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Lander's Travels by Robert Huish

Part 14 out of 15

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Here he found every thing in as sad a condition, as he had in the
schooner, four of the crew had just died of fever, four more which
completed the whole, were lying sick in their hammocks, and the
captain himself appeared to be in the very last stage of illness. He
had recovered from a severe attack of fever, and having suffered a
relapse in consequence of having exposed himself too soon, which had
been nearly fatal to him, Lander now stated to him who he was,
explained his situation to him as fully as he could, and had his
instructions read to him by one of his own people, that he might see
there was no intention to impose upon him. Lander then requested that
he would redeem them by paying what had been demanded by King Boy,
and assured him, that whatever he might give to him on their account
would certainly be repaid him by the British government. To the utter
surprise, however, of Lander, he flatly refused to give a single
thing, ill and weak as he was, made use of the most offensive and the
most shameful oaths, which he ever heard. Petrified amazement, and
horror-struck at such conduct, Lander shrunk from him with terror. He
could scarcely believe what he had heard, till his ears were assailed
by a repetition of the same oaths. Disappointed beyond measure, by
such brutal conduct from one of his own countrymen, he could not have
believed it possible, his feelings completely overpowered him, and he
was ready to sink with grief and shame. He was now undetermined how
to act, or what course to pursue. Never in his life did he feel such
humiliation as at this moment. In his way through the country he had
been treated well; he had been in the habit of making such presents
as had been expected from them, and above all, they had maintained
their character amongst the natives, by keeping their promises. This
was now no longer in his power, as his means were all expended, and
when as a last, and as he had imagined, a certain resource, he had
promised the price of his ransom should be paid by the first of his
countrymen that he might meet with, on the best of all securities, to
be thus refused and dishonoured by him, would, he knew, degrade them
sadly in the opinion of the natives, if it did not lessen them in
their own.

As there were no hopes that the captain of this vessel would pay any
thing for them, he went on board the canoe again, and told King Boy,
that he must take him to Bonny, as a number of English ships were
there. "No, no," said he, "dis captain no pay, Bonny captain no pay.
I won't take you any further." As this would not do, Lander again had
recourse to the captain, and implored him to do something for him,
telling him that if he would only let him have ten muskets, Boy might
be content with them, when he found that he could get nothing else.
The only reply Lander received was; "I have told you already I will
not let you have even a flint, so bother me no more." "But I have a
brother and eight people at Brass Town," said Lander to him, "and if
you do not intend to pay King Boy, at least persuade him to bring
them here, or else he will poison or starve my brother, before I can
get any assistance from a man of war, and sell all my people." The
only answer given was; "If you can get them on board, I will take
them away, but as I have told you before, you do not get a flint from
me." Lander then endeavoured to persuade Boy to go back for his
people, and that he should be paid some time or other. "Yes," said
the captain, "make haste and bring them." Boy very naturally required
some of his goods before he went, and it was with no small
difficulty, that Lander prevailed on him afterwards to go without

The captain of the brig now inquired what men Lander had, and on his
telling him he had two seamen, and three others, who might be useful
to him in working his vessel, his tone and manner began to soften. He
fully agreed with Lander, that they might be useful in getting the
brig out of the river, as half of his crew were dead, and the other
half sick, so Lander took courage and asked him for a piece of beef
to send to his brother, and a small quantity of rum, which he readily
gave. Lander knew that his brother as well as himself, much needed a
change of linen, but he could not venture to ask such a thing from
the captain with much hopes of success, so the cook of the brig,
appearing to be a respectable sort of a man, an application was made
to him, and he produced instantly three white shirts. King Boy was
now ready to depart, not a little discontented, and Lander sent his
own man in the canoe, with the few things which he had been able to
obtain, and a note for his brother. The latter was desired to give
Antonio an order on any English captain that he might find at Bonny,
for his wages, and also one for the Damaggoo people, that they might
receive the small present he had promised to their good old chief,
who had treated them so well. At two in the afternoon, King Boy took
his departure, promising to return with John Lander and his people in
three days, but grumbling much at not having been paid his goods.

Lander endeavoured to make himself as comfortable as he could in the
vessel, and thinking that the captain might change his behaviour
towards him, when he got better, he determined to have as little to
say to him till then as possible. On the following day, Captain Lake
appeared to be much better, and Lander ventured to ask him for a
change of linen, of which he was in great want. This request was
immediately complied with, and he enjoyed a luxury which he had not
experienced a long time. In the course of the morning, Lander
conversed with him about his travels in the country, and related the
whole of the particulars of the manner in which they had been
attacked and plundered at Kirree. He then explained to him how King
Boy had saved them from slavery in the Eboe country, and how much
they felt indebted to him for it. He endeavoured particularly to
impress this on his mind, as he still hoped to bring him round to pay
what he had promised. Having laid all before him as fully as he was
able, and pointed out to him the bad opinion which Boy would have of
them, and the injurious tendency towards Englishmen in general, that
would result from not keeping their word with him, which it was in
his power to enable them to do, he ventured to ask him to give him
ten muskets for his bill on government. He listened apparently with
great attention to his story, but Lander no sooner advanced his
wants, than with a furious oath, he repeated his refusal, and finding
him as determined as ever he had been, he mentioned it no more. He
moreover told him in the most unkind and petulant manner, "If your
brother and people are not here in three days, I go without them."
This, it was believed, he would not do, as the men would be of
service to him, but Boy had given his promise, that they should be at
the vessel in that time.

In the middle of the day, the pilot who had brought the vessel into
the river, came on board and demanded payment for it, which gave
Lander an opportunity of seeing more of the disposition of Mr. Lake.
The pilot had no sooner made his business known, than Lake flew into
a violent passion, cursing and abusing him in the most disgusting
language he could use; he refused to pay him any thing whatever, and
ordered him to go out of the ship immediately. Whether Lake was right
or wrong in this, Lander knew not, but he was shocked at his
expressions, and the pilot reluctantly went away, threatening that he
would sink his vessel, if he offered to leave the river without
paying him his due. He was rather surprised to hear such language
from the pilot, and doubted his meaning, until he found that he had a
battery of seven brass guns at the town on the eastern side of the
river, near its entrance, which, if well managed, might soon produce
that effect. This town, as before observed, is named Pilot's Town,
being the established residence of those who conduct vessels over the

On the following day, Lander inquired of Capt. Lake, whether, when
they left the river, he would take them to Fernando Po. This,
however, he again refused, saying that the island had been given up;
that there was not a single white man on it, and that no assistance
could be got there, but that if all the people should arrive by the
morning of the 23rd, he would land them at Bimbia, a small island in
the river Cameroons, whither he was going to complete his cargo, and
at this island he said that Lander would find a white man, who kept a
store for Captain Smith. Lander was quite satisfied with this
arrangement, feeling assured that he should get every thing he might
want from him.

Lander's chief concern was now about his brother, and he much feared
that the vessel would sail without him, for there was no dependence
on the captain, so little did he care for them, or the object for
which they had visited the country. Lander took an opportunity of
begging him, in the event of his brother and the men not arriving by
the 23rd, to wait a little longer for them, asserting at the same
time, that if he went away without them, they would be assuredly
starved or sold as slaves, before he could return to them with
assistance. He might just as well have addressed himself to the
wind--"I can't help it, I shall wait no longer," was the only reply
he made, in a surly, hasty tone, which was a convincing proof that
all attempts to reason with him would be fruitless.

In the afternoon, the chief mate and three Kroomen were sent away by
his direction to sound the bar of the river, to know whether there
was sufficient depth of water for the vessel to pass over it. The
pilot, who had been dismissed so peremptorily on the preceding day,
was determined to have his revenge, and being naturally on the look
out, had observed the movements of the boat; so favourable an
opportunity was not to be lost, and accordingly watching her, he
despatched an armed canoe, and intercepted her return at the mouth of
the river. The mate of the brig and one of the Kroomen were quickly
made prisoners and conveyed to Pilot's Town, and the boat with the
remainder sent back with a message to the captain, that they would
not be given up until the pilotage should be paid. Lake must have
felt somewhat annoyed at this, but whether he did or not, he treated
it with the greatest indifference, saying that he did not care, he
would go to sea without his mate or the Kroomen either, and that he
was determined not to pay the pilotage.

On the 22nd of December, the anxiety of Lander for his brother's
safety made him extremely unhappy, and during the whole of the day he
was on the look out for him; Lake, observing the distress he was in,
told him not to trouble himself any more about him, adding, that he
was sure he was dead, and that he need not expect to see him again.
"If he had been alive," said Lake, "he would have been here by this
time, to-morrow morning I shall leave the river." Such inhuman and
unfeeling conduct from this man only tended to increase Lander's
dislike for him, and without paying him any attention, he kept
looking out for his party. So great was his anxiety that he was on
the look out long after dusk, nor could he sleep during the whole of
the night.

The 23rd arrived, the day fixed for the departure, but to the great
joy of Lander, and the mortification of Lake, the sea breeze was so
strong that it raised a considerable surf on the bar, and prevented
them from getting out. This was a most anxious time for Lander, and
the whole of the day his eyes were riveted to the part of the river
where he knew his brother must come. The whole day passed in tedious
watching, and the night was far spent without any tidings of him.
About midnight he saw several large canoes making their way over to
the west bank of the river, in one of which he imagined that he could
distinguish his brother. He observed them soon after landing, and saw
by the fires which they made, that they had encamped under some
mangrove trees. All his fears and apprehensions vanished in an
instant, and he was overjoyed with the thoughts of meeting his
brother in the morning.

The captain of the brig having observed them, suddenly exclaimed,
"Now we shall have a little fighting to-morrow, go you and load
seventeen muskets, and put five buck shot into each. I will take care
that the cannon shall be loaded to the muzzle with balls and flints,
and if there is any row, I will give them such a scouring as they
never had." He then directed Lander to place the muskets and
cutlasses out of sight, near the stern of the vessel, and said to
him, "The instant that your people come on board, call them aft, and
let them stand by the arms. Tell them, if there is any row to arm
themselves directly, and drive all the Brass people overboard." This
was summary work with a vengeance, and every thing betokened that
Lake was in earnest. Lander saw clearly that he was resolved on
adopting severe measures, and he appeared to possess all the
determination necessary to carry them through.

Lander could not help feeling otherwise than distressed and
ashamed of leaving the Brass people in this manner, but he had no
alternative, there was no one to whom he could apply for assistance
in his present situation, except the captain of the vessel, and to
him he had applied in vain. His entreaties were thrown away on him,
and even the certainty of an ample recompense by the British
government, which had been held out to him, had been treated with
contempt. He, therefore, had no hopes from that quarter. Boy had
refused to take them to Bonny, asserting that if he could not be paid
here, he should not be paid there, and to go back to Brass Town would
be deliberately returning to starvation. His last resource,
therefore, was to put the best face on the business which he could,
and as no other plan was left him, to get away by fair means or foul,
and let the blame fall where it was incurred.

Early on the following morning, Lander was on the look out for his
brother, and soon observed him and the people get into the canoe.
They were no sooner embarked than they all landed again, which could
be accounted for in no other way, than by supposing that it was the
intention of Boy to keep them on shore, until he had received the
goods. He was, however, not long in this state of anxiety, for about
seven o'clock, they embarked and were brought on board.

The following is the account which John Lander gave, of the events
which fell under his notice at Brass Town, and his proceedings during
the time that he was separated from his brother.

Wednesday, November 17th. "This morning, my brother, attended by one
of our men, quitted this town with King Boy and suite, leaving the
remainder of the party and myself behind, as hostages for the
fulfilment of the conditions, which we entered into with him in the
Eboe country. For myself, though greatly chagrined at this unforeseen
arrangement, I could not from my heart, altogether condemn the framer
of it; for it is quite natural to suppose that a savage should
distrust the promises of Europeans, when he himself is at all times
guilty of breach of faith and trust, not only in his trading
transactions with foreigners, but likewise in familiar intercourse
with his own people. Forday is the cause of it, and he displays all
the artifice, chicanery, and low cunning of a crafty and corrupt
mind. Therefore, after a moment's reflection, I was not much
surprised at the step which King Boy has taken, nor can I be very
angry with him, and I am resolved to await with composure his return,
and consequently my release from this miserable place, though I have
begun to consider with seriousness, what will become of us, in the
event of Lake's refusal to honour the bill which we have sent him.
Besides, I am rather uneasy on our people's account, for during these
two or three days past, they have had scarcely any thing to eat, and
we are now left entirely destitute, nor do I know where to obtain
relief. The Damaggoo people are with us likewise, and they are
interested in my brother's return, equally as much as myself. Instead
of being our guides and protectors, these poor creatures have shared
in our calamity; their little all has either been lost or stolen, or
else expended in provisions, and like us, they are reduced to great
distress and wretchedness. They will remain here, in order to receive
the few things which we have promised them and their chief, but
should Lake object to part with his goods, we shall give them a note
to the master of any English vessel at Bonny, whither they are
destined to go, requesting him to pay the poor strangers their

"After a good deal of solicitation and importunity, we received this
morning four small yams from the wives of King Boy, who informed us
that the same number of yams will be given us daily. Our people
having nothing else to eat, made a kind of broth with this vegetable;
at first it was, of course, a most insipid mess, but with the
addition of a little salt, it is rendered more palatable. We sent to
King Forday in the afternoon, for a few plantains, or any thing that
could be eaten, but the gloomy old savage shook his head, folded his
arms, and refused.

"Nothing could exceed my regret and consternation on the perusal of
the letter which I received from my brother, and somehow, I almost
dreaded to meet with King Boy. Well knowing how much it would
influence his behaviour towards us, we had been careful to represent
to that individual, the thanks and cheering which he would receive
from our countrymen, the moment he should take us on board the
English brig, that he would be favoured and caressed beyond measure,
and receive plenty of beef, bread, and rum. His face used to shine
with delight on anticipating so luxurious a treat, and he had
uniformly been in a better humour, after listening to these promises
of ours, than any thing else could have made him. The contrast
between his actual reception on board Lake's ship, to that which his
own fancy and our repeated assurances had taught him to expect, was
too dreadful to think on even for a moment, and for this reason, as
much as any other, I looked forward with something of apprehension
and anxiety to an interview with this savage, because I knew, that
after the cutting disappointment which he had experienced, he would
be under the influence of strongly excited feelings, and stormy
passions, over which he exercises no control. I was convinced too,
that the whole weight of his resentment, and the fury of his rage,
would fall upon me, for I am completely in his power.

"The interesting moment at length arrived. We heard King Boy
quarrelling with his women, and afterwards walking through their
apartments towards ours, muttering as he went along. He entered it,
and stood still; I was reposing, as I usually do for the greater part
of the day, upon a mat which is placed on the seat of wet clay, but
on perceiving him, I lifted my head without arising, and reclined it
on my hand. He looked fixedly upon me, and I returned his glance with
the same unshrinking steadfastness. But his dark eye was flashing
with anger, whilst his upturned lip, which exposed his white teeth,
quivered with passion. No face in the world could convey more
forcibly to the mind the feeling of contempt and bitter scorn, than
the distorted one before me. It was dreadfully expressive, drawing up
the left angle of his mouth in a parallel with his eyes, he broke
silence, with a sneering, long-drawn 'Eh!' and almost choked with
rage, he cursed me; and in a tone and manner, which it is infinitely
out of my power to describe, he spoke to the following effect: 'You
are thief, man; English captain, no will! You assured me, when I took
you from the Eboe country, that he would be overjoyed to see me, and
give me plenty of beef and rum; I received from him neither the one
nor the other. Eh! English captain, no will! I gave a quantity of
goods to free you from the slavery of Obie; I took you into my own
canoe; you were hungry, and I gave you yam and fish; you were almost
naked, I was sorry to see you so, because you were white men and
strangers, and I gave each of you a red cap and a silk handkerchief;
but you are no good, you are thief, man. Eh! English captain, no
will; he no will. You also told me your countrymen would do this
(taking off his cap, and flourishing it in circles over his head,)
and cry hurra! hurra! on receiving me on board their vessel; you
promised my wife a necklace, and my father, four bars. But eh!
English captain, no will! he tell me he no will: yes, I will satisfy
your hunger with plenty more of my fish and yams, and your thirst I
will quench with rum and palm wine. Eh! you thief man, you are no
good, English captain, no will!' He then stamped on the ground, and
gnashing at me with his teeth like a dog, he cursed me again and

"It is true I did not feel perfectly easy at this severe rebuke, and
under such taunting reproaches; but I refrained from giving utterance
to a single thought till after he had concluded his abuse and
anathematizing. Had a spirited person been in my situation, he might
have knocked him down, and might have had his head taken off for his
pains, but as for me, all such kind of spirit is gone out of me
entirely. Besides we had, though unintentionally, deceived King Boy,
and I also bore in mind the kindness which he had done us, in
ransoming us from a state of slavery. Most of what he had asserted
was most unquestionably true, and in some measure, I was deserving
his severest reprehension and displeasure.

"The fury of Boy having been somewhat appeased by my silence and
submission, as well as by his own extraordinary and violent
agitation, I ventured mildly to assure him, on the strength of my
brother's letter, that his suspicions were entirely groundless, that
Mr. Lake had certainly a _will_ or inclination to enter into
arrangements with him for the payment of his just demands, and that
when he should convey our people and myself to the Thomas, every
thing would be settled to his complete satisfaction. He half
believed, half mistrusted my words, and shortly afterwards quitted
the apartment, threatening, however, that we should not leave Brass
till it suited his own pleasure and convenience.

"It is really a most humiliating reflection, that we are reduced to
the most contemptible subterfuges of deceit and falsehood, in order
to carry a point which might have been easily gained by
straightforward integrity. But the conduct of Lake has left us no
alternative, and whatever my opinion of that individual may be, he
surely must be destitute of all those manly characteristics of a
British seaman, as well as of the more generous feelings of our
common nature, to be guilty, on a sick bed, of an action which might,
for aught he knew or cared, produce the most serious consequences to
his unfortunate countrymen in a savage land, by exposing them to the
wretchedness of want, and the miseries of slavery, to mockery,
ill-usage, contempt, and scorn, and even to death itself.

"November 20th. King Boy has not visited us to-day, though we have
received the customary allowance of four yams from his women. In
addition to which, Adizzetta made us a present of half a dozen this
morning, as an acknowledgment for the benefit she had derived from a
dose of laudanum, which I gave her last night, for the purpose of
removing pain from the lower regions of the stomach, a complaint by
which she says she is occasionally visited.

"This morning, November 21st, I dismissed the poor Damaggoo people,
with a note to either of the English vessels lying in the Bonny
river, requesting him to give the bearer three barrels of gunpowder,
and a few muskets, On the faith of being paid for the same by the
British government. They left Brass in their own canoe, quite
dejected and out of heart, and Antonio, the young man who volunteered
to accompany us from his majesty's brig, Clinker, at Badagry, went
along with them, on his return to his country, from which he has been
absent two or three years.

"The following day, one or two crafty little urchins, who are slaves
to King Boy, brought us a few plantains as a gift. They had been
engaged in pilfering tobacco leaves from an adjoining apartment, to
which our people were witnesses, and the juvenile depredators,
fearing the consequences of a disclosure, bribed them to secrecy in
the manner already mentioned. Boy's women have also been guilty,
during the temporary absence of their lord and master, of stealing a
quantity of rum from the store room, and distributing it amongst
their friends and acquaintance, and they have resorted to the same
plan as the boys, to prevent the exposure, which they dreaded. One of
them, who acts as a duenna, is the favourite and confidante of Boy,
and she wears a bunch of keys round her neck in token of her
authority. She has likewise the care of all her master's effects, and
as a further mark of distinction, she is allowed the privilege of
using a walking-stick with a knob at the end, which is her constant
companion. This woman is exceedingly good-natured, and indulges our
men with a glass or two of rum every day.

"Last evening, King Boy stripped to the skin, and having his body
most hideously marked, ran about the town like a maniac with a spear
in his hand, calling loudly on _Dju dju_, and uttering a wild,
frantic cry at every corner. It appears that one of his father's
wives had been strongly suspected of adulterous intercourse with a
free man residing in the town, and that this strange means was
adopted, in pursuance of an ancient custom, to apprize the
inhabitants publicly of the circumstance, and implore the counsel and
assistance of the god at the examination of the parties. This morning
the male aggressor was found dead, having swallowed poison, it is
believed, to avoid a worse kind of death, and the priest declaring
his opinion of the guilt of the surviving party, she was immediately
sentenced to be drowned. This afternoon, the ill-fated woman was tied
hand and foot, and conveyed in a canoe to the main body of the river,
into which she was thrown without hesitation, a weight of some kind
having been fastened to her feet for the purpose of sinking her. She
met her death with incredible firmness and resolution. The
superstitious people believe, that had the deceased been innocent of
the crime laid to her charge, their god would have saved her life,
even after she had been flung into the river; but because she had
perished, her guilt was unquestionably attested. The mother of the
deceased is not allowed to display any signs of sorrow or sadness at
the untimely death of her daughter, for were she to do so, the same
dreadful punishment would be inflicted upon her, 'For,' say the Brass
people, 'if the parent should mourn or weep over the fate of a child
guilty of so heinous a crime, we should pronounce her instantly to be
as criminal as her daughter, and to have tolerated her offence. But
if, on the contrary, she betrays no maternal tenderness, nor bewail
her bereavement in tears and groans, we should then conclude her to
be entirely ignorant of the whole transaction; she would then give a
tacit acknowledgment to the justice of the sentence, and rejoice to
be rid of an object that would only entail disgrace on her as long as
she lived.

"Our people are become heartily tired of their situation, and
impatient to be gone; they were regaled with an extra quantity of rum
last evening, by their female friend, the duenna; when their
grievances appearing to them in a more grievous light than ever, they
had the courage to go in a body to King Boy, to demand an explanation
of his intentions towards them. They told him, indignantly, either to
convey them to the English brig, or sell them for slaves to the
Spaniards, 'For,' say they, 'we would rather lose our liberty, than
be kept here to die of hunger.' Boy returned them an equivocating
answer, but treated them much less roughly than I had reason to
anticipate. Afterwards, I went myself to the same individual, and
with a similar motive, but for some time I had no opportunity of
conversing with him. It is a kind of holiday here, and most of the
Brass people, with their chiefs, are merry with intoxication. As well
as I can understand, during the earlier part of the day they were
engaged in a solemn, religious observance, and since then King Forday
has publicly abdicated in favour of Boy, who is his eldest son. I
discovered those individuals in a court annexed to the habitation of
the former, surrounded by a great number of individuals with bottles,
glasses, and decanters at their feet; they were all in a state of
drunkenness, more or less; and all had their faces and bodies chalked
over in rude and various characters. Forday, alone, sat in a chair,
Boy was at his side, and the others, amongst whom was our friend Gun
and a drummer, were sitting around on blocks of wood, and on the
trunk of a fallen tree. The chairman delivered a long oration, but he
was too tipsy, and perhaps too full of days to speak with grace,
animation, or power; therefore his eloquence was not very persuasive,
and his nodding hearers, overcome with drowsiness, listened to him
with scarcely any attention. They smiled, however, and laughed
occasionally, but I could not find why they did so; I don't think
they themselves could tell. The old chief wore an English superfine
beaver hat, and an old jacket, that once belonged to a private
soldier, but the latter was so small that he was able only to thrust
an arm into one of the sleeves, the other part of the jacket being
thrown upon his left shoulder. These, with the addition of a cotton
handkerchief, which was tied round his waist, were his only apparel.
By far the most showy and conspicuous object in the yard, was an
immense umbrella, made of figured cotton of different patterns, with
a deep fringe of coloured worsted, which was stuck into the ground.
But even this was tattered and torn, and dirty withal, having been in
Forday's possession for many years, and it is only used on public and
sacred occasions. I had been sitting amongst the revellers till the
speaker had finished his harangue, when I embraced the opportunity,
as they were about to separate, of entreating King Boy to hasten our
departure for the vessel. He was highly excited and elated with
liquor, and being in excellent temper, he promised to take us

"It required little time on the following day, to take leave of a few
friends we have at Brass, and we quitted the town not only without
regret, but with emotions of peculiar pleasure. King Boy, with three
of his women, and his suite in a large canoe, and our people and
myself in a smaller one. Adizzetta would gladly have accompanied her
husband to the English vessel, for her desire to see it was naturally
excessive; but she was forbidden by old Forday, who expressed some
squeamishness about the matter, or rather he was jealous that on her
return to her father's house in the Eboe country, she would give too
high and favourable an opinion of it to her friends, which might in
the end produce consequences highly prejudicial to his interests.

"We stopped awhile at a little fishing village, at no great distance
from Brass, where we procured a few fish, and abundance of young
cocoa nuts, the milk of which was sweet and refreshing. Continuing
our journey on streams and rivulets intricately winding through
mangroves and brambles, we entered the main body of the river in time
to see the sun setting behind a glorious sky, directly before us. We
were evidently near the sea, because the water was perfectly salt,
and we scented also the cool and bracing sea breeze, with feelings of
satisfaction and rapture. However, the wind became too stormy for our
fragile canoe; the waves leaped into it over the bow, and several
times we were in danger of being swamped. Our companion was far
before us, and out of sight, so that, for the moment, there was no
probability of receiving assistance, or of lightening the canoe, but,
happily, in a little while we did not require it, for the violence of
the wind abating with the disappearance of the sun, we were enabled
to continue on our way without apprehension. About nine o'clock in
the evening, we overtook the large canoe and the crews, both having
partaken of a slight refreshment of fish and plantain together, we
passed the _Second Brass River_, which was to the left of us, in
company. Here it might have been somewhat more than half a mile in
breadth, and though it was dangerously rough for a canoe, with great
precaution we reached the opposite side in safety. From thence, we
could perceive in the distance, the long wished for Atlantic, with
the moonbeams reposing in peaceful beauty on its surface, and could
also hear the sea breaking, and roaring over the sandy bar, which
stretches across the mouth of the river. The solemn voice of Ocean
never sounded more melodiously in my ear, than it did at this moment.
O it was enchanting as the harp of David! Passing along by the left
bank, we presently entered the First Brass River, which is the _Nun_
of Europeans, where at midnight we could faintly distinguish the
masts and rigging of the English brig in the dusky light, which
appeared like a dark and fagged cloud above the horizon. To me,
however, no sight could be more charming. It was beautiful as the
gates of Paradise, and my heart fluttered with unspeakable delight,
as we landed in silence on the beach opposite the brig, near a few
straggling huts, to wait impatiently the dawn of to-morrow.

"The morning of the 24th was a happy one, for it restored me to the
society of my brother, and of my countrymen. The baneful effects of
the climate are strongly impressed upon the countenances of the
latter, who, instead of their natural healthy hue, have a pale,
dejected, and sickly appearance, which is quite distressing to
witness. However, the crew of the Spanish schooner look infinitely
more wretched; they have little else but their original forms
remaining; they crawl about like beings under a curse they are mere
shadows or phantoms of men, looking round for their burying place. No
spectacle can be more humiliating to man's pride than this; nothing
can give him a more degrading sense of his own nothingness. It is
very much to be wondered at why Europeans, and Englishmen in
particular, persevere in sending their fellow creatures to this
Aceldama, or Golgotha, as the African coast is sometimes not
inappropriately called; they might as well bury them at once at home,
and it is pleasanter far to die there; but interest, and the lust of
gain, like Aaron's rod, seem to swallow up every other consideration."


During the time that the canoe was coming from the shore to the
vessel, Richard Lander had stationed himself by the cannon; it was
the only one on board, but it had been loaded as Lake had directed,
and pointed to the gangway of the brig, where the Brass people were
obliged to come. The muskets were all ready, lying concealed, where
Lake had directed them to be placed, and he repeated the same orders
that he had given on the preceding day, respecting the part that the
Landers' people were to take in the business.

Lake received John Lander very civilly, but immediately expressed his
determination to dismiss Boy without giving him a single article, and
to make the best of his way out of the river. A short time after the
arrival of John Lander, a canoe arrived at the beach, with Mr.
Spittle, the mate of the brig, as prisoner, who, immediately sent a
note off to the captain, informing him that the price of his
liberation was the sum demanded for the pilotage of the vessel over
the bar of the river. He said further, that he was strictly guarded,
but that, notwithstanding this, he did not despair of making his
escape, if Lake could wait a little for him. The vessel had been
brought into the river about three months before, but Lake would
never pay the pilotage, and all he did was to send Mr. Spittle a
little bread and beef. The amount demanded was about fifty pounds
worth of goods, which it was quite out of the question that Lake
would ever pay.

Meanwhile King Boy, full of gloomy forebodings, had been lingering
about the deck. He had evidently foresight enough to suspect what was
to take place, and he appeared troubled and uneasy, and bewildered in
thought. The poor fellow was quite an altered person; his habitual
haughtiness had entirely forsaken him, and given place to a cringing
and humble demeanor. A plate of meat was presented to him, of which
he ate sparingly, and showed clearly that he was thinking more of his
promised goods, than his appetite, and a quantity of rum that was
given to him was drunk carelessly, and without affording any apparent

Knowing how things were likely to terminate, the Landers endeavoured
to get Boy into a good humour, by telling him that he should
certainly have his goods some time or other; but it was all to no
purpose; the attempt was a complete failure; the present was the only
time in his mind. The Landers really pitied him, and were grieved to
think that their promises could not be fulfilled. How gladly would
they have made any personal sacrifice, rather than thus break their
word; for although they had been half starved in his hands, yet they
felt themselves indebted to him for having taken them from the Eboe
people, and bringing them to the vessel. Richard Lander rummaged over
the few things which had been left them from their disaster at
Kirree, and found to his surprise, five silver bracelets wrapped up
in a piece of flannel. He was not aware of having these things, but
he immediately offered them to him, along with a native sword, which
being a very great curiosity, they had brought with them from
Yarriba, with the intention of taking it to England. Boy accepted of
them, and John Lander then offered him his watch, for which he had a
great regard, as it was the gift of one of his earliest and best
friends. This was refused with disdain, for Boy knew not its value,
and calling one of his men to look at what, he said, the Landers
wished to impose on him in lieu of his bars, both of them, with a
significant groan, turned away from the Landers with scorn and
indignation, nor would they speak to them or even look at them again.
The mortification of the Landers was nearly now complete, but they
were helpless, and the fault was not with them.

Boy now ventured to approach Captain Lake, on the quarter deck, and
with an anxious petitioning countenance, asked for the goods, which
had been promised him. Prepared for the desperate game he was about
to play, it was the object of Lake to gain as much time as possible,
that he might get his vessel under way, before he came to an open
rupture. Therefore, he pretended to be busy in writing, and desired
Boy to wait a moment. Becoming impatient with delay, Boy repeated his
demand a second and a third time: "Give me my bars." "I NO WILL,"
said Lake, in a voice of thunder, which could hardly have been
expected from a frame so emaciated as his. "I no will, I tell you; I
won't give you a--flint. Give me my mate, you black rascal, or I will
bring a thousand men of war here in a day or two; they shall come and
burn down your towns, and kill every one of you; bring me my mate."
Terrified by the demeanor of Lake, and the threats and oaths he made
use of, poor King Boy suddenly retreated, and seeing men going aloft
to loosen the sails, apprehensive of being carried off to sea, he
quickly disappeared from the deck of the brig, and was soon observed
making his way on shore in his canoe, with the rest of his people;
this was the last they saw of him. In a few minutes from the time Boy
had left the vessel, the mate, Mr. Spittle, was sent off in a canoe,
so terrified were the Brass people that a man of war would come, and
put Lake's threats into execution.

At ten in the morning the vessel was got under way, and they dropped
down the river. At noon the breeze died away, and they were obliged
to let go an anchor to prevent their drifting on the western
breakers, at the mouth of the river. A few minutes more would have
been fatal to them, and the vessel was fortunately stopped, although
the depth of water where she lay, was only five fathoms. The rollers,
as the large high waves are called, which come into the river over
the bar, were so high, that they sometimes passed nearly over the bow
of the vessel, and caused her to ride very uneasily by her anchor.
They had been obliged to anchor immediately abreast of the Pilot's
town, and expected every moment that they should be fired at from the
battery. Time was of the greatest importance to them; they had made
Boy their enemy, and expected before they could get out of the river,
he would summon his people and make an attack upon them, whilst their
whole party amounted only to twenty men, two thirds of whom were
Africans. The pilot also, whom Lake had offended so much, was known
to be a bold and treacherous ruffian. He was the same person, who
steered the brig Susan among the breakers, by which that vessel
narrowly escaped destruction, with the loss of her windlass, and an
anchor and cable. The fellow had done this, merely with the hope of
obtaining a part of the wreck, as it drifted on shore. Another
vessel, a Liverpool oil trader, was actually lost on the bar, by the
treachery of the same individual, who having effected his purpose, by
placing her in a situation, from which she could not escape, jumped
overboard and swam to the canoe, which was at a short distance. The
treatment of the survivors of this wreck is shocking to relate; they
were actually stripped of their clothes, and allowed to die of
hunger. It would be an endless task to enumerate all the misdeeds,
that are laid to this fellow's charge, which have no doubt lost
nothing by report, but after making all reasonable allowances for
exaggeration, his character appears in a most revolting light, and
the fact of his running these vessels on the bar, proves him to be a
desperate and consummate villain. This same fellow is infinitely more
artful and intelligent than any of his countrymen, and is one of the
handsomest black men that the Landers had seen.

Not long after they had dropped the anchor, they observed the pilot,
with the help of the glass, walking on the beach, and watching them
occasionally. A multitude of half-naked, suspicious-looking fellows,
were likewise straggling along the shore, while others were seen
emerging from a grove of cocoa trees, and the thick bushes near it.
These men were all armed, chiefly with muskets, and they subsequently
assembled in detached groups to the number of several hundreds, and
appeared to be consulting about attacking the vessel. Nothing less
than this, and to be fired at from the battery, was now expected by
them, and there was no doubt that the strength and loftiness of the
brig only deterred them from so doing. The same people were hovering
on the beach till very late in the evening, when they dispersed; many
of them could be seen even at midnight, so that they were obliged to
keep a good look-out till the morning.

During the night, the vessel rode very uneasily, in consequence of
the long heavy waves which set in from the bar; these are technically
called by sailors _ground swell_, being different from the waves
which are raised while the wind blows; the latter generally break at
the top, while the former are quite smooth, and roll with great
impetuosity in constant succession, forming a deep furrow between
them, which, with the force of the wave, is very dangerous to vessels
at anchor.

Their motions were still closely watched by the natives. About eleven
they got under way, but were obliged to anchor again in the
afternoon, as the water was not deep enough for the vessel to pass
over the bar. The mate sounded the bar again, and placed a buoy as a
mark for the vessel to pass over in the deepest water.

On the following morning, the wind favouring them, they made another
attempt at getting out of the river. They had already made some
progress, when the wind again died away, and the current setting them
rapidly over to the eastern breakers, they were obliged to let go an
anchor to save them from destruction. They could see nothing of the
buoy, and no doubt was entertained that it was washed away by the
current. Their anchorage was in three and a half fathom water, and
the ground swell, which then set in, heaved the vessel up and down in
such a frightful manner, that they expected every moment to see the
chain cable break. As soon as they dropped their anchor, the tide
rushed past the vessel at the rate of eight miles an hour. After the
ebb tide had ceased running, the swell gradually subsided, and the
vessel rode easily.

The mate was again sent to sound the bar, and in about three hours
afterwards, returned with the information that two fathoms and three
quarters was the deepest water he could find. The bar extended across
the mouth of the river in the form of a crescent, leaving a very
narrow and shallow entrance for vessels in the middle, which was
generally concealed by the surf and foam of the adjacent breakers.
When the wind is light and the tide high, and the surface of the
water smooth, excepting in a few places, the bar is then most
dangerous. They observed several fires made by the natives on the
beach, which were supposed to be signals for them to return.

They passed a restless and most unpleasant night. The captain and the
people were much alarmed for the safety of the brig. The heavy ground
swell, which set in, increased by the strength of the tide, caused
her to pitch and labour so hard, that a man was placed to watch the
cable, and give notice the moment it _complained_, a technical
expression, which meant, the moment it gave signs of breaking.
Daylight had scarcely dawned, when the pall of the windlass broke.
The purpose of this was to prevent the windlass from turning round on
its axis against any strain to which it might be subjected, and
consequently it was no sooner broken, than the windlass flew round
with incredible velocity, having nothing to resist the strain of the
cable, which was passed round it. The chain cable ran out so swiftly,
that in half a minute the windlass was broken to atoms. The two
Landers with their people rendered all the assistance in their power
to prevent the ship from drifting. They succeeded in fastening the
cable to ring bolts in the deck, until they got sufficient of it
clear to go round the capstan, which they had no sooner effected,
than the ring bolts were fairly drawn out of the deck by the strain
on the cable.

About eight in the evening, a terrific wave, called by sailors a
_sea_, struck the vessel with tremendous force, and broke the chain
cable. "The cable is gone," shouted a voice, and the next instant the
captain cried out in a firm, collected tone, "Cut away the kedge,"
which was promptly obeyed, and the vessel was again stopped from
drifting among the breakers. The man who had been stationed to look
out on the cable, came running aft on deck, as soon as he had given
notice of the danger, calling out that all was over. "Good God!" was
the passionate exclamation of every one, and a slight confusion
ensued. But the captain was prepared for the worst, he gave his
orders with firmness, and behaved with promptness and intrepidity.

"We were riding by the kedge, a small anchor, which, however, was the
only one left us, and on which the safety of the brig now depended.
The breakers were close under our stern, and this was not expected to
hold ten minutes; it was a forlorn hope, every eye was fixed on the
raging surf, and our hearts thrilled with agitation, expecting every
moment that the vessel would be dashed in pieces. A few long and
awful minutes were passed in this state, which left an indelible
impression on our minds. Never," continues Richard Lander, "shall I
forget the chief mate saying to me, 'Now, sir, every one for himself,
a few minutes will be the last with us.' The tumultuous sea was
raging in mountainous waves close by us, their foam dashing against
the sides of the brig, which was only prevented from being carried
among them by a weak anchor and cable. The natives, from whom they
could expect no favour, were busy on shore making large fires, and
other signals, for us to desert the brig and land at certain places,
expecting, no doubt, every moment to see her a prey to the waves, and
those who escaped their fury, to fall into their hands. Wretched
resource! the sea would have been far more merciful than they."

Such was their perilous situation, when a fine sea breeze set in,
which literally saved them from destruction. The sails were loosened
to relieve the anchor from the strain of the vessel, and she rode out
the ebb tide without drifting. At ten a.m. the tide had nearly ceased
running out, and the fury of the sea rather abated, but it was quite
impossible that the brig could ride out another ebb tide where she
lay, with the kedge anchor alone to hold her; the only chance left
them, therefore, was to get to sea, and the captain determined on
crossing the bar, although there appeared to be little chance of
success. At half-past ten a.m. he manned the boat with two of
Lander's men, and two Kroomen belonging to the brig, and sent them to
tow while the anchor was got on board. This had no sooner been done
than the wind fell light, and instead of drifting over to the western
breakers as on the two preceding days, the brig was now set towards
those on the eastern side, and again they had a narrow escape. With
the assistance of the boat and good management, they at length passed
clear over the bar on the edge of the breakers, in a depth of quarter
less three fathoms, and made sail to the eastward. Their troubles
were now at an end; by the protection of a merciful Providence, they
had escaped dangers, the very thoughts of which had filled them with
horror, and with a grateful heart and tears of joy for all his
mercies, they offered up a silent prayer of thanks for their

The bar extends about four or five miles from the mouth of the river,
in a southerly direction, but is by no means known. This river is by
far the best place on the whole coast, at which small vessels may
procure oil, as it is the shortest distance from the Eboe country,
where the best palm oil is to be had in any quantity. The Eboe oil is
pronounced to be superior to that of any other part of the country,
which is brought to the coast. The river is not much frequented,
owing probably to its being unknown, and the difficulty of crossing
the bar; for not more than five English vessels have been known to
come to it, two of which are stated to have been lost, and a third to
have struck on the bar, but being a new strong vessel, she beat over
into deep water. The Landers recommend any master going to the river
for palm oil, to provide himself with two good strong six-oared boats
for towing, and a double complement of Kroomen. The expense of ten or
twelve Kroomen would be trifling, as they only require a few yams and
a little palm oil to eat, and they are always ready to perform any
laborious work which may be required of them. If masters of vessels
coming to the river would send a boat before to sound, and have two
good six-oared boats towing, it is supposed there would be no danger
of any being lost, as has been the case with some, from being weakly
manned. Vessels are got under way with a fine breeze, and when they
arrive in the most dangerous part, it dies away, and if there be no
boats ready for towing, nothing can save them from destruction.

Vessels going out of the river are usually recommended to keep as
near as possible to the western breakers, but this plan is supposed
to be very dangerous, unless there be sufficient wind to keep command
of them. When a vessel leaves her anchorage in the river, she will be
set by the current over to the western breakers, and when half way to
the bar, will be set over to the eastern, as the Landers were. The
river would be the safest in the month of December or January, as the
rains in the interior would then be over, and all the extra water
will have been discharged, which it has received in the extent of
country through which it has run. When no English vessels are in the
river, the people of Bonny come and purchase the palm oil from the
Brass people, probably for the purpose of supplying the ships in
their river, as well as for their own uses.

On the morning of November 28th, they discovered a strange vessel on
their starboard beam, which directly made sail in chase of them.
After firing a gun to make them stop, or to bring them to, as the
sailors expressed themselves, she sent a boat on board of the brig,
and we found her to be the Black Joke, tender to the British
commodore's ship. The Landers reported themselves to the lieutenant
commanding her, under the hope of her taking them on board of his
vessel and landing them at Accra, from whence they thought it would
be easy to find their way by one of his majesty's ships to Ascension
or St. Helena, from either of which places an opportunity would offer
for them to get home without delay. The orders, however, of the
lieutenant were to run down the coast as far as the Congo, and he
recommended them to go to Fernando Po, where they would find every
assistance, and a vessel about to sail soon for England. Having
obtained from them the intelligence that the Spanish slaver was lying
in the Nun River ready to sail, he immediately altered his course for
that river, for the purpose of capturing her. Captain Lake agreed to
land them in his boat at Fernando Po, as he passed the island on his
way to the River Camaroons, and they again made sail to the westward.

They were two days in making their passage to Fernando Po, and on the
morning of December 1st, to their great satisfaction, they discovered
the island. They were glad to get out of the Thomas, for the
unfeeling commander, notwithstanding that Lander's men had rendered
him every service in getting his brig out of the river, and had done
every thing required of them, afterwards employed every means he
could think of to annoy them, and to make them uncomfortable, while
they were with him. At night, while the people were sleeping, he
would make his men draw water, and throw it over them, for mere
amusement. There are many commanders as bad as he is on the coast,
who seem to vie with each other in acts of cruelty and oppression.
The captain of the palm oil brig Elizabeth, now in the Calebar River,
actually whitewashed his crew from head to foot, while they were sick
with fever, and unable to protect themselves; his cook suffered so
much in the operation, that the lime totally deprived him of the
sight of one of his eyes, and rendered the other of little service to

In the afternoon they were happily landed at Clarence Cove, in the
island of Fernando Po, where they were most kindly received by Mr.
Becroft, the acting superintendent. This worthy gentleman readily
supplied them with changes of linen, and every thing they stood in
need of, besides doing all he could to make them comfortable. The
kindness and hospitality they received from him and Dr. Crichton in
particular, made a grateful impression on the hearts of the Landers.

Accustomed as they had been during the last month, to the monotonous
sameness of a low flat country, the banks of the river covered with
mangroves overhanging the water, and in many parts, in consequence of
its extraordinary height, apparently growing out of it; the lofty
summit of Fernando Po, and the still loftier mountains of the
Camaroons, on the distant mainland, presented a sublime and
magnificent appearance. The highest mountain of the Camaroons, is a
striking feature on this part of the coast, being more than thirteen
thousand feet high. The land in its vicinity is low and flat, which
renders the appearance of this mountain still more imposing, as it
towers majestically over the surrounding country in solitary
grandeur. It divides the embouchures of the spacious rivers Old
Calebar and Del Rey on the west, from the equally important one of
the Cameroons on the east. The island of Fernando is detached about
twenty miles from the coast, and appeared to them, when they first
saw it, in two lofty peaks connected by a high ridge of land. The
northern peak is higher than the other, which is situated in the
southern part of the island, and rises gradually from the sea to the
height of ten thousand seven hundred feet. In clear weather the
island can be seen at the distance of more than a hundred miles; but
this is not always the case, as the summit is most frequently
concealed by clouds and fogs, which are common at certain seasons of
the year.

As they approached the island in fine weather, and with a moderate
wind, they had ample time to observe it. The shore is formed mostly
of a dark coloured rock, and covered with trees which reach down to
the water's edge. The whole of the lower part of the island is
covered with fine forest trees of various descriptions, extending
about three fourths up the sides of the mountain, where they became
thinly scattered, stinted in their growth, and interspersed with low
bushes and a brown dry grass. In various parts, patches of cultivated
ground may be seen along with the huts of the natives, presenting,
with the luxuriant foliage of the trees, a mass of verdure in the
most flourishing condition. Nature has here done her utmost; the
whole appearance of the island is of the most beautiful description,
and fully justifies its title to the name of _Ilha Formosa_,
signifying, "beautiful island," which it first received. As they
approached it still nearer, the stupendous precipices, and wide
fissures near the summit of the principal mountain, became more
distinct, by the contrast between their dark recesses and the lights
on the projecting rocks, until by the proximity of the observers to
the shore, the whole became concealed behind the lesser height next
to the sea.

Until the year 1827, the island lay forsaken and neglected in its
primitive condition, neither the Portuguese nor Spaniards having
thought it worth their consideration. At length, the attention of the
British government was directed to it, in consequence of its
favourable position for putting a stop to the slave trade in that
quarter of Africa. Situated within a few hours sail of the coast, in
the immediate vicinity of those rivers, commencing with the Camaroons
on the east, and extending along the whole of the Gold Coast, where
the principal outlets of this unlawful traffic are found, Fernando Po
presented advantages, which were sufficient to authorize a settlement
being formed on it, and Captain W. Owen sailed from England for that
purpose, in his majesty's ship Eden, with the appointment of
governor, and with Commander Harrison under his orders. Captain Owen
had been previously employed on an extensive and difficult survey of
the coasts of Africa, both in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, in
which the shores of this island were included, and therefore, having
visited it before, he was no stranger either to its nature and
resources, or to the climate in which it is situated. Previously to
the arrival of Captain Owen, the island had been occasionally visited
by some of the ships on the African station, for the purpose of
obtaining supplies of vegetables and water, and perhaps now and then
a Liverpool trader would be seen there waiting for palm oil, or
recovering the health of her crew from fevers obtained in the rivers
on the coast. As the natives reside some distance in the interior,
the arrival of a ship of war at the island, was announced to them by
the discharge of a cannon on board, which was sufficient to bring
them to the sea side, with whatever vegetables, poultry, and other
articles they might wish to sell. The articles mostly demanded by
them in return, were pieces of iron-hoop, knives, and nails. At
first, a piece of iron-hoop about six inches long, would purchase a
pair of fowls or four yams, so great was the value which the natives
attached to iron.

The business of forming a new settlement, is a species of service
that requires the exercise of certain qualities of the mind, which it
is not the good fortune of every one to possess. In addition to the
pernicious effects of the climate on European constitutions, there
were people on the island, who, although they might be unable to
offer any serious impediment to the progress of the settlement, it
was necessary to conciliate than treat them with hostility, and for
this, no one could have been better calculated than Captain Owen.
Whatever may have induced him to relinquish the appointment of
governor, no measures for gaining the friendship of the natives, and
thereby securing their good will towards the colony, could have been
better than those which he adopted, and the chiefs even now
frequently mention his name.

The part selected as the site of the proposed settlement, was on the
northern side of the island on the borders of a small cove, formed by
a narrow neck of land projecting out from the shore on the eastern
side of it. This was named "Point William," and the cove, together
with the whole establishment was called "Clarence," after his most
gracious majesty, who was then lord high admiral of Great Britain.
Point Adelaide with two small islets off it, connected by a sand
bank, forms the western boundary of the cove, and is distant about
half a mile from Point William. Goderich Bay lies to the east, and
Cockburn Cove to the west of Clarence Cove. Under the able direction
of Captain Owen, the various buildings were planned, while the
operation of clearing the ground was going forward. A flag staff,
which formerly stood on the extremity of Point William, was removed
to the governor's house; and a large commodious building, with a few
solitary palm trees near it, is the first object which attracts
attention. This building was assigned as the hospital, and was
judiciously situated here, as it was the most exposed to the sea
breeze, and stood completely isolated from the rest of the
settlement, both which precautions were of no small importance in the
climate of Fernando Po. A small, round-topped building at a short
distance from the hospital, with a few huts near it, and surrounded
by stakes, was formerly the magazine, and near it was another large
building, used as the marine barracks. The officers' quarters, and
those of the African corps, were next in succession, and announced
their military character by a piece of artillery mounted close to
them, and pointed towards the cove. The governor's house, a large,
spacious building, stands eminently conspicuous, on the precipice of
the shore beneath, which is the landing place. From hence, a
fatiguing walk leads immediately to it, up an ascent of about one
hundred feet. A battery of seven guns were landed for this purpose
from his majesty's ship, Esk, which were placed in a very commanding
situation in front of the governor's house. The house of the mixed
commission for the adjudication of captured slave vessels, stands in
an unfinished state, at a short distance from the governor's.
Various other buildings occupy Point William, which are diversified
by a few trees, that give it a pleasing and picturesque appearance
from the sea. This remark is generally made by those who first visit
Clarence Cove, and all are pleased on first seeing it. In addition to
the buildings just enumerated, Mr. Lloyd has a tolerably good house,
and the surgeon of the colony, who is a naval officer, has also one
assigned for his residence. The Kroomen and free negroes, who amount
to about two thousand in number, have a collection of small, neat
huts, at a short distance from government house, which are
constructed of wood, and thatched with palm leaves. They are very
careful of them, and have a small garden in the front as well as
behind, in which they cultivate Indian corn, bananas, peppers, &c.
These huts form two small streets, but they are daily receiving
additions from new comers.

The work of clearing the ground is constantly going forward and is
performed by the free negroes, the African troops, and the Kroomen.
The principal disease amongst these people, which arises from
accidents in cutting down the trees, is ulcerated legs, and sixteen
of them were in the hospital from this cause alone. The Kroomen are a
particular race of people, differing entirely from the other African
tribes. They inhabit a country called Sotta Krou, on the coast near
Cape Palmas; their principal employment being of a maritime nature.
Their language, as well as their general character, is also different
from that of their neighbours. A certain number of these men are
always employed on board of the ships of war on the African coast,
for the purpose of performing those duties where considerable fatigue
and exposure to the sun are experienced. In consequence of their
roving employment, they are to be found on all parts of the coast,
and are sufficiently acquainted with it to serve as pilots. It is
customary with them to establish themselves on various parts of the
coast for this purpose, and to leave the elders of their tribes in
their own country, unless their presence should be required by any
war that might take place. They are said to return to their country
after an absence of several years, when they have amassed by their
industry, sufficient to maintain themselves, and some among them are
intelligent and active, but they are not always to be trusted,
although they are a very superior class of people, in comparison with
other African tribes.

Besides a watering place at a short distance to the right of the
governor's house, two small streams, Hay brook and Horton brook, run
into Goderich Bay, affording plenty of excellent water, and capable
of admitting boats. The watering place, above-mentioned, is generally
frequented, from the convenience with which the water is obtained,
being connected to the sea side by a wooden aqueduct, under which
boats may lie and fill their casks very easily without removing them.

When the Landers arrived, Clarence establishment consisted of the
superintendent, or acting governor, Mr. Becroft, who was generally
known by the title of captain; Captain Beattie, the commander of the
Portia, colonial schooner; Mr. Crichton, a naval surgeon; Lieutenant
Stockwell, with a party of five or six marines; a mulatto ensign of
the royal African corps, with two black companions from Sierra Leone,
and some carpenters and sail-makers, besides a mulatto, who filled
the office of clerk or secretary to Mr. Becroft; an English merchant
of the name of Lloyd, in the employment of Mr. Smith, whose residence
has been already mentioned.

No place, in point of convenience, could have been better selected
for a settlement, than that on which Clarence is situated. The bay
affords safe anchorage for shipping, from the furious tornadoes,
which are common in this part of the world, and is sufficiently
capacious to shelter as many vessels as are likely to visit the
island; it abounds with fish, and is free from sunken rocks, and the
shore is steep and easy of access to boats. There is another bay,
called George's Bay, on the western side of the island, but it has
the disadvantage of being open to that quarter, and consequently
affords no safety to shipping. The proximity of Clarence Cove to the
coast of Africa, is also another important point in favour of the
object for which the establishment was formed.

The natives of Fernando Po are the filthiest race of people in the
whole world. They are different in their manners and appearance from
their neighbours on the coast, to whom the Landers had of late been
so much accustomed, and possess no single trait of character similar
to them, except that of pilfering. In point of civilization, to which
the natives of Brass Town have not the most distant pretensions,
these people have even still less; their language is totally
different, and they have no resemblance whatever to them. This in
itself affords a tolerable proof of the little intercourse they have
had with the world, for while the other islands of the gulf are
plentifully stocked with the same race of people as those of the
coast, Fernando Po which is so much nearer to it, is inhabited by a
totally different class. They are, generally speaking, a stout,
athletic, and well-made race of people, and peculiarly harmless and
peaceably inclined in their dispositions, although each individual is
generally armed with a spear about eight feet in length, made of a
hard wood, and barbed at one end. They appeared also to be a healthy
race of people, for although here and there one or two might be less
favoured by nature in their persons, no signs of the diseases so
common among the natives of Africa were to be seen amongst them.

They have already been described as a filthy race, but no words can
convey an idea of their disgusting nature. They have long hair, which
it is difficult to distinguish, from being matted together with red
clay and palm oil. The clay and oil are so profusely laid on; that it
forms an impenetrable shield for the head, and the long tresses,
which descend to their shoulders, are generally in a moist condition.
Although this covering is a complete safeguard to all inconvenience
from without, they still further adorn their heads with a kind of
cap, made of dry grass, ornamented round the border with the feathers
of fowls, or any other bird, carefully stuck into it apart from each
other. Some are so vain as to affix the horns of a ram in front of
this cap, which gives them a most strange and ludicrous appearance.
Finally, the cap with all its ornaments of feathers, horns, shells,
&c. is secured in its place with a piece of stick, which answers the
purpose by being forced through it on one side and out on the
opposite, after passing underneath the hair. Sometimes this elegant
pin, as it may be called, is formed of the leg bone of some small
animal, and is pointed at one end for the purpose of penetrating more
easily. The expression of their countenance, scared and marked as it
is, and surmounted by the cap already described, is wild and
barbarous. They smear their faces entirely over with red clay, mixed
with palm oil, sometimes a kind of grey dust is used instead of the
clay, and this preparation being equally distributed over their whole
persons, renders their presence scarcely tolerable. It is difficult
to find out the colour of their skin under the filthy covering of oil
and clay by which it is concealed, but it is believed not to be so
dark as the African negro, and more resembling a copper colour.

The natives make use of no other dress than the cap, which they wear
on their heads, but a few leaves, or a bunch of dried grass, are
usually secured round the middle by the people of both sexes, while
the younger, naturally unconscious of indecency, go entirely naked.
The vertebrae of snakes, the bones of fowls and birds, as well as
sheep, broken shells, small beads, and pieces of cocoa nut shell are
put in requisition by the natives, for the ornament of their persons.
A profusion of these strung together hang round the waist, which it
seems to be the principal care to decorate in this manner, while
their necks are scarcely less favoured with a proportion of these
articles. Strings of them are also fastened round the arms and legs,
but not in such quantities as round the waist. The pieces of hoop
they have obtained from the ships which have visited the island, are
formed into rude knives, or polished, and worn on the arm, in a kind
of band made of straw, and are much valued. In their first
intercourse with Europeans, the natives were very shy, and displayed
much fear, but this gradually wore off, and they now venture boldly
on board for the purpose of obtaining knives, hatchets, or any thing
they can get. They have a few canoes of small dimensions, capable of
containing ten or twelve people, but are not very expert in the
management of them, although they are so far advanced as to make use
of a mast and sail, which latter is constructed of a sort of mat.
They seem to be little addicted to the water, and none were seen
amongst them; who could swim. In their fishing excursions, the
natives are generally very successful, and those who pursue this mode
of obtaining their livelihood, are compelled to adhere to it, and
allowed to have nothing to do with cultivating the land. They
exchange their fish for yams, and thus the wants of the fishermen and
the cultivators are both supplied.

On the first visit of ships to this island, very considerable
aversion was shown by the natives to any of their people attempting
to go to their huts, or even to their endeavouring to penetrate into
the woods, although only a short distance from the shore, from a fear
perhaps of their plantations being plundered. Their huts, which are
of the rudest construction imaginable, may be distinctly seen amongst
the trees in small groups, surrounding a clear space of ground, in
which they cultivate the yam, and are formed of a few stakes driven
firmly into the ground, thatched over with the palm leaf, the sides
being completed with a sort of wicker work. They are about ten or
twelve feet long, and half that in breadth, and not more than four or
five feet in height. Their only furniture consists of some long flat
pieces of wood, raised a few inches from the ground, and slightly
hollowed out, to answer the purpose of sleeping in.

Numerous instances have occurred, of the thieving propensities of the
natives, and it required, at first, a considerable degree of
vigilance to prevent them from being successful, but it is due to the
chiefs to say, that since the establishment of Clarence, they have
invariably taken an active part in putting a stop to it. Whatever may
have been their habits previously to the formation of the settlement,
they seem to be little improved by their intercourse with the
settlers. Their principal chief has received the formidable
appellation of cut-throat from Captain Owen, a name, by which he will
be known as long as he lives. This fellow is a most determined
savage, and seems to have lost none of his natural propensities by
communicating with the settlers. He has received innumerable presents
from the English, of clothes, and a variety of things, which are all
thrown away upon him, and he goes about as usual, wearing his little
hat, with feathers stuck in it, and the long grass about his waist,
disdaining such useless coverings as he imagines them. This is not to
be wondered at, for accustomed as he has been all his life time, to
the unrestrained freedom of his whole person, it would be rather a
matter of surprise to see him make use of them, particularly in the
climate of Fernando Po, where one almost wishes to follow the example
of the natives, excepting in the use of their clay and palm oil. No
doubt Cut-throat thinks this quite a sufficient covering.

The natives pay frequent visits to the colony, and, however they may
deal out justice amongst themselves, are by no means backward in
seeing it administered among the free negroes and Kroomen of
Clarence. It frequently happens, that in the scarcity of live stock,
some of the former, unable to restrain their desire for more
substantial food, and tired of their Indian corn, venture to help
themselves to what the natives will not bring them; parties of these
people are accordingly formed, who find their way to the huts of the
natives in the interior, and steal their yams, goats, and sheep, or
whatever they meet with. These depredations are sure to bring the
unfortunate owners to the colony with complaints of their losses,
which are laid before the governor. The negroes are then mustered
before them, and the native who has been plundered, is allowed, if he
can do so, to point out the thief. If he should be successful, which
is frequently the case, he is allowed to witness the punishment,
which the offender is sentenced to receive, and generally gets some
recompense for his loss. On the Sunday after the arrival of the
Landers at Clarence, a party of four Kroomen set off into the
interior, with the full determination of plunder, let the
consequences be what it might. They had not gone far before they met
with a goat belonging to a native, which they immediately shot, and
returned with it carefully concealed, that they might not be
discovered. Their precautions, however, were of little avail, for the
owner of the animal accompanied by a party of his friends, made his
appearance at Clarence the next morning, and preferred his complaint
in strong terms against the luckless Kroomen, whom, it appeared, he
knew perfectly well. The Kroomen were accordingly mustered, and the
very four, who had gone on this unfortunate expedition, were pointed
out with exultation by the natives. The law took its course, the
Kroomen each received one hundred and fifty lashes from the African
drummer, usually employed on these occasions, while the natives stood
by, to see that the punishment was duly performed. This they did to
admiration, by counting the number of lashes each received; and
having witnessed the last punished, with eyes sparkling with brutal
satisfaction at the tortures of the unfortunate sufferers, they went
away quite satisfied. The place where this disagreeable operation is
performed, is in the barrack yard, on Point William, between the
officers' house and the hospital. The culprit is tied up to a kind of
strong gallows, erected for the purpose. Two stout pieces of timber,
about seven or eight feet high, are driven perpendicularly into the
ground, about four feet apart from each other, a piece is secured
firmly across them at the top, and another at a short distance from
the ground. The hands of the man who is to be punished, are tied at
each end of the upright pieces, and his legs are secured to the same
on each side below, in which position he is exposed to the merciless
scourge of the drummer, which is a common cat-o-nine-tails. It is
painful even to think of such scenes as these, and when they take
place at the mere whim and caprice of the hardened slave merchant,
such a picture is revolting in the extreme. Here, however, severe as
it may appear, it must be looked upon in a different point of view.
The punishment is great, but with the certainty of receiving it, if
discovered, the negro will run the risk of incurring it, by what may
be termed the breach of the first law of civilized society. In
addition to the tendency it has to keep the free blacks in control,
such a proceeding convinces the natives of the island, that their
depredations are not sanctioned by the colony. Were some punishment
not instituted to curb the restless, pilfering propensities of these
people, no order could be maintained; they would return to a worse
condition, than that which they were in at first, and the colony
would no longer be secure; for the natives of the island, finding
their homes invaded, and their property carried off, unable to obtain
redress, would soon take the law into their own hands, and would
either murder the colonists, or drive them from the island.
Therefore, although a severe one, it is a salutary measure, and it
has no doubt done much towards keeping the natives themselves honest.
What punishment is adopted by the natives, the Landers were not able
to ascertain. The chiefs appear to possess considerable authority
over them, and it is not improbable that the custom of the settlement
is imitated in some shape or other.

The only weapon used by the natives, excepting the knife before
mentioned, is a spear, of about eight feet in length, made of iron
wood, and barbed at one end. The nature of the wood is so hard, as
not to require the protection of iron at the end, and they did not
see any pointed with it. They are very plentiful amongst the natives,
who do not appear to attach any particular value to them. The Landers
during their stay had no opportunity of witnessing their expertness
with them, but they are said to use them for killing monkeys and
other animals.

The resources of the island, in point of provisions are exhausted, or
the natives are determined to reserve what are left for their own
purposes. On the first formation of the establishment, they gladly
brought to market all they had to dispose of, in the same manner as
they had done to any vessel that chanced to visit the island. These
consisted of a few goats, sheep, and fowls, of a very poor quality,
and plenty of yams, which were all readily exchanged for pieces of
iron hoop, of about six inches long. A piece of hoop of this length
would purchase a goat, three or four fowls, or a large bundle of
yams, weighing about twenty pounds. As their stock became exhausted,
so the iron hoops became less valuable; more were demanded, until the
natives could no longer supply the settlement, and had enough to do
to provide for themselves, when they discontinued their supplies, and
the settlement, not yet able to provide for itself, is dependent on
supplies from the Calebar, and other rivers near it. Bullocks are
stated by the natives, to be plentiful on the hills in the interior,
but the Landers did not hear of any having been seen by the people of
Clarence, and they are generally obtained from the Calebar River.
Deer are also said to be on the island, abundance of wild fowl, and a
great number of monkeys, some black and others of a brown colour.
Parrots are also innumerable, and the natives are particularly
partial to them and monkeys for food. Turtle have been caught in the
bay, as well as fish, but these supplies are uncertain, and,
therefore, not to be depended upon. The island is entirely
mountainous, and contains a fine rich soil, capable of producing any
thing required of it. Several small mountain streams fall into the
sea, the largest of which are the two, named Hay and Horton Brooks,
before mentioned. The principal vegetable cultivated by the natives
is the yam, with which they are particularly successful. The best
yams of the island are said to be those of George's Bay, which are
very large, and of an uncommonly fine flavour. The supply of these at
Clarence is now very limited, and not to be depended on always, which
may be probably to a difference in the season for growing them. This
deficiency has been in some measure remedied by the construction of a
government garden, from which some men of war have received supplies,
but these are not sufficient to supply the wants of the colony, and
recourse is had for them to the Calebar River.

Palm wine at the colony, as well as on the coast, is the common and
favourite drink of the natives. It is easily procured in any
quantity, and is used in either an unfermented state, when just fresh
from the tree, or after it has been kept some days. It seems
peculiarly intended by a bountiful providence for the untutored and
destitute Indian, who is unable to supply himself with those
beverages which are the result of art. The palm tree affords him a
pleasant drink, a valuable oil, a fruit from the nut, and besides
food, it furnishes him with a material to construct his hut, and is
always ready for any immediate purpose. The juice, which is called
"wine," is obtained by making a hole in the trunk of the tree, and
inserting a piece of the leaf into it, so as to form a spout; the
liquid flows through this, and is received in a calabash placed
beneath it, which probably holds two or three gallons, and will be
thus filled in the course of a day. It shortly assumes a milky
appearance, and is either used in this state, or preserved till it
acquires rather a bitter flavour. The produce of the palm tree, fish,
and yams, form the principal food of the natives; they devour monkeys
when they can get them.

This method of obtaining the juice of the palm tree is exactly
similar to that which is adopted by the Indians of North America,
with respect to the maple tree. A hole is made in the same manner in
the trunk of the tree, and a piece of birch bark inserted into it as
a spout, which, from its peculiar nature, answers the purpose
remarkably well. The juice of the maple instead of being preserved is
converted into sugar by evaporation. There are various sorts of
timber at Fernando Po, amongst which the African oak is very
plentiful, and particularly so in George's Bay, where it grows close
to the sea side; satin wood, ebony, lignum vitae, yellow cam wood, and
several sorts of mahogany, besides other wood of a very hard nature,
grow in profusion all over the island, and may probably hereafter
become valuable.

The Landers had the good fortune to arrive at the island during the
season of fine weather, but they had not enjoyed much of the sea
breeze, which about noon, sometimes set in from the north west
quarter, The harmattan is said to be experienced here, although it
extends not to the other islands of the gulf. This wind, which passes
over the sands of Africa, would be almost insupportable, were it not
for the sea breezes. While the harmattan lasts, the dryness in the
atmosphere produces an unpleasant feeling, although it is said not to
be injurious to health. The atmosphere is filled with a fine light
sand, which prevents objects from being distinctly seen; the sun
loses its brilliancy, and everything appears parched and suffering
from a want of moisture. The effect of the harmattan after the rainy
season is said to be most beneficial in drying up the vapours with
which the atmosphere is loaded, and it has been observed, that on the
return of this wind at the end of the rainy season, the recovery of
invalids commences. The harmattan has also the effect of drying up
the skin of the natives in a very extraordinary manner. After an
exposure to it, the skin peals off in white scales from their whole
body, which assumes an appearance as if it were covered over with
white dust.

The islands in the gulf of Guinea, with the exception of Fernando Po,
have each a capital town of some consequence, and although they
produce sufficient supplies for ships that visit them, and carry on a
small trade, it is much to be doubted, whether they are not more
indebted for their importance to the slave trade than any other
source. With respect to Prince's Island and St. Thomas, they are
known to be the receptacles for slaves from the coast, from whence
they are re-embarked and conveyed away as opportunities offer; and
the natives of the small island of Anna Bon, appear to be living in
constant fear of the same, from the effects of their former treatment
by the Spaniards.

The natives of Anna Bon, have a tradition that they once belonged to
the Portuguese, and exhibit proofs of their having been formerly
initiated in the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic religion. They are
said to be particularly careful, when any stranger visits their
settlement, to let them see their church, which is appropriately
situated for this purpose immediately opposite the landing place. At
present, by all accounts, they are living in a state of natural
simplicity and ignorance of the world. Some idea may be formed of the
condition of their minds, by a story that is currently related of
them, in which the effects of their former tuition are apparent. The
king once gravely told a visitor, with an idea of impressing him with
his importance, that a short time previously to his arrival, he had
held a conference with the supreme being, from whom he had learnt the
cause of a recent sickness which had visited them, and also that he
had approved of his being the king of the island. Other stories,
equally nonsensical, are told of them, such as might be expected from
people in this half-informed condition. But the old king's word was
sufficient for his subjects, and this assurance was quite enough to
satisfy the harmless, inoffensive creatures, that he was their
legitimate king. Although Anna Bon is a healthy island in comparison
with any other in the Gulf of Guinea; it is too far removed from the
coast to be of use in putting down the slave trade, unless it were
made a rendezvous for half a dozen steam vessels, which would do more
than any other class of vessels towards effecting this object.

Favourable as the situation of Clarence is for the purpose for which
it is intended, it is much to be regretted that it is so unhealthy
for Europeans. During the stay of the Landers on the island, four
deaths occurred; these persons were the sail maker, one of the
carpenters of the colony, a seaman of the Portia, a colonial
schooner, and one of the crew of the Susan, an English brig that they
found there, on their arrival. The Susan was in the Calebar, waiting
for a cargo, when her crew were attacked with fever, which quickly
carried off her captain, mates, and left only one person alive. The
vessel thus reduced, was without her crew to bring her out of the
river, much less to complete her cargo, and she might have remained
there till the last had died, but for the watchful attention of Mr.
Becroft, who brought her to Clarence with a party of men, and after
putting a new mast into her, and doing all in his power to set the
vessel in order, supplied her with provisions and fresh people, and
sent her to sea. The Landers were offered a passage in her to
England, but declined accepting it in consequence of the condition in
which she had been. She was afterwards obliged to stop at Cape Coast,
in consequence of the fever having broken out afresh on board of her.
The most melancholy account of the effects of the climate here, which
came within the knowledge of the Landers, was in the family of
Lieutenant Stockwell, the officer commanding the party of marines,
whose name has been already mentioned. This gentleman had brought his
wife and a large family with him from the island of Ascension, who
were residing with his brother officer in a building called the
Waterfall House, which had been erected by Captain Owen. Mr.
Stockwell successively lost five of his children, and five servants,
the latter of whom successively died, as they came into his service.
His brother officer also died, making eleven in number, and Mr.
Stockwell and his wife narrowly escaped with their lives. The house
was in consequence deserted by them, and since been occupied by the
black people. The fever, which attacks Europeans at this island, is
said to be similar to the yellow fever in the West Indies. The
symptoms are the same, from the commencement to the end of the
disease, and it is equally as summary in its effects. George's Bay,
is said to be far healthier than Clarence, and being on the western
side of the island, receives the full benefit of the sea breeze,
while at Clarence, the wind is later, and is interrupted by land to
the westward of it. In addition to this, the sea breeze passes over a
long and disagreeable swamp in its progress to Clarence, which no
doubt charges it with all kinds of noxious vapours. George's Bay,
besides having the benefit of a pure sea breeze, has a good deal of
clear land about it, and equally as good a soil as Clarence.

It is more than probable, as the Landers had now ascertained, that a
water communication may be carried on with so extensive a part of the
interior of Africa, that a considerable trade will be opened with the
country through which they had passed. The natives only require to
know what is wanted from them, and to be shown what they will have in
return, and much produce that is now lost from neglect, will be
turned to a considerable account. The countries situated on the
banks of the Niger, will become frequented from all the adjacent
parts, and this magnificent stream will assume an appearance, it has
never yet displayed. The first effects of a trade being opened, will
be to do away with the monopoly near the mouth of the river, which
has hitherto been held by the chiefs of the lower countries. Steam
boats will penetrate up the river even as far as Lever, at the time
of year in which the Landers came down, and will defy the efforts of
these monopolists to arrest their progress. The steam engine, the
greatest invention of the human mind, will be a fit means of
conveying civilization amongst the uninformed Africans, who,
incapable of comprehending such a thing, will view its arrival
amongst them with astonishment and terror, and will gradually learn
to appreciate the benefits they will derive, and to hail its arrival
with joy. In this case, Fernando Po will become of still greater
consequence, and will no doubt be a depot of considerable importance.
It was, however, the opinion of Richard Lander, that much expense
would be saved, and above all, many valuable lives, if it were
possible to adopt George's Bay, as the place for the principal
establishment. Of the different parts of the coast, Accra is the most
healthy, and were it nearer, Lander would recommend it for such a
purpose, the soil being good and clear of underwood for many miles
round. But the distance at which it lies from the mouth of the river
is too great for such a purpose.

On the 23rd December, Mr. Becroft, the superintendent, invited
Richard Lander to accompany him in the Portia, to the Calebar River,
whither he was going to procure stock for the use of the colony. The
place from which this is obtained, is called Ephraim Town, where it
appears to be very plentiful. Being tired of Fernando Po, Lander
accepted his invitation, in order to pass away the time that they
would still have to wait before they could get away, notwithstanding
all their anxiety to reach home with the news of their discovery.
John Lander, being very ill, was unable to accompany them. Richard,
therefore, left him at Clarence, and embarked with Mr. Becroft in the
evening. They departed from Clarence with a fine breeze, but found it
necessary in going out, to be particularly careful of being drifted
by the tide, either on Point William, or on the Adelaide islets at
each extremity of the cove, as the tide always sets either towards
the one or the other. In leaving the cove, it is best to keep, as
near as possible, midway between the two extremes, and not to
approach either the one or the other, nearer than can be possibly
avoided. The currents in the Gulf of Guinea are stated to be very
variable, although they are most generally from the westward, obeying
the direction of the sea breeze. The harmattan generally produces a
very strong westerly current in direct opposition to this, and the
want of knowing it, has frequently proved fatal to vessels; the
masters of which, imagining that they were under the influence of an
easterly current, have been actually drifted many miles to the
westward in the course of a single night, and have found themselves
on shore the next morning; the violence of the current from the
westward when the sea breezes are strong, is so great, that it is
scarcely possible to believe, that a day or two of the harmattan
would overcome it, but the effect of this is so powerful, that it is
well known, to those, who have frequented the gulf, that the current
produced by the harmattan, will even continue against the westerly
winds, after they may have again set in. A remarkable instance is
related of the velocity of the currents in the gulf, to the southward
of Fernando Po. In the month of June, a vessel performed the passage
between Prince's Island and St. Thomas in twenty hours, which
generally occupies from eight to ten days. The distance is about
ninety three miles, and the vessel must have averaged from four to
six miles per hour. The harmattan is said not to extend to the
southward of Fernando Po, but this has not yet been fully

The passage through the gulf from Fernando Po to Sierra Leone, is
generally extremely long and tedious, owing to the prevalence of
calms and the different currents. It is usually made either by
running to the southward and getting into the southeast trade, or by
keeping in shore, as far as Cape Palmas, so as to benefit by the
landwinds. The former method is generally recommended by the
merchantmen as being safer and quicker, for a vessel adopting the
latter, is more under the dangerous influence of the currents,
besides being obliged to keep close to the shore; it is also adopted
by the merchantmen in their homeward voyage. Sometimes vessels by
taking a mean between these two methods, get between two different
winds, by which means they lose the benefit of both, and are delayed
by calms and rains. This part, according to accurate information, is
at the distance of sixty miles from the land, so that vessels should
pass either far without or else within that distance on leaving
Fernando Po.

In this part of the Gulf of Guinea, between Fernando Po and the
Calebar River, the rainy season is stated to commence in the month of
July, and to be at the worst in August and September, accompanied by
tornadoes of the most terrific description. The rains continue during
November, and cease in the month of December, but the coast is said
to be seldom many days together without a tornado. During the other
months of the year, dry, hot weather is experienced, excepting about
May, when slight rains take place. These rains are looked upon as the
winter of the natives, and are considered by them equally as cold in
their effects, as our winters in England are by ourselves. They are
equally alive to the change of the seasons as in northern countries,
and prepare themselves against the cold weather during the rains,
comparatively with as much care, as we do against our winter's frost.

The chief peculiarity of this climate, which distinguishes it from
all others within the tropics, consists in the furious storms of wind
and rain, accompanied by the most terrific thunder and lightning it
is possible to imagine. These storms are known by the name of
tornadoes, and one would be almost inclined to think that the
ancient's belief of the torrid zone being of a fiery nature, and too
hot for mankind to live in, originated in the exaggerated reports of
them, which might have gradually found their way into the part of the
world then known, and from which they were not very far distant. The
Landers witnessed three of these tornadoes, but they were trifling in
their effects, compared with those which take place in the rainy
season. They are described as being most violent, but happily of
short duration; nothing can withstand the fury of the wind while they
last, but they give sufficient indications of their approach, to
enable the experienced mariner, who is ever on the watch for the
changes in the weather, to reduce his sail on the ship, and put her
head in that position, in which she is best able to withstand its
effects, by running before the wind. This awful period lasts
generally about a quarter of an hour, when the wind subsides rather
suddenly, while the rain falls incessantly; shortly afterwards, the
wind shifts round by the south to its old quarter, the west, until
another tornado comes to disturb it. There are several peculiarities
attending the tornadoes, which are rather remarkable. It has been
remarked by experienced navigators, that they are much influenced by
the different phases of the moon, that they generally commence with
the full or new moon, at which time they are the most violent, and
that they even come on at the time that the moon sets. The influence
of the moon on the weather In other countries is doubted, but this is
an extraordinary fact, relating to the tornadoes, which has been
proved by experience.

On Saturday December 25th, after a pleasing passage, Richard Lander,
in company with Mr. Becroft, anchored off Ephraim Town, in the
Calebar River. The distance from Fernando Po to the north of the
Calebar River, is about sixty miles, and Ephraim Town is distant
about fifty miles, on the eastern bank. On their way up the river,
the attention of Richard Lander was attracted by something of a very
extraordinary appearance, hanging over the water from the branch of a
tree. His curiosity was excited by it, and he was at a loss to
conjecture what it was. He did not remain long in suspense, for they
soon passed sufficiently near it to enable him to discover, that it
was the body of one of the natives suspended by the middle, with the
feet and hands just touching the water. So barbarous a sight quickly
reminded him, that he was again amongst the poor deluded wretches on
the coast, although he had not seen any thing so bad on his way down
to the Brig Thomas, in the River Nun. The natives of this place are
Pagans, in the most depraved condition, and know nothing of
Mahommedanism, nor any other creed. They believe in a good spirit,
who they imagine dwells in the water, and sacrifices of human beings,
such as that which has just been mentioned, are frequently made to
him, with the idea of gaining his favour and protection. The object
selected for this purpose is generally some unfortunate old slave,
who may be worn out and incapable of further service, or unfit for
the market, and he is there left to suffer death, either from the
effects of the sun, or from the fangs of some hungry alligator or
shark, which may chance to find the body. The circumstance of the
hands and feet being just allowed to be immersed in the water, is
considered by these deluded people as necessary, and they are thereby
rendered an easier prey.

It is usual with ships on their first arrival in the river, to be
visited by Duke Ephraim, the chief of the town; a personage who is
well known to the numerous Liverpool traders, that frequent the
river. The reason of this visit is, that the duke may receive his
present, which consists generally of cloth, muskets, rum, or any
articles of that description, and he always goes on board in great
state, in his canoe, for this purpose, previously to which, no one is
allowed to leave the ship. This regulation, which is a method of
securing the port dues, affects those only, who come to the river for
the purpose of trade, and as the Portia was a government vessel,
they were not included in the number of those, who had the port dues
to pay. As soon as they had anchored, Richard Lander accompanied Mr.
Becroft on shore, and proceeded with him to the duke's residence, for
the purpose of paying their respects to him. A walk of about ten
minutes brought them to his house, and they found him in the palaver
square which belongs to it, busily engaged in writing, and surrounded
by a great number of his principal people. It was something unusual
to find a native chief thus employed, but the large dealings which
Duke Ephraim appears to have with the Liverpool merchants, accounts
in some measure for this accomplishment, and the smattering of
English which he has obtained. His only pretensions to dress,
consisted in a smart, gold laced hat, which he wore, and a handsome
piece of silk tied round his loins. His chief officers, who were next
to him, also wore gold laced hats, while those next in rank wore
silver lace, and the lower class contented themselves without either.
They arrived at council time, but Mr. Becroft being immediately
recognized by the duke, he received them very cordially, and made
them sit down. Duke Ephraim bears the character of being always very
civil and attentive to the English, and of making himself very active
in supplying their wants of live stock. He has formed a favourable
opinion of them, from the fine things they bring him, but his
discernment goes beyond these; for the circumstance of slave vessels
having being captured and taken out of the river, by the boats of the
English ships of war on the station, has impressed him with
admiration of their boldness and courage, and given him a very
exalted opinion of their power. Vessels of war formerly came up the
river in search of slaves, and he has always received their
commanders with much kindness, and assisted them all in his power; a
trait in his character, which is rather extraordinary, when their
object is considered, as he is the principal agent by whom supplies
of slaves are furnished from the interior. None, however, are
allowed to come up now, in consequence of the deaths that have

After a short time, they were desired to go up stairs into his best
room, and they accordingly ascended about thirty or forty wooden
steps, and entered a spacious apartment, when the sight that
presented itself was of the most extraordinary description. The room,
which was about thirty feet in length, by about twenty in breadth,
was literally crammed full of all kinds of European furniture,
covered with cobwebs and dust about half an inch thick. Elegant
tables and chairs, sofas of a magnificent description, splendid
looking-glasses, and prints of the principal public characters of
England, as well as views of sea and land engagements, set in
handsome gilt frames, beautifully cut glass decanters, and glasses,
glass chandeliers, and a number of other things, too numerous to
mention, were all mixed together in the utmost confusion. A handsome
organ attracted the notice of Lander, and a large, solid brass
arm-chair, which from an inscription upon it, appeared to be the
present of Sir John Tobin of Liverpool. The inscription, or rather
raised characters upon it were, "Presented by Sir John Tobin of
Liverpool, to his friend Duke Ephraim," and vain enough is the chief
of his present. He exhibits this chair with the rest of his presents
to the people, or any stranger who may happen to visit him, and
allows them to feast their eyes, as he imagines, on the goodly sight,
but such are his care and pride of them, that he will not allow them
to be touched by any one, and his attendants are not permitted to
approach them, even for the purpose of cleaning off the dust which
has accumulated since their first arrival. The whole of this
miscellaneous assemblage of goods, are presents which have been made
to the duke by merchants of Liverpool, as well as French, Spanish,
and Portuguese traders, and are the accumulation of a considerable
length of time.

Duke Town, or Ephraim Town, as it is known by both of these
appellations, is situated on rather elevated ground, On the left or
east bank of the river, and is of considerable size, extending
principally along it. From the appearance of it, it may be concluded
that its inhabitants amount to at least six thousand people. The
houses are generally built of clay, like those of the Eboe people.
The breadth of the river opposite to it, is not quite so wide as the
Thames at Waterloo Bridge, and the opposite bank is not so high as
that on which the town stands. The houses are built in an irregular
manner, leaving very little room for the road between them, which at
that time was exceedingly wet and dirty. The duke's house is situate
in the middle of the town, and like the rest is built of clay. It
consists of several squares, round each of which is a verandah,
similar to the houses in Yarriba. The centre square is occupied by
the duke and his wives, the others being the abode of his servants
and attendants, which altogether amount to a considerable number.
Immediately opposite to the first square, which forms the entrance to
his residence, stands a small tree, profusely decorated with human
skulls and bones. This tree is considered by the people as fetish or
sacred, and is supposed to possess the virtue of preventing the evil
spirit from entering the duke's residence. Near the tree stands the
house, which is inhabited by their priests, a class of beings,
certainly in the most savage condition of nature that it is possible
to imagine. The fetish priests of Brass Town, chalked themselves from
head to foot, besides dressing after a fashion of their own, but
these fellows outdo them far, and make themselves the most hideous
and disgusting objects possible.

Whether it may be with the idea of personifying the evil spirit of
whom they are so afraid, Lander could not learn, but they go about
the town with a human skull fastened over their face, so that they
can see through the eye-holes; this is surmounted by a pair of
bullock's horns; their body is covered with net, made of stained
grass, and to complete the whole, and give them an appearance as
ridiculous behind as they are hideous before, a bullock's tail
protrudes through the dress, and hangs down to the ground, rendering
them altogether the most uncouth looking beings imaginable. Sometimes
a cocked hat is substituted for the horns, and the skull of a dog or
monkey used, which renders their appearance, if possible, still more
grotesque. Thus equipped, they are ready to perform the mysteries of
their profession, which Lander had not sufficient opportunity to
inquire into, but which are quite enough to enslave the minds of the
people. They seem to believe in a good and evil spirit; that the good
spirit dwells in the river, which accounts for their sacrifices being
made on it, and that the evil spirit dwells in a tree, which being
full of human skulls, keeps him away from them.

On the morning of the 26th, the duke's principal man came on board
the Portia to receive payment for some bullocks, which Mr. Becroft
had purchased. There was something in his appearance which attracted
the attention of Lander, and he fancied that he seemed to be much
dirtier than any that had been seen on the preceding day. On a nearer
inspection, his head, and the whole of his body were found to be
covered with ashes, and a very dirty piece of sackcloth fastened
round his loins; besides this he appeared to be suffering great
distress of mind, and presented a most wretched and woeful
appearance. Lander asked him the cause of his grief, and why he had
covered himself with ashes in such a manner, when he gave the
following relation of the cause of all his distress. It appeared that
he had possessed six wives, one of whom was gifted with a larger
share of personal charms than the rest, the consequence of which was,
that she received more attention from him and was loved more than any
of the others. This partiality naturally excited the jealousy of the
other ladies, and mortified by his neglect of them, they were
determined on revenge, and was resolved to get rid of their favoured
rival by mixing poison with her food. They had just succeeded in
effecting their purpose, which had caused the poor fellow much
distress, and he had not recovered the effects of his loss on the
morning on which he came onboard the Portia. His tale was simple and
unvarnished, and while he was relating it to Lander, the tears were
trickling down his face. Lander never before saw a black man feel so
much for the loss of a wife as he did. This remarkable custom of
mourning in sackcloth and ashes, appears to be peculiar to these
people, and it was ascertained that they do not cease to cover their
bodies with them as long as their sorrow lasts. They do the same on
the death of a relation, and it is the only instance of the kind that
Lander met with in the part of the country through which he had

Great uproar and confusion prevailed the whole of this day
throughout the town occasioned by an adventure of the doctor with the
duke's most favourite wife, which is likely to end tragically to the
parties concerned. This person, who is the doctor of the town, it
appears was the bosom friend of the duke, in whom the latter had the
greatest confidence, and allowed him to visit his wives
_professionally_ as often as he thought proper. The gentleman's visit
had lately become so frequent as to excite suspicion and a look out
was accordingly kept on all his movements. The poor doctor was soon
caught in the snare; the motive of his visit was found to be of an
illegal nature, and the enraged duke has ordered both to be bound
hand and foot and thrown into the river on the following day.

Lander found seven French vessels lying in the river, one Spanish,
and two English. One of the latter, named the Caledonia, a ship of
five hundred tons burden, was the property of Sir John Tobin, of
Liverpool, which, with the other, the brig Elizabeth were taking in a
cargo of palm oil.

The river Calebar is very serpentine, and there is scarcely any other
tree but the mangrove to be seen on its banks. The right bank is
intersected by numerous creeks, well known to the natives, who
frequent them in their canoes; they communicate with all the rivers
that fall into the Gulf of Guinea, between this river and that on
which Benin is situated. The natives go as far as Benin in their
canoes, but there is no communication by water with the Camaroons
river, which seems to be totally distinct from the Calebar. The
canoes of the natives are the same sort as those of the Eboe people.
The river is full of crocodiles which are generally about twelve or
fourteen feet long, and are very daring in their search of prey. A
short time previous to their arrival two deaths had been occasioned
by them. Sir John Tobin has a large store close to the river side, in
which palm oil is kept for shipment on board the Liverpool vessels,
and one evening an unfortunate native boy, tired with his day's work,
fell asleep on the shore. In the course of the night an alligator
attacked him, and was awakened by finding himself in the jaws of the
monster; his struggles and cries were all in vain; the powerful
creature lacerated him in a dreadful manner, and tore off one of his
legs, with which he retreated into the water, and the remains of the
unfortunate boy were found the next morning shockingly disfigured and
weltering in blood, the death of the other was occasioned by his
losing an arm in a similar manner.

Provisions are generally dear at Duke Town. Bullocks fetch twenty
dollars each, and those not of a very good quality. Goats and sheep
are valued at three dollars, ducks at half a dollar each, and fowls
at half a dollar a pair. Yams are cultivated by the natives very
successfully, and are considered the best flavoured and finest of the
country. There are no cleared portions of ground on the banks of the
river, and their cultivation of the yam and other vegetables is at a
distance in the woods.

Since Lander's first return to Fernando Po from the Calebar river, he
accompanied Mr. Becroft twice to Duke Town in the Portia. In this
interval the Carnarvon, an English vessel had arrived with government
stores from England for the establishment, and as she was going to
Rio Janeiro for a cargo to take back, and there seemed to be no
prospect at present of their getting away from Fernando Po by any
other means, the Landers requested Mr. Becroft to conclude an
agreement for their passage to that place, from whence they hoped to
be more successful in finding their way to England. About a week
previously, the brig Thomas, in which they came from the river Nun,
touched at the island on her way home from the Camaroons, her
commander, Lake, supposing that they would take a passage with him.
They had now been upon the island seven weeks, and they would have
preferred staying seven more, rather than put themselves into his
power again. They had experienced quite enough of his care and
kindness, and therefore declined his offer of taking them. After
waiting three days at the island, he sailed about six o'clock in the
afternoon, and had not got more than a mile from the anchorage, when
a large vessel with long, raking masts, suddenly appeared from behind
a part of the island, and was seen in pursuit of him. They observed
the vessel to fire several guns at him, which at length made him take
in all sail and wait. No doubt was entertained that this vessel was a
pirate, and their suspicions were confirmed the next day by seeing
the two vessels lying becalmed close to each other. There were no
signs of them on the following day, and they saw nothing more of the
Thomas. Nor, indeed, was this vessel ever heard of again, in fact,
the Landers considered it a most providential escape, that they did
not take their passage in her. No doubt rested on the minds of the
people of the settlement that the stranger vessel was a pirate, and
that when his people had murdered the crew of the Thomas, with their
captain, or had compelled them to walk the plank, as they usually do,
that they sunk her after taking everything out of her which they
wanted. "Walking the plank," is literally walking into the sea. A
plank is placed across the side of the ship, so that one end projects
some distance over it while the other remains inside. The person
condemned by these ruffians to this mode of death, which is generally
chosen to avoid one of a more dreadful nature, is placed on the inner
end of the plank, and compelled to walk along it till he reaches the
outer end, which immediately yields to his weight, and he falls into
the sea, never to rise again. To make shorter work of it, he is
sometimes loaded with a large shot, which quickly carries him down.
These fellows have another method of disposing of any unfortunate
vessel that may fall into their hands; after having got rid of the
captain and crew as above, they fill her with slaves, and send her
across the Atlantic, should the vessel be met with by any ship of
war, she escapes examination, as her appearance when in the hands of
her own commander was known, and therefore no suspicion is excited.

Everything being prepared for their departure they embarked on board
the Carnarvon,--Garth, commander, for Rio Janeiro. The Landers speak
in terms of high commendation of the conduct observed towards them,
during their stay at Fernando, by Mr. Becroft, Mr. Crichton, and Mr.
Beatty. Everything was supplied them which the place could afford,
and it was always a source of gratification to them to reflect on the
time that they passed in their society.

Having taken leave of their friends, they embarked and bade adieu to
the island of Fernando Po. Mr. Stockwell, the officer of marines,
accompanied them on board, having taken his passage like themselves
to return to England. Their crew consisted of seven European seamen,
two free negroes and one Krooman, besides the commander of the vessel
and two mates. So great, however, was the mortality amongst them,
that before a week had elapsed, the two Landers with the three black
men were all that were left to work the vessel, and one of them only
knew how to steer. Richard Lander was obliged to take the helm until
twelve at night, and every morning after four, having only a few
minutes allowed him to take a hasty meal, and in addition to their
troubles, the vessel was so completely over-run with rats, that it
was quite impossible to stay below with any comfort, and as for
sleeping there, it was wholly out of the question.

On the evening of the 14th March, the Krooman fell into the sea. This
poor fellow, whose name was Yellow Will, called loudly to them for
help, and although the vessel was not sailing at a great rate, he
missed every thing that was thrown overboard to save him. To have
altered the ship's course would have endangered the masts and sails,
and their small boat was so leaky that it would not swim. They had
therefore no alternative, but were obliged to abandon him to his fate
with the most painful feelings, and they heard his cries nearly an
hour afterwards. [Footnote] There is nothing more distressing than an
accident of this nature. To see an unfortunate man grasping in vain
at any thing which is thrown to him, as the ship passes by him, to
see him struggling against his fate as he rises on the distant wave,
which frequently conceals him from view, and to be unable to render
him the least assistance, whilst his cries die away in the breeze,
raise sensations which it is impossible to describe. This man in the
condition in which they then were, particularly, was a great loss to
them, and was the best amongst the black people.

[Footnote: We have given this as it is stated in Lander's Narrative,
but there is something highly improbable in the circumstance of the
cries of a man, who could not swim, being heard for an hour after his
immersion in the sea, and yet that during that time no effectual
means could be devised for his deliverance.]

On the morning of the 15th, the weather was very hazy, which
prevented them seeing the land, although they knew it to be at no
great distance from them. They were becalmed during the whole of the
day, but found by the decrease of the depth, that they were drifting
close on towards the shore. At five in the afternoon, the ship was
about a quarter of a mile from the land, discovered by three large
hills of a sugar loaf appearance being close to them. Finding by
pieces of cork and other things that they threw into the water, that
they were drifting fast on the breakers, which they could distinctly
hear, they made an attempt to get the long boat out to save
themselves, as they expected the ship would be very soon wrecked, but
they found that they could not muster sufficient strength to lift her
over the side. At this critical moment, a breeze of wind from off the
land saved them from destruction, and enabled them to get the vessel
under command.

On the 16th March they arrived at Rio Janeiro, and on the following
day paid their respects to Admiral Baker, the commander in chief on
the South American station, and made known to him their situation and
anxiety to return to England. The admiral received them in that kind
and hospitable manner, which is the peculiar characteristic of a
British seaman. He invited them to his table with his officers, and
ordered them a passage in the William Harris, a government transport,
which was to sail for England in a day or two.

Accordingly on the 20th they sailed for England, and on the 9th June
arrived at Portsmouth, after a tedious voyage, and gladly landed with
hearts full of gratitude for all their deliverance.

One of the first steps which government adopted on the arrival of
Richard Lander, was to issue an order to the authorities at Cape
Coast Castle, to pay to King Boy the whole of his demand for the
ransom of the Landers, and thereby re-establishing that faith and
good opinion with the natives of the country, touching the honour and
integrity of the English character.

This journey by individuals who make no pretensions to science, has
not afforded materials for the illustration of any of its branches,
but previously to the loss of the instruments, the range of the
thermometer is recorded. At Badagry, on the coast, where the heat was
most oppressive, it was between 86 deg. and 94 deg., oftener stationary near
the latter than the former point. At Jenna it fell suddenly one day
from 94 deg. to 78 deg., and remained stationary for some hours. At Assinara
at noon, on the 23rd April it attained the height of 99 deg.. Near
Katunga it fell upon one occasion to 71 deg. in the shade, the air being
then cooler than they had felt it since landing. At Kiama the
extremes were 75 deg. and 94 deg., the mean 84 deg.. At Youri, the range was the
same. On their voyage from Youri to Boussa, on the 2nd August, it
varied from 75 deg. to 92 deg.. At Boussa it varied from 76 deg. to 93 deg., but most
commonly between 80 deg. and 90 deg.. At Patashie, generally between 74 deg. and
89 deg., once 93 deg.. Lever 77 deg. to 93 deg.. Bajiebo 70 deg. to 95 deg.. On the passage
down the river below that place, on the 5th October, 78 deg. to 94 deg..
Belee 79 deg. to 94 deg.. Such has been the issue of this important voyage,
by which the grand problem that perplexed Europe during so many ages,
and on which, for a period of nearly forty years, so many efforts and
sacrifices had been expended in vain, was completely solved. British
enterprise completed, as it had begun this great discovery. Park in
his first journey reached the banks of the Niger, and saw it rolling
its waters towards the interior of the continent. In the second he
embarked at Bammakoo, and by sailing downwards to Boussa, proved its
continuous progress for upwards of a thousand miles. The present
voyage has exhibited it following a farther course, which with its
windings must amount to about eight hundred miles, and finally
emptying itself into the Atlantic. This celebrated stream is now
divested of that mysterious character, which surrounded it with a
species of supernatural interest. Rising in a chain of high
mountains, flowing through extensive plains, receiving large

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