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Lander's Travels by Robert Huish

Part 9 out of 15

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by his own. During the four days that Lander remained in these
hospitable quarters, he was never in want of provisions, nor do we
see how it was possible that he should be, when he had two rumps of
beef, from which he could at any time cut a steak, which the most
finished epicurean of Dolly's would not turn up his nose at, and
stewed rice, as an entremet, sufficient for the gastronomic powers of
fifty men. When it is also considered, that the sultan invariably
receives as a tax the hump of every bullock that is slaughtered,
weighing from twelve to fifteen pounds, and the choicest part of the
animal, it is somewhat surprising that the country does not abound
with _hump_-backed tyrants, similar to the notorious Richard of
England; at all events, Lander had to congratulate himself that the
humps, or rumps, were sent to him daily by the king's wives, we will
suppose, out of the pure spirit of charity and benevolence, on the
same principle, perhaps, that the widow Zuma invited Lander to take
up his abode in her house.

It was very proper that Lander should make a return to the sultan's
wives for their rumps of beef, and, therefore, he presented them with
one or two gilt buttons from his jacket, and they, imagining them to
be pure gold, fastened them to their ears. Little, however, did the
Birmingham manufacturer suppose, when he issued these buttons from
his warehouse, that they were destined one day to glitter as pendants
in the ears of the wives of the sultan of Cuttup, in the heart of
Africa; truly may it be said with Shakespeare,

"To what vile uses may we come at last!"

It is very possible, from some cause not worthy here of
investigation, that one of the wives of the sultan had contrived to
obtain a higher place in the estimation of Lander, than any of her
other compeers; but, as a proof that great events from trivial causes
flow, it happened that Lander set the whole court of Cuttup in a
hubbub and confusion by a very simple act, to which no premeditated
sin could be attached, and this act was no other, than presenting one
of the wives of the sultan secretly, clandestinely, and covertly,
with a most valuable article, in the shape of a large darning needle,
which he carried about with him, for the purpose of repairing any
sudden detriment, that might happen to any part of his habiliments. A
female, whether European or African, generally takes a pride in
displaying the presents that have been made her; and the favoured
wife of the sultan no sooner displayed the present which she had
received, than the spirit of jealousy and envy burst forth in the
breast of all the remaining wives. It was a fire not easily to be
quenched; it pervaded every part of the residence of the sultan; it
penetrated into every hut, where one of the wives resided; discord,
quarrels, and battles became the order of the day, and Lander was
obliged to make a precipitate retreat from a place, where he had
incautiously and innocently raised such a rebellion. On relating this
anecdote to us, Lander declared, that, with a good supply of needles
in his possession, he would not despair of obtaining every necessary
article and accommodation throughout the whole of central Africa.

On leaving Cuttup, Lander proceeded south-south-west, over a hilly
country, and on the following day, crossed the Rary, a large river
flowing to the south-east. The next day, part of the route lay over
steep and craggy precipices, some of them of the most awful height.
From the summit of this pass, he obtained a very beautiful and
extensive prospect, which would indicate the elevation to be indeed
very considerable. Eight days' journey might plainly be seen before
him. About half a day's journey to the east, stood a lofty hill, at
the foot of which lay the large city of Jacoba. In the evening, he
reached Dunrora, a town containing about four thousand inhabitants.

Lander had now reached the latitude of Funda, which, according to his
information, lies about twelve days due west of Dunrora, and after
seventeen perilous days' travelling from Kano, he seemed to be on the
point of solving the great geographical problem respecting the
termination of the supposed Niger, when, just as he was leaving
Dunrora, four armed messengers from the sultan of Zeg Zeg rode up to
him, bearing orders for his immediate return to the capital.
Remonstrance was in vain; and, with a bad grace and a heavy heart,
poor Lander complied with the mandate. He was led back to Cuttup by
the same route that he had taken, and here, much against the
inclination of his guards, he remained four days, suffering under an
attack of dysentery. On his arrival at Zaria, he was introduced to
the king; and having delivered his presents, that prince boasted of
having conferred on him the greatest possible favour, since the
people of Funda, being now at war with sultan Bello, would certainly
have murdered any one, who had visited and carried gifts to that
monarch. From this reasoning, sound or otherwise, Lander had no
appeal, and was obliged to make his way back by his former path.

The subsequent part of his route was, however, rather more to the
westward of his former track. The Koodoonia, where he crossed it, was
much deeper, as well as broader, and much more rapid. On Lander
refusing to cross the river till it had become more shallow, his
guards left him in great wrath, threatening to report his conduct to
their master, and they did not return for a fortnight, during which
time, Lander remained at a Bowchee village, an hour distant, very
ill, having nothing to eat but boiled corn, not much relishing
_roasted dog._ The inhabitants, who came by hundreds every day to
visit him, were destitute of any clothing, but behaved in a modest
and becoming manner. The men did not appear to have any occupation or
employment whatever. The women were generally engaged, the greater
part of the day, in manufacturing oil from a black seed and the
Guinea nut.

Not deeming it safe, according to the advice of the sultan of Zeg
Zeg, to pursue his homeward way by the route of Funda, he chose the
Youriba road; and, after serious delays, he reached Badagry on the
21st November 1827; but here he was nearly losing his life, owing to
the vindictive jealousy of the Portuguese slave-merchants, who
denounced him to the king as a spy sent by the English government.
The consequence was, that it was resolved by the chief men to subject
him to the ordeal of drinking a fetish. "If you come to do bad," they
said, "it will kill you; but if not, it cannot hurt you." There was
no alternative or escape. Poor Lander swallowed the contents of the
bowl, and then walked hastily out of the hut through the armed men
who surrounded it, to his own lodgings, where he lost no time in
getting rid of the fetish drink by a powerful emetic. He afterwards
learned, that it almost always proved fatal. When the king and his
chiefs found, after five days, that Lander survived, they changed
their minds, and became extremely kind, concluding that he was under
the special protection of God. The Portuguese, however, he had reason
to believe, would have taken the first opportunity to assassinate
him. His life at this place was in continual danger, until,
fortunately, Captain Laing, of the brig Maria of London, of which
Fullerton was the chief mate, and afterwards commander, hearing that
there was a white man about sixty miles up the country, who was in a
most deplorable condition, and suspecting that he might be one of the
travellers sent out on the expedition to explore the interior of
Africa, despatched a messenger with instructions to bring him away.
The parties who held him were, however, not disposed to part with him
without a ransom, the amount of which was fixed at nearly L70, which
was paid by Captain Laing in broadcloths, gunpowder, and other
articles, and which was subsequently refunded by the African Society.
Lander arrived in England on the 30th April 1828, on which occasion
we were introduced to him by the late Captain Fullerton, from whose
papers the following history of Lander's second journey is compiled.


The journeys of Denham and Clapperton made a great accession to our
knowledge of interior Africa, they having completed a diagonal
section from Tripoli to the gulf of Benin; they explored numerous
kingdoms, either altogether unknown, or indicated only by the most
imperfect rumour. New mountains, lakes, and rivers had been
discovered and delineated, yet the course of the Niger remained wrapt
in mystery nearly as deep as ever. Its stream had been traced very
little lower than Boussa, which Park had reached, and where his
career was brought to so fatal a termination. The unhappy issue of
Clapperton's last attempt chilled for a time the zeal for African
discovery; but that high spirit of adventure which animates Britons
was soon found acting powerfully in a quarter, where there was least
reason to expect it. Partaking of the character which animated his
master, Lander endeavoured, on his return towards the coast, to
follow a direction, which, but for unforeseen circumstances, would
have led to the solution of the great problem. After reaching
England, he still cherished the same spirit; in our frequent
conversations with him, he expressed it to be his decided opinion,
that the termination of the Niger would be found between the fifth
and tenth degree of north latitude, and his subsequent discoveries
proved his opinion to be correct. Undeterred by the recollection of
so much peril and hardship, he tendered his services to the
government to make one effort more, in order to reach the mouth of
this mysterious river; his offer was accepted, but on terms which
make it abundantly evident that the enterprise was not undertaken
from any mercenary impulse. The manner in which he had acquitted
himself of his trust, amidst the difficulties with which he had to
contend after the death of Clapperton, bespoke him as being worthy to
be sent out on such a mission, when scientific observations were not
expected, and the result has proved the justness of the opinion, that
was entertained of him. Descended from Cornish parents, having been
born at Truro, and not gifted with any extraordinary talent, it was
not his fortune to boast either the honour of high birth, or even to
possess the advantages of a common-place education. His leading
quality was a determined spirit of perseverance, which no obstacles
could intimidate or subdue. In society, particularly in the company
of those distinguished for their talents or literary attainments, his
reserve and bashfulness were insuperable, and it was not until a
degree of intimacy was established by frequent association, that he
could be brought to communicate the sentiments of his mind, or to
impress a belief upon the company, that he was possessed of any
superior qualifications.

His younger brother, John Lander, who, influenced by a laudable
desire to assist in the solution of the geographical problem, was of
a very different turn of mind. He was brought up to the profession of
a printer, and, as a compositor, had frequent opportunities of
enriching his mind with various branches of knowledge, and in time
became himself the author of several essays in prose and verse, by no
means discreditable to his talents. Being naturally gifted with an
exuberant imagination, his descriptions partake of the inflated and
bombastic; but we have reason to know, that the information which he
gives is deduced from authentic sources, without the usual
exaggeration proverbially belonging to travellers.

The following were the instructions given by government to Richard

"Downing-street, 31st December 1829.


"I am directed by secretary Sir George Murray to acquaint you, that
he has deemed it expedient to accept the offer, which you have made,
to proceed to Africa, accompanied by your brother, for the purpose of
ascertaining the course of the great river, which was crossed by the
late Captain Clapperton on his journey to Sockatoo; and a passage
having been accordingly engaged for you and your brother, on board of
the Alert, merchant vessel, which is proceeding to Cape Coast Castle,
on the western coast of Africa, I am to desire that you will embark
immediately on board that vessel.

"In the event of your falling in with any of his Majesty's ships of
war on the coast of Africa, previously to your arrival at Cape Coast
Castle, you will prevail on the master to use every endeavour to
speak with such ship of war, and to deliver to the officer commanding
her, the letter of which you are the bearer, and which is to require
him to convey yourself and your brother to Badagry, to present you to
the king, and to give you such assistance as may be required to
enable you to set out on your journey.

"You should incur as little delay as possible at Badagry, in order
that, by reaching the hilly country, you may be more secure from
those fevers, which are known to be prevalent on the low lands of the
sea-coast. You are to proceed by the same road as on a previous
occasion, as far as Katunga, unless you shall be able to find, on the
northern side of the mountains, a road which will lead to Funda, on
the Quorra or Niger; in which case, you are to proceed direct to
Funda. If, however, it should be necessary to go as far as Katunga,
you are to use your endeavours to prevail on the chief of that
country to assist you on your way to the Quorra, and with the means
of tracing down, either by land or water, the course of that river as
far as Funda.

"On your arrival at this place, you are to be very particular in your
observations, so as to enable you to give a correct statement.

"1st, Whether any, and what rivers fall into the Quorra at or near
that place; or whether the whole or any part of the Quorra turns to
the eastward.

"2nd, Whether there is at Funda, or in the neighbourhood, any lake or
collection of waters or large swamps; in which case, you are to go
round such lake or swamp, and be very particular in examining whether
any river flows _into_ or _out_ of it, and in what direction it takes
its course.

"3rd, If you should find that at Funda, the Quorra continues to flow
to the southward, you are to follow it to the sea, where, in this
case, it may be presumed to empty its waters; but if it should be
found to turn off to the eastward, in which case it will most
probably fall into the lake Tchad, you are to follow its course in
that direction, as far as you conceive you can venture to do, with
due regard to your personal safety, to Bornou; in which case it will
be for you to determine, whether it may not be advisable to return
home by the way of Fezzan and Tripoli: if, however, after proceeding
in an easterly course for some distance, the river should be found to
turn off towards the south, you are to follow it, as before, down to
the sea. In short, after having once gained the banks of the Quorra,
either from Katunga or lower down, you are to follow its course, if
possible, to its termination, wherever that may be.

"Should you be of opinion that the sultan of Youri can safely be
communicated with, you are at liberty to send your brother with a
present to that chief, to ask, in the king's name, for certain books
or papers, which he is supposed to have, that belonged to the late
Mr. Park; but you are not necessarily yourself to wait for your
brother's return, but to proceed in the execution of the main object
of your mission, to ascertain the course and termination of the

"You are to take every opportunity of sending down to the coast a
brief extract of your proceedings and observations, furnishing the
bearer with a note, setting forth the reward he is to have for his
trouble, and requesting any English person to whom it is presented to
pay that reward, on the faith that it will be repaid him by the
British government.

"For the performance of this service, you are furnished with all the
articles which you have required for your personal convenience during
your journey, together with a sum of two hundred dollars in coin; and
in case, upon your arrival at Badagry, you should find it absolutely
necessary to provide yourself with a further supply of dollars, you
will be at liberty to draw upon this department for any sum not
exceeding three hundred dollars.

"During the ensuing year, the sum of one hundred pounds will be paid
to your wife in quarterly payments; and upon your return, a gratuity
of one hundred pounds will be paid to yourself.

"All the papers and observations, which you shall bring back with
you, are to be delivered by you at this office; and you will be
entitled to receive any pecuniary consideration which may be obtained
from the publication of the account of your journey. "I am, Sir, &c.

(Signed) "R. W. HAY."

"To Mr. Richard Lander."

In pursuance of these instructions, Richard Lander and his brother
embarked at Portsmouth, on the 9th January 1830, in the brig Alert,
for Cape Coast Castle, where they arrived on the 22nd of the
following month, after a boisterous and unpleasant passage. Here they
were fortunate enough to engage old Pascoe and his wife, with Jowdie,
who had been employed on the last expedition, with Ibrahim and Mina,
two Bornou men, who were well acquainted with English manners, and
could converse in the Houssa language. These individuals promised to
be very useful on the expedition, more especially old Pascoe, whose
merits as an interpreter were unquestionable.

After remaining at Cape Coast Castle eight days, they accompanied Mr.
M'Lean, the president of the council at that place, on a visit to Mr.
Hutchinson, commandant at Anamaboo, about nine miles distant from
Cape Coast. Mr. Hutchinson lived in his castle, like an English baron
in the feudal times, untinctured, however, by barbarism or ignorance;
for the polished, refinements of life have insinuated themselves into
his dwelling, though it is entirely surrounded by savages, and though
the charming sound of a lady's voice is seldom or never heard in his
lonely hall. His silken banner, his turreted castle, his devoted
vassals, his hospitality, and even his very solitariness, all
conspired to recall to the mind the manners and way of life of an old
English baron, in one of the most interesting periods of our history,
whilst the highly chivalrous and romantic spirit of the gentleman
alluded to, was strictly in unison with the impression. Mr.
Hutchinson had resided a number of years on the coast, and was one of
the few individuals, who had visited the capital of Ashantee, in
which he resided eight months, and obtained a better acquaintance
with the manners, customs, and pursuits of that warlike,
enterprising, and original nation, than any other European whatever.
In the Ashantee war he took a very active part, and rendered
important and valuable services to the cause he so warmly espoused.

They resided at the fort till the 4th March, and then sailed in the
Alert for Accra, where they expected to find a vessel to take them to
Badagry, in the Bight of Benin, agreeably to their instructions.

In two days they arrived opposite the British fort at Accra, and,
after staying there a week, they embarked on board the Clinker,
Lieutenant Matson, commander; and having sailed direct for Badagry,
they dropped anchor in the roadstead in the front of that town on the
19th. From the commander of the Clinker they received a young man of
colour, named Antonio, son to the chief of Bonny, who eagerly
embraced the opportunity of proceeding with them into the interior,
being impressed with the notion that he should be enabled to reach
his home and country by means of the Great River, or Niger.

In the earlier part of the afternoon of the 22nd March, they sailed
towards the beach in one of the brig's boats, and having been taken
into a canoe that was waiting at the edge of the breakers to receive
them, they were plied over a tremendous surf, and flung with violence
on the burning sands.

Wet and uncomfortable as this accident had rendered them, having no
change of linen at hand, they walked to a small creek about the
distance of a quarter of a mile from the sea shore, where they were
taken into a native canoe, and conveyed safely through an extremely
narrow channel, overhung with luxuriant vegetation, into the Badagry
river, which is a branch of the Lagos. It is a beautiful body of
water, resembling a lake in miniature; its surface is smooth and
transparent as glass, and its picturesque banks are shaded by trees
of a lively verdure. They were soon landed on the opposite side, when
their road lay over a magnificent plain, on which deer, antelopes,
and buffaloes were often observed to feed. Numbers of men, women, and
children followed them to the town of Badagry, making the most
terrific noises at their heels, but whether these were symptoms of
satisfaction or displeasure, admiration or ridicule, they could not
at first understand. They were soon, however, satisfied that the
latter feeling was predominant, and indeed their clothing was
sufficient to excite the laughter of any people, for it certainly was
not African, nor had it any pretensions to be characterized as
European. In the first place, the covering of the head consisted of a
straw hat, larger than an umbrella, a scarlet mahommedan tobe or
tunic and belt, with boots, and full Turkish trousers. So unusual a
dress might well cause the people to laugh heartily; they were all
evidently highly amused, but the more modest of the females,
unwilling to give them any uneasiness, turned aside to conceal the
titter, from which they were utterly unable to refrain.

On their way they observed various groups of people seated under the
spreading branches of superb trees, vending provisions and country
cloth, and on their approach, many of them arose and bowed, whilst
others fell on their knees before them in token of respect. They
reached the dwelling, which had been prepared for them about three
o'clock in the afternoon, but as the day was too far advanced to
visit the chief or king, they sent a messenger to inform him of their
intention of paying him their respects on the following morning.

Towards evening, Richard Lander his brother being too fatigued to
accompany him, took a saunter in the immediate vicinity of his
residence, when he found, that in one respect, the streets of
Badagry, if they might be so called, and the streets of London, bore
a very great resemblance. It might be the mere effect of female
curiosity, to ascertain what kind of a man's visage could possibly be
concealed under such a preposterous hat, or it might be for any other
purpose, which his penetration could not discover, but certain it
was, that ever and anon a black visage, with white and pearly teeth,
and an expressive grin of the countenance, somewhat similar to that
of the monkey in a state of excited pleasure, protruded itself under
the canopy of straw, which protected his head, but he, who had
withstood the amorous advances of the widow Zuma, or of the fat and
deaf widow Laddie, could not be supposed to yield to the fascinations
and allurements of a Badagry houri. Richard therefore returned to his
dwelling, fully satisfied with himself, but by no means having
satisfied the ladies of Badagry, that an European was a man of love
or gallantry.

At nine o'clock on the morning of the 23rd March, agreeably to the
promise which they had made on the preceding day, they visited the
chief at his residence, which was somewhat more than half a mile from
their own. On their entrance, the potent chief of Badagry was sitting
on a couple of boxes, which, for aught Lander knew, might at one time
have belonged to a Hong merchant at Canton; the boxes were placed in
a small bamboo apartment, on the sides of which were suspended a
great number of muskets and swords, with a few paltry umbrellas, and
a couple of horses' tails, which are used for the purpose of brushing
away flies and other insects.

King Adooley looked up in the faces of his visitors without making
any observation, it perhaps not being the etiquette of kings in that
part of the world, to make any observation at all on subjects before
them, nor did he even condescend to rise from his seat to
congratulate them on their arrival. He appeared in deep reflection,
and thoughtfully rested his elbow on an old wooden table, pillowing
his head on his hand. One of the most venerable and ancient of his
subjects was squatted at the feet of his master, smoking from a pipe
of extraordinary length; whilst Lantern, his eldest son and heir
apparent, was kneeling at his side, the Badagry etiquette not
allowing the youth to sit in the presence of his father. Everything
bore an air of gloom and sadness, totally different from what they
had been led to expect. They shook hands, but the royal pressure was
so very faint, that it was scarcely perceptible, yet, notwithstanding
this apparent coldness, they seated themselves one on each side,
without ceremony or embarrassment. It was evident that neither Lander
nor his brother knew how to deport themselves in the presence of a
king, a thing which the former had never seen in his life but at the
courts of Africa, and they, God knows, were not calculated to give
him an exalted idea of royalty; but when it had been ascertained,
that it was contrary to etiquette at the court of Badagry, for even
the heir apparent to assume any other attitude in the royal presence
than that of kneeling, it might have occurred to the European
travellers, that seating themselves without permission, in the
presence of so august a personage as the king of Badagry, might be
the forerunner of their heads being severed from their body, which,
as it has been detailed in a preceding part of this work, is in that
part of the country, a ceremony very easily and speedily despatched.
It was, however, necessary that some conversation should take place
between the king and his visitors, and therefore the latter began in
the true old English fashion, to inquire about the state of his
health, not forgetting to inform him at the same time, that they
found the weather uncommonly hot, which could not well have been
otherwise, considering that they were at that moment not much more
than 5 deg. to the northward of the equator. In regard to the state of
his health, he answered them only with a languid smile, and relapsed
into his former thoughtlessness. Not being able to break in upon the
taciturnity of the monarch, they had recourse to a method which
seldom fails of "unknitting the brow of care," and that was by a
display to the best advantage, of the presents, which they had
brought for him from England. Badagry is not the only kingdom in
which, if a present be made to the king, the sole return that is
received for it, is the honour of having been allowed to offer it,
and this experience was acquired by our travellers, for the king
certainly accepted the presents, but without the slightest
demonstration of pleasure or satisfaction; the king scarcely deigned
to look at the presents, and they were carried away by the
attendants, with real or seeming indifference. To be permitted to
kiss the hand of the sable monarch could not rationally be expected,
as an honour conferred upon them for the presents, which they had
delivered, but it was mortifying to them not to receive a word of
acknowledgement, not even the tithe of a gracious smile; they
accordingly said not a word, but they had seen enough to convince
them that all was not right. A reserve, the cause whereof they could
not define, and a coldness towards them, for which they could in no
wise account, marked the conduct of the once spirited and
good-natured chief of Badagry, and prepared them to anticipate
various difficulties in the prosecution of their plans, which they
were persuaded would require much art and influence to surmount. The
brow of the monarch relaxed for a moment, and an attempt was made on
the part of Richard Lander to enter into conversation with him, but
on a sudden the king rose from his boxes, and left them to converse
with themselves.

After waiting a considerable time, and the king not returning, a
messenger was despatched to acquaint him, that the patience of his
visitors was nearly exhausted, and they would feel obliged by his
immediate return, in order to put an end to their conference or
palaver, as it is emphatically styled, as speedily as possible. On
the receipt of this message, the king hastened back, and entered the
apartment with a melancholy countenance, which was partially
concealed behind large volumes of smoke, from a tobacco pipe, which
he was using. He seated himself between them as before, and gave them
to understand in a very low tone of voice, that he was but just
recovering from a severe illness, and from the effect of a series of
misfortunes, which had rendered him almost brokenhearted. His
celebrated generals Bombanee and Poser, and all his most able
warriors had either been slain in battle, or fallen by other violent
means. The former in particular, whose loss he more especially
lamented, had been captured by the Lagos people, who were his most
inveterate enemies. When this unfortunate man was taken prisoner, his
right hand was immediately nailed to his head, and the other lopped
off like a twig. In this manner he was paraded through the town, and
exposed to the view of the people, whose curiosity being satiated,
Bombanee's head was at length severed from his shoulders, and being
dried in the sun and beaten to dust, was sent in triumph to the chief
of Badagry. To add to his calamities, Adooley's house, which
contained an immense quantity of gunpowder, had been blown up by
accident, and destroyed all his property, consisting of a variety of
presents, most of them very valuable, that had been made him by
Captain Clapperton, by European merchants, and traders in slaves. The
chief and his women escaped with difficulty from the conflagration;
but as it was the custom to keep the muskets and other firearms
constantly loaded, their contents were discharged into the bodies and
legs of those individuals, who had flocked to the spot on the first
alarm. The flames spread with astonishing rapidity, notwithstanding
every exertion, and ended in the destruction of a great part of the
town. This accounted in some measure for the sad and grievous
expression so strongly depicted on the chiefs countenance; but still
another and more powerful reason had doubtless influenced him on this

On returning to their residence, a number of principal men, as they
style themselves, were introduced to compliment them on coming to
their country, although their true and only motive for visiting their
quarters was the expectation of obtaining rum, which is the great
object of attraction to all of them. They had been annoyed during the
greater part of this day by a tribe of ragged beggars, whose
importunity was really disgusting. The men were in general old,
flat-headed, and pot-bellied. The women skinny and flap-eared. To
these garrulous ladies and gentlemen they were obliged to talk and
laugh, shake hands, crack fingers, bend their bodies, bow their
heads, and place their hands with great solemnity on their heads and
breasts. They had not indeed a moment's relaxation from this
excessive fatigue, and had Job, amongst his other trials, been
exposed to the horrors of an interminable African palaver, his
patience would most certainly have forsaken him. Lander was of
opinion that he never would be a general favourite with this
ever-grinning and loquacious people. If he laughed, and he was
obliged to laugh, it was done against his inclination, and
consequently with a very bad grace. At this time, Lander, speaking of
himself, says, "for the first five years of my life, I have been
told, that I was never even seen to smile, and since that period,
Heaven knows my merriment has been confined to particular and
extraordinary occasions only. How then is it possible, that I can be
grinning and playing the fool from morning to night, positively
without any just incentive to do so, and sweltering at the same time
under a sun that causes my body to burn with intense heat, giving it
the appearance of shrivelled parchment. Fortunately these
savages--for savages they most certainly are in the fullest extent of
the word--cannot distinguish between real and fictitious joy; and
although I was vexed at heart, and wished them, all at the bottom of
the Red Sea, or somewhere else, I have every reason to believe that
my forced attempts to please the natives have so far been successful,
and that I have obtained the reputation, which I certainly do not
deserve, of being one of the pleasantest and best-tempered persons in
the world."

This candid exposition, which Lander gives of his own character is
fully borne out by our own personal observation. On no occasion do we
remember that we ever saw a smile sit upon his countenance, and as to
a laugh, it appeared to be an act which he dreaded to commit. He
seemed always to be brooding over some great and commanding idea,
which absorbed the whole of his mind, and which he felt a
consciousness within him, that he had not the ability to carry into
execution, at the same time that he feared to let a word escape him,
which could give a clue to the subject, which was then working within
him. In this respect, he was not well fitted for a traveller in a
country where, if his nature would not allow him, it became a matter
of policy, if not of necessity, to appear high-hearted and gay, and
frequently to join in the amusements of the people amongst whom he
might be residing. Lander himself was not ignorant of the Arab adage,
"Beware of the man who never laughs;" and, therefore, as he was
likely to be thrown amongst those very people, he ought to have
practised himself in the art of laughing, so as not to rouse their
suspicions, which, it is well known, if once roused, are not again
easily allayed.

To return to the narrative, one of the fetishmen sent them a present
of a duck, almost as large as an English goose; but as the fellow
expected ten times its value in return, it was no great proof of the
benevolence of his disposition. They were now obliged to station
armed men around their house, for the purpose of protecting their
goods from the rapacity of a multitude of thieves that infested this
place, and who displayed the greatest cunning imaginable to
ingratiate themselves with the travellers. On the following morning,
they awoke unrefreshed at daybreak; the noise of children crying, the
firing of guns, and the discordant sound of drums and horns,
preventing them from enjoying the sweetness of repose, so infinitely
desirable, after a long day spent in a routine or tiresome ceremony
and etiquette.

On the 24th March, one of the chief messengers, who was a Houssa
mallam, or priest, presented himself at the door of their house,
followed by a large and handsome spotted sheep from his native
country, whose neck was adorned with little bells, which made a
pretty jingling noise. They were much prepossessed in this man's
favour by the calmness and serenity of his countenance, and the
modesty, or rather timidity of his manners. He was dressed in the
Houssa costume, cap, tobe, trousers, and sandals. He wore four large
silver rings on his thumb, and his left wrist was ornamented with a
solid silver bracelet: this was the only individual, who had as yet
visited them purely from disinterested motives, as all the others
made a practice to beg whenever they favoured them with their

The chief's eldest son was with them during the greater part of this
day. The manners of this young man were reserved, but respectful.
He was a great admirer of the English, and had obtained a smattering
of their language. Although his appearance was extremely boyish, he
had already three wives, and was the father of two children. His
front teeth were filed to a point, after the manner of the Logos
people; but, notwithstanding this disadvantage, his features bore
less marks of ferocity than they had observed in the countenance of
any one of his countrymen, while his general deportment was
infinitely more pleasing and humble than theirs. When asked whether,
if it were in his power to do so, he would injure the travellers, or
any European, who might hereafter visit Badagry, he made no reply,
but silently approached their seat, and falling on his knees at their
feet, he pressed Richard Lander with eagerness to his soft naked
bosom, and affectionately kissed his hand. No language or expression
could have been half so eloquent.

They were now preparing to proceed on their journey, when they
learned with surprise and sorrow, that a part of the populace had
expressed themselves decidedly hostile to their projects, and that
the leaders were continually with Adooley, using all their influence,
and exercising all their cunning, in order to awaken his slumbering
jealousy. They endeavoured to persuade him to demand, before he
granted them leave to pass through his country, a sum of money,
which, they were aware, was not in the power of the travellers to
pay; and therefore it was imagined they would be compelled to abandon
the undertaking. The first intimation they received of the effect of
these insinuations on the mind of the chief, was brought to them by a
person, who pronounced himself to be "on their side." This man
assured them, with an ominous visage, that Adooley had declared, in
the hearing of all the people, that the coat which Richard Lander had
given him was intended for a boy, and not a man; it was therefore
unworthy his acceptance as a king, and he considered that by the
gift, they meant to insult him. The coat alluded to by Adooley was
certainly extremely old-fashioned, and belonged to a surgeon in the
navy about twenty years ago, notwithstanding which, it was almost as
good as new, and was made showy by the addition of a pair of
tarnished gold epaulets. It was, however, clear to Lander, that as
this very same coat had been, only two days before, received with
great satisfaction, that some enemy of theirs had been striving to
render the chief discontented and mistrustful. To counteract the
efforts of the malicious, they judged it prudent to sound the
dispositions of those, who they were inclined to believe, from the
fondness which they evinced for their rum, that they were favourable
to their intentions and devoted to their interests.

At this time, there were two mulattoes residing in the town, one of
whom, by name Hooper, acted as interpreter to Adooley, and shared a
good deal of his confidence. He was born at Cape Coast Castle, in
1780, and was for many years a soldier in the African corps. His
father was an Englishman, and he boasted of being a British subject.
He was excessively vain of his origin, yet he was the most confirmed
drunkard alive, always getting intoxicated before breakfast, and
remaining in a soaking state all day long. This did not, however,
make him regardless of his own interest, to which, on the contrary,
he was ever alive, and indeed sacrificed every other feeling. The
other mulatto could read and write English tolerably well, having
received his education at Sierra Leone; he was a slave to Adooley,
and was almost as great a drunkard as Hooper. These drunken political
advisers of the chief they had little difficulty in bribing over to
their interests; they had likewise been tampering with several native
chiefs, apparently with equal success. Unfortunately every one here
styled himself a great and powerful man, and Hooper himself calls a
host of ragged scoundrels "noblemen and gentlemen," each of whom he
advised Lander to conciliate with presents, and especially spirituous
liquors, in order to do away any evil impression they might secretly
have received, and obtain their suffrages, though it should be at the
expense of half the goods in their possession. There is hardly any
knowing who is monarch here, or even what form of government
prevails; independently of the king of kings himself, the redoubtable
Adooley, four fellows assume the title of royalty, namely, the kings
of Spanish-town, of Portuguese-town, of English-town, and of
French-town, Badagry being divided into four districts, bearing the
names of the European nations just mentioned.

Toward the evening, they received an invitation from the former of
these chieftains, who by all accounts was originally the sole
governor of the country, until his authority was wrested from him by
a more powerful hand. He was then living in retirement, and subsisted
by purchasing slaves, and selling them to Portuguese and Spanish
traders. They found in him a meek and venerable old man, of
respectable appearance. He was surrounded by a number of men and
boys, his household slaves, who were all armed with pistols, daggers,
muskets, cutlasses, swords, &c., the manufacture of various European
countries. In the first place, he assured them, that nothing could
give him more pleasure than to welcome them to Badagry, and he very
much wondered that they had not visited him before. If they had a
present to give him, he said, he would thank them; but if they had
not, still he would thank them. A table was then brought out into the
court before the house, on which decanters and glasses, with a
burning liquor obtained from the Portuguese, were placed. In one
corner of the yard was a little hut, not more than two feet in
height, wherein had been placed a fetish figure, to preserve the
chief from any danger or mischief, which their presence might
otherwise have entailed upon him. A portion of the spirit was poured
into one of the glasses, and from it emptied into each of the others,
and then drunk by the attendant that had fetched it from the house.
This is an old custom, introduced no doubt to prevent masters from
being poisoned by the treachery of their slaves. As soon as the
decanters had been emptied of their contents, other ardent spirits
were introduced, but as Richard Lander imagined that fetish water had
been mingled with it, they simply took a tea-spoonful into their
mouths, and privately ejected it on the ground. The old chief
promised to return their visit on the morrow, and lifting up his
hands and eyes to heaven, like a child in the attitude of prayer, he
invoked the Almighty to preserve and bless them; they then saluted
him in the usual manner, and returned well pleased to their own


They were now most anxious to proceed on their journey, out the
chief, Adooley, evaded their solicitations to depart, under the most
frivolous and absurd pretences. He asserted that his principal reason
for detaining them against their inclinations, was the apprehension
he entertained for their safety, the road not being considered in a
good state. Under this impression, he despatched a messenger to
Jenna, to ascertain if the affairs of that country warranted him
sending them thither. The old king of Jenna, who, it will be
recollected, behaved so kindly to Captain Clapperton, was dead; his
successor had been appointed, but he had not at that time arrived
from Katunga. That being the case, there would not be any one at
Jenna to receive them. Meantime, the rainy season was fast
approaching, as was sufficiently announced by repeated showers and
occasional tornadoes. They were also the more anxious to leave this
abominable place, as they were informed that a sacrifice of no less
than three hundred human beings, of both sexes and all ages, was
shortly to take place, such as has been described in the second
journey of Clapperton. They often heard the cries of many of these
poor wretches, and the heart sickened with horror at the bare
contemplation of such a scene as awaited them, should they remain
much longer at Badagry.

Early on the morning of the 25th March, the house of the travellers
was filled with visitors, and from that time to the evening they
resigned themselves to a species of punishment, which cannot be
characterized by any other terms than an earthly purgatory. After
cracking fingers a hundred times, and grinning as often, they were
informed, that the chief's messenger had returned from Jenna, but for
some reason, which Lander could not define, the man was almost
immediately sent back again, and they were told that they could not
quit Badagry until he again made his appearance. It is the custom in
this place, that when a man cannot pay his respects in person to
another, he sends a servant with a sword or cane, in the same manner
as a gentleman delivers his card in England. They this day received a
number of compliments in this fashion, and it is almost superfluous
to say that a cane or a sword was at all times a more welcome and
agreeable visitor than its owner would have been.

They had scarcely finished their morning repast, when Hooper
introduced himself for his accustomed glass of spirits, to prevent
him, according to his own account, from getting sick. He took the
opportunity of informing them, that it would be absolutely necessary
to visit the _noblemen_, who had declared themselves _on their side_.
As they strove to court popularity and conciliate the vagabonds by
every means in their power, they approved of Hooper's counsel, and
went in the first place, to the house of the late _General_ Poser,
which was at that time under the superintendence of his head man. Him
they found squatting indolently on a mat, and several old people were
holding a conversation with him. As the death of Poser was not
generally known to the people, it being concealed from them, for fear
of exciting a commotion in the town, he having been universally loved
and respected they were not permitted even to mention his name, and
the steward set them the example, by prudently confining his
conversation to the necessity of making him a present proportionate
to his expectations, and the dignity of his situation. Muskets and
other warlike instruments were suspended from the sides of the
apartment, and its ceiling was decorated with fetishes and Arab texts
in profusion. Gin and water were produced, and partaken of with
avidity by all present, more especially by the two mulattoes that had
attended them, which being done, the head man wished the great spirit
to prosper them in all their undertakings, and told them not to
forget his present by any means. They shortly afterwards took their
leave, and quitted the apartment with feelings of considerable
satisfaction, for its confined air was so impure, that a longer stay,
to say the least of it, would have been highly unpleasant. As it was,
they had consumed so much time in Poser's house, that they found it
necessary to alter their intention of visiting the other chiefs, and
therefore resolved to pay their respects to Adooley, whom they had
not seen for two days. Accordingly, they repaired immediately to his
residence, and were welcomed to it with a much better grace, than on
any previous occasion.

The chief was eating an undrest onion, and seated on an old table,
dangling his legs underneath, with a vacant thoughtlessness of
manner, which their abrupt intrusion somewhat dissipated. He informed
them of his intention to send them on their journey on the day after
to-morrow, when he expected that the people of Jenna would be in a
suitable condition to receive them. He was full of good nature, and
promised to make Richard Lander a present of a horse, which he had
brought with him from Sockatoo on the former expedition, adding, that
he would sell another to John Lander. So far, their visit was
attended with satisfaction, but it was rather destroyed by Adooley
informing them that it was his particular wish to examine the goods,
which they intended to take with them into _the bush,_ as the
enclosed country is called, in order that he might satisfy himself
that there were no objectionable articles amongst them. Having
expressed their thanks to Adooley for his well-timed present, and
agreed to the examination of their baggage, they all partook of a
little spirit and water, which soon made them the best friends in the
universe. During this palaver, the chief's sister and two of his
wives were ogling at the travellers, and giggling with all the
playfulness of the most finished coquette, until the approach of the
chief of the English-town and the remainder of the travellers' party
put a sudden stop to their entertainment, on which they presently
left the apartment. These men came to settle a domestic quarrel,
which was soon decided by the chief, who, after receiving the usual
salutation of dropping on the knees with the face to the earth,
chatted and laughed immoderately; this was considered by the
travellers as a happy omen. In that country, very little ceremony is
observed by the meanest of the people towards their sovereign, they
converse with him with as little reserve, as if he were no better
than themselves, while he pays as much attention to their complaints,
as to those of the principal people of the country. An African king
is therefore of some use, but there are kings in other parts of the
world, of whose use it would be a very difficult matter to find any
traces, and who know as much of the complaints or grievances of their
subjects, as of the nucleus of the earth. Nor was king Adooley
supposed to be entirely destitute of the virtues of hospitality, for
it was observed that the remainder of his onion was divided equally
amongst the chiefs, who had come to visit him, and was received by
them with marks of the highest satisfaction.

In the afternoon, a herald proclaimed the approach to the habitation
of the venerable chief of Spanish-town, with a long suite of thirty
followers. The old man's dress was very simple, consisting only of a
cap and turban, with a large piece of Manchester cotton flung over
his right shoulder, and held under his left arm. This is infinitely
more graceful and becoming in the natives, than the most showy
European apparel, in any variety of which, indeed, they generally
look highly ridiculous. After they had made the chief and all his
attendants nearly tipsy, the former began to be very talkative and
amusing, continuing to chat without interruption for a considerable
time, not omitting to whisper occasionally to the interpreter, by no
means to forget, after his departure, to remind the travellers of the
present they had promised him, it being considered the height of
rudeness to mention any thing of the kind aloud in his presence. The
rum had operated so cheerily upon his followers in the yard, that fat
and lean, old and young, all commenced dancing, and continued
performing the most laughable antics, till they were no longer able
to stand. It amused the travellers infinitely to observe these
creatures, with their old solemn placid-looking chief at their head,
staggering out at the door way; they were in truth, but too happy to
get rid of them at so cheap a rate. Hooper shortly afterwards came
with a petition from twelve _gentlemen_ of English-town, for the sum
of a hundred and twenty dollars to be divided amongst them, and
having no resource, they were compelled to submit to the demand of
these rapacious scoundrels.

Late in the evening, they received the threatened visit from Adooley,
who came to examine the contents of the boxes. He was borne in a
hammock by two men, and was dressed in an English linen shirt, a
Spanish cloak or mantle, with a cap, turban and sandals; his
attendants were three half-dressed little boys, who, one by one,
placed themselves at their master's feet, as they were in the regular
habit of doing; one of them carried a long sword, another a pistol,
and a third a kind of knapsack, filled with tobacco. The chief was
presented with brandy, equal in strength to spirits of wine, and he
swallowed a large quantity of it with exquisite pleasure. The boys
were permitted to drink a portion of the liquor every time that it
was poured into a glass for Adooley, but, though it was so very
strong, it produced no grimace, nor the slightest distortion of
countenance in these little fellows. The fondness of the natives, or
rather their passion for spirituous liquors is astonishing, and they
are valued entirely in proportion to the intoxicating effects they
occasion. Adooley smoked nearly all the while he remained in Lander's
house. As each box was opened, however, he would take the pipe slowly
from his mouth, as if perfectly heedless of what was going forward,
and from the couch on which he was reclining, he regarded with
intense curiosity each article, as it was held out to his
observation. Every thing that in his opinion demanded a closer
examination, or more properly speaking, every thing he took a fancy
to, was put into his hands at his own request, but as it would be
grossly impolite to return it after it had been soiled by his
fingers, with the utmost _nonchalance,_ the chief delivered it over
to the care of his recumbent pages, who carefully secured it between
their legs. Adooley's good taste could not of course be questioned,
and it did not much surprise, though it grieved the Landers, to
observe a large portion of almost every article in the boxes speedily
passing through his hands into those of his juvenile minions. Nothing
seemed unworthy of his acceptance, from a piece of fine scarlet cloth
to a child's farthing whistle; indeed he appeared to be particularly
pleased with the latter article, for he no sooner made it sound, than
he put on a horrible grin of delight, and requested a couple of the
instruments, that he might amuse himself with them in his leisure
moments. Although he had received guns, ammunition, and a variety of
goods, to the amount of nearly three hundred ounces of gold,
reckoning each ounce to be worth two pounds sterling, yet he was so
far from being satisfied, that he was continually grumbling forth his
discontent. Gratitude, however, was unknown to him, as well as to his
subjects. The more that was given them, the more pressing were their
importunities for other favours; the very food that he ate, and the
clothes that he wore, were begged in so fawning a tone and manner, as
to create disgust and contempt at the first interview.

It was nearly midnight, before Adooley rose from his seat to depart,
when he very ceremoniously took his leave, with broad cloth and
cottons, pipes, snuff-boxes, and knives, paper, ink, whistles, &c.,
and even some of the books of the travellers, not a line of which he
could comprehend; so avaricious was this king of Badagry.

They rose early on the morning of the 26th, for the purpose of
arranging some trifling matters and taking their breakfast in
quietness and comfort; but they had scarcely sitten down, when their
half-naked grinning acquaintance entered to pay them the compliments
of the day. Notwithstanding their chagrin, so ludicrous were the
perpetual bowing and scraping of these their friends, in imitation of
Europeans, that they could not forbear laughing in good earnest.
Their rum, which had been kindly supplied them by Lieutenant Matson,
they were happy to find was nearly all consumed, and the number of
their general visitors had diminished in exact proportion to the
decrease of the spirit, so that they were now beginning to feel the
enjoyment of an hour or two's quiet in the course of the day, which
was a luxury they could hardly have anticipated. The chief sent his
son to them, requesting a few needles and some small shot; they could
ill spare the latter, but it would have been impolitic to have
refused his urgent solicitations, whatever might have been their

The horses promised by Adooley were now sent for them to examine.
They appeared strong and in good condition, and if they played them
no wicked pranks in "the bush," no doubt they would be found
eminently serviceable.

In the evening, Poser's headman, who, it was understood, was one of
the chiefs first captains, returned their visit of the preceding day,
followed by a multitude of friends and retainers. He had been
determined, it was believed, before he left home, to be in an ill
humour with the travellers, and perhaps he had treated himself with
an extra dram upon the occasion. This great bully introduced himself
into their dwelling; his huge round face, inflamed with scorn, anger,
and "potations deep." He drank with more avidity than his countrymen,
but the liquor produced no good impression upon him, serving rather
to increase his dissatisfaction and choler. He asked for every thing
which he saw, and when they had gratified him to the best of their
power, he began to be very abusive and noisy. He said he was
convinced that they had come into the country with no good
intentions, and accused them of deceit and insincerity in their
professions, or, in plainer terms, that they had been guilty of a
direct falsehood, in stating that they had no other motive for
undertaking the journey than to recover the papers of Mr. Park at
Youri. He was assured that they were afraid to tell the true reasons
for leaving their own country. They withstood his invectives with
tolerable composure, and the disgraceful old fellow left them in a
pet, about half an hour after his arrival.

John Lander, we find, on referring to this part of their journey
says, "It is really a discouraging reflection, that, notwithstanding
the sacrifices we have made of all private feeling and personal
comfort, for the purpose of conciliating the good opinion of the
people here; the constant fatigue and inconvenience to which we have
been subjected; the little arts we have practised; the forced
laughter; the unnatural grin: the never-ending shaking of hands, &c.
&c., besides the dismal noises and unsavoury smells to which our
organs have been exposed, still, after all, some scoundrels are to be
found hardened against us by hatred and prejudice, and so ungrateful
for all our gifts and attentions, as to take a delight in poisoning
the minds of the people against us, by publicly asserting that we are
English spies, and make use of other inventions equally false and
malicious. Pitiable, indeed, must be the lot of that man, who is
obliged to drag on a year of existence in so miserable a place as
this. Nevertheless we are in health and spirits, and perhaps feel a
secret pride in being able to subdue our rising dissatisfaction, and
in overcoming difficulties, which at a first glance seemed to be
insurmountable. By the blessing of Heaven, we shall proceed
prosperously in our undertaking; for in the divine goodness do we
alone repose all our confidence and hopes of success. We may say that
pleasure and enjoyment have accompanied us hither. The clearness of
the sky is pleasant, and its brilliancy, the softness of the moon,
the twinkling brightness of the stars, and the silence of night, the
warbling and the flight of birds, the hum of insects, and the varied
and luxuriant aspect of beautiful nature, are all charming to us; and
what on earth can be more soothing and delightful than the thoughts
of home and kindred, and anticipations of a holier and more glorious
existence; these are true pleasures, of which the barbarians cannot
deprive us."

So writes John Lander, in the enthusiasm of his imagination; but
unfortunately the reality did not come up to the picture which his
fancy had drawn; for although the softness of the moon, and the
silence of night, and the brightness of the stars, might be all very
pleasant objects, even under an equatorial sun, yet the following
account of some of the disagreeables, when taken in contrast, rather
tends to overbalance the sum of the agreeables. Thus we find, that on
the day subsequent to that on which John Lander had written his
rhapsody on the agreeables of Badagry, the noise and jargon of their
guests pursued them even in their sleep, and their dreams were
disturbed by fancied palavers, which were more unpleasant and
vexatious, if possible, in their effects than real ones. Early on the
morning of the 25th, they were roused from one of these painful
slumbers to listen to the dismal yell of the hyenas, the shrill
crowing of cocks, the hum of night flies and mosquitoes, and the
hoarse croaking of frogs, together with the chirping of myriads of
crickets and other insects, which resounded through the air, as
though it had been pierced with a thousand whistles. The _silence_ of
night, under these circumstances, could not have been very pleasant
to them, and it scarcely amounts to a question, whether the warbling
of the birds could afford any great delight, if the hyenas and the
mosquitoes, and the frogs and the crickets considered themselves
privileged to make up the chorus.

The sun had scarcely risen, when two Mahommedans arrived at their
house, with an invitation for them to accompany them to the spot
selected for the performance of their religious rites and
observances. This being a novelty, they embraced the proposal with
pleasure, and followed the men to the distance of about a mile from
their house. Here they observed a number of Mahommedans sitting in
detached groups, actively employed in the duties of lustration and
ablution. It was a bare space of ground, edged with trees, and
covered with sand. The Mussulmans were obliged to bring water with
them in calabashes. Seated in a convenient situation, under the
spreading branches of a myrtle tree, the two travellers could
observe, without being seen, all the actions of the Mussulmans. A
number of boys, however, soon intruded themselves upon their privacy;
and, in truth, they were more amused by the artlessness and
playfulness of their manners, than with all the grave and stupid
mummery of the Mahommedan worshippers. Groups of people were
continually arriving at the spot, and these were welcomed by an
occasional flourish of music from a native clarionet, &c. They were
clad in all their finery, their apparel being as gaudy as it was
various. The coup d'oeil presented by no means an uninteresting
spectacle. Loose tobes, with caps and turbans striped and plain, red,
blue, and black, were not unpleasantly contrasted with the original
native costume of figured cotton, thrown loosely over the shoulders,
and immense rush hats. Manchester cottons, of the most glaring
patterns, were conspicuous amongst the crowd; but these were cast in
the shade by scarfs of green silk, ornamented with leaves and flowers
of gold, and aprons covered with silver spangles. Very young children
appeared bending under the weight of clothes and ornaments, whilst
boys of maturer years carried a variety of offensive weapons. The
Turkish scimitar, the French sabre, the Portuguese dagger confined in
a silver case, all gleamed brightly, and heavy cutlasses, with rude
native knives, were likewise exhibited, half-devoured by cankering
rust. Clumsy muskets and fowling-pieces, as well as Arab pistole,
were also handled with delight by the joyful Mussulmans. In number
the religionists were about a hundred and fifty. Not long after the
arrival of the two brothers, they formed themselves into six lines,
and having laid aside many of their superfluous ornaments, and a
portion of their clothing, they put on the most sedate countenance,
and commenced their devotional exercises in a spirit of seriousness
and apparent fervour, worthy of a better place and a more amiable
creed. In the exterior forms of their religion, at least, the
Mussulmans are here complete adepts, as this spectacle was well
calculated to convince the two Europeans, and the little which they
had hitherto seen of them, led them to form a very favourable opinion
of their general temperance and sobriety. The ceremony was no sooner
concluded, than muskets, carbines, and pistols were discharged on all
sides. The clarionet again struck up a note of joy, and was supported
by long Arab drums, strings of bells, and a solitary kettle-drum. The
musicians, like the ancient minstrels of Europe, were encouraged by
trifling presents from the more charitable of the multitude. All
seemed cheerful and happy, and, on leaving the Landers, several out
of compliment, it was supposed, discharged their pieces at their
heels, and were evidently delighted with themselves, with the two
English, and the whole world.

In the path, the Landers met a fellow approaching the scene of
innocent dissipation, clothed most fantastically in a flannel dress
and riding on the back, on what they were informed was a wooden
horse. He was surrounded by natives of all ages, who were laughing
most extravagantly at the unnatural capering of the thing, and
admiring the ingenuity of the contrivance. The figure itself was
entirely concealed with cloths, which rendered it impossible to
discover by what agency it was moved. Its head was covered with red
cloth, and a pair of sheep's ears answered the purpose for which they
were intended tolerably well. Yet, on the whole, though it was easy
to perceive that a horse was intended to be represented by it, the
figure was executed clumsily enough. As soon as this party had joined
the individuals assembled near the place of worship, a startling
shriek of laughter testified the tumultuous joy of the wondering
multitude. The sun shone out resplendently on the happy groups of
fancifully dressed persons, whose showy, various-coloured garments,
and sooty skin, contrasted with the picturesque and lovely appearance
of the scenery, produced an unspeakably charming effect. The foliage
exhibited every variety and tint of green, from the sombre shade of
the melancholy yew, to the lively verdure of the poplar and young
oak. "For myself," says John Lander, "I was delighted with the
agreeable ramble, and imagined that I could distinguish from the
notes of the songsters of the grove, the swelling strains of the
English skylark and thrush, with the more gentle warbling of the
finch and linnet. It was indeed a brilliant morning, teeming with
life and beauty, and recalled to my memory a thousand affecting
associations of sanguine boyhood, when I was thoughtless and happy.
The barbarians around me were all cheerful and full of joy. I have
heard that like sorrow, joy is contagious, and I believe that it is,
for it inspired me with a similar gentle feeling."

"The 27th March in this place, is what May-day is in many country
places in England, and it strongly reminded us of it. But here
unfortunately there are no white faces to enliven us, and a want of
the lovely complexion of our beautiful countrywomen, tinged with 'its
celestial red,' is severely felt; and so is the total absence here of
that golden chain of kindness, which links them to the ruder
associates of their festive enjoyments. By and by, doubtless,
familiarity with black faces will reconcile me to them, but at
present I am compelled to own, that I cannot help feeling a
considerable share of aversion towards their jetty complexions, in
common I believe with most strangers that visit this place."

Owing to the holiday, which is equally prized and enjoyed by
Mahommedan and pagan, their visitors on this day have been almost
exclusively confined to a party of Houssa mallams, who entered their
dwelling in the forenoon, perfumed all over with musk, more for the
purpose of gratifying their vanity by displaying their finery before
them, than of paying the travellers the compliment of the day, which
was avowedly the sole object of their intrusion. One or two of them
were masticating the goora nut, and others had their lips, teeth, and
finger nails stained red. Each of the mallams was attended by a
well-dressed little boy of agreeable countenance, who acted as page
to his master, and was his _protege_. Neither of the men would eat or
drink with those who they came to visit, yet whilst they were in
their company, they seemed cheerful and good humoured, and were
communicative and highly intelligent. In answer to the questions put
to them, they; were informed that two rivers enter the Quorra, or
great river of Funda, one of which is called the _Coodonie,_ and the
other the _Tshadda,_ (from the lake Tshad); that a schooner might
sail from Bornou to Fundah, on the latter river, without difficulty;
that Funda is only twenty-four hours pull from Benin, and twenty-nine
days' journey from Bornou. At the close of a long and to the
travellers rather an interesting conversation, their visitors
expressed themselves highly gratified with their reception, and left
the hut to repair to their own habitations.

These men, though slaves to Adooley, are very respectable, and are
never called upon by their master, except when required to go to war,
supporting themselves by trading for slaves, which they sell to
Europeans. They wore decent _nouffie_ tobes, (_qu Nyffee,_) Arab red
caps, and Houssa sandals. The mallams, both in their manners and
conversation, are infinitely superior to the ungentle, and malignant
natives of Badagry.

March 28th fell on a Sunday, and luckily for the travellers, the
inhabitants of the place considered it as a holiday, and their
singing, dancing, and savage jollity possessed greater charms for
them than an empty rum cask, though backed by two white faces. With a
trifling exception or so, they were in consequence unmolested by
their visitors of the everlasting grin and unwearied tongue during
the day. This happy circumstance afforded them an opportunity, and
ample leisure for spending the Sabbath in a manner most agreeable to
their feelings; by devoting the greater part of it to the impressive
duties of their divine religion, in humbling themselves before the
mercy seat of the great Author of their being, and imploring him to
be their refuge and guardian, to shield them from every danger, and
to render their undertakings hopeful and prosperous.

As yet no crime of any peculiar atrocity had been committed, to
impress the travellers with an unfavourable opinion of the moral
character of the people amongst whom they were then residing, but on
this evening of the Sabbath, a Fantee was robbed of his effects, and
stabbed by an assassin below the ribs, so that his life was despaired
of. The most unlucky part, however, of this tragical affair to
Richard Lander, was, that the natives, from some cause, which he
could not divine, had imbibed the conceit that he was skilled in
surgery. In vain, he protested that he knew nothing of the anatomy of
the human frame--there were many present, who knew far better than he
did himself, and therefore, _nolens volens,_ he was obliged to visit
the patient. It was certainly the first time that Richard Lander had
been called in to exercise his surgical skill, and it must be
admitted that in one sense, he was well adapted for the character of
a bone-setter, or other offices for which the gentlemen of the lancet
are notorious. This trait in his character consisted in a gravity of
countenance well befitting the individual, who presents himself to
his anxious patient, to pronounce the great question of life and
death, and the greater the ignorance of the individual, the deeper
and more solemn is the countenance, which he assumes. If Richard
Lander had been in the least inclined to a risible disposition,
perhaps no occasion was more likely to call it into action, than when
he saw himself followed by two or three hundred savages, under an
imputation of possessing the power of curing an individual, who had
been stabbed nearly to the heart, when at the same time, he knew as
much of the art of stopping an haemorrhage, as he did of the art of
delivering one of the queens of Badagry of an heir to "the golden
stool." Fortunately, however, for the new debutant in the medical
profession, the victim of the assassin had died a few minutes before
the English doctor arrived, and right glad he was, for had he found
his patient alive, and he had afterwards died, no doubt whatever
rested on his mind, that his death would be attributed to the want of
skill on the part of his medical attendant, who, by way of reward for
his interference, would have run no small risk of being buried in the
same grave as the individual, whose life he had sacrificed to his
ignorance and want of skill. From this dilemma he was fortunately
relieved, but he had scarcely returned to his habitation, than he was
called upon to attend a fetish, or a religious rite, that was to be
performed over the remains of a native, who had been found dead, but
who was in perfect health a few hours before. This kind of coroner's
inquest appeared most strange to the travellers, when it was well
known to them that the king of Badagry, so far from following the
example of other kings, who are so extremely anxious about the life
of their subjects, often amuses himself with chopping off two or
three hundred heads of his subjects, in order that the path to his
apartments may be paved with their skulls; and should there not be
quite a sufficient number to complete the job, the deficiency is made
up with the same indifference, as a schoolboy strikes off the heads
of the poppies in the corn fields. The ceremony observed at this
fetish, had a great resemblance to an Irish wake; and could the
mourners have been able to obtain the requisite supply of spirits,
there is very little doubt that there would not have been a mourner
present, who would not have exhibited himself in the state of the
most beastly intoxication. The lament of the relatives of the
deceased was doleful in the highest degree, and no sounds could be
more dismally mournful than those shrieked forth by them on this

The Sabbath was nearly over, when a summons was received from
Adooley, to repair to his residence, in order finally to settle the
business relative to their journey into the interior, but they
refused to have any disputes with him on the Sabbath, and therefore
promised to wait on him the following morning. Accordingly after
breakfast, they redeemed their pledge, by paying him the promised
visit. Adooley received them with his accustomed politeness and
gracious smile. He prefaced his wish by saying, that he wished to
inform them of his intention, to detain them at Badagry a day or two
longer, the "path" not being considered in a fit state for;
travelling, rather than his reputation should suffer by leading them
into danger, which would undoubtedly be the case, if he had not
adopted his present resolution. Yet, he continued, they might depend
upon his word as a king, that they should be at liberty to depart on
the following Thursday at the latest. Now the Landers well knew that
the country was never in a more peaceable or quiet state than at the
moment he was speaking, and they were consequently mortified beyond
measure, at the perpetual evasions and contradictions of this chief.
They also regretted that the dry season was drawing fast to a close,
and that then they would be obliged to travel in the rainy months.

Having made this declaration, Adooley requested them to write on
paper in his presence, for a few things, which he wished to procure
from Cape Coast Castle, or from England, as a return for the
protection he had promised them. Amongst other articles enumerated
were _four_ regimental coats, such as are worn by the king of
England, being for his own immediate wear, and forty less splendid
than the king of England's, for his captains; two long brass guns, to
run on swivels; _fifty_ muskets; _twenty_ barrels of gunpowder; four
handsome swords, and forty cutlasses; to which were added, two
puncheons of rum; a carpenter's chest of tools, with oils, paint and
brushes; the king himself boasting that he was a blacksmith,
carpenter, painter, and indeed every trade but a tailor.
Independently of these trifles, as he termed them, he wished to
Obtain half a dozen rockets, and a rocket gun, with a soldier from
Cape Coast capable of undertaking the management of it; and lastly,
he modestly ordered two puncheons of kowries to be sent him, for the
purpose of defraying in part the expences, he had incurred in
repelling the attacks of the men of Porto Novo, Atta, Juncullee; the
tribes inhabiting those places having made war upon him, for allowing
Captain Clapperton's last mission to proceed into the interior
without their consent. They now asked jocosely, whether Adooley would
be satisfied with these various articles, when, having considered for
a few moments, and conversed aloud to a few of his chiefs, who were
in the apartment at the time, he replied that he had forgotten to
mention his want of a large umbrella, _four_ casks of grape shot, and
a barrel of flints, which having also inserted in the list, the
letter was finally folded and sealed. It was then delivered into the
hands of Adooley, who said that he should send it by Accra, one of
his head men, to Cape Coast Castle, and that the man would wait there
till all the articles should be procured for him. If that be the
case, the Landers imagined that Accra would have a very long time to

The interpreter of the Landers, old Hooper, having been suspected by
the chief to be in their interest, a young man, named Tookwee, who
understood a little English, was sent for, and commanded to remain
during the whole conference, in order to detect any error that Hooper
might make, and to see that every thing enumerated by the chief,
should be written in the list of articles.

During this long and serious conversation, the Landers were highly
amused with a singular kind of concert, which was formed by three
little bells, which were fastened to the tails of the same number of
cats by a long string, and made a jingling noise, whenever the
animals thought proper to play off any of their antics. As an
accompaniment to this singular kind of music, they were favoured with
the strains of an organ, which instrument was turned by a little boy,
placed purposely in a corner of the apartment.

In the afternoon, a young Jenna woman came to visit them, accompanied
by a female friend from Houssa. Her hair was traced with such
extraordinary neatness, that John Lander expressed a wish to examine
it more minutely. The girl had never beheld such a thing as a white
man before, and permission was granted with a great deal of coyness,
mixed up perhaps with a small portion of fear, which was apparent as
she was slowly untying her turban. No sooner, however, was the
curiosity of the travellers gratified, than a demand of two hundred
kowries was insisted on by her companion, that, it was alleged, being
the price paid in the interior by the male sex to scrutinize a lady's
hair. They were obliged to conform to the usual custom, at which the
women expressed themselves highly delighted. The hair, which had
excited the admiration of the travellers, was made up in the shape of
a hussar's helmet, and very ingeniously traced on the top. Irregular
figures were likewise braided on each side of the head, and a band of
worked thread, dyed in indigo, encircled it below the natural hair,
which seemed, by its tightness and closeness, to have been glued fast
to the skin. This young Jenna woman was by far the most interesting,
both in face and form, of any they had seen since their landing; and
her prettiness was rendered more engaging by her retiring modesty and
perfect artlessness of manner, which, whether observed in black or
white, are sure to command the esteem and reverence of the other sex.
Her eyelids were stained with a bluish-black powder, which is the
same kind of substance, it is supposed, as that described in a note
in Mr. Beckford's Vatheck. Her person was excessively clean, and her
apparel flowing, neat, and graceful. Before taking leave, the girl's
unworthy companion informed John Lander, that her _protegee_ was
married, but that as her husband was left behind at Jenna, she would
prevail on her to visit the travellers in the evening after sunset.
Of course they expressed their abhorrence of the proposal, and were
really grieved to reflect, that, with so much meekness, innocence,
modesty, and beauty, their timid friend should be exposed to the
wiles of a crafty and wicked woman. On this occasion, John Lander
says, "We have longed to discover a solitary virtue lingering amongst
the natives of this place, but as yet our search has been

As a contrast to the youthful individual just described, an old
withered woman entered their residence in the evening, and began
professing the most unbounded affection for both the travellers. She
had drank so much rum that she could scarcely stand. She first began
to pay her attentions to John Lander, who, being the more sprightly
of the two, she thought was the most likely to accede to her wishes;
she happened, however, to be the owner of a most forbidding
countenance, and four of her front teeth had disappeared from her
upper jaw, which caused a singular and disagreeable indention of the
upper lip. The travellers were disgusted with the appearance and
hateful familiarity of this ancient hag, who had thus paid so ill a
compliment to their vanity, and subsequently they forced her out of
the yard without any ceremony.

The travellers now ascertained that the king would not allow them to
go to Jenna by the nearest beaten path, on the plea, that, as sacred
fetish land would lie in their way, they would die the moment in
which they trod upon it.

The pleasant news was now received, that the king of Jenna had
arrived at that town from Katunga. His messenger reached Badagry on
the 30th March, and immediately paid a visit to the Landers,
accompanied by a friend. They regaled him with a glass of rum,
according to their general custom, the first mouthful of which he
squirted from his own into the mouth of his associate, and _vice
versa._ This was the first time they had witnessed this dirty and
disgusting practice.

Adooley again sent for the travellers, he having recollected some
articles, which were necessary to complete the cargo, which the king
of England was to send him. To their great surprise, however, the
first article that he demanded was nothing less than a gun-boat, with
a hundred men from England, as a kind of body-guard; for his own
private and immediate use, however, he demanded a few common
tobacco-pipes. It was a very easy matter to give a bill for the
gun-boat and the hundred men, neither of which, they well knew, would
be duly honoured; for, before they could come back protested to king
Adooley, the drawers of it knew they would be far beyond his power;
and they had received such specimens of the extreme nobleness and
generosity of his character, that they determined never to throw
themselves in his power again. In regard, however, to the
tobacco-pipes, they dared not part with them on any account, because,
considering the long journey, they had before them, they were
convinced they had nothing to spare; indeed it was their opinion,
that the presents would be all exhausted long before the journey was
completed, and this was in a great measure to be imputed to the
rapacity of Adooley, when he examined their boxes. With the same
facility that they could have written the order for the gun-boat and
the hundred men, they now wrote a paper for forty ounces of gold,
worth there about two pounds an ounce, to be distributed amongst the
chief of the English-town and the rest of their partisans. Adooley
had now summed up the measure of his demands; the travellers were
most agreeably surprised by an assurance from him, that they should
quit Badagry on the morrow, with the newly-arrived Jenna messenger.
They accordingly adjusted all their little matters to the apparent
satisfaction of all parties, nor could they help wishing, for the
sake of their credit, that they might never meet such needy and
importunate friends as pestered them during their residence at

In regard to king Adooley, we have been furnished with some most
interesting particulars respecting him, and some of his actions
certainly exhibit a nobleness of character seldom to be found in
the savage. His conduct towards the Landers was distinguished by the
greatest rapacity and duplicity, whilst in his intercourse with his
own immediate connexions, his actions cannot be surpassed by any of
the great heroes of antiquity. He evinced in early youth an active
and ingenious disposition, and an extraordinary fondness for
mechanical employments and pursuits. This bias of Adooley soon
attracted the attention and notice of his father, and this revered
parent did all that his slender means afforded of cherishing it, and of
encouraging him to persevere in his industrious habits. Whilst yet
a boy, Adooley was a tolerable carpenter, smith, painter, and gunner.
He soon won the admiration of his father, who displayed greater
partiality and affection for him, than for either of his other
children, and on his death nominated this favorite son his successor,
to the exclusion of his first-born, which is against the laws of the
country, the eldest son being invariably understood as the legitimate
heir. For some time, however, after his decease, no notice was taken
of the dying request of the Lagos chieftain; his eldest son ruled in
his stead, notwithstanding his last injunction, and Adooley for a few
years wisely submitted to his brother without murmuring or complaint.
The young men at length quarrelled, and Adooley calling to
remembrance the words and wishes of his father, rose up against the
chief, whom he denounced an usurper, and vehemently called upon his
friends to join him in disputing his authority, and endeavour to
divest him of his power and consequence. All the slaves of his
deceased parent, amongst whom were a great number of Houssa mallams;
all who bore any personal dislike to the ruling chief, or were
discontented with his form of government; those who preferred
Adooley, and the discontented of all ranks, formed themselves into a
strong body, and resolved to support the pretensions of their
favourite. The brothers agreed to decide the quarrel by the sword,
and having come to a general engagement, the partizans of the younger
were completely routed, and fled with their leader before the
victorious arms of the opposing party.

Fearing the result of this contest, Adooley, with a spirit of filial
piety, which is not rare amongst savages, and is truly noble, dug out
of the earth, wherein it had been deposited, the skull of his father,
and took it along with him in his flight, in order that it might not
be dishonoured in his absence, for he loved his father with
extraordinary tenderness, and cherished his memory as dearly as his
own life. The headless body of the venerable chief, like those of his
ancestors, had been sent to Benin, in order that its bones might
adorn the sacred temple at that place, agreeably to an ancient and
respected custom, which has ever been religiously conformed to, and
tenaciously held by the Lagos people. But Adooley displayed at the
same time another beautiful trait of piety and filial tenderness. At
the period of his defeat, he had an aged and infirm mother living,
and her he determined to take with him, let the consequences be what
they might. With his accustomed foresight, he had previously made a
kind of cage or box, in case there should be a necessity for removing
her. His father's skull having been disinterred and secured, he
implored his mother to take immediate advantage of this cage, as the
only means of escaping with life. She willingly acceded to her son's
request, and was borne off on the shoulders of four slaves, to a
village not far distant from Lagos, accompanied by Adooley and his
fugitive train, where they imagined themselves secure from further
molestation. In this opinion, however, they were deceived, for the
more fortunate chief, suspicious of his brother's intentions, and
dreading his influence, would not suffer him to remain long in peace,
but drove him out soon after, and hunted him from place to place like
a wild beast. In this manner, retreating from his brother, he at last
reached the flourishing town of Badagry, and being quite wearied with
his exertions and fatigues, and disheartened by his misfortunes, he
set down his beloved mother on the grass, and began to weep by her
side. The principal people of the town were well acquainted with his
circumstances, and admiring the nobleness of his sentiments, they not
only pitied him, but resolved to protect and befriend him to the

For this purpose they presently invited him to attend a council,
which they had hastily formed. When in the midst of them, perceiving
tears falling fast down his cheeks, they asked him why he wept so?
"Foolish boy," said they, "wipe away those tears, for they are
unworthy of you, and show yourself a man and a prince. From this
moment we adopt you our chief, you shall lead us on to war, and we
will fight against your brother, and either prevail over him or
perish. Here your mother may dwell in safety, and here shall your
father's skull be reverenced as it ought to be. Come then, lay aside
your fears, and lead us on against your enemies."

These enemies were in the bush, and hovering near Badagry, when
Adooley and his generous friends sallied out against them. The
fighting or rather skirmishing lasted many days, and many people, it
is said, were slain on both sides. But the advantage was decidedly in
favour of the Badagrians, whose superior knowledge of the district
and secret paths of the wood, was of considerable service to them,
enabling them to lie in ambush, and attack their enemies by surprise.
The Lagos people at length gave up the unequal contest in despair,
and returned to their own country. Adooley was thus left in quiet
possession of an important and influential town, which declared
itself independent of Lagos for ever. Since then various unsuccessful
attempts have been made to compel the Badagrians to return to their
allegiance. The latter, however, have bravely defended their rights,
and in consequence their independency has been acknowledged by the
neighbouring tribes.

In the year 1829, the warlike chief of Lagos died, and Adooley
considering it to be a favourable opportunity for his re-assertion of
his claims to the vacant "stool," as it is called, determined to do
so, and assembled his faithful Badagrians for the purpose of making
an attack on his native town. He imagined that as his brother was
dead, he should experience little opposition from his countrymen; but
he soon discovered that he had formed an erroneous opinion, for
almost at his very outset, he met with a stout resistance. His
brother had left an infant son, and him the people declared to be his
legitimate heir, and unanimously resolved to support him.

The sanguine invaders were repulsed, and entirely defeated,
notwithstanding their tried bravery and utter contempt of danger; and
were forced to return home in confusion without having accomplished
any thing. In this unfortunate expedition Bombanee and all the
principal warriors were slain. A similar attempt has been made on
Lagos more than once, and with a similar result. On the arrival of
the Landers at Badagry, Adooley was but just recovering from the
effects of these various mortifications and other disasters; and
singular enough, he had the artfulness, as has been previously
noticed, of laying the whole blame of them to his having permitted
the last African mission to pass through his territories, contrary to
the wishes of his neighbours, and those, who were interested in the

Justice is not unfrequently administered at Badagry by means of a
large wooden cap, having three corners, which is placed on the head
of the culprit at the period of his examination. This fantastic piece
of mechanism, no doubt by the structure of internal springs, may be
made to move and shake without any visible agent, on the same
principle as the enchanted Turk, or any other figure in our puppet
shows. It is believed that the native priests are alone in the
secret. When the cap is observed to shake whilst on the head of a
suspected person, he is condemned without any further evidence being
required; but should it remain without any perceptible motion, his
innocence is apparent and he is forthwith acquitted. The frame of
this wonderful cap makes a great fuss in the town, and as many
wonderful stories are told of it here, as were related in England, a
century or two ago, of the famous brazen head of Roger Bacon.

A respectable man, the chief of French-town, was tried by the ordeal
of the cap a short time since, for having, it was alleged, accepted a
bribe of the Lagos chieftain to destroy Adooley by poison. The fatal
cap was no sooner put upon his head than it was observed to move
slightly and then to become more violently agitated. The criminal
felt its motion, and was terrified to such a degree that he fell down
in a swoon. On awakening, he confessed his guilt, and implored
forgiveness, which was granted him by Adooley, because, it was said,
of his sorrow and contrition, but really, no doubt, of his birth and

During the stay of the Landers at Badagry, the thermometer of
Fahrenheit ranged between 86 deg. and 94 deg. in their hut, but being oftener
stationary nearer the latter, than the former.


It was on Tuesday, the 31st March, that the Landers bade adieu to the
chief of Badagry, and during the whole of that day they were employed
packing up their things preparatory to their departure. They repaired
to the banks of the river at sunset, expecting to find a canoe, which
Adooley had promised should be sent there for their use; but having
waited above two hours, and finding it had not arrived, they placed
their goods in two smaller canoes, which were lying on the beach.
These soon proved to be leaky, and as no other resource was at hand,
they were fain to wait as patiently as they could for the canoe
promised them. Every thing betrayed the lukewarmness and indifference
of the chief, who had received so much from them, and who expected so
much more, but they had answered his purpose, and therefore he took
no further notice of them. In two more hours, Hooper made his
appearance in Adooley's war canoe, which he had prevailed on him to
lend them. This was placed directly between the two others, and
their contents speedily transferred into it. It was between ten and
eleven o'clock at night that they were fairly launched out into the
body of the river. The canoe was above forty feet in length; it was
propelled through the water by poles instead of paddles, and moved
slowly and silently along. It was a clear and lovely night; the moon
shone gloriously as a silver shield, and reflecting the starry
firmament on the unruffled surface of the water, the real concave of
heaven with its reflection seemed to form a perfect world. The
scenery on the borders of the river appeared wild and striking,
though not magnificent. In the delicious moonshine it was far from
uninteresting: the banks were low and partially covered with stunted
trees, but a slave factory and, a fetish hut were the only buildings
which were observed on them. They could not help admiring at some
distance ahead of their canoe, when the windings of the river would
permit, a noble and solitary palm tree with its lofty branches
bending over the water's edge; to them it was not unlike a majestical
plume of feathers nodding over the head of a beautiful lady.

Proceeding about ten miles in a westerly direction, they suddenly
turned up a branch joining the river from the northward, passing on
the left the village of Bawie, at which Captain Clapperton landed.
They saw several small islands covered with rank grass, interspersed
in different parts of the river. They were inhabited by myriads of
frogs, whose noise was more hoarse and stunning than ever proceeded
from any rookery in Christendom. As they went up the river the canoe
men spoke to their priests, who were invisible to them, in a most
sepulchral tone of voice, and were answered in the same unearthly and
doleful manner. These sounds formed their nocturnal serenade.
Notwithstanding the novelty of their situation and the interest they
took in the objects, which surrounded them, they were so overcome
with fatigue, that they wrapped a flannel around them, and fell fast

The hard and uncomfortable couch, on which they had reposed the
preceding night, made their bodies quite sore, and occasioned them to
awake at a very early hour in the morning. At six o'clock A.M. they
found themselves still upon the river, and their canoe gliding
imperceptibly along. From half a mile in width, and in many places
much more, the river had narrowed to about twenty paces; marine
plants nearly covered its surface, and marsh miasmata, loaded with
other vapours of the most noxious quality, ascended from its borders
like a thick cloud. Its smell was peculiarly offensive. In about an
hour afterwards, they arrived at the extremity of the river, into
which flowed a stream of clear water. Here the canoe was dragged over
a morass into a deep but narrow rivulet, so narrow indeed that it was
barely possible for the canoe to float, without being entangled in
the branches of a number of trees, which were shooting up out of the
water. Shortly after, they found it to widen a little; the marine
plants and shrubs disappeared altogether, and the boughs of beautiful
trees, which hung over the banks, overshadowed them in their stead,
forming an arch-like canopy, impervious to the rays of the sun. The
river and the lesser stream abound with alligators and hippopotami,
the wild ducks and a variety of other aquatic birds resorting to them
in considerable numbers. In regard to the alligator, a singular fraud
is committed by the natives of the coast, who collect the alligators'
eggs in great numbers, and being in their size and make exactly
resembling the eggs of the domestic fowl, they intermix them, and
sell them at the markets as the genuine eggs of the fowls; thus many
an epicure in that part of the world, who luxuriates over his egg at
breakfast, fancying that it has been laid by some good wholesome hen,
finds, to his mortification, that he has been masticating the egg of
so obnoxious an animal as the alligator.

The trees and branches of the shrubs were inhabited by a colony of
monkeys and parrots, making the most abominable chattering and noise,
especially the former, who seemed to consider the travellers as
direct intruders upon their legitimate domain, and who were to be
deterred from any further progress by their menaces and hostile
deportment. After passing rather an unpleasant, and in many instances
an insalubrious night, the travellers landed, about half-past eight
in the morning, in the sight of a great multitude, that had assembled
to gaze at them.

Passing through a place, where a large fair or market is held, and
where many thousands of people had congregated for the purpose of
trade, they entered an extensive and romantic town, called Wow, which
is situated in a valley. The majority of the inhabitants had never
before had an opportunity of seeing white men, so that their
curiosity, as may be supposed, was excessive. Two of the principal
persons came out to meet them, preceded by men bearing large silk
umbrellas, and another playing a horn, which produced such terrible
sounds, that they were glad to take refuge, as soon as they could, in
the chief's house. The apartment, into which they were introduced was
furnished with a roof precisely like that of a common English barn
inverted. In the middle of it, which reached to within a few inches
of the floor, a large square hole had been made to admit air and
water to a shrub that was growing directly under it. The most
remarkable, if not the only ornament in the room, were a number of
human jaw bones, hung upon the side of the wall, like a string of
onions. After a form and ceremonious introduction, they were
liberally regaled with water from a calabash, which is a compliment
the natives pay all strangers, and then they were shown into a very
small apartment. Here Richard Lander endeavoured to procure a little
sleep having remained awake during the whole of the preceding night;
but they were so annoyed by perpetual interruptions and intrusions,
the firing of muskets, the garrulity of women, the unceasing squall
of children, the drunken petition of men and boys, and a laugh,
impossible to describe, but approximating more to the nature of a
horse-laugh than any other, that it was found impossible to sleep for
ten minutes together.

The market of this place is supplied abundantly with Indian corn,
palm oil, &c., together with _trona,_ and other articles brought
hither from the borders of the Great Desert, through the medium of
the wandering Arabs. According to the regulations of the fetish,
neither a white man nor a horse is permitted to sleep at Wow during
the night season: as to the regulations respecting the horses, they
knew not what had become of them; they were, according to the orders
of Adooley, to have preceded them to this place, but they had not
then arrived. With respect to themselves, they found it necessary, in
conformity to the orders of the fetish, to walk to a neighbouring
village, and there to spend the night. Their course to Wow, through
this creek, was north-by-east; and Badagry, by the route they came,
was about thirty miles distant.

A violent thunder-storm, which on the coast is called a tornado,
visited them this afternoon, and confined them to the "worst hut's
worse room" till it had subsided, and the weather become finer. At
three p.m. they sallied forth, and were presently saluted by
hootings, groanings, and hallooings from a multitude of people of all
ages, from a child to its grandmother, and they followed closely at
their heels, as they went along, filling the air with their laughter
and raillery. A merry-andrew at a country town in England, during the
Whitsuntide holidays, never excited so great a stir as did the
departure of the travellers from the town of Wow. But it is "a fool's
day," and, no doubt, some allowance ought to be made for that.
They had not proceeded more than a dozen paces from the outskirts of
the town, when they were visited by a pelting shower, which wetted
them to the skin in a moment. A gutter or hollow, misnamed a pathway,
was soon overflowed, and they had to wade in it up to their knees in
water, and through a most melancholy-looking forest, before they
entered a village. It was called _Sagba,_ and was about eight miles
from Wow. They were dripping wet on their arrival, and the weather
still continuing unpleasant, it was some time before any one made his
appearance to invite them into a hut. At length the chief came out to
welcome them to his village, and immediately introduced them into a
long, narrow apartment, wherein they were to take up their quarters
for the night. It was built of clay, and furnished with two
apertures, to admit light and air into the room. One end was occupied
by a number of noisy goats, whilst the travellers took possession of
the other. Pascoe and his wife lay on mats at their feet, and a
native Toby Philpot, with his ruddy cheek and jug of ale, belonging
to the chief, separated them from the goats. The remainder of the
suite of the travellers had nowhere whatever to sleep. The walls of
their apartment were ornamented with strings of dry, rattling, human
bones, written charms, or fetishes, sheep skins, and bows and arrows.
They did not repose nearly so comfortably as could have been desired,
owing to the swarms of mosquitoes and black ants, which treated them
very despitefully till the morning.

Between six and seven on the morning of the 2nd April, they continued
their route through woods and large open patches of ground, and at
about eleven in the forenoon, they arrived at the borders of a deep
glen, more wild, romantic, and picturesque than can be conceived. It
was enclosed and overhung on all sides by trees of amazing height and
dimensions, which hid it in deep shadow. Fancy might picture a spot
so silent and solemn as this, as the abode of genii and fairies,
every thing conducing to render it grand, melancholy, and venerable,
and the glen wanted only a dilapidated castle, a rock with a cave in
it, or something of the kind, to render it the most interesting place
in the universe. There was, however, one sight more beautiful than
all the rest, and that was the incredible number of butterflies
fluttering about like a swarm of bees, and they had no doubt chosen
this glen as a place of refuge against the fury of the elements.
They were variegated by the most brilliant tints and colourings
imaginable: the wings of some of them were of a shining green, edged
and sprinkled with gold; others were of a sky-blue and silver, others
of purple and gold a lightfully blending into each other, and the
wings of some were like dark silk velvet, trimmed and braided with

The appearance of the travelling party was romantic in the extreme,
as they winded down the paths of the glen; with their grotesque
clothing and arms, bundles, and fierce black countenances, they might
have been mistaken for a strange band of ruffians of the most fearful
character. Besides their own immediate party, they had hired twenty
men of Adooley, to carry the luggage, as there are not any beasts of
burthen in the country, the natives carrying all their burthens upon
their heads, and some of them of greater weight than are seen carried
by the Irishwomen from the London markets. Being all assembled at the
bottom of the glen, they found that a long and dangerous bog or swamp
filled with putrid water, and the decayed remains of vegetable
substances intersected their path, and must necessarily be crossed.
Boughs of trees had been thrown into the swamp by some good-natured
people to assist travellers in the attempt, so that their men,
furnishing themselves with long poles which they used as walking
sticks, with much difficulty and exertion, succeeded in getting over,
and fewer accidents occurred to them, than could have been supposed
possible, from the nature of the swamp. John Lander was taken on the
back of a large and powerful man of amazing strength. His brawny
shoulders supported him, without any apparent fatigue on his part,
and he carried him through bog and water, and even branches of tress,
no bigger than a man's leg, rendered slippery with mud, in safety to
the opposite side. Although he walked as fast and with as much ease
as his companions, he did not set him down for twenty minutes; the
swamp being, as nearly as they could guess, a full quarter of a mile
in length. They then walked to a small village called Basha, whence,
without stopping, they continued their journey, and about four in the
afternoon, passed through another village somewhat larger than the
former, which is called Soato. Here they found themselves so much
exhausted with over fatigue and want of food, that they were
compelled to sit down and rest awhile. The people, however, were a
very uncourteous and clownish race, and teazed them so much with
their rudeness and begging propensities, that they were glad to
prosecute their journey to save themselves from any further

Having passed two other swamps, in the same manner as they had done
before, they were completely tired, and could go no further, for they
had been walking during the whole of the day in an intricate
miserable path, sometimes exposed to the sun, and sometimes threading
their way through a tangled wood. Some of the people were sent to the
next town, to fetch the horses promised by Adooley, during the
absence of whom, the two Landers reposed themselves under a grove of
trees, which was in the neighbourhood of a body of stagnant water, in
which women were bathing, who cast long side glances at the two white
men, who were observing all their motions. It was a low, marshy, and
unwholesome spot; and although a village was not many miles ahead,
yet they were unable to walk to it. Under these circumstances, they
had no other alternative than to rest there for the night, and they
had made fires of dried wood and fallen leaves, and had prepared to
repose for the night under a canopy of trees, and were in fact
actually stretched at full length on the turf for that purpose, when
they were agreeably surprised by the arrival of four of their men
from the village with hammocks, for although sleeping in the open
air, with Heaven for their canopy, in a dark wood, may be all very
romantic and pretty in description, yet in reality nothing could be
more disagreeable, for the crawling of ants, black worms, &c., over
their faces was sufficient to dispel every delightful fancy, which
might have been engendered in the brain. These hammocks were highly
acceptable, and they were lifted into them with very grateful
feelings. It was also exceedingly pleasant, after a long day's
journey on foot, to be carried along so easily, and to see the
parrots and other birds, with a number of grinning, chattering
monkeys, capering from the lofty branches of the trees, and making
the woods resound with their hideous screams.

After a charming journey of eight or ten miles, they entered the
large and populous town of Bidjie, where the Landers first crossed
Clapperton's route, and where Captain Pearse and Dr. Morrison fell
sick on the last expedition. About a quarter of a mile from the town
they were met by a fellow with a cow's horn, who, chiming in with a
trumpeter, who had accompanied them from Wow, produced a harmony
surpassing all that they had as yet heard. Two men followed the
Bidjie musician with umbrellas of variegated silk, and, thus honoured
and escorted, they were set down, amidst a crowd of people, in the
centre of the town. As usual, the natives testified the wild delight
they felt at the visit of the white men, by clapping of hands and
loud shouts of laughter. In a short time, the noise of three or four
drums was heard, which was an announcement that the chief was
prepared to receive them, on which the multitude quitted them
simultaneously, and rushed to the spot where he was sitting, and to
which, they were also desired to proceed. The chief shook hands with
them in great good humour; and they remarked with pleasure, or they
fancied they did, that not only his laugh, but that of the people,
was a more social and civilized kind of sound, than what of late they
had been accustomed to hear. Nevertheless, when John Lander shook
hands with the chief's son, which act was not very diverting in
itself, the bystanders set up so general a roar of laughter, that the
town rang with the noise; and when Lander ventured further to place
his hand on his head, they were yet more amazingly pleased, and
actually "shrieked like mandrakes torn out of the earth."

As soon as the ceremony of introduction was over, and the admiration
of the people was confined within rational bounds, they wished the
chief a pleasant night's rest, and were conducted into a comfortable
airy hut, which had a verandah in front. The chief shortly afterwards
sent them a goat for supper.

They were now in momentary expectation of hearing some account of
their horses from Badagry, and indeed they waited the whole of the
day at Bidjie for that purpose, and in order that the men with the
luggage might have time to overtake them, for they had been hindered
by the swamps and quagmires, which they themselves found so much
difficulty in crossing. Just about sun-set, however, two fellows
arrived from Badagry with the mortifying intelligence, that their
horses would not remain on the water in canoes, but having upset one
of them, and kicked out the bottom of another, had swam ashore and
been led back to Badagry. They were fully convinced that this story
was made up for the occasion, and thus by the bad faith of Adooley
they were deprived of their horses. They had put themselves in a
fever by walking a journey of two days in one, and were likely to
walk the remainder of the way to Jenna in the glare and heat of the
sun, for they had no umbrellas to screen themselves from his rays.
Richard Lander paid eighty dollars for one of the horses, but
Adooley forgot to return the coin, and likewise kept for his own use
a couple of saddles which were purchased at Accra. Late in the
evening the expected carriers arrived with the luggage, some of which
had been wetted and damaged in the marshes. They were now informed
that horses would be sent them on the following day from Jenna.
During the greater part of the afternoon, Richard Lander amused
himself in teaching the simple hearted chief to play on a child's
penny Jews-harp, many of which they had brought with them as
presents; but his proficiency, owing to a wonderfully capacious
mouth, and teeth of extraordinary size, was not near so flattering as
could have been wished. His people, however, who had assembled in
extraordinary numbers, were of a different opinion, and when they
heard their chief draw the first sound from the little instrument,
"shouts of applause ran rattling to the skies."

A traveller in England, who enjoys the goodness of the roads, does
not often murmur at the demands which are made upon his purse by the
turnpike-keepers, but in Africa the frequency of the turnpikes on the
road from Badagry to Bidjie, was a matter of some surprise to the
Landers. Human beings carrying burthens are the only persons who pay
the turnpikes, for as to a horse or a carriage passing through them,
it would be a scene of the greatest wonder. The Landers, however,
enjoyed the same privilege as the royal family of England, for being
under the protection of the government, they as well as all their
suite and baggage passed toll free.

On Sunday, April 4th, they arose at sunrise to make the necessary
arrangements for leaving Bidjie, which was no easy task, and shortly
after they sent to signify their intention to the chief. He expressed
a desire to see them as soon as they could conveniently come,
accordingly after breakfast, they repaired to his habitation, which
was contiguous to their own. After being conducted through a number
of yards and huts, inhabited only by goats and sheep, which were
tethered to posts, and a number of tame pigeons, they perceived the
object of their visit squatting on a leopard's skin, under a decent
looking verandah. He was surrounded by his drummers, and other
distinguished persons, who made room for the travellers as they drew
near. But the chief arose as soon as he saw them, and beckoning them
to follow him, they were ushered through a labyrinth of low huts, and
still lower doors, till at last they entered the innermost apartment
of the whole suite, and here they were requested to sit down and
drink rum. The doors they had seen were covered with figures of men,
which exactly resembled certain rude attempts at portraying the human
body, which may still be observed in several old chapels and churches
in the west of England. The chief informed them that they were at
liberty to quit Bidjie, as soon as the heat of the sun should have
somewhat abated, but previously to their departure he promised to
return their visit. On leaving the place he followed them, though
without their knowledge; but finding that they walked faster than he
did, and that he could not keep pace with them, being a very bulky
man, he hastily despatched a messenger to inform them that kings in
Africa, whatever they may do elsewhere, always walk with a slow and
measured step, and that the strides of the travellers being long and
vulgar, he would thank them to lessen their speed, and stop awhile to
enable him to come up with them, which was of course agreed to by the
travellers with great good will. A few minutes afterwards he reached
their house, dressed in a tobe of green silk damask, very rich and
showy, and a skull cap made of purple and crimson velvet. With the
exception of strings of white beads, which encircled his arms, he
used no personal ornaments. He remained chattering with them for a
long time.

Many of the women of Bidjie have the flesh on their foreheads risen
in the shape of marbles, and their cheeks are similarly cut up
deformed. The lobes of their ears are likewise pierced, and the holes
made surprisingly large, for the insertion of pieces of and ivory
into them, which is a prevailing fashion with all ranks.

The church service was read this morning agreeably to their general
custom. The natives, of whose society they were never able to rid
themselves, seemed to attach great awe and reverence to their form of
worship, for they had made them understand what if they were going
about, which induced them to pay a high degree of silent attention to
the ceremony, and set at rest for the time, that peculiar continuous
laugh by which they are distinguished from their neighbours. In the
afternoon, or as the natives express it, when the sun had lost its
strength, they departed from the town of Bidjie, accompanied by its
good natured, happy governor, and in a very few minutes afterwards
reached the banks of a rivulet called Yow. Butterflies were here more
numerous than could be imagined, millions of them fluttered around
them, and literally hid from their sight every thing but their own
variegated and beautiful wings.

Here on the banks of the Yow they took a last farewell of the
affectionate old chief, who implored the "Great God," to bless them,
and as the canoes in which they had embarked moved from the spot, a
loud long laugh, with clapping of hands from the lower classes,
evinced the satisfaction they felt at having seen the white men, and
their hearty wishes for their welfare.

The Yow is an extremely narrow rivulet, not more than a few feet in
breadth, and flows in a serpentine direction through a flat country,
covered with rushes, and tall, rank grass. Crocodiles are said to
resort here in great numbers, indeed the low bark or growl of these
rapacious animals was heard distinctly, and in some instances quite
close to them; after they had been pushed along against the stream by
poles for five or six miles, between four and five o'clock in the
afternoon they landed at a narrow creek, which ran a little way into
a thick and gloomy forest. They had not proceeded more than two
hundred yards on the pathway, when they were met by a messenger from
Jenna, who informed them that the owners of all the horses in the
town, had ridden out to welcome their chief, and escort him to his
residence, so that they should be obliged to walk the remainder of
the way. A few minutes, however, only had elapsed before they
descried a horse approaching them in the path, this was a goodly
sight to them, who were already becoming wearied and sore with the
exertions they had made during the day, for they did not reflect a
moment that the animal might not after all be for their use.
However, they soon met, and the rider immediately declared that he
had left Jenna purposely on their account. The head of the horse was
loaded with charms and fetishes, enveloped in pieces of red and blue
cloth. His saddle was of Houssa manufacture, and uncommonly neat; in
the interior such an article is only used by the principal people,
and his bridle also was of curious workmanship. The horseman had an
extravagant idea of his own consequence, and seemed to be a
prodigious boaster. He wore abundance of clothing, most of which was
superfluous, but it made him excessively vain. He informed the
travellers that he had been despatched by the king of Jenna, to meet
them in the path, and to escort them to the capital; but
understanding that Adooley had supplied them with horses, he did not
conceive it necessary to send others. The messenger, however,
dismounted and offered them his horse, and the Landers agreed that
they should ride him in turns. They therefore immediately proceeded,
and traversed a rich and various country, abounding plentifully with
wood and water. A fine red sand covered the pathway, which they
found to be in much better condition than any they had before seen.
Sometimes it winded through an open, level tract of fine grazing
land, and then it again diverged through forests so thick and deep,
that the light of the moon was unable to penetrate the gloom, and
they were frequently left in comparatively midnight darkness. It is
scarcely possible to give an adequate description of the
magnificence, solemnity, and desolate repose of the awful solitudes
through which they passed on this evening. They were, however, at
times enlightened by the appearance of glow worms, which were so
luminous that they could almost see to read by their golden
splendour, and sometimes by the moonbeams, which trembled upon the
leaves and branches of the trees. A fragrance also was exhaled from
the forest, more odiferous than the perfume of violets or primroses,
and they might almost fancy, when threading their way through
scenery, which cannot be surpassed for beauty in any part of the
world, that they were approaching those eternal shades, where, in
ancient time, the souls of good men were supposed to wander. The
woods rang with the song of the nightbirds, and the hum of the
insects, which continued to salute them with little intermission
till about ten o'clock at night, when they entered Laatoo, a large
and pleasant town. Here they were informed that no house would be
offered them, the fetish priest having declared that the moment a
white man should enter the dwellings of the inhabitants, they would
be seized by their enemies and enslaved. They arrived thirsty and
exhausted, but for a long time could not procure even a drop of
water. Their tent had been left on the road for want of carriers,
and they had made up their minds to rest under a tree, when about
two hours afterwards it was fortunately brought into the town.
They fixed it immediately, and having succeeded in procuring
some wood from the inhospitable inhabitants, they kindled a fire
in front of it, and whilst their attendants laid themselves in groups
outside, the Landers attempted to sleep within their tent, but it
was in vain, so tormented were they with the mosquitoes and the

Before sunrise, on the morning of the 5th of April, they were all on
the alert, and struck their tent at a very early hour, they then sent
the carriers onwards with the luggage and hastily left the town,
without bidding adieu either to the chief or any of his people, on
account of their inhospitality, and in an hour's time reached the
extensive and important town of Larro. On dismounting, they were
first led to a large cleanly swept square, wherein was preserved the
fetish of the place, which is the model of a canoe, having three
wooden figures with paddles in it. After waiting in the shade for an

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