado through the trembling walls and roof of a gloomy
dilapidated hut in the interior of Africa. It is scenes like these,
which make the traveller think of his home, his friends, and his
fireside enjoyments, and by comparison, estimate the blessings which
are his portion in his native land. In civilized countries, when men
are visited by an awful calamity of this kind, the distinctions of
rank are levelled, and numbers flock together, for the purpose of
keeping each other in countenance, and strengthening each other's
nerves; but here all was naked, gloomy, desolate.

They passed the night, as may be supposed, in a very uncomfortable
state. The roof of their dwelling had long been infested with a
multitude of rats and mice; and these vermin being dislodged from
their haunts, by the violence of the wind and rain, sought immediate
shelter between their bed-clothes; and to this very serious
inconvenience was added another still greater, viz. the company of
lizards, ants, mosquitoes, besides worms and centipedes, and other
crawling, creeping, and noxious things, which the tempest seemed to
renovate with life and motion. After a long, long night, the morning
at length appeared, and the terrors of the storm were forgotten.

Not long after sunrise, two fresh legions of women entered their
yard, to mourn with their old mistress, and the shrieks and
lamentations of these visitors, were more violent than any of their
predecessors. It made them shudder to hear their cries. The piercing
cries, that assailed the ears of Telemachus, at his entrance into
the infernal regions, were not more dolorous or fearful. Their eyes
were red with weeping; their hands were clasped on the crown of the
head; their hair was in frightful disorder, and two channels of tears
were plainly seen flowing down over the naked bosom of each of the
women. In this manner they passed before the threshold of the hut in
two close lines, and were observed to bend the knee to the venerable
matron, without uttering a word. They then rose and departed, and
their cries could be heard long after they were out of sight.

Matters were now arranged for their departure, and after breakfast
they went to pay their last respects to the governor. Of course they
were obliged to wait a tiresome length of time outside his residence,
before admittance was obtained; but when the doors were opened, the
band that were in attendance inside, played a native tune as a token
of welcome. A greater number of drummers were observed than on any
former occasion. Some of their instruments were something in the
shape of a cone, and profusely ornamented with plates and figures of
brass. On one of these was represented the busts of two men, with a
tortoise in the act of eating out of the mouth of one of them. The
tortoise had a cock by its side, and two dogs standing as guardians
of the whole. These figures were ail ingeniously carved in solid
brass. Both ends of the larger drums were played on with the palms of
the hand; hundreds of little brass bells were suspended round the
edges for ornament rather than use; for being without clappers, they
could not produce any sound. The common native drum is beaten on one
of its ends only, and with a stick shaped like a bow.

After a little conversation, the chief and his principal people shook
the Landers affectionately by the hand, and wished them every
blessing; and as soon as they got outside the yard, they mounted
their horses and rode out of the town. The chief of Larro had broken
his promise, but they were fortunate enough to meet with and purchase
another horse that morning, so that they cared little about it. Their
pathway led through a champaign country, partially wooded; and after
a pleasant ride of three quarters of an hour, they entered the small
village of Bidjie. Here their carriers dropped their loads, nor could
they be induced to resume them by the most pressing solicitations.
Nor would the villagers, as their duty required, take them up; but
when they were begged to do so, they laughed at them, so that they
were compelled to remain at Bidjie until the following day. This was
very provoking, but such was the tiresome mode of travelling through
this country. No consideration can induce the natives to shake off
their habitual indolence, not if a voice from heaven were to be
heard, would they do it. Pleasure and sloth are with them synonymous
terms, and they are scarcely alive to any other gratification. In the
mean time, the chief, who appeared to be a very good sort of man,
although he had little authority over his people, sent them a fatted
goat; and being in good health, and having very encouraging prospects
held out to them as to their future progress, they were determined to
forget their little troubles and vexations, and spend the evening as
cheerfully as they could.

Hawks and vultures are exceedingly numerous both at Jenna and this
place, the former are bold and disgusting birds, but the latter are
so hungry and rapacious that they pounce fearlessly in the midst of
the natives when at their meals. Whilst the Landers were at supper,
one of them darted at a piece of meat, which one of their men held
between his fingers, and snatched it from him whilst he was conveying
it to his mouth.

At an early hour of Wednesday the 14th April, to the infinite
surprise and pleasure of the Landers, the man from Badagry made his
appearance with one of their horses and an English saddle. The latter
was as acceptable to them as the horse, for on the preceding day, for
want of a saddle, they were obliged to substitute a piece of cloth,
and the back of the animal being as sharp as a knife, it was no very
pleasant thing to ride him; walking would have been the far less
irksome exercise of the two. Pascoe, whose sagacity and experience
proved of infinite service to them, was lamed in his endeavours to
walk as fast as the rest of the party, and as he had the misfortune
of having one leg shorter than the other he became the general butt
and laughing stock of his more robust companions. This day, however,
they mounted him on the extra horse, on the back of which he retorted
their revilings, and the whole of them became as envious of his
dignity, as they were before facetious at his expense.

They took their departure from Bidjie while the morning was yet cool
and pleasant, and arrived at Chow before eleven o'clock in the
forenoon. The natives have an unaccountable fancy that white men are
fond of poultry to an excess, insomuch that whenever they entered a
town or village, all the fowls were immediately seized and confined
in a place of security until their departure.

Several strangers accompanied them from town to town, for the purpose
of evading the duty which is exacted at the turnpike gates, by
stating themselves to be of the number of their attendants. Women
also placed themselves under the protection of their men from Cape
Coast Castle, in order that they might enjoy a similar advantage; in
return for this favour, they showed a great willingness to do for
them many little kind offices, and they were found particularly
useful in making fires, preparing food, &c. for the whole of the

Their journey throughout the whole of this day was extremely
pleasant. At one time the path ran in a serpentine direction through
plains covered with green turf, at another it led them amidst large
groves of stately trees, from whose branches a variety of playful
chattering monkeys diverted them by their mischievous tricks, and the
grey parrot, with its discordant, shrill scream, and other beautiful
birds, "warbled their native wood notes wild."

The chief of Chow, who received and entertained Captain Clapperton,
had been dead some time, and was succeeded by a humble, good natured,
and active individual, who treated the white men more like demi-gods
than human beings. At the time of their arrival, he was engaged in
superintending the slaves at his corn and yam plantations, but he
hastened to them the moment he was informed of the circumstance. He
possessed a number of horses, one of which was the smallest and most
beautiful animal they ever beheld.

In the evening, the chief visited them again with a present of
provisions, and a few goora nuts. Richard Lander took the opportunity
of playing on a bugle horn in his presence, by which he was violently
agitated, under the supposition that the instrument was nothing less
than a snake.

For the first time since their landing they observed the loom in
active operation; the manufacture of cotton cloth is, however,
carried on exclusively by women, the men appearing too slothful and
indolent to undertake any labour, which might subject them to

On the following day the path wound through a country charmingly
diversified by hill and dale, woods and open glades, and watered by
streams flowing over beds of fine white sand. A horseman from Katunga
met them about ten o'clock in the morning, whose dress and
accoutrements were highly grotesque. He neither stopped nor spoke,
but couched his lance as he gallopped past them. It was supposed that
he was the bearer of a message to the chief of Jenna, from the king
of Katunga, and that it had some reference to themselves, but whether
it was an act of caution or of compliment could not be ascertained.

They met a number of people of both sexes in the path, who were
returning from Egga to Chow, and several naked boys on their way to
the coast, under the care of guardians. These were slaves, and would
be most likely sold at Badagry. Some of the woman bore burdens on
their heads, that would have tired a mule and broken the neck of a
Covent Garden Irish woman, and children not more than five or six
years old trudged after them with loads that would have given a full
grown person in Europe the brain fever.

They departed from Chow before sunrise; a surprising dew had fallen
during the night and distilled from the leaves and branches in large
drops. They passed during the forenoon, over three or four swampy
places, covered with reeds, rushes, and rank grass, which were
inhabited by myriads of frogs of prodigious size. On crossing the
streams, they were invariably saluted by a loud and unaccountable
hissing, as if from a multitude of serpents. They could not account
for this extraordinary noise in any other way, than by supposing it
to have proceeded from some species of insects, whose retreats they
had invaded.

With very trifling manual labour, the path, which was little better
than a mere gutter formed by repeated rains, might be converted into
a good and commodious road; and were a tree simply thrown over them,
the streams and morasses might be crossed with ease and safely. But
the natives appeared to have no idea whatever of such improvements,
and would rather be entangled in thick underwood, and wade through
pools of mud and water, than give themselves any trouble about
repairing the road. But the native, however, says to himself, and not
unjustly, _cui bono?_ neither in England or in Africa are
individuals to be found, who will undertake a work of difficulty and
fatigue gratuitously, merely for the benefit and accommodation of
others; characters of that description are very rarely to be found,
and perhaps the interior of Africa is the last place in the world
where we should look for them. An Englishman might find it to be his
interest to repair the roads on which he is frequently obliged to
travel; but what benefit can accrue to the uncivilized African, and
particularly the slave, who has not a blade of grass under the canopy
of Heaven, which he can call his own, to trouble himself about the
repair of a road, on which he might never have occasion to travel,
and which, with the great uncertainty which is always hanging over
his future condition in life, he may never fee again. Trees not
unfrequently fall across the pathway, but instead of removing them,
the people form a large circuit round them, even a small ant hill is
an object too mighty to be meddled with, and it is left in the centre
of the narrow road, to be jumped over, or to be travelled round,
according to the option of the traveller.

Several women, with little wooden figures of children on their heads,
passed them in the course of the morning; they were mothers, who,
having lost a child, carry these rude imitations of them about their
persons for an indefinite time, as a symbol of mourning. Not one of
them could be induced to part with one of these little affectionate

They entered Egga, which is a very large town, in the early part of
the afternoon. On their arrival, they were introduced into the house
occupied by Captain Clapperton on his last journey, in the yard of
which, repose the remains of an Englishman, named Dawson, who died
here of a fever when that officer passed through the country. Both
the hut and yard were soon tilled with people, and were in a state of
filth, which baffles all description. They could not by any means rid
themselves of sheep, goats, and fowls, with their train; in spite of
all their attempts to remove them, they were determined to be their
companions, and this grievance, added to the tongues of a hundred
visitors, made their situation all but intolerable.

Egga is the principal market town in this part of Africa, and is
attended by buyers and sellers for many miles round. Women here are
the chief, if not the only traders, most of them are of graceful and
prepossessing exterior, and they all practise those petty tricks and
artifices in their dealings, with which the market women of more
civilized countries are not unacquainted.

This day, April 16th, was one of the hottest they ever remember to
have felt. They found the path in much better condition, than that on
which they had previously travelled, and it lay almost entirely
through plantations of yams, calavances and pumpkins, and three or
four different varieties of corn, which a number of labourers were
employed in weeding, &c. The hoe is the only implement of husbandry
in use, and indeed they can well dispense with every other, because
the soil, during the rainy months, is so soft and light, that but
very little manual exertion in working it is required. Population is
abundant, labourers may be hired to any number; and it may be
affirmed that he introduction of the plough would scarcely be a
blessing, but on the contrary, it would furnish fresh encouragement
to the general sin of indolence.

Having crossed at noon a small but agreeable river flowing from east
to west, in which several females were bathing and washing clothes,
they shortly afterwards entered the capacious and populous town of
Jedoo. Here they were informed that the chief had been in the grave
more than a twelvemonth; and that no one having yet been nominated to
succeed him, every thing continued in a state of confusion and
misrule. They were conducted, after having waited a little, into a
large yard belonging to the late governor, and in a short time
received a visit from his brother, in company with all the elders of
the place; their conversation was, however, very unpleasant, and
their whole behaviour much cooler than was agreeable, the more so as
such a reception had been entirely unexpected.

The yard in which they resided, was perfectly circular, and walled
with huts, all tenanted by the late chiefs widows, who employ their
time and earn their livelihood by spinning and weaving. Not less than
a hundred of the king of Katunga's ladies were lodging in the yard
with them. They had all passed the bloom of life, and had lately
arrived with loads of trona and country cloth, which they barter for
salt, and various articles of European manufacture, particularly
beads; with these they return home, and expose them for sale in the
market, and afterwards the profits are taken to their husbands. These
royal ladies are distinguished from their countrywomen only by a
peculiar species of cloth, which is wrapped round their goods, and
which no one dared to imitate on pain of perpetual slavery. This
severe punishment is often inflicted, for, as the king's wives pay no
tribute or turnpike dues whatever, and must besides be entertained by
the chiefs of every town through which they pass, strong inducements
are offered for others to attempt to deceive, by using the forbidden
cloth, and hence examples are necessary. As a contrast to the
afflicted females of Jenna, the wives of the king of Katunga all fell
to crying for joy this evening, on recognizing a few old acquaintance
in the yard, who soon joined them in the melancholy music. It was
highly ridiculous to see them, for after the first burst had
subsided, they began to chat with a garrulity far beyond that of the
most talkative of their European sisters. The conversation lasted
more than an hour, till at last it resolved itself into a violent
quarrel, which lasted during the remainder of the day.

It was now ten o'clock, and the women were still sitting in groups
round the several wood fires. The travellers themselves only occupied
a small verandah, which was simply the projection of the roof of a
thatched hut. Their horses were fastened to wooden stakes in the
centre of the yard; their men were lying round them, warming
themselves at their own fires. Sheep, beautiful sheep with tinkling
bells hung round their necks, were chewing the cud in peace and
happiness. But notwithstanding it was the hour of repose, the tongues
of the female travellers were making a clatter which all the women of
Billingsgate could not rival, and together with the squalling of
brats innumerable, completely spoiled the emotions, which the wild
and pleasing scene around them would otherwise have awakened in their
breasts. The sheep here are regarded with as much partiality, and
treated much in the same manner as ladies lap dogs are in England.
Great care is taken to keep them clean and in good condition; they
are washed every morning in soap and water; and so greatly are they
attached to their masters or mistresses, that they are constantly at
their meals, following them in doors and out, from town to town, and
in all their peregrinations. Goats, sheep, swine and poultry are in
great plenty here, and in the possession of every one,
notwithstanding which they are always excessively dear, because the
people take a pride in displaying the number and quality of their
domesticated animals.

The inhabitants of Jeado are in general very decently dressed in
cotton dresses of their own manufacture. In their persons, they are
much more agreeable, than those who reside near the sea. European
goods are brought hither from Dahomey and Badagry, but more
especially from Lagos, and are daily exposed for sale in the markets
of Jadoo and Egga. Several chiefs on the road, questioned the
travellers to account to them for the Portuguese not purchasing so
many slaves as formerly, and they made very sad complaints of the
stagnation of that branch of traffic. It would perhaps have been as
much as their heads were worth, to have told them the true reason.

Hippopotami abound in the rivers in the vicinity of the town, when
young, the flesh and skin of these animals are sold as food, and
whips and other articles are made of the skins of the old ones. At
the usual hour of the following day, April 17th, they quitted Jadoo,
and in the middle of the day arrived at a clean, pretty little
village, called Pooya. The appearance of the country between these
places is extremely fine, resembling a magnificent orchard. On their
way they met several hundreds of people of both sexes and all ages,
with a great number of bullocks, sheep, and goats, together with
fowls and pigeons, which were carried on the head in neat wicker
baskets. Several of the travellers were loaded with country cloth,
and indigo in large round balls. They were all slaves, and were
proceeding to the coast from the interior, to sell the goods and
animals under their charge. One old woman had the misfortune to let a
large calabash of palm oil fall from her head: on arriving at the
spot, they found a party of females, her companions in slavery,
wringing their hands and crying. The affliction of the old woman was
bitter indeed, as she dreaded the punishment which awaited her on her
return to the house of her master. John Lander compassionated her
distress, and gave her a large clasp knife, which would more than
recompense her for the loss of the oil, on which the women wiped away
their tears, and fell down on the dust before them, exhibiting
countenances more gladsome and animated than could be conceived.

The mortality of children must be immense indeed here, for almost
every woman they met with on the road, had one or more of those
little wooden images, already mentioned. Wherever the mothers stopped
to take refreshment, a small part of their food was invariably
presented to the lips of these inanimate memorials. The daughters of
civilization may boast of the refinement of their feelings, but under
what circumstances did they ever exhibit a stronger instance of
maternal affection than these rude, untutored mothers of interior
Africa evinced to our travellers. The English mother will frequently
deposit her child in the grave, and a few days afterwards will be
seen joining in all the pleasures and vanities of the world. Whirled
about in a vortex of dissipation, the mother of civilization bears no
memorial about her of the infant that is in its grave; but the
uncivilized African carries about with her the image of her child,
and, in the full force of her maternal affection, feeds not herself
until in her imagination she has fed the being who once was dear to
her. There was something beautifully affectionate in the mother
offering the food to the images of her children, and had a whole
volume been written in display of the African female character, a
more forcible illustration could not have been given of it.

Although Pooya is considered by the natives to be a day's journey
from Jadoo, they only halted to pay their respects to the chief, and
then continued their journey over gentle hills, and through valleys
watered by streams and rivulets, so as to reach Engua in the
afternoon. The soil between the two towns is mostly dry and sterile,
and large masses of ironstone, which looked as if they had undergone
the action of fire, presented themselves almost at every step. The
day was oppressively hot, and as they had been exposed to the sun for
a great number of hours, when they reached Engua, their skin was
scorched and highly inflamed, which proved very painful to them.
Richard Lander was comparatively inured to the climate, but his
brother now begun to feel it severely, he was sore, tired, and
feverish, and longed to be down in a hut, but they were obliged to
remain under a tree for three hours, before they could be favoured
with that opportunity, because the chief of that town was engaged in
making a fetish, for the purpose of counteracting any evil intentions
that the white men might entertain towards him. All their people were
fatigued and exhausted on the road, complaining much of the heat, and
one of them was brought to them in the evening in a high fever. Engua
is the town where the lamented Captain Pearce breathed his last, and
here also Captain Clapperton felt quite disheartened, and almost
despaired of penetrating further into the interior of the country.
The chief sent them only a little Indian corn and water, and
obstinately refused to sell them either a goat, sheep, or any other
animal, although there were many thousands in the town.

Their reception at Engua was so truly inhospitable, that they arose
at a much earlier hour than they generally did, and proceeded on
their way by starlight. In place of the ironstone which they had
observed on the preceding day, the country was now partially covered
with large and unshapely masses of granite. Mountains and elevated
hills were observed to the right of them, the sides of which were
thickly wooded, and their summits reaching above the clouds. At nine
o'clock, they passed through a neat and cleanly village named Chakka,
which had lately lost its chief, and an hour afterwards crossed a
small river called Akeeney, which was full of sharp and rugged rocks,
and is reported to fall into the Lagos. They were carried over on
men's shoulders without much difficulty, but the horses were a long
time in getting across. Hence the path winded up a high and steep
hill, which they ascended, and entered the town of Afoora about
mid-day. The governor gave them a hearty welcome, and said it made
him so extremely happy to see them, which was also expressed by the
joy and animation of his countenance. The best hut in the town, which
was the most airy and commodious of any they had seen, was presently
got ready for them, and shortly after they had taken possession of
it, they received a quantity of excellent provisions from the chief.

This was the first day of his government; his father, the late chief,
had been dead some time, but from motives of delicacy he refused to
take upon himself his authority until this morning. In honour of the
event, a large company of women were dancing, rejoicing, and making
merry all the evening, outside their hut. It appeared as rather a
strange circumstance to Richard Lander, that the chief or governor of
almost every town through which they had passed since leaving
Badagry, who was alive and well on his return to the coast three
years ago, had been either slain in war or had died from natural
causes. Scarcely one of them was alive on his present expedition.

On April 19th, an easy pleasant ride of three hours brought them to
the first walled town they had seen, which was called Assinara. The
wall was of clay and so diminutive, that a person might easily jump
over it; a dry ditch about eighteen inches deep, and three or four
feet in width also surrounds the town. Over this a single plank is
thrown, which answers the purpose of a draw-bridge, and is the only
means the inhabitants have of getting in and out of the place.
Assinara had also lately lost its chief in some battle, and all
business was transacted by a benevolent elderly man, who volunteered
his services till a successor should be appointed. From him the
Landers received the warmest reception, and the most hospitable

The climate now began to have a most debilitating effect upon John
Lander, and from a state of robust health and vigour, he was now
reduced to so great a degree of lassitude and weakness, that he could
scarcely stand a minute at a time. Every former pleasure seemed to
have lost its charm with him. He was on this day attacked with fever,
and his condition would have been hopeless indeed, had his brother
not been near to relieve him. He complained of excessive thirst. Ten
grains of calomel were administered to him, and afterwards a strong
dose of salts. On the following day, April 20th, he was much better
and free from fever, but too weak to travel, their stay, therefore,
at Assinara was unavoidably protracted.

The acting governor visited them with a very long face, and entreated
the Landers to discover a certain wizard, whom he imagined to be
concealed somewhere in the town. By the influence of this sorcerer, a
number of people, it was said, pined away and died, and women with
child were more especially the object of his malevolence. These
victims dropped down suddenly, without the slightest warning, and the
deaths had lately been so numerous, that the old man himself was
grievously alarmed, and begged a charm to preserve him and his

On the 23rd, John Lander finding himself considerably invigorated and
refreshed by a day's rest at Assinara, and sufficiently recovered to
pursue their journey, all hands were in readiness to start at an
early hour. The morning was cool and pleasant, and they travelled
onwards in excellent spirits. Without meeting any thing particular in
the path, or perceiving any object sufficiently interesting or novel
to demand attention, they entered the town of Accadoo in the
forenoon, having had an agreeable ride of a few hours duration only.

At this time John Lander seemed to be free from any kind of complaint
whatever, and enjoyed an unusual cheerfulness and buoyancy of
spirits, which led his brother to form the most flattering
anticipations. In the course of a few minutes, however, his body was
overspread with a burning heat, and he suffered under another attack
of fever, more violent than any of the former. He resorted to the
most powerful remedies, he could think of at the time. His brother
bled him, and applied a strong blister to the region of the stomach,
where the disorder seemed to be seated. It was swollen and oppressed
with pain, and he felt as if some huge substance lay upon his chest.
His mouth being dry and clogged, and his thirst burning and
unquenchable, he drank so much water that his body was greatly
swollen. Towards evening, his ideas became confused and he grew
delirious. He afterwards described to his brother the horrible
phantoms that disturbed him whilst in this state, and the delicious
emotion that ran through his whole frame, when the dreadful vision
had passed away. Tears gushed from his eyes, a profuse perspiration,
which had been so long checked, gave him immediate relief, and from
that moment his health began to improve.

During this illness of John Lander, the natives made a most hideous
noise by singing and drumming on the celebration of their fetish.
Richard went out with the hope of inducing them to be quiet, but they
only laughed at him, and annoyed them the more; having no compassion
whatever for the sufferings of a white man, and if they can mortify
him by any means, they consider it a praiseworthy deed. This day at
noon, the sun stood at 99 degrees of Fahrenheit.

Early on Saturday the 24th, a hammock was prepared for John Lander,
he being too weak to ride on horseback; and shortly wards they
quitted the town of Accadoo, in much better spirits, than
circumstances had led them to expect. The hammock-men found their
burden rather troublesome, nevertheless they travelled at a pretty
quick pace, and between eight and nine o'clock, halted at a pleasant
and comfortable village called Etudy. The chief sent them a fowl and
four hundred kowries; but they stopped only to take a slight
refreshment, and to pay their respects. They then proceeded through
large plantations of cotton, indigo, Indian corn, and yams, and over
stony fields, till between ten and eleven, when they entered the town
of Chouchou. They were almost immediately introduced to the chief,
and from him into a ruinous hut, in a more filthy state than can be
imagined. No pigstye was ever half so bad. Its late occupier had
incurred the displeasure and hatred of the chief, because he happened
to be very rich, and rather than pay a heavy fine, he ran away and
joined his former enemies, and this partly accounted for the
destitution and wretchedness around them.

Since leaving Jenna they met an incredible number of persons visited
with the loss of one eye. They assigned no other reason for their
misfortune, than the heat and glare of the rays of the sun.

During the whole of this night it rained most heavily; but their hut,
although of the very worst description, had a pretty good thatched
roof, and sheltered them better than they could have expected. There
are seasons and periods in our life-time, in which we feel a happy
complacency of temper and an inward satisfaction, cheerfulness, and
joy, for which we cannot very well account, but which constrain us to
be at peace with ourselves and our neighbours, and in love with all
the works of God. In this truly enviable frame of mind, Richard
Lander says he awoke on this morning, to proceed onwards on
horseback. It was a morning, which was fairly entitled to the epithet
of incense breathing; for the variety of sweet-smelling perfumes,
which exhaled after the rain, from forest flowers and flowering
shrubs, was delicious and almost overpowering. The scenery which
gratified their eyes on this day, was more interesting and lovely,
than any they had heretofore beheld. The path circled round a
magnificent, cultivated valley, hemmed in on almost every side with
mountains of granite of the most grotesque and irregular shapes, the
summits of which were covered with stunted trees, and the hollows in
their slopes occupied by clusters of huts, whose inmates had fled
thither as a place of security against the ravages of the _warmen_
who infest the plains. A number of strange birds resorted to this
valley, many of whose notes were rich, full, and melodious, while
others were harsh and disagreeable, but, generally speaking, the
plumage was various, splendid, and beautiful. The modest partridge
appeared in company with the magnificent balearic crane, with his
regal crest, and delicate humming birds hopped from twig to twig,
with others of an unknown species; some of them were of a dark,
shining green; some had red silky wings and purple bodies; some were
variegated with stripes of crimson and gold, and these chirped and
warbled from among the thick foliage of the trees. In the
contemplation of such beautiful objects as these, all so playful and
so happy, or the more sublime ones of dark waving forests, plains of
vast extent, or stupendous mountains, that gave the mind the most
sensible emotions of delight and grandeur, leading it insensibly

"To look from nature up to nature's God."

Speaking on these subjects, Lander very feelingly expresses himself,
"For myself," he says, "I am passionately fond of them, and have
regretted a thousand times, that my ignorance incapacitated me from
giving a proper representation of them, or describing the simplest
flower that adorns the plains, or the smallest insect that sparkles
in the air. This consideration gives me at times many unhappy
reflections, although my defective education arose from circumstances
over which my boyhood had no control."

Having passed through the immense valley already mentioned, they had
not travelled far before they arrived and halted at a large village
called Tudibu; here they rested a while, and then continuing their
journey for two hours over even ground between high hills, they rode
into the town of Gwen-dekki, in which they purposed passing the
night. The chief was either very poor or very ill natured, for the
only thing he sent them was a little boiled yam, with a mess of
unpalatable gravy, which he would not have given, if he had not
expected ten times its value in return. Divine service, it being
Sunday, was performed in the course of the day, and this was a duty,
which to persons in their situation, was found inconceivably
pleasant. It rendered them happy and resigned in the midst or their
afflictions and privations; reposing their confidence in the
all-protecting arm of that beneficent Being, who is the author and
disposer of their destinies, and in whom alone, thus widely separated
as they were from home, and kindred and civilization, the solitary
wanderer can place his trust.

On the morning of Monday the 26th April, a thick mist obscured the
horizon, and hid in deep shade the mountains and the hills; every
object indeed was invisible, with the exception of the pathway and
the trees growing on each side, which they could hardly distinguish
as they passed along. It continued hazy for two hours after leaving
Gwen-dekki, when the mist dispersed and the atmosphere became clear.
Preparatory to ascending a steep granite hill, they halted to refresh
their horses under the branches of a high spreading tree, near a town
called Eco. Here they were visited by several of the inhabitants,
who, as soon as they were informed of their arrival, came flocking to
the spot. They formed themselves into a line to pay their respects,
and entreated them to wait a little for the arrival of their chief,
who was momentarily expected. But after staying as long as they
conveniently could, and no chief appearing, they mounted their beasts
and began the toilsome ascent. On attaining the summit of the hill,
the _coup d'oeil_ was magnificent indeed, and the fog having been
dispersed by the sun, the eye was enabled to range over an extensive
horizon, bounded by hills and mountains of wonderful shapes. Some of
them bore a very striking resemblance to the Table mountain at the
Cape of Good Hope, and another was not unlike the Lion's Head and
Rump of the same place. Their course was north-east, and those two
mountains bore due west from them. There was no continued range of
hills, but numbers of single unconnected ones, with extensive valleys
between them. In some places, several were piled behind each, and
those most distant from them appeared like dark indistinct clouds.
Nothing could surpass the singularity, and it may be added the
sublimity of the whole view from the top of the granite hill which
they had ascended, and they contemplated it silence for a few
seconds, with emotions of astonishment and rapture.

Descending the hill, they continued their journey over a noble plain,
watered with springs and rivulets, and in the afternoon entered Dufo,
a most extensive and populous town. The inhabitants appeared to be
industrious and very opulent, as far as regarded the number and
variety of their domestic animals, having abundance of sheep, goats,
swine, pigeons, and poultry, amongst the latter of which were
observed for the first time, turkeys and guinea-fowl. They had
likewise horses and bullocks. The chief did not make his appearance
for a long time, but as soon as he had introduced himself, he desired
them to follow him into a cleanly swept square, where was the house
which he intended them to occupy. Presently after his departure, he
sent them a quantity of yams, a basket of ripe bananas, and a
calabash of eggs, which they soon discovered to be good for nothing,
although sand had been mixed with them, that they might feel heavier
than they really were.

They were on this evening visited by four Burgoo traders, who
informed them that they had crossed the Niger at Inguazhilligie, not
more than fourteen days ago, and that although the rains had
commenced, the river had as yet received no great addition to its

The travellers were early on horseback, on the morning of the
27th, and preceded by the carriers of their luggage, they rode out
of the town of Dufo. The country, indeed, appeared inferior, as
to the boldness and beauty of its scenery, to that which they had
traversed on the preceding day but still it possessed features of no
common interest. Another table mountain was observed to the
left of their path in the course of the morning, as well as another
lion's head and rump. Ponderous masses of granite rock overhung
the road way; they were almost black, and seemed to have been
washed by the rains of a thousand years; in many of them were
deep and gloomy caverns, which, were they in Cornwall instead
of in central Africa, they would be selected by some novel-monger,
as the scene of some dark and mysterious murder, or as the
habitation of a gang of banditti, or perhaps of the ghost of some
damsel, who might have deliberately knocked her brains out against
some rocky protuberance, on account of a faithless lover. They were
followed a long while by hundreds of the natives, and who annoyed
them so much by their noises and curiosity, that they were compelled
to resort to violent measures to drive them away; but this was a line
of conduct rarely adopted towards them, and never without extreme
reluctance. They were at length frightened away, and they saw them no
more. About eight miles from Dufo, they arrived at a large straggling
village, called Elokba, where they halted a little, as the path had
been so stony, rugged, and irregular, that a few minutes rest was
absolutely necessary to recruit themselves. From this place the road
became excellent, not at all inferior to a drive round a nobleman's
park in England, and continued to be good till they came in sight of
a capacious walled town, called Chaadoo, which they entered about
mid-day. Outside the walls is a small Fellata village, the huts of
which are constructed in the circular or _coozie_ form. Its
inhabitants employ themselves solely in the breeding of cattle, an
occupation to which they are passionately addicted. They are simple
in their manners, and extremely neat in their dress and appearance.

Not long after their arrival, three or four young Fellata
shepherdesses from the village came to pay their respects to the
travellers, who felt much pleased with their society, for they were
extremely well-behaved and intelligent; they remained, however, a
very short time, their customary avocation not permitting a longer
stay. The hair of these females was braided in a style peculiarly
tasteful and becoming, and the contour of their oval faces was far
from disagreeable. Their manners also were innocent and playful; the
imaginary shepherdesses of our pastorals were not more modest,
artless, and engaging in description, than these were in reality;
they left behind them an impression very favourable, both as regards
their morals, _naivete_, and rustic simplicity.

On the road from Dufo, Richard Lander unthinkingly shot a crane,
which fell in an adjoining field. The report of his gun brought out a
number of natives from "the bush," who being in continual dread of an
attack from "the war men of the path," imagined it to be a signal of
one of these marauders. They were all armed like their countrymen
with bows and arrows, and with a threatening aspect would have lodged
a few shafts in the person of Richard Lander, had it not been for the
timely interference of one of their Jenna messengers, who fortunately
happened to be with him at the time, and who gave an immediate and
satisfactory explanation. The head of the party then sought for and
picked up the bird, but Richard took it from him, after he had
rewarded him liberally for his trouble. The man, however, was neither
satisfied nor pleased, but roughly demanded the bird as his own,
because it had fallen on his land. As there were no game laws here,
Richard Lander would not admit his claim, and was retiring, when the
fellow begged with much importunity that the head and legs of the
animal, at least, might be given him to make a fetish of. This was
likewise objected to, at which the man was out of all patience, and
went off foaming with passion. In the evening, the crane was dressed
for supper, and a similar request was made by a eunuch from Katunga,
who being a good-natured fellow, his wish was readily complied with.
The chief of Chaadoo, however, presently sent a messenger to request
the said precious head and legs, and to him they were finally
committed by the disappointed eunuch, who could hardly forbear
weeping on the occasion; these relics are considered extremely
valuable as a charm.

The chief sent them a goat, a quantity of bananas, a dish of pounded
or rather mashed yam with gravy, and a large basket of _caffas_.
These are a kind of pudding, made into little round balls from
bruised Indian corn, which is first boiled to the consistence of
thick paste. From being made entirely of coarse flour and water, they
have an insipid taste when new, but when kept for a day or two, they
become sour, and in this state are eaten by the natives. There are
several deep wells in the town, but most of them are dried up, so
that water is exceedingly scarce, and it is sold in the market-place
to the inhabitants. They were daily accosted on the road with such
salutations as these, "I hope you go on well on the path," "success
to the king's work," "God bless you white men," "a blessing on your
return, &c."

They remained the whole of the 28th at Chaadoo, in order to give the
carriers with the luggage, time to come up with them, having been
unavoidably detained by the roughness and unevenness of the road from
Dufo to Elokba. The Katunga eunuch already mentioned, was sent by the
king of that place to receive the customary tribute of the governors
of various towns on the road between Katunga and Jenna. This man was
treated with much respect both by the governor of Chaadoo and his
people, who prostrated themselves to the eunuch, before addressing

Being in want of money, they sent some needles this morning to the
market to sell. It is a custom in Youriba, that after a buyer has
agreed to pay a certain sum for an article, he retracts his
expression, and affirms that he only promised to give about half the
sum demanded. This occasioned violent altercations between the
Landers' people and the natives, but it is an established custom,
from which there is no appeal.

The mother of the governor was buried this afternoon, at a
neighbouring village, and the funeral was attended by all his wives
or women as mourners. They were dressed in their holiday attire and
looked tolerably smart. The mourners exhibited no signs of grief
whatever, on the contrary, they were as lively as a wedding party;
attended by a drummer, they passed through their yard on their return
to the governor's house, which was only a few steps distant, and they
kept up singing and dancing during the whole of the day, to the noise
of the drum.

The inhabitants of the town have immense numbers of sheep, goats,
pigs, and poultry, but bullocks are in the possession of Fellatas
alone. It was believed, that the natives have not a single animal of
that description. Like many other places, the market was not held
here till the heat and toil of the day are over, and buyers seldom
resort to it, till eight o'clock in the evening.

On the morning of the 29th April, it commencing raining at a very
early hour, and continued with uncommon violence, till between ten
and eleven o'clock, when it suddenly ceased, and they quitted
Chaadoo. Before their departure, however, the credulous governor, who
in common with his people, imagine that white men possess an
influence over the elements, paid them a visit with a calabash of
honey as a present, to thank them he said, for the rain that had
fallen, of which the country was greatly in want, and invoked
blessings on them. The kindness of this good old man was remarkable;
he never seemed weary of obliging them, regretted his inability to do
more, and solicited them very pressingly to remain with him another

They traversed a mountainous country intersected with streams of
excellent water, and at noon entered a small, but pleasant
picturesque village, which was ornamented with noble and shady trees.
Here they waited a very short time, and continuing their route,
arrived towards evening at a capacious walled town, called _Row_,
wherein they passed the night. In many places, the wall, if it be
deserving the name, was no more than twelve or fourteen inches from
the ground, and the moat was of similar dimensions. The yard to which
they were conducted, shortly after their arrival, was within three or
four others, and so intricate were the passages leading to it, that
after a stranger gets in, he would be sadly puzzled to find his way
out again without a guide. Nevertheless, this was no security against
interruption, for the yard was speedily invaded by five or six
hundred individuals, who had been induced to visit them from
curiosity. As usual, they annoyed the travellers for a long time to
the best of their ability, till they completely wearied them out by
their importunity and forwardness. They then hung sheets round the
door-way of their dwelling, and laid down on their mats; and then
only, the natives began to disperse, and left them at their ease.

The governor of the town was a morose, surly, and ill-natured man.
He sent them only a few bananas, and a calabash of eggs, which were
all stale and unfit to be eaten, so that some of their people were
obliged to go supperless to bed. The governor ascribed the badness of
his fare to extreme poverty, yet his vanity exacted from their Jenna
messengers the most abject method of salutation, with which they were
acquainted. These men walked backwards from him several yards, to
throw dirt on their heads, and with the dust and filth still clinging
to their hair, they were compelled to address the chief with their
faces to the ground. The apartment of the travellers unfortunately
communicated with his, and the restless tongues of his numerous wives
prevented either of the Landers from dosing their eyes long after
sunset. In the centre of their yard grew a tree, round which several
stakes were driven into the ground. This tree was a fetish tree, and
the stakes also fetish, and therefore a strong injunction was issued
not to tie the horses to either of them. Calabashes, common articles
of earthenware, and even feathers, egg-shells, and the bones of
animals; indeed any kind of inanimate substance is made fetish by the
credulous, stupid natives, and like the horse-shoe, which is still
nailed to the door of the more superstitious of English peasantry,
these fetishes are supposed to preserve them from ghosts and evil
spirits. It is sacrilege to touch them, and to ridicule them, would
be dangerous.

It was between seven and eight o'clock of the 30th April, before
carriers could be procured, and every thing got in readiness for
their departure. The sun was excessively hot, and the sky brilliantly
clear. They crossed two or three rivulets of cool delicious water, as
they had done on the preceding day, and then passed through an
insignificant village, whose chief sent them a calabash of bruised
corn, mixed with water, to drink. At noon, they arrived at the foot
of a very elevated hill, and perceived a town perched on its summit,
and knew it to be the same to which they had been directed. They
dismounted, and after a laborious ascent, which occupied them three
quarters of an hour, at length reached the top. Stones and blocks of
granite interrupted their path, so that it became a very difficult
matter to force the horses along before them; they fell repeatedly,
but without materially injuring themselves.

The name of the town was Chekki; their arrival was rather unexpected,
and therefore the governor was not prepared to receive them, and they
sat down under a tree, until they were tired of waiting. At length, a
man came to conduct them to his residence, which was but a little way
from the tree, under which they were reposing, when a tumultuous rush
was made by the inhabitants to precede them into the yard, and
notwithstanding the presence of their chief, they so surrounded the
travelling party as to prevent a particle of fresh air from reaching
them. The governor received them with bluntness, but not unkindly,
though without much demonstration of good-will. While in his yard, he
regaled them with water, and afterwards sent them a large calabash of
_foorah_ sweetened with honey to their lodgings, which did not taste
unlike thick gruel or _burgoo_, as it is termed in Scotland. It is
made of a corn called goorah, is very palatable, and is in general
use with the natives of these parts. A quantity of bananas from the
chief soon followed the foorah, and something more substantial than
either, was promised them.

It was observed to be a general practice here, as well as in every
other town through which the Landers passed, for children until the
age of seven years to go naked, with perhaps a string of kowries tied
round the loins, and clumsy bracelets, either of brass or tin
enclosing the wrist. Grown-up people, however, dress somewhat neatly,
if not gracefully; the men wear a cap, tobe and trousers, mostly
blue, and the women wear a large loose cotton cloth, which is thrown
over the left shoulder, and comes down mantling below the knee. The
right arm and feet alone are bare. People of both sexes are
infinitely more grave and serious in their manners, than those nearer
the coast, nor was the loud vacant laugh so prevalent, as at the
commencement of their journey.

They quitted Chekki on the 1st of May, and rode on pleasantly until,
at the expiration of four hours, they arrived at Coosoo, a large and
important town. A Fellata hamlet stands near it, the inhabitants of
which, subsist by following pastoral occupations alone. They are much
esteemed by the Youribans, who behave to them without suspicion or

Shortly after their arrival, a man stole a sword from one of the
attendants on the travellers; he was pursued to the chief, and
asserted that he had found it; as he laid the weapon at his feet. The
sword was restored to them by the governor, but without the slightest
allusion being made to the means by which he obtained it. A company
or _goffle_ of merchants from Hano, were at this time in the town,
who had travelled thus far on their way to Gonga, which is the Selga
of Cape Coast Castle and Accra. Their merchandise consists chiefly of
elephants' teeth, trona, rock salt, and country cloths. This, the
Landers were told, is a new route, the road formerly taken being
considered unsafe, on account of private broils and disturbances
amongst the natives. The goffle consisted of more than four hundred
men; but a company of merchants that passed through the town ten days
previously, amounted to twice that number. Other merchants were also
in the town, and were to leave on the morrow on their way to Yaoorie,
to which place they were destined.

The palm tree became scarce as they advanced into the country, and,
consequently, the oil obtained hereabouts, is only in very small
quantities. But nature, ever bountiful, supplies its place with the
mi-cadania or butter tree, which yields abundance of a kind of
vegetable marrow, pleasant to the taste, and highly esteemed by the
natives. It is used for lights and other domestic purposes. The tree
from which it is obtained, is not much unlike our oak in appearance,
and the nut it produces is enveloped in an agreeable pulpy substance.
The kernel of this nut is about the size of our chestnut. It is
exposed in the sun to dry, after which it is pounded very fine and
boiled in water. The oily particles which it contains, soon float on
the surface; when cool, they are skimmed off, and then made into
little cakes for use, without any further preparation. Two
individuals appeared before the chief this day, in consequence of an
accusation of theft that had been made against them. The method
adopted of proving the guilt or innocence of the parties, was, by
compelling them to swallow the fetish water.

In the evening, the travellers received a fat goat, a basket of
caffas, a calabash of bananas, a vast quantity of yams, and a bowl of
milk from the governor. He appeared to be a sober, kind, and
benevolent old man, and generally beloved by his people. To the
Landers, he was particularly attentive and obliging. He informed
them, that the common path to Katunga was unsafe, in consequence of a
serious quarrel between the inhabitants of Coosoo, and those of a
neighbouring town. "Therefore," said he, "I entreat you to remain
here until to-morrow, in order that I may make arrangements to send
you by a different road." This intelligence was not very agreeable to
the Landers, but they were convinced of its importance, and therefore
thankfully accepted the chiefs offer.

The market which was held this evening in the town, had a most
imposing and brilliant appearance, from the immense of lamps used by
the trades-people.

Their visitors, who continued with them until late in the evening,
were innumerable, and the noise of the women's tongues was as loud
and disagreeable as ever. For some time nothing could quiet them:
threats and entreaties were disregarded or laughed at, till at last,
they were compelled to resort to the childish expedient of spurting
water in their faces from a large syringe. On seeing and feeling the
effects of this fearful instrument, they became alarmed and ran away.

On the following day, May 2nd, a fetish priest came to see them, and
was about to treat them with the usual harangue of his profession,
but they contrived to put a stop to it, by bribing him with a few
needles. Nothing particular was observed in this fellow's ornaments
or dress, but his person presented a strange and singular appearance.
The colour of his skin was like that of whitish brown paper; his
eyebrows and eyelashes were of a silvery whiteness, and his eyes of a
bright blue, notwithstanding which, the negro features were strongly
and distinctly marked on his countenance. The man's parents were both
natives, and quite black, and it was found impossible to ascertain
the reason of this extraordinary deviation from the common laws of

They received an abundance of kindness from the good old chief of
this place, and his endeavours to make them comfortable were imitated
by many of the more respectable inhabitants.

The path recommended by the friendly chief of Coosoo, lay due east
from the town, and they pursued their journey on it, on the morning
of the 3rd of May. Robbers were stated to be lurking about, and
therefore they conceived it prudent, if not absolutely necessary, to
take every precaution for the safety of the mission, they, therefore,
loaded their own guns and pistols, and armed all their men with
swords and muskets. Their Jenna messengers being unacquainted with
the new route, the governor of Coosoo had furnished them with two
armed foot guides, whose weapons were bows and arrows, besides a
horseman, armed at all points, to bring up the rear of the party.
With all these warlike preparations and equipments, a few harmless
women, who were terrified at the appearance of the travellers, were
the only individuals whom they met with on the path during a ride of
two hours, which brought them to a town called Acboro. The town
itself was very small, but its dilapidated walls, which enclose an
immense extent of ground, would lead the observer to suppose, that it
was formerly of much greater magnitude. Within the walls, were three
granite hills, two on one side, and the other on the opposite side of
the town. All their bases were of solid stone, but their summits
consisted of loose blocks, from the interstices of which, trees and
stunted vegetation shot forth. Besides these hills, immense masses of
granite rock were seen piled upon each other in different parts. On
the whole, Acboro was one of the wildest and most venerable looking
places that the human mind could conceive; the habitations of the
people alone, lessening that romantic and pleasing effect, which a
first sight of it produces.

Shortly after their arrival, the governor sent them a sucking pig and
some other presents, and seemed highly pleased that circumstances had
thrown them in his way. "White men do nothing but good," said he,
"and I will pray that God may bless you, and send more of your
countrymen to Youriba."

Instead of the people running and scrambling to see them, the
good-natured ruler of this place excluded the mass of them from
visiting their yard, and came very civilly to ask their permission
for a few of his friends to look at them. John Lander was too weak
and indisposed to gratify their curiosity by rising from his couch,
so his brother went out to exhibit his person, and suffered himself
to be examined rather minutely, which must have had a very ludicrous
effect, to see the European undergoing an examination by a posse of
black inquisitors, just as if he had been a horse or a bullock at
Smithfield. They, however, separated tolerably well pleased with each

On May the 4th, three men, inhabitants of Acboro, were captured by a
gang of restless, marauding scoundrels, who are denominated here, as
elsewhere, "War-men of the path," but who are, in reality, nothing
more nor less, than highway robbers. They subsist solely by pillage
and rapine, and waylaying their countrymen. The late governor of
Acboro was deposed and driven from the town by his own people, for
his indifference to their interest, and the wanton cruelty, with
which he treated them and their children. At different times he
seized several individuals of both sexes, and sold them as slaves,
without assigning any cause for the act. This drew on him the
vengeance of the friends and relatives of the sufferers, who
prevailed on the town's people to arise with them and punish the
aggressor. The latter soon found that his party were too weak to
withstand the attacks of the exasperated populace, and he fled to a
remote village, where he was residing at the time of the arrival of
the Landers. The inhabitants of Acboro immediately elected a more
humane and benevolent governor in his stead.

They rose this morning at an early hour, and John Lander finding
himself sufficiently recovered to ride on horseback, they bade
farewell to the governor of Acboro, and quitted the town by sunrise,
taking care to use the same precaution against robbers as on the
preceding day. In an hour and three quarters, they entered an open
and delightful village called Lazipa. An assemblage of Fellata huts
stood near it, by which their beautiful cattle were grazing. Many of
the bullocks were as white as snow, others were spotted like a
leopard's skin, and others again were dotted with red and black on a
white ground. A Fellata girl presented them with a bowl of new milk,
which was very agreeable and refreshing, and after drinking it, they
bade adieu to the Fellatas and their cattle for ever.

They had not travelled a great way from Lazipa, before they had to
cross a large morass, on the borders of which a very large and
handsome species of water-lily flourished in great perfection. They
crossed this morass without difficulty or trouble, and with the same
facility also two small streams, which intersected the road. At nine
A.M., they arrived at Cootoo, which like Lazipa is an open village,
but the former is by far the most extensive of the two. A person, who
may have travelled from Penzance in Cornwall to the Land's End, and
observed the nature of the soil, and the blocks of granite which are
scattered over its surface, will have a very good idea of the country
between Acboro and Cootoo, only that in the latter, it is much more

After leaving Cootoo, however, the aspect of the surrounding scenery
speedily changed, and became infinitely more pleasing. The soil was
more rich and deeper; patches of verdure and cultivated land were
more frequent, the latter being neatly fenced; fine handsome trees,
with their spreading branches and thick foliage, embellished the
country in every direction, and extended to the eastern horizon. It
might have been supposed that these trees had been carefully planted
by the hand of man, for they grew at equal distances from each other,
and none seemed to interfere with the order, beauty, and regularity
of its neighbour. The soil between them was covered with a soft green
turf, which rendered the whole view remarkably pleasant. It was over
this delightful landscape that they travelled; the morning was cooled
by a refreshing south-east wind, and the travellers, which is not
often the case, were both on good terms with themselves, and
gratified by everything around them. At length, they came in sight of
numerous herds of fine cattle, attended by little boys, and shortly
afterwards, they arrived at a clean and neat Fellata village, the
inhabitants of which were employed in feeding calves, and other
occupations connected with an African farm. They then crossed a
small stream, and entered a town of prodigious extent, called Bohoo,
which was fortified with a triple wall and moats. Without being
exposed to the customary tiresome formalities, they were immediately
conducted to the residence of the governor. The usual conversation
passed between them, and after they had returned to their hut, a
bullock was sent them, with yams, bananas, and a huge calabash of new
milk, which did not contain less than six gallons, and the travellers
sat down to enjoy themselves in perfect good humour.

In the afternoon, a message was delivered to them, signifying that
the governor's head minister would be very glad to see them, and
would thank them to visit him in the course of the day. John Lander,
however, having experienced a relapse, his sufferings were such as to
prevent him leaving the hut, and his brother was, therefore, obliged
to go alone. After a pleasant walk of about two miles, he arrived at
the habitation of the minister, by whom he was very kindly received.
The compliments of the day only were exchanged between them, and the
numerous wives, and large family of the master of the house, who are
on these occasions generally exhibited to a stranger, having amply
gratified their curiosity by an examination of his person, the
interview terminated and he presently returned to his abode, after
promising to visit the minister again on the following day.

Bohoo lies north-east of Acboro, and is built on the slope of a very
gentle and fertile hill, at whose base flows a stream of milk-white
water, and behind which is the Fellata hamlet already mentioned. Its
immense triple wall is little short of twenty miles in circuit; but
besides huts and gardens, it encloses a vast number of acres of
excellent meadow land, in which bullocks, sheep, and goats feed
indiscriminately. By the hasty view obtained of it, the town in some
degree resembled Kano, but there is no large swamp like that which
intersects the latter city. Bohoo was formerly the metropolis of
Youriba, but about half a century ago, the reigning prince preferring
the plain at Katunga, the seat of government was transferred there,
since which Bohoo has materially declined in wealth, population, and
consequence, although it is still considered a place of great
importance, and the second town in the kingdom. It is bounded on all
sides by hills of gradual ascent, which are prettily wooded, and
commands an extensive horizon. The land in the vicinity of the town
presents a most inviting appearance, by no means inferior to any part
of England in the most favourable season of the year. It appears to
be duly appreciated by the Fellatas, so great a number of whom reside
with their flocks in different parts, that the minister candidly
declared he could not give any information of their amount. These
foreigners sell their milk, butter, and cheese in the market at a
reasonable rate. The latter is made into little cakes about an inch
square, and when fried in butter is very palatable. It is of the
consistence and appearance of the white of an egg, boiled hard.

Agreeably to the promise which Richard Lander made to the chief, he
left his brother to the care of old Pascoe and his wife, and hastened
to pay his respects to the chief's head man or minister. It appears
that this man was placed in his present situation by the king of
Katunga, as a kind of spy on the actions of the governor, who can do
nothing of a public nature, without in the first place consulting
him, and obtaining his consent to the measure. Yet he conducted
himself so well in his disagreeable office, that he won the good
will, not only of the governor of the town, but also its inhabitants.
A kind of rivalry existed between the minister and his master, but
then it was a rivalry in good and not in bad actions. Hearing that
the governor had sent the travellers a bullock, and something
besides, he presented Richard Lander with a similar one, and a large
calabash of _Pitto_ (country beer,) which Lander distributed amongst
those who had accompanied him. A bottle of honey completed the list
of presents, and they were forthwith forwarded to their habitation,
but Richard Lander remained a considerable time afterwards with the
chief. He was filled with amazement at the formation and ticking of
Lander's watch, which he gazed on and listened to with transport. The
spurs which he wore, also excited his eager curiosity, and he
examined them with the greatest attention. He hoped, he said, that
God would bless them both, and that they had his best wishes for
their safety. He remarked further, that white men worshipped the
great God alone, and so did black men also, and that every blessing
of life was derived from that source.

On the return of Richard, he found his brother extremely ill, he had
been so faint and sick during his absence, that his recovery seemed
doubtful, but in a few hours afterwards he became better. In the
afternoon they sent to the governor and the minister, who had behaved
so handsomely to them, three yards of fine red cloth, a common
looking-glass, tobacco pipe, a pair of scissors, snuffbox, and a
large clasp knife. The tobacco pipe was much admired, but the red
cloth was the most valued; with the whole, however, they were both
perfectly well pleased, and were extravagant in their expressions of

One of the bullocks was slaughtered this morning, and about two
thirds of it distributed by the governor and his chief man to the
poor in the town; the remainder of the carcass was divided equally
amongst the attendants of the travellers, who appeared by no means
anxious to leave the place, while their present, unusually good fare,
was to be had.

John Lander was now so far recovered as to excite a hope that they
might be able to proceed on their journey, on the following day. His
recovery was, however, considerably retarded by the continual noises
to which he was subject. Perhaps, of all evils that can afflict a
sick person, noises of any kind are the greatest. In Africa, whether
a person be ill or well, it is exactly the same, nothing like peace
or quiet is any where to be found; independently of the continual
fluttering of pigeons, which roosted close to their ears, the
bleating of sheep and goats, and the barking of numerous half-starved
dogs, they were still more seriously annoyed by the incessant clatter
of women's tongues, which pursued them every where, and which it was
believed nothing less than sickness or death on their part could
eventually silence. The shrillness of their voices drowns the
bleating of the sheep, and the yellings of the canine race; and
notwithstanding all the exertions of Richard Lander, seconded by
those of their attendants, their noise in this town considerably
retarded the recovery of his brother. A person in England might be
inclined to think lightly of this matter, but it is indeed a
grievance, which can ill be borne by an invalid languishing under a
wasting disease, and who has equally as much need of rest and silence
as of medicine. Besides those grievances, the shouts of the people
outside the yard, and the perpetual squalling of children within it,
the buzzing of beetles and drones, the continual attacks of
mosquitoes and innumerable flies, form a host of irritating evils, to
which a sick person is exposed, and to which he is obliged patiently
to submit, until by a relief from his disorder, he is obliged to
stand upon his legs, and once more take his own part. But even then
noises assail his ear, and he does not enjoy the happiness of perfect
silence unless he enters a grove or forest.

They were this morning, visited by a party of Fellatas of both sexes.
They differed but little either in colour or feature from the
original natives of the soil. In dress and ornaments, however, there
was a slight distinction between them. They displayed more taste in
their apparel, and wore a greater number of ornaments round the neck
and wrists; they paid also great attention to their hair, which the
women plait with astonishing ingenuity. Like that of the young woman,
whom they met at Jenna, their heads exactly resembled a dragoon's
helmet. Their hair was much longer of course than that of the negro,
which enables the Fallatas to weave it on both sides of the head
into a kind of _queue_, which passing over each cheek is tied under
the chin.

Another company of Fellatas came to them in the evening, for they had
never beheld a white man, and curiosity had led them to their
habitation. They brought with them a present of a little thick milk,
of which they begged the travellers' acceptance, and then went away
highly gratified with the interview. The behaviour of the whole of
them was extremely reserved and respectful; nothing in the persons of
the travellers excited their merriment, on the contrary, they seemed
silently to admire their dress and complexion, and having examined
them well at a distance, seemed grateful for the treat.

In the mean time, the kindness and generosity of the governor of
Bohoo continued unabated; instead of diminishing, it seemed to
strengthen; he literally inundated them with milk, and he was equally
lavish with other things. It gave them unmixed pleasure to meet with
so much native politeness and attention from a quarter, where they
the least expected it, and at a time also, when it was the most

After they had retired to rest, a Fellata woman came to their
dwelling, bringing with her a number of eggs of the guinea-hen, and a
large bowl of milk fresh from the cow, as a return for a few needles
they had given her in the afternoon. This circumstance is mentioned
merely to show the difference between the Fellatas and the
Youribeans, in point of gratitude for favours which they may have
received. The latter are very seldom grateful, and never acknowledge
gratitude as a virtue. The indifference, unconcern, and even
contempt, which they often evinced on receiving the presents which
the Landers made them, was a proof of this, and with a very few
exceptions, they never observed a Youribean to be sincerely thankful
for any thing.

On the following morning, John Lander was able to sit on horseback,
and as they were on the point of taking their departure, the governor
came out to bid them farewell, and presented them with two thousand
kowries to assist them on their journey.

Two hours after leaving Bohoo, they passed through an agreeable,
thinly inhabited village called Mallo, and in somewhat less than an
hour after, arrived at Jaguta, a large and compact town, fortified by
a neater and more substantially built wall than any they had yet

Jaguta lies E. S. E. of Bohoo, from which it is distant, as nearly as
the Landers could guess, from twelve to thirteen miles. In the course
of the journey, they met a party of Nouffie traders from Coulfo, with
asses carrying trona for the Gonja market. Among them, were two
women, very neatly clad in their native costume, with clean white
tobes outside their other apparel, resembling as nearly as possible
the _chemise_ of European ladies. These asses were the first beasts
they had observed employed in carrying burdens, for hitherto, people
of both sexes and of all ages, especially women and female children,
had performed those laborious duties.

The governor of Jaguta came to apologize in the evening, for not
having attended them the greater part of the day, on the plea that he
had been engaged in the country with his people, in making a fetish
for the prosperity of the king of Katunga. The return of the governor
and his procession to the town, was announced by a flourish of drums,
fifes, &c., with the usual accompaniments of singing and dancing. The
musicians performed before him, for some time, in a yard contiguous
to that where the Landers resided, and their ears were stunned for
the remainder of the night, by a combination of the most barbarous
sounds in the world.

They were here daily assured that the path was rendered exceedingly
dangerous by banditti, and the governor of Jaguta endeavoured with a
good deal of earnestness, to persuade them that their goods would not
be respected by them. It will, however, scarcely be believed, that
this universal dread originates from a few Borgoo desperadoes, who,
although only armed with powder and a few broken muskets, can put a
whole legion of the timid natives to flight. The inhabitants of the
town kept firing the whole of the evening, to deter their formidable
foe from scaling the wall and taking possession of their town.

On the night of Saturday May 8th, they were visited by thunder
storms, from which, however, they did not receive any great
annoyance. The natives as usual imputed the seasonable weather to
their agency alone, and in consequence, their arrival at many places
was hailed with transport, as the most fortunate thing that could
have happened.

Extraordinary preparations were made by the governor of Jaguta, to
ensure the safety of the travellers on the dreaded pathway; and a
horseman armed with sword and spear, in company with four foot
soldiers, who were equipped with bows, and several huge quivers full
of arrows, were in readiness to offer them their protection. The
horseman preceded the party, and played off a variety of antics to
the great amusement of the Landers. He seemed not a little satisfied
with himself; he flourished his naked sword over his head; brandished
his spear; made his horse curvet and bound, and gallop alternately;
and his dress being extremely grotesque, besides being old and torn,
gave him an appearance not unlike that of a bundle of rags flying
through the air. But with all this display of heroism and activity,
the man would have fled with terror from his own shadow by moonlight,
and it was really regretted by the travellers, that a few defenceless
women were the only individuals that crossed their path to put his
courage to the test, the formidable "war men" not being at that time
in that part of the country.

Their journey this day was vexatiously short, not having exceeded
four miles, for it was utterly beyond the power of either of the
Landers to persuade the superstitious natives, who conform only to
their fetish in these matters, that the robbers would be afraid even
to think of attacking white men. They halted at a small town called
Shea, which was defended by a wall. It appeared to possess a numerous
population, if any opinion could be formed from the vast number of
individuals that gathered round them, immediately on their entrance
through the gateway. A stranger, however, cannot give anything like a
correct estimate of the population of any inhabited place, in this
part of Africa, for as he can only judge of it by the number of
court-yards a town or village may contain; and as the one court yard
there may be residing at least a hundred people, and in the one
adjacent to it, perhaps not more than six or seven, the difficulty
will be immediately perceived. Generally speaking, the description of
one town in Youriba, would answer for the whole. Cleanliness and
order and establish the superiority of one place over another, which
may likewise have the advantages of a rich soil, a neighbourhood, and
be ornamented with fine spreading and shady trees; but the form of
the houses and squares is every-where the same; irregular and badly
built clay walls, ragged looking thatched roofs, and floors of mud
polished with cow-dung, form the habitations of the chief part of the
natives of Youriba, compared topmost of which, a common English barn
is a palace. The only difference between the residence of a chief and
those of his subjects, lies in the number and not in the superiority
of his court yards, and these are for the most part tenanted by women
and slaves, together with flocks of sheep and goats, and abundance of
pigs and poultry, mixed together indiscriminately.

Shea lies four miles E. by S. of Jaguta. The governor of the town
presented them with a pig, and a quantity of country beer, and they
also received little presents of provisions from a few of the people.

May the 9th was on a Sunday, and they were invited to witness an
exhibition of tumbling; it was with great reluctance that the
invitation was accepted, not only on account of the sanctity of the
day, but for the delay which it would occasion them. They, however,
considered it politic to lay aside their religious scruples, and they
attended the exhibition mounted on their horses. As soon as it was
over, they were escorted out of the town by beat of drum, preceded by
an armed horseman, and an unarmed drummer, and continued their
journey, followed by a multitude of the inhabitants.

They passed through a very large walled town called Esalay, about six
miles from Shea, but its wall was dilapidated, and the habitations of
the people in ruins, and almost all deserted. This town, which was
not long since well inhabited, has been reduced to its present
desolate and miserable state, by the protection which its ruler
granted to an infamous robber, whose continued assaults on
defenceless travellers, and his cruelty to them, at length attracted
the notice of the king of Katunga. But previously to this, the
inhabitants of another town not far off, many of whom had at
different times suffered from his bold attacks, called in a number of
Borgoo men, who bore no better reputation for honesty than the robber
himself, and resolved to attempt the capture of the ruffian in his
strong hold, without any other assistance. Their efforts, however,
were unavailing; the governor, entrenched in his walled town, and
supported by his people, sheltered the miscreant and compelled his
enemies to raise the siege. About this time a messenger arrived at
Esalay from the king of Katunga, with commands for the governor to
deliver up the robber to punishment, but instead of obeying them, he
privately warned the man of his danger, who took immediate advantage
of it, and made his escape to Nouffie. The governor was suspected of
aiding the escape of the robber, and a second messenger soon after
arrived from Katunga, with orders for the guilty chief either to pay
a fine to the king, of 120,000 kowries, or put a period to his
existence by taking poison. Neither of these commands suiting the
inclination of the governor of Esalay, he appointed a deputy, and
privately fled to the neighbouring town of Shea, there to await the
final determination of his enraged sovereign. The Landers saw this
man at Shea, dressed in a fancifully made tobe, on which a great
number of Arab characters were stitched. He walked about at perfect
liberty, and did not seem to take his condition much to heart. The
inhabitants of Esalay, however, finding that their ruler had deserted
them, that they were threatened by the king of Katunga, and that the
Borgoo men emboldened by the encouragement they received from that
monarch, were also lurking about the neighbourhood, and ready to do
them any mischief, took the alarm, and imitating the example of their
chief, most of them deserted their huts, and scattered themselves
amongst the different towns and villages in the neighbourhood. Very
few people now resided at Esalay; and this town, lately so populous
and flourishing, was on the visit of the Landers little better than a
heap of ruins.

After passing through Esalay, they crossed a large morass and three
rivers, which intersected the roadway. The croaking from a multitude
of frogs which they contained, in addition to the noise of their
drum, produced so animating an effect on their carriers, that they
ran along with their burdens doubly as quick as they did before. They
then arrived at an open village called Okissaba, where they halted
for two hours under the shadow of a large tree, to allow some of
their men who had been loitering behind to rejoin them, after which
the whole party again set forward, and did not stop until they
arrived at the large and handsome walled town. Atoopa, through which
Captain Clapperton passed in the last expedition. During their ride,
they observed a range of wooded hills, running from N.N.E. to S.S.W.,
and passed through a wilderness of stunted trees, which was relieved
at intervals by patches of cultivated land, but there was not so much
cultivation as might be expected to be found near the capital of

The armed guides were no longer considered necessary, and, therefore,
on the 10th May, they set out only with their Badagry and Jenna
messengers and interpreters. On leaving Atoopa, they, crossed a
river, which flowed by the foot of that town, where their travellers
overtook them, and they travelled on together. The country through
which the path lay, was uncommonly fine; it was partially cultivated,
abounding in wood and water, and appeared by the number of villages
which are scattered over its surface, to be very populous. As they
rode along, a place was pointed out to them, where a murder had been
committed about seven years ago, upon the person of a young man. He
fell a victim to a party of Borgoo scoundrels, for refusing to give
up his companion to them, a young girl, to whom he was shortly to be
married. They, at first endeavoured to obtain her from him by fair
means, but he obstinately refused to accede to their request, and
contrived to keep the marauders at bay, till the young woman had made
her escape, when he also ran for his life. He was closely pursued by
them, and pierced by the number of arrows which they shot at him; he
at length fell down and died in the path, after having ran more than
a mile from the place where the first arrow had struck him. By the
care with which this story is treasured up in their memory, and the
earnestness and horror with which it is related, the Landers were
inclined to believe, that although there is so great a fuss about the
Borgoo robbers, and so manifest a dread of them, that a minder on the
high-way is of very rare occurrence. When this crime was perpetrated,
the whole nation seemed to be terror-struck, and the people rose up
in arms, as if a public enemy were devastating their country, and
slaughtering its inhabitants without mercy. This is the only instance
they ever heard of a young man entertaining a strong attachment for a
female. Marriage is celebrated by the natives as unconcernedly as
possible. A man thinks as little of taking a wife as of cutting an
ear of corn; affection is altogether out of the question.

A village in ruins, and a small town called Nama, where they halted
for a short time, were the only inhabited places they passed through
during the day, till their entrance into the town of Leoguadda, which
was surrounded by a double wall, and in which they passed the night.
The governor happened to be in his garden on their arrival, so that
they were completely wearied with waiting for him, but as he did not
make his appearance, they themselves found a convenient and
comfortable hut; and though they were assailed by a volley of abuse
from the mouths of half a dozen women, they succeeded in sending them
away, and they remained in tranquil possession of their quarters. In
the centre of their yard was a circular enclosure without a roof,
within which was an alligator that had been confined there for seven
years. This voracious animal was fed with rats only, of which he
generally devoured five a day. One of the inhabitants perceiving that
John Lander was rather inquisitive, volunteered to go to a river in
the vicinity of the town, and to return in a few minutes with as many
young crocodiles as he might wish for; but as he had no opportunity
of conveying animals of that description through the country, he
declined the man's offer. The inhabitants of Leoguadda, having
probably no vegetable poison, make use of the venom of snakes on the
tips of their arrows. The heads of those serpents, from which they
extract this deadly substance, are exposed on the sticks, which are
thrust into the inside of the thatch of their dwellings as a kind of

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