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  • 1807
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Your Lordships will perceive, that the amount of export _only_ is here under review; and I submit to your consideration the capital vested in the necessary shipping, also the property of British factors, resident on the Coast, and factories belonging to merchants at home, which forms another article of great importance.

During the present war, from the Rio Noonez to the river Sierra Leone, 660 slaves, and more than the value of 100 slaves in craft, have fallen into the hands of the enemy; which were forcibly seized upon the premises of factories, the property of British subjects, to the amount of 35,000_l_. at the computation of 50 each, valuing them upon an equitable average: moreover, about one hundred resident free people have been involved in this violence, of incalculable importance, and ground of indefinite claims from the natives.

When your Lordships contemplate these facts, and the annual emolument derived from this commerce by the government, and a numerous body of merchants, it may be presumed that its magnitude is of sufficient consequence to justify the expense of _adequate naval protection_.

British subjects connected with, and resident on, the Coast, are consequently become deeply interested, and are earnestly solicitous for an extension of your Lordships’ paternal care towards their possessions. The principal amount, as before shewn, necessarily in the progress of business, passes into currency through their hands, which, with the surplus property they have in their stores, their buildings, and people, creates a momentous risque, which is exposed to the predatory ravages of piccaroon privateers, and to the hostile squadrons and depredations of the enemy.

With all due retrospective reference to your Lordships’ vigilance and watchful guardianship over our commerce, I take the liberty to remind your Lordships, that only one sloop of war, the Arab, (the Favourite being taken) has been charged with the important office of defending an extent of coast of upwards of 1000 miles, against the sweeping hand of the enemy; an example of which has fatally occurred in the late destruction effected by Commodore L’Hermitte’s squadron, to the very serious injury of many British merchants, and perhaps the ruin of many underwriters upon African risques.

From the apparent approaches the legislature appears to make towards an abolition of the slave trade, the object of consideration for the defence of the coast of Africa may have become of less comparative magnitude; but when upwards of one million in export from thence, and its enumerated appendages, are entangled, and at imminent hazard, an animated and impressive appeal is made your Lordships for every practicable security, while it remains in existence; and to the legislative wisdom, for a remuneration commensurate thereto, in the event of its annihilation.

Trusting that your Lordships will deign to recognize the importance of this subject, and will vouchsafe to pardon my temerity in assuming to suggest to your Lordships’ wisdom the expediency of establishing a more adequate and permanent naval force for the protection of the trade and coast of Africa, I am,

My Lord,
Your Lordship’s most obedient devoted humble servant,


No. III.

When the foregoing narrative and observations were prepared for the press, the original minutes from whence the following Appendix is compiled, had not come to hand, as they remained with a part of my papers, which I have since received from the coast of Africa.

The substance of these miscellaneous fragments I shall divide into sections, descriptive of the different subjects to which they allude, and it may be found that they illustrate more fully many of the foregoing remarks upon the Windward Coast of Africa.


_Of the Purrah_.

Among the singular customs of the inhabitants of Africa, there exists in the vicinity of the Sierra Leone, and more particularly among the mixed tribes of the Foolahs, Soosees, Boolams, &c. an institution of a religious and political nature. It is a confederation by a solemn oath, and binds its members to inviolable secrecy not to discover its mysteries, and to yield an implicit obedience to superiors, called by the natives the _Purrah_.

As it is dangerous to enquire from the natives, and consequently difficult to procure information on this subject, conjecture must supply the want of oral and ocular testimony; but what I have here advanced I had from an intelligent chief, who was a member of the society, who, I am nevertheless convinced, preserved his integrity, in communicating the following particulars, as I never could induce him to touch upon any part of the mysteries, which he acknowledged to exist, but spoke of them with the utmost reserve.

The members of this secret tribunal are under the supreme control of a sovereign, whose superior, or _head man_, commands by his council, absolute submission and authority from the subordinate councils and members.

To be admitted into the confederacy it is necessary to be thirty years of age; and to be a member of the grand _purrah_, fifty years; and the oldest member of the subordinate _purrahs_ form those of the sovereign _purrahs_.

No candidate is admitted but at the recommendation and responsibility of members, who imprecate his death, if he betrays fear during his initiation into the ceremonies, or the sacred mysteries of the association; from which females are entirely excluded.

Some months elapse, in the preparation for admission, and the candidate passes through the severest trials, in which every dreadful expedient is employed to ascertain his firmness of mind, and courage.

The candidate is conducted to a sacred wood, where a place is appointed for his habitation, from which he dares not absent himself; if he does, he is immediately surrounded and struck dead. His food is supplied by men masked, and he must observe an uniform silence.

Fires, during the night, surround these woods, to preserve them inviolate from the unhallowed steps of curiosity, into which if indiscretion tempts any one to enter, a miserable exit is the result.

When the trials are all gone through, _initiation_ follows; the candidate is first sworn to secrecy, to execute implicitly the decrees of the _purrah_ of his order, and to be devoted to the commands of the _sovereign purrah_.

During the process of initiation, the hallowed woods resound with dreadful howlings, shrieks, and other horrid noises, accompanied by conflagrations and flames.

This secret and inquisitorial tribunal takes cognizance of crimes and delinquencies, more especially witchcraft and murder; and also operates as a mediator in wars, and dissentions among powerful tribes and chiefs. Its interference is generally attended with effect, more particularly if accompanied by a threat of vengeance from the _purrah_; and a suspension of hostilities is scrupulously observed, until it is determined who is the aggressor; while this investigation takes place by the sovereign _purrah_, as many of the warriors are convoked, as they conceive necessary to enforce their judgment, which usually consigns the guilty to a pillage of some days. To execute the decree, they avail themselves of the night to depart from the place where the sovereign _purrah_ is assembled, previously disguising their persons with hideous objects, and dividing themselves into detachments, armed with torches and warlike weapons; they arrive at the village of the condemned, and proclaim with tremendous yells the decree of the sovereign _purrah_. The affrighted victims of superstition and injustice are either murdered or made captives, and no longer form a people among the tribes.

The produce arising from this horrid and indiscriminate execution of the decrees of this tribunal is divided equally between the injured tribe, and the sovereign _purrah_; the latter share is again subdivided among the warriors employed in the execution of its diabolical decree, as a recompense for their zeal, obedience, and promptitude.

The families of the tribes under the dominion of this infernal confederacy, when they become objects of suspicion or rivalry, are subjected to immediate pillage, and if they resist, are dragged into their secret recesses, where they are condemned, and consigned to oblivion.

Its supreme authority is more immediately confined to the Sherbro; and the natives of the Bay of Sierra Leone speak of it with reserve and dread: they consider the brotherhood as having intercourse with the _bad spirit_, or devil, and that they are sorcerers, and invulnerable to human power. Of course the _purrah_ encourages these superstitious prejudices, which establish their authority and respect, as the members are numerous, and are known to each other by certain signs and expressions. The Mandingos have also their sacred woods and mysteries, where, by their delusions and exorcisms, they prepare their children for circumcision.

The Soosees, inhabiting the borders of the Rio Pongo, have a species of _purrah_, which gives its members great consequence among them; but their ceremonies are kept also with inviolable secrecy, and they are bound by horrid oaths and incantations. These people seem to delight in disseminating improbable tales of their institution, and their invention appears to be exhausted in superstitious legends of its mysteries.

The Timmanees have an inquisitorial institution called _bunda_, noticed in page 72, to which women only are subjected. The season of penitence is superintended by an elderly woman, called _bunda_ woman; and fathers even consign their wives and daughters to her investigation when they become objects of suspicion. Here is extracted from them an unreserved confession of every crime committed by themselves, or to which they are privy in others. Upon their admission they are besmeared with white clay, which obliterates every trace of human appearance, and they are solemnly abjured to make an unequivocal confession; which if not complied with, they are threatened with death as the inevitable consequence. The general result is a discovery of fact and falsehood, in proportion as their fears of punishment are aroused, which the _bunda_ woman makes known to the people who assemble in the village or town where the _bunda_ is instituted. If she is satisfied with the confession, the individual is dismissed from the _bunda_, and, as is noticed in Chapter VII. an act of oblivion is passed relative to her former conduct; but where the crime of witchcraft is included, slavery is uniformly the consequence: those accused as partners of her guilt are obliged to undergo the ordeal by _red water_, redeem themselves by slaves, or go into slavery themselves.

When the _bunda_ woman is dissatisfied with the confessions, she makes the object sit down, and after rubbing poisonous leaves, procured for the purpose, between her hands, and infusing them in water, she makes her drink in proportion to its strength. It naturally occasions pain in the bowels, which is considered as an infallible evidence of guilt. Incantations and charms are then resorted to by the _bunda_ woman, to ascertain what the concealed crime is, and after a _decent_ period employed in this buffoonery, the charges are brought in conformity with the imagination or malignity of this priestess of mystery and iniquity.

During the continuance of this engine of avarice, oppression, and fraud in any town, the chiefs cause their great drum and other instruments of music to be continually in action, and every appearance of festive hilarity pervades among the inhabitants, accompanied by the song and the dance.

Contumacy, or a refusal to confess, is invariably followed by death.

In short, the bewildered natives feel the effects, and dread the power of these extraordinary institutions; they know they exist, but their deliberations and mysteries are impenetrably concealed from them; and the objects of their vengeance are in total ignorance, until the annihilating stroke of death terminates their mortal career.

It is impossible to contemplate the religious institutions, and superstitious customs of the western nations of Africa, north of the equator, without closely assimilating them with those of Ethiopia and Egypt; and from hence to infer that a correspondence has existed between the eastern and western inhabitants of this great continent.


_Of the_ Termite, Termes, _or_ Bug a Bug, _as it is called by the Natives upon the Windward Coast of Africa._

Among the insects mentioned in page 36, the _termite, termes_, or _bug a bug_, attracts peculiar notice. The following observations are derived from the investigations I occasionally made upon the Island of Tasso, attached to Bance Island, where they abound, and indeed in nearly all the western countries of Africa.

The oeconomy of nature, and the wisdom of Providence, are wonderfully displayed in these little animals; for although they occasion the utmost devastation to buildings, utensils, and all kinds of household furniture and merchandize, and indeed every thing except metal and stone, yet they answer highly important purposes in demolishing the immense quantity of putrid substances, which load the earth in tropical climates.

Their astonishing peculiarities cannot fail to excite the notice of an attentive observer; the sagacity and ingenuity they display in their buildings, their industry, and the plunder and devastation they commit, is incredible to those who have not witnessed their communities and empires. They are divided into innumerable societies, and acknowledge a king and queen, the former of which I brought to Europe, but the latter was by accident mislaid at sea. Linnaeus denominates the African _bug a bug, Termes_, and describes it as the plague of the Indies. Every community, as I have observed, has a king and queen, and the monarchy, if I may be allowed the expression, forms three distinct orders of insects, in three states of existence; of every species there are likewise three orders, which differ very essentially in the functions they have to perform, and are in appearance very different.

In their primitive state, they are perfectly white; they have six little feet, three on each side, and a small head, in which I could perceive no eyes, after a minute investigation with a microscope. In this state they supply the community with provisions from subterraneous cavities, fabricate their pyramidical buildings, and may with great propriety be called labourers.

In a few weeks they destroy the largest trunks of trees, carry away all descriptions of putrid substances, and particles of vegetable decay, which, in such a climate as Africa, amply compensates for the ruin which they otherwise occasion.

Their buildings are contrived and finished with great ingenuity and solidity, to a magnitude infinitely beyond the erections of man, when a comparative dimension of size is considered.

They are usually termed hills, and are generally in a conical form, from 10 to 12 feet in perpendicular height, and frequently upwards of 100 feet square in the base.

For a considerable period, vegetation is banished from the surface of their abode, but from the second to the third year, it becomes like the surrounding soil. The exterior forms a crust, which shelters the interior from the weather, and the community from the attacks of enemies. The interior is divided into almost innumerable chambers or apartments, with amazing regularity and contrivance; in the centre of which is the royal residence of the king and queen, composed of solid clay, closely compacted, and distinct from the external habitation, which accommodate their subjects. It appears that the royal erection is the first which occupies the attention of the labourers, as it is central in the foundation of the hill which composes the empire at large. This makes its first appearance above the surface of the earth in various turrets, in the form of a sugar loaf, from which they increase their number, widening them from the base; the middle one is the highest and largest, and they fill up the spaces as they proceed, until the whole is formed into one.

This compact construction is admirably adapted to guard against external violence, and to preserve a genial warmth and moisture to cherish the hatching of the eggs, and the young.

The queen is by far the largest, and has an unwieldy body, of enormous dimensions, when compared with her subjects; so also is the king, but inferior in size to the queen.

The royal residence is a full constructed hill, surrounded by an innumerable number of others, differing in shape and dimensions, arched in various forms, circular, and elliptical, which communicate by passages, occupied by guards and attendants, and surrounded by nurseries and magazines. But when the community is in an infant state, these are contiguous to the royal residence; and in proportion as the size of the queen increases, her chamber is enlarged, and her attendants and apartments multiplied.

The construction of the outward apartments which surround the central royal residence, that of the _common father_ and _mother_ of the community, form an intricate labyrinth of nurseries and magazines, separated by chambers and galleries, communicating with each other, and continuing towards the surface of the pyramid; and being arched, they support each other, and are uniformly larger towards the centre.

The second order of _termes_ are like the first, blind and active, but they undergo a change of form, approaching to the perfect state; they are much larger, and increase from about a quarter of an inch in length to half an inch, and greater in bulk; and what is still more remarkable, the mouth is armed with sharp claws, and the head is disproportionably enlarged. They may properly be called the nurses and warriors of the kingdom; they urge their fellow subjects in the _first_ state to labour, they inspect the construction of the interior apartments, repel all attacks from enemies, and devour them with fury; and may be considered as the standing army of the state.

In the third and last stage, they are winged; their bodies then measure about 7/8ths of an inch in length, furnished with four brownish transparent wings, rather large; they have eyes also of a disproportionate size, visible to the observer. When they make their appearance in this state, it is indicative of the approach of the rainy season. At this period they procreate their species.

They seldom wait before they take wing for a second or third shower; and should the rain happen in the night, the quantities of them which are found the next morning upon the surface of the earth, and on the waters, more particularly upon the latter, are astonishing. The term of existence at this stage is extremely short, and frequently on the following morning after they have taken flight, they are surprisingly weakened and decreased; at the utmost I do not think they live more than two days; and these insects, so industrious, courageous, and destructive in the two first periods of their existence, become the prey of innumerable enemies. Indolent, and incapable of resisting the smallest insects, they are hunted by various species from place to place, and not one pair in millions get into a place of safety, to fulfil the laws of nature and propagation.

Their wings in a short time fall from them, and the ponds and brooks are covered with their carcases. The Negroes in many places collect them in their calabashes, dry them, and fry them on a slow fire, which they consider as a delicious morsel.

A few, however, escape the general dissolution, several pairs of them are found by those of the first genus, as they are continually moving over the surface of the earth, and are carried by them to found new kingdoms and communities. The royal mansion is then erected, as before described, their wings fall off, and they pass the remainder of their existence in indolence and luxury, and in the propagation of their species. Their dimensions now undergo a monstrous change, more especially the queen; her abdomen augments by degrees, and increases to a prodigious size, when compared with her two first stages of existence; and the king, although greatly augmented, yet is diminutive compared to his enormous spouse, who sometimes exceeds three inches in length. She is in this state extremely prolific, and the matrix is almost perpetually yielding eggs, which are taken from her by her attendants, and are carried into the adjoining nurseries.

The foregoing is a very imperfect delineation of this wonderful insect, which requires the minutest description by an experienced and scientific naturalist to illustrate clearly; and there are many secrets in the natural history of this little animal that would amply reward his investigation upon the different circumstances attending its existence.

Those that build in trees, or erect pyramids, have a strong resemblance to each other, and pass through the same stages to the winged state, but they are not of so large a size as the foregoing; and it is a very singular circumstance, that of all these different species, neither the labourers nor soldiers expose themselves to the open air, but travel in subterraneous vaults, unless when they are obstructed and impelled by necessity; and when their covered ways and habitations are destroyed, it is wonderful how quickly they will rebuild them. I have frequently destroyed them in the evening, and have found them re-erected on the following morning.

When a pair, in the perfect state, is rescued from the general devastation which attends these little animals, they are by the two first species elected king and queen, and are inclosed in a chamber, as before described, around which a new empire is formed, and pyramids are erected.

That species which builds in trees, frequently establish their abode in houses also, which in time they will entirely destroy, if not extirpated. The large kind, however, are more destructive, and more difficult to guard against, as their approaches are principally made under-ground, and below the foundation; they rise either in the floors, or under the posts, which in African buildings support the roof, and as they proceed, they form cavities towards the top, similar to the holes bored in the bottom of ships by the worms, which appear to answer the same purpose in water as the _termites_ do upon land. How convincing is this fact of the infinitely wise arrangements of the Creator, who has united, in the whole system of creation, one uniform conformation of order and utility; for although the _vermis_, or worm, which is so pernicious to shipping in tropical climates, and the _termite_, possess so many destructive qualities, yet these very properties serve the most important purposes and designs. Scarcely any thing perishable on land escapes the _termite_, or in water, the worm; and it is from thence evident, that these animals are designed by nature to rid both of incumbrances, which in tropical climates would be attended with putrefaction and disease.

The first object which strikes the attention, and excites admiration, upon opening and investigating the hills of the _termites_, is, the conduct of the armed species, or soldiers; when a breach is made by a pick-axe, or hoe, they instantaneously sally forth in small parties round the breach, as if to oppose the enemy, or to examine the nature of the attack, and the numbers increase to an incredible degree as long as it continues; parties frequently return as if to give the alarm to the whole community, and then rush forth again with astonishing fury. At this period they are replete with rage, and make a noise which is very distinguishable, and is similar to the ticking of a watch; if any object now comes in contact with them, they seize it, and never quit their hold until they are literally torn in pieces. When the violence against their habitation ceases, they retire into their nests, as if nothing had happened, and the observer will instantaneously perceive the labourers at work, with a burthen of mortar in their mouths, which they stick upon the breach with wonderful facility and quickness; and although thousands and millions are employed, yet they never embarrass the proceedings of each other, but gradually fill up the chasm. While the labourers are thus employed, the greatest part of the soldiers retire, a few only being discernible, who evidently act as overseers, and at intervals of about a minute, make the vibrating noise before described, which is immediately answered by an universal hiss from the labourers, and at this signal they redouble their exertions with encreased activity.

In minutely examining these hills, great obstacles present themselves to the observer; the apartments and nurseries which surround the royal habitation, and the whole internal fabric, are formed of moist brittle clay, and are so closely connected, that they can only be examined separately, for having a geometrical dependance upon each other, the demolition of one pulls down more; patience is therefore exhausted in the investigation, and it is impossible to proceed without interruption; for while the soldiers are employed in defending the breach, the labourers are engaged in barricading the different galleries and passages towards the royal chamber. In one apartment which I dug out from a hill, I was forcibly struck with their attachment and allegiance to their sovereigns; and as it is capacious enough to hold a great number of attendants, of which it has a constant supply, I had a fair opportunity offered for experiment, I secured it in a small box; and these faithful creatures never abandoned their charge; they were continually running about their king and queen, stopping at every circuit, as if to administer to them, and to receive their commands.

Upon exposing their different avenues and chambers for a night only, before the next morning, provided the king and queen are preserved, and their apartments remain, it will be found that they are all shut up with a thin covering of clay, and every interstice in the ruins, through which either cold or wet could communicate, filled up, which is continued with unremitting industry until the building is restored to its pristine state.

Besides these species, there are also the _marching termites_, of an encreased size, who make excursions in large bodies, and spread devastation in their way; but as my means of observation upon them was only accidental, it will be intruding an imperfect description to notice them at all; but if we form a conclusion from the immense number of _termites_ which everywhere abound in Africa, we shall be tempted to believe that their procreation is endless and unceasing.

When the papers came to hand which contained the substance of these remarks upon this extraordinary insect, I did not intend to annex them to the Observations on the Windward Coast of Africa, nor am I without some doubt as to the propriety of so doing; the observation of the learned _naturalist_ only can ascertain the economy of the _termite_, or _bug a bug_, and I have therefore to apologize for obtruding these imperfect and general remarks.


_Of the Cameleon_.

The cameleon is a native of the torrid zone, and is a genus of the lizard: the faculty of assuming the colour of every object it approaches is ascribed to it, and other singular properties; but there are many rare phoenomena not so well understood, such as its absorption and expulsion of air at pleasure, its property of living a considerable time without any kind of nourishment, and its extraordinary visual advantages, which are perhaps not to be found in any other of the wonderful works of the creation.

I have made various experiments to ascertain these extraordinary properties in this little animal; and I brought home one in a preserved state.

The first object which struck my attention, was the variation of colour; and I am persuaded that it does not assume these from the surrounding objects, but that they proceed from internal sensations of pain, or otherwise.

From the moment that the liberty of my captive was infringed upon, or when interrupted in its pursuits, it became less sensible of external objects, the vivacity of its colour, and the plumpness of its form underwent a visible change. Its natural colour is a beautiful green; and when in a state of liberty it is to be found in the grass, or lodged on the branches of some tree, ornamented with the gayest foilage; and it would appear that its liberty, and the privilege of living in the grass, are indispensible towards the preservation of its qualities. The colour of its skin, in a perfect state of health, is scarcely discernible from the trees and grass, in which it delights to conceal itself, and is not to be discovered at all without a very minute scrutiny. It remains immoveable for a length of time, and its motions are all cautious and slow, continuing to loll out its tongue, which is long and glutinous, in order to secure the little insects that are necessary to its nourishment; and I doubt not but it has an attractive influence over its prey, for I have observed them continually floating around the cameleon, when scarcely discernible in any other space. When the tongue is covered with a sufficient quantity it draws it in instantaneously, and by incessantly repeating the operation, all the insects within its reach are taken in the snare.

That its health and existence depend upon being in the grass, I am persuaded, from the change occasioned by placing it in gravel or sand, when it immediately assumes a yellow tinge, its form is reduced considerably, and the air expelled, with which the body of this animal is inflated, so as visibly to reduce the size. If they are irritated in this situation, they expell the air so strong as even to be heard, gradually decreasing in size, and becoming more dull in colour, until at length they are almost black; but upon being carried into the grass, or placed on the branches of a tree, they quickly assume their wonted solidity and appearance.

The victims of my observation I have frequently wrapped in cloth of various colours, and have left them for a considerable time, but when I visited them I did not find that they partook of any of the colours, but uniformly were of a tarnished yellow, or greyish black, the colours they always assume when in a state of suffering and distress, and I never could succeed in making them take any other when in a situation of constraint. The skin of the cameleon is of a very soft and delicate texture, and appears to the observer similar to a shagreen skin, elastic and pliable; and it may be owing to this extraordinary construction that it changes its colours and size with that facility which astonishes us; but what may be considered as a more wonderful faculty is, its expanding and contracting itself at pleasure, and, as it were, retaining the fluid in an uniform manner, when in health, but exhaling it when in a state of suffering, so as to reduce its dimensions to a more contracted size. Its peculiar organization is such, that the atmospheric air which it inhales so generally throughout every part of its body, distends and projects even its eyes and extremities. I have frequently seen it after many days fasting become suddenly plump, and continue so for a fortnight, when immediately it became nothing but a skeleton of skin and bone.

The tenuity of its body is at these seasons astonishing, the spine of its back becomes pointed, the flesh of its sides adhere to each other, and apparently form one united subsance, when it will, in a few hours, at pleasure, resume its rotund state; and this appears to me to be a most extraordinary circumstance in the construction of this animal, which invites the minutest research of the naturalist.

To convince myself how far the assertion might be admitted, that the cameleon can exist upon air, I have placed them in a cage, so constructed, as to exclude any thing else, even the minutest insect; when I have visited my captives, they have opened their mouths and expelled the air towards me so as to be felt and heard. In the first stage of their privation and imprisonment, which has continued for more than a month, I have found them in continual motion around their prison, but afterwards their excursions became more circumscribed, and they have sunk to the bottom, when their powers of distension and contraction became languid and decreased, and were never again capable of performing their accustomed transformation. The one which I brought to England preserved in spirits, after undergoing upwards of two months of famine, when I carried it among the grass, or placed it in the thick foliage of a tree, in little more than a week regained its green colour, and power of expansion; but not contented with my experiment, and determined to ascertain it to the utmost, I redoubled my precautions to exclude every thing but air, and my devoted victim was doomed to another series of trial, and continued to exist upwards of a month, when it fell a sacrifice to my curiosity.

The eyes of the cameleon may also be considered a remarkable singularity; they are covered with a thin membrane, which nature has given it to supply the want of eye-lids, and this membrane is sunk in the centre by a lengthened hole, which forms an orifice, bordered by a shining circle. This covering follows all the motions of the eye so perfectly, that they appear to be one and the same; and the aperture, or lengthened hole, is always central to the pupil, the eyes moving in every direction, independant of each other; one eye will be in motion while the other is fixed, one looking behind while the other is looking before, and another directed above while its companion is fixed on the earth, so that its eyes move in every possible direction, independant of each other, without moving the head, which is closely compacted with the shoulders.

By these quick evolutions its personal safety is guarded, and it perceives with quickness the insects and flies, which it is always entrapping by its glutinous tongue.

Without doubt, this species of lizard possesses peculiarities well worthy the attention of naturalists, who only can define them; what I have said I have observed in my leisure moments, and must be considered as a very imperfect detail of its natural history.


_Of the Interment of the Dead._

The ceremony of burial upon the Windward Coast of Africa is conducted with great singularity, solemnity, and extravagant circumstances of condolence.

The body of the deceased is wrapped up in a cloth, closely sewed around it, and the head is covered with a white cap of cotton, which is the colour universally adopted in mourning. The relatives of the deceased bedaub themselves from head to foot with white clay, upon which they form the most disgusting figures, while scarcely a leg or an arm exhibits the same feature. I have even seen serpents and other frightful animals delineated with great accuracy on many parts of the body, which gives them a most hideous appearance during the season of mourning.

When the corps has been washed, and put into a white cloth of cotton, of the manufacture of the country, the whole is inclosed in a mat, and laid out in state.

The corps is placed over the grave upon four sticks across, and after one of the nearest relatives has collected all the finery with which the deceased was accustomed to decorate himself, and that also which remains among his family, he asks him, with expressions of sorrow, if he wants such and such an article for his comfort in the other world, in which he is accompanied by the remainder of his family and friends, who join in _making cry,_ or more property speaking, in dancing and rejoicing. The following night the dance and song is continued with demonstrations of mirth and glee, and are kept up every successive night during that moon; and if the deceased has been of consequence in his tribe, these extravagant acts of lamentation continue for months together.

_On the Amusements, Musical Instruments, &c. of the Africans._

Upon all occasions of mirth or sorrow, the dance is uniformly introduced, with monotonous songs, sometimes tender and agreeable, at other times savage and ferocious, but always accompanied by a slow movement; and it may with propriety be said, that all the nights in Africa are spent in dancing; for after the setting of the sun, every village resounds with songs, and music; and I have often listened to them with attention and pleasure, during the tranquil evenings of the dry season.

Villages a league distant from each other frequently perform the same song, and alternately change it, for hours together. While this harmonic correspondence continues, and the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages chaunt their couplets, the youth of both sexes listen with the greatest attention and pleasure.

Among the several kinds of instruments of music which accompany the ceremonies of mourning or mirth among the Africans, the drum is the principal. It is made from a hard thin wood, about three feet long, which is covered with a skin distended to the utmost. They strike it with the fingers of the right hand collected together, which serves to beat time in all their dances. Among the Foulahs and Soosees they have a kind of flute, made of a hard reed, which produces sounds both unmusical and harsh: but all the Africans of the Windward district are the most barbarous musicians that can be conceived.

They have also a kind of guitar, formed from the calabash, which they call _kilara_. Some of these are of an enormous size, and the musician performs upon it by placing himself on the ground, and putting the _kilara_ between his thighs; he performs on it with both his hands, in a manner similar to the playing on the harp in this country.

They have another instrument of a very complicated construction, about two feet deep, four feet long, and eighteen inches wide, which they call _balafau_. It is constructed by parallel intervals, covered with bits of hard polished wood, so as to give each a different tone, and are connected by cords of catgut fastened at each extremity of the instrument. The musician strikes these pieces of wood with knobbed sticks covered with skin, which produces a most detestable jargon of confused noise.

Jugglers and buffoons are very common, and are the constant attendants of the courts of Negro kings and princes, upon whom they lavish the most extravagant eulogiums, and abject flattery. These jesters are also the panders of concupiscense; they are astrologers, musicians, and poets, and are well received every where, and live by public contribution.


_Concluding Observations._

It has already been observed that cotton and indigo are indigenous to the Windward Coast of Africa. Tobacco grows in every direction, likewise cocoa, coffee, and aromatic plants would no doubt succeed by cultivation. A trade in raw hides might be carried on to a great extent; and the articles of wax, gold, ivory, emery, dyes, &c. might be greatly increased. Substances for making soap are to be found in great abundance; cattle, poultry, different kinds of game, fish, and various animals, fruits, and roots, abound, affording a great variety of the necessaries and luxuries of life: and European art and industry are only wanting to introduce the extensive culture of the sugar cane. The warmth and nature of the climate are peculiarly adapted to the maturing this plant, and there are many situations from Cape Verde to Cape Palmas, where this valuable production might undoubtedly be raised to great amount and perfection.

In addition to the woods I have already named, there are many others for building, viz. _todso, worsmore,_ and a fine yellow wood, called _barzilla_, the _black_ and the _white mangrove_, boxwood of a superior quality, _conta_, a remarkable fine wood for building, and various kinds of mahogany, of a beautiful colour, and large dimensions.

It has also been observed in the previous section, that one of the musical instruments used by the Africans of the Windward Coast, named by them _kilara_, is formed from the calabash, a pumpkin which grows from the size of a goblet to that of a moderate sized tub, and serves every purpose almost of household utensils.

They divide this pumpkin into two hemispheres, with the utmost accuracy, and it is excavated by pouring boiling water inside, to soften the pulp. The inside is cleaned with great neatness, and they execute upon the outside various designs and paintings, both fanciful and eccentric, such as birds, beasts, serpents, alligators, &c.

In fine, the objects of commerce and enjoyment in this country are, comparatively speaking, inexhaustible; and this is a part of the world which England has hitherto strangely neglected, because its mysteries are unknown. It only requires the happy influence of civilization, agriculture, and natural commerce, to surprize and enrich those, who humanely and wisely interfere to procure these blessings to its inhabitants.

The system of establishment to attain these important ends to our commerce, and to the bewildered African, should be skilfully planned, and wisely adapted to the _present condition_ of the country, for the _hasty conclusion of the abolition of the slave trade never can, in its present state, meet the views and objects of rational humanity_. Is the United Kingdom, at this crisis, when the enormous power of our adversary has shut the door of commerce against us in every direction where his influence and dictates command, to abandon Africa, so abundant and versatile in its natural productions and resources, to contingencies, and to the grasp of other nations? Forbid it, humanity, and forbid it, wise policy! Let civil laws, religion, and morality, exercise their influence in behalf of the Negro race, whom barbarism has subjected to our dominion, and let the beneficence and wisdom of Government devise a system of agriculture and commercial operation, upon the maritime situations of Africa, as the most effectual means to freedom of intercourse with its interior.

The operations of impracticable theories and misguided zeal have accomplished an unqualified abolition of the slave trade, which I am persuaded will be highly injurious to the commercial and manufacturing interests of our country; and is a measure which humanity will have deeply to deplore, while in its tendency it is pernicious to the African, and auspicious to the views of France.

Without doubt the ability and energies of the _present administration_ will be directed to avert these calamities; and amidst the _important diliberations_ which now occupy their attention, the condition of Africa, the wealth derivable from so important a quarter of the earth, and the relations involved with it, will not be overlooked by them.


|ENGLISH |JOLLIFF |SOOSEE |TIMMANEE |————|——————-|——————–|—————- |One |Ben |Kiring |Pen
|Two |Yar |Faring |Prung |Three |Niet |Shooking |Tisas |Four |Nianett |Nari |Panlee |Five |Gurum |Shooli |Tomat |Six |Gurum ben |Shinie |Rokin |Seven |Gurum yar |Shulifiring |Dayring |Eight |Gurum Niet |Shulimashukung |Daysas |Nine |Gurum Niant |Shulimang |Daynga |Ten |Fue |Fooang |Tofot |Twenty |Nill |Mahwinia |Tofot Marung |Thirty |Fanever |Tongashukung |Tofot Masas |Forty |Nianett Fue |Tonganani |Tofot Manlu |Fifty |Guaum Fue |Tongashulang |Tofot Tomat |Sixty |Gurum ben Fue |Tongashini |Tofot Rokin |Seventy |Gurum yar Fue |Tongashulifiring |Tofot Dayring |Eighty |Gurum Niet Fue |Tongashulimashakung |Tofot Daysas |Ninety |Gurum Nianet Fue |Tongashulimanane |Tofot Danygah |One Hundred |Temer |Kime |Tofot Tofot |I | |Emtang |Eto or Munga |Thou | |Etang |Moota or Moonga |He | |Atang |Otto or Ken |It | |Atang |Ree
|We | |Mackutang |Sitta or Shang |Ye | |Wotang |Angsha |They | |Etang |Angna |God |Tallah | |
|The Devil |Ghine | | |Heaven |Assaman | |

|ENGLISH |JOLLIFF |SOOSEE |MANDINGO |————|——————–|—————|—————— |The Sun |Burham Safara |Shuge |Teelee |The Moon |Burham Safara Lion |Kige |Koro |Gold |Ourous | |Sanoo
|Father |Bail |Taffe |Fa |My Father |Samma Bail | |
|Mother |De |Inga |Ba |My Mother |Samma De | |
|Man |Gour | |Mo or Fato |Woman |Diguen | |Moosea |Brother |Rak Gour |Tarakunjia |Ba Ding Kea |My Brother |Samma Rak Gour | | |Sister |Rak Diguen |Magine |Ba Ding Moosea |My Sister |Samma Rak Diguen | | |Head |Bop |Hung Hungji |Roon |My Head |Samma Bop | |
|Tongue |Lamin |Ning Ningje |Ning |Mouth |Guemin |De |Da
|Nose |Bauane |Nieue |Nung |Bread |Bourou | |Munko
|Water |Dock | |Gee |Teeth |Guene | |
|Bowels |Bouthet | | |Belly |Birr | |Kono
|Fingers |Baram | |Boalla Ronding |Arm |Lokoo | |Boalla Same for hand. |Hair |Cayor | |
|The Beard |Jekim |Habe de Habe |Bora |White |Toulha e |Fihe |Qui |Black |Jolof |Foro |Fing |Good |Bachna |Fang |Bettie |Bad |Bahout |Niaake |Jox

|————————————-|———————— |Elephant |Siti
|Camelion |Kolungji
|Horse |Shuoe
|Cow |Ninkgegine
|Goat |Shee
|Sheep |Juke
|Leopard |Shuko she
|Alligator |Shonge
|Parrot |Kalle
|Shark |Sark
|Honey |Kume
|White ant, termite, &c. |Bugabuge |(or Bug a bug) |
|The Sea |Baa
|Earth |Bohe
|Knife |Fine
|Shirt |Doma
|Trowsers |Wangtanji
|Brass pan |Tang kue
|House |Bankhi
|Door |De nade
|Day |Hi
|Night |Que
|Health |Maie langfe |Sickness |Fura
|Pain |Whondi, Whona fe |Love |Whuli
|Hatred |Niaahu
|Road |Kira
|Idle |Kobi
|Hot |Furi, furihe
|Cold |Himbeli
|What are you doing? |Emung she ra falama? |Tornado |Tuliakbegle
|Which way are you going? |Esigama mung kirara |To trade |Sera Shofe
|Make haste |Ara bafe mafuri |To Kill |Fuka fe
|To Quarrel |Geri shofe |To Sing |Shige shafe
|To beat the drum |Fare mokafe |Have you done? |Ebanta gei?
|Are you afraid? |Egahama? |He is not yet gone |A mu siga sending |Stand still |Tife ira hara
|Run |Gee fe
|Leap, or Jump |Tubang fe |Have you slept well? |Eheo keefang? |Do you understand Soosee? |Esusee whi mema? |I am hungry |Kaame em shukuma |Eat |Dong
|Let us go |Woem hasiga |Will you go with me? |Esigama em fokhera |I have no money |Nafuli muna embe |How much do you want? |E’ wama ierekong |Sit down |Dokha
|How do you do |E’mung kee? |Very well |Em melang hekeefang |Give me some rice? |Malungdundundifeemma |Here |Be
|What is your name? |Ehili mungkee? |I love you |Efanghe emma
|If you want rice I will give you some|Ha ewama malunghong eminda fuma ema |Let us go together. |Meekufiring ha siga

|—————————-|———————– |Goat |Phas
|Sheep |Zedre
|Wolf |Bouki
|Elephant |Guie
|Ox |Nack
|Fish |Guienn
|Horse |Ghenapp
|Butter |Dion
|Milk |San
|Tiger |Shagle
|Iron |Vina
|Millet |Doughoul
|Quiver |Smagalla
|To dance |Faik
|To sing |Ouhai
|To-day |Thei
|To-morrow |Elleck, or Mek |Yesterday |Demb
|A tree |Garallun
|To drink |Nan
|To eat |Leck ou leckamm
|She is remarkably handsome |Sama rafitnaloll |Good day |Dhiarakio
|Good day Sir |Dhiarakio-Samba |Good night |Fhanandiam
|Come here? |Kahihfie
|Yes |Ouaa
|No |Dhiett
|How do you do? |Dhya mesa?
|Very well |Dhya medal
|Buy |Ghuyende
|Sell |Ghuyal
|Take |Diapol
|I will |Benguena
|I thank you |Guerum nala
|A bar of Iron |Baravin
|What did you say? |Loung a houche |Can you speak Joliff? |Digenga Jolliff |How much did that cost? |Niatar ladiar? |Give me |Maniman
|I love you from my heart |Sepenata tie somo koll

|ENGLISH |TEMMANEE |BULLOM |———————–|————————|—————- |How do you do? |Currea |Lemmoo |I return you service, |Ba |Ba |or salute | |
|Are you well? |Too pay |Appay wa? |Very well |Tai o tai |Pay chin lin |What is your name? |Gnay see mooa? |Illil e moa? |Give me a little rice |Song mee pilla pittun |Knamee opillay | | |otayk
|Yes |A |A
|No |Deh |Be
|Is your father at home?|Pa ka moo oya roshaytee?|Appa moway lore | | |ko killayee
|He is |Oeeree |Way lorre |What do you want? |Ko nyaymaee? |Yeng yayma? |Why do you do so? |Ko sum kingyotteeay |Yaywum layngalla |I beg your pardon |A marree moo |Lum marra mo

|ENGLISH |TEMMANEK |BULLOM |——————–|——————–|———————– |I love you |Ee boter moo |A marra mo |Let me alone |Tuoy mee |Y’nfolmee |Let me go |Teer amee |Y’mmelmee |Sit down |Yeera |Y’nchal
|I am hungry |Durabang mee |Nrik mi a me |Shut the door |Kanta kayraree |Ingkunta fong folootay |Will you go with me?|Yintoo ko pey a mee?|Mo mee ko day ree |Where are you going?|Ray mo koay. |Lomo koa |Here |Unno |Kakee or ha
|Forward |Kihdee |Ebol
|Backward |Rarung |Wayling |To-day |Taynung |Eenang
|To-morrow |Aneenang |Beng |Sometimes |Olokko ollon |Lokko poom |And |Ray |Na
|Good bye |Mang peearo |Heepeearo

** The foregoing Vocabulary, and imperfect number of words, may serve to give some idea of a part of the languages on the Windward Coast of Africa. From those accidents to which the traveller is continually exposed, I have unfortunately lost what I am persuaded was a very accurate vocabulary of the Jolliff, Foulah, Maudingo, Soosee, Bullom, and Temmanee tongues, which I had arranged under the correction of a very intelligent trader long resident upon the Windward Coast. Owing to this misfortune I have been obliged to refer to scattered memoranda only, which I know to correspond correctly with the document I allude to. As the Foulah and Mandingo nations are of most consequence in attempts at civilization, I have to regret exceedingly that I have not been able to give the languages of those nations more at large.