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Lander's Travels by Robert Huish

Part 15 out of 15

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tributaries, and terminating in the ocean, it exhibits exactly the
ordinary phenomena of a great river. But by this discovery we see
opened to our view a train of most important consequences. The Niger
affords a channel of communication with the most fertile, most
industrious, and most improved regions of interior Africa. Its
navigation is very easy and safe, unless at intervals between Boussa
and Youri, and between Patashie and Lever, and even there it becomes
practicable during the _malca_ or flood, produced by the periodical
rains. British vessels may, therefore, by this stream and its
tributaries ascend to Rabba, Boussa, Youri, Soccatoo, Timbuctoo,
Sego, and probably to other cities as great, but yet unknown. They
may navigate the yet unexplored Tchadda, a river, which at its
junction, is nearly as large as the Niger itself, and no doubt waters
extensive and fertile regions. It was even stated to the Landers by
different individuals, that by this medium, vessels might reach the
Lake Tchadda, and thereby communicate with the kingdom of Bornou. But
this statement appears erroneous, for though the Tchadda be evidently
the same with the Shary, which runs by Adomowa and Durrora, yet
flowing into the Niger, it must be a quite different stream from the
Shary, which flows _into_ the Tchad, and in a country so mountainous,
there is little likelihood of any connecting branches. The decided
superiority of the interior of Africa to the coast, renders this
event highly important. Steam, so peculiarly adapted to river
navigation, affords an instrument by which the various obstacles may
be overcome, and vessels may be enabled to penetrate into the very
heart of the African continent.

On the return of the Landers, the question was mooted by the
Geographical Society of London, whether the Quorra or _Niger_, as
discovered by Lander, was the same river as the _Kigir_ of the
ancients. Upon the whole subject it would have been sufficient to
refer to D'Anville and Rennell, who favour the affirmative of the
question, and on the opposite side to M. Wakkenaer, who of all later
writers has examined it with the greatest diligence, had not recent
discoveries furnished us with better grounds for forming a conclusive
opinion, than even the latest of these authors possessed.

Maritime surveys have now completed a correct outline of Northern
Africa. Major Laing, by ascertaining the source of the Quorra to be
not more than sixteen hundred feet above the sea, proved that it
could not flow to the Nile. Denham and Clapperton demonstrated that
it did not discharge itself into the Lake of Bornou, and at length
its real termination in a delta, at the head of the great gulf of the
western coast of Africa, has rewarded the enlightened perseverance of
the British government, and the courage and enterprise of its
servants. The value to science of this discovery, and the great merit
of those, whose successive exertions have prepared and completed it,
is the more striking, when we consider that the hydrography of an
unknown country is the most important step to a correct knowledge of
its geography, and that in barbarous Africa, nothing short of the
ocular inquiries of educated men, is sufficient to procure the
requisite facts, and yet it is not a little extraordinary, that the
termination of the Quorra or Niger has been discovered by two men,
who, in point of scientific knowledge, education, or literary
acquirements, stand the lowest in the scale of the African
travellers. It is, however, curious to observe how even the best
collectors of oral information in that country, have failed in
arriving at the truth, as to the origin, cause, and termination of
the rivers. Edrisi, Abulfida, Leo Africanus,[Footnote] Delile, and
Bruce, all come to the determination that the Quorra flowed from east
to west. Burckhardt, whose oral inquiries on Bornou, have proved
generally correct, concluded that the Shary flowed from N.E. to S.W.,
and Lyon, though particularly successful in his information on the
countries not visited by him, was induced to confound the Shary of
Bornou with the Tchadda or Yen, and like Sultan Bello, to carry the
Quorra, after passing Youri and Funda, into the Lake Tchadda, and
thence into Egypt. The most intelligent natives are confused, when
questioned on the subject of rivers, while the majority, unable to
understand the object or utility of such enquiries, can neither
inform the traveller whether two streams are different rivers or part
of the same; where any river rises, or whither it flows, and appear
often to believe that all the lakes and streams of Africa, are parts
of one and the same water. It is not surprising, therefore, that
ancients as well as moderns have obtained the knowledge of a large
river flowing to the east, should have supposed that it was a branch
of the Nile of Egypt, or that when the existence of a great lake, in
the direction of the known portion of its stream, became known, the
opinion should have followed, that the river terminated in that lake,
or that it was discharged through the lake into the Nile. Such,
consequently have been the prevalent notions in all ages, even
amongst the most intelligent foreigners, as well as the higher class
of natives, from Herodotus, Etearchus, and Juba, to Ibn, Batuta, and
Bello of Soccatoo.

[Footnote: It is supposed by W. Martin Leake, Esq. Vice President of
the Geographical Society, that Leo Africanus actually reached
Timbuctoo. The narrative of Adams places the matter at rest, that Leo
never did reach that famous city. Mr. Leake says, that Leo was very
young at the time, and, therefore that his memory probably failed
him, when he came to describe the city, which was many years after
his return.]

Considering these circumstances, it will hardly be contended that the
late discovery of the Landers, has made any alteration in the nature
of the question, as to the identity of the Quorra and Nigir; the
sudden bend of the river to the southward, through a country, which
has been equally unknown to the ancients and moderns, having always
left the best informed of them in ignorance of any part of the river,
except that of which the course was northerly or easterly. If then,
there be sufficient reason for the belief, that these latter portions
were known to the, ancients, we have only to suppose them to have had
some such imperfect knowledge of the interior of North Africa, as we
ourselves had attained previously to the expedition of Denham and
Clapperton, to justify the application of the name Nigir to the whole
course of the river. Although we find Ptolemy to be misinformed on
several points concerning central Africa, yet there still remains
enough in his Data, on Interior Libya and Northern Ethiopia, to show
a real geographical approximation, very distant indeed from the
accuracy at which science is always aiming, but quite sufficient to
resolve the question as to the identity of the Nigir, in which an
approximation is all that can be expected or required. Having been
totally ignorant of the countries through which that river flows in a
southerly direction, Ptolemy naturally mistook it for a river of the
interior; he knew the middle Ethiopia to be a country watered by
lakes, formed by streams rising in mountains to the southward; he was
superior to the vulgar error of supposing that all the waters to the
westward of the Nile flowed into that river, and he knew consequently
that the rivers and lakes in the middle region, had no communication
with the sea. It is but lately that we ourselves have arrived at a
certainty on this important fact. We now know enough of the level of
the Lake Tchad, to be assured that no water from that recipient can
possibly reach the Nile. This wonderful river, of which the lowest
branch is 1200 geographical miles from the Mediterranean, (measuring
the distance along its course, in broken lines of 100 G.M. direct,)
has no tributary from the westward below the Bahr Adda of Browne,
which is more than 1600 miles from the sea, similarly measured. It is
scarcely possible, therefore, that the latter point can be less,
taking the cataracts into consideration than 1500 feet above the sea,
whereas the following considerations lead to the belief that the
Tchadda is not more than 500 feet in height.

We learn from the information of Clapperton, confirmed and amplified
by that of Lander, that there exists a ridge, which about Kano and
Kashna, extends forth the Yeu to the Lake Tchadda on one side, and on
the other the river of Soccatoo, which joins the Quorra at a distance
from the sea of about 500 miles, measured in the manner above
mentioned. A similar process of measurement gives a length of 1700
miles to the whole course of the Quorra, the sources of which,
according to Major Laing, are about 1600 feet above the sea; the
stream, therefore, has an average fall of something less than a foot
in a mile in lines of 100 geographical miles. This would give to the
confluence of the river of Soccatoo with the Quorra, a height of less
than 500 feet above the sea, but as that confluence occurs above the
most rapid part of the main stream, 500 feet seem to be very nearly
the height.

As a knowledge of the origin and course of rivers, conducts in every
country to that of the relative altitude and directions of its
highlands, the late discoveries on the waters of Africa have thrown
great light on its orography. The sources of the largest, or rather
longest of its rivers, namely, the white or true Nile, now appears to
be in a point nearly equidistant from the Indian and Atlantic Oceans
in one direction, and from the Mediterranean and the Cape of Good
Hope on the other. These central summits, it is fair to suppose, are
at least as high as the snowy peak Samen, in Abyssinia, which is the
culminating point towards the sources of the minor branch or Blue
Nile, and that they are covered, therefore, with perpetual snow. From
hence flow the White Nile, the Djyr, the Bahr Culla, the Congo, and
several rivers of the coast of Zanguebar.

As a part of these great African Alps was described to Denham as
lying beyond the mountain of Mendefy, the latter would seem to be an
advanced northerly summit of them. The range is probably united to
the eastward with the mountains of Abyssinia, and to the westward,
terminates abruptly in some lofty peaks on the eastern side of the
delta of the Quorra, but not till after it has sent forth a lower
prolongation, which crosses the course of the Quorra nearly at right
angles, and terminates at the end of 1500 miles, at the sources of
the Quorra, Gambia, and Senegal. A minor counterfort advances from
the central range to the northwestward, commencing about the Peak of
Mendefy, and vanishing at the end of about 900 miles in the desert of
the Tuaricks. It gives rise to the two Sharys, which flow in opposite
directions to the Quorra and the Lake Tchadda, and further north to
the streams which flow to the same two recipients from about Kano and

Though the knowledge of interior Africa now possessed by the
civilized world, is the progressive acquisition of many enterprising
men, to all of whom we are profoundly indebted, it cannot be denied
that the last great discovery has done more than any other to place
the great outline of African geography on a basis of certainty. When
to this is added the consideration that it opens a maritime
communication into the centre of the continent, it may be described
as the greatest geographical discovery that has been made since that
of New Holland. Thrice during the last thirty years, it has been on
the eve of accomplishment; first when Horneman had arrived from
Fezzan and Nyffle, secondly when Park had navigated the Quorra as far
as Boussa, and lastly when Tuckey, supplied with all possible means
For prosecuting researches by water, was unfortunately expedited to
The Congo, instead of being sent to explore the mouths of the Niger.


A maritime communication with the interior of Africa having been now
opened, by the discovery of the termination of the Niger in the Bight
of Benin, it was considered, that some great commercial advantages
might be derived by fitting out an expedition on a large scale, and
as Lander on his return home had reported, that the Niger was
navigable for vessels of a light burden for a considerable distance
into the country, it was resolved to fit out two steam vessels, well
armed and amply supplied with all stores both in a commercial point
of view, and for attack and defence when arriving amongst the natives
in the interior. It was an enterprise every way worthy of the British
character, and one likely to be productive of future consequences,
the importance of which it would be difficult to overrate either in a
commercial or in a moral and political point of view. Sir John Tobin
of Liverpool was one of its great promoters, and the immediate object
of the expedition was to ascend the Niger, to establish a trade with
the natives, and to enlarge our geographical knowledge of the
country. When we look at the dense population of Africa described in
the preceding parts of this work, it is obvious that in them might be
found an extensive market for the manufactured goods and wares of
England; for the cottons of Manchester, Glasgow, &c., and for many
other products of our skill and industry. In return for these, the
rich commodities of gold, ivory, hippopotami teeth, and the more
common articles of wood, peltry, gums, &c. &c. may be imported, and
if encouragement be given, indigo and other valuable things would be
largely cultivated to barter with Europe. And still nobler aims were
before us, the ending of the traffic in human beings, and the gradual
illumination and civilization of Africa.

Although in unison with the enlightened spirit of the times, this
expedition may be considered as simply a mercantile speculation, yet
at the same time it purposed to combine objects of greater and more
general interest. The sum of L300 was presented by Sir John Tobin,
and other individuals concerned in the expedition. Government had
nothing to do with the outfit of the expedition, but it was to be
accompanied by Lieutenant William Allen, of the royal navy, but
without rank or command, as a passenger, with instructions to make
surveys and observations, for which his scientific attainments well
qualified him.

Richard Lander was appointed to the command of the expedition,
leaving his brother John as his _locum tenens_ in the Customhouse of
Liverpool until his return.

The expedition, considering the object which it had in view was of a
formidable kind, two steam vessels were equipped for the purpose, the
larger was computed to be 145 tons burden, and propelled by a fifty
horse engine. Her sides were pierced and mounted with ten six
pounders. Forward, a very formidable display was made by a
twenty-four pound swivel gun, whilst a long swivel eighteen pound
carronade astern seemed to threaten destruction to every foe. In
addition to these precautions against the Spanish pirates who infest
the coast, and of which Lander was himself an eye witness in the
capture of the brig Thomas, and also against such of the native
tribes, who might prove hostile to the expedition, she was completely
surrounded by a _chevaux de frise_, and amply provided with small
arms and boarding pikes for forty persons, of which number the crew
were to consist. This steamer was named after the river she was
intended to ascend, namely the Quorra, which is the Arabic for
"shining river." Her draft of water was easy, and in her ascent would
not be more than two feet six inches, which was very small,
considering that no sacrifice had been made of those operations,
which constitute the _beau ideal_ of a steamer, which the Quorra
certainly was. The construction of the paddles was such, that should
favourable winds occur, they could be removed in such a manner, that
she could use sails instead of steam, and receive no impediment to
her progress by their immersion in the water. She was schooner rigged
and rather lofty. The Quorra was intended to ascend the principal
stream, and the lesser vessel, which was built entirely of wrought
iron, and of a draught of only 18 inches, was intended to explore all
the tributary streams, and to visit Timbuctoo, Warree, Soccatoo, &c.
&c. This latter vessel was only 55 tons burden, and called the
Alburkha, which is the Arabic for "blessing." The brig Columbine,
which was to accompany them as far as the river Nun, was principally
laden with fuel and other articles for the use of the two steamers.
She was not to ascend the river, but to anchor in a convenient place
as a kind of store-house for the steamers. It was expected that a
sufficiency of wood would be found on the banks of the river to
generate steam, when the supply of coal was exhausted, or not easily
to be procured. The whole squadron was under the command of Captain
Harris of the royal navy, whose experience on the coast during a
period of six years entitled him to the confidence of the promoters
of the expedition. Macgregor Laud, esquire, of Liverpool, as
supercargo, and Mr. Briggs, of Liverpool, surgeon, accompanied the
expedition. To the latter gentlemen was confided the botanical
department, and also that of natural history, being fully competent
to investigate the very important branches connected with those
sciences, either for philosophical or commercial results.

The Columbine brig was 170 tons, commanded by Captain Miller, being
laden with coals for the steamers, and a variety of articles for
presents, trade, or barter, and a few passengers. The Alburkha
steamer was commanded by Captain Hill, and was admitted to be a model
of a vessel, although with the exception of the decks, being entirely
built of iron. She had a crew of fourteen men.

Lander carried with him a number of copies of an address, prepared by
Mr. Salame, and intended to explain the objects of their visit to the
native chiefs and kings. They were printed on all kinds of coloured
paper and being adorned with pictures of the two steam boats, were
likely enough to be regarded not merely as ambassadorial letters, but
as beautiful specimens of the fine arts by the sovereigns to whom
they were to be presented.

By the ample provision that was made, it would almost seem that every
difficulty was anticipated, and certainly no individual was better
fitted than Lander to direct the outfit of the expedition, he having
been twice in the country, and had acquired a perfect knowledge of
the articles most in request by the natives, and particularly those
kinds which would be the most acceptable to the native chiefs. Every
thing that could be procured for the success, safety, comfort, and
happiness of the adventurous travellers was supplied in the most
bountiful manner, nor should it be omitted to state that an abundance
of trinkets, &c. &c. was shipped for the purpose of conciliating the
good will of the natives. No correct estimate could be formed of the
length of the absence of the expedition, it might, however, be
naturally inferred that it would not be great, as the steamers would
present a facility hitherto unknown in exploring the African rivers,
and that the progress thus obtained would in no way be impeded by the
caprice of any of the African chiefs in obtaining leave to proceed,
or paying a compulsory tribute &c. for such a favour. A glance at the
Quorra would almost convince any one that her implements of
destruction were such as to defy the whole condensed bow and arrow
force of Africa, and it was generally hoped, as the expedition was of
a trading description, conducted at the entire expense of a body of
Liverpool merchants, that the speculations would be attended with
profitable results, and finally with great advantages to open a trade
between this country and the whole of Western Africa.

The expedition sailed from Liverpool in the month of July, 1822, and
put into Milford, there to wait for orders, and also for Richard
Lander who was expected to join them over land. They were also to
obtain at Milford clean bills of health. On Tuesday the 19th June the
Columbine brig and the Alburkha were towed out to sea by the Quorra,
which vessel returned to Milford to wait the arrival of Lander, and
then to sail immediately for Porto Praga on the African coast, the
place of rendezvous.

From the unfortunate issue of the expedition we are excluded from the
general information, which would otherwise have been obtained, had
Lander survived to communicate the result of his researches on his
return to England. We know that he was bound in honour not to send
public intelligence, except to the owners of the vessels employed,
and therefore all the information that can be gleaned, is from his
private letters to his friends and relatives, and that even would be
necessarily confined to the news of his personal situation. The
expedition was expected to enter the Niger in six or seven weeks, and
to return to England in about nine months.

On Sunday the 7th October, the expedition reached Cape Coast Castle
in seventy-two days after sailing from Milford Haven, after having
touched at the isle De Los, Sierra Leone and other points for a
supply of fuel for the two steamers. Some cases of fever had taken
place, but as yet no death had occurred. At Cape Coast, the governor
Maclean and the officers of the garrison treated their visitors with
the utmost kindness and hospitality. Here Lander fortunately secured
the services of his old tried servant Pascoe, as well as Jowdie, and
two natives of the Eboe country, who were likely to be of great
service to the expedition, one of them being the son of a chief, and
both intelligent, with a slight knowledge of the English language.
The Alburkha, of which vessel some fears were entertained, was found
to work admirably, exceeding the expectations of her commander and
the other officers attached to the expedition. They sailed from Cape
Coast Castle about the middle of October, for the river Nun, and
proceeded direct from that river to the river Niger.

At the meeting of the geographical society of London in the month of
June 1833, the following letter was read, addressed to R. W. Ray,
esquire, from Richard Lander, dated----

Niger Expedition, River Nun, October 26, 1832.

I have the honour to inform you that the expedition under my command
arrived here on the 20th instant, all well. I found on my arrival
here that the captain of the Liverpool brig Susan, had paid king Boy.
I hope you will be pleased to honour the bill. I have made king Boy a
handsome present from the ordnance stores you were good enough to
supply me with, and he accompanies me to the Eboe country to settle
the palaver with king Obie. King Boy and king Forday were very glad
to see me again, and say I am no man but a devil. I sail this evening
and, expect to reach the Eboe country in four days, and feel quite
confident of success. I find Mr. Alien sent out by the admiralty a
very agreeable companion.

(Signed,) Richard Lander.

From the account of the seaman who was the bearer of it from Richard
Lander to his brother in Liverpool, some further information was
obtained, that _all_ the vessels of the expedition had reached the
Eboe country previously to the sailors leaving the Nun river. The
seaman stated that the steamers stemmed the current bravely, and
ascended the Niger with apparent ease.

The following extract of a letter from Sierra Leone, dated May 23,
contains some interesting intelligence respecting the expedition:

The boats of his majesty's ship Curlew had boarded the Columbine
about the 20th April, the master of which vessel had died a few weeks
previously. The doctor on board the Columbine had received letters
from Mr. Lander dated from king Obie's palace at Eboe, about three
weeks after they had sailed from the entrance of the river Nun. King
Obie had treated them with much kindness, and had made Lander a
present of some canoes, with people to pilot them up the river. A few
days before their arrival at Eboe, the steamers sent their boats
ashore to cut wood. They were fired upon by the inhabitants of a
village, and obliged to return. The next morning a large number of
men were sent armed, these were immediately fired upon by the
natives. The Quorra then sent a signal rocket into the town, and
continued firing her long gun at intervals for an hour and a half.
The natives still continuing to fire, the crews of both the steamers
landed and drove them out of the town or village, and then burned it
to the ground. Three of the natives were found killed, and one was
dying, one or two of the English were slightly wounded. The news of
this engagement reached Eboe before the steamer, and Mr. Lander is of
opinion, it will have a salutary effect on the natives up the river,
and be the means of preventing any further resistance. Nine men are
said to have died before they left the Nun, and two or three
afterwards. There was also an American merchant brig, the Agenoria,
lying in the Nun. She had been fitted out by a company of merchants
of New Providence to explore the Niger. She had with her two small
schooners, which were to proceed up the river, while she remained at
the entrance. Nearly all the white men belonging to these vessels had
died, and the remainder appeared in the most wretched state, and they
had abandoned all intention of attempting to proceed up the river
with the schooners, it being considered impossible to do so with any
sailing vessel. The brig intended to procure a cargo of palm oil, and
proceed to the United States. The Agenoria was fitted out secretly by
the company, and had cleared out for a whaling voyage.

No doubt whatever exists, and the sequel fully confirms the opinion,
that the conduct observed by the crews of the steamers in attacking
and destroying the town of the natives was highly impolitic and
uncalled for. It is true the natives had commenced the attack, and we
have only to refer to the accounts transmitted to us, of various
travellers on penetrating into the country of a savage people, and
especially a people of the depraved nature of the Africans, with whom
Lander had to deal, that they are generally the first to resort to
force, not so much with the hope of victory, as with the desire of
plunder. In the generality of cases, however, it is to be found that
the hostility on the part of the natives was more easy to be quelled
by a show of forbearance and an inclination to enter into terms of
amity with them, than by an open desire to meet force by force.
Lander was by no means ignorant of the African character, he came not
amongst them as a perfect stranger, and in all his former
transactions with the natives, he had invariably found that he
ultimately obtained their good will by a show of forbearance and
lenity, more than by a determined spirit of resistance and reprisal.
In no instance was this principle more completely verified than in
the travels of Major Denham, in which in several instances, had he
not maintained a complete control over his temper, on the insults and
affronts offered to him by the natives, the consequences, would
doubtless have been fatal to him, and although the natives were, in
the case of Lander, undoubtedly the aggressors, yet had a temper of
conciliation been manifested towards them, that spirit of hatred and
of vengeance would not have been awakened in their breasts, which led
to a most fatal catastrophe, and to the death of one of the most
enterprising travellers, who ever attempted to explore the interior
of Africa.

For some reason not properly explained, Richard Lander, returned to
Fernando Po on the 1st May from the Quorra steam boat, which he had
left afloat in deep water, near the River Tchadda. From her he
descended the Niger in a native canoe, and arrived on board the brig
Columbine, which was lying in the Nun River, having been 13 days on
his passage. During this period he stopped to sleep every night at a
native village on the banks of the Niger.

At Fernando Po, Mr. Lander was evidently very ill, though he was
rapidly recovering from an attack of the dysentery, with which he had
been afflicted for some months. His object in returning alone to
Fernando Po, was to procure medicines, as well as tea and other
condiments, for the use of the invalids on board the steam boats. The
reports of the grievous mortality which had prevailed on board the
steamers were confirmed by the arrival of Lander; the number of
deaths on board the vessels had indeed been frightfully great; no
fewer than twenty-five had perished before Mr. Lander undertook his
journey to the coast, including most of the officers and engineers.

The following may be considered as the principal circumstances which
led to this lamentable result. The vessels were unfortunately
detained at a place called Attah, until Mr. Lander, accompanied by
one or two of his associates, went to see the king. They were very
hospitably received by his sable majesty, who was equipped in silk
velvet, and attended by about three hundred well-dressed youths, all
of them eunuchs, and forming a kind of body guard to their prince.

This delay was followed by another still more vexatious. The larger
steam boat, was forced by the strength of the current on a sand bank,
where she was fixed for several weeks; till lifted into deep water by
the swelling of the river. Here she was examined, and found to have
sustained no damage, but owing to this unseasonable accident, as well
as the detention at Attah, and above all, to the deplorable loss of
life, which had ensued on board the vessels, the party had not in
their power to cultivate their mercantile speculations either to the
extent or so successfully as they wished, or as their friends

Still, however, when Mr. Lander left the Quorra, they might be said
to have only begun to trade with the natives, and as there was
unquestionably an abundance of ivory in the country, there was reason
to hope that the adventure would be yet as prosperous in this point
of view as its spirited and enterprising proprietors could
reasonably desire.

The great mortality which took place amongst the crews of the
vessels, was mainly attributed to the injudicious conduct of Captain
Harris, who, instead of pushing on direct for the Niger, spent a
great deal of time, as he coasted along, in examining inlets, &c.,
which exposed the crew to the fatal fever, which committed such
ravages amongst them. Captain Harris himself fell a victim to his
want of judgement, and Lander, Laird, Lieutenant Alien, and the
captain of the Alburkha, were the only persons in office, who
survived, and but fourteen whites besides were left alive.

The provisions were found to be uncommonly cheap and plentiful. A
bullock weighing two cwt. cost eight shillings. Fowls one penny each,
and other things in proportion, so that the victualling of thirty men
was not more than eighteen pence a day, including yams and rice.

On the 18th May, Lander left Fernando Po in a native canoe as before,
in order to rejoin his companions, who were no doubt anxiously
awaiting his return. Richard Lander returned to Attah on the 21st
July, in high health and spirits, and immediately made preparations
for ascending the river in the Alburkha, accompanied by Lieutenant
Allen, and a medical man. His voyage from the coast in a canoe,
occupied him thirty-two days. From Attah, he wrote to his brother
John, of which the following is an interesting extract:

"You know, that when we were here together, Abucco, chief of
Damaggoo, had been at variance with his brother for several years. On
arriving at the former place from the coast, I was sorry to find the
brothers, with their respective subjects, still engaged in that
petty, but obstinate and ferocious warfare, which had distinguished
the quarrel at its commencement. Determined, if possible, to effect a
reconciliation between them, I prevailed on our old friend Abucco to
accompany me to Attah, promising to introduce him to his brother, and
pledging my life for his safety. The meeting took place on the 22nd
November, and a highly interesting one it was, I assure you. One
party, preceded by Jowdie, and a few drummers, were introduced into a
large square enclosure. The chief seated on a kind of throne, was
surrounded by all his mallams, and a multitude of attendants. His
wives were seated under a verandah, from which were suspended several
handsome Turkey carpets, which served them for a screen. Abucco
instantly drew back, as he approached the throne, but, taking him by
the hand, I led, or rather pulled him towards his brother. At this
moment, his confidence seemed to have forsaken him entirely; his head
hung down on his breast, and I could feel him tremble violently.
Whilst I was displaying my presents to the chief of Attah, I
perceived him several times bestow a hasty and displeased look on his
brother, who had disengaged himself from my hand, and was sitting on
the ground. Though seven years had elapsed since their last meeting,
neither of the rulers uttered a word. The curiosity of the chief of
Attah, having in some measure been gratified, I immediately
introduced his brother to his notice, by paying him a high
compliment, which Abucco had certainly deserved. I then expressed the
regret I felt in witnessing the bad effects of the misunderstanding,
which had existed amongst them for so many years; insisted on the
necessity of brothers living in harmony, and said I was determined
not to quit the spot, until I had established a perfect
reconciliation between them. The chief was extremely disconcerted,
but he made no reply, I then desired Abucco to rise, and leading him
to his brother, I took the right hand of each, and pressing both
hands together, made them shake hands heartily, observing; You are
now friends, and may God keep you so. The brothers were deeply
affected, and neither of them could utter a syllable, for several
seconds afterwards. Every countenance beamed with delight at the
happy termination of the interview, and the multitude gave vent to
their feelings, in a loud, long, and general shout. For my part, I
need not say, I cannot tell the heartfelt gratification, I felt at
that moment. But this is not the most important good, that I have
been the humble means of effecting at this place. From time
immemorable it has been a custom with the rulers of Attah, to
sacrifice human beings on rejoicing days, and on all public
occasions. At the interview, which I have just described to you, two
poor creatures were brought before us to be slain, in order that
their blood might be sprinkled about the yard. I shuddered at the
proposal, and begged with earnestness, that nothing of the kind might
be done, I assured the chief he would one day have to give an account
to God, of every life he might wantonly destroy; and also made him
sensible, that though after death, his body would moulder into dust,
his soul would live for ever, and that it would be happy or
miserable, in proportion to the good or bad actions he had performed,
or might yet perform in this world. The chief was evidently much
affected at my words, and desired his followers to unbind the
intended victims, and remove them from the yard. He then made a
solemn promise, to put an end to the custom of sacrificing human
beings. As soon as this declaration was made known to the mallams,
and the crowd of attendants in the yard, they all held up their hands
in token of approbation, and shouted for joy. It is now seven or
eight months since this promise was made, and I am happy to say, it
has been religiously kept."

As further lights continued to be thrown upon the course of the
Niger, that geographical problem of many years, and as its importance
in a commercial point of view, opening a way into the interior of
Africa, becomes more appreciable, our attention was naturally drawn
to every circumstance connected with its exploration. Thus the
expeditions of Mungo Park excited a strong sensation, and have left a
mournful recollection on the public mind, and thus the equally
adventurous, and noble, and more successful enterprises of the
brothers, Landers, and especially of Richard, whose narrative of his
third voyage we are now relating, have fixed the admiration of their
country. This feeling was probably greatly enhanced, as the prospect
of utility is certainly much enlarged by the remarkable coincidence
of these gallant efforts, with the application of the navigating
powers of steam. There might have been generations of Landers, with
lives devoted to the cause, the sole reward of which would have been
the discovery of a river's source and termination, but now there was
combined with that end, the cheering hope of extending civilization,
of strangling the hydra, slavery, in its cradle, and of diffusing
comfort and happiness over a wide quarter of the globe. Assuredly it
is a glorious thing to be signally and prosperously engaged in laying
the foundation for a consummation so devoutly to be wished.

Lander had not made great progress in the interior, before he found
that he was deficient in some particular kinds of goods, which were
required for the markets in the interior, and he, therefore,
descended the river in a canoe, and embarked on board the Curlew ship
of war, to convey him to Cape Coast Castle, where he expected to meet
with the articles which he required. Having succeeded in effecting
his purchases, he returned to the mouth of the Nun, thence to
_reascend the Niger for the third time_, and endeavour to penetrate
as far up the river as Boussa.

It is, however, highly interesting to know, that previously to his
last return to the Coast, Lander and Lieutenant Alien, had
fortunately reached Rabba, a large Fellata town, in the iron steam
boat, and for the period of thirteen or fourteen days had maintained
a friendly intercourse, and carried on an advantageous trade with its
inhabitants. The depth of the water at that place was between two and
three fathoms, and as far as could be seen beyond it, the Niger was
free from rocks and other obstructions, and assumed a majestic and
very encouraging appearance. For the reason already mentioned, Lander
was obliged to return to the coast, though it was supposed that he
hastily quitted Rabba on account of some unfavourable rumours which
had reached him, to the effect that the people wished to inveigle our
countrymen on shore, in order to seize their persons and destroy
their boat. This is, however, an improbable supposition, for as far
as could be ascertained, the general bearing of the inhabitants
towards the English was any thing but hostile. This important town
was inhabited by Fellatas and negroes, and fully realized the
expectations that had been formed of it, as regards its extent, its
wealth, and its population. A few Tuaricks from the borders of the
desert, and other Arabs were observed by our countrymen in the
streets of Rabba.

Another important feature of this expedition is, the circumstance
that the travellers ascended the river Tchadda, as high as one
hundred and fifty miles from its junction with the Niger. At that
point, and at some distance below and above it, the river was found
to be intersected with islands, and comparatively shallow,
alternately becoming broad and narrow in proportion as its channel
was free from, or obstructed by these islands. No traces of
inhabitants appeared on the banks of this very interesting river, and
Lander and his valuable coadjutor were compelled to return to the
Niger for want of provisions. All the natives in this part of the
country agreed in the assertion, that the Tchadda communicates with
Lake Tchad, the inland sea of Africa. They do not hazard this as a
mere conjecture, but state it with confidence, as a well-known and
undisputed fact. This being the case, though it be at variance with
the opinion entertained of it by many of our scientific countrymen,
the concurrent testimony of the natives, who, after all, are better
acquainted with the geography of their own country, is entitled to
respect. It should also be remembered, that the Tchadda has not
received its name, any more than its gigantic namesake, from
Europeans, but from the natives themselves, who have never bestowed
on it any other appellation. On a small island, near Attah, Lander
erected a kind of mud fort, which would answer the purpose of a depot
for British goods. This place has been named English island, and it
possesses peculiar facilities for trading purposes in that part of
the country. The king of Attah, who seemed to have formed an
attachment to Lander, presented him with four small but very
beautiful horses, which he succeeded in conveying to Fernando Po.
Poor old Pascoe the black, who buried Belzoni, and whose name occurs
so frequently in Clapperton's journal, and the narrative of the
Landers, as a faithful and brave servant, died at Attah.

For some time, no information which could be relied upon reached this
country, relative to the progress of the expedition, although some
sinister reports were afloat relative to the fatal termination of it.
At length, however, all suspense was extinguished by the arrival of
an individual belonging to the expedition, who gave the following
account of the melancholy manner in which Richard Lander met his
death, and which was subsequently corroborated by Mr. Moore, a
medical gentleman attached to the expedition, and who was himself an
eyewitness of the whole murderous scene. The particulars of the
mournful event of Lander's death are thus given:

"Richard Lander and his associates entered the Brass River, and began
ascending it in excellent spirits. With them were two or three negro
musicians, who, when the labours of the day were over, cheered their
countrymen with their instruments, at the sound of which they danced
and sang in company, while the few Englishmen be longing to the
party, amused themselves with angling on the banks of the stream, in
which, though not very expert, they were tolerably successful. In
this pleasing manner, stemming a strong current by day, and resting
from their toil at night, Richard Lander and his little band, totally
unapprehensive of danger, and unprepared to overcome or meet it,
proceeded slowly up the Niger. At some distance from its mouth, and
on his way thither, they met King Jacket, a relative of King Boy, and
one of the heartless and sullen chiefs, who rule over a large tract
of marshy country on the banks of the Brass River. This individual
was hailed by our travellers, and a present of tobacco and rum was
offered to him, he accepted it with a murmur of dissatisfaction, and
his eyes sparkled with malignity, as he said in his own language,
'White man will never reach Eboe this time.' This sentence was
immediately interpreted to Lander by a native of the country, a boy,
who afterwards bled to death from a wound in the knee, but Lander
made light of the matter, and attributed Jacket's prophecy, for so it
proved, to the petulance and malice of his disposition. Soon,
however, he discovered his error, but it was too late to correct it,
or evade the danger which threatened him. On ascending as far inland
as sixty or seventy miles, the English approached an island, and
their progress in the larger canoe was effectually obstructed by the
shallowness of the stream. Amongst the trees and underwood that grew
on this island, and on both banks of the river in its vicinity, large
ambuscades of the natives had previously been formed, and shortly
after the principal canoe had grounded, its unfortunate crew, busily
employed to heave it into deep water, were saluted with irregular but
heavy and continued discharges of musketry. So great was Lander's
confidence in the sincerity and good will of the natives, that he
could not at first believe that the destructive fire, by which he was
literally surrounded, was any thing more than a mode of salutation
they had adopted in honour of his arrival. But the Kroomen who had
leaped into the boat, and who fell wounded by his side, soon
convinced him of his mistake, and plainly discovered to him the
fearful nature of the peril into which he had fallen so unexpectedly,
and the difficulty he would experience in extricating himself from
it. Encouraging his comrades with his voice and gestures, Lander
prepared to defend himself to the last, and a loud and simultaneous
shout from his little party assured him that they shared his
feelings, and would follow his example. Meanwhile, several of the
savages having come out of their concealment, were brought down by
the shots of the English, but Lander whilst stopping to pick up a
cartridge from the bottom of the canoe, was struck near the hip by a
musket ball. The shock made him stagger, but he did not fall, and he
continued cheering on his men. Soon finding, however, his ammunition
expended, himself seriously wounded, the courage of his Kroomen
beginning to droop, and the firing of his assailants, instead of
diminishing become more general than ever, he resolved to attempt
getting into the smaller canoe, afloat at a short distance, as the
only remaining chance of preserving a single life. For this purpose,
abandoning their property, the survivors threw themselves into the
stream, and with much difficulty, for the strength of the current was
incredibly strong, most of them succeeded in accomplishing their
object. No sooner was this observed by the men in ambush, than they
started up and rushed out with wild and hideous yells; canoes that
had been hidden behind the luxuriant foliage which overhung the
river, were in an instant pushed out into the middle of the stream,
and pursued the fugitives with surprising velocity; whilst numbers of
people, with savage antics and furious gesticulations, ran and danced
along the beach, uttering loud and startling cries. The Kroomen
maintained on this occasion, the good reputation which their
countrymen have deservedly acquired; their lives depended on their
energy and skill, and they impelled their slender bark through the
water with unrivalled swiftness. The pursuit was kept up for four
hours, and poor Lander, without ammunition or any defensive weapon
whatever, was exposed to the straggling fire, as well as the
insulting mockery of his pursuers. One incident, which occurred in
the flight, deserves to be recorded. A white man named T----,
completely overpowered by his fears, refused to fire on the savages,
who were within a paddle's length of him, but stood up in the canoe,
with a loaded musket in his hand, beseeching them by his gestures to
take him prisoner, rather than deprive him of his life. While in the
act of making this dastardly appeal, a musket ball from the enemy
entered his mouth, and killed him on the spot. The others behaved
with the greatest coolness and intrepidity. The fugitives gained on
their pursuers, and when they found the chase discontinued
altogether, Lander stood up for the last time in the canoe, and being
seconded by his remaining associates, he waved his hat, and gave a
last cheer in sight of his adversaries. He then became sick and faint
from loss of blood, and sank back exhausted in the arms of those who
were nearest to him. Rallying shortly afterwards, the nature of his
wound was communicated to him by Mr. Moore, a young surgeon from
England, who had accompanied him up the river, and whose conduct
throughout this disastrous affray was most admirable. The ball could
not be extracted, and Lander felt convinced his career would soon be
terminated. When the state of excitement to which his feelings had
been wrought, gave place to the languor which generally succeeds
powerful excitement of any kind, the invalid's wound pained him
exceedingly, and for several hours afterwards, he endured with
calmness the most intense suffering. From that time he could neither
sit up, nor turn on his couch, nor hold a pen, but while he was
proceeding down the river in a manner so melancholy, and so very
different from the mode in which he was ascending it only the day
before, he could not help indulging in various reflections, and he
talked much of his wife and children, his friends, his distant home,
and his blighted expectations. It was a period of darkness, and
distress, and sorrow to him, but his natural cheerfulness soon
regained its ascendancy over his mind, and freely forgiving all his
enemies, he resigned himself into the hands of his Maker, and derived
considerable benefit from the consolations of religion. He arrived
with his surviving companions at Fernando Po on the 25th January. It
was there found that the ball had entered his hip, and worked its way
down to the thick of the thigh. He died on the 2nd February. His
clothes and papers were all lost.

"Various conjectures have been urged as to the probable cause of this
cold-blooded and heartless attack on Lander and his party. Some
persons imagine that the natives had been stimulated to the
perpetration of this disgraceful deed by the Portuguese and South
American slave dealers, who have considerable influence in the
country, and whose interests would unquestionably decline by the
introduction into the interior of British subjects and British
manufactures. It is, however, generally supposed that the hostility
of the natives may be in some degree traced to the shameful and
scandalous conduct of some of the Liverpool merchants, who had used
their private influence to poison the minds of the natives by
attributing particular motives to the travellers, which were at
variance with the interests of the country, and subversive of the
authority of the chiefs. Nor is this scarcely a matter of doubt,
when we peruse the following extract from a letter addressed by John
Lander to the editor of the Literary Gazette.

"I cannot close this letter, without apprising you of a fact, which
will appear incredible to you. Can you believe me when I assert, on
the most unquestionable authority, that there are merchants here (the
letter was dated from Liverpool) so heartless and inhuman as to
instruct the masters of their vessels who trade to the African coast
_to refuse any assistance to the expedition of which it may stand in
need; to reject all letters that may be sent from the parties
connected with it, and, in fine, to hold no communication whatever
with the steamers or the brig_, does it not startle you, that
jealousy and selfishness can go so far? Believe me, I blush at the
reflection of a crime so hideous and un-English like as this?" In a
postscript, John Lander says, "The fact of the merchants'
instructions to the masters of their vessels may be safely depended
on. Nothing can be more true. They have gone even farther than I have
ventured to hint. _They have taken measures to prejudice the minds of
the natives against the expedition_."

Thus is human life, thus are the interests of science sacrificed on
the shrine of a sordid love of gain and pelf. It is true that the
merit of the fitting out of the expedition belongs to the
enterprising spirit and the liberality of a few Liverpool merchants,
but greatly indeed is that merit eclipsed, in a general point of
view, when it is considered, that in the same town could be found a
set of individuals, who, for the purpose of enabling them to carry on
an illegal and infamous traffic, could be the instruments of
circumventing the life of an individual, who was nobly employed in
the extension of geographical science, and who was perhaps actually
laying the foundation of the civilization of the countries through
which he might pass, and extending the commercial relations of his
country. An indelible stain will it be upon the merchants of
Liverpool, who could so far forget that they were Englishmen, as to
make a horde of barbarous savages their instruments for the
destruction of an expedition by which the general interests of the
human race might be promoted, our commercial relations extended, and
ultimately, the blessings of Christianity diffused over the dark and
unenlightened children of Africa.

As a palliative to the statement of John Lander, and as some relief
to the dark picture which we have just exhibited, it must be
confessed, that when the circumstances are taken into consideration,
which have already been detailed, when Lander first visited the Eboe
country, his conduct was not exactly regulated by prudence or policy,
in proceeding towards a country, not in the simple guise and
unostentatious manner of the solitary traveller, but attended by a
force sufficient to excite the fears and jealousy of the native
chiefs, and to instil into their suspicious minds the belief, that
the travellers, whom they had formerly seen in their country, had
returned, equipped with the means of subjugating the country, and
reducing the chiefs themselves, perhaps to a state of slavery. The
very vessels in which they presented themselves, were sufficient to
strike terror and alarm into the minds of the superstitious natives.
They knew not by what character to describe them; to their ignorant
and untutored understandings, they appeared to be impelled by some
power of witchcraft, for which they could not in the least account;
to behold a large vessel impelled even against the stream with no
inconsiderable velocity, and no power manifested by which that speed
could be obtained, set their minds a wondering, and obtained for
Lander the character of the devil. As the devil, therefore, had
arrived in their country, it became an act of the most imperious duty
to force him to abandon it, by any means which could suggest
themselves, and no one certainly could be more effectual than to put
themselves in ambuscade, and take the first opportunity of killing
him at once. It must also be taken into consideration, that the
report of the destruction of the town and the murder of some of the
natives by the crew of the Alburkha, had spread itself all along the
banks of the river, and had spread consternation and alarm amongst
the natives, who apprehended that the same fate might befal
themselves. Another opinion was entertained, that the Brass people,
perceiving that their lucrative carrying trade between the coast and
the inland countries would be annihilated, if they suffered the
English to trade with the natives of the interior in their own
vessels, formed a coalition with the people of Bonny, whose interests
would likewise be affected by the new order of things, and that these
men, aided by the savage inhabitants of the country residing in the
vicinity of the spot, where the ruthless and cowardly assault was
made, met together and resolved on the destruction of the unoffending

From what cause soever it originated, this much is certain, that the
attack had been premeditated, that the arrangements of the assassins
had been made in a methodical and skilful manner, and that Brass and
Bonny canoes were engaged in the assault. Those who have had the best
means of knowing the character and disposition of the Brass people,
and their neighbours of Bonny, whose treacherous manoeuvering can
only be equalled by their insatiable rapacity, consider the last as
by far the most probable hypothesis, and believe that King Boy,
notwithstanding his affectation of sympathy for the sufferers, and
his apparent distress on beholding his friend and benefactor mortally
wounded, was nevertheless at the bottom of the plot, and had exerted
his influence to bring that plot to maturity, in conjunction with the
malignant wretch, who foretold the eventful catastrophe. Boy having
with alacrity joined the party on all former occasions, when they
ascended the river, and having obstinately refused to accompany them
on this, strengthens the supposition that he was well aware of the
formidable danger, which awaited them, but in which it is plain he
had no ambition to participate.

The fate of Lander, on whom the eyes of all England were directed as
the individual most likely to extend the benefits of civilization to
the benighted Africans, and to open fresh sources of wealth to his
enterprising countrymen, excited in all breasts the most unfeigned
regret; to the honour of the inhabitants of Truro, the native place
of the Landers, it must be recorded that the intelligence of the
premature death of Richard Lander, no sooner reached that town, than
a meeting of his fellow townsmen took place, which was held at the
council hall, at which Humphry Willyams, Esquire, presided. After
expressing their extreme regret, the assembly resolved:

"To express its sincere sympathy with the sorrowing family, and its
sense of the loss which science, commerce, and civilization had
sustained by the death of this enterprising traveller. Further that
the sum of L84 having been raised for the purpose of presenting
pieces of plate to Messrs. Richard and John Lander, and the altered
circumstances of the case having induced the survivor generously to
decline any participation in the fund so raised, and to request that
the same might be appropriated to some other memorial of the respect
and esteem of his native town, for his lamented brother; it was their
opinion that if an adequate amount be obtained, a column should be
erected in their native town, to commemorate the intrepidity of the
two brothers, and that an appeal be made to the county to co-operate
in their object."

About ten days after, a second meeting took place, when the following
address was printed, and unanimously adopted:


"The lamentable fate of the African traveller, Richard Lander, calls
for some marked expression of public sympathy and respect, and more
especially does it behove Cornishmen to show their esteem and sorrow
for their adventurous countryman. Whether to testify this natural
sentiment, or to declare our admiration at the energy of mind, which
raised the departed and his enterprising brother from humble station
to such enviable pre-eminence, or to evince that deep interest, which
every philanthropist and Christian must feel, in all that concerns
the civilization of Africa, we are assured there can be but one
opinion as to the propriety of raising some lasting memorial of the
travellers. The effects likely to result from their discoveries,
followed up by such indomitable resolution as characterized Richard
Lander, may be inferred from the melancholy circumstance that this
courageous man has in all probability fallen a victim to the
suspicion of those concerned in the atrocious slave trade. But the
grand object has been accomplished, though great the cost: the path
now opened for mercantile enterprise, will make plain the way, for
civilization, freedom, and religion. PARK, DENHAM, RITCHIE,
CLAPPERTON and LANDER, have led the forlorn hope, against the
seemingly impregnable fastnesses of African barbarism, and though
each has perished, the cause of humanity has been advanced. At once,
therefore, to celebrate the progress of discovery, and to record
individual merit, it is proposed to erect a Column in some
conspicuous part of Truro, the birth place of the Landers, which,
while it commemorates the fate of one brother, will render a just
tribute to both, and to this end it is intended to apply the amount
already obtained for a testimonial of respect of another description,
which sum, however, being inadequate, the committee appeals to the
liberality of the county, confident that contributions will be
immediately forthcoming to render the memorial worthy of the

Notwithstanding this forcible appeal to the compatriots of Landers it
was some time before a sufficiency could be collected for the
erection of the monument; success, however, at last attended the
exertions of the committee, and the monument was erected; and
although no blazoned escutcheon is engraved upon it, nor pompous
epitaph declares the virtues of the departed, yet to the ages yet
unborn it will rouse the spirit of compatriot pride, when the
traveller views the memorial, and with exultation he will exclaim,
Richard Lander was my countryman.

In investigating the advantages which may be supposed to flow to the
country by the discoveries of the Landers, we fear that they have
been much over-rated, for great and almost insuperable obstacles have
to be surmounted, before the savages of Africa can be brought to
relinquish their usual habits, or in any manner to forego those
advantages which the traffic in human flesh so bountifully presents
to them. The chiefs, who rule over the uncivilized hordes, who are
located on the banks of the Quorra, are all engaged in a kind of
commercial relation with the Europeans, by whom it is found necessary
to conciliate them, by sometimes, the most obsequious conduct,
degrading to a man of civilization, when shown towards an ignorant,
tyrannical, and despotic tyrant. Any attempt to force a channel of
commerce, beyond the territories of these savage chiefs, without
having first, either by presents or other means, obtained their
co-operation, is too visionary a scheme for even the most
enterprising adventurer to dare to undertake. King Jacket and King
Boy, with the king of Eboe, may be said to be in the command of the
estuary of the Niger, and, therefore, any attempt to establish a
channel of commerce without allowing them to participate in the
profits, or to be permitted to exact a duty on all goods passing by
water through their territory, must necessarily prove abortive. The
jealousy of their character would be aroused, they would see in the
traffic of the European a gradual decline of their own emoluments,
and by degrees a total exclusion from those branches of commerce,
from which they had hitherto derived the greatest profit. That the
commerce of the interior of Africa offers the most tempting
advantages to the enterprising British merchant cannot be doubted,
for the two articles alone of indigo and ivory would repay the
speculator with a profit of nearly 1000 per cent. This circumstance
was sufficient to arouse the commercial spirit of the merchants of
Glasgow, who, on the return of the Landers with the information of
the discovery of the termination of the Niger, proceeded immediately
to form a company, having a capital of L10,000, for establishing a
commercial intercourse with the chiefs of the interior of Africa,
forgetting at the time, that before they could reach the territories
of those chiefs, they had in the persons of King Boy, King Jacket,
and King Forday, and the king of the Eboe country, a gauntlet to run
through, and a kind of quadruple alliance to extinguish, without
which all their efforts would be in vain. The death of Lander put an
end to this speculation, as it was then clearly seen that unless the
actual constitution of the countries situate on the banks of the
Quorra, could be placed under a different authority, and the people
brought to a state of positive submission, it were futile to expect
any solid or permanent advantages from any commercial relations they
might form. The insalubrity of the climate, so very injurious to a
European constitution, was also a great drawback to the prosecution
of those commercial advantages, which the discovery of the
termination of the Niger offered to this country; it was literally
sending men to die a premature death to embark them on board of an
African trader, and we have the authority of the late Captain
Fullerton for stating, that he scarcely ever knew an individual who,
although he might escape the pestilential fevers of the country for
the second, and even the third or fourth time, that did not
eventually die. Notwithstanding, however, the latter serious drawback
to the prosecution of our geographical knowledge of the interior of
Africa, there are yet to be found amongst us some hardy, gallant
spirits, who, fearless of every danger, and willing to undergo every
privation which the human constitution can endure, are still anxious
to expose themselves to such appalling perils, for the promotion of
science and the general welfare of the human race. Amongst those
individuals, a young gentleman of the name of Coulthurst has rendered
himself conspicuous. He was the only surviving son of C. Coulthurst,
Esquire, of Sandirvay, near Norwich, and was thirty-five years of age
at the time of his death. He was educated at Eton, studied afterwards
at Brazen Nose College, Oxford, and then went to Barbadoes, but from
his infancy his heart was set on African enterprise. His family are
still in possession of some of his Eton school books, in which maps
of Africa, with his supposed travels into the interior, are
delineated; and at Barbadoes he used to take long walks in the heat
of the day, in order to season himself for the further exposure,
which he never ceased to contemplate. His eager desires also took a
poetical form, and a soliloquy of Mungo Park, and other pieces of a
similar description, of considerable merit, were written by him at
different times. The stimulus that at length decided him, however,
was the success of the Landers. He feared that if he delayed longer,
another expedition would be fitted out on a grand scale, and leave
nothing which an individual could attempt.

It was in December 1831, that Messrs. Coulthurst and Tyrwhitt were
introduced to the council of the Geographical Society, as being
about to proceed at their own expense to the mouth of the Quorra,
with the view of endeavouring to penetrate thence eastward to the
Bahr-Abiad; and although their preparations were not on such a scale
as to warrant any very sanguine hopes of success, yet it was felt to
be a duty on the part of the society to patronize so spirited an
undertaking. They were accordingly placed in communication with
Colonel Leake, and other members of the late African Association,
whose advice it was thought could not fail to be of service to them.
They were also introduced to Captain Owen and to Mr. Lander, the
value of whose experience in planning their operations was obvious.
And the expedition being brought under the notice of his majesty's
government, the loan of a chronometer was obtained for it, with
strong letters of introduction and recommendation to the officers
commanding the naval and military forces of the crown along the
African coast.

The party sailed from the Downs on the 1st January 1832, and arrived
at Bathurst St. Mary's on the Gambia on the 28th of the same month.
Both travellers were somewhat indisposed during the voyage, and the
sun after their arrival so seriously affected Mr. Tyrwhitt, that he
here yielded to the repeated representations of his companion and
others, and returned home. The following is an extract of a letter
received from Mr. Coulthurst, dated Bathurst, 1st February 1832, and
the style is clearly indicative of the superior qualifications of his

"After a conference and palaver with some of the native chiefs,
amongst whose grotesque forms and equipments you would have laughed
to have seen me perched this morning, sipping palm wine; I have made
up my mind to take the southern bank of this river, through Fooladoo
to Sego. A messenger from the Almana of Bondou, who has undertaken to
bring the gum trade here from the Senegal, is now at Bathurst, and
the merchants are willing to assist in making up a coffila, which
will enable us I trust to prosecute our journey in safety. Though I
shall not thus reach the main object of Funda so directly as if I had
had the good fortune to overtake the Pluto, it would be scarcely
possible for me to do this now before the rainy season; and though I
shall be a few weeks later in reaching my destination, I shall have
the satisfaction of tracing the _whole_ river, and giving the
position of all the remarkable places, which neither Caillie nor
Lander were able to do. There is now no earthly chance of the
observations made by Park seeing the light, for Mr. Ainslie showed me
yesterday his last letter from Sansanding, which I perused with much
interest. You are aware that nothing but the unfortunate occurrence
of the Fellatas' conquests with the period of his expedition, and his
being mistaken for one of their parties, occasioned its unhappy
result; and by striking across the mountains, which we shall do at
Baranco, about four hundred miles up, we shall have only twenty-four
days' land journey to the mighty Niger, where he has scarcely command
of water enough to float a canoe.

"The climate here is so very superior to that in the Bights of Benin
and Biafra, that after Barbadoes, where shade is unknown, it really
seems comparatively cold; I took a stroll of half a dozen miles
to-day before breakfast, which I could not have done, without feeling
languid afterwards, in the West Indies, but Tyrwhitt never could have
borne the breathing oven of the Gold Coast. Everything reminds me
here of the near neighbourhood of the desert; the toke and turban
very general, every man, not a Christian, a Musselman, and what seems
strange to European eyes, persons in the coarsest checks with gold
ornaments to the value of hundreds of dollars.

"The beautiful harnessed antelope, which it is really a sin to shoot,
is common in the bush, and milk, honey, and rice, are to be had in
most of the negro villages, this being quite the dairy country of
Africa. But then there are mosquitoes, that madden the best-tempered
folk, and holy men with their eyes on the Koran, ready to dirk you
for the slightest subject of difference, and it is curious to see the
strangest characters of this sort well received and admitted to a
familiarity at government house, because they have much interest in
the country, and it is politic just now to speak them fair."

Having concluded his arrangements for proceeding through the Enyong
and Eboe countries, he intended to proceed up the Calebar River, and
thence over land to Funda. He arrived without any particular accident
in the Eboe country, but the king of that people refused to let him
pass, and he was, therefore, obliged to return to Calebar, and thence
it was his intention to take a passage on board the Agnes for
Fernando Po. The refusal of the king of the Eboe country, did not
proceed from any distrust or jealousy on his part, but a most
sanguinary war was raging in the interior, and he, therefore,
considered the life of the traveller to be in danger. He had not been
exposed to any very severe fatigue, but his disappointment was great,
and he laboured under considerable debility and depression of
spirits. He died without much suffering on the second day after
embarking on board the Agnes.

Thus perished another victim in the cause of African discovery, but
still there are hearts to be found, who are willing in the cause of
science to brave every peril, for the purpose of enlarging our
knowledge of the interior of the African continent, and opening fresh
sources to the skill and industry of our merchants. The Rev. Mr. Wolf
is now on his journey to Timbuctoo, and Lieutenant Wilkinson is
following up the discoveries of Lander; of them we may say with the

"Fortuna audaces juvat."


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