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Lander's Travels by Robert Huish

Part 13 out of 15

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and his brother, Pascoe and the mulatto Ibrahim were the only two who
agreed to go, the rest of them refusing to a man. Richard said all he
could to them to change their determination; he talked to them half
an hour, telling them they were cowards, and that his life and that
of his brother were as good as theirs, but he could not make the
slightest impression upon them, and therefore told them to go out of
his sight, and that they would do without them. Partly, however, by
threats, and partly by bribes, the men agreed to accompany them,
although the impression could not be effaced from their minds, that
they were going where they should be murdered, or at least sold as

At length every thing being in readiness, they bade farewell to the
old chief, and several of the principal inhabitants came hurrying
down to the waterside to take their leave, to give them their
blessing, and to wish them a successful voyage. The men at first
paddled sluggishly, and the canoe went slowly through the water, for
which reason they were two hours before they reached the middle of
the river. A few miles from the town, they saw with emotions of
pleasure a seagull, which flew over their heads, which to them was a
most gratifying sight, for it reminded them forcibly of the object
which they had in view, and they fondly allowed it to confirm their
hopes, that they were drawing very near their journey's end.

For many miles they could see nothing but large, open, well-built
villages on both banks of the river, but more especially on the
eastern, yet they touched at none of these goodly places, but
continued their journey till the sun began to decline, when they
stopped at a small hamlet on an island, with the intention of
sleeping there, cut the inhabitants mistrusted their intentions, and
were alarmed at their appearance; they would not even grant them an
accommodation for the night, although they assured them, that the
most homely, the most shattered hut would answer their purpose;
fearing, however, that they might enforce their request, they did all
they could to induce them to proceed onwards a little further, when
they would arrive at a city of considerable importance called
Kacunda, where plenty of provisions could be obtained, and where the
inhabitants would pay the greatest attention to them.

Kacunda is situated on the western bank of the river, and at a little
distance, it has an advantageous and uncommonly fine appearance. The
only access to the town was by winding channels, that interspersed an
unwholesome swamp, nearly two miles in breadth. It was evening when
they arrived there, and the people at first were alarmed at their
appearance, but they were soon welcomed on shore by an old mahommedan
priest, who speedily introduced them into an excellent and commodious
hut, once the residence of a prince, but then the domicile of a

Kacunda, properly speaking, consists of three or four villages, all
of them considerably large, but unconnected, though situated within a
very short distance of each other. It is the capital of a state or
kingdom of the same name, which is quite independent of Nouffie, or
any other foreign power. The only dress that the natives wear, is a
piece of cotton cloth round the loins. The women wear small ear-rings
of silver, but use no paint, nor do they bedaub their persons with
any sort of pigment.

On the morning subsequently to their arrival, a large double bank
canoe arrived at Kacunda, and they shortly found that the king's
brother had come in her to pay them a visit. He was saluted on
landing with a discharge from five old rusty muskets. A messenger was
immediately despatched to the Landers, announcing that he was ready
to see them. Their meeting was very cordial, and they shook hands
heartily with him, and explained to him their business. He brought a
goat as a present, and in return Richard Lander presented him with a
pair of silver bracelets, but he did not appear to be much interested
about them, or indeed to care at all for them, but looking round
their room, he perceived several little things to which he took a
fancy, and which being of no value whatever to them, were readily
presented to him.

They had now become great friends, and he commenced giving them a
dreadful account of the natives down the river, and advised them by
no means to go amongst them, but return by the way they had come. He
said to them with much emphasis, "If you go down the river, you will
surely fall into their hands and be murdered." "Go we must," said
Richard Lander, "if we live or die by it, and that also on the
morrow." He was then asked if he would send a messenger with them,
for that he might ensure their safety, coming from so powerful a
person as the chief of Kacunda. But he replied directly, "No, if I
were to do such a thing, the people at the next town would assuredly
cut off his head;" but, he added, "if you will not be persuaded by me
to turn back, and save your lives, at least you must not leave this
by day light, but stop until the sun goes down, and then you may go
on your journey, you will then pass the most dangerous town in the
middle of the night, and perhaps save yourselves." He was asked, if
the people of whom he spoke had muskets, or large canoes. To which he
replied, "Yes, in great numbers, they are very large and powerful,
and no canoe can pass down the river in the day time, without being
taken by them and plundered; and even at night, the canoes from here
are obliged to go in large numbers, and keep close company with each
other to make a formidable appearance in case of their being seen by

The Landers had no reason whatever to doubt this information, and
being aware how little they could do, if they should be attacked by
these formidable fellows, they determined on going at night,
according to the custom of the natives, and proposed starting at four
o'clock on the evening of the morrow. The chief's brother was
apprised of their intentions, at which he seemed quite astonished,
and they doubted not that this determined conduct, which they had
every where shown, and apparent defiance of all danger, in making
light of the dreadful stories, which were related to them, had great
influence on the minds of the people, and no doubt inspired them with
a belief that they were supernatural beings, gifted with more than
ordinary qualifications. Having communicated their intentions to
their friend, and given him all the little trifling things he wished
for, he departed with the present for his brother the chief.

On the following day, he again paid them a visit, urging them by
every argument which he could think of, to defer their departure for
their own sakes for two or three days, in order that canoes might be
got ready to accompany them on their voyage, and he endeavoured again
to impress upon their minds the danger, which they should inevitably
incur, if they were determined to go alone. They, however, paid
little attention to his remarks, further than that they consented to
wait till the afternoon, for a man to accompany them in the capacity
of messenger, to the so much talked of Bocqua market, where, it was
asserted, they should be perfectly safe, and beyond which place the
people were represented as being less rapacious, so that little fear
was to be entertained from them. As the afternoon approached, they
inquired in vain for the promised guide, and when they found that the
chief, or rather his brother, felt no disposition whatever to redeem
his pledge, they made immediate preparations to leave the town, to
the manifest disappointment of the latter, who made a very dolorous
lament, and did all in his power, except employing actual force, to
induce them to change their resolution.

They now ordered Pascoe and their people to commence loading the
canoe, but the poor fellows were all in tears and trembled with fear;
one of them in particular, a native of Bonny, said, that he did not
care for himself, as his own life was of little consequence, all he
feared was, that his masters would be murdered, and as he had been
with them ever since they had left the sea, it would be as bad as
dying himself, to see them killed.

In pursuance of their plans, on the same afternoon, they bade adieu
to the inhabitants of Kacunda, and every thing having been conveyed
to the canoe, they embarked and pushed off the shore, in the sight of
a multitude of people. They worked their way with incredible
difficulty through the morass, before they were able to get into the
body of the stream, and being now fairly off they prepared themselves
for the worst. "Now," said Richard Lander, "my boys," as their canoe
glided down with the stream, "let us all stick together; I hope that
we have none amongst us, who will flinch, come what may."

They had proceeded some distance down the river, when seeing a
convenient place for landing, the men being languid and weary with
hunger and exhaustion, they halted on the right bank of the river,
which they imagined was most suitable for their purpose. The angry
and scowling appearance of the firmament forewarned them of a shower,
or something worse, which induced them hastily to erect an awning of
mats under a palm tree's shade. The spot for a hundred yards was
cleared of grass, underwood, and vegetation of all kinds: and very
shortly afterwards, as three of their men were straggling about in
the bush, searching for firewood, a village suddenly opened before
them; this did not excite their astonishment, and they entered one of
the huts which was nearest them, to procure a little fire. However,
it happened only to contain women, but these were terrified beyond
measure at the sudden and abrupt entrance of strange-looking men,
whose language they did not know, and whose business they could not
understand, and they all ran out in a fright into the woods, to warn
their male relatives of them, who were labouring at their usual
occupations of husbandry. Mean time, their men had very composedly
taken some burning embers from the fire, and returned to their
masters, with the brief allusion to the circumstance of having
discovered a village. This at the time was thought lightly of, but
they rejoiced that they had seen the village, and immediately sent
Pascoe, Ibrahim and Jowdie, in company to obtain some fire, and to
purchase some yams. In about ten minutes after, they returned in
haste, telling them that they had been to the village, and asked for
some fire, but that the people did not understand them, and instead
of attending to their wishes, they looked terrified, and had suddenly
disappeared. In consequence of their threatening attitudes, Pascoe
and his party had left the village, and hastened back to their

Totally unconscious of danger, the Landers were reclining on their
mats, for they too, like their people, were wearied with toil, and
overcome with drowsiness, when in about twenty minutes after their
men had returned, one of them shouted with a loud voice, "War is
coming, O war is coming!" and ran towards them with a scream of
terror, telling them, that the natives were hastening to attack them.
They started up at this unusual exclamation, and looking about them,
they beheld a large party of men, almost naked, running in a very
irregular manner, and with uncouth gestures, towards their little
encampment. They were all variously armed with muskets, bows and
arrows, knives, cutlasses, barbs, long spears, and other instruments
of destruction; and as they gazed upon this band of wild men, with
their ferocious looks and hostile appearance, which was not a little
heightened on observing the weapons in their hands, they felt a very
uneasy kind of sensation, and wished themselves safe out of their

Their party was at this time much scattered, but fortunately they
could see them coming to them at some distance, and they had time to
collect their men. They resolved, however, to prevent bloodshed, if
possible; their numbers were too few to leave them a chance of
escaping by any other way. The natives were approaching fast, and had
nearly arrived close to the palm tree. Not a moment was to be lost.
They desired Pascoe and all their men to follow behind them at a
short distance, with the loaded muskets and pistols; and they
enjoined them strictly not to fire, unless they were first fired at.
One of the natives, who proved to be the chief, was perceived to be a
little in advance of his companions, and throwing down their pistols,
which they had snatched up in the first moment of surprise, the two
Landers walked very composedly and unarmed towards him. As they
approached him, they made all the signs and motions they could with
their arms, to deter him and his people from firing on them. His
quiver was dangling at his side, his bow was bent, and an arrow,
which was pointed at their breasts, already trembled on the string,
when they were within a few yards of his person. This was a highly
critical moment--the next might be their last. But the hand of
Providence averted the blow, for just as the chief was about to pull
the fatal cord, a man that was nearest him rushed forward and stayed
his arm. At that instant the Landers stood before him, and
immediately held forth their hands; all of them trembling like aspen
leaves; the chief looked up full in their faces, kneeling on the
ground; light seemed to flash from his dark rolling eyes; his body
was convulsed all over, as though he was enduring the utmost torture,
and with a timorous, yet indefinable expression of countenance, in
which all the passions of human nature were strangely blended, he
drooped his head, eagerly grasped their proffered hands, and burst
into tears. This was a sign of friendship, harmony followed, and war
and bloodshed were thought of no more. Peace and friendship now
reigned amongst them, and the first thing that they did was, to lift
the old chief from the ground, and convey him to their encampment.

The behaviour of their men afforded them no little amusement, now
that the danger was past. Pascoe was firm to his post, and stood
still with his musket pointed at the chief's breast during the whole
of the time. He was a brave fellow, and he said to his masters, as
they passed him to their encampment with the old man, "If the _black_
rascals had fired at either of you, I would have brought the old
chief down like a guinea fowl." As for their two _brave_ fellows,
Sam and Antonio, they took to their heels, and scampered off as fast
as they could, directly they saw the natives approaching them over
the long grass, nor did they make their appearance again, until the
chief and all his people were sitting round them.

All the armed villagers had now gathered round their leader, and
anxiously watched his looks and gestures. The result of the meeting
delighted them, every eye sparkled with pleasure; they uttered a
shout of joy; they thrust their bloodless arrows into their quivers;
they ran about as though they were possessed of evil spirits; they
twanged their bowstrings, fired off their muskets; shook their
spears; clattered their quivers; danced, put their bodies into all
manner of ridiculous positions; laughed, cried, and sung in rapid
succession; they were like a troop of maniacs. Never was a spectacle
more wild and terrific. When this sally of passion to which they had
worked themselves, had subsided into calmer and more reasonable
behaviour, the Landers presented each of the war-men with a number of
needles, as a farther token of their friendly intentions. The chief
sat himself down on the turf, with one of the Landers on each side of
him, while the men were leaning on their weapons on his right and
left. At first, no one could understand what the Landers said, but
shortly after an old man made his appearance, who understood the
Houssa language. Him the chief employed as an interpreter, and every
one listened with anxiety to the following explanation given by the

"A few minutes after you first landed, one of my people came to me,
and said that a number of strange people had arrived at the market
place. I sent him back again to get as near to you as he could, to
hear what you intended doing. He soon after returned to me, and said
that you spoke in a language which he could not understand. Not
doubting that it was your intention to attack my village at night,
and carry off my people, I desired them to get ready to fight. We
were all prepared and eager to kill you, and came down breathing
vengeance and slaughter, supposing that you were my enemies, and had
landed from the opposite side of the river. But when you came to meet
us unarmed, and we saw your white faces, we were all so frightened
that we could not pull our bows, nor move hand or foot; and when you
drew near me, and extended your hands towards me, I felt my heart
faint within me, and believed that you were _Children of Heaven_, and
had dropped from the skies." Such was the effect that the Landers had
produced on him, and under this impression, he knew not what he did.
"And now," said he, "white men, all I want is your forgiveness."
"That you shall have most heartily," said the Landers, as they shook
hands with the old chief; and having taken care to assure him that
they had not come from so good a place as he had imagined, they
congratulated themselves, as well as him, that this affair had ended
so happily. For their own parts, they had reason to feel the most
unspeakable pleasure at its favourable termination, and they offered
up internally to their merciful Creator, a prayer of thanksgiving and
praise for his providential interference in their behalf. It was
indeed a narrow escape, and it was happy for them that their white
faces and calm behaviour produced the effect it did on these people;
in another minute their bodies would have been as full of arrows as a
porcupine's is full of quills.

They now ascertained that the place where they now were, was the
famous Bocqua market place, of which they had heard so much talk, and
that the opposite bank of the river belonged to the Funda country.
Their interpreter was an old Funda mallam, who understood the Houssa
language perfectly, and was come to Bocqua to attend the market,
which was held every nine days. The old mallam was asked the distance
from Bocqua to the sea, and he told them about ten days journey. The
Landers then pointed out the hills on the opposite side of the river,
and asked him, where they led to. "The sea," was his answer. "And
where do they lead to?" they inquired, pointing to those on the same
bank of the river as themselves. He answered, "They run along way in
the country we do not know." Their next concern was about the safety
of the river navigation, and they anxiously inquired his opinion of
it lower down, and whether there were any rocks or dangerous places.
As to the river navigation, he satisfied them by saying, that he knew
of no dangers, nor had he ever heard of any, but the people on the
banks, he said, were very bad. They asked him, if he thought the
chief would send a messenger with them, if they were to request him,
even one day's journey from this place. Without the least hesitation,
he answered: "No; the people of this country can go no further down
the river; if they do, and are caught, they will lose their heads."
Every town that he knew of on the banks of the river, was at war with
its neighbour, and all the rest likewise. They then asked him how far
Bornou was from Funda. To which, he replied, "Fifteen days journey."
Here their conversation was interrupted by the old chief, who wished
to return to the village, and the mallam was obliged to accompany
him. They likewise learnt from other persons, that directly opposite,
on the eastern bank, was the common path to the city of Funda, which,
as they had been told at Fof, was situated three days journey up the
Tshadda from the Niger; that the large river which they had observed
on their course, was the celebrated Shar, Shary, or Sharry of
travellers, or which is more proper than either, the Tshadda, as it
is universally called throughout the country. They were also informed
that the smaller stream which they passed on the 19th, flowing from
the same direction, was the _Coodania_.

On Wednesday the 27th October, they made preparations for starting,
and after experiencing rather hostile treatment from the natives,
they arrived at a village called Abbazacca, where they saw an English
iron bar, and feasted their eyes on the graceful cocoa-nut tree,
which they had not seen so long.

It was the intention of the chief of Abbazacca to send a man with
them as messenger, to a large town, of which he said that his brother
was governor, but on maturer reflection, he determined to accompany
them himself, expecting to obtain an adequate reward. In consequence
of the lightness of his canoe, and its superiority to the old one,
which they had got at Zagozhi, the chief passed them with the utmost
facility, and touched at various towns and villages, to inform their
inhabitants of the fact of the Christians journeying down the river,
and that they had come from a country he had never heard of.

In the course of the day they came abreast of a village of pretty
considerable extent, intending to pass it by on the other side; they
had, however, no sooner made their appearance, than they were lustily
hailed by a little squinting fellow, who kept crying out as loud as
is lungs would permit him: "Holloa! you Englishmen, you come here!"
They felt no inclination to obey the summons, being rather anxious to
get to the town mentioned to them by the chief of Abbazacca; and as
the current swept them along past the village, they took no notice of
the little man, and they had already sailed beyond the landing place,
when they were overtaken by about a dozen canoes, and the people in
them desiring them to turn back, for that they had forgotten to pay
their respects to the king. The name of the village was Damaggoo.
Being in no condition to force themselves from the men, who had
interrupted them with so little ceremony, they pulled with all their
strength against the current, and after an hour's exertion landed
amidst the cheers and huzzas of a multitude of people. The first
person they observed at the landing place, was their little friend in
the red jacket, whom they found out afterwards was a messenger from
the chief of Bonny.

Whilst a hut was preparing for them, they were conducted over a bog
to a large fetish tree, at the root of which they were made to sit
down, till the arrival of the chief, who made his appearance in a few
minutes, bringing with him a goat and other provisions as a present.
He put a great many questions respecting themselves and their
country, the places they had come from, their distance up the river,
and also concerning the river itself, and was astonished at their

They were now conducted through filthy streets of mud to a very
diminutive hut, which they found excessively warm, owing to the small
quantity of light and air, which were admitted into it only through a
narrow aperture, opening into a gloomy and dismal passage. The
appearance of the inside was better than that of the outside, being
rudely plastered with clay, and surrounded with indifferently carved
fetish figures, either painted or chalked a red colour.

As signs of European intercourse, with which the Landers, as it might
be reasonably supposed, were highly delighted, they received from the
chief as a present some fofo, a quantity of stewed goat, sufficient
for thirty persons, and _a small case bottle of rum_, a luxury which
they had not enjoyed since they left Kiama; the latter was a treat
that they did not expect, although it was of the most inferior kind.

Early on the morning of the 28th, the chief paid them a visit,
accompanied by a Nouffie mallam; he gave them a pressing invitation
to come and see him, which was readily accepted, and on proceeding
to the residence, they passed through a variety of low huts, which
led to the one in which he was sitting. He accosted them with
cheerfulness, and placed mats for them to sit upon, and rum was
produced to make them comfortable withal. He wished to know in what
way they had got through the country, for he had learnt that they had
come a long journey; and after having related to them some of their
adventures, he appeared quite astonished, and promised as far as he
was able to imitate those good men in the treatment of his guests.
When Antonio, their interpreter, explained to them that they were
ambassadors from the great king of white men, he seemed highly
delighted, and said, "Something must be done for you to-morrow;" and
left them to conjecture for a short time what that something would
be, but they soon learnt that he intended to make rejoicings with all
his people, that they would fire off their muskets, and pass a night
in dancing and revelry. He requested them to wait eight days longer,
when he expected his people back from the Bocqua market. "I think,"
he added, "that the chief of Bocqua's messenger and our people will
be a sufficient protection." The Landers readily assented to his
proposal, and told him that as all their presents were expended, they
would send him some from the sea coast, if he would allow a person to
accompany them thither, on whom he could depend to bring them back to
him. He expressed himself much gratified with this offer, and said
that his own son should accompany them, and that although his people
had never been lower down the river than to a place called Kirree,
about a day's journey from hence, he had no doubt that they should
reach the sea in safety. He then promised with solemnity, that he
would consent to their departure in the time that he had specified,
and having shaken hands, they parted.

The Landers, however, found that the old chief was not so punctual to
his word as they had a right to expect, for he was every day
consulting his fetish and his mallams, and they were all unanimous in
their opinion, that the departure of the white men should be delayed
for a short time. This to them was a most vexatious proceeding. Their
determination of departing was not, however, to be shaken, although
the entrails of some fowls which the chief consulted, declared that
the time of their departure was very inauspicious. According to the
chief's own arrangement, the people of the Landers were to embark in
the leaky canoe, with the heaviest of the luggage, and themselves
were to travel in one of the chief's canoes, and to take along with
them whatever was of most consequence. To this regulation they could
not raise any plausible objection, because their old canoe had been
partially repaired.

A little after four in the afternoon of the 4th November, their
luggage was conveyed to the river side, and they proceeded to load
the canoes. Long before five, every thing on their parts had been got
in readiness for quitting the town, and they sat in the canoe till
after sunset, waiting the arrival of the boatmen, who did not seem at
all disposed to hurry themselves in making their appearance. They
began at length to be wearied with anxiety, and impatient to be
stirring. Hundreds of people had been gazing on them for a long
while, many of whom had taken the pains to come, from different parts
of the town in boats for that purpose and the curiosity of all having
been amply indulged, they were moving off in all directions, so that
the Landers were almost deserted.

At length when their uneasiness was at its height, they saw the chief
advancing towards them with a train of followers. The mallam and all
his principal people were with him, bringing numerous jars of palm
wine. A mat was spread near the water-side, whereon the chief sat
himself, and the Landers were instantly desired to place themselves
one on each side of his person. The palm wine, and some rum were then
produced, and as they were about to take a long farewell of their
hospitable host, they drank of his offering, rather than give offence
by a refusal. They drank and chatted away until half-past six in the
evening, when they sent Pascoe on before them in their own old canoe,
telling him that they should overtake him. It was, however, nearly
dark before they were allowed to depart, and as they lay at a short
distance from the bank, all the fetish people walked knee deep into
the river, and muttered a long prayer, after which they splashed the
water towards their canoe with each foot, and then they proceeded
on their voyage.

On the following day, they observed a large market close to the banks
of the river, which they were informed was Kirree. A great number of
canoes were lying near the bank, and in a short time afterwards, they
saw about fifty canoes before them coming up the river. As they
approached each other, the Landers observed the British union flag in
several, while others, which were white, had figures on them of a
man's leg, chain, tables, and all kinds of such devices. The people
in them, who were very numerous, were dressed in European clothing,
with the exception of trousers.

The Landers felt quite overjoyed by the sight of these people, more
particularly when they saw the English flag and European apparel
amongst them, and they congratulated themselves that they were from
the sea coast. But all their fond anticipations vanished in a moment
as the first canoe met them. A great stout fellow, of a most
forbidding countenance beckoned Richard Lander to come to him, but
seeing him and all his people so well armed, Lander was not much
inclined to trust himself amongst them, and therefore paid no
attention to the call. The next moment, he heard the sound of a drum,
and in an instant several of the men mounted a platform and levelled
their muskets at them. There was nothing to be done now but to obey;
as for running away it was out of the question, their square loaded
canoe was incapable of it, and to fight with fifty war canoes, for
such they really were, containing each above forty people, most of
whom were as well armed as themselves, would have been throwing away
their own and their canoe men's lives very foolishly.

By this time the canoes were side by side, and with astonishing
rapidity the luggage of the Landers found its way into those of their
opponents. This mode of proceeding was not relished by them at all,
and Richard Lander's gun being loaded with two balls and four slugs,
he took deliberate aim at the leader, and he would have paid for his
temerity with his life in one moment more, had not three of his
people sprung on Lander, and forced the gun from his hands. His
jacket and shoes were now plundered from him, and observing some
other fellows at the same time taking away Pascoe's wife, Lander lost
all command over himself, and was determined to sell his life as
dearly as he could. He encouraged his men to arm themselves with
their paddles, and defend themselves to the last. He instantly seized
hold of Pascoe's wife, and with the assistance of another of his men
dragged her from the fellow's grasp. Pascoe at the same time levelled
a blow at his head with one of their iron-wood paddles, that sent him
reeling backwards, and they saw him no more.

Their canoe having been so completely relieved of their cargo, which
had consisted only of their luggage, they had plenty of room on her
for battle, and being each of them provided with a paddle, they
determined, as they had got clear of their adversary, to cut down the
first fellow who should dare to board them. This, however, was not
attempted, and as none of the other canoes had attempted to
interfere, Lander was in hopes of finding some friends amongst them,
but at all events, he was determined to follow the people who had
plundered them, to the market, whither they seemed to be going. They
accordingly pulled after them as fast as they could, and they were
following the canoe that had attacked them, with the utmost
expedition, when they were hailed by some people from a large canoe,
which was afterwards found to belong to the New Calabar River. One of
the people, who was apparently a person of consequence, called out
lustily, "Holloa, white men, you French, you English?" "Yes,
English," Lander answered immediately. "Come here in my canoe," he
said, and their two canoes approached each other rapidly. Lander got
into the canoe, and put three of his men into his own, to assist in
pulling her to the market. The people of the canoe treated him with
much kindness, and the chief gave him a glass of rum.

On looking round him, Lander now observed his brother coming towards
him, in the Damaggoo canoe, and the same villain, who had plundered
his canoe was also the first to pursue that of his brother. The canoe
in which Richard was, as well as the war canoes, hastened to a small
sand island in the river, at a short distance from the market, and
John Lander arrived soon afterwards. In a short time the Damaggoo
people made their appearance, and also the chief of Bonny's
messenger, having, like themselves, lost every thing they had of
their own property, as well as of their masters.

The canoes belonging to the Landers had been lying at the island, but
now the canoes were all formed into a line and paddled into the
market-place before alluded to, called Kirree, and here they were
informed that a palaver would be held to take the whole affair into
consideration; and accordingly, a multitude of men landed from the
canoes, to hold, as it may be termed, a council of war. The Landers
were not suffered to go on shore, but constrained to remain in the
canoes, without a covering for the head, and exposed to the heat of a
burning sun. A person in a muhommedan dress, who they learnt
afterwards was a native of a place near Funda, came to them and
endeavoured to cheer them, by saying that their hearts must not be
sore, that at the palaver which would be held, they had plenty of
friends to speak for them. In the mean time about twenty canoes full
of Damaggoo people had arrived from the various towns near that
place. These persons having heard how the Landers had been treated,
also became their friends, so that they now began to think there was
a chance of their escaping, and this intelligence put them into
better spirits.

A stir was now made in the market, and a search commenced through all
the canoes for their goods, some of which were found, although the
greater part of them were at the bottom of the river. Those were
landed and placed in the middle of the market-place. The Landers were
now invited by the mallams to land, and told to look at their goods,
and see if they were all there. To the great satisfaction of Richard
Lander, he immediately recognized the box containing their books, and
one of his brother's journals. The medicine chest was by its side,
but both were filled with water. A large carpet bag containing all
their wearing apparel was lying cut open, and deprived of its
contents, with the exception of a shirt, a pair of trousers, and a
waistcoat. Many valuable articles which it contained were gone. The
whole of Richard Lander's journal, with the exception of a note book,
with remarks from Rabba to Kirree, was lost. Four guns, one of which
had been the property of the late Mr. Park, four cutlasses, and two
pistols were gone. All their buttons, kowries, and needles, which
were necessary for them to purchase provisions with, all were
missing, and said to have been sunk in the river.

They were now desired to seat themselves, which as soon as they had
done, a circle gathered round them and began questioning them, but at
that moment the sound of screams and the clashing of arms reached the
spot, and the multitude catching fire at the noise, drew their
swords, and leaving the Landers to themselves, they ran away to the
place whence it proceeded. The origin of all this, was a desire for
more plunder on the part of the Eboe people. Seeing the few things of
the white men in the marketplace, they made a rush to the place to
recover them. The natives, who were Kirree people, stood ready for
them, armed with swords, daggers, and guns; and the savage Eboes
finding themselves foiled in the attempt, retreated to their canoes,
without risking an attack, although the Landers fully expected to
have been spectators of a furious and bloody battle.

This after all, was a fortunate circumstance, inasmuch as the two
brothers, having unconsciously jumped into the same canoe found
themselves in each other's company, and were thus afforded, for a
short time at least, the pleasure of conversing without interruption.

The palaver not having yet concluded, they had full leisure to
contemplate the scene around them. They had moored a little way from
the banks of the river; in front of them was the marketplace, which
was crammed with market people, from all parts of the neighbouring
country of different tribes: a great multitude of wild men, of
ferocious aspect and savage uncouth manners. To these belonged the
choice either of giving them life and liberty, or dooming them to
slavery or death. In the latter determination, their minds might be
swayed by suspicion or caprice, or influenced by hatred. In the
former, they might be guided by the hopes of gain, or biassed by the
fear of punishment; for many of them had come from the sea-coast; and
such an adventure as theirs could not long remain concealed from the
knowledge of their countrymen. There happened to be amongst the
savages, a few well-dressed mahommedan priests, who had come late to
the market from the northward. These were decidedly the friends of
the Landers. Many times they blessed them with uplifted hands and
compassionate countenances, exclaiming, "Allah sullikee," _God is
king_. Nor did they confine themselves to simple expressions of pity
or concern; but as they subsequently learnt, they joined the assembly
and spoke in their favour with warmth and energy, taxing those who
had assaulted them, with cowardice, cruelty, and wrong: and proposing
to have them beheaded on the spot, as a just punishment for their
crime. This was bold language, but it produced a salutary effect on
the minds of the hearers.

In the afternoon, the Landers were ordered to return to the small
island whence they had come, and the setting of the sun being the
signal for the council to dissolve, they were again sent for to the
market. The people had been engaged in deliberation and discussion
during the whole of the day; and with throbbing hearts they received
their resolution, in nearly the following words:--

"That the king of the country being absent, they had taken upon
themselves to consider the occurrence, which had taken place in the
morning, and to give judgment accordingly. Those of their things
which had been saved from the water, should be restored to them; and
the person, who first commenced the attack on the white men, should
lose his head, as a just retribution for his offence, having acted
without the chief's permission: that with regard to themselves, they
must be considered as prisoners, and consent to be conducted on the
following morning to Obie, king of the Eboe country, before whom they
were to undergo an examination, and whose will and pleasure
concerning their persons would then be explained."

They received this intelligence with feelings of rapture, and with
bursting hearts they offered up thanks to their divine Creator, for
his signal preservation of them throughout this disastrous day.

The Kirree people are a savage-looking race; they are amazingly
strong and athletic, and are also well proportioned. Their only
clothing is the skin either of a leopard or tiger fastened round
their waist. Their hair is plaited, and plastered with red clay in
abundance; and their face is full of incisions in every part of it;
these are cut into the flesh, so as to produce deep furrows, each
incision being about a quarter of an inch long and dyed with indigo.
It was scarcely possible to make out a feature of their face, and
never were individuals more disfigured. The Eboe women have handsome
features; and the Landers could not help thinking it a pity, that
such savage-looking fellows as the men should be blessed with so
handsome a race of females.


At sunrise on the 6th November, their canoe was taken from before
Kirree market-place, to the little sand bank or island in the middle
of the river, where they waited till nine o'clock for the coming of
two war canoes, which it was resolved should convoy them to the Eboe
country, which they understood was situated three days journey down
the Niger. At seven in the morning they bade adieu to Kirree, the
scene of all their sorrows, accompanied by six large war canoes, and
again took their station with the Damaggoo people. Independently of
their convoy, they had a sumpter canoe in company, belonging to the
Eboe people, from which the others were supplied with dressed
provisions. For their part, they had neither money nor needles, nor
indeed any thing to purchase a meal; and knowing this to be the case,
their sable guardians neglected to take into consideration the state
of their stomachs. However, they felt no very strong inclination to
join them in their repast, though on one occasion they were invited
to do so; for they felt an invincible disgust to it, from the filthy
manner in which it had been prepared. Yams were first boiled, and
then skinned, and mashed into a paste, with the addition of a little
water, by hands that were far from being clean. As this part of the
business requires great personal exertion, the man on whom it
devolved perspired very copiously, and the consequences may easily be
guessed at. In eating they use their fingers only, and every one dips
his hand into the same dish.

It was ten at night, when they came abreast of a small town, where
they stopped. It was long since they had tasted food, and they had
suffered from hunger the whole day, without being able to obtain any
thing. Soon after they had stopped for the night, their guards gave
each of them a piece of roasted yam, and their poor famished people
had also the good fortune to get some too, being the first they had
had since leaving Damaggoo. The roasted yam, washed down with a
little water, was to them as joyful a meal, as if they had been
treated with the most sumptuous fare, and they laid themselves down
in the canoe to sleep in content.

Long before sunrise on the 8th November, though it was excessively
dark, the canoes were put in motion; for as the Eboe country was said
to be at no great distance, the Eboe people who were with them, were
desirous of arriving there as early in the day as possible. It proved
to be a dull hazy morning, but at 7 o'clock the fog had become so
dense, that no object, however large, could be distinguished at a
greater distance than a few yards. This created considerable
confusion, and the men fearing, as they expressed it, to lose
themselves, tied one canoe to another, thus forming double canoes,
and all proceeded together in close company. The Landers wished to be
more particular in their observations of this interesting part of
their journey, but were constrained to forego that gratification, on
account of the superstitious prejudices of the natives, who were so
infatuated as to imagine, that the Landers had not only occasioned
the fog, but that if they did not sit or lie down in the canoe, for
they had been standing, it would inevitably cause the destruction of
the whole party, and the reason they assigned, was, that the river
had never beheld a white man before; and, therefore, they dreaded the
consequences of their rashness and presumption in regarding its
waters so attentively. This and similar nonsense was delivered with
such determination and earnestness, that they reluctantly laid down,
and allowed themselves to be covered with mats, in order to quiet
their apprehensions; for they did not forget that they were
prisoners, and that a perseverance in standing up, would have exposed
them to the mortification of being put down by force.

On the dispersion of the fog, the Landers were again permitted
to look at the river, and shortly afterwards one of the Eboe men in
their canoe, exclaimed, "There is my country;" pointing to a clump of
very high trees, which was yet at some distance before them, and
after passing a low fertile island, they quickly came to it. Here
they observed a few fishing canoes, but their owners appeared
suspicious and fearful, and would not come near them, though their
national flag, which was a British union, sewed on a large piece of
plain white cotton, with scollops of blue, was streaming from a long
staff on the bow. The town, they were told, was yet a good way down
the river. In a short time, however, they came to an extensive
morass, intersected by little channels in every direction, and by one
of these, they got into clear water, and in front of the Eboe town.
Here they found hundreds of canoes, some of them even larger than any
they had previously met with. When they had come alongside the
canoes, two or three huge brawny fellows, in broken English, asked
how they did, in a tone which Stentor might have envied; and the
shaking of hands with their powerful friends was really a punishment,
on account of the violent squeezes which they were compelled to
suffer. The chief of these men called himself _Gun_, though
_blunderbuss_ or _thunder_ would have been as appropriate a name; and
without solicitation, he informed them, that though he was not a
great man, yet he was a little military king; that his brother's name
was King _Boy_, and his father's King _Forday_, who, with King
_Jacket_, governed all the Brass country. But what was infinitely
more interesting to them, than this ridiculous list of kings, was the
information he gave them, that besides a Spanish schooner, an English
vessel, called the Thomas of Liverpool, was also lying in the first
Brass river, which _Mr. Gun_ said was frequented by Liverpool traders
for palm oil. Full of joy at this intelligence, they passed on to a
little artificial creek, where they were desired to wait till the
king's pleasure respecting them should be known. They were afterwards
drawn in a canoe over ooze and mud to a house, where, if the
countenance of their host had been at all in unison with the
agreeableness of his dwelling, they imagined that they could live at
ease in it, for a few days at least. The harshness, however, of this
man's manners, corresponded with his sulky, ill-natured face, and
deprived them of a good deal of pleasure, which they would have
enjoyed, in reposing at full length on dry, soft mats, after having
been cramped up for three days in a small canoe, with slaves and
goats, and exposed to the dews by night and the sun by day.

An hour or two of rest invigorated and refreshed them extremely, and
they then received a message from the king, that he was waiting to
see and converse with them. Having little to adjust in regard to
their dress, they rose up, and followed the messenger. Passing near
the outskirts of the town, the messenger conducted them, by paths
little frequented, to the outward yard of the palace, before the door
of which was placed the statue of a woman in a sitting posture, and
made of clay, of course, very rude and very ugly. Having crossed the
yard, in which they saw nothing remarkable, they entered by a wooden
door into another, which was far superior. From this enclosure they
were led into a third, which, like the former, had its porticoes.
Opposite the entrance was a low clay platform, about three feet from
the ground, which was overlaid with mats of various colours, a large
piece of coarse red cloth covering the whole, and at each of its
corners they observed a little squat figure, also of clay, but
whether they were intended to be males or females, it was impossible
to conjecture. Here they were desired to place themselves among a
crowd of half-dressed, armed men, who were huddled together on the
left of the platform, some sitting, and others standing, and awaiting
the coming of the prince. Their friend, Gun, was with them, and he
immediately claimed priority of acquaintance with them. He chatted
with amazing volubility, and in less than two minutes, he was on the
most familiar footing, slapping them with no small force just above
the knee, to give weight to his observations, and to rivet their
attentions to his remarks. Then, while they spoke, he would rest his
heavy arms on their shoulders, and laugh aloud at every word they
said, look very knowingly, and occasionally apply the palm of his
hand to their backs with the most _feeling_ energy, as a token of
encouragement and approbation. They wished him to answer questions
which concerned them nearly, but the only satisfaction they received,
was contained in the expression "O yes, to be sure," and this was
repeated so often, with an emphasis so peculiar, and with a grin so
irresistibly ludicrous, that in spite of their disappointment, they
were vastly entertained with him.

In this manner was the time beguiled, till they heard a door suddenly
opened on their right, and the dreaded Obie, king of the Eboe
country, stood before them. There was, however, nothing dreadful in
his appearance, for he was a sprightly young man, with a mild open
countenance, and an eye which indicated quickness, intelligence, and
good nature, rather than the ferocity which they were told he
possessed in an eminent degree. He received them with a smile of
welcome, and shook hands with infinite cordiality, often
complimenting them with the word, "Yes," to which his knowledge of
the English was confined, and which no doubt he had been tutored to
pronounce for the occasion.

Their story was related to the king in full by the Bonny messenger,
who had accompanied them from Damaggoo, whose speech, which nearly as
they could guess lasted two whole hours, was delivered in an
admirable manner, and produced a visible effect on all present. As
soon as it was over, they were invited by Obie to take some
refreshment; being in truth extremely hungry at the time, they
thankfully accepted the offer, and fish and yams, swimming in oil,
were forthwith brought them on English plates, the king retiring in
the meanwhile from motives of delicacy. When Obie returned, a general
conversation ensued, and he was engaged in talking promiscuously to
those around him till evening, when the "great palaver," as it was
called, was formally prorogued until the morrow, and presently after
the chief bade them good night, and retired.

On the following morning, they were visited by a number of the
inhabitants, who broke through every restraint to gratify their
desire of seeing them. This was what they naturally expected, yet
after all, they were much better behaved and less impatient, than
they had any reason to apprehend, and they departed with little
importunity, considering that they had not been in the habit of
bending to the will of prisoners and slaves, for such were the
Landers in reality.

About noon they were informed that their attendance was required at
the king's house, Obie being fully prepared, it was said, to resume
the hearing of their case, and examine the deposition of the Bonny
messenger and the Damaggoo people. On entering the principal yard or
court, in which they were introduced to the king on the preceding
day, a common English chair, covered with inferior red cloth, was
placed for the use of the king. He soon afterwards entered, his fat,
round cheeks were swelling with good humour, real or assumed, as he
shook hands with a sprightly air, when he instantly seated himself to
receive the prostrations and addresses of his subjects and others.

The business of the day was entered into with spirit, and a violent
altercation arose between the Brass and Bonny people, and although
not much was communicated to the Landers, of the conversation that
passed between them, yet a sufficiency was imparted to them to let
them know, that they would never leave the country without a high

Bonny was the real place of their destination, and they had with them
a messenger from the present and a son to the late ruler of that
state, (King Pepper,) whilst on the other hand, they knew nothing of
Brass, never having heard the name of such a river in their lives
before. The Brass people affirm that the Bonny Creek, which is a
small branch of the Niger, was dried up, and that the main river,
which runs to Brass, belongs to King Jacket, who permitted no
foreigners whatever to pass up and down the Niger, without exacting
the accustomed fees or duties. The Brass people, therefore, would
have a very plausible reason for taking them entirely out of the
hands of Obie and the Damaggoo people.

In the evening, Antonio and five other Bonny people came to their hut
with tears in their eyes. On asking them, what was the matter, "The
chief," they said, "is determined to sell you to the Brass people,
but we will fight for you, and die rather than see you sold." "How
many of you Bonny people are there?" Richard Lander asked. "Only
six," was the reply. "And can you fight with two hundred Brass
people?" Lander asked. "We can kill some of them," they answered,
"and your people can assist." Lander then asked Antonio the reason
why he did not interpret what was going forward to-day at the king's
house. He said, that he was afraid it would have made their hearts
sore--that it was "a bad palaver." "We have all been to the chief,"
he added, "crying to him, and telling him that black man cannot sell
white man, but he will not listen to us, he said, he would sell you
to the Brass people."

The Landers felt much hurt at their situation, for they did not
expect that it would be so bad as it turned out to be, but they made
up their minds to prepare themselves for the worst, for it was
impossible to foresee the lengths to which the savages would go. On
the following day, Richard Lander was taken very ill with the fever,
and was consequently unable to attend the summons to the king's
house, he therefore sent his brother in his stead, who gave the
following account:--

"On my arriving there this morning, to my infinite surprise I found
King Boy (Gun's eldest brother,) with a number of his attendants
already assembled. He was dressed in a style far superior to any of
his countrymen, and wore a jacket and waistcoat over a neat shirt of
striped cotton, to which was annexed a silk pocket handkerchief,
which extended below the knees. Trousers are not permitted to be
worn, either by natives or strangers, of the same hue as themselves,
the kings alone being an exception to the rule. Strings of coral and
other beads encircled his neck, and a pretty little crucifix of seed
beads hung on his bosom. This latter ornament, which has probably
been given him by a slave captain, had by no means an unbecoming
appearance. King Boy introduced himself to me with the air of a
person who bestows a favour, rather than soliciting acquaintance, and
indeed his vanity in other respects was highly amusing. He would not
suffer any one to sit between him and the platform, but squatted
himself down nearest the king's seat, which, as a mark of honour, had
been previously assigned to us; and with a volubility scarcely
imaginable, he commenced a long narrative of his greatness, power,
and dignity, in which he excelled all his neighbours, and to this I
was constrained to listen with assumed composure and attention for a
considerable time. To convince me of his veracity, he produced a
pocket book, containing a great number of recommendatory notes, or
'characters,' as a domestic would call them, written in the English,
French, Spanish, and Portuguese languages, and which had been given
him by the various European traders, who had visited the Brass River.
This practice of giving written characters, which has for some time
been adopted by Europeans, is both praiseworthy and useful, and it
has become almost universal on the western coast; because it is not
to be supposed that the natives themselves can understand these
documents, and strangers are made acquainted with their good or bad
qualities by them, and taught to discriminate the honest from the
unfaithful and malicious. Boy's letters mentioned certain dealings,
which their authors had had with him, and they likewise bore
testimony to his own character, and the manners of his countrymen.
Amongst others is one from a 'James Dow, master of the brig Susan,
from Liverpool,' and dated: '_Brass First River_, Sept. 1830,' which
runs as follows: "Captain Dow states, that he never met with a set of
greater scoundrels than the natives in general, and the pilots in
particular." These he anathematised as d----d rascals, who had
endeavoured to steer his vessel among the breakers at the mouth of
the river, that they might share the plunder of its wreck. King
Jacket, who claims the sovereignty of the river, is declared to be a
more confirmed knave, if possible, than they, and to have cheated him
of a good deal of property. The writer describes King Forday as a man
rather advanced in years, less fraudulent but more dilatory. King
Boy, his son, alone deserved his confidence, for he had not abused
it, and possessed more honour and integrity than either of his

"These are the rulers of the Brass River, and pretty fellows they
are, truly. Mr. Dow further observes, that the river is extremely
unhealthy, and that his first and second mates, three coopers, and
five seamen, had already died of fever, and that he himself had had
several narrow escapes from the same disorder. He concludes, by
cautioning traders against the treachery of the natives generally,
and gives them certain directions concerning 'the dreadful bar,' at
the mouth of the river, on which he had nearly perished.

"This business had been no sooner settled, than Obie entered the
yard, attended as usual, but clad indifferently in loose silks. After
the customary salutations, Boy directed the monarch to appeal to me,
that he might be satisfied in what estimation he was held by white
men. Of course I said a variety of fine things in his favour, which
were received with a very good grace indeed; but that a piece of
paper simply, which could neither speak, hear, nor understand, should
impart such information, was a source of astonishment and wonder to
Obie and his train, who testified their emotion in no other manner
than by looks of silly amazement, and repeated bursts of laughter.

"The king then said with a serious countenance, that there was no
necessity for further discussion respecting the white men, his mind
was already made up on the subject, and for the first time, he
briefly explained himself to this effect: That circumstances having
thrown us in the way of his subjects, by the laws and usages of the
country, he was not only entitled to our own persons, but had an
equal right to those of our attendants; that he should take no
further advantage of his good fortune, than by exchanging us for as
much English goods as would amount in value to twenty slaves. In
order to have this matter fairly arranged and settled, he should, of
his own accord, prevent our leaving the town, till such time as our
countrymen at Bonny or Brass should pay for our ransom, having
understood from ourselves that the English at either of those rivers,
would afford us whatever assistance we might require, with
cheerfulness and alacrity. Concerning the goods of which we had been
robbed at Kirree, he assured us he would use his utmost exertions to
get them restored. He lamented that circumstance more than any one,
but he denied that a single subject of his had any thing to do with
it, and attributed the whole of that unfortunate affair, to the
rashness and brutality of a certain people, that inhabited a country
nearly opposite to his own, whose monarch was his particular friend,
therefore, he apprehended little difficulty in seeing justice done
us; 'but then,' said he, 'it is necessary that you should wait here
for an indefinite time, till a council of that nation be held, when
the plunderers will be examined, and your claims established. The
Damaggoo people, that have come with you, have like yourselves
suffered much loss; for my own part, I shall make them a present of a
slave or two as a compensation, and they have my permission to go
along with you for the present, which I understand you have promised
their monarch, but you must not expect them to be your guides to the
sea, for their responsibility ends here.'

"When all this was interpreted to me by Antonio, I was thunderstruck.
It was in vain that I assured Obie that there was not the slightest
necessity for our detention in the town; that our countrymen would
redeem us the moment they should see us, but not before; and equally
unavailing were my solicitations for him to alter this arrangement
and suffer us to depart; but the tears of his subjects, and the
representations of the men at Brass, had made too deep an impression
upon his mind to be so easily eradicated. We found it too late either
to implore or remonstrate.

"This final decision of the king is a bitter stroke to us, for we
fondly indulged the hope of a more favourable issue, from the
deliberations of the savage council, at whose dissolution we expected
to be sent to the sea coast, without being perplexed with further
embarrassments. We have now to wait the return of a messenger from
thence, who has not yet been sent on his errand, and he is to bring
back with him the value of twenty slaves, ere we obtain our freedom.
Heaven only knows whether the masters of English vessels at Bonny or
Brass, have the ability or feel the disposition to ransom us. We only
know that if disposed of at all, we shall be sold for infinitely more
than we are worth.

"As may naturally be supposed, I returned home much depressed and
afflicted, to inform my brother of the result of the palaver, and he
was as greatly surprised and afflicted as myself at the intelligence.
But though we are full of trouble and uneasiness at our gloomy
situation, yet we do not repine at the divine dispensations of that
Almighty providence, which has comforted us in the hours of
adversity, and relieved us in times of pain and danger, and snatched
us from the jaws of death."

On the following morning, Richard Lander was rather convalescent, and
in truth they both wondered much that their health, generally
speaking, had been so good, when they reflected for a moment on the
hardships and privations, which they had lately undergone, the
perplexities in which they had been entangled, and the difficulties
with which they had had to contend.

During the few days that they had spent in this place, they had been
sadly in want of provisions, and their people, who for the first day
bore their privation in silence, have since then been loud in their
complaints. The constant fear which they entertained of being taken
away and sold, now, however, changed that lively feeling of
discontent into sullen-ness and despondency. What made the matter
still worse was the fact, that having lost their needles and kowries
at Kirree, they had not the means of purchasing any thing, although
the kowrie shell was not current where they then were. Obie was in
the habit of sending them a fowl, or a yam or two every morning, but
as they were ten in number, it made but a slender meal, and it was
barely sufficient to keep them from actual starvation. To stop, if
possible, the sullen murmurings of their people, they were now
reduced to the painful necessity of begging, but they might as well
have addressed their petitions to the stones and trees, and thereby
have spared themselves the mortification of a refusal. They never
experienced a more stinging sense of their own humbleness and
imbecility than on such occasions, and never had they greater need
of patience and lowliness of spirit. In most African towns and
villages, they had been regarded as demi-gods, and treated in
consequence with universal kindness, civility, and veneration; but
here, alas! what a contrast, they were classed with the most degraded
and despicable of mankind, and were become slaves in a land of
ignorance and barbarism, whose savage natives treated them with
brutality and contempt. It would be hard to guess whence these
unkindly feelings originated, but they felt that they had not
deserved them, yet the consciousness of their own insignificance
sadly militated against every idea of self-love or self-importance,
and taught them a plain and useful moral lesson. Although they made
the most charitable allowances for the Eboe people, they were,
notwithstanding, obliged to consider them the most inhospitable
tribe, as well as the most covetous and uncivil, that they were
acquainted with. Their monarch, and a respectable married female, who
had passed the meridian of her days, were the only individuals,
amongst several thousands, that showed them anything like civility or
kindness, and the latter alone acted, as they were convinced, solely
from disinterested motives.

All ranks of people here are passionately fond of palm wine, and
drank of it to excess, whenever they had an opportunity, which often
occurred, as great quantities of it are produced in the town and its
neighbourhood. It was a very general and favourite custom with them,
as soon as the sun had set, to hold large meetings and form parties
in the open air, or under the branches of trees, to talk over the
events of the day, and make merry with this exciting beverage. These
assemblies are kept up until after midnight, and as the revellers
generally contrive to get inebriated very soon after they sit down to
drink, the greater part of the evening is devoted to wrangling and
fighting, instead of convivial intercourse, and occasionally the most
fearful noises that it is possible for the mind to conceive.
Bloodshed, and even murder, it is said, not unfrequently terminate
these boisterous and savage entertainments. A meeting of this
description was held outside the yard of their residence every
evening, and the noise which they made was really terrifying, more
especially when the women and young people joined in the affray, for
a quarrel of some sort was sure to ensue. Their cries, groans, and
shrieks of agony were dreadful, and would lead a stranger to suppose,
that these dismal and piercing sounds proceeded from individuals
about to be butchered, or that they were extorted by the last pangs
of anguish and suffering. The Landers trembled with alarm for the
first night or two, imagining from these loud and doleful cries, that
a work of bloodshed and slaughter was in progress. They found it
useless to endeavour to sleep till the impression of the first wild
cry that was uttered, and the last faint scream had worn away. But by
degrees they became in some measure more reconciled to them, from the
frequency of their occurrence, or rather they felt less apprehension
than formerly, as to their origin; understanding with surprise that
they were only the effects of a simple quarrel, and excite from the
inhabitants no more than a casual remark, although it is said that in
fits of ungovernable passion, the most heinous crimes are consummated
in these frantic revels.

Their matronly female acquaintance, though excessively fat, was of
diminutive stature, and by her cheerful pleasantry she beguiled in
some degree the wearisomeness of the long evening hours, and banished
that _ennui_, which the disagreeableness of their situation had
partially induced, simply by her endeavours to do so. For not content
with paying them formal visits in the day time, she came into their
yard every night, instead of joining the orgies of her acquaintance,
accompanied by two or three friends of congenial natures, with the
very benevolent intention of pitying their misfortunes, and
dissipating their melancholy. Two or three slaves followed their
mistress into the yard, carrying a few bottles of their favourite
palm wine, and perhaps with a plate of bananas also, that the evening
might be passed more agreeably.

Their sleeping quarters were in a recess, which was elevated three or
four feet from the ground, and supported by wooden columns. It was
without a door, or indeed anything answering the same purpose, so
that they enjoyed the refreshing coolness of the evening air, with
the disadvantage of being gazed at by whoever had the curiosity to
enter their premises. They generally laid down shortly after sunset,
and presently their fat, jolly little friend, duck-like, comes
waddling into their yard, with her companions and slaves, to offer
them the evening salutations, and enter into the usual familiar
discourse. This was commonly preceded by a large potation of palm
wine, which was always relished with a loud and peculiar smack,
expressive of the pleasure and satisfaction afforded by so copious a
draught, and betokening also much internal warmth and comfort. The
officious slaves having spread mats for the purpose, directly in
front of their recess, their lady visitor and her associates,
together with their ill-natured host, who had by this time joined the
party, squatted themselves down in a circle, and under the
inspiration of the fermented juice, maintained a pretty animated
conversation, till the wine was all expended and sleep weighed their
eyelids down. For themselves they had little of any thing to say,
because the Landers were pretty nearly as ignorant of their language,
as they were of theirs, and interpretation is unfavourable to the
contagion of social felicity. Nevertheless, it was highly diverting
to watch the influence of the palm wine on their looks, language, and
ideas. The flushed countenance is invisible in a black lady, but then
she has the liquid and unsettled eye, the proneness to talk with
irresistible garrulity, the gentle simper, or the bursting laugh at
any trifle, or at nothing at all; and to wind up the list of
symptoms, she has that complaisant idea of her own good points, and
superior qualifications, which elicit her own approbation, without
exciting the applauses of her associates, and which distinguishes the
inexperienced male reveller in every part of the globe. All these
were observable in their talkative little friend, as well as in her
companions. It was also a relief to contemplate from their resting
place, the peace and harmony of the little party before them, so
entirely different from the boisterous one without; because it gave
them a comfortable sense of their own security, which they should not
certainly have entertained, had they been left to their own
reflections, and when, after a good deal of turning and restlessness
they at length fell into a disagreeable and unrefreshing dose, and
were attacked by that hideous phantom, nightmare, which was often the
case; starting up in fright from the assassin's knife, which they
could scarcely persuade themselves to be unreal; it was pleasant to
fix their eyes upon their comical little visitor, with her round
shining face, and her jolly companions; all apprehension of mischief
immediately vanished, and a truly pleasing effect was produced upon
their minds and spirits. The breaking up of the party on the outside,
was a signal for their friends also to depart. When rising from her
mat, the mistress, after shaking hands, wished them good night in a
thick tremulous tone, and waddled out of their yard in a direction,
which Hogarth denominates the line of beauty, she returned home to
her husband, who was a valetudinarian. Thus passed their evenings,
and thus much of their solitary Eboe friend.


In addition to the value of twenty slaves, which the king of Eboe
demanded from them, they now heard that King Boy required the value
of fifteen casks of palm oil, which is equal to fifteen slaves, for
himself, and as payment for the trouble he and his people will have
in conducting them to the English vessel. He said, that he must take
three canoes and one hundred and fifty people, and, therefore, it was
impossible that he could do with less. The chief then said, that if
they did not consent to give King Boy a _book_ for all this money, he
should send them into the interior of the country to be sold, and
that they never should see the sea again. It was now seen that they
had no alternative, and they considered it most prudent to give him
the bill, not intending, however, on their arrival at the sea, to
give him more than twenty common trade guns, to pay this chief and
all other expenses. King Boy was to give Obie five pieces of cloth
and one gun as part payment; the remainder was to be paid on his
return, after having delivered them up to the brig. The Landers and
all their people were now in high spirits, at the prospect of leaving
this place and obtaining their freedom, for they had so much faith in
the character of the English, that they entertained not the slightest
doubt that the captain of the brig would most willingly pay the
ransom money.

Towards evening, Obie in his showy coral dress came barefooted to
their hut, for the purpose of inspecting their books and examining
the contents of their medicine chest. His approach was announced to
them by the jingling of the little bells which his feet. He appeared
greatly pleased with every thing they said, and looked aghast when
informed of the powerful properties of some of the medicines, which
ended in a fit of laughter. He expressed a strong desire to have a
little, especially of the purgatives, and there being no objection on
the part of the Landers, they supplied him with a good strong dose of
jalap, which had the same affect as it had had upon the sultan of
Yaoorie and family. Obie was evidently fearful of their books, having
been informed that could "tell all things," and appeared to shrink
with horror at which was offered him, shaking his head, saying, that
he must not accept it, for that it was good only for white men,
"Whose God was not his God." The visit was of very short duration,

On the following day, they found King Boy in the inner yard of the
king's house, and from his significant physiognomy, they conjectured
that he had something of consequence to communicate. Obie received
them with his accustomed politeness and jocularity, but instantly
directed his attention and discourse to King Boy, who maintained an
earnest and pretty animated conversation with him for some time. The
Bonny people were in attendance and weeping. As the Landers were
frequently pointed out and named, they had no doubt whatever that it
was chiefly concerning themselves, which opinion was soon after
confirmed. As if the parties had some secret to discuss, which they
did not wish either their attendants or those of the Landers to
overhear, they retired to the middle court, where having conversed
for a time by themselves, they returned with anxious looks to resume
their conversation. This was repeated twice, after which, as it was
subsequently understood, Obie briefly related in a loud voice the
result of this extraordinary conference, and all present, except the
men of Bonny, shouted simultaneously the monosyllable "Yah," as a
token of their approbation.

In the mean time, from anxiety to be made acquainted with what had
transpired respecting themselves, they felt rather impatient and
uneasy, the answer of King Boy to their repeated interrogations
having been only "Plenty of bars," the meaning whereof they were
grievously puzzled to define. But shortly after the termination of
the palaver, how transported were they to hear the last mentioned
individual explain himself in broken English to this effect: "In the
conversation, which I have just had with Obie, I have been induced to
offer him the goods, which he demands for your ransom, on the faith
that they be hereafter repaid me by the master of the brig Thomas,
which is now lying in the first Brass, River, and that the value of
fifteen bars or slaves be added thereto in European goods, and
likewise a cask of rum, as a remuneration for the hazard and trouble
which I shall inevitably incur in transporting you to Brass. If you
consent to these resolutions, and on these only will I consent to
redeem you, you will forthwith give me a bill on Captain Lake, for
the receipt of articles to the value of thirty-five bars, after which
you will be at liberty to leave this place, and to go along with me,
whenever you may think proper, agreeably to the understanding at
present existing between Obie and myself."

This was delightful news indeed, and they thanked King Boy over and
over again for his generosity and nobleness, for they were too much
elated at the time to reflect on the exorbitant demands which had
been imposed upon them. Without hesitation they gave him a bill on
Mr. Lake; indeed there was not anything which they would not have
done, rather than lose the opportunity of getting down to the sea,
which seemed so providentially held out to them.

Obie perceived by the great and sudden change in their countenances,
the joy which filled their breasts, and having asked them whether
they were not pleased with his arrangements, in the fullness of their
hearts, he exacted from them a promise, that on returning to England,
they would inform their countrymen that he was a good man, and that
they would pay him a visit whenever they should come again into the

When King Boy came for his _book_, it was given to him, and he wished
to send it down to the brig, to know if it was good. This was no more
than what was to be expected, so he was informed, the book would be
of no use, unless they were sent along with it, and that the captain
would not pay it, before he had taken them on board, on which he put
the bill into his pocket-book. They then bade him farewell, and he
took leave of them in a kind and cordial manner.

Fearing that something might yet occur to detain them, and ultimately
to change the king's resolution altogether, they were most eager to
get out of the reach of him and his people as quickly as possible.
Therefore they lost not a moment in hastening to their lodgings, and
having sent their people on board Boy's canoe, they hurried after
them immediately, and embarked at three in the afternoon, and thus
terminated four of the most wretched days of their existence. They
were unable to take along with them their own old leaky and shattered
canoe, as it would detain them very much, from being so heavy to move
along. The Damaggoo people accompanied them in their own canoe, and
every thing was arranged for their departure at an early hour on the
following day. The Brass canoe, which was now become their dwelling,
was extremely large, and heavily laden. It was paddled by forty men
and boys, in addition to whom there might be about twenty
individuals, or more, including a few slaves and themselves, so that
the number of human beings amounted altogether to sixty.

Like Obie's war canoes, it was furnished with a cannon, which was
lashed to the bow, a vast number of cutlasses, and a quantity of
grape and other shot, besides powder, flints, &c. It contained a
number of large boxes or chests, which were filled with spirituous
liquors, cotton, silk goods, earthenware, and other articles of
European and other foreign manufactures; besides abundance of
provisions for present consumption, and two thousand yams for the
master of a Spanish slaver, which was then lying in Brass River. In
this canoe three men might sit abreast of each other, and from the
number of people which it contained, and the immense quantity of
articles of various descriptions, some idea of its size may be
formed. It was cut out of a solid trunk of a tree, and drew four feet
and a half of water, being more than fifty feet in length. It was,
however, so deeply laden, that not above two inches of the canoe were
to be seen above the water's edge. With its present burden, it would
have been impossible for her to sail on any river less smooth than
the Niger, and even as it is, when it comes to be paddled, some
danger exists of its being swamped. It was really laughable to
reflect that the canoe was supplied with two speaking trumpets,
which, considering the stentorian lungs of the men of Brass, were
entirely superfluous, and that she was commanded by regularly
appointed officers, with sounding titles, in imitation of European
vessels, such as captain, mate, boatswain, coxswain, &c. besides a
cook and his minions. These distinctions are encouraged by King Boy,
whose vanity and consequence even in the most trifling concerns, were
irresistibly diverting. The Landers determined to sleep in the canoe
that night, notwithstanding the want of room would render it an
intolerable grievance. Previously to embarking, they had taken a
little boiled yam with palm oil at Obie's house, and they remained
two hours lying on the bank. At seven in the evening they settled
themselves for the night, but found that they were exceedingly
cramped up for want of room, occasioned by the yams being stowed

During the night a great tumult arose between the natives and the men
of Brass, which might have had a serious and fatal termination, if
the latter had not taken timely precaution to convey their canoe from
the beach into the middle of the stream, whither the natives could
not follow them. The former had flocked down to the water's edge in
considerable numbers, armed with muskets, spears, and other offensive
weapons, and kept up a dreadful noise, like the howling of wolves,
till long after midnight; when the uproar died away King Boy slept on
shore with his wife Adizzetta, who was Obie's favourite daughter, and
on her account they waited till between seven and eight o'clock in
the morning, when she made her appearance with her husband, who, they
understood, had embraced the present opportunity of making an
excursion with her to his native country, to vary her life a little
by a change of air and scene, and to introduce her to his other wives
and relatives residing at Brass. She had besides expressed a desire
to see white men's ships, and it was partly to gratify her curiosity
in this particular that she was going with them. On stepping into the
canoe, with a spirit of gallantry, Boy handed her to the best seat,
which was a box, close to which he himself sat, and which the
Landers, from motives of delicacy, had relinquished in her favour.
Her face was towards the bow, whilst the two Landers sat directly
_vis-a-vis_ on a heap of yams, but they were So close to the opposite
party that their legs came in continual contact, which threatened to
produce much inconvenience and confusion. They were still further
detained by removing various heavy articles into another canoe, which
was lying alongside, because the canoe in which they were was
pronounced too deeply laden to be safe, but after all she did not
appear to be lightened very considerably. This being all
accomplished, at half-past seven they pushed off the Eboe shore, and
for a little while, with forty paddles dashing up the silvery foam at
the same moment, they glided through the water with the speed of a
dolphin. To the Landers it was altogether a scene of considerable

"The eyes of man," says Richard Lander, "are so placed in his head,
that it has been frequently observed, whether sitting or standing, he
can behold earth and sky at the same moment without inconvenience,
which is an advantage, I believe, that no other animal possesses in
an equal degree, if it does at all. As I was reflecting on this
circumstance I happened to cast my eyes towards the horizon, to
convince myself of its reality, when I found the tall, masculine
figure of Obie's favourite daughter intercepted it entirely from my
view. Being thus balked for a moment in my intentions, I was
instantly diverted from them, and I deemed the opportunity favourable
for studying the physiognomy and person of King Boy's 'ladye love.'
Adizzetta may be between twenty and thirty years of age,[Footnote:
There is a discrepancy in the account given by Lander respecting Obie
and Adizzetta, which we cannot reconcile. Obie is represented to be a
sprightly _young_ man, and yet his favourite daughter Adizzetta is
married, and between 20 and 30 year of age. Obie then could not be a
_young_ man.] or perhaps younger, for she takes snuff, and females
arrive at womanhood in warm countries much sooner than in cold ones.
Her person is tall, stout, and well proportioned, though it has not
dignity sufficient to be commanding; her countenance is round and
open, but dull and almost inexpressive; mildness of manners, evenness
of temper, and inactivity of body also, might notwithstanding, I
think be clearly defined in it; on the whole she has a perfect
virginity of face, which betrays not the smallest symptoms of
feeling. Her forehead is smooth and shining as polished ebony, but it
is rather too low to be noble; her eyes full, large, and beautiful,
though languid; her cheeks of a dutch-like breadth and fullness; her
nose finely compressed, but not quite so distinguished a feature as
the negro nose in general; there is a degree of prettiness about her
mouth, the lips not being disagreeably large, which is further
embellished by a set of elegant teeth, perfectly even and regular,
and white as the teeth of a greyhound; her chin--but I am unable to
describe a chin; I only know that it agrees well with the other
features of her face.

"Adizzetta seldom laughs, but smiles and simpers most engagingly,
whenever she is more than ordinarily pleased, and she seems not to be
unconscious of the powerful influence which these smiles have over
the mind of her husband. Her dress and personal charms may be
described in a few words; the former consisting simply of a piece of
figured silk, encircling the waist, and extending as far as the
knees; her woolly hair, which is tastefully braided, is enclosed in a
net, and ends in a peak at the top; the net is adorned, but not
profusely, with coral beads, strings of which hang from the crown to
the forehead. She wears necklaces of the same costly bead; copper
rings encircle her fingers and great toes; bracelets of ivory her
wrists, and enormous rings, also, of the elephant's tusks decorate
her legs, near the ankle, by which she is almost disabled from
walking, on account of their ponderous weight and immense size. I had
almost finished the scrutiny of her person, when Adizzetta, observing
me regarding her with more than common attention, at length caught my
eye, and turned away her head, with a triumphant kind of smile, as
much as to say, Aye, white man, you may well admire and adore my
person; I perceive you are struck with my beauty, and no wonder
neither: yet I immediately checked the ill-natured construction,
which I had put on her looks, and accused myself of injustice. For
though, said I to myself, Adizzetta, poor simple savage, may be as
fond of admiration as her white sisters in more civilized lands, yet
her thoughts, for aught I know, might have been very remote from
vanity or self-love. However, that she smiled I am quite certain, and
very prettily too, for I saw a circling dimple, radiating upon her
full, round cheek, which terminated in a momentary gleam of
animation, and illuminate her dark languishing eye, like a flash of
light; and what could all this mean I had forgotten to say that the
person of Obie's daughter is tattooed in various parts, but the
incisions or rather lacerations are irregular and unseemly. Her bosom
in particular bears evident marks of the cutting and gashing, which
it had received when Adizzetta was a child, for the wounds having
badly healed, the skin over them is risen a full half inch above the
natural surface. By the side of each eye, near the temple vein, a
representation of the point of an arrow is alone formed with
tolerable accuracy. They look a though indigo had been inserted into
the flesh with a needle, and by this peculiarity, with which every
female face is impressed, the Eboe women are distinguished from their
neighbours and surrounding tribes.

"Before breakfast, Adizzetta was employed above an hour in cleaning
and polishing her teeth, by rubbing them with the fibrous roots of a
certain shrub or tree, which are much esteemed, and generally used
for the purpose in her own country, as well as in the more interior
parts. A great part of the day is consumed by many thousands of
individuals in this amusing occupation, and to this cause, the
brilliant whiteness of their teeth, for which Africans, generally
speaking, are remarkable, may be attributed." Such is Lander's
description of an African beauty, and that beauty a queen.

About ten in the morning, a mess of fish, boiled with yams and
plantains, was produced for breakfast. As King Boy was fearful that
the presence of the Landers might incommode the lady, they were
desired to move farther back, that she might eat with additional
confidence and comfort, for alas! they were not placed on an equality
with Adizzetta and her kingly spouse. When they had breakfasted and
swallowed a calabash of water from the stream, the Landers were
served with a plateful, and afterwards the boat's crew and the slaves
were likewise regaled with yams and wafer. In the evening, another
refreshment, similar to this, was served round to all, and these are
the only meals which the men of Brass have during the twenty-four
hours. Before eating, Boy himself made it a practice of offering a
small portion of his food to the spirits of the river, that his
voyage might be rendered propitious by conciliating their good will.
Previously also to his drinking a glass of rum or spirits, he poured
a few drops of it into the water, invoking the protection of these
fanciful beings, by muttering several expressions between his teeth,
the tenor of which, of course, they did not understand. This
religious observance, they were told, was invariably performed,
whenever the Brass people have occasion to leave their country by
water, or return to it by the same means; it is called a meat and
drink offering, and is celebrated at every meal. A custom very
similar to this prevails at Yarriba, at Badagry, Cape Coast Castle,
and along the western coast generally; the natives of those places
never take a glass of spirits without spilling a quantity of it on
the ground as "a fetish." In the morning, they observed a branch of
the river running off in a westerly direction, the course of the main
body being southwest.

They stopped awhile at various little villages during the day, to
purchase yams, bananas, and cocoa-nuts, and the curiosity of their
poor inhabitants at their appearance was intense. They were chiefly
fishermen or husbandmen, and notwithstanding the uncouth and
remarkable dress of the Landers, they behaved to them without
rudeness and even with civility, so that their inquisitiveness was
not disagreeable. Speaking trumpets, it was imagined, were quite a
novelty with the men at Brass, by the extraordinary rapture which
they displayed for their music, which certainly was anything but
melodious. It has been already stated that two of these instruments
were in the canoe, for the convenience of issuing orders, and during
the whole of the day, they were not ten minutes together from the
mouths of the officers, so great was the desire of all of them to
breathe through them, and which adds considerably to the deafening
noises made by their constant quarrelling with each other. This was a
great annoyance to the Landers, but they were constrained to submit
to it in silence; besides, it was entirely superfluous, for the
voices of the people were of themselves loud and powerful enough for
all the common purposes of life; and when they have a mind to strain
their brazen lungs, no speaking trumpet that has ever been made, be
it ever so large, could match the quantity of horrid sound which they
made; it would, in fact, drown the roaring of the sea.

In addition to the officers and attendants in the canoe formerly
mentioned, they had one drummer, the king's steward, and his lady's
maid, and two persons to bale out water, besides three captains, to
give the necessary directions for the safety of the canoe. The noise
made by these people on their starting, in bawling to their fetish
through the trumpets, was beyond all description. Their object was to
secure them a safe journey, and most certainly, if noise could do so,
they were pretty certain of it.

The villages that they passed in the course of the day, were very
numerous, and not distant more than two or three miles from each
other, on the banks of the river. They were surrounded by more
cultivated land than they had seen for the previous fortnight; the
crops consisting of yams, bananas, plantains, indian corn, &c. &c.,
not having seen so much since they left Kacunda. The villages had a
pleasing appearance from the river. The houses seemed to be built of
a light-coloured clay, and being thatched with palm branches, they
very much resembled our own cottages. They were of a square form,
with two windows on each side of the door, but have no upper rooms.

In many places they observed that the river had overflowed its banks,
and was running between the trees and thick underwood. In the widest
part, it did not seem more than a mile and a half across, in fact,
its width, contrary to the usual course of rivers, when approaching
the sea, was sensibly diminishing, and was dwindling away into an
ordinary stream.

"Perhaps," says Richard Lander, "there cannot be a greater comfort
under the sun, than sound and invigorating sleep to the weary, nor in
our opinion, a greater grievance than the loss of it; because
wakefulness at those hours, which nature has destined for repose, is,
in nine cases out of ten, sure to be the harbinger of peevishness,
discontent, and ill humour, and not unfrequently induces languor,
lassitude, and disease. No two individuals in the world have greater
reason to complain of disturbed slumbers or nightly watching, than
ourselves. Heretofore, this has been occasioned chiefly by exposure
to damps, rains, and dews, mosquito attacks, frightful and piercing
noises, and over-fatigue, or apprehension or anxiety of mind. But
now, in the absence of most of these causes, we are cramped,
painfully cramped for want of room, insomuch, that when we feel
drowsy, we find it impossible to place ourselves in a recumbent
posture, without having the heavy legs of Mr. and Mrs. Boy, with
their prodigious ornaments of ivory, placed either on our faces or on
our breasts. From such a situation it requires almost the strength of
a rhinoceros to be freed; it is most excessively teasing. Last night
we were particularly unfortunate in this respect, and a second attack
of fever, which came on me in the evening, rendered my condition
lamentable indeed, and truly piteous. It would be ridiculous to
suppose, that one can enjoy the refreshment of sleep, how much soever
it my be required, when two or more uncovered legs and feet, huge,
black, and rough, are traversing one's face and body, stopping up the
passages of respiration, and pressing so heavily upon them at times,
as to threaten suffocation. I could not long endure so serious an
inconvenience, but preferred last night sitting up in the canoe. My
brother was indisposed, and in fact unable to follow my example, and
therefores I endeavoured, if possible, to render his situation more
tolerable. With this object in view, I pinched the feet of our
snoring companions, Mr. and Mrs. Boy, repeatedly, till the pain
caused them to awake, and remove their brawny feet from his face, and
this enabled him to draw backwards a few inches, and place his head
into a narrow recess, which is formed by two boxes. However, this did
not allow him liberty to turn it either way, and thus jammed, with no
command whatever over his suffering limbs, he passed the hours
without sleep, and arose this morning with bruised bones and sore
limbs, complaining bitterly of the wretched moments, which the legs
of Mr. and Mrs. Boy had caused him, with their ivory rings and heaps
of yams."

They now arrived at a convenient place for stopping awhile, to give
their canoe men rest from their labour, and at day break they
launched out again into the river, and paddled down the stream. At
seven in the morning, Boy and his wife having landed to trade, the
Landers took advantage of their absence and slept soundly for two
hours, without the risk of being disturbed by the brawny legs of
either the gentleman or lady.

They continued their course down the river until two hours after
midnight, when they stopped near a small village on the east side of
the river. They made fast to the shore, and the people settled
themselves in the canoe to sleep. Having sat up the whole of the
previous night, for the best of all reasons, because they could find
no room to lie down, in consequence of the crowded state of the
canoe, and feeling themselves quite unequal to do the same, the
Landers took their mats and went on shore, determined if possible, to
sleep on the ground. Overcome by fatigue, the fear of being attacked
by alligators, or any thing else, they selected a dry place and laid
themselves down on their mats. They had nearly dropped asleep, when
they were roused by several severe stings, and found themselves
covered with black ants. They had got up their trousers, and were
tormenting them dreadfully. At first they knew not which way to get
rid of them. Their men, Pascoe, Sam, and Jowdie, seeing the condition
they were in, landed from the canoe, and made large fires in the form
of a ring, and they laid down in the midst of them and slept till
daylight. The sting of a black ant is quite as painful as that of a

Towards the evening of the following day, they departed from the main
river, and took their course up a small branch towards Brass Town,
running in a direction about southeast from that which they had just
left. They had not proceeded far on this course, when to their great
satisfaction, they found themselves influenced by the tide. They had
previously observed an appearance of foam on the water, which might
have been carried up by the flood tide from the mouth of the river,
but they now felt certain of being within its influence. They were
constantly annoyed by the canoe running aground on a bank, or
sticking fast in the underwood, which delayed their progress
considerably, and the men were obliged to get out to lighten and lift
the canoe off them. Their tract was through a narrow creek, arched
over by mangroves, so as to form a complete avenue, which in many
places was so thick as to be totally impenetrable by the light above.
A heavy shower of rain came on and wetted them thoroughly, and after
this was over, the dripping from the trees, which overhung the canoe,
kept them in constant rain nearly the whole of the night. The smell
from decayed vegetable substances was sickly and exceedingly

Through these dismal and gloomy passages, they travelled during the
whole of the night of the 15th November without stopping, unless for
a few minutes at a time, to disengage themselves from the pendant
shoots of the mangrove and spreading brambles, in which they
occasionally became entangled. These luxuriant natives of the soil
are so intricately woven, that it would be next to impossible to
eradicate them. Their roots and branches are the receptacles of ooze,
mud, and filth of all kinds, exhaling a peculiar offensive odour,
which no doubt possesses highly deleterious qualities.

The reason adduced for not resting during the night, was the
apprehension entertained by King Boy, of being unable to overtake his
father and brothers, they having left the Eboe country the day before
them. A certain spot had been previously fixed upon by the parties
for the meeting, and they arrived there about nine o'clock a.m., and
found those individuals in three large canoes, with their attendants,
waiting their arrival. Here they stopped, and made their canoes fast
to the trees, to take refreshment, such as it was, and half an hour's
rest; and here they were introduced to the renowned King Forday, who
according to his own account is monarch of the whole country. In one
of the canoes sat old King Forday, in company with several fetish
priests; the second canoe belonged to King Boy, and the third was Mr.
Gun's. These canoes had come thus far for the purpose of escorting
them into their country.

King Forday was a complaisant venerable-looking old man, but was
rather shabbily dressed, partly in the European and partly in the
native style. Like most savages, his fondness for spirituous liquors
was extreme, and he took large potations of rum in their presence,
though it produced no visible effect upon his manner or conversation.
In the jollity of the moment, he attempted to sing, but his weak
piping voice did not seem to second his inclination, and the sound
died away from very feebleness. His subjects, however, amounting to
nearly two hundred individuals, testified their approbation of the
effort by a tremendous "Yah!" shouted simultaneously by every voice,
which sounded like the roar of a lion.

During the time that they had been at breakfast, the tide ebbed, and
left their canoes lying on the mud. Breakfast being over, the fetish
priests commenced their avocations, by marking the person of King Boy
from head to foot with chalk, in lines, circles, and a variety of
fantastic figures, which so completely metamorphosed him, as to
render his identity rather questionable, at the distance of only a
few yards. His usual dress had been thrown aside, and he was allowed
to wear nothing but a narrow silk handkerchief tied round his waist;
on his head a little close cap was placed, made of grass, and
ornamented with large feathers. These they found to be the wing
feathers of a black and white buzzard, which is the fetish bird of
Brass Town. Two huge spears were also chalked and put into his hands,
and thus equipped his appearance was wild and grotesque in the
extreme. The same operation was performed on the rest of the party,
and the fetish priests were chalked in the same manner. The people
belonging to the Landers were merely marked on the forehead, and the
Landers themselves, perhaps from being already white, although their
faces were not a little tanned, were exempted from the ceremony.

They were now ordered into King Forday's canoe, to sit down with him.
The old man asked them immediately in tolerably good English, to take
a glass of rum with him; and having observed them wondering at the
strange appearance of King Boy, and the rest of the party, gave them
to understand that in consequence of no man having come down the
river as they had done, the fetish ceremony was performed to prevent
any thing happening to them. They also understood from him, that a
certain rite would be performed to _Dju-dju_, the fetish or domestic
god of Brass Town, in honour of their coming.

The tide was now fast returning, and preparations were made for
proceeding to Brass Town. For this purpose the canoes were all
arranged in a line, that of King Boy taking the lead; the Landers and
King Forday in the next, followed by King Boy's brother; Mr. Gun and
the Damaggoo people in others, and in this order they proceeded up
the river. Gun was styled the _little military king_ of Brass Town,
from being entrusted with the care of all the arms and ammunition,
and on this occasion, he gave them frequent opportunities of
witnessing his importance and activity, by suddenly passing a short
distance from the rest of the canoes, and firing off the cannon in
the bow of his own, and then dropping behind again.

The whole procession formed one of the most extraordinary sights that
can be imagined. The canoes were following each other up the river in
tolerable order, each of them displaying three flags. In the first
was King Boy, standing erect and conspicuous, his head dress of
feathers waving with the movements of his body, which had been
chalked in various fantastic figures, rendered more distinct by its
natural colour. His hands were resting on the barbs of two immense
spears, which at intervals he darted violently into the bottom of his
canoe, as if he were in the act of killing some formidable wild
animal under his feet. In the bows of all the other canoes, fetish
priests were dancing, and performing various extraordinary antics,
their persons as well as those of the people in them, being chalked
over in the same manner as that of King Boy; and to crown the whole,
Mr. Gun, the little military gentleman, was most actively employed,
his canoe, now darting before, and now dropping behind the rest,
adding not a little to the imposing effect of the whole scene, by the
repeated discharges of his cannon.

In this manner they continued on till about noon, when they entered a
little bay, and saw before them on the south side of it, two distinct
groups of buildings, one of which was King Forday's own, and the
other King Jacket's town. The cannons in all the canoes were now
fired off, and the whole of the people were quickly on the look-out,
to witness their approach. The firing having ceased, the greatest
stillness prevailed, and the canoes moved forward very slowly between
the two towns to a small island, a little to the east of Jacket's
town. This island is the abode of _Dju-dju_, or grand fetish priest,
and his wives, no one else being permitted to reside there. As they
passed Forday's town, a salute of seven guns was fired off at a
small battery near the water. The canoes stopped near the fetish hut
on the island, which was a low insignificant building of clay. The
priest, who was chalked over nearly in the same manner as Boy, drew
near to the water's edge, and with a peculiar air asked some
questions, which appeared to be answered to his satisfaction. Boy
then landed, and preceded by the tall figure of the priest, entered
the religious hut. Soon after this, the priest came to the
water-side, and looking at the Landers with much earnestness, broke
an egg, and poured some liquid into the water, after which he
returned again to the hut. The Brass men then rushed on a sudden into
the water, and returned in the same hasty manner, which to the
Landers appeared equally as mysterious as the rest of the ceremony.

After remaining at the island about an hour, during which time Boy
was in the hut with the priest, he rejoined them, and they proceeded
to Forday's town, and took up their residence at Boy's house. In the
extraordinary ceremony which they had just witnessed, it was evident
that they were the persons principally concerned, but whether it
terminated in their favour or against them; whether the answers of
the _Dju-dju_ were propitious or otherwise, they were only able to
ascertain by the behaviour of the Brass people towards them.

It was with the strongest emotions of joy that they saw a white man
on shore, whilst they were in the canoe, waiting the conclusion of
the ceremony. It was a cheering and goodly sight to recognize the
features of an European, in the midst of a crowd of savages. This
individual paid them a visit in the evening; his behaviour was
perfectly affable, courteous, and obliging, and in the course of a
conversation which they had with him, he informed them that he was
the master of the Spanish schooner, which was then lying in the Brass
River for slaves. Six of her crew, who were ill of the fever, and who
were still indisposed, likewise resided in the town.

Of all the wretched, filthy, and contemptible places in this world of
ours, none can present to the eye of a stranger so miserable an
appearance, or can offer such disgusting and loathsome sights as this
abominable Brass Town. Dogs, goats, and other animals were running
about the dirty streets half starved, whose hungry looks could only
be exceeded by the famishing appearance of the men, women, and
children, which bespoke the penury and wretchedness to which they
were reduced, while the sons of many of them were covered with odious
boils, and their huts were falling to the ground from neglect and

Brass, properly speaking, consists of two towns of nearly equal size,
containing about a thousand inhabitants each, and built on the
borders of a kind of basin, which is formed by a number of rivulets,
entering it from the Niger through forests of mangrove bushes. One of
them was under the domination of a noted scoundrel, called King
Jacket, to whom a former allusion has been made, and the other was
governed by a rival chief, named King Forday. These towns are
situated directly opposite each other, and within the distance of
eighty yards, and are built on a marshy ground, which occasions the
huts to be always wet. Another place, called Pilot's Town by
Europeans, from the number of pilots that reside in it, is situated
nearly at the mouth of the first Brass River, which the Landers
understood to be the "_Nun_" River of the Europeans, and at the
distance of sixty or seventy miles from hence. This town acknowledges
the authority of both kings, having been originally peopled by
settlers from each of their towns. At the ebb of the tide, the basin
is left perfectly dry, with the exception of small gutters, and
presents a smooth and almost unvaried surface of black mud, which
emits an intolerable odour, owing to the decomposition of vegetable
substances, and the quantity of filth and nastiness which is thrown
into the basin by the inhabitants of both towns. Notwithstanding this
nuisance, both children and grown-up persons may be seen sporting in
the mud, whenever the tide goes out, all naked, and amusing
themselves in the same manner, as if they were on shore.

The Brass people grow neither yams, nor bananas, nor grain of any
kind, cultivating only the plantain as an article of food, which,
with the addition of a little fish, forms their principal diet. Yams,
however, are frequently imported from Eboe, and other countries by
the chief people, who resell great quantities of them to the shipping
that may happen to be in the river. They are enabled to do this by
the very considerable profits which accrue to them from their trading
transactions with people residing further inland, and from the palm
oil which they themselves manufacture, and which they dispose of to
the Liverpool traders. The soil in the vicinity of Brass is, for the
most part, poor and marshy, though it is covered with a rank,
luxuriant and impenetrable vegetation. Even in the hands of an
active, industrious race, it would offer almost insuperable obstacles
to general cultivation; but, with its present possessory, the
mangrove itself can never be extirpated, and the country will, it is
likely enough, maintain its present appearance till the end of time.

The dwelling in which the Landers resided, belonged to King Boy, and
stood on the extreme edge of the basin, and was constructed not long
since, by a carpenter, who came up the river for the purpose from
Calabar, of which place he was a native: he received seven slaves for
his labour. This man must evidently have seen European dwellings, as
there was decidedly an attempt to imitate them. It was of an oblong
form, containing four apartments, which were all on the ground-floor,
lined with wood, and furnished with tolerably-made doors and
cupboards. This wood bore decided marks of its having once formed
part of a vessel, and was most likely the remains of one which,
according to report, was wrecked not long ago on the bar of the
river. The house had recently been converted into a kind of seraglio
by King Boy, because ho had, to use his own expression, "plenty of
wives," who required looking after. It also answered the purpose of a
store-house for European goods, tobacco, and spirituous liquors. Its
rafters were of bamboo, and its thatch of palm leaves. The
apartment which the Landers occupied, had a window overlooking the
basin, outside of which was a veranda, occupied at the time by Pascoe
and his wives. The whole of its furniture consisted of an old oaken
table, but it was supplied with seats, made of clay, which were
raised about three feet from the ground. These, together with the
floor, which was of mud, were so soft and wet as to enable a person
to thrust his hand into any part of them without any difficulty
whatever. In one corner, communicating with the other apartments, was
a door destitute of a lock, and kept always ajar, except at night,
when it was closed. One of the sides of the room was decorated with
an old French print, representing the Virgin Mary, with a great
number of chubby-faced angels ministering to her, at whose feet was a
prayer on "Our Lady's good deliverance." The whole group was designed
and executed badly.

When the tide is at its height, the water flows up to the doors and
windows of the house, which may perhaps account for its dampness; it
is, however, held in very high estimation by its owner, and was
called an English house. In general the houses are built of a kind of
yellow clay, and the windows are all furnished with shutters.

There were several huts opposite the town, where the people make
salt, after the rains are over; the water at present was brackish
from the effect of the rains, but according to the information given
by Boy, in the course of two months it will be quite salt, when they
will again commence making it. It is an article of trade, and appears
to be taken in large quantities to the Eboe market, where it is
exchanged for yams, the kowrie shell not being circulated lower down
the river than Bocqua. The principal employment of the people
consists in making salt, fishing, boiling oil, and trading to the
Eboe country, for not a particle of cultivated land was to be seen.
The people live exclusively on yams and palm oil, with sometimes a
small quantity of fish. They bring poultry from the Eboe country, but
rear very little themselves, and what they do rear is very carefully
preserved, and sold to the ships that frequent the river.

A little palm oil would have been a great luxury to the Landers, but
King Boy would not give them any. Their allowance consisted of half a
small yam each day, but on the evening after their arrival, his
majesty being out of the way, two of his wives brought them half a
glass of rum each, and four yams; this was a great treat to them, but
a considerable risk to the ladies, for had Boy discovered the theft,
it is more than likely that he would have had them flogged and sold.

Wet and uncomfortable as was their dwelling, yet it was infinitely
more desirable and convenient than their confined quarters in the
canoe, for here they had the pleasure of reposing at full length,
which was a luxury they could not have purchased on the water at any

The Spanish captain paid them another visit, and left the town in the
afternoon, on his return to his vessel. He informed them that slaves
were very scarce, and obtained with difficulty and expense.

Richard Lander was now invited to visit King Forday, and he
accordingly complied with the summons. His house was situated about a
hundred yards distant from that of King Boy, and on entering it, he
found him sitting, half drunk, with about a dozen of his wives, and a
number of dogs in a small filthy room. Lander was desired to sit down
by his side, and to drink a glass of rum. He was then given to
understand, as well as his majesty was able, that it was customary
for every white man who came down the river to pay him four bars.
Lander expressed his ignorance and surprise at this demand, but was
soon silenced by his saying, "That is my demand, and I shall not
allow you to leave this town until you give me a _book_ for that
amount." Seeing that he had nothing to do but to comply with his
demand, Lander gave him a bill on Lake the commander of the English
vessel, after which he said, "To-morrow you may go to the brig; take
one servant with yon, but your mate, (meaning his brother,) must
remain here with your seven people, until my son, King Boy, shall
bring the goods for himself and me, after this they shall be sent on
board without delay."

In order that he might make a decent appearance before his countrymen
on the following day, Richard Lander was obliged to sit the whole of
the afternoon with an old cloth wrapped round him, until his clothes
were washed and dried. This was the most miserable and starving place
which they had yet visited: since their arrival, Mr. Gun had sent
them two meals, consisting of a little pounded yam, and fish stewed
in palm oil, and for this he had the impudence to demand two muskets
in payment. These fellows, like the rest on the coast, were a set of
imposing rascals, little better than downright savages; Lander was
informed that they had absolutely starved three white men, shortly
before his arrival, who had been wrecked in a slaving vessel, when
crossing the bar.


Richard Lander had determined that one of his men should accompany
him down the river, and at ten o'clock, having taken leave of his
brother and the rest of the party, they embarked in King Boy's canoe,
with a light heart and an anxious mind: although distant about sixty
miles from the mouth of the river, his journey appeared to him
already completed, and all his troubles and difficulties, he
considered at an end. Already, in fond anticipation, he was on board
the brig, and had found a welcome reception from her commander had
related to him all the hardships and dangers they had undergone, and
had been listened to with commiseration; already had he assured
himself of his doing all he could to enable him to fulfil his
engagements with these people, and thought themselves happy in
finding a vessel belonging to their own country in the river at the
time of their arrival. These meditations and a train of others about
home and friends, to which they naturally led, occupied his mind as
the canoe passed through the narrow creeks, sometimes winding under
avenues of mangrove trees, and at others expanding into small lakes
occasioned by the overflowing of the river. The captain of the canoe,
a tall sturdy fellow, was standing up, directing its course,
occasionally hallooing as they came to a turn in the creek, to the
fetish, and where an echo was returned half a glass of rum and a
piece of yam and fish were thrown into the water. Lander had seen
this done before, and on asking Boy the reason why he was throwing
away the provisions thus, he asked, "Did you not hear the fetish?"
The captain of the canoe replied, "Yes." "That is for the fetish,"
said Boy, "if we do not feed him, and do good for him, he will kill
us, or make us poor and sick." Lander could not help smiling at the
ignorance of the poor creatures, but such is their firm belief.

They had pursued their course in this manner, which had been
principally to the west, till about three in the afternoon, when they
came to a branch of the river about two hundred yards wide, and
seeing a small village at a short distance before them, they stopped
there for the purpose of obtaining some dried fish. Having supplied
their wants and proceeded on, about an hour afterwards they again
stopped, that their people might take some refreshment. Boy very
kindly presented Lander with a large piece of yam, reserving to
himself all the fish they had got at the village, and after making a
hearty meal off them, he fell asleep. While he was snoring by
Lander's side, the remainder of the fish attracted his notice, and
not feeling half satisfied with the yam which had been given him, he
felt an irresistible inclination to taste them. Conscience acquitted
him on the score of hunger, and hinted that such an opportunity
should not be lost, and accordingly, he very quickly demolished two
small ones. Although entirely raw, they were delicious, and he never
remembered having enjoyed anything with a better relish in all his

There was scarcely a spot of dry land to be seen anywhere, all was
covered with water and mangrove trees. After remaining about half an
hour, they again proceeded, and at seven in the evening arrived in
the second Brass River, which was a large branch of the Quorra. They
kept their course down it about due south, and half an hour
afterwards, Lander heard the welcome sound of the surf on the beach.
They still continued onwards, and at a quarter before eight in the
evening, they made their canoe fast to a tree for the night, on the
west bank of the river.

On the following morning, Lander found his clothes as thoroughly wet
from the effects of the dew, as if he had been lying in the river all
night instead of the canoe. At five in the morning, they let go the
rope from the tree, and took their course in a westerly direction up
a creek. At seven they arrived in the main branch of the Quorra,
which is called the River Nun, or the First Brass River, having
entered it opposite to a large branch, which, from the information
given by King Boy, ran to Benin. The direction of the River Nun was
here nearly north and south, and they kept on their course down the

About a quarter an hour after they had entered the river Nun, they
discerned at a distance from them, two vessels lying at anchor. The
emotions of delight which the sight of them occasioned were beyond
the power of Lander to describe. The nearest was a schooner, a
Spanish slave vessel, whose captain they had seen at Brass Town.
Their canoe was quickly by her side, and Lander went on board. The
captain received him very kindly, and invited him to take some
spirits and water with him. He complained sadly of the sickly state
of the crew, asserting that the river was extremely unhealthy, and
that he had only been in it six weeks, in which time he had lost as
many men. The remainder of his crew, consisting of thirty persons,
were in such a reduced state, that they were scarcely able to move,
and were lying about his decks, more resembling skeletons man living
persons. Lander could do no good with the Spaniard, so he took his
leave of him, and returned into the canoe.

They now directed their course to the English brig, which was lying
about three hundred yards lower down the river. Having reached her,
with feelings of delight, mingled with doubt, Lander went on board.

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