The following reports, letters and leading articles from the Times concern the 1841 Niger expedition. Although initial reports were factual, the newspaper soon became highly critical of the planned expedition, considering that the hypocritical leaders of the Society for the Extinction of the Slave Trade, and for the Civilization of Africa were sending the expedition members to an almost certain death for a fatuous cause.
|Extracts from the Times newspaper|
|Tu 2 June 1840|
FIRST ANNIVERSARY MEETING OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE EXTINCTION OF THE SLAVE TRADE, AND FOR THE CIVILIZATION OF AFRICA.
The public announcement that his Royal Highness Prince Albert, who a few days ago accepted the office of President of this Society, would take the chair at its first anniversary meeting, appointed to be held yesterday in the Great Room, Exeter Hall, the demand for tickets was unparalleled, and we understand that on Friday and Saturday last premiums were offered for them. The committee of management limited, as we were informed, their issue to the extent of accommodation which the hall afforded, and though the advertisements had informed the public that the doors would not be opened until 10 o'clock, yet such was the anxiety of those whose good fortune had secured them tickets to secure good places from which to command a good view of the illustrious chairman of the day, that the avenues in Exeter-street and the Strand were, from an early hour, literally blocked up by carriages bearing fair freights, and by pedestrian friends and supporters of the society - to such an extent, indeed, as to render it necessary to give them admission very shortly after 9 o'clock; and long before 10 o'clock every part of the hall, exclusive of the seats reserved on the platform for the committee and leading friends and supporters of the institution, was densely filled by a highly respectable audience. The number of ladies greatly predominated, and their personal beauty and elegance of costume enhanced the tout ensemble of a truly interesting coup d'oeil. About half-past 10 o'clock the tedium of the assemblage, consequent upon so long an interval of time elapsing before the proceedings of the day were opened, was relieved by the performance of a voluntary upon the great organ, the powers of which were put to the fullest test by the performer, whose name we could not learn. His efforts were rewarded by a well-merited and loudly expressed peal of applause. At 11 o'clock precisely his Royal Highness Prince Albert, attended by Mr. Fowell Buxton, Dr. Lushington, and other leading members of the committee, appeared on the platform, and was received by the company standing and with their hearty and enthusiastic cheers, accompanied by the waving of hats and handkerchiefs. At this moment we observed on the platform amongst others the following distinguished individuals: - His Excellency M. Guizot, Ambassador of France; the Duke of Norfolk; the Earl of Ripon; the Earl of Chichester; the Earl of Devon; Lord Ashley, M.P.; Lord Sandon, M.P.; Lord Mahon, M.P.; Lord C. Fitzroy, M.P.; Lord Worsley, M.P.; Lord Teignmouth, M.P.; Lord Seaford; Lord Howick, M.P.; Lord Eliot, M.P.; Lord Nugent, the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Exeter, the Bishop of Chichester, the Bishop of Ripon, the Bishop of Salisbury, the Bishop of Hereford, and the Bishop of Norwich; the Right Hons. Sir Robert Peel, Bart., M.P.; Sir G. Murray; Sir Stratford Canning, M.P.; Sir Henry Hardinge, M.P.; Sir G. Grey, Bart., M.P.; and Sir Alexander Johnstone; the Hon. W. Lascelles, M.P.; the Hon. C. Langdale, M.P.: Sir T.D. Acland, Bart., M.P., Sir R. H. lnglis, Bart., M.P., Mr. Gladstone, M.P., Mr. M. Milnes, M.P., Mr. Vigors, M.P., Mr. Baines, M.P.,&c. Among the general company we noticed Mr. Sheriff Whelden, Dr. Bowring, Mr, S. Gurney, the Rev. Mr. Burnett, the Venerable Archdeacon Wilberforce, &c.
The illustrious President, who was attended by Lord Robert Grosvenor, Lord George Lennox, and Mr. Ansen, officers of his Royal Highness's household, was ushered to the chair by the committee, and on reaching it the great organ poured forth in solemn grandeur the national anthem, the Prince and the whole company standing. Its conclusion was followed by loud and long-continued cheering. As soon as silence was restored:
His ROYAL HIGHNESS, who seemed to feel most sensibly the truly English and enthusiastic reception which had greeted his entrance into the hall, proceeded with great distinctness and with a very slight foreign accent, to open the business of the day. His Royal Highness said - I have been induced to preside at the meeting of this society from a conviction of its paramount importance to the great interests of humanity and justice. (Cheers)
I deeply regret that the benevolent and persevering exertions of England to abolish that atrocious traffic in human beings, at once the desolation of Africa, and the blackest stain upon civilized Europe, have not as yet led to any satisfactory conclusion. But I sincerely trust that this great country will not relax its efforts until it has finally and for ever put an end to a state of things so repugnant to the spirit of Christianity, and to the best feelings of our nature. (Tremendous applause.) Let us, therefore, trust that Providence will prosper our exertions in so holy a cause, and that under the auspices of our Queen (cheering for some minutes) and her Government we may at no distant period be rewarded by the accomplishment of the great and humane object for the promotion of which we have this day met. (Loud and long-continued cheers.)
The secretary having read the report for the past year, Mr. F. Buxton said, he had been requested to communicate to the meeting a letter, which had been addressed by command of Her Majesty the Queen Dowager to a sincere friend of the society. The letter was as follows :-
The secretary read the following letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury :-
Similar letters were read from the Archbishop of York, from the Archbishop of Armagh, enclosing 25 1. as a donation, from Mr. Thomas Clarkson, from the Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone, as well as the following from the Bishop of London:-
"London-house, May 29, 1840.
"My dear Sir,- I am much concerned to find that the public meeting of the society for the extinction of the slave trade has been fixed on a day on which it will not be possible for me to attend, as I have to attend confirmations in Hertfordshire on Monday and Tuesday next.
"I am the more concerned, as I learn that his Royal Highness Prince Albert has consented to take the chair at the meeting.
"I should gladly have embraced the opportunity of publicly expressing my earnest desire to promote to then utmost of my power the important object of the society. We owe a debt to Africa which we can hardly ever pay in full. But no efforts should be spared by us to diminish its amount, and nothing effectual can be done to that end till the slave trade, that greatest of all human iniquities, is suppressed, nor will any efforts of ours effect that suppression, unless we can open the eyes of the natives of Africa to its wasteful impolicy, as well as its cruelty. When that is done, Christianity will have its free course and do its proper work.
"I think, therefore, that the line of proceeding which the society has marked out for itself it that which gives us, under the Divine blessing, the sound prospects of the final civilization and conversion of Africa,
"Believe me, my dear Sir, yours faithfully,
" P.S. - May I request you to set down my name for a donation of 25 l.?
Mr. F. Buxton then came forward to move the first resolution. When he saw the vast hall in which they were assembled filled as he had never seen it before - when he saw the platform on which he stood so crowded, and by whom - and when, above all, he saw who occupied the chair (loud cheers) - if his first feeling was, as certainly it was, a feeling of thankfulness and congratulation, his next impulse was, if not to shrink from the task imposed on him, at all events to offer an humble apology to the meeting (seeing the gentlemen by whom he was surrounded) that he should move the first resolution; but, as apologies and explanations would take up time, which this day was valuable, he should only say that it was not his fault certainly that he was placed in this prominent situation. He confessed that he was somewhat surprised that the members of the committee, more especially his old Parliamentary friends, should have placed him in a situation well remembered when he was in the House of Commons, the consternation which used to spread from bench to bench when any gentleman who had appeared in print rose to speak on any subject. He averted to this, because it was not his intention to yield to the temptation to give the meeting in his speech, the contents of his book, or any part of his book. ("Hear," and a laugh.) But he must take this opportunity of saying, that the subject was so large, that the best thing he could do would be to reduce his observations within a very small compass indeed. But there was one subject which he could not omit to mention. He hoped he should not be out of order, but, on the contrary should be permitted to state the entire and unfeigned satisfaction in which not he alone, but which the meeting universally, estimated; the high and distinguished honour which had that day been bestowed upon their infant society. (Loud cheers.). He understood that his Royal Highness now in the chair, purposed avoiding party or political meetings (Renewed cheers.) He (Mr. F. Buxton) was assured by those cheers that he might answer for this meeting that in the proceedings of that day there would be nothing of party or political feeling exhibited. (Applause.) Differ many present undoubtedly did; but not to-day. (Cheers). There were seen there assembled persons of every variety of political opinion, and of every shade of religious belief. There might be dissensions, and bitter dissensions, elsewhere; but there to-day, he would venture to say the meeting would be found to be united in one common heart, in one common object, in one common bond, namely, hatred to the traffic in men. (Cheers,) The resolution he had to propose was, "That notwithstanding all the measures hitherto adopted for the suppression of the foreign trade in slaves, the traffic has increased and continued to increase under circumstances of aggravated horror, and prevails to an extent which imperatively calls for the strenuous and combined exertions of the whole Christian community to effect its extinction." The meeting would see that the resolution acknowledged that the efforts of the anti-slavery party had been disappointed, defeated, and baffled; but the question to-day was, "Shall a new effort be undertaken for that object?" (Applause.) What was the state of Africa! Why, it was one universal slaughterhouse, as was proved upon evidence which could not be disputed. What was its trade? A trade in the bodies of its inhabitants, (Cheers) Its religion was human sacrifices. (Loud cheers.) Its trade swept off and mowed down multitudes every day in the year and every hour in the day. Multitudes did he say? Why, thousands were destroyed in the nightly combustions which took place - thousands fell by day travelling the burning sands; and as to a slave-ship, it was impossible to describe, except in the words of Scripture, which said, "A pestilence walketh upon the waters;" nay, the very shark knew the slave ship to be a bark of blood, and expected from it his daily sustenance. (Loud cheers.) He should not attempt to describe the horrors of a slave-ship, but if there were a conviction indelibly implanted in his mind by the torrid masses of the materials of information he had studied, it was that the horrors of Africa were not to be described or even conceived. (Hear, hear.) The tongue of man could not tell them, the ear of man could not receive them; they completely outran the comprehension of man's mind, He could state this fact more that most people, for he had attempted to give a delineation of the slave trade but no one felt more strongly than himself how completely he had failed in a just and adequate delineation of the horrors of that traffic; he would, therefore, wind up the attempted outline by a picture drawn by an inspired hand:- "The whole head is sick, and the heart faint - from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head there is no soundness in it, but sorest wounds" (Loud cheers). He now came to a question which he wished to endeavour to resolve - namely, what was it at which the society aimed? He could not pretend to say that its aim would be rapidly attained - they hoped, however, eventually to attain it (Cheers.) Their aim was nothing less than the achievement of a state of things the very reverse of that which at present existed in Africa. They aimed at peace. (Loud cheers.) He spoke this with great emphasis, because a question had been pat to him by an enlightened and able friend of Africa on that subject. As far as their objects could be attained they were exclusively of peace and they trusted the effect of their exertions would be an abundance of that peace in Africa which would enable every man to pursue his honest calling, and to wander from his dwelling without the apprehension that the man-stealers were prowling in the neighbourhood ready to pounce upon his children. (Hear, hear.) They wanted to establish industry - that industry which should till the land, and out of the land extract a ransom for that unhappy country - that industry which would cultivate the land, and by availing itself of the bounty of nature should transform the face of the country (Hear.) They wanted, however, something more than industry, and here he lay some emphasis upon it - they wanted free labour; they had no intention to endeavour to civilise Africa by the whip and the chain - they desired to exhibit their influence by the extension of freedom, not slavery. They wanted commerce for that country, by which they should carry away the superfluities of Africa, and take to her the produce which the skill and machinery of this country afforded, and they wanted above all, to establish religion in Africa. (Loud cheers.) He said this emphatically, because he had been much criticized and taunted with a fundamental error of the gravest character, inasmuch as he had reposed too great confidence upon the labours of the missionaries. In answer to that, he must say, they had done, and still continued to do, much good in the cause. If it were error to depend much upon the missionaries - if it were error to be anxious for the spread of Christianity, eternal as well as temporal effects - if it were error to believe that Christianity was the only true civiliser - if these were errors, then he stood here not merely convicted, but confessing that such were the opinions which he held. (Hear, hear.) Every man looked at a subject deeply interesting to him with his own peculiar and favourite aspect, and he confessed that his idea was that of Africa being placed under the influence of Christianity. And what was the present condition of Africa? He had already said it was not his intention to quote anything from his own book; but there was one almost inconsiderable circumstance which took place recently in the presence of a gentleman he supposed now to be in the room, which he desired to relate, because it gave a clear and defined picture as to the state of Africa in one point. A king or chief of Africa had just returned from one of his expeditions, in which he had been so successful as to capture many human beings, and had slaughtered as many more. A missionary was present, and called to him a little child, trembling under the apprehensions of the horrors which overhung him. He took compassion on the child, and requested that he might be given to him. Happy would it have been for the boy had it been so. He would have been reared in Christian principles, and perhaps afterwards have been a missionary of the gospel to his own country. But it was not to be so. The fate of the boy was irrevocably sealed. He was devoted to the evil spirit - he was to be offered up to the shrine of idolatry and avarice :-
At this moment Mr. O'Connell, M.P., entered from the door at the back of the platform, and was speedily recognised by some of his admirers in the more distant parts of the hall. He was slightly cheered, until his presence became more extensively known, when the applause became general, and was met by some expressions of disapprobation, and cries of "Chair, chair."
Mr. F. BUXTON resumed. He discovered now the cause of the interruption he had met with. He besought the meeting not to permit the cause of this day to be sacrificed to political feelings. He knew the hon. Gentleman who had just entered, and he verily believed a more strenuous advocate of abolition of slavery did not exist; and he must take leave to say, that if these interruptions were to be repeated or anything likely to injure the cause of Africa should arise he (Mr. F. Buxton) pledged himself that the hon. Gentleman would instantly retire. ("Hear, hear," and cries of "No, no.") He knew perfectly well that the hon. Gentleman's object was to do good to the cause on which they were that day assembled, and he was sure, that if the bone of contention should be thrown down in the meeting, the hon. Gentleman would at once absent himself. Might he (Mr. F. Buxton) then, beg, in the name of poor Africa, that the voice of controversy might now be hushed - that all dissensions for that day at least might cease? (Hear, hear.) He would now, then, proceed. He had already stated the objects at which the society aimed; he must now state the grounds upon which they placed their reliance for success. He most thankfully acknowledged the assistance which had been afforded by a large body of gentlemen to aid and support this cause - a body with whom it was a privilege and an honour to act (hear, hear), but at the same time, though he did not undervalue their assistance, yet the great dependence of the society was not on them, but upon the large assembly he addressed, and through it upon the people of England. These, however, did not form the great hope and bulwark of their confidence. They had a higher hope - a greater confidence. They believed with humility, but with full assurance, that they had God's blessing upon their work: they knew from God's own word that when they engaged in a labour like this - when they looked to Him and Him alone for help - when they sought the benefit of all His creatures, His blessing could not be wanting. (Cheers.) But, as far as human aid and agency was concerned, they wanted not only the hearts and influence of the people of England, they wanted all Christendom to stand up m this cause. Heretofore he was induced to think they had been too exclusive in the quarters from which they looked for assistance. They had a body of real friends in America - friends who after the exposition recently given of the use made of the American flag for advancing and continuing the slave trade, would not let the matter sleep. They had friends, too, in France, and also in a quarter least to be expected - he meant the Vatican (hear, hear), whence had recently issued a bull addressed to Portugal, Spain, Cuba, and the Brazils, which he (Mr. F. Buxton) thought would effect much good. (Cheers.) But they wanted, he repeated, the hearts of that noble assembly; for there was not present one individual, from his Royal Highness in the chair down to the humblest person, who could not reader some service to the cause. This society wanted the aid of the powerful and wealthy - the aid of the intellectual to dedicate to Africa the efforts of their minds and pens, and those who could aid neither by their wealth nor power could render service by their prayers. (Cheers.) The poor could call down the Divine blessing on the momentous and critical expedition which was so soon about to hold intercourse with Africa, and upon the Christian men who were about to peril their lives in the great cause. They might, in that language which was familiar to all, pray "that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established amongst them throughout all generations," (Loud cheers.) It would be improper for so obscure an individual as himself longer to detain the meeting; he must, however, he excused if he expressed the deep feelings of gratification with which he saw his Royal Highness in the chair, and to declare his most ardent and fervent desire that Her Majesty, his Royal consort (cheers), might long reign with boundless prosperity and surpassing glory, (Long-continued cheering.) He did not forget the military triumphs which this country had achieved, but he must say there was a road to glory more illustrious, noble, and pure than the battles of Waterloo or Trafalgar had opened. To arrest the destruction of mankind, to throw a blessing upon a continent now in ruins, to give civilization, and to spread the mild truths of the gospel over a region in comparison with which the British empire was but as a speck upon the ocean, was a higher and a nobler road, and his desire and prayer was that Her Majesty might tread it (cheers), and that, crowned with every ether blessing, she might-
The hon. Gentleman, after formally moving the adoption of the resolution, resumed his seat amidst loud and long-continued cheering.
The Bishop of WINCHESTER, on rising to second the resolution, said that his hon. Friend who had just taken his seat had described himself - he would say how unjustly - as an humble and obscure individual. An obscure individual? So long as the annals of this country existed, so long would the name of the hon. Gentleman be identified with the abolition of the slave trade, and he (the Bishop of Winchester) rejoiced that he need not detain either his Royal Highness or the meeting at any great length in seconding a resolution which that excellent individual had moved. (Cheers.) Yet, he should regret if on an occasion like the present there was not some expression - however inadequate and feeble - of the sympathy which the clergy of the church of England felt in this great question. (Load cheers.) He felt it was due to the church to which he had the honour to belong, as it was due to the question, to declare their attachment and adherence to it. If, indeed, this were a question of politics, then with truth might the body to which he belonged hesitate ere they ventured to thrust themselves in the forefront of the battle: but that this was no question of politics under any sense of the word, he felt he had the best guarantee in the fact of his Royal Highness's condescension in taking the chair that day. (Loud and general cheers.) If the question were one of pure commerce, the clergy might with propriety refer it to men of traffic and enterprise, who "run to and fro," and who might watch not without deep interest, but without anxiety, the result, (Hear, hear.) But this was no more a question of mere commerce than it was of politics. The question was rather one which concerned the moral consistency of the religious character of the country at large, and it was on this ground especially that he felt he was not out of place to-day with his right rev. brethren around him, and with the concurrence of the primate of the church, to express their adherence and attachment to the cause of the abolition of the traffic in slaves. (Loud cheers.) It was, in truth, a humiliating thing to consider that some half century after, some 60 years since their first attempts to abolish this detestable and unnatural traffic, they had this day to consider and concert new measures for its suppression. It was, in truth a humiliating thing for this country, that, in the words of the resolution, "notwithstanding all the measures adopted for the suppression of the foreign trade in slaves, the traffic has increased, and continues to increase, under circumstances of aggravated horror." He felt it was humiliating to consider, that at the beginning of the present century Great Britain had prohibited all her subjects from engaging in the slave trade, and under such circumstances it was impossible to deny the high responsible accountability of this country. (Applause.) He trusted the proceedings of this day would go far to redeem the pledge which had been given: he trusted, that having a knowledge of these facts before it, this country would do all that in it lay for the suppression of this trade. This country had not only the knowledge, but she had the power; for could it be said that the mistress of the sea - the Queen of the waters - had not the power? And having the power, it was her bounden duty to apply the remedy. They must not disguise the fact that the traffic had not been extinguished; nay, that it had not diminished, but, on the contrary, that by the latest accounts the numbers exported had increased - that the annual destruction of human life, with all the guilt and misery consequent thereon, had increased from 17 to 25 per cent. (Hear.) With these views, then, he cordially joined in the proceedings of this society; he hailed the union which prevailed that day; he rejoiced in seeing that now, for the first time, this country went forward, not for the depression of national enemies - not for more national conquest - not for national aggrandizement - but for the object of striking a blow at barbarism in Africa - the real root of the evil, and for planting Christianity in lieu of the superstitions and errors of idolatry and sin. (Cheers.) On these grounds, in the name of the church of England, her clergy, and her people, he might well thank God and take courage, and bid this society prosper and God's speed, in the name of the Lord. With these feelings he cordially seconded the resolution.
Mr. F. BUXTON then, by command of his Royal Highness Prince Albert, put the resolution to the meeting, and it was passed unanimously.
Dr. LUSHINGTON, M P., then came forward to move the next resolution - "that the utter failure of every attempt by treaty, by remonstrance, and by naval armaments, to arrest the progress of the trade, and the exposure recently made by the publication of Mr. Buxton of the deep interest which the African chiefs have in its continuance, as the means of obtaining European goods and manufactures, prove the necessity of resorting to a preventive policy founded on different and higher principles," and was loudly cheered. The right hon. And learned gentleman said, though he was here upon compulsion, still he was a willing slave to the cause. The resolution he had to propose was almost a necessary consequence on the facts already presented by the two speakers who had preceded him, and therefore he came at once to the consideration, first, of the reasons which had given birth to this institution, and then to the principles and the common bond by which they were united. They were assembled together because not merely the traffic in human beings was continued, but had daily augmented, and because there was an extent of human suffering, a depth of guilt, and a defiance of the first ordinances of God, which was never before exhibited since the world began; and that defiance had been perpetrated not by those who were buried in the depths of heathen barbarism and pagan idolatry, but by those whose pride it was to know and to acknowledge, and to profess their belief in the eternal God and Saviour, and who did not deny him, but defied him. When this institution was first originated, and when it was proposed to unite and combine together persons professing such an infinite diversity of opinions, it was necessary to lay down some common principle or end; they were well aware that in a society where there were Churchmen, Dissenters, members of the Society of Friends, and Roman Catholics, it was beyond the power of man to devise a plan by which all could continue to promote it. But, in the words of the prospectus, although they deeply and unfeignedly regretted that they were under the necessity of abandoning the idea of directly and immediately attempting to introduce Christianity, they one and all, without a single exception, united in expressing a firm conviction that the evil would never be overcome until Africa had abandoned her pagan rites, and become Christian people. (Cheers.) So again, with respect to education, the same difference arose; but they all knew that when once the road was opened by the efforts of this society, there were other societies and bodies which would avail themselves of it, and carry the object into effect. It had been said that they had laid their foundations on limits so narrow, that little good could result from such a combination; but, remember, the forest must be cut down ere the church can be built - the swamp must be drained ere the stately palace can be erected - the road must be opened before it is possible that exertions, however energetic, however benevolent, however well directed, can be usefully made - they must have a road opened to them before the most zealous operations could succeed. This society, then, were the humble pioneers in this road - they sought the civilization of Africa - they sought to abolish the slave trade by extinguishing the great motive to its continuance - the insatiable lust of avarice - by supplying to the inhabitants these necessaries, those comforts, those conveniences in a mode to which no human being can offer objection, instead of their being purchased by the blood and misery of their fellow-creatures. (Cheers.) Could they suppose that the nations of the continent would not feel, and acknowledge, and imitate the example set them that day? (Cheers.) I have the honour, said the right hon. Gentleman, to witness present here the representative of one of the mightiest nations in Europe. (Cheers.) I hail his presence as an auspicious omen (renewed cheering), and I trust that he (M. Guizot) will convey to his Sovereign and to his country an adequate representation of the zeal and unanimity of the people of England? (Cheers.) I trust - and why should I doubt? - that it will produce its effect. (Hear, hear.) I hope for France, I pray for France, as our first and noblest coadjutor. (Enthusiastic cheers.) I think it right to bring under the consideration of this meeting a proposition founded upon actual experience in these countries - I mean the proposition lately made by Mr. Turnbull in his work on Cuba. It appeared to him, that were it possible that the Spanish Government could be induced to consent to what they have not hitherto consented to - to allow the mixed commission acting there, not simply to inquire into the condition of the slaves when they are captured at the entrance of the river, but after being once imported into the country, to inquire into their mode of treatment, much would be done to do away with the horrors of the system. Now, we, as a society, cannot embark in that undertaking; but it is well deserving the consideration of those who think that no national means ought to be neglected, and ought not to receive the most careful examination, if they tend to the accomplishment of one common object. I feel how wrong it is for me to trespass further on the attention of this great meeting, but I cannot refrain from adding my last wish, that your Royal Highness may never repent the day when you honoured this meeting with your presence. (Great cheering.) The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the second resolution.
The Venerable Archdeacon WILBERFORCE rose to second the resolution, and was loudly cheered on presenting himself to the meeting. He said, however he might fail to express them, the sympathies of his heart were entirely with the society, and it was no small pleasure to him to find himself in this resolution joined with the name of Mr. Buxton - with him to whom he well remembered, in undoubted confidence, it was the settled resolution of his honoured father that he could most safely consign the leadership in this great cause. (Loud and enthusiastic cheers.) He know well with whom he had to do; he knew well the single, settled, generous, and devoted purpose with which that hon. gentleman disdained for a moment to make this cause the medium of personal advancement, and that he would pursue through evil report and through good report the cause he had undertaken; and he took up a remark which had fallen from Mr. Buxton - namely, that the extinction of the slave trade depended on promoting the civilization of Africa. (Loud cheers.) He knew, and many in that meeting would remember, what civilization had done of old in that city which had reached the highest point of earthly civilisation, when the hand of God rained on Athens, and the pestilence was mowing down its ranks, They remembered, then, that that city, in spite of its civilization, had exhibited the most fierce, the most inhuman, and the most deadly hatred in man to man - that then every bond which bound the links of life together was severed at once, and man only saw in his fellow man one in whom he could recognize a prey; and thus it ever had been with those who trusted in human instrumentality to do that which nothing but the presence of God could effect (Cheers.) Although they trusted altogether to Christianity to do the work, no one had looked at the history of the spread of Christianity but must have seen that God had used secondary instruments as the means of introducing Christianity. He believed that the very cause and origin of the commercial plan had been for that ample purpose. He believed that the cause why England did not produce the fruits and spices of the East, and the East did not bring forth the products of England, was simply this - that as the Great Father of All grudged not his gifts, there was no stint on the prodigality of His giving. But that was the source of the necessity which led nation to trade with nation, who thus had an opportunity and power, which other than commercial nations did not possess, of carrying the embargo of civilization into every part of the earth, that every ship laden with commerce might also bear the inestimable boon of everlasting life (loud cheers) - that from no part of the earth should they receive only, without giving for the gold of the West and the spices of the East the more precious wealth - the more blessed frankincense of Christ their master. (Loud cheering.) They knew their hope was in Christianity, but that knowledge conferred duties on them, and might be made instrumental in it. (Cheers.) In the discharge of those duties the church to which he was conscientiously attached was ready to perform its part, and he ventured to anticipate good things from the movement which, under God's blessing, had now begun. There were many favourable prognostics. He did not mean to flatter the meeting with the expectation of the speedy issue of their labours. He had learned that no good work was to be done in this world except by faith and patience They must patiently labour on in faith on God's promises that they might certainly obtain a favourable result. It was this thought that through a many weary day and anxious night animated the heart and upheld the steps of him whom in this matter he desired earnestly to follow. Well he remembered those words - those prophetic words he spoke in answer to some expression of early expectation from a more sanguine fellow-labourer (hear, hear) - "Be not so speedy as to the result of our efforts - I look for no present success - I know well when self-interest is turned for a moment by the acclamations of such meetings as this, and has hung down its head, it will raise itself again when the burst of acclamation is over. I know self-interest is steady, persevering, and long before it is put down; but (he added) I look with confidence to the end." (Cheers) It had been said to a rev. friend now on the platform, "Public opinion is now so strong against us, I can be scarcely heard; but let me live a few years, and then it will be exhibited as strongly on the other side." Your Royal Highness, continued the rev. gentleman, has been happily spared the hearing the discord which has prevailed, but as happily you have arrived in time to seen the unanimous feeling which now actuates the English people upon this important subject. On this principle, and with this good hope, I beg of every one present to devote himself to the work - not as a light thing which may be set about to-morrow, but as a work in which you think that, God helping you, you can never fail. Your labours are directed to the amelioration of the condition of a fourth part of the human race - you devote yourself to no mere earthly triumph - to no pagent of a day, but to a triumph the chariot wheels of which are righteousness (Cheers.)
The resolution was put to the meeting by Dr Lushington, and passed unanimously.
|Tu 2 June 1840|
|Sir R. PEEL was next announced to the meeting, and rose amidst three distinct rounds of waving of hats and handkerchiefs. As soon as silence was restored, the right hon. Baronet said it would have been much more agreeable to his own private and personal feelings if he had been permitted to take a silent and perfectly unostentatious part in the proceedings of that day. There was to him something painful in appearing at this time to interfere with the triumphs of those who had devoted their lives and their best exertions to the furtherance of this cause, and to whom was exclusively due the honour and the virtuous fame of having struggled in furtherance of it when it was exposed to real and pressing difficulties, and it was only because these who had been the consistent friends of the cause - it was only because the hon. Gentleman who had begun the proceedings of that day, and because the rev. gentleman who had just concluded an address proving that he not only inherited the name but the virtues and eloquence of his father - it was only because these had expressed a wish that he (Sir R. Peel) should take an active part in these proceedings that be had overcome the dictates of his own will, and deferred to the wishes of those who were the best judges of what was best for the advancement of the best interests of the cause. (Cheers.) They had imposed upon him the gratifying but most difficult task of attempting to embody in becoming language that which it was, he was sure, the anxious wish of the assembly to convey - namely, their feeling of grateful acknowledgement to his Royal Highness for having undertaken to preside on this occasion (loud cheers) - to express the feelings of high and pure delight that his Royal Highness had auspicated and sanctified this cause by his first appearance in the arena of public discussion, and by manifesting a zealous feeling in the great cause in which the interests of humanity and religion were so deeply involved. (Cheers.) The feeling which he (Sir R. Peel) had to express was not confined to any meeting which could be contained within the narrow walls of that edifice, for that meeting was the fit organ and representative of the feelings of the whole people of England. (Loud cheers.) That meeting, which was attended by persons of every religious persuasion, of every shade of political opinion, was the fitting representative of the only feeling of a great people - a feeling of gratification and cordial delight that his Royal Highness had stepped forward to take a first part in the proceedings of that day. (Loud cheers.) Such was the feeling of a people who in times of great financial difficulty had submitted without a murmur to extraordinary pecuniary sacrifices, for the purpose of purifying themselves from the stain of any participation in the horrors and complicated evils of slavery. They had freed themselves from that stain, but they could not conceal from themselves the mortifying reflection, that in having thus rescued their character, there was but too much reason to believe they had not succeeded in diminishing the sum of human suffering, but, on the contrary, that in individual cases they had aggravated the sufferings of those who were the victims of the slave trade. Since he had come into the room a document had been placed in his hand which he felt it his duty to notice. It seemed placed there by a fortuitous and happy circumstance, as it would serve to convince the meeting, and through it the people of this country, that notwithstanding the vote of 20,000,000 l. to put an end to the slave trade, there was still need of combined and increased exertion. He wanted to bring to the minds of these who heard him the conviction that by the grant of 20,000,000 l. the country had done nothing more than rescue its own character from imputation. This was not a document prepared by any anti-slavery association. It was a document called "the Shipping List of the Cape of Good Hope," - a commercial paper not professing any sentiments, but merely recording commercial transactions. It was dated the 17th of March, 1840, and one half of its intelligence was devoted either to the capture or wreck of slave-ships. The heading of the articles were "Fresh Capture of Slaves," "Progress of the Slave Trade on the East Coast," "The Loss of Slavers at Mozambique Harbour during a Hurricane." The last was the only article he would read :- "On the 24th of January, 1840, during a hurricane from the south-east, two slavers, a ship and a brig, were wrecked at Mozambique harbour, but the crews of both and 200 slaves on board the brig were saved. The ship had arrived the preceding day, and had not taken in any slaves. It was reported that the brig, commanded by a Spaniard, had originally 900 slaves on board, but during the hurricane the hatches had been battened down, and on opening them 300 were found to have died from suffocation." (Great sensation.) "Again the hurricane came on; the hatches were battened down a second time, and the consequence was, that 300 more of the slaves perished from the same cause, and 100 of the remaining 300 died on the passage to Mozambique harbour;" and what had been the conduct of the parties to this mortality - what was the course the vessel had pursued? Why, they returned for the purpose of getting a fresh supply. (Renewed sensation.) Until this country rescued Christianity and the character of the white people from the grievous infamy of these sins, it never would succeed in the great object to which the rev. gentleman who had preceded him adverted, it never would be able to convince the black population of Africa of the moral superiority of their European fellow-men (cheers); scarcely could it convince them of the truths of Christianity, which continued to tolerate such monstrous sins, it was necessary that great exertions should be made by the country for the purpose of preventing the efforts and exertions of this country from aggravating the evils, of the stain from which England was free. (Hear, hear.) There will be (said the right hon. Baronet) some difficulties in the way, and I am not sanguine of early success; but I confess I have that confidence in. the righteousness of the cause, in the conviction that it must meet with the Divine protection, and in the knowledge that the moral influence of this country, and its pressing unanimously its determination on the subject, will so nerve the arm of the Executive Government, that it will compel other countries at least to fulfil the obligations of positive treaties (cheers), and that Africa will thus be enabled to effect its own advancement. It is from the prevalence of such feelings as these that the present meeting has originated; and I must not hesitate to state, Sir, that the position you this day fill, with the knowledge of the whole United Kingdom, is not unworthy of the illustrious station which you occupy (loud cheers); it is not unworthy of the illustrious station which you occupy on the right hand of the throne of England (cheers); it is not unworthy of the high character which at an early period of life you have been enabled to establish, and which is well known in the remotest corner of this empire (cheering), by the combination of virtuous conduct and high mental qualifications and accomplishments. It is not, Sir, unworthy, too, of those glorious recollections which you are entitled to cherish on account of the virtues and sacrifices in a good cause of your ancestors. (Loud cheering.) We do feel that it is not unbecoming this high station, these great advantages, and these proud recollections, that you should be called on with your own hand to lay the corner-stone of an enterprise which has for its object to rescue Africa from debasing superstitions, and to put an end to her miseries by the introduction of the arts of civilization and peace; and, above all, to rescue Europe and the white race, as well as the name of Christianity, from the pollution of crimes the continuance of which forbids ourselves to triumph either over those superstitions, or over the supposed inferiority of that race which we seek to exalt and to make worthy of freedom, by teaching it how to value the privileges and attributes of freedom. (Cheers.) It is by these means, not by war, not by force, but by the blessed means of teaching the natives of Africa that the labours of their sinews, applied to their own land, are more valuable than that labour of blood which is the object of the present detestable traffic - it is by these means, and by teaching these lessons, as well as by proving the absence of every interested feeling, that we can hope ultimately to triumph. (Cheers.) The illustrious consort of Her Majesty had made an exception to the rule which prohibited the attendance of personages in his situation at meetings of political and party character, and had made his first entrance into public life - at all events into an assembly met for public discussion - by coming forward as a zealous advocate for the total extinction of slavery.|
At the conclusion of Sir Robert Peel's address, His Royal Highness Prince Albert quitted the chair, and having bowed to the meeting retired, amidst the most enthusiastic cheering from all parts of the hall. His Royal Highness left at five minutes to 1 o'clock. The Earl of Ripon then took the chair, and the business of the day proceeded.
The Bishop of CHICHESTER rose to move the third resolution:- "That that policy was to be found in the civilization of Africa, by the introduction of Christianity, by the promotion of legitimate commerce, and by encouraging the cultivation of the soil on a system of free labour." His lordship said, though it was but a small part of the business of the day he had to perform, he could not help thinking he ought to do all he could in the great cause. He would allude to the letter of the Primate to the committee that morning. He had once a fear that interested motives might have operated to produce ends of a sordid character, but that fear was removed. He hoped that religious civilisation would be the one great and sole object, and that their proceedings would partake of nothing that was unworthy or impure. It was the love of gain which had produced the very atrocities they had heard of. It would be lamentable if motives of gain were to supersede motives of religion. The state of the slave ship, which had been alluded to by Sir Robert Peel, was most deplorable. Deplorable too, it was, that after all the sacrifices made by this country, that system was suffered still to exist. When the question was discussed in Parliament, he well remembered the nature of the discussions, and he had put his hand to many petitions against the existence of that system. When Mr. Fox and Mr. Pitt debated the question, it was stated that 80,000 slaves were annually transported across the Atlantic, but it now appeared that 150,000 were annually exported to Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Not less than 400,000 persons were annually sacrificed, to enable this importation to exist. They were destroyed by war, by ill treatment, and by disease. Thus 500,000 slaves might be said to be sacrificed every year. They were about to undertake a great - a mighty cause, they must be prepared to meet with obstacles; both men, aye, and devils, both principalities and powers would oppose them; but they would have the blessing of God with them. (Cheers.) Yet, as human means must be employed, it was, amongst other things, pleasing to know that the commander of the projected expedition was entitled to the confidence of the country, and he, the Bishop of Chichester, would say that, of all the persons with whom he was acquainted, he knew of no one who would do so much as that commander would do. Four or five years ago ho commanded the Curlew on the African coast; he found that a vessel had been plundered by the crew of a vessel half pirate, half slaver. The pirates had secured the crew beneath the hatches, and had prepared to blow them up, when a Spanish vessel had fortunately come to their rescue. When he (Captain Trotter), the commander to whom he had alluded, learnt the fact, and obtained information from the American consul, he watched the pirates, and pursued them up a river in the bight of Biafra. They set fire to their vessel, and fled. Captain Trotter pursued them for 15 months in his boats, amongst the native princes, and wherever they went; he got hold of them at last, and sent them to America, where they were tried by Judge Storey, who had pronounced a most high and deserved eulogium on his conduct. The bishop concluded by proposing the resolution.
Mr. S. GURNEY seconded the resolution proposed by the Bishop of Chichester. He observed, that the resolution embodied three points; first, a way by which Christianity was to be introduced into Africa; secondly, the cultivation of the soil of that country; and, thirdly, the encouragement that would be given to commerce. With respect to commercial advantages, he would say there was no worldly policy so sure as that which was based on Christianity. The commercial powers of Africa would be developed for the advantage of the inhabitants of Africa, and also for the advantage of this country. The commerce already commenced was not a mean commerce; it was a profitable one, and was increasing; at present it consisted mainly in receiving almost spontaneous articles; gums, oils, and ivory. The great object of the country should be to turn their efforts to legitimate purposes, not wholly to depend on spontaneous results, but on the results of industry also. Indigo once grow in only one locality, it now grows in many. Wool, which was formerly imported from Spain, came now from Germany, and much also came from Australia. If history showed variations in commercial localities, why might they not obtain both indigo and wool from Africa? Perhaps it might so happen in a few years. He would not say they had not difficulties to encounter; he know difficulties would arise, but they would not be insurmountable. It was, at all events, highly probable great changes would take place. There were other favourable points, Africa was populous, and the population were unsophisticated, why might not artificial wants be created? Such wants would produce civilization. And increase commerce. The other point in the resolution he would allude to; the introduction of Christianity. The introduction of Christianity would tend more than anything else to their object. The olive branch would do more to produce civilization than the musket and the sword, and they might anticipate that their exertions would be the means of hastening that day when Christianity would cover the earth as the waters covered the sea. (Cheers.)
The resolution was put and carried.
Mr. BUXTON apologized for interrupting the business for a few minutes, but he had just received a letter from the secretary of Prince Albert, informing him that his Royal Highness had subscribed 105 l. to the funds of the Society, and had also directed his name to be put down as an annual subscriber for 10 l. This announcement produced great applause throughout the room. Mr. Buxton then said he would interrupt them for a few moments longer to say that the Duke of Northumberland had subscribed 50 l., the Bishop of London 25 l., Lord Broadstone 20 l., John Smith Wright, Esq., 105 l., the Primate of Ireland 25 l., the noble lord in the chair 50 1., Mr. Close 10 l. and the Bishop of Lincoln 20 l. He would also take the opportunity of informing them that subscriptions would be received in the committee room, and at the bottom of the stairs.
The Earl of CHICHESTER moved the fourth resolution, "That in the opinion of that meeting Great Britain is required both by every consideration of sound commercial policy, and by the highest motives of Christian obligation, to exert all her influence and all her power for the effectual suppression of the slave trade, and that the means proposed by that society in accordance with the principles recognized in its prospectus, and in the preceding resolutions, appeared eminently calculated to conduce to the attainment of that great result, and were, therefore, entitled to cordial approbation and support." His Lordship said it was natural on this occasion that the devoted feelings of loyalty and affection felt by all towards the illustrious prince who had at the commencement of the day filled the chair, and the loyalty felt by all present for the Queen, should have been shown as it had been, and that the various speakers should have congratulated the meeting and the Christian world on the fact of his presence. He felt in common with the country the joy diffused by his having been present. He rejoiced that His Royal Highness had witnessed the feeling of the country in the cause of Christianity. (Cheers.) They were justified in believing that the union of these whom be addressed originated in the feeling of Christian men that it was their duty to redress the evils which existed. That the union of men of all parties was the result of a conviction that it was the duty of all to redress the evils which this country had produced and protracted. He felt he owed it to the meeting to apologize for trespassing upon their time, though he had not taken a prominent part he had always been deeply interested in the abolition of slavery, and be was connected with a missionary society that held it their bounden duty to extend the gospel. To suppose Africa could be civilized and commerce and the arts introduced without introducing religion, would be a nugatory notion, for what could man effect without the light of revelation! The history of modern missionary efforts, was an illustration of this; wherever the message of salvation had been carried, civilization had accompanied its steps. The preaching of Christ he believed to be one great object of the society, and it was in that belief he lent his assistance. He trusted the prayers of millions would be offered up to God for their success, and he anticipated the best results.
At this part of the proceedings there were renewed calls for Mr. O'Connell, but they were shortly hushed,
and Mr. C. LANGDALE M.P., seconded the resolution. He felt the necessity of an apology. There was no distinction of political creeds nor of religious opinions about the object they had in view. He would not presume, after what they had already heard, to offer anything new. Nothing would be said in defence of the gross abuses of the system they were met to put down. There was, however, one point to which be would call their attention; Great Britain was under a peculiar obligation to put down the system, because she once had a portion in its iniquity, and it was but a few years that slavery had been blotted out of the code of the empire. But though the property of man in his fellow-creatures had been justly paid for, yet the effects of their past misconduct remained, and they were bound to turn others from that course in which they themselves had a share; they owed a deep debt to the inhabitants of Africa, and they were bound to pay it. They were bound to let them participate in the benefit of commerce, and to introduce peace and good will amongst them by the introduction of Christianity.
The motion having been carried,
Lord ASHLEY moved the fifth resolution, "That that meeting earnestly and solemnly appealed to the whole Christian community to farther the operations of the society by pecuniary contributions, by private and public influence, and by all other means that were legitimate in the prosecution of a purpose, dictated by humanity, approved by sound policy, anxiously desired by the country, and undertaken in the humble hope that the blessing of Almighty God would be vouchsafed to its labours." His Lordship said it might appear presumptuous, after so many distinguished in the cause had addressed them, that he should come forward, but his apology was that he was about to do what he had been requested to do. He exulted in the resolution he was about to propose, and the manner he knew it would be received. That assembly was composed of all grades and classes, and glorious it was to see them all cooperating in the great effort of wiping out the stain which had disgraced the country. It would be impertinent to dilate on subjects which had been so repeatedly urged; he would therefore be very short. They might be told their experiment would fail - he did not believe it would; at all events the experiment was worth a trial. If their perseverance were equal to the magnitude of their cause, and their faith equal to their perseverance, he had no doubt of their ultimate success. Power, science, wealth, freedom, and christianity, were all to be referred to the blessing of Providence. They now sought settlement without dominion, commerce without profit; but their dominion would be the dominion of humanity and truth, and their profit the blessings of countless millions. With heartfelt sympathy he would propose the resolution.
The Rev Mr. CLAYTON rose to second the resolution. He spoke with diffidence, and yet with satisfaction. He had no apology to offer; the cause was his apology. He was a man, and anything relating to the welfare of man was his business. Their object was to declare a war of utter extermination of slavery in all places, and on all occasions. (Cbeers.) It was a glorious day for Britain when she declared the moment a slave set his foot on her soil he should be free, but it was a more glorious day when the British Parliament declared slavery should be no more. A day of still greater glory was to be anticipated, which be ventured to say was at no great distance, when shouts should rend the shores, and voices exclaim, "Slavery is fallen, and shall rise no more." The principles of justice and benevolence must prevail. Justice to Africa, benevolence, humanity, and Christianity, would compel them to undertake the great work, and he was confident that the principles on which they proceeded must prevail. Their proceedings had taken deep root in the public mind. He valued princely patronage, but he had read, "Put not your trust in princes, nor in any son of man," and he had still greater trust in the nation in its determination to civilize and colonize Africa. That determination was imbedded in the minds of the British people, it was as a tessellated pavement in their minds, and no pick-axe could remove it. Revolution, murder, and anarchy had been predicted by those who were averse to the liberation of the negroes in the colonies, but how had the present system worked there? Ask the negroes, and they could tell them. It had worked for the cause of civilisation and religion. He held it good on any occasion when persons of different parties were led to co-operate, because kind affections were cultivated thereby, and asperities were removed; when be remembered who had filled the chair an hour or two ago, it was most gratifying; and he held it as a testimony which would tell in Germany and in all Europe, aye, and amongst their American brethren, they had seen the prince who borrowed lustre from the Throne, reflecting that lustre on their cause. God grant he might long live to witness the perfect success of that cause to which he had lent his youth and his exertions that day! But, beyond even that help, he relied on the King of kings, and prayed that He would prosper their labours, crown them with success, that all flesh might see the salvation of God.
Another cry arose for Mr. O'Connell, but the business of the day was not interrupted.
Sir R. PEEL here rose from his seat, and was long and loudly applauded as he quitted the room.
The Marquis of NORTHAMPTON, in proposing the next resolution, said that he trusted he might be permitted to allude to the last occasion when he had had the happiness to meet His Royal Highness Prince Albert, That occasion was, when, in conjunction with the Earl of Aberdeen, he, as President of the Royal Society, had received His Royal Highness at Somerset-house, when that illustrious Individual had, upon invitation, honoured the society with a visit for the purpose of being enrolled as a member, and as a patron of that society. On that occasion His Royal Highness had identified himself with the science of the country and the literature of Europe whilst on the present day His Royal Highness had identified himself with a much higher object, namely in the cause of humanity. (Cheers.) He deeply regretted that the science of this country had not, even though it had only been for its own advantage, earlier taken an active part in this subject. He felt deep shame that the science of this country, with which he was himself so closely associated, should, until that moment, as it were, not have bestirred themselves. (Hear.) An hon. Speaker who had preceded him had drawn a comparison as it were between piracy and the trafficking in slaves, but he must be allowed to remark that, in his opinion, the suppression of the latter was of far greater importance than the abolition of the former. No piracy had ever caused so much of horror, so much of misery, or so much of desolation as had the cursed, he had almost said the devilish traffic in human flesh. (Loud cheers,) The resolution he held in his hand called upon every one in that room to use their warmest efforts in conjunction with these of the society with a view to the ultimate total annihilation of that slave trade (cheers); and he felt assured from the manifestations which he had that day witnessed that the meeting - that the people of England would readily respond to the appeal. (Loud cheers,) It was a subject of great humiliation that in these days of general civilization and exertion the traffic in human beings yet remains to be put down. It was a matter for reproach of the highest character that, notwithstanding the powers of Europe had to a certain extent become linked together for the purpose, their combined exertions had been unsuccessful, and the trade yet remained. (Hear, hear.) For himself he begged to say it was an end he had long, very long desired to see accomplished, and he could only say that its consummation would be to him a source of unspeakable gratification. (Hear, hear.) The noble Marquis concluded by making a resolution in the following terms: "That in order to promote the interests of this institution throughout the kingdom, it is expedient to establish societies auxiliary to it, and in regular correspondence and connection with it, as extensively as possible. This meeting, therefore, pledges itself to strenuous efforts for that purpose, and earnestly invites the friends of Africa, of every religious persuasion and political opinion, to adopt such means in their respective neighbourhoods as may contribute, under the divine blessing, to its prosperity and success."
Lord HOWICK in seconding the resolution, observed that he had appeared on the platform upon that occasion rather with the intention, by his presence, of manifesting his strong hatred to and abhorrence of the system which it was the object of the society to extinguish, than by a verbal expression of his sentiments on the subject (Hear, hear.) But he had been requested to take a part in the proceedings by his hon. Friend, the leader of the day, and his noble friend in the chair, under whom he had had the happiness to act at the time when he had held office under his Lordship in the Colonial-office. (Hear.) He was now, as he had been then, gratified to act under those directions, and to follow his hon. Friend in his endeavours to effect the total extinction of the slave trade. Whilst in office it had happened to him to have an opportunity of seeing and hearing of the great necessity there was to put an end to that abhorrent traffic, and he had had an unmixed satisfaction when in his place in the House of Commons, under the direction of his noble friend, of promoting the measures which eventually had led to the abolition of slavery in our colonies. (Cheers.) So many hours had elapsed since the meeting had assembled, and the topic had been so exhausted, that he would not attempt to say one word to excite the animosity of all who heard him against the iniquities of a trade in slaves. He entirely concurred in all the opinions which had been expressed, and fully believed that the means proposed to be taken by the society were the only ones that were likely to attain the desired end. The resolution he had to second and support related to the formation of auxiliary and corresponding societies - they had done great good in obtaining the abolition of the system of slavery, and he trusted would be equally efficacious in the putting down of slavery in every shape. British interests were not now involved, all were unanimous, and he felt confident that the co-operation of many men and many minds, all directed to one common purpose, must be, the means of effecting great good. (Cheers,)
The resolution was then put and carried unanimously.
Lord SANDON had been unwilling to offer himself to the meeting, and would not have done so had it not been that from the peculiar position he held in connexion with a great commercial community, he felt he might he enabled to render some service to the good cause by giving in his adhesion on the part of his constituents, the inhabitants of the great commercial community of Liverpool, to the objects professed by that association. (Cheers.) The traders of Liverpool in former days had dealt somewhat largely in enterprises on the African coast, but when the voice of this country had declared that to "trade in man" should no longer be regarded as a lawful act, that to deal in slaves was as much opposed to the laws of God as it was repugnant to the laws of humanity, then the people of Liverpool had not merely abstained, but had enrolled themselves amongst the foremost for its abolition. (Cheers.) For a long period his constituents and their forefathers had carried on and pursued a lawful and a civilizing trade on the shores of Africa; and he mistook much if a portion of them had not been the pioneers of the present movement. (Hear, hear.) A few gentlemen had associated to send out a steam-boat to traverse the Niger, for the purpose of promoting commercial enterprise, and by that means leading the way to civilization - and, as a matter of course, to the extinction of slavery. (Hear.) The noble lord then moved the appointment of a committee, consisting of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Dukes of Norfolk and Leinster, the Marquis of Normanby, and several other noblemen. There was one name on the list which he wished particularly to allude to. It was that of the Earl of Harrowby. That noble earl had been the fellow labourer in the cause of the slave trade abolition of Pitt, of Fox, and Wilberforce; and though the infirmities of age had prevented him from assisting at the meeting of that day, the spirit which animated his youth did not slumber even now. (Cheers.)
The Rev. J. DYER, in seconding the resolution, expressed a hope that, under the blessing of Divine Providence, the work which had been so auspiciously began on that day might be carried on with vigour and ultimate effect.
The resolution having been put, was carried with acclamation.
The noble CHAIRMAN having observed that the delicacy of the noble lord who had moved the resolution had prevented his mentioning his own name as one of the Vice-Presidents. He was confident that a more effective or a more zealous friend to the cause did not exist.
The Rev. J. W. CUNNINGHAM, on presenting himself to the meeting, said he had much satisfaction in informing them that the resolution which he had to submit to their notice was the last. (Hear, hear.) The speech which he was about to make had this novelty in it, namely, that he was about to find fault with his friend and relative. He had often heard that friend spoken of as the honourable gentleman, and shame was it on the country that he was not an honourable. (Hear, hear.) He alluded to Mr. Buxton. That hon. Friend had commanded himself and others, his willing slaves, to write pamphlets, to speak addresses, and to preach in furtherance of the cause they had that day assembled to advocate, whilst he had himself been engaged in bringing out a book which went to prove that he had ransacked every page of history wherein the subject had been referred to, and then to crown all, he had come forward and almost exhausted the matter by saying everything that it was possible to say on the question, and having done all this, he had next found fault with them for not doing that which, by the course he had adopted, he had rendered unnecessary. (Loud cheers.) Now he should in future suggest that his hon. Relation should, instead of making his speech at the commencement of the meeting, delay it until all others had spoken. (Hear, hear.) A great deal had been said about the natural inferiority of the African race, and he had always observed that these accusations were made by the stronger party against the weaker, for instance, the lords of the creation had constantly insinuated that they were superior to the ladies of the creation; but when he remembered the exertions of the ladies in the great cause in which they were engaged, he could not doubt but that their hearts were as large and their understandings as good as those of the lords of the creation. The Chinese had accused the Europeans with being an inferior race. Were they inclined, therefore, to consider themselves as an inferior race to the Chinese? He would, with a view of showing the capabilities of the African as he existed in our West India Islands, read to the meeting a petition sent over to the Church Missionary Society. (The rev. gentleman then proceeded to read the petition in question. During the time he was reading it he was frequently interrupted by the impatience of the meeting and cries for O'Connell. Its object was to express the sorrow of the petitioners at the withdrawal of the grant by the Church Missionary Society, and the determination to finish the church and school-house then in the course of erection by their own exertions.) Seeing the impatience of the meeting he would not press his observations on them at any length; but he would earnestly recommend all who wished to understand the important objects of the society to read Mr. Buxton's book on the African slave trade and its remedy. He prayed them not to let their enthusiasm in the cause be evanescent. The cry for Mr. O'Connell here increased so much as to drown the remarks of the rev. gentleman. "Let us hear O'Connell - let us have his speech" issued from several parts of the hall.
The Rev. Mr. CUNNINGHAM, however, when silence had been partially obtained, said - he makes plenty of speeches every day, while I make but one in the course of the year. He would refer the meeting to Mr. Buxton's book, and they there would find who Captain Trotter (who was to have the command of the expedition) was, and the grounds of his selection. He wished only to tell the meeting one fact more. Their friend, Mr. Buxton, had told him not to stop his exertions until he had got 10,000 l. (Cheers and a laugh.) Now, perhaps, the meeting would give it to him as the condition of his stopping at that moment. (Renewed cheers and laughter.)
The cry for Mr. O'Connell was again renewed, in the midst of which,
The Rev. Dr. BUNTING was called upon by the noble chairman. He had, he said, to propose a resolution which had for its object "the appointment of Mr. Thomas Fowell Buxton as the chairman of the association (applause), as well as the appointment of Dr. Lushington, Sir Robert H. Inglis, and Sir T.D. Acland, as deputy chairmen, and a long list of noblemen and gentlemen as a committee, with power to add to their numbers, and to fill up any vacancies which might occur. As other speakers, and some of then of the most distinguished rank and influence, seemed to think it their duty to pledge their support, and that of their friends, to the great great cause, be would do the same thing. (Cheers.) He, therefore, begged to pledge himself and the connexion with which it was well known he was associated, to the cause they were that day assembled to support. (Loud cheers.) Whatever power, little as it might be, of any kind that he might possess should be at the service of the society (renewed cheering); and he would at the same time venture to say on the part of that section of the community with which he was connected, that they would give their warmest support to it. (Great cheering.) He begged to press upon all present the practical conclusion to which the speech of his rev. predecessor endeavoured to lead them to, and he would illustrate that by an anecdote completely in point. A person who was constantly in the habit of being late at church, upon one occasion arrived at the church doors just as the congregation were coming out. "What," says he, "is it all said!" "Yes," replied the person addressed, "but there is all yet to do." (Cheers.) That he believed was the case with the society - they had all yet to do. (Cheers and laughter.) The rev. gentleman concluded by seconding the resolution.
The CHAIRMAN then put the resolution to the meeting, and declared it to be carried unanimously.
Sir GEORGE MURRAY next came forward, and was most warmly received. He said that until the resolution had been put into his hand, he had not had the smallest idea of addressing the meeting. (Cheers.) Perhaps, however, he had been called upon on this account. The meeting had already heard men of every political sentiment and different religious persuasions; the nobles of the land and the clergy had addressed them; they had had among them foreign ambassadors - (great cheering) - and probably it was desired that they should also hear the sentiments of a military man on the occasion. (Cheers.) He entered most fully into the feelings and views of that great and distinguished assembly. (Loud cheers.) It had been at all times his most anxious desire, wherever the British authority existed, that every trace of slavery should be extinguished; and wherever British influence and power could be used, that it should be exerted for the same laudable object. (Cheers.) The Society had several grounds on which it made its appeal to these present. In the first place, they had to elicit their feelings in favour of humanity, their religious feelings in favour of Christianity, and they had to direct their understandings to the attainment of their object. The exertions hitherto made for the abolition of slavery had failed of success, because they had not directed their endeavours to the worst of the evil. They had appealed to the understanding of the meeting as to whether they were not proceeding in the right course - their aim being the civilization of Africa, for the purpose of putting an end to that detestable traffic, the slave trade. (Cheers.) The resolution which he had had put into his hands did not require arguments or persuasion to obtain support. He was sure that all would concur with it. The resolution was the cordial thanks of the meeting to the Right Hon the Earl of Ripon, for his able and impartial conduct in the chair that day. (Cheers.) They had been particularly fortunate that day in the manner in which, the meeting had been conducted. (Cheers.) They had had in the chair at the opening of the meeting a rare and satisfactory pledge of the entire concurrence of the Sovereign of the nation in the proceedings in which they were engaged. (Loud cheers.) They had also a sure pledge of the concurrence of the country in the cause, and it was no inauspicious circumstance that so large a proportion of the audience were of the fair sex. (Hear, hear.) A surer pledge could not be given that they were in the right path, that their cause was one of purity, and humanity, and love. (Hear, hear.)
Sir T.D. ACLAND was called on to second this resolution but the hon. baronet was assailed with loud cries for Mr. O'Connell. In the midst of the uproar,
The Noble CHAIRMAN rose, and said that he deeply regretted that any circumstance connected with his name and his situation in that chair upon that occasion should have led to any difference of opinion which should even have the appearance of interrupting the harmony of the meeting. (Hear, hear.) But in the discharge of the duty he had undertaken, he felt bound to state that the name of Sir Thomas Acland had first caught his ear. In conformity, therefore, with the rules generally acted upon on occasions of that sort, he would humbly suggest to the meeting that the hon. baronet should be allowed to proceed. (Cheers.)
Sir T.D. ACLAND then, in seconding the motion, proceeded in warm and emphatic terms to express his full concurrence in the sentiments of acknowledgement to the noble earl in the chair, a nobleman who in himself presented to the view one of the finest and most genuine specimens of English feeling and English honesty in existence. (Loud cheers.) The meeting might depend that that day had already dawned which would most assuredly, in spite of clouds and obstructions, be beheld in all its glory - when Africa would be civilized, humanized, Christianized, and elevated to her right position among the countries of the earth. (Cheers.) Theirs was an enterprise which policy, if not philanthropy, would certainly carry. (Hear, hear.) The society were neither missionaries, nor merchants, nor colonists, nor settlers, but an association of all the good and great in Britain combining to accomplish a work that was most valuable in every good and beneficial enterprise. (Cheers.) In closing, Sir Thomas expressed his thanks, not only for the eloquence, and patronage, and influence, which had been enlisted in the cause, but for the considerate silence, along with the hearty cheering and approving looks of others of bonâ fide and sincere co-operation. (Cheers.)
There was now another cry for O'Connell, which was eventually silenced by cries of "Chair," when
The Earl of RIPON returned his acknowledgements for the kindness of the meeting, and expressed his satisfaction that he had, as a Minister of the Crown, recommended entire abolition of slavery, and that the first vote be ever gave in Parliament was in that cause. (Cheers.) No one could look round on the present vast assemblage without feeling that all the kind feelings of human nature were embarked in their cause. (Cheers.)There was again an attempt to raise the cry of "O'Connell," but the organist struck up, and amidst its "rolling thunder" the disputants and the friends of the Society quitted the scene of action.
|Tu 7 July 1840|
From the LONDON GAZETTE, Tuesday, July 7.
The Queen has been pleased to direct letters patent to be passed under the Great Seal, granting tbe dignity of a Baronet of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland unto the following gentlemen, and the heirs male of their bodies lawfully begotten, viz:-
|Ma 31 August 1840||The Niger Expedition. - On Saturday last the second iron vessel for this expedition was launched from Mr. John Laird's yard, North Birkenhead, and was christened the Albert, by the lady of Captain Trotter, R.N., commander of the expedition. The names of the other two vessels are, we understand, to be the Wilberforce and the Soudan. The latter vessel has received her machinery on board, and will, it is expected, be tried in a few days - Liverpool Albion.|
|Sa 12 September 1840||The discussions on the proposed Niger expedition have led to the consideration of a subject connected with it - viz., the position of Sierra Leone, and the question whether that colony has been successful or a failure. While Mr. Jamieson argues against the expedition, on the ground that it is undertaken on account of the assumed success of Sierra Leone, which he considers "a melancholy monument of the total futility of such settlements," Colonel Nicolls, who writes for an opposite purpose, admits that Sierra Leone is but a "bad bargain." Thus, as these advocates of opposite views both agree in a great measure as far as Sierra Leone is concerned (Mr. Jamieson supporting his assertions with a letter from the Governor of the place), the question concerning that colony becomes in a great measure an independent one. It has found an advocate in Mr. Fergusson, who has written a letter to Sir T.F. Buxton, containing a number of facts, collected with great care, and calculated to exhibit the character of the liberated Africans at Sierra Leone. He admits the miserable condition in which these captured slaves arrive at the spot, having been crammed into a small space, ill fed, and compelled to breathe a noxious atmosphere, and also the bad effect which such a state of bodily misery is likely to have on the mind. Nevertheless, these persons he considers are the elements of a better state of things, and his descriptions are for the purpose of exhibiting the position to which they have now arrived, from a beginning apparently so hopeless. He follows their condition through several grades of society, and says that those who have the most recently arrived occupy mud houses with patches of ground near the villages; some remaining as agriculturists, and supplying various articles of produce, such as vegetables, eggs, poultry, &c., to the Sierra Leone market, while others hire themselves out as labourers. A great number of the articles brought by the Africans to market are in a cooked state, such as cakes of rice, and so on. This is the lowest class of Africans, and, though they seem chiefly to pursue a kind of itinerant trade, Mr. Fergusson states that they never have recourse to begging. Persons of the next grade to these occupy frame houses, where they carry on a petty trade in small articles, such as pins, nails, tape, &c., while others of the same rank watch for the arrival of canoes from the country, and purchase a whole miscellaneous cargo of cattle and fruit, deriving a considerable profit by vending it at retail. The driers of fish, the tailors, carpenters, &c., belong to this class, and the best of them can easily obtain mercantile credit for from 20 l. to 60 l.|
Houses reared on a stone foundation of from six to ten feet form the residences of those who are a grade higher than the persons last mentioned. These houses are well painted, with piazzas before and behind, and frequently furnished with articles of European workmanship. Mercantile pursuits chiefly occupy this class, and, that they may purchase large lots at auctions, they often club together, afterwards dividing the goods, Mr. Fergusson says, with scrupulous honesty. These clubs, offering ready money only, are in high favour with the merchants, and the Africans, perceiving this advantage, pay as low a wholesale price as possible, thus deriving a great profit from their retail trade. Not being encumbered with shop-rents, clerks' wages, &c., they can sell at a price so low that no European is able to compete with them. The land in old Freetown, originally granted to the Nova Scotian settlers, and the Maroons, or free blacks, from Jamaica, who have never become industrious, is eagerly purchased by the liberated Africans, whose booths occupy both sides of the principal streets of the town. All these can obtain mercantile credit of from 60 l. to 100 l.
The highest class carry on similar pursuits to a larger extent, having neatly fitted shops instead of booths, and inhabiting stone houses of two stories. Many of these persons have realized large sums of money, though it is not easy to ascertain the amount of an individual's wealth from the care with which, from motives of policy, they conceal their real circumstances, and affect an appearance of poverty. To show the intelligence which they have arrived, at Mr. Fergusson states, that they form the chief part of the jury at every sessions, and that the colonial judge has expressed his satisfaction at their decisions.
The direction of energy towards agriculture has not, as Mr. Fergusson admits with regret, been so successful as their attention to commerce. The reason given for this by Mr. Fergusson is the want of encouragement to the culture of such articles as would always meet with a ready purchaser, and thus keep up a perpetual stimulus to industry. To show this he refers to the several instances of ginger, capsicum, and Cassada starch, which they began to cultivate and manufacture with avidity, but afterwards left off out of disappointment, arising in one case (ginger) from their want of knowledge, and in the other (capsicum) from underselling. The cultivation of cotton, which, as Mr. Jamieson observes, is not even mentioned in the list of exports from Sierra Leone in 1836, is one which Mr. Fergusson would particularly encourage, as suitable for the soil.This account by Mr. Fergusson, and the description in the Governor's letter cited by Mr. Jamieson to show the wretched state of the colony, are not, though brought forward for opposite purposes, so contradictory as may at first appear. Both the Governor and Mr. Fergusson agree that the Africans are an inoffensive, good-humoured people, and the evils described by the former more particularly apply to the condition of the slaves on their first arrival. Though he would generally give an unfavourable picture, the different grades described by Mr. Fergusson are not touched upon, and hence, assuming the accounts of the latter to be correct, care must be taken lest the misery, probably belonging to the lowest class only be applied to all without discrimination. Even Mr. Jamieson in showing the small quantity of exports, chiefly complains of the paltry amount of the actual products of the soil - a state of things which, with Mr. Fergusson's explanation, is not so desperate as may be imagined, since the same activity which has been shown in commercial pursuits might, with a little guidance, be easily directed towards agriculture, provided the soil is not against it. It seems, on the whole, that from a comparison of the different accounts, there is a fair chance of obtaining a tolerably accurate view of the real condition of the colony.
|Sa 10 October 1840||The Albert, Captain Henry Dundas Trotter, the Wilberforce, Commander William Allen, and the Soudan, Commander Bird Allen, iron steam-vessels, are daily expected at Woolwich from Liverpool, to be armed and completed for the Niger expedition.|
|Sa 31 October 1840|
MEETING OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE EXTINCTION OF THE SLAVE TRADE AND THECIVILIZATION OF AFRICA.
On Tuesday a meeting of the friends of the above institution, of which His Royal Highness Prince Albert is patron, was held at the Corn Exchange, Manchester.
Among the parties present were the Rev. the Dean of Manchester (the chairman), the Right Hon. Sir G. Murray, Dr. Lushington, M.P., Dr. Halley, the Rev. Mr. Parkinson, the Rev. Hugh Stowell, &c.
The CHAIRMAN having opened the business of the meeting, and having read letters from Lord Sandon, Lord Francis Egerton, Mark Philips, M.P., R.H. Gregg, M.P, the Bishop of Norwich. Mr. Wilberforce, Mr. J. Wilson Patten, M.P., and others, expressing regret at not being able to attend.
The Rev. Mr. PARKINSON (one of the canons of the collegiate church) proposed the following resolution:- "That this meeting, holding in just abhorrence the inhuman traffic in slaves, has learned with the deepest regret, that, notwithstanding all the measures hitherto adopted for its suppression, the trade has increased, and continues to increase, under circumstances of aggravated horror, and prevails to an extent which imperatively calls for the strenuous and continued exertion of the whole Christian community to effect its extinction."
Sir GEORGE MURRAY (candidate for Manchester at the next election) rose to address the meeting amid the most enthusiastic cheers. The right hon. and gallant officer, after alluding to other occasions on which he had addressed large assemblies in and out of doors in that town, and to the grateful impressions which those occasions had left on his mind, went on to say, but the present occasion is one which transcends all others in my estimation, because we meet here to-day for no personal object, but excited by one which it is the duty of us all to support We meet here today with no consideration of any difference in regard to our religious persuasion or political opinion. We meet here, called together by no strong desire to express our love to our country, or our resentment to any of its enemies - if unfortunately we are about to have enemies to feel resentment to - but we meet here for one great object of benevolence in behalf a long afflicted race. We meet, called here together by the first of all virtues, that virtue without which all others are of no avail, the virtue of charity, in its largest, most elevated, and most sacred acceptation. The great object, as it appears to me, of such a meeting as this is to enable these feelings and sentiments which you all have long cherished in private, to have an opportunity of publicly expressing themselves. The gallant officer next adverted to the duties imposed on Christian men in aiding this good work, and, after pointing out the inconsistencies of certain amiable philanthropists of former days, such as Las Casas, who suggested the idea of relieving the aboriginal inhabitants of the South American States by bringing natives of Africa to labour as slaves in their stead, proceeded to observe, "Charles V. granted a patent to one of his Flemish favourites, containing an exclusive right of importing 4,000 negroes into America. The favourite sold his patent to some Genoese merchants for 25,000 ducats, and they were the first who brought into a regular form that commerce for slaves between Africa and America which has since been carried to such an amazing extent." Now you see the origin, of that abominable traffic which has existed to this day. Many humane persons saw its injustice, and looked forward with apprehension to the evil which might arise out of it. We, my friends, live to see those apprehensions of evil more than realized. We were the first to put an end to the slave trade, and to do that this country made great exertions. Half a century ago we relinquished all participation in that trade, and money was expended to purchase the good-will and co-operation of other nations, but unhappily without that success that was to be expected, and it now remains for us to make additional efforts. As to the manner in which those efforts are to be best directed, my own opinion is, that no possibility exists of abolishing the traffic in slaves but by civilizing the great continent of Africa itself, by introducing into that country the blessings that accompany civilization and true religion. (Cheers.) It has been found impossible to put a stop to it, and no means but the civilization of the country could effect it. When I had the honour to hold the office of Secretary of the Colonies, I was well aware I incurred sometimes a considerable share of obloquy because I declined to concur with those who were desirous of relinquishing all our possessions on the west coast of Africa, on account of the unhealthiness of the climate. I felt as muck as they did a horror of the diseases that pervaded that coast, but I looked forward with hope, nay, almost with confidence, to the time when these possessions should be instrumental in promoting that great enterprise which we now advocate. I look to their forming the means of one day inoculating - if I may so speak - the continent of Africa with Christianity and with humanity; and I trust that now we are approaching the time when that hope is about to be realised. I find now that by the Niger, new channels are afforded of penetrating to the centre of Africa, and I trust that it will be the means of introducing true religion into those regions that are deprived of its advantages. I feel confident of success, though I may be told the means are exceedingly difficult, and that a long period may elapse before any expectations are realized. But, I reply, have we not seen almost as much in our own time? Have we not seen our own colonies the same objects fully accomplished? (Cheers.) The gallant general proceeded in the same forcible manner to point out other sources of encouragement to go on with the work, confident that the Almighty would crown their labour with his blessing. (Cheers.)
The Rev. Mr. MUNRO ably supported the resolution. He was followed by
The meeting was subsequently addressed by the Rev. Dr. Burt, the Rev. Hugh Stowell, and other friends of the institution. The meeting then adjourned to 6 in the evening, when an immense assemblage was congregated, who were addressed by the same parties who spoke in the earlier part of the day. The assemblage did not separate till a late hour.
|We 18 November 1840|
LONDON, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1840.
There was but one feeling, we will venture to say, in the minds of all our loyal fellow-countrymen, when thee consort of HER MAJESTY condescended to leave the privacy of his exalted station for the purpose of testifying, by his presence at a public meeting, his sympathy with the most wretched and degraded portion of the human race - the negro population of Africa, Rev. prelates and illustrious statesmen crowded around him, eager to pay the tribute of their respect to so princely and noble-minded an impulse, if there was little inquiry into the details of the scheme, the fitness of the machinery, or the trustworthiness of the persons constituting the under-plot and the secret springs of that unanimous movement, this was because no intention existed on the part of the distinguished individuals who attended the meeting to commit themselves to more than the principle, that all reasonable means should be tried for the extinction of slavery, and for ameliorating the condition of the African people. Sufficient time has since elapsed, for the enthusiasm occasioned by the association of Prince ALBERT'S name with the new project to subside; and people are beginning to feel that great undertakings require wariness and circumspection. We shall be much astonished if there is not now a very general misgiving as to the practicability of the proposed operations of Sir FOWELL BUXTON'S "Society for the Extinction of the Slave Trade and for the Civilization of Africa," and, even if considered practicable, as to their expediency and probable results.
To say truth, there is a large ingredient of charlatanism in the whole society system, which, as carried out at the present day, bids fair to supersede the office of the church in religion, and of the state in civil government. In spite of all their mighty pretensions, these societies are, by the very law of their being, incapable of conducting great moral operations. Voluntary in their origin, having no recognized functions, no public responsibility - democratical or oligarchical in their government, composed of the most fluctuating materials, destitute of that unity of sentiment which can alone insure consistency in action, depending upon excitement and popularity for their results, and therefore competed to aim at immediate rather than ultimate, showy and popular rather than permanent results - they really accomplish very little, and that little at a vast expenditure of means, and in a most unsatisfactory way. But what they want in action they fully make up in noise. The art of puffing is nowhere better understood than in Exeter-hall; and wonderful is the good which our fair countrywomen must suppose their well-advertised guineas to be doing all over the world, if they believe what they hear at those oratorical entertainments which are found to be a substitute, not less agreeable than orthodox, for the proscribed dissipation of the ball-room.
Of all possible undertakings, that for which a society of this character is the most disqualified by its nature and constitution is the elevation of the physical, moral, and intellectual condition of the savage tribes inhabiting the continent of Africa. When we consider the present state of those tribes, their geographical isolation, the vast space over which they are distributed, the insalubrity of their climate to European temperaments, the very narrow stock of knowledge which we possess concerning them; when we remember the failure of all that has been hitherto attempted (by men at least as wise and humane as Sir GEORGE STEPHEN or Sir FOWELL BUXTON) in their behalf; when we extend the field of our reflection, and ask of past experience whether the white man's commerce has ever yet brought civilization or recommended Christianity to the aboriginal races of the world; when we inquire whether it is desirable to add an African to our Indian empire, and think upon the light in which other nations may interpret any considerable enterprises in that direction, we are forced to acknowledge that the task undertaken by this society is the most gigantic in its difficulties, the most delicate is its collateral bearings, that can be imagined. For the forecast of its operations it requires the profoundest wisdom, and the highest degree of practical experience; for their execution, the most concentrated energy, the most undeviating consistency, the most complete subordination of means to ends. Nor would even these qualifications, great as they are, be found sufficient, unless the national name were identified with the undertaking, and functions of government and political control intrusted to the hands by which it was to be accomplished.
Even then, under the peculiar circumstances of Africa, success would be more than doubtful; and a wise man would feel that he was acting the part of an impostor if he affected to entertain sanguine anticipations as to the result. But not so this new society, with a title too tedious to be repeated. Elated, apparently, by the sanction which their project has received from many excellent and distinguished men, and by the éclat which attended their London debût, they have resolved upon a country campaign for the purpose of forming, according to the most improved method, auxiliary associations; and, unfortunately for themselves, appear to have selected Berkshire for the commencement of their operations. In that county they held a meeting on Wednesday last, at which the principal speeches (with one exception) were conceived in a spirit of insane self-confidence, while the schemes propounded were crude, visionary, and empirical in the last degree. The speech which constituted an exception to the rest was that of Mr. WALTER, who, much to the chagrin of the London projectors, chose to assume that the meeting was really, as well as professedly, held for the purpose of "considering the expediency of forming a society." Mr. WALTER honestly came forward to say that he thought the proposed measure was not expedient, and gave excellent reasons for thinking so. Never were facts and common sense more forcibly contrasted with empty sophisms and rhetorical parade.
Let us not be misunderstood. We believe that every man who attended that meeting went there with the best intentions. We hold with them that the extinction of the slave trade, the civilisation and conversion of Africa, are objects august and noble, such as justify enthusiasm, and would lend a dignity, if any thing could, almost to folly itself. We hardly think it possible that such objects could be accomplished at too dear a price: the British nation has already spent 35,000,000 l. Upon them, and we would cheerfully consent to spend as much more if the end could be thereby satisfactorily and certainly attained. But we think with Mr. WALTER, that to spend money by millions, and human life by thousands, to ruin our West Indian possessions, and to create a white slavery, and a Hill Coolie slavery, for the purpose of abolishing African slavery, and to be told after the lapse of 50 years, not only that we have not accomplished our object, but that all which has been done has tended only TO AGGRAVATE THE HORRORS of the evil we meant to cure, is not satisfactory; for, if this be true, so much blood and money has been worse than wasted - its expenditure has produced a positive balance of mischief. Let any man read Sir GEORGE STEPHEN'S speech at Reading on Wednesday last, and say whether he would trust the same class of persons upon whose suggestions we have hitherto acted in the slave-trade question with the disbursement of another farthing of public money for the same or any similar purposes. We trow not.
But, if it should be imagined that the present generation of philanthropists may possibly be wiser and more trustworthy than those who preceded them, that impression will be speedily removed by a little attention in detail to the projects of the new society; not to mention the fact that some of their leading members are, in their own persons, largely responsible for the past mismanagement of this question.
Their most prominent scheme is of a mercantile nature - TO CREATE A PROFITABLE COMMERCE in central Africa, which the natives may follow as a better speculation than the traffic in human beings. And for this purpose it is proposed to "teach them the construction of roads and warehouses, the application of the ordinary principles of barter, an appreciation of the comparative qualities of manufactured goods, the value of their own indigenous products, the best modes of preparing that produce for the market, and still more the cultivation of that description of produce which would obtain the highest price from European purchasers."
The fair part of the Reading audience must surely lave been in raptures at this splendid effort of fancy, which would have obtained for Sir GEORGE STEPHEN the highest degree in the university of Laputa, could it only have been enunciated in that celebrated island. The absurdity of a handful of European adventurers expecting, as if by an enchanter's wand, to change the face of the great African continent, and to stop the slave trade upon the pure principles of political economy, surpasses anything which the imagination of SWIFT was able to conceive. Must we still reason with such men? Must we ask how many colonies are to be formed, and where? How many schoolmasters, engineers, chymists, geologists, botanists, farmers, weavers, dyers, &c., are to be sent to each colony? How they are to live in the climate! How they are to be secured from being killed and eaten or sold into slavery themselves? How their communications with England are to be maintained? How they are to pass with the natives for anything but formidable and ambitious intruders? How much money will be necessary to do all this? And, finally, how many years must elapse before the society can have civilized a space equal to one moderately-sized English parish, or established one trading native town? If we ask these questions, we receive contradictory answers; and what Sir FOWELL BUXTON earnestly recommends, Sir GEORGE STEPHEN emphatically repudiates. We are reduced to the awkward dilemma of supposing, either that the projectors of this magnificent scheme are altogether at sea upon the whole question of means, or that they deal most dishonestly with the public by dissembling their real intentions.
There is, in point of fact, only one possible way in which the commercial designs of this society (upon which all the rest depend) could be in any degree accomplished; and that is, by treading in the steps of the East India Company. It might be possible (though at a vast expense of human life, and with a very questionable result as to the extirpation of slavery) to form factories or trading establishments along the course of the Niger; to maintain them by force of arms, and keep the navigation of the river in British hands; to concentrate round each settlement a native population under British protection, continually enlarging the circle as each assailant should be subdued; making treaties with the native chiefs, and enforcing them when made; till at length some rough collision would awaken us to our true position, and we should stand up the acknowledged masters of the African continent. The world might be a gainer by this; but it is an enterprise which no sane rulers will ever again allow to be accomplished or undertaken by a combination of private individuals, and before it is undertaken by public authority on the national account, there will be many things to be considered which appear to find no place in the philosophy of Sir FOWELL BUXTON.
That benevolent baronet, however, to do him justice, has some notion of a connexion existing between causes and effects, and sees as plainly as we do that there is but one way of setting to work in this matter. In his book (the book, which is quoted at the meetings of the new society as if it were a depository of perfectly oracular wisdom) we read the following statement of ends and means :-
This is, at all events, candid arid explanatory. We know what it means, and we see what it tends to. But how are we to reconcile this with the statement of Sir GEORGE STEPHEN at the Reading meeting, where he "declared, upon his honour as a gentleman, that Mr. WALKER had never been more mistaken in his life than when he supposed it was the object of the society to establish factories, and enter into negotiations with the native princes in order to take military occupation of Africa?" If, by this, he only meant to disclaim, the intention of taking military possession of Africa, he might have saved himself the trouble of informing the meeting, that persons such as those by whom this society is managed are in the habit of shutting their eyes to consequences, and affecting to wash their hands of the inevitable and foreseen results of their own actions, under the pretence that they never intended them. On the other hand, if he meant to deny that the establishment of factories, and the negotiation of treaties, are among the means by which the society would seek to accomplish its purposes, we leave him to settle that question with common sense, and with the great oracle of his sect.
But we have not yet done with the vagaries of these enthusiasts, who flatter themselves that the English people will intrust them with the task of regenerating Africa. A second great object is, "to promote gospel education, and to inculcate that knowledge which is more important than any other." A most excellent purpose, without doubt. But what are the men by whose deliberations it is to be accomplished? They are a society who boast that their committee includes "all varieties of religious principle that own Christianity for their common basis." What sort of gospel education will this medley of religionists promote? In what kind of Christianity can they agree, and how will they set about teaching it? Will they leave out whatever is offensive to the conscience of any one of their number? Will they mix up the peculiarities of each individual in one incongruous creed? Or will they deliberately, and in the teeth of the gospel which every one of them professes, introduce the principle of schism, and inculcate "all varieties of religious principle" at once, every man consenting to teach the poor Africans something which he himself "conscientiously" believes to be false? We suspect this all-sect-Christianity will not be found a much more effectual check in Africa to the supply of slaves than it is in America to the demand. And how Bishops, Archdeacons, and dignitaries of the church of England can be parties to the propagation of such Christianity, by such means, we cannot for the life of us understand.
In conclusion, we need only present our readers with Sir GEORGE STEPHEN's short summary of the remaining triumphs to be accomplished - a summary perfect in its kind, though perhaps it would have been more complete if he had mentioned the projected irrigation of the Great Zahara (according to the suggestion of Sir FRANCIS HEAD in his Life of Bruce), with canals and Artesian wells, and the lines of railroad by which (we doubt not) it is proposed to connect Timbuctoo with Cape-town, Algiers, and Alexandria, and for which the general flatness of the country offers considerable advantages. "They sought, further," said the learned knight, "to make the African population familiar with one common language by the compilation of dictionaries, grammars, and vocabularies, and thus, by obtaining a more general acquaintance with the feelings and manners of the Africans, to acquire their confidence. In the same way the society designed to give them all those scientific advantages as to agriculture and manufactures which this country had acquired in the lapse of ages; they sought further to introduce amongst them the benefits of medical science, and, by improving the drainage of the country, to facilitate the settlement of European speculators, without the risk of life on landing on its shores. There was an immense variety of similar points to which the exertions of the society might be usefully directed, but to them he would not now advert."
"Was there ever before such stupendous folly, so preposterous a chimera, as this? But when we, consider that, for the sake of these impossibilities, Englishmen will be tempted by shoals to emigrate into new death-swamps like Sierra Leone, among savages worse than those of New Zealand, probably with no better effect than that of adding to the embarrassments of our foreign politics, and creating more slave-marts like Liberia, and fresh opportunities for the employment of British capital in that detestable traffic, this chimera becomes a serious matter, and ridicule is converted into indignation.
|Fr 20 November 1840|
CIVILIZATION OF AFRICA.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir,- In the discussion which took place at the Reading anti-slavery meeting on the 11th current, I was surprised to find a person possessed of such opportunities of information in regard to Western Africa as Sir George Stephen endeavouring to uphold the salubrity of a climate which has been incontestably proved by the experience of a long series of years to be totally unfitted for the residence, either permanent or temporary, of Europeans.
Fortunately this fact no longer rests on the loose assertions of parties who, from false philanthropy, or less worthy motives, may be anxious to uphold a system by which millions of money and tens of thousands of our countrymen have been already sacrificed, for undoubted official evidence of it may be found in a report presented to Parliament by command of Her Majesty in March last, showing the loss of the troops and settlers on that coast for a period of 20 years, and from which I am anxious through your pages to make a few extracts, hoping that thay may prove useful at the next anti-slavery meeting.
First take the Gambia, for instance, the most northerly of the settlements on the coast. The only year in which this was occupied by any body of Europeans was in 1825 and 1826, and their fate may be briefly narrated as follows:-
At Sierra Leone, the settlement next in order, it is clearly shown that even on the long average of 20 years, nearly one-half of the European soldiers perished annually.
On the Gold Coast, the next of our possessions to the south, it appears that in the average of four years two-thirds of the white soldiers died annually, and this frightful mortality took place not at Cape Coast Castle alone, but at Accra, Annamaboe, Dinare[?], and the other small settlements scattered along that line of coast; all were tried, and all found equally fatal.
Fernando Po, the settlement furthest to the south, proved just as unhealthy. Of 40 European mechanics sent out in 1828, 16 only were alive two years thereafter; and of the unfortunate survivors, and 31 Europeans who joined in 1830, there died 28[?] in the course of that year.
It may be said that these men were reckless and dissipated in their habits, which facilitated the inroads of disease. That may be true to a certain extent, but even their officers, with all the superior advantages they enjoyed for the preservation of health, suffered nearly in a corresponding degree, for-
Thus, of this class, on the long average of 20 years, about one-tenth part died annually, and another fifth returned home sick, of whom, no doubt, a large proportion also died.
Even the missionaries, a class of men likely to be the most healthy, lost on the coast about 17 per cent, annually between 18?? And 1825. Of 25 merchants who arrived on the Gold Coast in 1822, four only survived in 1825, and on the other parts on the coast the rate of mortality has been much the same, for the insurance-offices, who generally calculate their risks with considerable exactness, usually charge 25 per cent, additional for residence there, on the supposition that the average duration of European life there is about four years.
I understand a statement in preparing to be submitted to Parliament next session by the Navy Medical Department showing the loss among the seamen on that coast, which is also frightful, particularly when they are obliged to remain for any time in the vicinity of the shore. At the French settlements of Goree and Senegal the deaths of the troops average about a fourth part of their number annually, and when they were in our possession the loss was still greater, amounting to one-third of the whole force annually.
If these facts are taken into consideration, the failure of the numerous attempts to penetrate into the interior will no longer be matter of surprise. The hand of death generally cuts off half the number engaged in them before the lapse of a few weeks, and the best arranged plans were speedily disorganised by the utter impossibility of contending against the climate. Such will, I apprehend, be the fate of those brave but misguided men who are now about to devote their energies to the same desparate enterprise, as well of those whi it in intended should follow, for the purpose of training the ruthless savages of that country to the arts, occupations, and industry of civilised life.
Before any further contributions, therefore, are levied on the public in furtherance of Sir F. Buxton's well-meant, but I fear impracticable and injudicious, schemes, it seem imperative on all those who are endowed with real feelings of humanity just to inquire whether a physical impossibility does not present itself at the outset in the nature of the climate to be contested with, seeing that from Senigal on the north to Fernando Po on the south, a dsitance of nearly 2,000 miles, there is not one spot on which the mouldring bones of our countrymen do not bear testimony of the dreadful insalubrity of the coast. Sierra leone, bad as it is, is clearly proved by the documents just referred to to be the healthiest spot along the coast; but were those who are to act as the pioneers of civilisation on this occasion to be certain of enjoying even the usual duration of life in that colony, they would be in their graves long before their lessons in civilization could take effect.
From the power of influence which your paper exerts on all public questions of this kind, I trust you will take the trouble of referring to the documents here alluded to, and if you find them as conclusive as they appear to me, that you will have the kindness to warn your philanthropic readers not to let their anxiety to civillize their sable brethren induce then to forget that consideration whichis due to the lives and constitutions of their fellow countrymen.
Colonial Club, Nov 16
|Sa 21 November 1840||LONDON, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1840.|
The Society for Civilizing Africa by dictionaries and political economy, and for promoting unity among the negro tribes by teaching them "all varieties of religious principle which own Christianity for their "common basis," seems at every step it takes to flounder more and more deeply in the mire. The bubble is bursting before it is full blown. Having started up at Exeter-hall, "a goddess armed," out of the head of its wise projectors, it was terribly worsted in its first encounter with common sense at Reading on the 11th inst.; and on Wednesday last was pierced through and through with a twofold shaft from different quarters. On that day we did the public the service of intercepting, in our non-conducting medium, a little of the glare of this dazzling luminary; and we are much mistaken if it did not look like a paint-bedizened actress, dragged into plain daylight from the stage where her got-up beauty had enchanted all beholders. On the same day it sustained a memorable defeat at Norwich, which, we suspect, will terminate the country campaign for the present season.
The English are an easy-minded nation, generously and charitably, but rather indolently disposed, always glad to take things for granted, and to be saved the trouble of inquiry, and therefore the ready dupes of mountebankery of every kind. Norfolk, Suffolk, and the adjoining counties, have recently (if we are not misinformed) shown that their latitude is not exempt from this national failing, by certain striking examples of gentlemen and clergymen high in station, education, and intelligence, who did not hesitate to embark their fortunes in the promised El Dorado of a mining adventure in Cornwall upon the unattested representations of a single worthless individual. If this was the ease where nothing but self-interest was concerned, we cannot be surprised that the same class of imaginations should be captivated by the much more magnificent moral El Dorado conceived in the brain of Sir FOWELL BUXTON, and half intimidated, half cajoled, into believing that those who have the extinction of slavery at heart must throw themselves into the arms of the new society, if they would not be esteemed traitors to the noble cause.
It is in this way, and by the use which, doubtless, has been made of Prince ALBERT's name, that we account for the success of the dictionary-dissenting-civilizers in procuring a large and highly respectable collection of names, both of clergy and laity, connected with the county of Norfolk, to their singularly imprudent requisition for a county meeting. A county meeting was accordingly held, and certainly it was intended to have been a very great affair. We shall not dwell upon the absurdity (justly pointed out by Archdeacon BATHURST) of giving the foremost places at a country meeting to the ladies, because everybody knows that it is really for their "amusement" (to use Bishop STANLEY's felicitous expression) that these things are got up. Neither shall we refute the strange notion of a "Catholic church" including all varieties of religions belief, which issued from the same right rev. lips, it being pretty notorious that the Whig Bishop of NORWICH is a fitter representative of the sentiments of the Dissenters than of the church to which he belongs. Another part of the right rev. prelate's speech - that in which he gratuitously attacked the memory of another generation of bishops, who have gone to their account - deserves a severer censure. But our object is not to comment upon the sayings or doings of the particular actors on this occasion, so much as to narrate the signal discomfiture of the party, and to moralize upon the causes of that event.
The meeting being summoned by the High Sheriff of the county, and held in the Shire Hall, it was of course impossible to act upon the hole-and-corner system, and a very considerable number of the working classes obtained admittance. Many of them are stated to have been Chartists. Before the Bishop of NORWICH, who moved the first "resolution" had spoken for many minutes, they gave manifest tokens of their presence and way of thinking. Not content with this, they found spokesmen of their own party in two individuals, named DOVER and HEWITT, who moved and seconded the following amendment:-
"That this meeting views with deep regret the many proofs of despotic slavery at home, and pledges itself to use all exertions to put a final stop to slavery wherever it is found to exist".
Deluded and misinformed as these speakers showed themselves to be upon many points, general and statistical, connected with church and state - bad at was the spirit in which they spoke of the church, and unjustifiable as was the personality of some of their remarks, we must say that at this meeting they appeared to more advantage than men of their opinions commonly do. If much of what they said was nonsense, it was not greater than might be paralleled in the speeches of Sir GEORGE STEPHEN and his followers at the Reading demonstration; and, to a certain extent, they were fighting the battle of justice and common sense against the cant of that "charity" which does not "begin at home." DOVER (Chartist though he be) spoke like a philosopher when he defined slavery to be the condition of the man "who did not receive a fair equivalent for the labour he performed." HEWITT was still better:-
"He should like some of the gentlemen who stood on the platform to attend at the door of the workhouse, and see the young girls driven, without hats or shawls, thence to the factory. He would then ask them what did they call that but slavery. This was not all, however, for he had himself found a weaver in this city who, after working 16 hours a day could only earn 9 s. a week. This was to support six children, his wife, and himself, and, deducting the outgoings, these earnings just left 1½ d. a day per head for that family to subsist upon. He could go with the Bishop who had supported the New Poor Law Bill to-morrow and show him, not one individual case, but an hundred such instances of destitution. He could take the right rev. prelate to houses where the husband worked as a weaver for 18 hours a-day, and yet had nothing but a lock of straw for his wife, his children, and himself to lie upon."
No wonder that the working men felt themselves insulted by the proposal, while so much wretchedness existed unrelieved and unrecognized among them-selves, to sound the trumpet of ostentatious benevolence on behalf of the distresses of another quarter of the globe; to show that the same purse-strings which could not be relaxed in their favour would readily open to promote any wild or fanciful scheme which was designed to take effect at the antipodes; to prove that the vary people who thought austerity itself too luxurious for the English poor, who would as soon go to Africa in person as call a county meeting for the sake of rescuing English children from the grinding slavery of mammon, had sympathies enough and to spare for the savage millions of a different race. No wonder that they cried out, "Look to the slavery and misery of the New Poor Law" - "Emancipate the white slaves before you think of the black."
We suspect that these are the things which make men Chartists, and certainly it is not the distorted medium of Chartism which causes these things to be seen in such a light It would surprise us to hear that DOVER or HEWITT had ever read the "Poetry, of the Anti-Jacobin;" yet the peculiar kind of philanthropy which excited their indignation was long ago described by CANNING in the following lines: -
"What! Shall a name, a word, a sound control
When the Chartist orators had concluded, Archdeacon BATHURST rose; and, if the gentlemen who got up the affair were chagrined by opposition proceeding from hearers on whose presence they had not calculated, infinitely greater must have been their mortification and disappointment, when they heard a dignitary of the church declare his opinion, "that to call a meeting like that now assembled, at such a moment, was injudicious; for why should Englishmen be asked to lend their ear to the details of misfortune and oppression which existed at a great distance, when the people themselves felt - whether right or wrong it was not for him to say - they had great cause of complaint at home?" The rev. gentleman then proceeded to indicate, in a tolerably unequivocal manner, his view of the impracticability of the Dictionary Society's designs, and stated that "in his opinion, too, the affection and confidence of the people of Africa now redeemed in the West India colonies must be acquired before any successful interference could be made with the chiefs of the African coast, and looking to the state of Jamaica so lately as April last, he could not but think that confidence and affection were at present to be acquired." In the spirit of this observation, he moved a second amendment, reminding the anti-slavery party, with a refined irony, of the responsibilities already incumbent upon them; and recommending the flighty philanthropists of the new society to discharge their self-assumed duties, and make good their ground, in the British colonies, before taking in hand the regeneration of the African continent. Of course the good Archdeacon did net expect his advice to be followed, or seriously imagine that the people he was addressing could ever attend to what actually concerned them, instead of leaving the half-finished work to produce new confusion in some other quarter. Their sympathies and their exertions will always be in an inverse ratio to the real claims of the objects on which they are bestowed. The Archdeacon's amendment did not find a seconder among the gentlemen assembled at the Norfolk meeting.
The rest of the proceedings consisted exclusively in dumb show and noisy disturbance. The amendment of the Chartist DOVER was put, and a forest of hands was held up for it; but, notwithstanding, the original resolution was declared to be carried, The other resolutions (being the usual farrago, dictated, of course, by the committee in London) were afterwards nominally moved, nominally seconded, nominally put, and nominally carried: and the lions of the day, befog no others than Mr. JOSEPH JOHN GURNEY and the great Archimandrite Sir FOWELL BUXTON himself, were obliged to go away in evident disgust, without having delivered the marvelous, ingenious, and pathetic harangues with which they probably meant to have entertained the meeting.
Such, and so complete, was the failure of the county meeting held in Norfolk on Wednesday last, "to consider the propriety of forming an auxiliary society (in connexion with the institution lately formed in London) for the suppression of the slave trade and the civilization of Africa." And such, we venture to say, will be the fate of every open and really public meeting which these hare-brained agitators may call together. It is not by the aristocratical blandishments of certain coteries which have invented a system of half-religious, half-fashionable excitements to supply the want of other kinds of pleasure which their conventional morality thinks proper to excommunicate; neither is it by the nominal co-operation of persons who lend their names to every scheme wearing the outward form of benevolence, that the public can be duped into pinning its faith upon the splendid promises, the extravagant chimeras of these men, who talk as if mountains were molehills, and act as if molehills were mountains. Nothing (provided it be at a sufficient distance from home) is too impossible for them to undertake; but practice shows that they have not wisdom or perseverance enough to execute, in a satisfactory manner, even the smallest things. We compared them on Wednesday to the philosophers of Lagade, without being aware, at the time, of the exact propriety of that comparison SWIFT was, by anticipation, describing them to the life when he wrote the following passage:- "These professors contrive new rules and methods of agriculture and building, and new instruments and tools for all trades and manufactures, whereby, as they undertake, one man shall do the work of ten; a palace may be built in a week of materials so durable to last for ever without repairing. All the fruits of the earth shall come to maturity at whatever season we think fit to choose, and increase a hundred fold more than they do at present, with innumerable other happy proposals. The only inconvenience is, that none of these projects are yet brought to perfection; and in the mean time the whole country lies miserably waste, the houses in ruins, and the people without food or clothes. By all which, instead of being discouraged, they are fifty times more violently bent upon prosecuting their schemes. Faithful as this description is, it does not come up to the effrontery of these who, after having been intrusted with the expenditure of 35,000,000 l. and upwards of national resources for the purpose of abolishing slavery, now come forward, and urge the alleged fact, that the expenditure of all this money according to their suggestions has tended only to aggravate the horrors of the slave-trade system, AS A REASON WHY WE SHOULD INTRUST THEM WITH 35,000,000 l. MORE for the accomplishment of the same objects, by means infinitely more wild, visionary, and chimerical, than anything before imagined. Good-natured as Englishmen are, they are not exactly the people to be cajoled or bullied into this.We are happy to perceive that persons are not wanting, among those who have taken an active part in the slave-trade question, who coincide in our views of the new society, and are willing to come forward and protest against its impracticable designs. In another column will be found a copy of resolutions, agreed to on the 16th instant by the committee of the Liverpool Anti-slavery Society, which we commend to the notice of all persons interested in this subject In these resolutions it is not only asserted, but distinctly proved, that "the present scheme is only a revival in a modified and less efficient form of the African Institution" - a society which, after attempting at a vast labour and expense, during a space of 20 years, to check the slave trade by the very means now recommended by Sir FOWELL BUXTON, was obliged to desist in despair from the vain endeavour, and confess that it had signally and unequivocally failed.
|Sa 21 November 1840|
LIVERPOOL ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY.
At a meeting of the committee, held on Monday morning, the 16th of November, 1840, the President in the chair; it was resolved unanimously,-
"The particular means which this society proposed to employ for promoting civilization and. Improvement in Africa were of the following kind:-
"Having signally failed, after more than 20 years' fruitless labour and expense, the directors of the African Institution arrived at the conclusion which they announced in the following remarkable words, at the end of their last report :-"'It is in slavery that the slave trade has its origin; it is the market provided by the slave holder which furnishes the direct incentive to all the crimes of a trade in slaves, to the murders and conflagrations which attend their capture, to the condensed horrors of the middle passage which follow it, and to the misery and desolation of a continent.'
"III. That a society having been recently formed for the extinction of the slave trade, and for the civilization of Africa, under the patronage of distinguished and honoured men, this committee have felt bound to give their most careful consideration to the plans it has set forth in the following terms:-
"From these plans the committee of the Liverpool Anti-slavery Society are reluctantly constrained, from a sense of duty, to withhold their support:-
"These reasons determine the course of the committee. They respectfully submit them to the calm consideration of all who are interested in the welfare of Africa, at the same time deeply regretting that they are compelled to differ in option from many whom they esteem and honour. But with them the cause of the abolition of slavery and the slave trade is too sacred to be lightly dealt with; and instructed by the experience of the past, right principles and plans in its promotion are, in their judgment, of paramount importance.
"JOHN CROPPER, Jun., President.
|Fr 27 November 1840|
LETTER FROM SIR GEORGE STEPHEN TO LORD JOHN RUSSELL, RELATIVE TO THE SOCIETY FOR THE EXTINCTION OF THE SLAVE TRADE, &c.
This "Letter", remarkably ill-written, rambling and disjointed as it is, has a claim upon our notice, solely on account of the object for which it is professedly published. It has no merit in a literary point of view; it displays no ability in the management of the subject; it manifests no talent in the author; and it exhibits neither strength of argument, nor anything like perspicuity in the arrangement of the details. It is crude, ill-digested, confused, and inconsequential; and it is only deserving of attention, inasmuch as it is intended as an exposition of the plans and views of the "Society for the Extinction of the Slave Trade, and for the Civilisation of Africa.'' The inducement to its composition its author states to have been as follows. He says- "After the lapse of only a few weeks from the publication of my former letter on the Niger expedition, I sent to my printer, for a copy, and received for answer that 'they were all gone.' This argues such a warm interest on the subject on the part of the anti-slavery public, that I am induced to comply with the request of many fiends who have read that letter, that I would enter more fully into the character and plans of the Society for the Extinction of the Slave Trade, as well as into the objections that have recently been urged against it." This excuse for writing the "Letter" puts us very much in mind of a remark which we heard made in the House of. Lords last yeas by Lord Melbourne, relative to Sir Francis Head. Some opposition peer - we forget who - stated, in a debate on the Canada Union Bill, we believe, that Sir Francis had written a certain pamphlet on the subject at his request. On that statement, Lord Melbourne observed, that he dared to say Sir Francis would very willingly write a pamphlet at anybody's request. Had this remark been made in regard to Sir George Stephen we should have been more ready to have admitted its accuracy; for from what we have seen of this weak, washy, itinerant philanthropist, we are quite sure he would be delighted to have an opportunity of volunteering, even without a request, either a pamphlet or a speech, whichever might best suit the occasion. We beg, however, to assure him, that there was nothing at all remarkable in the reply of his printer, which he is so proud to make public. That an ordinary edition of a "letter" on the "Niger expedition" should have been sold in "only a few weeks" does not, in our opinion, "argue such a warm interest in the subject" as would have induced any one but an inveterate scribbler to commit himself so soon again to print. No second edition appears to have been called for, and had the interest in the subject, or rather in his "letter," been only half as warm as Sir George Stephen flatters himself it must, the first edition would have been sold in a few hours. The truth is, disguise it as he will, that this very worthy gentleman could not keep his fingers longer from pens and paper; but, although he has made a sad bungling business of it, we are yet grateful to him for this exposition, lame as it is, of the "character and plans" of a society in favour of which a degree of enthusiasm was created on its first establishment, which, till very recently, has prevented the generality of people from reflecting soberly on the schemes of its founders.
When the formation of this association was contemplated, the general impression was, that Christianity would constitute the basis of its operations, and that the introduction of a pure religion into Africa would be the main object to which its efforts would, be directed. The vast body which congregated within Exeter-hall, and over which the illustrious and amiable consort of our Sovereign presided, were told that the blessings of the gospel were to be extended tot the benighted Africans; that slavery was to disappear before the triumphant march, of Christianity; and that moral education was to give peace, prosperity, and civilization to a people sunk in the depths of barbarism and superstition. The society, or its founders, contemplated no mercantile projects, no acquisition of territory, no selfish advantage, no merely temporal objects; but everything was to be conducted solely for the benefit of the African race, and the spirit of benevolence was to preside over all their undertakings. In the prospectus, too, it was clearly stated that, "As various opinions do and will exist as to the most fitting means to be adopted for the establishment of peace and tranquillity in Africa, it is expedient to state the leading principles on which this society is formed, and the measures intended to be pursued." And what is the very first principle laid down in this generally vague and ambiguous document? It is, that the society is "unanimously of opinion" that the "only complete cure of all those evils" (we presume the evils resulting from the slave trade are meant) "is the introduction of Christianity into Africa. They do not believe that any less powerful remedy will entirely extinguish the present inducements to trade in human beings, or will afford to the inhabitants of those extensive regions a sure foundation for repose and happiness" They further "distinctly avow" that "the substitution of our pure and holy faith for the false religion,-idolatry, and superstitions of Africa, is, in their firm conviction, the true ultimate" (how jesuitical is the use of this last word!) "remedy for the calamities that afflict her." Similar expressions are to be found scattered through the pages of Sir Fowell Buxton's book and Sir George Stephen's "letter;" and it was by these, and such like professions and representations, that the society obtained favour with a religious and benevolent public. Its founders well know that any plan of civilization, not founded on Christianity would be but coldly received by what Sir George Stephen calls "the anti-slavery public," and that if they stated that they were "to bring only secular means to bear on the great work," few of the pious individuals to whom they more particularly appealed would come forward to support schemes so fantastic as that of draining the swamps and sandy deserts of Africa. Christianity in short, was the watchword: by which they rallied around them not a few supporters; and let us, therefore, see whether or not the public have been deluded, whether the proceedings of the society have been in accordance with their professions, and what the agent is which they now propose to employ for the regeneration of the Africans.
At page 3 of his "letter" Sir George Stephen says- "I was present on the first occasion when this important body met together, and it was indeed honourable to human nature the spectacle that presented itself; 40 or 50 gentlemen, rivals in political ambition, opponents in party conflict and no less differing in religious doctrine than in political faith assembled by one common impulse of humanity to merge all differences and all distinctions in one grand and united effort for the release of Africa from her benighted and, enslaved condition. - What, under such circumstances, was to be done? Would it have been seemly, would it have been right, to reject the proffered aid of even one, the very humblest of that noble assembly? Would it have consisted with the true interests of Africa? I will go further - would it have been in accordance with the spirit of the gospel, to have started points of controversy in limine, or to have suggested difficulties that might or might never arise in the way of future co-operation? The unanimous feeling was the other way. We will put out of sight every object of contention; we will for once at least forget our differences, our distrust, our antipathies, if you will. Africa alone shall occupy us here; we have one common goal in view, while it is possible, we will pursue one common path to attain it. Such was the feeling then, and this unity of spirit has continued to this hour. Look at our list of vice-presidents and committee-men; and say whether it is possible to bring together: 130 men more various in opinion on whatever subject excepting this alone - the civilization and relief of Africa; and with them go their retainers. Each man has his tail. These have, moreover, certain caudal intertwinings of ominous intricacy. Divide on any point of high church prejudice and away go my Lord of London and Sir Robert Inglis, arm-in-arm, and tail-in-tail, and all the bench of bishops after them; not an archdeacon, not a deacon would be left us; while Dr. Lushington and Mr. Waymouth would in like manner pair off the other way, tail-in-tail together, and carrying en suite all the Dissenters and sectarians in the country. 'But how was this singular unanimity' (we should have written 'shocking discord') to be secured? Surely not, my Lord, by throwing down the apple of discord before even the moral influence of such a combination could be felt. Yet, can it be doubled that if our first proposal had been to send out missionaries for the conversion of the natives, differences of opinion, more easy to excite than to reconcile, would have promptly arisen between al? Would the Bishop of London, on the one hand, and Dr Lushington, or perhaps your Lordship, on the other, have exactly coincided in your views of religious instruction? Would Mr Gladstone and Dr Vaughan have perfectly agreed as to the ordination of an African apostle, or Sir R. Inglis have supported Mr Waymouth in the selection of scriptural readings for an African school?"
In short, finding that they could adopt no creed in which all could concur, arid that the assertion of any particular faith would scatter the heterogeneous elements of the meeting to the winds, and untwist all the "caudal intertwinings" of each man's "tail," they abandoned Christianity in every form as an agent of civilization, and resolved, that what they assert in the prospectus to be the first "leading principle" of their confederation should be inoperative, and that what they, in the plainest terms, state to be "the only complete cure" for the evils of Africa should not be applied, at least by them. But this is not all. Having secured "singular unanimity" on the troublesome, point of Christianity, by the total abandonment of every form of religious faith, they next resolved that there should be no "definite scheme of secular education involving moral instruction;" because, says Sir George, "one would be for the Lancastrian system, another for the national school - this for Paul, and the other for Apollos." Thus, then, notwithstanding all the professions to the contrary, the natives of Africa are not to have "the Gospel preached unto them," and they are to be denied, so far at least as this society is concerned, every system of enlightened moral instruction. How grossly has the public been deluded and gulled by these philanthropic charlatans!
But to proceed. Even in regard to "secular means," the "unanimity" in this "noble assembly" seems to have been as "singular" as in what had relation to far higher objects. They found, according to Sir George, that it would not be "easy to devise a principle either of commercial or agricultural speculation, involving, as such speculation must inevitably do, all the liabilities of legal partnership, without frightening into secession four-fifths of those who joined with cordiality a partnership of benevolence." What, under such circumstances, was to be done? Why, the only course open, to them clearly was that which was adopted. They resolved to assert no principle directly on any one subject, to enunciate all their plans in vague and indefinite terms so as to frighten no one, and then to trust to the chapter of accidents. Sir George himself says he is willing to admit that the committee, in their prospectus, "express themselves vaguely; for instance, when it is proposed as one of the objects of the society 'to make the Africans acquainted with the inexhaustible riches of their own soil, &c., and to convince them of the immeasurable superiority of agriculture, &c.,' It carries no definite idea of the way in which such knowledge will be imparted or such conviction produced. But surely, my Lord, to cavil at such trifles as these is paltry and puerile; it is not to be expected, till circumstances have made us familiar with African habits and topography, that we should be able to explain with minute detail our modus operandi" No, truly; and here Sir George fairly lets the cat out of the sack. He tells us distinctly that this society knows nothing of Africa at the present moment, and thus affords the most satisfactory reason why they have been able to decide upon no plan of operation for its improvement.
The religions differences of the committee have prevented them from employing Christianity and moral instruction as agents of civilization, and thus ignorance of "African habits and topography" renders it impossible for them to determine on any rational scheme for bettering the physical condition of the people. This, attempt to disguise it as they may, is the true state of the case. Their enthusiasm, or, if they will, their benevolence, has outrun their knowledge as well as their discretion, and they really do not know either what they can or what they ought to do. They believe much, and conjecture more, but they are deficient in accurate information, and therefore can form only vague general and fanciful schemes, which, in all probability, they will ultimately find it impossible to carry into effect.
We have now seen that this society does not propose to introduce Christianity into Africa; that it is none of its "objects" to afford "secular education involving moral instruction" to the natives; and that as regards the physical condition of the country, it has not sufficient information to enable the members of the committee to lay before the public any detailed or feasible plan for its improvement. When, however, they determined to make an appeal to the humanity of their countrymen in behalf of the blacks, it was necessary that they should suggest something which might he done, and that they should paint out some means by which that something might be accomplished. What, then, are the measures which they propose for the "extinction of the slave trade," and what is the agent which they mean to employ in "the civilization, of Africa?" We could hardly believe that Sir George Stephen tells us the truth upon those points, were his statements not confirmed by Sir Fowell Buxton's book. We felt it almost impossible to persuade ourselves that for a principle of civilization so monstrous as that which the "Letter" informs as is to be employed, public approbation could have been solicited; and we intreat the Christian people of this country, and particularly the "Ladies of Albion," who have been so often and eloquently appealed to, to mark well the agent which this extraordinary association proposes in order to work out the enlightenment of the African race.
Sir Fowell Buxton, at page 304 of his book, thus enunciates his plan. He says- "If it be true that Africa would be enriched, and that her population would enjoy, in multiplied abundance, those commodities for the acquisition of which she now incurs, such intense misery, the one needful thing in order to induce them to unite with us in repressing the slave trade is to convince them that they will gain by selling the productive labour of the people instead of the people themselves."
And Sir George, at page 25 of his "Letter," asks- "Is it not reasonable to infer, that if the chiefs of Africa are once brought to the conclusion that the labour of man is more profitable than his sale, the same process of self-interested calculation will ultimately bring him also to the further result that free labour is more lucrative than the labour of the slave? It is but a sorry argument at the best, that we must allow the trade to continue, because slavery will survive it. But common sense tells us, that the same principle of gain which annihilates the one must, in its continued operation, give a death-blow to the other. When, therefore, the author of the 'Remarks' asserts, that 'neither in the plans of the society, nor in the work of Sir F. Buxton, is to be found a single provision against its occurrence,' he suppresses the important fact that a principle of action is provided, which must as assuredly work out the extinction of the condition as it does the suppression of the trade."
Here then we have the agent to be employed in the civilization of Africa. The "great work" is to be effected by the base and debasing influence of "the principle of gain." The minds of the natives are: not to be elevated by religion, or enlightened by instruction; secular or moral. They are not to be taught that to enslave their fellow-creatures is sinful or unjust either in the sight of God or man; they are only to be "convinced that they will gain by selling" the productive labour of their captives instead of their bodies. That which the Scriptures have declared to be "the root of all evil," is to be the means employed for the regeneration of Africa; and we ask if it is possible that a Christian people can approve such a scheme, or give their support in any way to this unhallowed attempt to introduce a sordid and brutalizing lust for gain amongst the other vices of the African race? Civilization cannot flow from such a polluted source; sad if, unhappily, the society should succeed to any extent in their design, every reflecting man must be convinced that the condition of the blacks will be rendered far more intolerable than it ever yet has been. No man can suppose that an African chief would treat his slaves with more kindness than a West India planter. On the contrary, every one must feel that his native barbarism and ferocity, unsoftened by the influence of Christianity, and stimulated by the unscrupulous "principle of gain," would drive him to demand from his captives, when they became his slaves, the utmost possible amount of labour which torture could extract.
The "principle of gain" might, indeed, by preventing the chiefs from selling their captives, put an end to the slave trade; but that could afford small consolation to any one, were it, on the other hand, to lead to the extensive establishment of slavery amongst a race of merciless and inhuman savages. Let no one be deceived as to the objects of this society. They aim at little more than the extinction of the slave trade; while the very means by which they propose to accomplish that desirable end tend directly, as they themselves tell us, to establish slavery on a firm foundation in Africa. Their aim is to persuade the native chiefs that it will be for their gain to reduce their captives to the condition of slaves on their own pestilential shores, and to sell the produce of their labour to our merchants instead of their bodies to the slave traders. The substitution of African domestic slavery for colonial slavery is all that they propose. Sir George Stephen, indeed, says that the chiefs will soon become convinced "that free labour is more lucrative than the labour of the slave;" but this is mere delusion, for without some more softening influence than that of the selfish principle of gain, we shall long look in vain before we perceive free labourers amongst the swamps of Africa.
We have now seen what the objects of this society are, and the means by which it is proposed to accomplish them, and we fearlessly ask whether the one or the other be deserving of public support. The delusive prospects of the committee, and the high patronage under which they commenced their operations, have misled many; but after the exposition of their principles and views with which Sir George Stephen has favoured us, we are persuaded that the whole fabric must tumble to the earth, and even its ruins be execrated by every one whose enthusiasm has not got superior to his reason. The end proposed cannot sanctify the means to be employed, and we must say that the bench of bishops, at least, will betray their principles if they longer continue members of so anti-Christian a confederation. They are bound to set an example to the people, and unless they consider "the principle of gain" as the best agent of African civilization - unless they feel that Christianity and secular and moral instruction ought to be repudiated, and unless they are prepared to sanction the establishment of domestic slavery in Africa of the very worst description, they will separate themselves from this "unclean thing" and no longer give their countenance to such abominable schemes.
Let us next for a moment turn our attention to those "obviously" (obvious, because applicable to every new country) "essential operations" which are in the contemplation of the society, and which Sir George tells us are "specified with distinctness" in the prospectus; He says- "To reduce the African languages to a system of grammar, and to facilitate the acquisition of them by compiling vocabularies and dictionaries, is a work of infinite importance, of necessity preliminary to civilization on a grand scale, and involving large expense. To 'ascertain the navigability of rivers, their depths and shoals, their currents and their tides, their anchorage and their course, with a view to the internal carriage of produce, no less than to the landing of our cargoes, is another essential preliminary' (to the extinction of the slave trade or to civilization? No; but) 'to commercial speculation. The same may be said in reference to roads, with this additional circumstance, that roads may be made wherever materials and labour are abundant. The opening of river navigation implies moreover the introduction of boat-building upon scientific principles; the formation of good roads leads to the building of carriages, the manufacture of harness, and the training of cattle for the purpose of draught; and thus one improvement directly conduces to another.' Very likely it may; but will Sir George be good enough to tell us how such improvements "conduce'' to either of the objects enunciated in the title of the society, and what claims they have on either the charitable or benevolent feelings of a country which has so many poor of its own starving in workhouses or perishing in the streets or in the fields for want of the simplest necessaries of life? The very simple but very profitable processes of agriculture are also matters in which the native African at present requires elementary instruction; the fitness of particular soils for particular crops, the alternation of crops, the restoration of exhausted land, the management of produce when collected, the cleaning and preparation of cotton or coffee for our market, the package, the stowage, and the sale of it, afford scope for the exercise of benevolent exertion in the way of teaching and assistance to an extent coequal with the charity of our country. And here again are involved an infinite number of important ulterior details;" we should have thought them, preliminary; "as for instance, the construction of agricultural implements, the acquisition and the manufacture of iron" (into fetters and collars for the slaves, we presume); "the building of warehouses and stores; the whole trade of the carpenter, the mason, the wheelwright, and the smith - all this is necessarily incident to the introduction of - agricultural science."
In addition to these slave-trade-extinguishing improvements, Sir George tells us, the society will bestow upon the natives of Africa "medicine" and "surgery," "botany" and "pathology," "statistics," "mining," "printing," "the laboratory and the lecture-room," "domestic economy" and political, we suppose, "jurisprudence," "finance" and "civil establishments." These things, he is of opinion, are of such a "character, that men of every variety of political or religious doctrine may with propriety and consistency undertake them," and becoming facetious (a rare thing with a thorough-paced hunter after philanthropic popularity), he goes on to say-"I presume, for instance, that your Lordship would scarcely differ from Sir Robert Peel as to the most convenient form of a spade!". We would advise him not to make too sure about the matter. "I apprehend that the Bishop of London and Mr. Waymouth would concur in opinion that, the relative importance of the chair of the Protestant Dissenters, and the Episcopal throne, matters little to a Hottentot till he can talk English, or until they have mastered the Caffrerian patois! I presume that Sir R. Inglis or Mr. Gladstone would allow the use of printing and paper without restriction, while 'direct succession' is a term only applicable to the line of packets! Nor will even the Quakers taboo gunpowder and fowling pieces, it is to be hoped, until the Foulahs become inquisitive about the doctrine of projectiles, or the right inclination of salient angles." After having thus detailed and commented on all the "intended efforts" of the society, and informed us, which was unnecessary, that they are "of enormous expense in their detail," he asks, "Can it be questioned that they are sufficiently large and sufficiently important to demand, and sufficiently explicit to justify, the cooperation of all the Christian public?" Now, there must surely be an error of the pen or of the press in this sentence. "Christian" must have been written or printed by mistake for "commercial," for in the whole list of "objects to be effected" which he has given us, there is not one with which Christianity has anything whatever to do. The society, as he himself assures us, confines itself, "in the strictest sense of the term, to only secular duties;" and there is, indeed, not one point in the whole range, as detailed by Sir George, calling for, or which would justify, the slightest manifestation of religious zeal. Everything proposed is directed to commercial, agricultural, or trading purposes, while the vile "principle of gain" pervades and pollutes the whole. But, independent of all this, and even admitting that their plans are practicable, and that they might be of some advantage in improving the physical condition of the Africans, is this a time for carrying our charity so far from home, and for wasting on the building of boats on the Niger, and on the construction of roads through the Great Desert, money which could be so much better expended in providing food for our own famishing countrymen? Can these people see only at a distance? - must their humanity, in the words of Mr. Burke, be always in the horizon, and like the horizon be always lying before them? Are they blind to the misery which is around them, and at their own doors? and are their sympathies so engrossed by the black race, that they can afford not even a tear of pity or a word of comfort or encouragement for the multitudes of English men and English women who are in rags, without bread, and "perishing for lack of knowledge?" We sincerely hope that the many estimable and worthy individuals who have joined this association will reflect that there are calls upon their charity much nearer home than the banks of the Quorra, and when they have satisfied the wants of those who have a direct and positive claim upon their benevolence, it will then be time enough to think of teaching "botany" and "pathology" to the natives of Africa.
There is only one point more in this "Letter" to which we shall advert. Sir George, in answer to some observations which appeared in a recent number of The Times, again denies, in a postscript, that the society contemplates taking military possession of any part of the country. On this part of the subject, however, he, at page 8, completely upsets his subsequent assertion. He says- "In my former letter I complained of the omission" - in the prospectus - "of all official declaration of the free and responsible principles on which our future settlements in Africa should be governed. This, however, was a reproach to your Lordship rather than to the African Society, and I lament to say that nobody of late years has held the colonial seals so long as your Lordship without being aware that some or other of my transatlantic clients have too frequently occasion to make me the channel of complaint on this score; I should certainly have rejoiced had our prospectus announced from authority such principles of African administration as would have met my objection, but certainly our committee was not answerable in any way for this omission," That, we think, is pretty clear upon the point; for, if no part of the country is to be taken possession of, where was the necessity for an "official declaration of the free and responsible principles on which our future settlements in Africa should be governed?" If there are to be no conquests made, no acquisition of territory, "principles of administration" must be settled by the native princes; but there cannot be a doubt that Sir George contemplates "settlements" independent of the chiefs, which can only be maintained by "military occupation." If he does not mean this, we should like to see some other explanation of the passage we have quoted.
We have now gone through this very foolish "Letter," and in concluding, we cannot refrain from expressing a hope that Sir George Stephen has misrepresented the objects of the society of which he is so active, and, we fear, so ambitious a member; and we trust that that body will be able to disclaim his exposition of its views and principles. He says, in fact, that he is solely and individually responsible for every word that he has written, and we sincerely wish, it may be so. Indeed, we can hardly refrain from believing that this "Letter" was composed with the view of "showing up" the society, and that it must have been dictated by a feeling of revenge at being denied some of those lucrative appointments which Captain Washington told the people of Reading have, in contempt of native talent, been bestowed upon Germans.
We need say little in regard to the author's attack upon the "Tories, the church, and the press." He deprecates party feeling, yet he indulges in gross party vituperation, and this, no doubt, results, from his very pugnacious disposition, for he tells us, at page 17, that he is so fond of fighting, that if he cannot find an enemy to assail, he is ready at all times to knock down his friends. It is an unhappy passion, and must get him into many scrapes, but in the present case his attack upon the Tories is of no more importance than his stupid laudation of the Whigs.
|Fr 25 December 1840||A very funny sort of person is this "Sir GEORGE STEPHEN," who is now busily employed in writing down the "Society for the Civilization of Africa." It is a very rational source of amusement to watch the proceedings of these creatures of the marplot class, who are often permitted, retributively no doubt, to infest the undertakings of political or professedly religious quacks, and to scare away the gulls by the ceaseless noise they keep making.|
The "Society for the Civilization of Africa" is admitted by "Sir GEORGE" to be little else than a revival of the old, defunct, "African Institution." This being the case, what could be more happy than his reminiscences of the old society?- "I well recollect," he tells us, "being sent round as a boy among all my friends and companions to beat up for recruits to fill Freemasons'-hall at the anniversary meetings! Many others were employed in such service, and yet with all our exertions, carried on for weeks previously, it was but seldom that we could muster friends enough to occupy a dozen rows of seats!"
The motive for this tale-telling appears to be to draw a contrast between the apathy of that period and the enthusiasm of Exeter-hall at the "great meeting" of last summer. But is it not abundantly obvious, that a chief cause of that remarkable concourse was the altogether extrinsic circumstance of the expected presence, for the first time in a public meeting, of the youthful consort of the QUEEN? And is it grateful (we can not respectful) of "Sir GEORGE," after having thus made use of the Prince Consort, to offer his Royal Highness the implied insult which so evidently lurks in the very next sentence?
"Another serious difficulty with which the African Institution had to contend was found in the very high station of most of its committeemen. The Duke of GLOUCESTER attended very regularly, and many noblemen of elevated rank bestowed considerable time on its affairs. It is unnecessary to observe that such men do not belong to that class by which, and by which alone, business is transacted with promptitude and energy; such state is cumbersome where work is to be done," "The African Institution was grievously thwarted by this extreme consciousness of its dignity; could it have thrown three-fourths of its nobility and M.P.'s overboard, the vessel would soon have righted herself, and scudded before the wind." (A Third Letter to Lord J. Russell, &c. By Sir George Stephens, page 28.)
This is candid, at least; and if the public do but draw the just and obvious conclusion, the hint must be useful. The new African Institution comes forward, as did the old one, under the sanction of high patronage. The public give their money to it, partly because it is recommended to their notice by great and noble names. It is now, however, plainly stated, by this cackling member of the interior management, that these honourable persons must not look to be admitted to any other functions than that of being "decoy-ducks" to the concern; for that, should they presume to take part in the deliberations of the acting committee, they will be dealt with as lumber, impeding the progress of the vessel, and only fit to be "thrown overboard."
But enough of "Sir GEORGE'S" amusing revealings: let as now ask, as his pamphlet is mainly directed against the recent strictures of The Times, whether he has advanced any new fact or argument which in the slightest degree invalidates our objections? Never was there a pamphlet more utterly destitute of either. Take the chief point at issue. We proved, from documents of the most authentic character, the destructive nature of the climate into which the victims of this new colonization scheme are to be carried. To these statements two replies arc offered: the first - that a large proportion of the colonizers will be selected from among native Africans. This reply is good just as far as it goes. But it will not be pretended that the expedition is to consist of Africans, Englishmen there must be, in considerable numbers. If but a few were sent, the probability would be, that six or eight months would break up the whole affair, from want of leaders. If many, so much larger would be the sacrifice of life; for we have already shown that from a year to a year and a half has generally been what insurance companies call "the expectation of life" in that frightful climate.
But the second is a splendid specimen of scheme-making logic. Here are the very words:- "Though settlements on the coast may be unhealthy, others in the interior may be no more so than towns in Brazil or Jamaica." (P. 19.) "May be!' there is no such word in the whole of the West African geography. The climate of the whole of that coast is most fearfully destructive to European life. And this is the place you are sending a fresh collection of Englishmen to colonize, in the absurd hope that "in the interior," if they ever get there, there "may be" spots no worse than Jamaica or Brazil! Seriously to reply to such an hypothesis would be to weary our readers; it is quite enough to state it, as one of Sir GEOROE'S main replies to the strictures of The Times.
In fact, beyond this, we find little to notice. In the way of stark-staring absurdity we might point out a passage at the 7th page, in which Sir GEORGE urges that we must colonize West Africa, and grow cotton there, because, at present, we import from America 444,000,000 pounds of cotton per annum, at the cost of sixteen millions sterling, and "where should we find ourselves if on any sudden emergency our cousin JONATHAN required prompt payment of his sixteen millions in sterling cash?" !!!Our readers will be apt to doubt whether it be possible that such a sentence can have been gravely written down, printed, and published by a man who is still going about without a keeper. But they will actually find it, word for word, as we have quoted it above, in the 7th page of Sir GEORGE STEPHEN'S "Third Letter." Surely, after this, we need not add another syllable.
|Ma 28 December 1840||LONDON, MONDAY, DECEMBER 28, 1840.|
Although we have freely censured the absurd schemes of the Society for the Civilization of Africa, we are not disposed tacitly to assent to their misrepresentations of our argument, as if we pleaded without remorse for the continuance of "things as they are," We are fully aware that one of the most enormous evils that at present oppresses the human race is the detestable and increasingly destructive slave trade; and, just in proportion as we desiderate a real cure for this disorder, do we dislike and contemn the quackish contrivances of "Sir GEORGE STEPHEN" and Co. - of which Dame PARTINGTON mopping out the Atlantic, was no caricature - for suppressing this vast system of rapine and tyranny, by means of "two steam-boats," and a meeting at Exeter-hall. We have already objected to the terrible sacrifice of English life which this experiment must involve. What makes the matter the more deplorable, is that we can discern not even the shadow of feasibility: in the plan itself. To throw away valuable lives is a fearful thing in itself; but to lavish them in an undertaking which is perfectly hopeless, seems doubly lamentable.
What is the chief object and mode of action propounded for this steam-boat expedition? It is, to act upon the native chiefs of Africa - upon those who are at present in various ways concerned in the slave-trade abominations; and to influence them by "moral suasion," by arguments of self-interest, and by the force of good example; showing them, both by precept and by ocular demonstration, that "honesty is the best policy," - and that it would be far more for their real and permanent advantage to turn their hands to honest industry - to plough and sow, to grow cotton and coffee - than to live by murdering and destroying their neighbours and their brethren.
Now, this theory is all very fine and very good, and if it had been the work of some young female "friend," whose knowledge of life had been gathered in Mr. GURNEY'S drawing-room and Sir FOWELL BUXTON'S library, no one ought to have been surprised at its simplicity. But as emanating from grown men, who know something of the world, and cannot plead the young Quaker's innocence of its wickedness, it quite perplexes the observer to surmise whether folly or fraud is its real progenitor.
All observers of mankind are well aware, that just in proportion as men are sunk in vice and profligacy is their deadness to this "moral suasion," and their entire insensibility to the clearest demonstration of their real interest. Why do not the projectors of this notable scheme for "civilizing" the African men-stealers begin by trying their experiment, on a cheap and easy scale, among the less criminal professors of larceny and burglary in our own metropolis? An experienced leader of the police would readily afford them an introduction, in a friendly way, to some of these gentry. Let them try, then, with some of the "artful dodgers" or "flash Neds" of the metropolis. Let them show these gentry the desperate folly of the course they are pursuing - the infamy of their lives - the certainty of a disgraceful end; and let them urge upon them the clear and undeniable expediency, upon the plainest grounds of self-interest as well as of religion, of forthwith abandoning their evil courses, and taking up a hod, with an honestly-earned 15 s. Per week.
Would any one of the committee of African "civilizers" enter upon such an effort of "moral suasion" with the slightest hope? Do they not feel convinced that the young ruffian who has learned by the abstraction of a watch or a shirt-pin to gain a night's revel in the wine-vaults or the brothel, is not to be persuaded by any power short of that which arrested PAUL on his journey to Damascus to quit his life of excitement and guilty pleasure for the harder labours and monotonous round of honest industry?
Or take another and more resembling case. Go to our southern coast, and preach to a Sussex smuggler the expediency of abandoning his dangerous and immoral pursuit, and confining himself in future to the capture of mackerel and whitings. But, where will you gain the ear of one who has once tasted the delights of a successful run, and pocketed his 30 l. Or 50 l. for a week's work; or, if you even gain his ear, what chance have you, so far as "moral suasion" is concerned, of getting the least access to his heart?
Now, the slave-captors and slave-dealers of Western Africa are far indeed below either the London thieves or the Sussex smugglers in profligacy and obdurate hardness of heart. We say nothing against any attempt to Christianize them; only let us not rely upon such attempts for the extirpation of the slave trade; but as to the other fancy of civilizing them, by introducing agriculture, &c., and thus persuading them to leave off a life of plunder and take up habits of industry, it is not more chimerical than would be a civilizing expedition to the wolves of Siberia, nor is it less!
But we have said, that we on no account wish to be understood as depreciating the evil, however lightly we may estimate these particular remedies. A single fact exhibits the absurdity of the present state of things, and the impossibility of maintaining it. England is now paying from 600,000 l. to 700,000 l. for her attempts to put down the slave trade; and amidst all this vast expenditure, to which we should add the loss of many valuable lives, the slave trade is not put down! Nay more, it grows and increases year by year.Now this is so monstrous a state of things, that we cannot believe it possible for Lord JOHN RUSSELL to contemplate its continuance.
|Sa 9 January 1841||The Soudan steam-vessel, Commander Bird Allen, arrived at Woolwich on Thursday evening, and is expected to proceed to Deptford to take in stores, previous to proceeding on the expedition to the Niger.|
|Th 14 January 1841||We have recently paid a visit to the Soudan, one of the three iron steam-vessels destined for the projected Niger expedition, and now lying in Depford docks. This vessel is smaller than the other two, the Albert and Wilberforce, being of only 230 tons, while the tonnage of both of the others is 440. The Soudan (the name is a corruption of Habib-es-Sudan, or friend of the Blacks) is destined for detached service, when required, up smaller rivers; for conveying intelligence or invalids, and especially for sounding ahead of the other vessels in difficult or unknown navigation. The destination or this vessel requires that its dimensions should be within narrow limits, and the accommodations of the inferior officers (the same in number for the three vessels) and of the crew are necessarily remarkably straitened- a disadvantage which, under a tropical climate, may be attended with unpleasant consequences. A free circulation of fresh air between decks has, however, been ensured by the erection of a ventilating apparatus, fitted under the able superintendence of Dr. Reid. It consists of a case of sheet iron, about two feet and a half in breadth, and eight inches in thickness, extending all round the sides of the vessel, and provided with mouths, which may be opened or closed at pleasure. The air is driven into this case by means of a large circular fan, which is set in motion by a band communicating to the axle of the paddles, or, when the engine is not in play, to a wheel which may be turned by manual labour. By means of this apparatus the entire vessel, or any single department, may be thoroughly ventilated, and the ship's company protected from the ill effects of the miasma that usually prevails in alluvial soils on those coasts where these vessels are destined to navigate. Connected with this there is a chamber containing woollen cloths, lime, &c, through which it is intended, whenever the presence of malaria, that formidable foe to European life in tropical climates, is suspected, the air shall pass previously to being circulated below by the ventilating apparatus. Another peculiarity in the construction of this vessel is, that instead of the usual covering provided for the paddle-wheels, two shaloops are so fitted as, when inverted, to supply the place of paddle-boxes. The time of departure of this vessel is not fixed.|
|Ma 18 January 1841||The Pluto steamer arrived to-day [at Portsmouth] from the eastward, with a few volunteers for the Indus; she will go to Plymouth with a few others for the Impregnable, and is ultimately intended to accompany Captain Trotter's three iron steamers to the month of the Niger river.|
|Sa 23 January 1841|
The Albert iron steam-vessel, Captain Henry Dundas Trotter, left Liverpool for Kingstown, Dublin, and Deptford, on the 12th inst., and is daily expected in the river.
The Wilberforce iron steam-vessel, Commander William Allen, is expected at Deptford by the end of the month. The Soudan being already there, it is said, when these three vessels are ready for the Niger expedition, that his Royal Highness Prince Albert will visit and examine them previous to their sailing for their destination in Africa.
|Ma 25 January 1841||The Albert, new iron steamer, for the Niger expedition, arrived yesterday from Liverpool, and proceeded to Deptford, where the vessels intended to be employed on this service are to be finally equipped.|
|Fr 12 February 1841|
A FURTHER APPEAL TO THE GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE OF GREAT BRITAIN AGAINST THE PROPOSED NIGER EXPEDITION.
It is now some months since Mr. Jamieson, of Liverpool, first called the attention of the country to the cruel, wrong inflicted on the mercantile community by the proposed expenditure of 61,000 l. Of the public money on the outfit of three armed steamers to ascend the Niger, and to pioneer the way for the future operations of Sir F. Buxton's two societies, one for the civilization and the other for the cultivation of Africa. In the teeth of the direct assurances which he received from Lord John Russell, that "the Government expedition would engage in no commercial transaction, either for the benefit of the Society for Promoting the Civilization of Africa or for that of any private parties whatever," Mr. Jamieson learned that merchandise to promote the objects of the first society was to be conveyed up the Niger by the Government vessels, and therefore lost no time in informing his Lordship that be must withdraw the steam-vessel which he had equipped, to navigate and trade upon the same waters, as he was convinced that "no private merchant could keep his ground in or near a Government merchant or Government philanthropic merchant settlement, bolstered and sustained by the public purse and public subscription." In the course of the appeal, which he simultaneously made to the Government and people of Great Britain on this subject, he protested against the expedition on three distinct grounds;- first, that the objects which it professed to have in view were based on the assumed success of the settlement of Sierra Leone, whereas that settlement after an expenditure of millions, is a melancholy monument of the total futility of such settlements for the advancement of commerce, agriculture, and civilization; secondly, that the slave trade has retired from the Niger, and that a legitimate commerce with England, the greatest from any part of Africa, is prosecuted upon its banks, contrary to the repeated allegations of the abolitionists; and, thirdly, that the slave trade is most extensively prosecuted on the south-west coast of Africa, from which there is scarcely any commerce with England. He maintained that it was a downright absurdity to suppose that agriculture would precede commerce in Africa, and demonstrated that there must be a demand, first to induce, and afterwards to keep up, production; that such a demand could only be produced by commerce; that commerce flourished best under competition of individuals; and that if the competition of individuals were destroyed, as it would be by the existence of Sir F. Buxton's overgrown Joint-stock Company, the natives would be left at its mercy, would no longer obtain a remunerating price for their productions, and would consequently have no stimulus either for agricultural or for any other kind of exertions. He likewise pointed out the fallacy of attempting to cultivate the soil of Africa by free labour, by showing that few or no free men are to be found amongst a people who are almost exclusively slaves or serfs to their kings and-chiefs. "The adoption as a sacred and primary principle," continued Mr. Jamieson, "that 'any man who enters any territory we may acquire in Africa is from that moment free and discharged from all manner of slavery, and that Great Britain pledges itself to defend him from all, savage or civilized, who may attempt to recapture him,' implies, in the present state of the population of Africa, that agricultural establishments are to be worked by runaway serfs, the recovery or recapture of whom, by the chiefs, or powers to whose dominions they belong Great Britain is pledged to prevent." Such a system would inevitably lead to perpetual collisions with the native Powers; and, in case of any general attack upon our settlements, would compel us, to engage in a war for Nigritia, as France has engaged in a war for Algeria, to her great expense, and to her very doubtful acquisition of profit and glory.
Such were the leading statements enforced by Mr. Jamieson with great power of argument and language in the very excellent pamphlet which he published last August. We have thought it right to place a brief abstract of them before our readers, because the abolitionists, with an obstinacy proportionate to their ignorance of the real condition of Africa, are still urging upon the Government the expediency of despatching the expedition which they originally suggested, and are still supporting their arguments in its favour by allegations which, though they have been refuted and contradicted over and over again, they have still the audacity to repeat. We shall presently show that there are reasons far stronger than any which have yet been mentioned why this expedition should not sail at all, or at least should not sail to accomplish the objects which are contemplated at present. But, if it needs must sail, why, in the name of humanity, has it not sailed before now? Sir F, Buxton informs us (p. 357), that "the usual period of a voyage from London to Benin is 53 days," or, in common parlance, a period something short of two months; that the best time of visiting the coast is from December to May; and that the worst time is from the middle of July, to the middle of December (page 358). It is now; the commencement of February; the three steamers are still in our rivers; if they were to sail this very day, it would be April before they reached the swampy delta of the Niger; and thus, instead of having four, they would only have one, of the healthiest months of the year for the commencement of their operations. If their departure be much further protracted, they will reach their destination as the unhealthy season sets in; and then, notwithstanding all that is predicated in the prospectus prefixed to Sir F. Buxton's book about the "diminished danger" to which European constitutions will be exposed on this insalubrious coast, when "the aid of medical science is secured for them," it requires but little prescience to foretell that sailor and surgeon will alike fall victims to the destroying fury of the autumnal pestilence. But now at least there is no occasion why the Government steamers should sail at all. From "a further appeal," which Mr. Jamieson has just published against this expedition, it appears to be at length ascertained, that "from the unhealthiness of the river and its difficult navigation, the Niger, of which so much has been expected is likely to remain comparatively of little importance to the world as a medium of commerce with Africa". The Ethiope steamer, which Mr. Jamieson still employs upon the Niger, draws only 5½ to 6 feet water. Captain Becher, the commander of it, has very recently, transmitted intelligence to England, that in pursuance of his instructions he attempted, but failed, the entrance of the Niger by the Benin or Formosa-river; that he tried the other central branches of the Niger, and was equally unsuccessful; but that he succeeded at last in finding an entrance by way of Warree. "Thereafter he penetrated into the interior to near Liver (a short distance from Boussa and the highest point which has yet been reached from the Niger), when the bed of the river became so contracted and obstructed with rocks, that further progress was stopped. The river throughout was difficult of navigation, being dependent upon the rains, which for the season had been unusually light. Trade was attempted at all the leading towns on its banks, but very little could be done, although the natives at all parts were friendly and favourable to commercial intercourse. Much sickness had prevailed among the white men of the ship's company while in the river; and we regret to add, several deaths had taken place." Now, before we proceed to notice the other points in Mr. Jamieson's recent pamphlet, we must take the liberty of calling public attention to the wide difference which exists between the ascertained facts and the imaginary pictures which Sir F. Buxton has drawn of the capabilities of the Niger. We have no doubt that this task would have been executed more ably by Mr. Jamieson himself, had he had time for it: but the fact is, that he did not receive this information until his pamphlet was struck off, and that he has transmitted it to us in a printed slip, which will of course be attached to all the unsold copies (we trust that they are few) of his very clever and intelligent little work. "We now know," says Sir. F. Buxton "the course of the Niger, and an entrance into the centre of Africa is opened by means of this noble river, We have now got in steam a power which enables us to traverse it, to pass rapidly through the unhealthy parts of it, to ascend it against the current; in short to command its navigation", (p. 524). Again, in another part of his book- "Here, then, is one of the most magnificent rivers in the world introducing us into the heart of Africa. At a central point it opens the way by its eastern branch to the kingdoms of Bornou, Kanem, and Berghami; by its western, to Timbuctoo; each of them bringing us into communication with multitudes of tribes, and unfolding to us the productions of a most extensive and fertile territory" (p. 346). In a page or two before we are told, "We now know that a mighty river, which discharges itself into the bight of Benin by upwards of 20 mouths, is navigable, with little interruption, thence nearly to its source, a distance of more than 2,000 miles."
"Quid dignum tanto feret hic promissor hiatu!"
We confess our ignorance of the exact position of Lever, the point to which the Ethiope ascended, and we cannot tell whether it is above or below Boussa; it is, however, only a short distance from Boussa; and Boussa, according to Sir F. Buxton's book, is only 560 miles from the bight of Benin. We have here, therefore, undeniable evidence, that at least 2,000 miles of this "great highway into the heart of Africa" are not practicable for commercial intercourse. Moreover, it was not without great difficulty that the Ethiope, drawing only 5½ feet to 6 feet of water, penetrated to Lever. "She was unable to pass a bar above the Eboe, for want of water, until the water rose;" and, as Eboe is considerably nearer the sea than the confluence of the Niger and the Tchadda, where Sir F. Buxton proposes to form his principal factory, enough has been ascertained to show that "the locality chosen for a new British settlement in Africa is," as Mr. Jamieson justly remarks, "wholly out of the question."
But we are not surprised at this; we have had too many proofs that Sir F. Buxton is an unsafe guide to follow to feel any wonder at the discovery, that he knows nothing of the natural impediments which the Niger presents to a free communication between the coast and the interior of Africa. They form at once an insuperable and conclusive objection to his plan.
We have no doubt that Mr. Jamieson has communicated to Lord John Russell the information on which we have just been commenting; and as Lord John, in his letter of the 26th of December, 1839, to the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, had the candour to avow that on the confluences of some of the principal rivers falling into the Niger from the east he proposed that the expedition should establish British factories for certain purposes, which he specifies therein (Appendix to Sir F. Buxton's book, p. 558), we trust, that if he still persists in that intention, he will publicly avow it, and so enable Parliament, which is fortunately sitting, to decide whether it shall be carried into effect at the public expense or not. We have already stated that Sir F. Buxton wishes the principal factory to be placed at the junction of the Tchadda and Niger. The objections to this proposal are so forcibly urged by Mr. Jamieson that we shall allow him to state them in his own words:-
Here, perhaps, we might stop; for after the impracticability of a scheme is established there is little benefit derived from demonstrating that the means by which it was intended to accomplish it were perfectly futile and inefficient. But in the present instance we are inclined to shoot another shaft against the abolitionists, as it will wound them to the quick in the point on which they profess to be most sensitive - we mean their charity. It is taken, however, from the quiver of Mr. Jamieson; and, if it fails of reaching the mark at which we aim it, its failure will arise from our wish to compress the argument into the shortest possible compass owing to our inability to insert it in all its details.
We have already had occasion to mention that Sir F.Buxton contemplates the civilization of Africa through the combined operation of two societies, namely, "a benevolent society, which shall watch over and befriend the interests of Africa - its object, charity;" and "a company which shall cultivate her soil - its object, gain." No attempt, however, is to be made to form this latter company until the expedition to the Niger has made the necessary preparatory arrangements and negotiations in Africa. It nevertheless proposes to obtain by treaty land for cultivation; such land is to be freely offered, and its limits are to be extensive. The Government is "to take upon itself the whole duty and responsibility of preserving the peace, and affording the necessary protection to such new settlement in Africa." An arduous and may be expensive duty! And for whose benefit? For that of a joint-stock company, whose object is its own private gain.
And who are the members of that joint-stock company? The men who profess to be moved by compassion for the sorrows of Africa; for it is to them, and to them alone, that Sir F. Buxton addresses his emphatic injunction, "Join the African institution, which we are about to revive, and join the agricultural institution, which we are about to establish." Now, if we saw any of these worthies ready to jeopardize their private fortunes by incurring a liability for the debts of such a company, we might give them greater credit for sincerity than we can afford, at present; but we see nothing of the kind; they ask to be made a chartered company, and to have their responsibility limited; and unless the Government is under a pledge to grant them a charter, the chances are that the company is never formed, and that the three iron steamers might as well stay at home.
But it would appear that Government is not only to preserve the peace, it is also to make treaties with the native powers and chiefs, and to give them presents and all for the benefit of this company. Now, the giving away of presents will be injurious to the introduction of commerce, and will increase the jealousy which has been already created in the minds of the Africans by the visits of our travellers. "They can see something like an honest purpose," says Mr. Jamieson, "in the visit of the merchant for trade; but they cannot comprehend so clearly the object which brings a mere traveller to their country; and the presents given only increase their suspicions of the purposes in view." With respect to treaties with the native Powers, Mr. Jamieson asks two very shrewd questions; first, whether we know enough of the various languages and dialects and of the chiefs of the people on the banks of the Niger, to form intelligible and permanent treaties with them; and, secondly, whether the chiefs will be inclined to enter into treaties with us, when the basis of our treaties declares their slaves to be free, and is therefore calculated to undermine their own powers? He also shows from experience that treaties with African princes are good for nothing, and gives a striking instance of the truth of his assertion in the conduct of Bello, the Sultan of the Fellans, resident at Sackatoo, who addressed a letter through Captain Clapperton to the King of England, proposing the establishment of a friendly intercourse between the two nations by means of a consul, who was to reside at the seaport of Raka, the delivery of certain presents described at the port of Funda, and the prohibition of the exportation of slaves by any of the Houssa merchants to Atagher, Dahomey, or Ashantee. It subsequently turned out that there were no such seaports as Fundah or Raka; that they were places 200 miles inland, and that neither of them were under the dominion of Sultan Bello, except we sanction the principle, that "God had given to him all the lands of the infidels." Moreover, he treated poor Clapperton, who returned with the presents, so cruelly and ungraciously that he died of a broken heart at Sackatoo.
It appears from Captain Clapperton's journals that wherever he went he was met with the question "What are you come for?" and that a general belief prevailed that we intended to take possession of Africa, as we had of India,. Well, therefore, may Mr. Jamieson inquire whether this idea will not be strengthened if we send out a body of settlers to take possession of their territory. Supposing resistance to be made at a subsequent period to their continuance upon it, may we not be involved, in spite of ourselves, in an immense expenditure, not only of money, but of valuable life, for the benefit of this charity professing, but really self-seeking company?
Agreeing as we do in the premises of Mr. Jamieson, it will not surprise our readers that we heartily concur in the conclusion which he deduces from them, and which he expresses in the following strong and pithy language-
We had almost overlooked the "Addenda" to this pamphlet; but there is such a total annihilation of the defence which Sir George Stephen set up at the Reading meeting for the colony of Sierra Leone, that, we cannot refrain from submitting it to the notice of our readers:-
|Fr 12 February 1841|
HOUSE OF COMMONS, THURSDAY, FEB. 11.
Lord INGESTRIE wished to ask a question of the noble lord the Secretary for the Colonies on the subject of the expedition to the Niger. He understood that the steamer had been delayed much beyond its time, and the consequence was that the expedition, if now sent out, would arrive out at the moist unhealthy season of the year. He wished to know whether the Government intended that it should now proceed?
Lord J. RUSSELL said, that the steamer was delayed because it was ascertained that the waters. of the Niger were not sufficiently deep to admit that vessel up. He would make enquiries on the subject.
Mr. HUME wished to ask whether the noble lord would have any objection to lay before the house a copy of the instructions given to those who had charge of the expedition ? The public, in fact, did not know what were the objects of this expedition.
Lord J. RUSSELL said, that the instructions were laid on the table of the house last-year. He was not (as we understood the noble lord) prepared to lay any other instructions before the house on the subject.
Lord INGESTRIE asked whether the expedition would not arrive on the coast at the most unhealthy season of the year, if sent out at the time fixed for its departure?
Lord J. RUSSELL said, that the climate on the coast might be unhealthy, but it would not be found so as the expedition advanced up the river.
|We 17 February 1841|
HOUSE OF COMMONS, TUESDAY, FEB. 16.
Lord INGESTRIE rose and said, that pursuant to the notice which he had already given, he begged to call the attention of the house to the period which had been fixed upon for the sailing of the expedition which was shortly to leave this country for the Niger. He had no intention of occupying the house at any great length with the subject. The point to which he wished to direct their attention was not so much to the principles and objects of that expedition as to the period fixed on for its departure. If he were not withheld by a feeling of incompetency from entering into a discussion on the general bearings and objects of that expedition, he should feel himself precluded from doing so, in the first place, because it had been already under discussion in that house, and had received the sanction of a vote during the last session of Parliament, and again because, although he might have some doubts as to the general policy of the measure, when he considered the very great difficulties which might attend the execution of it, still he could not but recollect that he might be wanting in respect to that large and influential meeting held, in London which gave rise to the motion now before the house - a meeting at which an illustrious individual presided - if he had done so on the present occasion. It was impossible to doubt for a single moment that the motives which prompted this expedition were most pure, most benevolent, and he could not do otherwise than applaud the objects in view - the abolition of the slave trade by the establishment of colonies in the interior of Africa. From some circumstances or other incidental to undertakings of this sort the expedition had been delayed, probably from some causes which were inevitable. He had been also given to understand that the preparations would not be in such a state of forwardness as to enable it to start, at the earliest, before the 1st of April next. Looking at the length of passage necessary to be traversed before a vessel could arrive at Sierra Leone, the first point to which he apprehended the vessels would proceed, and being of opinion also that one of the three vessels would most likely have to be towed out, it did not appear to him probable that the expedition could arrive before the middle or the end of May. It would then become necessary to procure some of that class of the natives called Kroomen, which would again naturally take up more time, probably ten days, or a fortnight, at least, and the vessels must then proceed up one of the numerous entrances of the Niger, when would commence the known objects of the undertaking. This would bring them to the month of June, about the most unhealthy of the rainy season. He believed that season began in the middle of April and lasted till the middle of October, and the last three mouths were the most unhealthy of the six. When he had urged the impolicy of adhering to the time fixed for sailing, he was told by the noble lord the Secretary for the Colonies, in answer to a question which he (Lord Ingestrie) had put to him the other night, that it was necessary these vessels should go out during the rainy season, when the river was in a state of flood, in which state only it would be capable of admitting them. That might be very true; but what he complained of was, that they had no certain data to go upon as to the time when they would arrive at the river. If it could be shown that vessels, when they commenced operations, could go by a certain channel from the sea-coast into the interior of the country he should have no objection to their starting. But he well knew that the delta of the Niger extended 200 miles at least, and that the course of its channels was constantly shifting and changing, and the probability was that when these vessels arrived at the mouth they would be able to proceed but a little way up, where they would remain. Any delay would be fatal to the expedition. The crew would be exposed to the pestilential effects of that pestelential climate. This was no party question. The object of the expedition was to extirpate the slave trade. But the thought that they should be careful lest they sacrificed the lives of those engaged in the undertaking; He therefore hoped that that expedition would be delayed, and in the meantime that a survey would be made. He had received an account from Captain Becher, who commanded the Ethiopia, and had been a great deal on the African coast. He stated that out of 12 men employed he lost five; that he had to effect an entrance into the river by Formosa, but, failing in that, he at length entered by Warree. He felt sure that the Niger could never be made the medium of commerce with Africa, all ingress or egress being denied by means of that river during six months of the year. Heavy goods could never be conveyed by it, such as coffee and rice, but only such light ones as palm-oil, gum, gold dust, and ivory. Under these circumstances he hoped that Her Majesty's Government would give this subject their grave consideration. He would conclude by moving for a copy of the correspondence which had taken place relative to the Niger expedition.
Mr.M. O'FERRALL agreed with the noble lord that this was not a question on which parties could express adverse opinions. The Niger was supposed to be navigable during the dry season for vessels drawing six feet of water. On this proving not to be the case, the departure of the expedition was deferred till March. It would arrive about the latter end of June. It had been ascertained that the rainy season was by no means the most unhealthy in those parts. It was not necessary for him to follow the noble lord into all the details of the question; he would merely state that the utmost anxiety existed in the Colonial Department to ascertain the time for starting which would be the most beneficial.
Mr. HUME had expected to find the noble lord the Secretary for the Colonies in his place, because he had the other evening asked that noble lord a question relating to the subject now before the house, and had received a most unsatisfactory answer. He had asked what were the objects of that expedition. He wanted to know whether it was the intention of the Government to plant colonies, or take possession of land in that part of Africa and alarm the inhabitants, or whether it was simply a voyage of discovery. But the noble lord had vouchsafed no information, so that both he (Mr. Hume) and the whole country were at a loss to comprehend what the noble lord's intentions were. He would for this reason suggest the propriety of adjourning the motion till the noble lord should be present to declare what in truth his object was.
Mr. V. SMITH said, that the reason why the noble lord the Secretary for the Colonies was absent was because that noble lord had understood from the noble lord opposite (Lord Ingestrie) that he intended solely to make inquiries as to the time of starting, but had no intention of entering into the general question of policy. ("Hear" from Lord Ingestrie.) He really felt surprised that the hon. Member for Kilkenny should now for the first time ask what were the objects and principles of the measure, when he himself was one of the assenting parties to it.
Mr. HUME. -No such thing.
V. SMITH. -He was one of those who voted 60,000 l. To start the expedition, and now he turned round and asked the objects of it. He would not, however, on the present occasion enter into a long discussion with him on the subject, as he (Mr. Hume) would have another opportunity afforded him of voting more money by a bill which would be brought in in the present session. The principle was known to every one who had paid the least attention to the subject. It had been discussed at a very large public meeting, and in all the newspapers. The principle was to extirpate slavery. It was intended to establish relations with the native chiefs, and to obtain the cession of lands, as by possessing them they would be in a better position to superintend the commercial operations which they might carry on. He could assure the noble lord that every attention had been paid to that important feature in the expedition, which as much concerned humanity as its ultimate object, he meant the health of those about to engage in it. The difficulty was this, that the season which was considered the least healthy was that at which the possibility of navigating the river was greatest. The noble lord, however, must not assume that the health of those persons would be subjected to the same trials as that of travellers; because in this case every possible contrivance for averting the bad effects of the climate would be resorted to, while it was well-known that very little, if any, precaution had been taken by those who had travelled in the country. He supposed the noble lord would not press his motion, and that it would be unnecessary to produce the papers after the explanation of his hon. Friend.
Mr. WARBURTON said, that when the sum of 60,000 l. Was voted last year, the hon. Member for Kilkenny was not in the house, and no discussion whatever had taken place. In his opinion there never had been a vote of so much consequence passed with so little attention, or in a manner so wholly disproportioned to the magnitude of the expedition it was intended to set on foot. He hoped sincerely that advantage would be taken of the delay which had arisen in consequence of defective information after, he might almost say, the expedition had been begun, and that the house would require from the Government a complete explanation of the difficulties likely to be met with, before the vessels were allowed to sail. If 60,000 l. Were required at the onset, what were they to expect hereafter? Considering the magnitude of that sum and of those sums which future Parliaments might be called upon to vote in furtherance of this expedition, and considering also the natural difficulties that must be encountered in the undertaking, he thought the house would be acting unjustly if it did not call for full information upon the subject.
Mr. O'CONNELL was of opinion that the noble lord had not made out any great case as regarded the time the expedition was to be undertaken, or the likelihood of its failure. The noble lord had spoken of the unsuccessful attempt of Captain Becher to ascend different branches of the Niger, but when he came to read the letter, it appeared that he had at least succeeded in penetrating farther than any one else. His hon. Friend the member for Bridport treated the motion as if there had been a refusal on the part of the Government to afford every explanation on the subject. Now he (Mr. O'Connell) was not aware of any intimation that such explanation would be required. The noble lord's motion and speech did not point to it, his object being merely to show that the expedition would arrive at the most unhealthy season. The only complaint then was that owing to the absence of the hon. Member for Kilkenny, no discussion had taken place upon the subject when the estimates were before the house. The object of the expedition, it was well known, was to open commercial relations with the interior of Africa, and for a holier object money could not be voted. (Hear.) When we were expending large sums of money in fruitless attempts to put down the slave trade, he thought that 60,000 l. Ought not to be objected to for the purpose of attempting to establish a legitimate commerce in the interior of Africa, and thereby check the horrible traffic which was there going on in human flesh. Unless there were physical obstacles, which it would not be possible to overcome, he certainly thought that it would be worth while to expend 60,000 l. In an endeavour to achieve the great object of this expedition.
Mr. HUME observed, that this was certainly the first time he had ever heard a member of the Government refer a member of that house to speeches delivered at a public meeting for information respecting the objects of a great expedition, such as that under discussion. Before the vote had come on last year, he told the noble lord the Secretary for the Colonies that he intended to oppose it; and he was now more inclined to do so even than then, for it was now evident, that the expedition had been commenced in ignorance, the Government having first determined that it should sail in October, and upon subsequent information, that it should not start until March. He agreed with his hon. And learned friend the member for Dublin, that it would be very desirable to establish commercial relations in the interior of Africa, but he denied that this expedition was one calculated to do so. He contended that those relations had been already established, and that merchants, and not sailors, were the persons required to render them effective. The Government were beginning at the wrong end. By the course they were pursuing they might do mischief, and could do no good. Upon these grounds was it that he wished for that information which was invariably granted in reference to all such objects of discovery.
Mr. HUME thought that hon. Members had no foundation for stating that the house was without information upon this subject; for that the whole scope and objects of the expedition had been laid before the house in the month of February last, in a letter from Lord John Russell to the Commissioners of the Treasury. It was then stated that the expedition was to go out, if possible, to put a stop to the slave trade, which it was found no marine guard was capable of preventing; and to give to the African chiefs, from whose dominions the external slave trade was supplied, interests of a better description. In a word the object of it was to put down the slave trade, by establishing commercial relations with those chiefs. We were expending tenfold the sum voted for this expedition in steamers and other vessels to put down that trade; and he therefore felt with the hon. and learned member for Dublin, that it was at least worth the experiment of attempting to do by natural what they could not effect by artificial means.
Lord INGESTRIE, in consequence of what had fallen from the hon. member for Dublin, read some further extracts from the intelligence which had been received respecting the Ethiope steamer, to show that, although Captain Becher had found an entrance by way of Warree, and had penetrated to near Lever, yet that owing to the state of the river, the sickness of the crew, and other causes, the experiment had totally failed. If this expedition were to be undertaken, he wished to see it done effectually or not at all. With that feeling it was that he had brought forward this motion. Among mercantile men in the city, and those who were best acquainted with the subject, there was but one opinion as to the inexpediency of sailing at this period of the year. He entertained such strong doubts of the success of the enterprise, that he thought it most probable he should give his vote against the grain for the expedition when it came before the house.
Sir C. ADAM said, that every inquiry had been made as to the most eligible time of sailing, and by proceeding about this season it was expected that no difficulty would be found in crossing the bar and entering the river, and that the expedition would be certain to make its way up some one of the tributary streams, of which there were many, to a sufficient distance. On a former occasion the vessel under Captain Becher had been delayed at the delta.
The motion was then, by leave, withdrawn.
|Fr 19 February 1841||The steamer Pluto, Lieutenant Lunn, is at Plymouth, waiting the arrival of the steam squadron for the Niger, which she is to accompany.|
|Sa 20 February 1841||The Albert iron steam-vessel, Captain Henry Dundas Trotter, arrived at Woolwich frem Deptford on Wednesday, and will remain here until ready to sail for Africa. Professor Airy intends examining her compasses minutely, so as to have them placed in such a position as to insure their acting correctly, notwithstanding the vessel is an iron one. The superiority of Grant's patent fuel having now been proved, the vessels for the Niger expedition will be furnished with it. It is now expected the expedition will sail early in March, or as soon as the arrangements can be completed.The Soudan iron steam vessel, commander Bird Allan, for the same expedition, will remain at Deptford for the present.|
|Ma 15 March 1841||The Soudan, iron steam-vessel, Commander Bird Allen, arrived at Woolwich from Deptford on Tuesday afternoon. It is not generally known that there are 15 men of colour attached to each of the vessels appointed for the Niger expedition, as it has been considered they will be found more suitable for the labour of the vessels in a tropical climate. It is now expected the expedition will leave Woolwich, where the whole of the vessels, the Albert, Wilberforce, and Soudan, are now assembled, in the first week of April.|
|We 24 March 1841|
His Royal Highness Prince Albert, attended by Mr. George Edward Anson, Hon. C.A. Murray, Hon. Major Keppel, Sir Edward Bowater, Captain Francis Seymour, and Dr. Praetorius, went to Deptford yesterday afternoon to inspect the vessels fitting out for the Niger expedition. His Royal Highness and suite went on board the Albert steam-packet, and immediately proceeded to Woolwich, where His Royal Highness went on board and inspected the other vessels preparing for the expedition.
His Royal Highness and suite returned to Buckingham-palace soon after 6 o'clock, in two open carriages and four, with outriders.
|Th 25 March 1841|
The Queen held a Levee, the first this season, at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon, at St. James's Palace. Her Majesty and his Royal Highness Prince Albert arrived from Buckingham Palace escorted by a party of Life Guards…
The following noblemen and gentlemen had the honour of being presented to Her Majesty:- …
|Tu 30 March 1841||The Earl of Minto, Lord John Russell, and other Cabinet Ministers, went to Deptford yesterday, to inspect the steam-vessels in the river fitting for the Niger cxpedition.|
|We 31 March 1841||The desire to see the vessels of the Niger expedition continues unabated; crowds of distinguished visitors, anxious to inspect Her Majesty's ship Albert now lying in the basin in Deptford dockyard, arrive there daily. On Monday, amongst others, were Lord John Russell, the Earl of Minto, the Earl of Clarendon, Lord Morpeth, the Countess of Minto, and the Ladies Elliot, Lady Lowisa Fitzmaurice, Lady Mary Howard, Lord and Lady Braybrooke, the Duke of Buckingham, the Marquis of Chandos, the Ladies Cornwallis, Lady Jemima Elliot, Mr. Charles Wood, M.P., General Sir H. Bayley, G.C.B., Captain Blackwood, R.N., Sir Henry Vassall, R.N., &c. On Tuesday we observed the Right Hon. Sir R. Peel, the Earl of Errol, Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence, Earl and Countess of Denbigh and family, Lord and Lady Radstock and family, Lord and Lady James Stuart, Hon. Miss Denman, Sir Thomas Freemantle, M.P., Lord and Lady Leveson, Sir Walter and Lady Farqahar, Sir Harry and Lady Verney, Lady Antrobus and family, Rev. J.M. Trew, Sir George Clerk, Bart., M.P., Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, M.P., Mr Acland, M.P., Sir Thomas Pasley, Bart., R.N., Right Hon. Henry Goulding, M.P., Mr. Strutt, M.P., and Mrs. Strutt, Mr. and Mrs. Gibson Craig, Mr. and Mrs. Romilly, Mrs. Marcet, the Rev. J.M. Trew, Mr. Colquhoun, M.P., Captain and Mrs. Beaufort, Colonel and Mrs. Sabine, Captain and Mrs. Washington, Dr. Lindley, Sir William Hooker, Captain Smart, R.N., Captain Sparshott, R.M., Sir J. Clarke, M.D., &c.|
The Soudan, Commander Bird Allen, sailed at 3 o'clock this afternoon for her destination, and will call at Plymouth for the Harriet transport ship. Commander Bird Allen, a few minutes before he embarked, examined Porter and Co.'s anchors, and expressed his decided approbation of the principle on which they are constructed.
|Ma 5 April 1841||Whilst his Royal Highness Prince Albert was going in the boat to visit the vessels intended for the Niger expedition the lad steering ran the boat foul of some craft; and the rowers were thrown into the bottom, the Prince being tilted atop of them. The officer in the boat apologized for the accident, upon which his Royal Highness said, "Never mind, never mind - if the worst had happened and the boat been upset, I could have swum ashore".|
|Ma 5 April 1841||The Soudan iron steam-vessel, Commander Bird Allen sailed on the 30th ult. for Africa. The Albert, Captain Henry Dundas Trotter, and the Wilberforce, Commander William Allen, are expected to sail in the course of next week, for the same destination, as they form a part of the Niger expedition, in which so much interest has recently been shown. The Harriet transport ship will join them at Plymouth with stores and other articles necessary for the undertaking.|
|Tu 6 April 1841||In my communication relative to Prince Albert's visit to the vessels of the Niger expedition at Woolwich, I stated that the pinnace in which his Royal Highness proceeded from the Albert to the Soudan was forced by the high wind and strong tide at the time against Her Majesty's vessel the William and Mary, and that the Prince laughed heartily at the narrow escapes the party had of losing their hats by coming in contact with the ropes attached to the booms of that handsome yacht constantly anchored opposite the dock-yard. The paragraph therefore which appeared in the evening papers of this date is a silly invention, as the boat was steered by an experienced veteran sailor, a master in the navy, and not by a lad, and there was no tilting or other inconvenience to the Prince or any of the party.|
|Ma 19 April 1841||The Albert iron steam-vessel, Captain Henry Dundas Trotter, sailed from Deptford on Tuesday, and is now opposite the dockyard, Woolwich, where the crew will be paid wages about Tuesday next, and afterwards sail for the Niger in company with the Wilberforce, the Soudan having previously sailed for that destination.|
|Ma 3 May 1841||The Albert, Captain Trotter, and Wilberforce, Commander Allen (iron steam-vessels), sailed on Tuesday for Plymouth and the Bonny River, on their way to explore the Niger River. At Spithead the Albert steamed round the ships, and, as a compliment, they manned the yards and gave her three cheers.|
|Tu 15 June 1841||THE AFRICAN EXPEDITION.- The iron steamer Soudan, which left Plymouth on the 17th of April, arrived at Teneriffe on the 14th of May. The following is an extract of a letter from a gentleman on board, addressed to a friend is this town, and dated May 17:- "I write according to your wish, to tell our progress. We left Devonport April 17th, and we had a violent gale from the north-east, on the 21st and 22d, in the Bay of Biscay. It was sublime; I enjoyed it much; the swell of the waves was magnificent, Our round house, life-buoy, &c. were washed away, and the things even in the magazine were soaked through. Another gale set in on the 29th, from the south-west, which drove us into Lisbon on the 1st of May. I admired Lisbon exceedingly, and the country around it is most lovely. We left Lisbon on the 8th of May, had a fine passage all the way, and arrived here on the 14th of May. This is a most grand and magnificent island. Mountains are towering around us. I ascended one, and the view was superb. The famous peak, however, is, at this season of the year, inaccessible. We leave this to-morrow for the Cape de Verd Islands, where we wait for the Wilberforce, which I expect will join us there in a week or two, and then we sail on together for the Niger, but I doubt our entering it before August. I begin to feel the heat dreadfully; I felt quite knocked up yesterday. The ship is healthy. She is a dreadfully slow vessel, and how she weathered the gales we have met with I cannot tell. Many thought she would have been lost; but, when it came to the point, I felt no fear myself whatever."- Liverpool Albion.|
|Ma 21 June 1841||The Albert and Wilberforce, two of the steamers composing the Niger expedition, had arrived at Madeira, whence they were expected to sail on the 25th of May for Teneriffe, at which place the Soudan had already arrived, all well. The intelligence is brought by the Espoir, Madeira packet.|
|Ma 28 June 1841||Her Majesty's schooner Cockatrice, Lieutenant Oxenham, arrived at Madeira May 21, in eight days from Plymouth, all well. Passengers on board, Sir William Hoste and Lieutenant Knott, late of the Excellent, and Surgeons Robertson and Yeoman. Arrived the same day, the Albert and Wilberforce, Niger steamers, which sailed again for their destination on the 24th of May.|
|Fr 17 September 1841||It is a rare occurrence that papers from Liberia are received in this country, and if they were, it is doubtful whether they would be regarded of any great importance, as our commerce is not much directed to that part of the globe. Some have, however, come to hand to-day, which are rendered interesting as they contain the news of the arrival on the 5th ult., in Montserado roads, of the Niger expedition, after a favourable passage nearly the whole way, and what is more satisfactory, Captain Trotter reports that there was not a case of sickness in any of the vessels. "The appearance of this squadron in our waters was hailed," says the paper (Africa's Luminary) published at Monrovia, "as a new era in African coast and river navigation".|
|Ma 11 October 1841||THE NIGER EXPEDITION.- Letters were received in London on Saturday from Cape Coast Castle, dated the 28th of July, reporting the steam-vessels composing this expedition to have arrived there from Sierra Leone - the Soudan on the 15th, the Albert on the 19th, and the Wilberforce on the 24th of that month. The apprehension entertained, by some persons previous to its departure from England that the expedition might arrive at the mouth of the Niger somewhat late for ascending the river, as, the best possible penod appears to have been groundless, as from information gained on the coast from persons who had been up the Niger with Lander, it is found that large vessels would be unable to proceed above Ibo at an earlier period than the month of August.|
|Th 11 November 1841|
Express from Liverpool
THE TIMES-OFFICE, 6 o'Clock a.m.
The Daedalus, Captain Martin, arrived at Liverpool yesterday from the coast of Africa. Captain Martin reports that the Niger expedition entered the new branch of the Niger between the 13th and the 15th of August, the Soudan leading. The expedition had, up to that date, lost nine hands by death.
|Fr 12 November 1841|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION
We have much gratification in stating, that the news from Liverpool, published yesterday, of mortality among the persons engaged in the expedition to the Niger, proves to be greatly exaggerated. A letter from a gentleman on board of the Albert, dated off the Nunn, August 10, says- "The Wilberforce, Soudan, and Amelia, joined us yesterday; the officers and men of all the vessels, so far as I can learn, are in good health." On the 18th he again writes- "We are now anchored above Alburkah Island having passed over the shallow part of the narrow creek, where we had 14 feet water, with the Amelia tender in tow; the Wilberforce and the Soudan come up to-morrow morning. There is one coloured man in the Albert, and another in the Wilberforce, who have the African fever, but the symptoms are favourable; both these men were West Indian negroes, and entered the ships in England. With these exceptions, I am happy to say, the officers and men of the expedition are quite well."
A letter from another gentleman, dated on board the Albert, the 19th of August, says- "We entered this river on the 14th. The health of the whole expedition has been all along very good, considering the number engaged in it, and any illness of consequence which has occurred has been almost exclusively confined to the black men. In the Albert we have unfortunately lost two men, one named Johnston, a white, fell from the foreyard-arm during our passage from Sierra Leone to Cape Coast, and died two hours after the accident from injury to the brain; the other was Mr. Back, the mathematical instrument maker, who was attacked on the 9th inst. with symptoms of fever of a low typhoid kind. It appears he had been suffering for some time from dyspepsia, and this attack supervening upon a constitution previously debilitated, proved fatal on the 15th; there evidently was nothing local in the cause of his death."
A letter from the chaplain to the expedition, dated the 18th of August, says- "all the officers and people of the whole squadron enjoy at present perfect health."
From letters received up to the date of the 20th of August, the whole of the losses sustained appear to have been three from casualties during the voyage, which with two coloured men, and one European - the latter not from African fever - comprises the entire loss of life sustained by the expedition from the time of its quitting England to the 20th of August.
The total number employed in the expedition is about 300 persons.
|Fr 3 December 1841|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION.
Her Majesty's ship Prince Albert.
We called at Madeira, Teneriffe, St. Vincent, Sierra Leone, Monrovia, River Sinde, Cape Coast Castle, aad Accra. We have had very good health, but have lost three men since we left England by accidents. Thus far we have been fortunate; all are in good spirits, and anxious to get into the river, which we shall do in a few days. We are now taking coal, &c., in from the Harriet transport; she then goes on to Fernando Po, and thence to India. The appearance of the country is not here very good, being low and swampy, bat after a few days it will improve. The grealest evil I have to complain of is the heavy rolling of the ship; it is dreadful just now; she is rolling in sach a way that it is with great difficulty I can write: however, when we get across the bar of the river all will be well. Fortunately, we had fine weather when we crossed the bay: as these are certainly not first-class sea-boats, they will, I have no doubt, do well for the river. Her Majesty's brig Buzzard is here; she has been blockading the river for six months, and has not lost one man. We have been to the river Sinde, which professes to be a civilized American colony, but it is, if anything, worse than a native village. Liberia is not all as it should be; I should not like to go to live there. As to Cape Coast Castle and Sierra Leone, I like them very well: I had much rather live in Sierra Leone than in Sydney. The only objection that I have to Accra and Cape Coast is, that no horses will live; they have lived a little while, bnt not so as to do any good. We hear the natives in the river are not very friendly. The Buzzard's boat went in the other day, and was obliged to return, so most likely we shall have something to do.
14th.- We are in the river now; crossed the bar yesterday; all well, and in good spirits. I went a little up the river yesterday in the Soudan, bnt she at last stuck in the river, where she remained until the tide rose. We all go up on Monday.
|Sa 4 December 1841||THE NIGER EXPEDITION.- Farther accounts, dated the 19th of September, but reaching to the 22d, have been received of the Niger expedition, which had at the former date ascended the river to the confluence of the Tchadda and Quorra; and at this point determined upon a change of operations. The original plan, to be guided, however, by events, was that the steamers should proceed in company; but circumstances have led to a resolution, that the Prince Albert, Captain Trotter, should ascend the Quorra, and the Wilberforce, Captain W. Allen, should navigate the Tchadda. - The Soudan, Captain Bird Allen, had returned down the river with invalids; for we regret to say that considerable sickness had prevailed, in spite of all the precautions taken to prevent it; and eight Europeans, sailors, had died since the expedition left England. Captains Trotter and B. Allen had both kept their health; but Captain W. Allen had been ill, but was recovered. The sickness which attacked the crews attended the vessels all the way up to Attah, about 200 miles, above which we do not hear that it continued; whilst the Prince Albert and Wilberforce made their way up the additional 70 miles to the site we have indicated as the junction of the two grand branches - viz., the Quorra or Niger, flowing from nearly the north or north-north-west, and the Tchadda, or Chad, from the eastward. The Soudan, from Attah, had got down to the coast in three days, and providentially found the Dolphin, lieutenant Littlehales, cruising off the mouth of the river, and put the sick on board, to be carried, we believe, to the Isle of Ascension. Such is the latest intelligence received. A previous letter from Mr. Cyrus Wakeman, the purser of one of the steamers, states that the patent prepared potatoes, of which the Literary Gazette spoke as likely to be so useful in such voyages, had turned out an invaluable blessing in affording fresh and nutritive provision for the ships' companies.- Literary Gazette.|
|Ma 6 December 1841|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION
The Horatio transport arrived yesterday from Ascension, which she left on the 27th of October, with invalids from the African squadron. She brings sad accounts of the disastrous effects of the climate on the crews composing the Niger expedition, no less than one-third of them having invalided, of whom about 22 have died. The Soudan, on quitting the Nun river, with 36 invalids on board, fell in with the Dolphin, and transferred them to that ship. Eight of these died on board the Dolphin; and with the remainder she proceeded to Ascension, where they were put on board the Horatio, and have returned home. The havoc made by the climate on the crews had greatly disheartened the expedition, and it was considered doubtful whether it could proceed. It is somewhat singular that the blacks who went from England with the expedition were the first to fall a prey to sickness on entering the river. The former accounts received from the expedition mentioned that the steamers entered the Nun river on the 13th of August. We now learn that this river is two miles wide, and that it is thought to be the chief of the many months of the Niger. The vessels, with the Amelia tender, did not do more than about a dozen miles, until the 20th, on which day they did about 30; the 21st, 30 miles more; the 22d, being Sunday, they rested; the 23d was wasted in looking after the Wilberforce, which had gone up (without Captain Trotter's knowledge) by a different channel. The 24th they did 20 miles; the 25th, 25 miles; and on the evening of the 26th they all four arrived at the Island of Ebor, 130 miles up the river, according to its course. The river here is about 200 yards wide, and of good depth, the banks to the water's edge covered with vegetation, with the cotton, umbrella, palm, bamboo, and many other trees of the kind. The depth of water varies from 13 fathoms down to very shallow indeed, the current against them going up about two miles an hour. Thus far up the river its width varies from 100 yards to a mile and a half. The next 30 or 40 miles they saw but few huts. The next 30 or 40 miles they passed several villages, then (for some miles) fewer inhabitants again, and latterly none. The town of Ebor is very large, not on the main river, but up a creek; the king went on board the Albert, dressed like a mountebank, red coat, &c. Tbe natives are quite peaceful towards them; indeed, they were fearful of them ; they had provided them with vegetables and some bullocks on the day the last letter was dated -viz., the 18th of September. The have very large canoes, carrying 40 or 50 men each.
The following is an extract of a letter, dated Mount Stirling, close to the confluence of the Niger and the Tchadda, September 18, 1841, Her Majesty's ship Amelia tender (this point is 306 miles from the sea, and being above the delta of several rivers is comparatively healthy):-
"The pestilence has broken out; 50 or 60 are ill in the squadron; 10 or 12 have died, and many more will die, I fear. The Soudan takes the sick out of the river; the Wilberforce goes up the Tshadda; the Albert, with Captain Trotter and Captain Bird Allen, goes up the Niger. Mr. Horatio Collman, acting-assistant surgeon of the Soudan, is left in the medical charge of the Amelia and the settlement which is forming on shore here under Mr. Carr by the society. Mr. Nightingale, assistant-surgeon of the Albert, is dead, and also Mr. Marshall, acting-surgeon of the Soudan." -Portsmouth paper.
|Tu 7 December 1841|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION
(From a Correspondent)
The Horatio transport, Lieutenant Chapman, arrived here on Friday from St. Helena and the Coast of Africa, and has brought home some of the officers who have been invalided belonging to the Niger expedition, and who had come down the river in the Soudan steamer. The accounts they bring home are up to the 1st of October, and are most deplorable. The mortality and sickness among the officers and men composing the expedition were great in the extreme. 26 had already died, and almost all were ill and unable to do duty. On board the Wilberforce, out of the European portion of the crew of about 50 men, not more than four or five were able to attend to their duty, the others were all laid up, and they were nearly as ill off on board the Albert. At the time the Soudan left it, the expedition had reached the confluence of the Niger and Tchadda, about 270 miles up the river, but it was feared that from the lamentable condition in which it was placed by the sickness and the increasing mortality among the officers and men, it would be compelled to return to Ascension. Among the victims to the climate previous to the Soudan's leaving her consorts was Assistant-Surgeon Nightingale, of the Albert; and during her passage on her return from Attah to the mouth of the river, she lost her own surgeon, Mr. W. B. Marshall and one of her men. When she arrived at the entrance of the river she fell in with Her Majesty's ship Dolphin, and put her sick on board that vessel to be conveyed to Ascension, eight of whom, however, died previous to the Dolphin's reaching that place. Mr. Walter, the clerk of the Soudan, was so ill that he could not be removed on board the Dolphin, and it was not expected he would survive many hours; all prospect of his recovery was perfectly hopeless. Captain Bird Allen, of the Soudan, did not come down the river with her, but joined the Albert, being anxious to accompany the expedition to the extent of its researches. The Soudan came down under the command of Lieutenant Fishbourne. All her officers and men were sick.
The steamers make very slow progress in ascending the river; none of them are remarkable for their speed. The current of the stream is about three miles and a half, and the average speed of the steamers is six miles, consequently their progress is not more than two miles and a half per hour. The Albert was to proceed up the Niger, and the Wilberforce up the Tchadda, while the Amelia schooner was to remain at Mount Stirling, where the farm is to be established, and where the tent lately used at the Eglintoun tournament has already been pitched. The natives were very friendly; at Eboe, a town containing 8,000 or 9,000 inhabitants, several of the officers went on shore, the natives crowding to see them. At the Queen's palace they were received by her sable Majesty, who was squatted at the door surrounded by her ladies, the principal of which were decorated with heavy ivory anklets, weighing from eight to ten pounds each. They seemed much pleased with the visit, and laughed immoderately, and in return for some little trinkets given by the officers, her Majesty presented them with a fowl and some Geoza nuts, the bestowal of which is considered highly complimentary there. The King of Eboe went on board the Wilberforce, accompanied by his son and the interpreter, and others of his suite. A bottle of port wine was placed before him. which he did not pass round to any of his attendants, but drank it all himself, and then gave a broad hint, which, however, was not taken, for some grog. The King of Attah was more dignified, and upon the Commissioners waiting upon him he told them he was perfectly aware that they were the subjects of a Sovereign to whom they paid every respect, and he should expect the same respect paid to him. He should not go on board, because he considered he was entitled to as much attention as their own Sovereign. He said they might have the command of the water, but he had the command of the land.
He looked with perfect indifference on the elegant and valuable presents of velvet robes trimmed with gold, but seemed much taken with the spectacles worn by the chaplain, and gladly accepted several pairs that were given him. He, as well as the King of Eboe, entered most willingly into all the arrangements of the Commissioners, and they both expressed their desire that their subjects should be instructed. He sold them the land at Mount Stirling, where they intend to establish the settlement, which he said was just within the extent of his dominions. The officers belonging to the expedition who came home in the Horatio are - Lieutenant Harston. Mr Belam, master, and Assistant-Surgeon John Stirling, of the Soudan.
|Th 9 December 1841||LONDON, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1841|
According to the last accounts from the Niger, it would appear that the equivocal sort of entertainment which consists in "eating the fruit of one's own doings" is not always confined to the wicked, but is sometimes partaken of by a very different class. It seems odd in particular, that this unpalatable kind of fare uniformly falls to the lot of those engaging philanthropists who love to style themselves "the friends of Africa." From the period when their sublime humanity took credit for having emancipated the West Indian negroes, their subsequent interference with the successful working of that measure, in virtue of which it has materially deteriorated the condition of the objects whom it professed to benefit, have, ever since, subjected the philanthropists to the retributive fruit-eating which should, more canonically, be restricted to a viler order of offenders. As it is the appointment of providence that they shall eat as they have laboured, their doings in the West Indies have necessarily consigned them to very nauseous ruminations, and in very indifferent company.
Equally indiscreet and unfortunate were their doings in South Africa, in regard to "the Children's Friend Society." Having left their philanthropy nothing to effect on behalf of the emancipated blacks, except bitter remorse at the injuries which their interference had inflicted, they next exerted their calamitous and ostentatious benevolence in trepanning white infants of tender years for the purpose of enslaving them at the Cape. Their doings, however, in that particular line were speedily put an end to by this journal. Never did we rest till we effectually broke up their canting and unhallowed confederacy, the fruits of which they are now eating in bitter and mortified silence.
But the friends of Africa, from Mr. DANIEL O'CONNELL down to Sir FOWELL BUXTON, could not permit themselves to remain in unobtrusive sedation. Something new, on a grand and ambitious scale - something that should give a flattering prominency to the professed emancipators of an injured race - something that should immortalize Mr. DANIEL'S patriotism and Sir FOWELL'S pamphlet - something that should bewitch the entire world from Buckingham Palace to the Brewery in Spitalfields - must needs be immediately organized. Hence arose the African Civilization Society. Prince ALBERT was persuaded to take the chair at its first meeting. Exeter-hall mustered its usual complement of fair attendants and white rod ushers. The platform was crowded with supporters of the illustrious chairman. Mr. EDWARD BUXTON, fired with the egotistical zeal of Papa, was threatening everybody with the station-house who demurred to O'CONNELL'S intermeddling: and thus, the Spitalfields and Derrynane project was not only set agoing, but by dint of a combined pressure which the Whigs were not in a condition to resist, the glorious expedition to the Niger for the purpose of cultivating fancy farms, raising supernatural crops, civilizing a black peasantry, blessing Africa with thriving agricultural villages, and eventually causing the Ethiopian to change his skin, was at length undertaken by Government at an expense to the country little short of 200,000 l.
Against this insane and self-perfuming coxcombry, we ventured at the time to enter our stern protest. But the excellent philanthropists, commanding at once the patronage of the Court and the purse of the country, would listen to no remonstrances. Madness ruled the hour. Off went the expedition, with Admiralty steamers, Eglintoun marquees, liquor for the intemperate Chiefs, and gewgaws for the sable Venuses. To Africa it forthwith proceeded; and the intelligence just received enables us now to take some account of its fruits.Let any one read the authentic details which we published on Tuesday, and then say if this infatuated enterprise be not sufficient to consign African philanthropy to everlasting ridicule and scorn. Compassion for the unhappy sufferers who have lost their lives and health in this mad scheme, will doubtless be extensively felt; but how can the wretched charlatans who have occasioned the mischief be regarded with any other feelings than those of disgust and indignation? The expedition, as we confidently predicted, has turned out a complete failure. Disease and death have attended its movements throughout. A judicial miasmatic infection is blighting it at every stage. And what is to be the upshot? Why, your humane philanthropists, who always contrive to keep in sound skins at home, will relentlessly persevere in pampering their own vanity and self importance, till their thinned and diseased agents are hardly able to work the vessels in which they have jeopardied their existence. A lavish expenditure of money and life, involving no personal sacrifices, will not easily discourage such imperturbable nerve as Sir FOWELL and CO's. But what will the country say to all this! Sooner or later, the pretensions of these philanthropic canters will find their proper level. It is really sickening to think of them.
|We 22 December 1841|
From the intelligence received from this expedition, extending in part to the 10th of October, the following statement of facts may be gathered:-
The Albert, Wilberforce, and Soudan, with the Harriot transport and Amelia tender, after a favourable though somewhat tedious voyage, arrived off the Nun on the 9th and 10th of August. In unloading the transport they were detained a considerable time, owing to the heavy rolling of the vessels in the swell outside the bar. A further detention arose when they had crossed the bar from the necessity of refitting the tails of the rudders, which had been carried away on the passage from Cape Coast, and without which the vessels were almost unmanageable. These repairs the badness of the weather and strength of the tide did not permit of being completed till the 20th.
The necessary delay does not, however, appear to have positively injured the health of the crews, as they enjoyed a wholesome sea breeze, and every precaution was taken to preserve them from illness. Up to this period there had been sevea deaths - four from casualties, one of apoplexy, and two of fever, not African, but typhus. Of these last, one only was an European.
Under these favourable auspices they commenced their ascent of the river on the 20th of August. Their progress was necessarily slow, as they do not ordinarily make more than six miles an hour, and the current runs at the rate of three. They were delayed still farther by looking for the Wilberforce, which had gone up a different channel. Thus the 22d (Sunday) was spent, and at last it was found that she had gone ahead. They rejoined at Eboe on the 26th. This deviation was, however, the means of discovering a new branch of the river, with numerous villages, and a larger population than had yet been seen. Six days after they arrived at Iddah, when the fever broke out, and continued to the confluence (272 miles up) with increased violence.
LIST OF SICK ON BOARD THE EXPEDITION, FROM SEPTEMBER 3 - 17.
In consequence of this alarming sickness, and their inability to examine the higher grounds for a healthy station, it was deemed advisable to send the sick to the sea-side. 43 of the 49 remaining cases were accordingly embarked in the Soudan on the 19th, and reached the mouth early on the 22d. On their way they lost two hopeless cases - Mr. Marshall, surgeon of the Soudan, and one of her men. They were fortunate enough to fall in at once with Her Majesty's ship Dolphin, Commander Littlehales, by whom they were taken on board, except two, and carried to Ascension. On their way eight more died, but the rest recovered in a most sudden and striking manner.
Assistant-Surgeon Stirling, who came home in charge of the invalids, has since returned to the Niger. The accompanying table shows the entire mortality from the first setting out, and the number of Whites who have died of African fever:
LIST OF DEATHS FROM MAY 12 TO SEPTEMBER 29.
|Ma 10 January 1842|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION
(From the Hampshire Telegraph )
Extract of a letter from an officer of Her Majesty's Steam-vessel Wilberforce, dated Fernando Po, October 5:-
"The Soudan had turned her head downwards on the 19th of September, under charge of Fishbourne, with the greater part of the sick of the squadron. It was Captain Trotter's intention, at that time, that the Wilberforce; should proceed up the Chadda, and the Albert up the Niger; but on the following day the number of our officers (originally, as you know, very small) being much reduced, it was thought prudent to send us down to the sea as well. Accordingly on the 21st we parted company from the Albert, then under weigh, to go upwards, and arrived here four days ago, haring been unavoidably detained cutting wood on our way. I saw Captain Trotter and Captain Bird Allen a few minutes before we left, both in perfect health and spirits. We brought down as passengers Messrs. Bowden, Harvey, and Collman, all ill with fever. Mr. Bowden has had a sharp attack, but is, I trust, fairly in the way of recovery. Poor Harvey breathed his last two days ago, and we lost Mr. Wakeham on our passage down. On our arrival here, we found the Soudan and Pluto, and poor Fishbourne laid up with fever, to which, no doubt, fatigue and anxiety have mainly conduced. I trust, however, that as the fever shows some signs of being spent on board the Wilberforce, since our exit from the river, his may not prove a serious case. The deaths have been altogether 15; five of whom were officers. (This does not include the eight deaths on board the Dolphin, of which the writer knew nothing.) The number of cases by the time we left the Albert, had been altogether 85 or 86."
Extract of a letter from another officer of Her Majesty's steam-vessel Wilberforce, dated Ascension, November 22:-
"You will already have heard that it was found necessary to send the Soudan to the sea, on the 19th of September, with the sick of the expedition. On the 21st of September Captain Trotter considered the Albert to be still in an efficient state; having sent the sick away, he was anxious to make a further attempt, in hopes of being able to reach Rabbah, which, if he succeeds, will enable him (after the success we had at Iber and at Iddah) nearly to complete the main objects for which we entered the river. He intended to come down to the sea in the middle of November, and as he has plenty of coals, which he will reserve for the purpose, a few days will bring him clear of the river, even from Rabbah. After the Soudan left us, there were so many sick in the Wilberforce that we were not able to go up the Chadda, as. Had been previously determined, but were unfortunately obliged to follow the Soudan. On the arrival of the Wilberforce at Fernando Po, she (the Soudan) was sent in charge, of Lieutenant Strange to endeavour to reach the Albert; and before she left Mr. Becroft arrived in the Ethiop, and very handsomely agreed to go up the river, and offer any assistance, should Captain Trotter require it. We are getting ready to go to the coast according to our orders, but hope before we sail to see Captain Trotter here."
Extract of a letter from an officer of Her Majesty's steam-vessel Albert, dated
"Wilberforce, off Ascension, Nov. 22."
"The Albert left the confluence for Rabbah the same day we did for Fernando Po. As Mr. Fishbourne took the Soudan down the river with 46 fever patients, Captain Bird Allen remained in the Albert. As soon as we arrived at Fernando Po, Captain William Allen despatched the Soudan and the Ethiop (Mr. Becroft) tip the river to assist the Albert, in case of need. We arrived at Fernando Po on the 1st of October, and left the island on the 9th, accompanied by the Pluto. Mr. Strange took the command of the Soudan, because Mr. Fishbourne got the fever and came on board the Wilberforce to go to Ascension, but recovered so rapidly that he returned in the Pluto to join the Albert on the 21st of October, with Mr. Bowden, who also had been taken ill up the river. On the 14th of September it was arranged that the Albert and the Soudan should proceed together up the Niger, and the Wilberforce up the Chaddah; 'but my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor my ways your ways saith the Lord.' Sickness and disease came upon us like a thunderbolt. This was as unexpected a defeat of our plans as it was sudden. The Lord's will be done! If prudence, sound judgment, and indefatigable diligence and perseverance could have overcome the difficulties of the expedition, our excellent commander-in-chief would soon have accomplished more than the most sanguine hope could ever have ventured to expect; but to overcome the laws of nature is beyond the power of human wisdom and strength. In two letters which were written by Captain Trotter, on the 20th and 21st of September, at the confluence of the Niger and Chadda, there are the following passages, which show, that notwithstanding the numerous obstacles arising from the climate, he had still strong hopes of eventual good resulting from the expedition, and was by no means disposed to omit one single chance of success:-
"'The new cases that occur every minute are very perplexing, but I do not see that it is yet time for the Albert to give up the river this year, though half-an-hour more may alter the case.' 'I shall certainly, I think, be at Fernando Po by the 15th of December. The model farm is going on well, and is beautifully situated.'"
It is probable, as no news of the Albert had reached Ascension when the letters from which we have given extracts were written, that Captain Trotter has been able to persevere in his design of visiting Rabbah before leaving the river. It appears from other letters that the Wilberforce came down the river in charge of Lieutenant Strange, Captain William Allen and 26 of her hands being ill of the fever. She also brought down three invalids from the Albert, leaving her with eight or ten on the sick list, inclusive of two of her engineers. Captain William Allen had quite recovered at the date of these letters. We publish these extracts because it is desirable that authentic intelligence should be before the public. At the best the news is bad and distressing enough, but it is always better that facts rather than uncertain and often exaggerated reports should reach the ears of the friends of those engaged in this perilous enterprise.
|Tu 11 January 1842|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION
The accounts which have been received here within these two or three days of the Niger expedition have fully confirmed, those which were brought by the Horatio, and which were published In The Times of Tuesday, Dec. 7. At that time it was stated that when the Soudan left the expedition, it had reached the confluence of the Niger and Tchadda, and it was arranged that the Albert should proceed up the Niger, and the Wilberforce up the Tchadda; but it was feared that from the deplorable condition in which it was placed by the sickness and the increasing mortality among the officers and men, the expedition would be compelled to return. These unpleasant anticipations have been speedily realized in the return of one of the vessels, the Wilberforce; and but little hope was entertained that the other, the Albert, would continue her course more than a day or two longer. From the present accounts, it appears that on the very next day after the Soudan left there were so many sick on board the Wilberforce, that it was not able to go up the Tchadda, as previously determined, but was unfortunately obliged to follow the Soudan to Fernando Po, under the charge of Lieutenant Strange, her captain,W. Allen, and nearly the whole of the crew, being ill of the fever. On the same day that the Wilberforce left the confluence to return to sea, Captain Trotter got the Albert under weigh to proceed up the Niger for the purpose of visiting Rabbah, which he considered essential for the furtherance of the objects for which be entered the river. While, however, he resolved to make the attempt, he was by no means sanguine of being able to accomplish his design. He had already many of his men ill on board, and he himself stated that many new cases were occurring every moment, which were very perplexing, but he did not yet see it was time for the Albert to give in, though half an hour more might alter the case. The Soudan was despatched by Captain Allen back to the river to assist the Albert in case of need, and was accompanied by the Ethiop, Mr. Becroft, who volunteered to undertake that service. The Soudan was placed under the command of Lieutenant Strange, the officer (Lieutenant Fishburne) who brought her down the river being ill of the fever; he had, however, subsequently become convalescent. Mr. Wakeham died on board the Wilberforce on her passage down the river, and Mr. Harvey died when she arrived at Fernando Po.
|Th 20 January 1842|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION
The Lady Combermere arrived this morning from Africa. She sailed from Bonny on the 19th of October, and from Clarence, Fernando Fo, the 26th of October; she left Her Majesty's steam-ships Albert and Soudan at Clarence, returned from the Niger expedition, with all hands sick. Captain Bird Allen, R.N., died at Clarence on the 25th of October.
(From the Liverpool Courier.)
It is with feelings of no ordinary concern - feelings which we are sure will be participated in through the length and breadth of the land - that we have to communicate the melancholy tidings of the total abandonment, under circumstances of the most disastrous character, of the Niger expedition. The Lady Combermere arrived yesterday at this port, from Africa, haying sailed from Bonny on the 19th of October, and from Clarence, Fernando Po, on the 26th. Captain Midgely reports, that the vessels forming the expedition had returned to the latter port; that all the commanders and most of the crews had died; and that all further attempts to explore the Niger had, of course, been given up.
To the Editor of the Times.
Sir,- I am not in the habit of obtruding my opinions on the public, but at a time like the present, when all our newspapers teem with accounts of the disastrous mortality which has attended the unfortunate adventurers in the African expedition, I think it becomes the duty of any one who has a reasonable suggestion to offer to use his best endeavour to make it known. It would be out of place here to enter into a physiological discussion; but I may state that one of the conclusions at which I arrived as the result of some very extended inquiries into the nature of fever was, that what we call malaria, or whatever it may be that causes fever, makes its noxious impression, not upon the lungs, but upon the general surface of the body. A fever caused by exposure to cold in this climate is a familiar illustration of the mode in which I conceive malaria produces fever in hot countries. However, be this as it may, it was this view which led me to entertain the idea of the possibility of defending the skin from the action of malaria by means of some unctuous application, or oil alone. This opinion was no sooner formed than it struck me as a very remarkable circumstance that the most distinctive characteristic in the personal habits of the natives of Africa, as contrasted with those of the strangers who visit them, is, that the common custom of the one people is to anoint the whole surface of their bodies freely, while the other, on the contrary, with the aid of soap, are at great pains to remove everything of the kind which even the natural secretion of the skin provides. Here, then, is a broad distinction between the personal habits of the two people - the one anoints, the other washes. They are both equally exposed to the influence of malaria - the one escapes, the other is nearly annihilated. The circumstance now adverted to, though sufficiently remarkable, would not of itself warrant a conclusion either way; let us see, therefore, how it agrees with what has been observed in other countries. It has been noticed in those parts of Turkey where the plague (not the same as the African fever certainly, but still a fever) is most prevalent, that there is a class of persons who appear to possess an immunity from its attacks, in fact "a charmed life;" and this class consists of those who are engaged in the practical part of the oil trade. It is quite impossible for these persons to keep themselves clean; their clothes imbibe the oil, and they seem consequently to move about clad as it were in an armour plague-proof. One more example will suffice; it is the fact mentioned as having been observed in London at the time of the great plague - viz., that no tallow-chandler was known to suffer from it. It has been supposed that the effluvium of the melted fat might be the cause why these persons escaped the destruction which raged around them. I am, however, disposed to attach great weight to the fact of the clothes of these men being in the same condition as those of the oil traders, because here are examples of three totally distinct classes of men having no one thing on earth in common except greasy skins and freedom from infection. Surely this cannot be mere chance; indeed, I think it not at all unlikely that the practice of anointing, so common to several nations of antiquity, took its rise from some similar observations and experience. It is quite possible that the custom may be continued among the Africans, even at the present day, from some idea of its being conducive to health, though more probably all recollection of its origin has long been lost. But, whatever may be or might have been the reason why these people anoint themselves with oil, it is sufficient for us to note the fact and its consequence, and to profit by it.
I trust, Sir, I have said enough to justify my intruding myself upon your notice. A great and urgent necessity exists, for which I propose a remedy, which there is great reason to believe will prove effectual - a remedy so simple that all may obtain and use it, for the wonderful goodness of God has placed the oil-bearing plants, as he has the great coal beds, in those regions where they may be most useful to mankind. As the cleanly habits of Europeans may be somewhat checked at the idea of wearing clothes saturated with palm oil, it may be as well to state that I do not apprehend it to be at all necessary to use it, to any such extent. The skin will retain a certain quantity of oil when rubbed in without giving rise to the inconvenience of soiling the dress, and perhaps that might be sufficient; but, however, the quantity and the most convenient mode of applying it are matters that could very soon be ascertained by those immediately concerned in using it. I would only add, that I think it important .hat it should be used in the evening as well as in the morning, because it would appear that the influence of malaria is most powerful between the hours of sunset and sunrise. I am. Sir, your obedient servant,
Cheltenham, January 18,1842.
|Sa 22 January 1842|
LONDON, SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 1842.
We transcribe, in another column, from a morning contemporary, what it justly calls "the afflicting intelligence" respecting the Niger expedition, and which is considered to be the official anti-slavery account of the matter. The result of that enterprise has been sadly correspondent with what all reasonable men must have augured, and what we ourselves hare always predicted. Three vessels have gone about 320 miles up the Niger and Chadda, and have come down again. A model farm some 300 miles from the coast has been bought, stocked, and abandoned; treaties have been made with the two negro Princes of Eboe and Iddah for the abolition of the slave trade and of human sacrifices, and then they hare been left to their own practices; and this at an expense of health and life which is not indeed distinctly stated, but may well be divined from the account given by our contemporary, to whose statement we will add an extract from a letter written on board the Ethiope on the 21st of October :-
"We entered the Nun on the 10th inst., and proceeded up the river the next morning, and fell in with the Albert on the evening of the 13th inst. At Stirling Island, about 24 miles below Eboe. We found her in a worse state than the Wilberforce; all hands down with fever but Drs M'William, Stanger, a scientific gentleman, a marine, the boatswain's mate, and a servant. Captain Trotter very weak, Captain Bird Allen (who is since dead) very low; no engineers; Dr. Stanger was endevouring to work the engine the best way he could. We sent our head engineer on board, and the Albert followed the Ethiope to the coast. Captain Becroft then went on board the Albert, and took her to Fernando Po. The people at the model farm, including its manager, Mr. Carr, were all sick, and have been brought down by the Albert."
So it would appear that, had it not been for the generous assistance afforded them voluntarily by the vessel of a private merchant - an assistance which the planners of the expedition had not provided, and on which they had no right to calculate - it is but too likely that we never should have seen again either the Albert or any part of its enterprising crew.
Such would have been - rather such has been - the end of this unhappy affair, projected and announced with so much Exeter-hall enthusiasm, among speeches from Prince ALBERT, Sir ROBERT PEEL, Lord HOWICK, and Sir FOWELL BUXTON; letters of sympathy from illustrious and Right Reverend personages; promises of civilization, and trade, and agriculture, and alliances with native chiefs, and missionary success, and pride, and indignation. It has ended in nothing strange or unexpected - nothing but what might have been and was foretold, if its projectors would have listened to reason - nothing but the sacrifice of the lives of our countrymen.
We are far from wishing to cast any slur on the generous feelings of those distinguished personages who gave the support of their names to this enterprise. They had other things to think of than to examine its impracticable details. It had a generous object, and came to them supported by respectable names; and so they lent it the weight of their characters: yet still it does suggest feelings not favourable to the slap-dash, rhetorical, showy meetings to which people crowd to be amused, and to clap their hands, and to hear fine sentences, and to give their guineas for objects which neither they nor any of the fluent gentlemen who entertain them know anything about. Good enough amusement to them, but death to others, on whom it falls to carry out, at their own risk, and at the expense of their own proper lives, what these societies talk of so glibly, and listen to so complacently.
We confess it is with little patience that we hear smooth gentlemen, borne luxuriously along on the easy gale of popular enthusiasm, taking full advantage of the opportunity given them to display in full dress their costly sensibilities, but meanwhile quite forgetting to inquire what is the real worth of the scheme they advocate - what the dangers to which they are urging other less ornamental, but perhaps not less valuable, members of society than themselves - what prospect of advantage, what are the warnings of experience, what the opinion of those practical men whose opinion is really worth having. But this is the order of the day, and must be borne, it seems, in spite of its quackery. Everybody must have a finger in everything; and everything must appeal to and be managed by everybody; and the consequence is, that instead of sober forethought and knowledge, and calm chastised determination, our undertakings have to be recommended by eloquent appeals and piercing statements, and fluency and clap-traps for the ladies. Instead of a scheme quietly calculated by one or two or three sober and earnest men, prepared themselves to take part in the dangers they recommend, and unfettered by any necessity of approving it to the imaginations of an audience, we have such wild, ill-considered, showy projects as everybody can embrace at a glance, with nothing but novelty and a popular object to recommend them. Is it wonderful that those who heedlessly employ their talents in supporting such schemes should find now and then, what we hope they will now realize, that they were taking shares in a most heavy responsibility, affecting the lives of their fellow-creatures, while they thought of nothing more than making an impression on the fair auditory which surrounded them?
THE NIGER EXPEDITION.
The public mind has been already prepared for the afflicting intelligence respecting the Niger expedition, which it is the object of this article to communicate. It is, therefore, only necessary that we should preface the narrative with the assurance that the facts about to be stated may be entirely relied on, having been drawn from letters and other documents of unquestionable authority.
On the 20th of August the vessels of the expedition commenced the ascent of the river, having passed safely over the bar six days previously. This delay was occasioned by the necessity they were under of repairing what is technically termed "the tails" of their rudders, which had been damaged during their passage from Accra to the mouth of the stream. On the 26th they anchored opposite to Eboe, a place situated at the upper angle of the Delta, and distant 120 miles from the sea. Thus far no case of sickness had occurred amongst the Europeans which did not immediately yield to medical treatment. The weather was remarkably favourable, the thermometer ranging from 74 degrees to 84 degrees, with a clear sky and occasional refreshing showers.
After receiving a visit from Obi, the King of Eboe, on which occasion a treaty was concluded with him for the total abolition of the slave trade and human sacrifices, the expedition proceeded on its course, arriving at Iddah, 100 miles higher up, on the 24 of September. Here, for the first time, the African fever broke out amongst the crew with violence, commencing on board the Albert, and rapidly spreading to the Wilberforce and the Soudan. Captain Trotter, however, considered it his duty still to persevere. In this resolve it is some comfort to knew that the other officers of the squadron fully concurred. Accordingly, after the ratification of a treaty similar to the one already described, with the Attah (King) of Iddah, and the purchase from him of a piece of land, to be chosen higher up the stream, for the establishment of a model farm (the selection of which was left to the commissioners, the three commanders, and Mr. Cook) the vessels ascended to the confluence of the Niger and the Chadda, 270 miles above) the sea. This they reached on the 11th of September. A tract of land having been fixed on, not far from this point, for the farm, and having been duly made over by accredited agents of the Attah, the stores were landed, and the persons originally appointed to the office left in charge of them. In the mean time disease continued its afflicting ravages. To such an extent, indeed, did it spread, that on the 19th it was resolved to put the sick, now amounting to 46, on board the Soudan, and to despatch her to the sea. Lieutenant Fishbourne, of the Albert, was placed in charge of her, while her commander, Captain B. Allen, removed on board the Albert. With regard to the Soudan we need only farther remark that at the month of the river she happily fell in with Her Majesty's steamer Dolphin, to which the sufferers were transferred, and which proceeded with them direct to the Island of Ascension, while the Soudan continued her course to Fernando Po. Meanwhile it was determined by the commanders of the vessels still up the river to prosecute their voyage, the Wilberforce ascending the Chadda, and the Albert the Niger.
The particulars thus far recounted have, by scraps, been for the most part before the public for the last three weeks. It seems necessary, however, briefly to recapitulate them, in order to a perfect understanding of the remainder of this sad narrative. By sunset on the evening of the 19th (the day on which the Soudan sailed from the confluence) several entirely new cases of fever had broken out on board the Wilberforce; the history of which vessel, now about to be separated from her consort, we shall take up first. Amongst these were her commander, Captain William Allen, her master, and purser; also the botanist and the mineralogist attached to the expedition. To ascend the Chadda under these circumstances would, of course, have been madness; to stay at the confluence but little less. No alternative remained except that of turning the vessel's head down the stream, and following in the track of the Soudan. Accordingly immediate preparations were made for carrying into effect this new change of plan, and on the morning of the 21st the Wilberforce began her downward voyage, haring previously taken on board sundry fresh patients from the Albert. Owing to various stoppages occasioned by the necessity of procuring supplies of wood, a duty of peculiar difficulty in the weak-handed condition of the vessel, she did not reach the open sea until the 29th. On the morning of the 3d of October, however, by the blessing of Almighty God, she anchored safely in the port of Clarence, Fernando Po. During her passage to the mouth of the river she lost her purser, Mr. Wakeham, and after her arrival at Clarence, Mr. Harvey, the master of the Albert, and Mr. Collman, assistant-surgeon of the Soudan. Here it affords us the greatest pleasure to record an instance of that noble generosity which we trust and believe marks the character of the British merchant and the British sailor. Mr. Jamieson, of Liverpool, the owner of several vessels trading on the western coast of Africa, had sent out instructions to the ship-masters in his employ to render all the assistance in their power to the officers and crews of the Niger expedition. Accordingly, on the 6th of October, the Ethiope steamer, one of the vessels alluded to, made her appearance at Fernando Po, and her commander, Mr. Becroft, at the solicitation of Captain William Allen, instantly turned his vessel's head towards the Niger, with an intent to ascend in search of the Albert, and render her any assistance she might appear to require.
On the 9th the Wilberforce again weighed anchor and set sail for Ascension, where she arrived after a tedious passage of more than five weeks, on the 17th of November. During the former part of this passage she was accompanied by Her Majesty's steamer Pluto, which, in various ways, rendered her effective assistance. The last accounts received from the Wilberforce convey the gratifying intelligence that the fever appeared to have been almost subdued, for that no serious case of illness remained on board.
We now return to the Albert, which we left on the eve of her departure from the confluence to ascend the Niger. This, as we have already said, was on the 21st of September. On the 28th she arrived at Egga, situate between 50 and 60 miles above the Junction of the Chadda, and 320 from the sea. During this short passage she lost two of her seamen, whilst several others were taken ill; nor did the officers escape - Captain Bird Allen was attacked within four hours after the departure of the Wilberforce, and Captain Trotter himself whilst the vessel lay at Egga. At this place the Kroomen were employed in taking a large quantity of firewood. This necessary duty, of course, occupied considerable time. As soon as it was completed, Captain Trotter, who now saw clearly the necessity of abandoning the enterprise, and whose judgment was confirmed by that of the surgeon (Dr. M'William), gave the necessary orders for returning down the river. On the 4th of October, therefore, the steam was once more got up, and the Albert followed her consorts to the sea. Her condition at this period may be judged of by the fact that she had but a single officer and two or three European seamen capable of performing their duty. The confluence was passed upon the 9th, and immediately afterwards the model farm, where, finding the Europeans all ill of the fever, Captain Trotter took them on board, and continued to pursue his melancholy voyage. On the 12th the vessel anchored off Eboe, and was supplied by King Obi with a quantity of wood, which he had previously got ready for her, and which with great kindness he put on board with the least possible delay. Here Mr. Kingdon, the clerk of the Soudan, died. He had remained ashore at the farm during the Albert's absence at Egga, and was dangerously ill at the period of his re-embarkation. Thus far the Albert had made her way in safety, through the merciful Providence of God; but her poor suffering inmates could not forget the dangerous bar which was still to be passed before they could leave the region of pestilence and death behind them. Happily, their anxieties on this head were destined to a speedy termination, for in the afternoon of the 13th their eyes were gladdened with the sight of the Ethiope's smoke as she steamed rapidly up the water of the Delta. Captain Becroft at once put his first engineer on board the unfortunate Albert, and by incessant exertions both vessels crossed the bar soon after sunrise on the 16th, and cast anchor in Clarence-cove late in the evening of the following day.
Next morning 28 patients were taken ashore, and kindly received into various private houses. Amongst the sufferers were Captains Trotter and Bird Allen; the former happily convalescent, the latter, alas ! fast sinking into the grave. On the 25th, at half-past 9 a.m. his brave and gentle spirit exchanged a world of sorrow for one of unmixed and unchanging joy. Of the condition of the remaining patients our accounts are too general to enable us to speak with anything like certainty: as the Lady Combermere, which sailed from Clarence on the 26th, and by which we have received the accounts communicated above, left but nine days after the return of the Albert from the Niger, it could not of course be expected that she should bring intelligence of so satisfactory a kind at we may hope, and, we would fain trust, look for by the next arrivals.
Such is the melancholy story which it has become our duty to set before the public.
|Ma 24 January 1842|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION.
(From our Liverpool Correspondent.) The intelligence given in The Times of Saturday relating to the sufferings of the parties engaged in the Niger expedition appears to be substantially correct; but the reports promulgated by some of the papers, to the effect that the expedition had been given up as an entire failure, do not appear, from the inquiries that have been made, to be founded in fact.
Your narrative of Saturday gives no later news of the expedition than that brought by the Lady Combermere, which sailed from Fernando Po on the 26th of October. Another vessel, the Commerce, Captain Corran, left Fernando Po on the 7th of November, which brings the news from Clarence to the 3d of November. Relating to the Niger expedition, I have had some conversation with a gentleman who left Fernando Po in the Commerce. He states, that previous to sailing a gentleman named Hanson (late of Liverpool), who had just arrived from Clarence, informed him that there were two steamers there belonging to the expedition on the 3d of November. After corroborating the accounts already published of the prevailing sickness, he states that the captain of the Soudan and several of the officers had died of fever, but that Captain Trotter and many of the officers who had been ill had recovered, and that so far from its being the intention to give up the expedition as a failure, Captain Trotter purposed, as soon as the third steamer joined them, to proceed to Ascension, refit, and then make another trial. A gentleman also states that he bad been on board one of the steamers of the expedition in Africa, and he considers them too hot to be healthy. He compares the cabins to bakers' ovens, and considers that it would be surprising indeed if the parties living in them could preserve their health.
|Th 27 January 1842|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION.
REPORT OF CAPTAIN TROTTER.
Sir,- I have only time, on landing from the Warre merchant schooner (in order to save a post), to beg you will inform the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty of my arrival from Fernando Po, which I left on the 23d of November, at the recommendation of the medical officers, for the re-establishment of my health.
Although now almost entirely recovered, tendency to attacks of ague make it advisable that I should not travel by night, but I hope to be able to report myself at the Admiralty the day after to-morrow at furthest.
I regret to be obliged to report the death of Lieutenant Stenhouse, Mr. Woodhouse, assistant-surgeon, and Mr. Wilmot, clerk of the Albert, and one seaman and a marine belonging to the same ship, since I last wrote to their Lordships, on the 25th of October, besides a seaman of the Soudan, on the passage home with me from Africa; but the remainder of the crew of the Albert, I am happy to say, were all getting better, and are by this time, I hope, safely arrived at Ascension.
I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
Her Majesty's steam-vessel Albert, Clarence-cove, Fernando Po, Oct. 25,1841.
Sir,- My last letter to you, dated the 18th of September, from the confluence of the Niger and Tchadda, would acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that fever had broken out on board the vessels of the expedition, and that I had found it necessary to despatch the Soudan to the sea with all the cases the surgeons deemed to require a change of climate, directing Lieutenant Fishbourne to take charge of her in the absence of Commander Bird Allen, engaged in his duty as commissioner.
I also informed their Lordships in the same letter that the Albert was about to proceed up the Niger and the Wilberforce up the Tchadda, in prosecution of the objects of the mission.
After the departure of the Soudan, however, two of the engineers of the Wilberforce were taken ill, and the crew had become so weakened by an increased number of cases of fever that Commander William Allen found it impossible to proceed up the Tchadda, and I accordingly ordered him to take his vessel forthwith to the sea, and, if necessary, on to Ascension.
As there was still an engineer quite well on board the Albert, and another convalescent, and I considered the ship in other respects quite able to continue longer up the river; and as Dr. M'William, the surgeon, thought the fever, when we reached higher up the stream, might probably assume a milder character, and the change of air might soon restore the patients still remaining on board, who were not desirous of going in the Wilberforce to the sea; and it being of importance to reach Rabbah this year, to finish the chain of treaties with chiefs on the banks of the Niger, I deemed it my duty to try the experiment, and accordingly I weighed at the same time with the Wilberforce, on the 21st of September, and the Albert proceeded up the river while she moved down.
The cases of sickness, however, continued to increase, till at length, when we got to Egga, on the 28th of September, the only remaining engineer was taken ill, and no officers, excepting Dr. M'William, Mr. Willie, mate, and myself, were free from fever. We continued wooding and preparing to return down the river till the 4th of October, when I was myself seized with fever, and Mr. Willie a day or two afterwards.
On the 5th of October Mr. Willie weighed and dropped down the river, but was soon prevented by sickness from carrying on duty; and Dr. M'William, assisted by only one white seaman, lately recovered from fever, took charge of the vessel, not thinking it right, in my state of fever, to report Mr. Willie's illness.
From want of engineers we should have had to drop down the whole length of the river without steam, had not Dr. Stanger, the geologist, in the most spirited manner, after consulting Tredgold's work on steam, and getting some little instruction from the convalescent engineer, undertaken to work the engine himself. The heat of the engine-room affected the engineer so much as to throw him back in his convalescence, and prevent him rendering any further assistance, but Dr. Stanger took the vessel safely below Eboe, without anything going wrong with the machinery, while Dr. M'William, in addition to his enormous press of duty, as a medical officer, conducted the ship down the river in the most able and judicious manner. I may here remark that the Doctor steered the ship entirely by Commander William Allen's excellent chart of the Niger, of the correctness of which we had a good opportunity of judging on ascending the river, and which proved eminently useful on the passage down; and Mr. Brown, clerk, a native of Africa, who had been up the river before, also rendered, him considerable assistance in the pilotage.
When about 100 miles from the sea Captain Becroft happily made his appearance in the Ethiope, steamer, having been requested to ascend the river and communicate with us by Commander William Allen of the Wilberforce; and it was really a providential mercy that he arrived when he did, for had any accident, however trivial, happened, to the engines, they could not have been worked any longer, as Dr. Stanger had no knowledge of the manner of rectifying it. Fever still prevented my going on deck, and there was no executive officer to take the vessel over the bar, and only one convalescent sailor doing duty, and no black sailor who could properly take the helm. Captain Becroft, however, came on board with an engineer, and not only took the vessel over the bar but brought her all the way across to this anchorage (a distance of 160 miles), where we arrived in safety on the 17th inst.
The assistance rendered by Captain Becroft, independent of the services of his vessel, the Ethiope, was, I can assure their Lordships, almost indispensable to the safety of the Albert; and I consider it to have been so highly conducive to the preservation of many valuable lives, which might have been sacrificed, had we run aground in the Delta, and remained there even for a few days, that I shall present him with 105 l., and his engineer with 10 l. 10 s., by bills on the Accountant-General of the Navy, and I trust their Lordships will sanction this expenditure when they take the circumstances of the case and the highly meritorious conduct of Captain Becroft into consideration.
The morning after our arrival here the sick were all landed in comfortable quarters, provided for the officers and men in the most kind and prompt manner by the agent of the West African Company; and we have reason to believe the climate to be healthy for the present The air to cooler than the Niger by about 12 degrees.
I omitted to mention that off the bar of the Nun we met the Soudan, about to re-ascent the river, under charge of Lieutenant Strange, in the absence of Lieutenant Fishbourne, who had been sent sick to Ascension. She was in a very inefficient state, and returned with us to this anchorage. Mr. Strange is at present in charge of the Albert, as well as the Soudan, the officers of this ship of every rank being in sick quarters, with the exception of Mr. Mouat, assistant-clerk, doing duty at the hospital.
I regret to state, that in addition to the loss of Mr Nightingale, assistant-surgeon, and four seamen, as mentioned in my letter of the 18th of September, between the Confluence and Egga, Mr. Lodge, the second engineer, threw himself overboard in a fit of delirium, and was drowned; and that afterwards two seamen and one marine of this ship died, and Mr. Kingdon, seamen's schoolmaster of the Soudan; and that Mr. Willie, mate, and the purser's steward, have died here since our arrival; and it is my painful duty to add that the death of Commander Bird Allen, of the Soudan, has been this moment reported to me, and that Mr. D. H. Stenhouse, acting Lieutenant of the Albert, is lying in a most precarious state. For several days after Mr. Willie was taken ill he insisted occasionally upon getting out of his cot (which was on deck) and giving orders, and I fear the extra exertions of this zealous young officer contributed much to aggravate his case.
I am happy to say there is a general improvement taking place in the remainder of the sick, with the exception of Dr. M'William and Mr. Woodhouse, assistant-surgeon, who have lately been taken ill, the latter with the "river fever," and Dr. M'William, it is feared, may prove to be so likewise; but these cases, I trust, will not prove severe, now that we are in a better and cooler climate. I hope all the patients will be so far improved, and the engineers so much recovered, as in a short time to be able to proceed with the Albert to Ascension.
I call the disease the "river fever," because the surgeons report it to be of a nature that is not treated of in any work on the subject, and it has such peculiarities as they appear never before to have witnessed either in African or West Indian fever.
The Soudan, as alluded to before, left the Confluence on her passage down the river on the 19th of September, under charge of Lieutenant Fishbourne, with the master, a mate, and the second engineer able to do a little duty; but on the following day these officers were too ill to afford Mr. Fishbourne any assistance. He had, however, two stokers able to drive the engines, who were for a time well enough to do duty, and he reached the mouth of the Nun in the short space of two days afterwards. During the last 24 hours before reaching Fernando Po he was compelled to work the engines and do every other duty himself. Such exertions could not fail to hurt his health, and he was seized with fever at this place after his arrival, though I am happy to say he was doing well on board the Wilberforce when she sailed for Ascension. I beg strongly to recommend the zeal and exertions of this officer for the favourable consideration of their Lordships.
The Soudan opportunely met the Dolphin at the mouth of the Nun, and received prompt assistance from her commander, who embarked 35 patients (all that were fit to be removed), and sailed with them for Ascension, under charge of Mr. Sterling, assistant-surgeon of the Wilberforce.
Before the Soudan reached Fernando Po Mr. Marshall, acting-surgeon, and Mr. Waters, clerk in charge, fell a sacrifice to the climate, and a stoker of the Soudan, and the seamen's schoolmaster of the Albert, died after their arrival.
Mr. Thompson, assistant-surgeon of the Wilberforce, had charge of the sick on board the Soudan on her passage down the river, and his exertions and fatigue, from which he is now suffering, were only equalled by those of Mr. Fishbourne.
The Wilberforce left the Confluence on the 21st of September, but, owing to the necessity of cutting fuel, did not reach the mouth of the Nun until the 26th, nor Fernando Po till the 1st of October. Dr. Pritchett, the acting-surgeon of that ship, had 20 cases under treatment when she left the Confluence, and the number increased afterwards, and I can assure their Lordships that the exertions of that officer were of no ordinary kind, and his duties on the way to Ascension, now that he has no assistant, are likely to be still more arduous; this officer's services, as well as those of Mr. Thompson, acting-surgeon of the Soudan, render them highly deserving of their Lordships' consideration for promotion. The Inspector of Fleets and Naval Hospitals will, when he receives their reports, be well able to judge of their merits and arduous services on this expedition.
The Wilberforce, during her passage down and at Fernando Po, had the misfortune to lose her purser, Mr. Cyrus Wakeham, and Peter Fitzgerald, a stoker; also Mr. Harvey, acting master of the Albert; and Mr. Coleman, acting assistant-surgeon of the Soudan.
I have before mentioned the exertions and judgment displayed by Dr. M'William, the surgeon of this vessel, in bringing her down the greater part of the Niger in safety; but this would be considered the more remarkable if it were possible to convey to their Lordships the exertions and fatigue he had to go through in his attendance upon the sick. I cannot speak too much in praise of this valuable officer, nor feel thankful enough that a man of so much talent and energy was appointed to the expedition.
I have already alluded to Dr. Stanger's praiseworthy conduct in his acquiring a knowledge of the steam-engine, by which we were enabled to get down the river so much more speedily than we otherwise could have done; but this gentleman was, if possible, still more useful in the medical assistance which he rendered to Dr. M'William, who latterly had no assistant-surgeon to relieve him in his duties. I am sorry to say that Dr. Stanger is beginning to feel the effect of his exertions, having had fever (although slightly) within the last two days.
I must also mention Mr. Mouat, assistant-clerk, who, having served several years with a surgeon in London, was able to render great assistance in the medical department up the river, and is particularly of use at this moment, when Dr. M'William and Mr. Woodhouse, assistant-surgeon, are ill. I beg to recommend to their Lordships' consideration the propriety of remunerating this gentleman for his services, more particularly as his pay as clerk's assistant is so very small.
In bringing before their Lordships' notice the admirable conduct of the surgeon and acting-surgeons of the expedition, I wish by no means to disparage the exertions of Mr. Woodhouse, the assistant-surgeon of this ship, or of Mr. Sterling, the assistant-surgeon of the Wilberforce, or those of the deceased medical officers, which were very great, though not of so responsible a nature as those of Dr. M'William and Dr. Pritchett, or of Mr. Thompson, who before he descended the river with the large number of sick in the Soudan was for a length of time doing duty in that vessel during the protracted illness of the late acting surgeon, Mr. Marshall.
The number of deaths that has happened after the vessels got through the Delta until the sailing of the Wilberforce hence for Ascension is shown in the enclosed paper. I have no exact return of the number taken ill in the Wilberforce, but I believe it may be stated that only five white persons escaped the fever in that vessel, whilst there are only four who have not been attacked in the Albert up to the present time, and no white person in the Soudan escaped it; and when I add that Dr. M'William is of opinion that few, if any, will be fit to return to the coast of Africa who have had the fever, and that evety lieutenant excepting Mr. Strange, all the medical officers but Dr. Pritchett and Mr. Thompson (it is doubtful yet whether Dr. M'William has the river fever or not), all the mates, masters, second masters, and clerks, the whole of the engineers and stokers of the expedition, and the gunner of the Albert (the only vessel that has an officer of that rank), have been attacked, their Lordships will be able to form an idea of the paralyzed state of the steam-vessels.
It will be impossible for me to inform their Lordships as to the efficiency of the expedition for future operations until I can get to Ascension. I may, however, observe, that it will be found scarcely possible to officer and man more than one of the steam-vessels, unless assistance be sent from England, or obtained from the strength of the African squadron.
As the Ethiope will probably go home in April next, I have obtained the promise of Captain Becroft to leave his surgeon behind, if he can be spared, who would take an acting order as assistant-surgeon, and willingly go up the Niger again, and if he can spare his black engineer also he will endeavour to induce him to remain out with the view of joining the expedition.
Could their Lordships obtain assistant-surgeons and black engineers in England to volunteer for the expedition it would be most desirable, as it is quite a contingency our obtaining the individuals alluded to belonging to the Ethiope.
Dr. M'William is quite of opinion, as far as he can judge, that the Niger is not fit for white constitutions, and I shall take care to keep this in view when making arrangements at Ascension, so that the fewest possible number of white men may be continued in the steam-vessels.
Captain Becroft, whose knowledge of the river exceeds that of any other person, is of opinion (and I quite concur with him on the subject) that the Niger should not be entered before the beginning of July, as it is doubtful whether the river will have sufficiently risen to insure the passage up without detention, so that their Lordships may calculate upon the Albert and Wilberforce remaining at Ascension till the 1st of June.
It will be necessary for one steam-vessel to go up the Niger next year, as I left the Amelia tender at the Confluence of the Niger and the Tchadda, for the protection of the people of the model farm. Not thinking it right to leave up the river any white person after the fatal sickness we had experienced, I placed the vessel in charge of a trustworthy black, with 12 other natives of Africa under him, all intelligent steady men.
Their Lordships will remember that they gave permission for the utensils of the model farm to be carried out by the expedition, which were landed at the desire of Mr. Can [=Carr], the superintendent, at a spot which he selected for the site of the farm, situated immediately opposite to the Confluence; and as Mr. Can made a request for naval protection to his people in the absence of the steamers, which I considered very reasonable, I obtained volunteers to remain there in the Amelia before the Albert went to Egga; and on my return to the Confluence I was too ill to do duty, but Dr. M'William, at my desire, sent nine months' provisions on board, and cowries were left to buy several months' more. In our distressed state it would have been impossible to tow the Amelia down the river, but, independently of that consideration, it was, I conceive, necessary to leave a vessel for the protection of the farm people.
It is also very desirable that a vessel should get up to Rabbah, if possible, next year, not only to complete a series of treaties which have been already commenced, but to show the people of Rabbah that a man-of-war can get up to their town; and the presence of one of Her Majesty's vessels there might, I conceive, have a beneficial effect in their future treatment of the Nufi nation, whom we found much oppressed by the Felatahs, and also tend much to the extinction of the slave trade in the upper part of the Niger. This, however, cannot be determined upon till I meet my brother commissioners at Ascension.
Should only one of the steamers ascend the Niger next year I would prefer one of the larger ones to be selected, from their superior velocity and stowage. Under present circumstances I would countermand the coals which I requested might be forwarded to Bonny, though, if already shipped, they will doubtless prove very useful; for it is more difficult to procure wood in that than in most other African rivers, owing to the prejudice of the natives against Kroomen cutting it.
I conceive it will be my duty to go to England by the first opportunity from Ascension after my arrival, in order to lay the exact condition of the expedition before their Lordships, and I have every reason to think I shall be able to arrive in March, which would give me ample time to rejoin the expedition should their Lordships require my further services.
I may state, for their Lordships' information, that the Albert and Wilberforce could not proceed to England with safety excepting in the summer months, and I consider the Soudan as quite incapable of returning to Europe at all. I am preparing to leave the Soudan in this sheltered harbour, in charge of native-ship keepers; and as Captain Becroft has promised to make his engineer light the fires occasionally, and work the engine, and as Lieutenant Blount, of the Pluto, will be able to do the same when he comes into port, there is every probability of the machinery being kept in good order.
I am in daily expectation of the arrival of the Golden Spring, with fuel from England, of which there is scarcely enough remaining here to fill the Albert's bunkers, the Pluto having used a large quantity of our store. I hope a supply of fuel may have been sent to Ascension before this time, so as to enable us to keep the machinery of the vessels in good order at that island.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant,
The following are the names of officers and men of the Niger expedition who have died between the 1st of September, 1841 (the time of the vessels getting through the Delta of the Niger, on the passage up, and of the first breaking out of the "river fever" on board the Soudan), and the 25th of October, 1841. The list does not include any who may have died on the passage to Ascension in the Dolphin or Wilberforce:-
Her Majesty's steam-vessels Albert, Wilberforce, and Soudan.
H. D. TROTTER, Captain
|Fr 28 January 1842||Captain Trotter, the senior officer in command of the Niger expedition, has arrived in town, and yesterday transacted business both at the Foreign and Colonial-office.|
|Fr 28 January 1842|
LONDON, FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 1842.
Captain TROTTER'S official report of the Niger expedition, while it confirms our worst anticipations as to the past, contains matter which renders it imperatively necessary for us once more to enter our solemn protest against similar experiments for the future. Failure more complete, demonstration more absolute of the impossibility of succeeding in such designs, it is beyond the compass of the human imagination to conceive. To persevere in acting out Sir FOWELL BUXTON'S foolish theories after such a warning, would be deliberate wholesale murder. No Minister of the Crown can dare to propose to Parliament the grant of one sixpence more of public money for such an object. It would be quite as rational, and infinitely more innocent, to tax the people in support of a plan for the civilization of the moon.
Captain TROTTER passed the Delta of the Niger with three ships on the 1st of September last. One of these ships, the Soudan, continued in the river just one-and-twenty days; another, the Wilberforce, just five-and-twenty days; and the Albert, Captain TROTTER'S own ship, about forty-five days. The fruits of this short voyage were seventeen deaths on board the Albert, down to the time when Captain TROTTER left Fernando Po; four deaths on board the Wilberforce, down to the time when that vessel sailed for Ascension (early in October), having then nearly all her crew ill of fever; and nine deaths on board the Soudan, exclusive of any who may have died on the passage to Ascension in the Dolphin, which took 35 of her crew (all of them fever-patients) to that island on the 21st of September: in all, thirty deaths ascertained, and more to be reported hereafter. Nothing but the prompt abandonment of the expedition could have saved the entire crews of all the three vessels from perishing.
"I have no exact return," writes Captain TROTTER, en the 25th of October, "of the number taken ill in the Wilberforce, but I believe it may be stated that only five white persons escaped the fever in that vessel, whilst there are only four who have not been attacked in the Albert up to the present time, and no white person in the Soudan escaped it. And when I add, that Dr. M'WILLIAM is of opinion that few, if any, will be fit to return to the coast of Africa who have had the fever, and that every lieutenant, excepting Mr. STRANGE, all the medical officers but Dr. PRITCHET and Mr. THOMPSON, all the mates, masters, second-masters, and clerks, the whole of the engineers and stokers of the expedition and the gunner of the Albert (the only vessel that has an officer of that rank) have been attacked, their Lordships will be able to form an idea of the paralysed state of the steam-vessels."
Our readers will have observed that the Albert remained much longer, in the river than either of the other ships, and suffered proportionably in consequence. But for the arrival of timely assistance, when still at a great distance from the mouth of the river, it is probable that every soul on board this vessel would have died, and that she would have been left to drift a mere log upon the water for want of hands. When Captain TROTTER commenced his homeward voyage, himself, his officers, and crew were in such a state, that Dr. M'WILLIAM, the medical officer, assisted by only one seaman, was obliged to take charge of the ship, having at the same time an enormous weight of professional occupation; and, "from want of engineers," they would " have had to go down the whole length of the river without steam, had not Dr. STANGER, the geologist, in the most spirited manner, after consulting TREDGOLD's work on steam, and getting some little instruction from the convalescent engineer, undertaken to work the engine himself." A forlorn hope this, to men with whom time was a matter of life and death; and so, from his way of expressing himself upon the unexpected appearance of help, Captain TROTTER seems to have felt.
"When about 100 miles from the sea, Captain Becroft happily made his appearance in the Ethiope steamer, having been requested to ascend the river and communicate with us by Commander William Allen, of the Wilberforce; and it was really a providential mercy that he arrived when he did for had any accident, however trivial, happened to the engines, they could not have been worked any longer, as Dr. Stanger had no knowledge of the manner of rectifying it. Fever still prevented my going on deck, and there was no executive officer to take the vessel over the bar, and only one convalescent sailor doing duty, and no black sailor who could properly take the helm.
"The assistant rendered by Captain Becroft, independent of the services of his vessel, the Ethiope, was, I can assure their Lordships, almost indispensable to the safety of the Albert; and I consider it to have been highly conducive to the preservation of many valuable lives, which might have been sacrificed had we ran aground in the Delta and remained there even for a few days."
The British nation, therefore, has spent upon this expedition 60,000 l., more than thirty lives, and the health of many gallant men who survive - and for what? For two "treaties" (not worth the parchment on which they are written) with savage chiefs, in a region inaccessible through pestilence, and for a "model farm," situated upon the confluence of the Niger and the Tchadda! This last precious acquisition has not been abandoned, as we supposed and hoped. Not only was a large stock of "utensils" landed there, but, sad to say, a "Mr. CAN, the superintendent," and divers "farm people," were landed and LEFT there, too. For the "protection" of these unfortunate creatures (who, if not killed by the climate, will probably be found upon the "middle passage" in the next American ship over which our cruisers exercise the right of search), Captain TROTTER also left in the river "the Amelia tender," "in charge of a trustworthy black, with twelve other natives of Africa under him, all intelligent steady men." An overwhelming force! Under the shadow of which the model farm cannot but flourish, the "treaties" cannot but be observed, Africa cannot but be civilized! It makes us heartsick to think of the horrors to which these unhappy victims of Sir FOWELL BUXTON'S "philanthropy" are at this moment exposed, if indeed a merciful Providence has not already terminated their sufferings.
It seems incredible, but so it is, that after all this experience Captain TROTTER still talks of the schemes of the Civilization Society, as if further efforts were to be made for their realization - as if more model farms and more waste paper treaties were to be bought with the blood of more British subjects. He speaks of his inability to give information as to "the efficiency of the expedition for future operations;" of "going up the Niger again ;" of the expediency of obtaining "assistant-surgeons and black engineers in England to volunteer for the expedition;" of "arrangements" to be made at Ascension, &c. We do not say that, for the mere purpose of bringing away the tender Amelia (if not destroyed or captured by the natives), and the survivors (if any) of the people left on the "model farm," it may not be necessary to reascend the river; but Captain TROTTER'S notions (founded, no doubt, upon the views of his employers) go much further than this. The following sentence is worthy of Sir GEORGE STEPHEN himself:-
To this we say emphatically, that it must not be. If Captain TROTTER does not know the value of his own life and of the lives of his gallant companions, - if experience cannot teach him the futility of fighting against nature and Providence, - there is enough of true humanity left in the British people to interpose, and peremptorily forbid the prosecution of this preposterous and wicked adventure.
|Sa 29 January 1842|
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir.- In support of the able leading article in your paper of this day, which I have just read, respecting the melancholy fate of the Niger expedition, I beg to enclose you the following extract from Sir Francis Head's Life of Bruce, in which you will find (see Family Library, pages 356, 360) a striking corroboration of your opinions:-
"While the little village of Geesh is yet before the reader, and while he joins with Bruce in feelings of 'despondency,' let us for one moment pause again to reflect on those theories of the present day, in support of which victim after victim is still sent to hunt for minute objects which are, most unfortunately, of no more real sterling value than that before him. At the bottom of the sea we might indeed expect to find 'wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearls, unvalued jewels;' but at the North Pole of the earth, or in the equally lifeless deserts of Africa, what are we to find but the death which Bruce escaped, or the disappointment which he experienced? We all know that men, like bull-dogs, may be set at anything, but is it right that their courage and determination should, for the sake of any man's theory, however sagaciously supported. be pitted against objects which are worthless, and after all too strong for them? 'Dulce et decorum est pro patriâ mori.' Yet the life even of the most humble citizen should be spared unless it can gain for his nation at least its equivalent; and surely no liberal person will say that those who have lately perished in search of 'the grand African problem of the day,' have given information which, in a generous country, should be considered as valuable as their lives.
"Those who seem still determined to support such desperate theories, ought surely to be desired, like Bruce, to go themselves, for certainly nothing can be more ominous, or smell more rankly of theory, than a large body of men encountering danger by deputy, and shrinking from the execution of a project which each of them so eloquently recommends. Traveller after traveller in Africa, jaded, worn out and exhausted, yet still leaning against his collar, nobly pushes forward, until death sends to inform us that he can do no more.
"'Et Tartuffe? et Tartuffe ! il se porte à merveille!
|Th 3 February 1842||The Niger Expedition. - A correspondent inquires whether the projectors of the Niger expedition have any intention of raising a fund for contributing towards the support of the widows and families of the unfortunate men whose lives have been so wantonly and uselessly sacrificed in it. We have heard of no such proposal, and fear that, from the character of the leading promoters of the expedition, distress at home will still remain unrelieved, and the families of the deceased officers and men may starve, that money may be squandered in some other such scheme as that which has just come to so melancholy an end.|
|Sa 5 February 1842||The Niger Expedition. - Amongst the invalids who arrived at Liverpool with Captain Trotter is Mr. Ansell, from the Horticutural Gardens at Chiswick, who went out as gardner to the Niger expedition. He remains very ill from the effects of the fever, from which it is feared, he will never recover. Mr. Fraser, the naturalist to the expedition, from the Zoological Society, remains invalided at Ascension.|
|Ma 11 April 1842||The Kite steam-vessel, Lieutenant-Commander T.L. Gooch, which left Woolwich on Monday week for Plymouth, has gone to the island of Ascension for the purpose of bringing home part of the officers and crews of the Niger expedition. In letters which have been received from the island of Ascension up to the 7th of February, it is stated that it is Captain Allen's intention to take the Wilberforce and Soudan to the coast of Africa in March, and again proceed up the river Niger.|
|Ma 25 April 1842|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION.
We have been favoured with the sight, of a letter from one of the survivors of the voluntary exiles to the swamps of the Niger, dated from on board Her Majesty's steam-vessel the Wilberforce, Island of Ascension, February 14. The writer states, that very few are left to recount what they have seen and felt during the expedition. All the marines had died, with the exception of Sergeant Hodges, privates G. Velley, D. Bloomfield, H. Gibson, and W. Innes; these had been attacked with African fever, and recovered, but the disease had made a permanent mark on some of their constitutions. It was expected that the Wilberforce would again go up the river very soon, but it was doubtful whether any one would live to state the result. She would remain at the Island of Ascension for despatches from the Government by a 16-gun brig, which was daily looked for. The actual number of deaths is stated to be about 70, all of them having happened in from four to six weeks. Mr. Waddington, of Liverpool, had been appointed boatswain of the Wilberforce, and was very highly spoken of. Those who are spared calculate on returning to Liverpool about August next.- Liverpool Mail.
|We 22 June 1842|
AFRICAN CIVILIZATION SOCIETY.
The annual meeting of the African Civilization Society took place yesterday in the great room at Exeter-hall, Lord Ashley in the chair. The platform was occupied by a large number of the members of both houses of Parliament, of the clergy, and other friends of the society, among whom were Lord J. Russell, Lord Sandon, Lord Teignmonth, Sir Thomas D. Acland, Sir Robert Inglis, the Bishop of Worcester, &c. The body of the Hall was occupied almost exclusively by ladies.
The noble CHAIRMAN commenced the business of the day by reading a letter of apology for absence from the Bishop of London. The right rev. prelate expressed his heartfelt sympathy with the society in the grievous disappointment they had experienced in the partial failure of their recent expedition to the Niger, but trusted that means might yet be found by which in some measure to pay the vast debt of justice which was due from Christian Europe to uncivilized and benighted Africa. (Cheers.) His Lordship next read a letter from Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, who was prevented from being present by indisposition, but who called upon the society still to be faithful to the cause they had undertaken, and enclosed a draught of 50 l. towards their funds. (Cheers.)
Mr. F. BUXTON [sic] then read letters from Dr. Lushington, the Marquis of Northampton, and the venerable Mr. Thomas Clarkson. The cause of Mr. Clarkson's absence was illness. He expressed his regret at not being able to take part in the furtherance of a cause which had occupied 57 years of his life. He could not, he said, express what were his feelings upon the failure of the Niger expedition, although he was one of those who could never despair of ultimate success in a righteous cause. (Hear.) For it was a righteous cause; and if it was a righteous cause when first taken up, it was still so now. (Cheers.) He was of opinion that another expedition might be undertaken on a smaller scale than the last. They only required the Bible and the plough, and very few persons would be sufficient in number to attend these instruments of good. (Hear, hear.)
Letters had also been received from the Marquis of Downshire, the Marquis of Normanby, the Bishops of Glocester and Chester, and other persons of distinction, expressing their regret at not being able to attend the meeting.
The noble CHAIRMAN then called upon the Rev. Dr. Daltry and Sir R.H. Inglis to read the report. The document was a printed pamphlet, of 48 pages, and the reading of it occupied a considerable portion of time.
The Rev. Dr. DALTRY commenced it. It was divided into four heads or departments: the first relating to the operations of the society abroad; the second to the operations at home; the third to the state of the slave-trade and the condition of Africa; and the fourth to the future plans and operations of the society. The last division of the report recommends a perseverance in a course of operations similar to those which have already been commenced, and says, that in Africa the resources and influence of the society must still be devoted to the encouragement of such efforts as may tend to smooth the path and to protect the labours of the Christian missionary, the free cultivator of the soil and the friend of innocent commerce: whether this is to be done by establishments of its own in a manner suggested, or by rendering assistance to others, has not been determined.
Lord J. RUSSELL, who was very warmly received, moved the reception and adoption of the report, and addressed the meeting at some length on the state and prospects of the society, urging upon its friends not to despair of success because they had experienced a reverse, which was far from being the utter and entire failure which some would have it to be believed.
|Ma 27 June 1842||THE NIGER ASSOCIATION. - There is a melancholy difference between the recent field-day of the Niger Association and that which was celebrated when the scheme was first presented to receive the homage of a gaping public. There was no Prince Albert this year to draw an admiring crowd and reflect a glory on the Association. Sir R. Peel, having got into office, did not countenance them; and the presence of Lord J. Russell only served to corroborate the melancholy opinion, that though the Association might be worth a few civil words from an Opposition leader, it was beneath the notice of a Minister. The decided failure of the first expedition had also opened the eyes of the public. Yet did the managers seem bent, like Falstaff, upon playing out the play; for although Sir F. Buxton could not master modest assurance enough to look his friends in the face, he sent them a letter and 50 l.; and an annual report was read in due form by a secretary, and movers and seconders of resolutions spoke of perseverance. It is natural to respect consistency so long as it does no harm; and if the Niger Association can only be prevented from immolating human beings to the fever deity of their Black River, there is no reason why their annual meetings should not be tolerated. The subscriptions of their private supporters are not likely to do more than defray their annual expenses in London; and if Government will but refuse them grants of public money, they will be effectually muzzled from doing mischief. In that case there can be no danger in allowing them to perform at Exeter-hall once a year for the amusement of the seriously dissipated who junket at the May meetings; and if an ex-Minister, at a loss how to dispose of his time, should occasionally star it, among them, the weakness may be winked at.- Spectator.|
|Fr 1 July 1842|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION.
Captain Walters, of the ship William Canynges, arrived at Bristol on Monday last, the 27th instant, from Cape Coast Castle (west coast of Africa), which place he left on the 22d of March, brings some interesting information respecting the Niger expedition. The following is an extract from Captain Walters's report:-
"The William Canynges sailed from Cape Coast Castle on the 22d of March. At Cape Coast Castle were Her Majesty's ship Madagascar and the steam-packet Wilberforce, attached to the Niger expedition. This vessel (Wilberforce) arrived on the 20th of March from the island of Ascension, on her way to Fernando Po, whence she was to proceed, in company with the Soudan steamer, on a second attempt to ascend the Niger. With the exception of one case of dysentery, all on board the Wilberforce were in tolerable health.
"The Wilberforce brought accounts from the island of Ascension as late as March 10. At that time the island was healthy, and most of the invalids from the Niger expedition had sufficiently recovered from fever to allow of their being invalided to return to England. One death had occurred among them while in hospital at Ascension.
"The Albert remained at Ascension undergoing a refit.
"The Gold Coast had been visited lately by a swarm of locusts, which had done much damage among the corn, &c.
"The Ashantee mission had been established under favourable circumstances, and the two princes, Quantamissah and Ausah, were residing with the Rev. Mr. Brooking, at Coomassie.
"Captain Stanley, late 2d West India Regiment, and Lieutenant Fairholme, invalided from the Soudan, came passengers (per the William Canynges) from Cape Coast."
|Sa 23 July 1842||By the accounts brought from the coast of Africa by the Termagant, Third Lieutenant Commander Henry F. Seagram, which left Ascension on the 29th of May, this expedition had not proceeded up the Niger a second time, in consequence of there not being sufficient water to admit of it, until after the rainy season, which has only now terminated. The Albert was lying at Ascension, but the Soudan, and Wilberforce, under the command of Captain W. Allen, were off the coast. Captain Allen intended to proceed, as soon as the depth of water would admit of it, up the river as far as the model farm; but whether he would continue his voyage higher up would entirely depend upon the state of his crew when at that point.|
|Ma 15 August 1842||The Rolla, 16, Commander C. Hall, arrived on Tuesday also from the coast of Africa, and has gone round to Chatham to be paid off. She left Ascension on the 19th of June, at which date the Albert, steamer, one of the unfortunate Niger expedition, and the Prompt schooner, were lying there. The Madagascar was at Cabenda, near which place, with the Waterwitch, she had destroyed a baracoon, and liberated 200 slaves. She was expected in a few days at Ascension.|
|Ma 22 August 1842|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION.
Corporal T. Edmonds, of the company of Royal Sappers and Miners, stationed at Woolwich, arrived here on the 19th insp. Notwithstanding the unhealthiness of an African climate, and the hardships to which he was exposed by the death of so many of his comrades, his constitution remains unimpaired, and having laid aside the wide garments of the sailor, he has again returned to his duty as a soldier. The rest of the Royal sappers and Miners who embarked in the Albert, Wilberforce and Soudan steam vessels and have escaped with their lives from the pestilential climate of Africa, are on their way to England, as the project for the continuance of the expedition has been abandoned. This step has been taken owing to the impracticability of achieving the desired purpose, the extinction of the slave trade, &c. without a cruel sacrifice of European life. Only six persons of the Albert steam vessel, including Corporal Edmunds, have survived the ravages of the pestiferous climate in which they served, and the river fever.
|Ma 5 September 1842||Her Majesty's steamer Kite arrived at Lisbon on the 22d ult. From the coast of Africa, having on board the remaining persons who formed the Niger expedition. The following is an extract of a letter we have received from the Kite, dated Lisbon, August 22:- "The Kite arrived at Fernando Po on the 30th of June, with orders to desist from entering the Niger, except on a very limited scale, so much so as to put an end to the expedition; and the officers and men are to be sent home in a man-of-war. As the Kite had some defects, she was selected, and the officers and men are now on board her, and may be expected in England in a few days. The officers are, Captain W. Allen, Commander W. Ellis, Lieutenant Frederick Sidney, Master W. Forster, Surgeons R.H. Thomson and Morris Pritchett, Purser William Bush, Clerk - Terry, with 22 seamen and marines. The greater part of the seamen had volunteered at Ascension from merchant ships. Lieutenant Webb, of the Wilberforce, has taken that vessel up, with a boatswain, carpenter, and two white engineers; the rest are all Kroomen; Mr. Webb, clerk, also accompanied him. Lieutenant Webb, who was senior mate in the Soudan, has been at various times in all the vessels of the expedition (including the Amelia tender, now at the Model Farm settlement), as his services were required. He had nearly eight years passed, and was promoted into a death vacancy. - Hampshire Telegraph.|
|Ma 5 September 1842||The Kite, steam vessel, Lieutenant-Commander W.J.G. Pascoe, has arrived at Plymouth from the coast of Africa. She has brought home the survivors of the ill-fated Niger expedition, Captain W. Allen, Commander W. Ellis, Lieutenant Frederick Sidney, Master, W. Foster, Purser, W. Bush, Clerk, J. Terry, Surgeons R.H. Thompson and Morris Pritchett, and 22 seamen and marines. The Wilberforce had left Fernando Po on the 5th of June for Princes Island, under the command of Lieutenant Webb, who intended to take her up the Niger as far as the Model Farm. The clerk, boatswain, carpenter, and two engineers were the only Europeans who accompanied him, the rest were all Kroomen. The Soudan had gone to Benibra.|
|Th 22 September 1842|
Captain Allen, senior officer of the Niger expedition, had an interview with Lord Stanley yesterday at the Colonial-office.
|Tu 27 September 1842|
Mr. Commissioner Cook, of the Niger Expedition, had an interview yesterday with Lord Stanley, at the Colonial-office.
|Ma 31 October 1842|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION
The last wreck of the Niger expedition has been extricated from the fatal river; and the people at the Model Farm, with the relics of the property, have been brought to Fernando Po. To the very last the events have been such as to stamp the expedition with rashness and cruelty; even this supplemental expedition, greatly reduced, and profiting by the experience of previous disasters, suffered in proportion. Of eight or ten whites on board, but two were not laid up in sickness, the commander being one of the two. Again, it was a servant of the gentleman who warned Lord John Russell of the utter failure of the expedition who helped to rescue the Wilberforce on returning from its second voyage; a black boy, who had learned the use of the steam-engine on board Mr. Jamieson's trading steamer, worked the engine of the Wilberforce as it passed the Delta. The expedition has effected some discoveries. It has discovered that which was told to its projectors before it sailed from England, that the slave traffic which it was equipped to suppress in the Bight of Biafra had already ceased there; and that the legitimate commerce which it was to introduce had been rising and flourishing in the Bight for 20 years. It also discovered, what was told to its projectors before it left England, that the site chosen for an agricultural settlement could not be approached without imminent risk to the lives of Europeans. Another notable achievement has been, that the expedition went up the river about two-thirds of the distance previously ascended by merchant vessels; and its crowning feat is, that in attempting to carry out the plans of the African Civilisation Society, by carrying up merchandise, it has for the time expelled honest commerce - the very thing that it was to establish! What next? -Spectator.
|Fr 18 November 1842||FALMOUTH, Wednesday. - Her Majesty's steamer Wilberforce (of the unfortunate Niger expedition) passed up Channel to-day, and Her Majesty's steamer Dee, for the West Indies, still remains here.|
|Ma 21 November 1842|
THE NIGER EXPEDITION
Extract from a letter dated Cape Coast Castle Sept. 26, 1842 :-
"The Wilberforce, you will recollect, was here in March last, at which time Captain W. Allen was preparing to re-ascend the Niger, to look after the "Model Farm" people, and if possible to do something to retrieve the fame of the expedition. He proceeded hence to Fernando Po, to fit out the Soudan, to accompany him. While he was still lying there the Kite steamer arrived with orders from Government that only one vessel was to go up the river, and that she was only to have on board four or five white men at most. Her only object in going up was to be the bringing back the people left at the farm. On receiving these orders Captain Allen and most of his officers and crew went on board the Kite for a passage to England. The other commissioner (Cook) went home by the Golden Spring. The Wilberforce, under charge of her present commander (Lieutenant Webb), proceeded up the river, and found the 'Model Farm' a very perfect model of disorganization. The blacks who had been left at it, having plenty of cowries (a species of India shell used as money) and goods, voted themselves to be independent country gentlemen, and managed to get hold of a lot of natives, whom they very coolly made slaves of, and whom they compelled to work on the farm, each gentleman being provided with a cat, or slave driver's whip, the better to enforce obedience. The model farmer himself (Carr, brother of the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone) has never been heard of, and had, as it afterwards appeared, been killed somewhere near the mouth of the river. The Wilberforce brought away farm implements, people and all, and those of the latter belonging to this place are now being discharged here. The steamer got on a rock in the river, where she remained five days, and came down with a hole in her bottom, which now compels her to go home. So much for the last speech and dying words of the far-famed Niger expedition. A more mismanaged piece of business from beginning to end is not, I will venture to say, to be found recorded in any history."
|Tu 22 November 1842||The Times, 22 November 1842|
The glorious magnificence of that humbug which prefers cheap philanthropy to costly and selfdenying good deeds, which spurns the dullness of secret and retiring charity, which rejoices itself in agitation by sections, vaunts itself in public speechification and the applause of the multitude, and deems popularity and excitement no ill substitutes for humility and devotion, has just achieved a consummation as signal as it probably was unexpected. In two words, letters have just arrived, whereby it appears that the Niger ANTI-Slavery Expedition has done no more (nor any less) than planted a very "model" of the most cruel and iniquitous SLAVERY, and that on a spot where such, or at least such systematic scourge-bearing slavery, was probably unknown before.
How glorious a result of the great national union effected upon the platform of Exeter-hall! Who does not recollect the "sensation" produced by that grand display of (if it be not a contradiction in terms to connect religion with display) religious philanthropy? The Strand was thronged with omnibuses, full of lady-members of committee; swarms of cabs, containing each its dissenting minister, or member of Parliament, supplied every vacuum; while Mr. O'CONNELL and Sir ROBERT PEEL, Dukes and Quakers, Bishops and Cabinet Ministers, all united for the time in amiable harmony, concentrated their powers in order to effect an object good enough in itself, by means palpably ridiculous and suicidal, not to say grossly and deliberately cruel, and to stamp with their approbation a system of ostentatious agitation, utterly alien from that Christian charity which it intends and seeks to supplant. However, the thing was done; and what has been the result? Two steam-boats; an awful loss of life; - and - a slave settlement, yes - literally and truly SLAVE SETTLEMENT. The centre of Africa was to be civilized. Nothing less was to be achieved. Other subordinate anti-slaveryites might attack the outposts; but the national expedition was to assault the citadel at once, and to commence by converting the heart of Africa. The Niger had recently been discovered; and was of course supposed by the peaceful-district-agitators of Exeter-hall to be the grand highway into Central Africa, as sure, as safe, and as easy, as the Thames between the Nore and London-bridge ; and it was imagined hat no more was necessary than to steam up that river, as a Margate steamer might steam up the Thames, and to encamp on any convenient locality. The name of the river too was appropriate: the expedition was planned on the principle of sacrificing white men to benefit black; and it was also determined (unluckily as it now appears) to make the thing still more complete and of a piece, by sending some black men also up this black river, with this very black expedition. In the words of our correspondent at Cape Coast Castle, the result of all this black work has been this :-
"The 'model farm' was found to be a very perfect model of disorganization. The blacks who bad been left at it, having plenty of cowries (a species of India shell used as money) and goods, voted themselves to be independent country gentlemen, and managed to get hold of a lot of natives, whom they very coolly made slaves of, and whom they compelled to work on the farm, each gentleman being provided with a cat or slave-driver's whip, the better to enforce obedience!!''
And this is the conduct of agents, professed, paid agents of the Female-Centre-of-Africa-Civilization anti-the-very-Name-of-SLAVERY Negro-Total-Abolition Society! Who is to blame here - the agents or the principals? Who has played false? - the niggars or the ladies committee? And then, again, this is the conduct of negroes - of individuals of that very race which the expedition was sent out to civilize. Is it a dream, or can such perfect ingratitude, and such unutterable impudence, exist among men? Sent to civilize, these "gentlemen" niggars proceed without hesitation to propagate barbarism, and coolly carry on their anti-slavery mission, slave-whip in hand.
We hope that the victims of anti-slavery committees will take a lesson by these occurrences. We hope that these things will be a lesson to those persons, those sincere and really well-disposed persons, who are in many instances weak enough to be seduced by some bustling political Dissenter, or by some conceited aspirer to petty notoriety, into a participation in that worldly, self-sufficient, and intrusive system of so-called benevolence, which, on the specious pretence that it has a good end in view, is careless by what means that end is attained, overlooks what is near at home for what is far away, talks instead of acting, and utterly reverses every principle of true and perfect charity. Let such persons, we say, take warning by the denouement of the tragic farce lately enacted on the banks of the Niger.These committees and sub-committees - this puffing and this vanity - are, we are told, directed to a good end; - be it so - let people see to it how they suffer themselves to use un-Christian and demoralizing means, and think to justify those means by that end - let them see to it lest the means do not rather, as in the Niger farce, involve the end also in their own condemnation and failure.
|Tu 22 November 1842||THE NIGER EXPEDITION. - Her Majesty's steamer Wilberforce, commanded by Lieutenant Webb, left the coast of Africa about the 14th of October, touched at Madeira for coal on the 31st, left there on the 6th inst., and arrived at Plymouth on the 17th. She is principally manned by coloured people, there being only four or five Europeans, who were taken from other Government ships, and but three of these who joined the expedition originally - viz., the commander, carpenter, and engineer. It is said these three would be willing to go out again, although they have all been attacked by the fever. The commander and carpenter appear in good health; but the effects of the climate, aggravated perhaps by the nature of his occupation, have left melancholy evidence on the person of the engineer. The Wilberforce is gone up Hamoaze to receive some necessary repairs.|
|Sa 26 November 1842|
LONDON, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1842
The extent of delinquency of which the promoters of the African-Civilization Society have been guilty, is so great, and the lessons to be derived from it are so valuable, that we should be wrong if we dismissed the last reported results of their proceedings with a single derisive article. We think the opportunity is a fitting one for observing upon the extreme shallowness of view with which, not merely conceited enthusiasts, but practical statesmen of all parties in the present day, are capable of acting upon subjects of the highest moral and social importance. Nothing can more strongly illustrate the empirical character of the wisdom on which we value ourselves in the 19th century - nothing can more forcibly prove the fatuity of believing that the age in which we live is more enlightened, and better qualified to form sound opinions upon political or philosophical questions, than those which have gone before it.
Looking back upon this whole transaction, the facts appear so marvellous, that we doubt if a more incredible narration is to be found in the pages of GULLIVER or MUNCHAUSEN. In the summer of 1840 Sir FOWELL BUXTON wrote a book. In this book he stated, that after many years incessant labour in the anti-slavery cause, which had resulted in nothing but a serious aggravation of the horrors of slavery, and a slave trade more intolerable than ever, he, Sir FOWELL BUXTON, had at last, in 1840, discovered the true remedy for slavery, which was to civilize Africa by introducing among the natives spades, pickaxes, ploughs, potatoes, and political economy, upon the newest European principles. For this purpose, nothing more (he said) would be necessary, than just to send a couple of steamers up the Niger, make treaties with the native chiefs, invent a general language for the use of the African continent, compile and put into circulation a universal dictionary, buy model farms, settle upon them a few Scotch farmers and liberated negroes, and demonstrate to the surrounding black potentates the immense advantage of employing their superfluous hands in making sugar and coffee at home, instead of exporting them for the same purposes to Cuba or the Brazils. This was the grand "heureka" of Sir THOMAS FOWELL BUXTON - the result of his many years' thought and experience and disappointment on this subject: to unravel this secret, he wrote a book: to accomplish this plan, he requested the British Government to place steamers and 60,000l. At his disposal, and the British public to give their gold to his "African Civilization Society." In all which he was duly seconded by his trusty friend and squire, Sir GEORGE STEPHEN.
If this project had borne no marks of absurdity or impossibility upon the face of it, - if the British public had known nothing of Africa, and no more of any past attempts to put down the slave trade than these projectors thought proper to tell them, - we should still have though both the Government and the public must at least have asked some such questions as the following: - Who is this Sir FOWELL BUXTON, and what is this Sir GEORGE STEPHEN, that they should expect us to adopt their project for summarily changing the conditions of society in more than one-fourth of the globe? What proof have they given of their qualifications for so extraordinary a work - a work which (if at all practicable) mast necessarily demand for its execution the most penetrating intellect, the most profound acquaintance with the philosophy of human nature, the most excellent skill in adapting means to ends, the most wonderful aptitude for gaining ascendancy and influence over the minds of men in short, the very highest degree of political wisdom and also the most gigantic system of external means. Never did so mighty a conception enter into the mind of MAHOMET, or NAPOLEON, or ALEXANDER never was a scheme propounded implying such superhuman judgment and ability (or else such wild folly) in its authors. Who are these men, who thus set themselves up to revolutionize a quarter of the world? Are they comets blazing for the first time upon our political hemisphere, or have they already given signs of preeminent genius within the limits of their own country?
What must have been the answer, if such questions as these had been asked? The inquirer would have been told, that Sir THOMAS FOWELL BUXTON was a well-known and very common-place Whig Dissenter, who had been for many years in Parliament, but was never suspected of entertaining a design to set the Thames on fire; that no statesman ever set the least value upon his opinion on any question of domestic policy; that he never made a speech which contained one striking, original, or comprehensive thought; that he was almost the last man in England whom Sir ROBERT PEEL, or Lord JOHN RUSSELL, or any body else, would have thought of consulting, if a proposal had been made to improve the moral and social condition of his own countrymen. As for Sir GEORGE STEPHEN, it most have been affirmed, that he was a solicitor in the city of London, whose claim to distinction consisted chiefly in having written a book, entitled A Gentleman in Search of a Horse; and nothing more could have been said about him.
It was also obvious, upon the face of Sir FOWELL BUXTON'S book, that much of his life had been spent in the invention of specifics for this very thing - the cure of slavery in Africa - in a long course of agitation, carried on under most favourable circumstances, assisted by frequent Parliamentary enactments, and the expenditure of millions upon millions of public money. It was clear, upon his own showing, that the only result of all his exertions had hitherto been, to make the evil much worse than when he began. Such were the prima facie qualifications of these gentlemen for being intrusted with the task of making Africa a new moral world.
With this introduction to the persons concerned, the next point would naturally have been to look at the things recommended. To civilize all Africa by dictionaries, model farms, physical sciences, and political economy! By these means to put down the slave trade at its fountain head! By these means to teach the chiefs that it was their interest to be humane! By these means to pave the way to the introduction of Christianity! And all this with two or three Government steamers! Not waiting for the tardy lapse of centuries, as civilization used to do in the times of old, but with a railroad pace, within the brief lives of Sir GEORGE STEPHEN and Sir FOWELL BUXTON, or their still more ephemeral society! This was the scheme. Is it credible that any man in England, with any pretence to reason, could seriously and believingly swallow down such drivelling absurdity? We think not; yet men in high stations were not ashamed to act as if they did believe it.
The scheme was not simply foolish; it was not even a new folly; it had been long before tried, and disproved by facts. The Liverpool Anti-Slavery Society came forward solemnly to repudiate it, and detailed the history of a precisely similar experiment, which failed, thirty years ago, as completely as all reasonable men must have anticipated. Nor was it merely an old folly; it was also a wicked, a murderous, and a slave making folly; it included the certain sacrifice of many invaluable European lives, experience having furnished abundant proof that the climate of Africa was fatal to white constitutions; while in the establishment of free negro settlements, it involved the creation of new slave-marts, like that of Siberia, under the pretence of abolishing the old. Nor was it only a stale and a wicked folly - it was a folly and wickedness most presumptuous and deliberate; for all these facts were notorious to every person engaged in it; and least they should be unknown to any, we ourselves took care, before the thing was done, that the public should be loudly and frequently reminded of them.
Notwithstanding all this, it is a fact, to be recorded and remembered, that a "great meeting" was held at Exeter-hall in the autumn of 1840, for the purpose of applauding Sir FOWELL BUXTON for writing this silly book, and to organize the means of acting upon it. It is a fact, that HER MAJESTY'S Whig Government persuaded HER MAJESTY'S Consort to honour that meeting with his presence. It is a fact, that Sir ROBERT PEEL and Lord JOHN RUSSELL, and Mr. O'CONNELL, and Archdeacon SAMUEL WILBERFORCE, were all there for the purpose of commending the black inhabitants of Africa to the MEDEA'S caldron of this brainless Buxtonian benevolence. It is a fact, that Government steamers, and English crews, and 60,000 l. of English money from the public Treasury, were devoted by the QUEEN'S then advisers to the purposes of Sir FOWELL BUXTON and his new society. And lastly, it is a fact, that the expedition, as was predicted, has totally failed; that of the whites engaged in it, many died, more had their health broken for ever, and the few survivors returned a miserable wreck, without completing anything beyond the purchase and settlement of one small farm several hundred miles up the Niger; and that HER MAJESTY'S ship Wilberforce, on revisiting this "model farm" in the present year, found the model farmer dead, and the black civilizers already become slave-owners and slave-drivers, with whips in their hands. Everything has turned out exactly as every rational man might have foreseen from the first; and yet, as far as we can see, not the slightest symptom of compunction is manifested by those who did these things in the face of the strongest and most frequent warnings!
|Sa 26 November 1842||The Wilberforce steam-vessel, Lieutenant-Commander Webb, is ordered to Woolwich to be paid off. This vessel was the last to leave the Niger, and has brought home the few remaining parties who went out on that unfortunate expedition. The Model Farm has been entirely broken up, and scarcely a vestige remains to show that an attempt was made to colonize that part of Africa through which the pestilential River Niger has its course.|
|Tu 29 November 1842||WOOLWICH, Nov. 28. - The Wilberforce steam-vessel, Lieutenant Webb, from the Niger, arrived at Woolwich, on Saturday.|
|Sa 10 December 1842||THE NIGER EXPEDITION.- The Wilberforce steam-vessel, recently returned from the Niger expedition, was paid off at Woolwich on Wednesday last, and the Kroomen transferred to the William and Mary yacht. The Kroomen appear a hardy race of men, and prove excellent sailors on their native seas, and able and willing to work; but in this northern climate they complain of the piercing winds going through them, although comfortably clothed, and with flannel shirts next their body. The Wilberforce left the Soudan steam-vessel at Fernando Po, and it is expected she will receive the slight repairs she will require there. The Albert Steam-vessel is still on the coast of Africa; and, owing to her small draught of water, it was said she was to be employed in looking after slave vessels. An impression prevails amongst the few remaining of the crew of the Wilberforce that she will be re-commissioned in the spring of next year, and be worked exclusively by volunteers, assisted by Kroomen, and again proceed to the Niger. That river is described as being for about 20 miles below the spot where the model farm was one entire marsh, the whole of that distance clothed on each side with magnolia trees, growing into the river, and presenting a singular appearance where the rise and fall of the tide had washed away the earth from their roots. It was invariably in passing through this spot that the greatest number of cases of fever and deaths occurred amongst the white portion of the crew, and even the West Indians employed in the expedition could not resist the effects of the malaria. The country above Idah is described as comparatively beautiful and fertile, and the intelligent portion of the crew of the Wilberforce think a situation for the model farm ought to have been selected farther up the river if such could nave been obtained from the King of that country. The Niger at Idah is represented as being about twice as broad as the Thames at Woolwich, and in some parts immediately below Idah about three times the breadth of the Thames in that quarter. The dew falls every evening after sunset in the marshy parts of the Niger in the form of a dense fog of greater intensity than was experienced on the River Thames yesterday. Several of the black crew of the Wilberforce, on being paid off, were very proud of being freemen, and proceeded to London the same evening, with the view of obtaining vessels. The great majority understood and could speak English very well, and conversed with each other in that language.|
|Sa 10 December 1842||ROYAL HUMANE SOCIETY.- The committee or the Royal Humane Society have, on the representation of Dr. James Ormiston M'William, who was senior medical officer of the Niger expedition, awarded honorary silver medallions to "Tom Osmond," a Krooman, and "William Guy," an African boy, in admiration of the noble courage and humanity displayed by them, in having jumped overboard to the relief of Mr. Willmett Clark, of Her Majesty's steamer Albert, on the night of the 7th of October, 1841, while that vessel was lying off Murje, a chief town of Kakundah, on the right bank of the Niger. We are not aware that this distinction has on any former occasion been conferred upon a negro.|
|Fr 23 December 1842||The Wilberforce steam-vessel has been taken into dock, to have the injury which she sustained in her bottom by striking on a rock in going up the Niger repaired. It is stated, that when again ready for sea she will be re-commisioned by Captain William Allen, who is anxious to proceed again to Africa, and that her chief occupation on that coast in future will be as a surveying-vessel. Amongst the articles brought home in the Wilberforce by the Kroomen were several bags of cowries, a species of shell used as coin on the coast of Africa.|
|Fr 23 December 1842|
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir,- The lovers of a joke are entitled to require that any attempt to deprive them of their laugh during the Christmas festivities at the conversion of the "model farm" into a slave-driving plantation, be supported by something like evidence. Accordingly, I think that we may ask, upon whose authority the statements published in the Friend of Africa and a morning paper of yesterday are made?
It seems to me that they must be a mere flight of that fervid fancy which conjured up the inducements to the expedition itself. No person capable of writing such a paper remained upon the model-farm. The details given are - first, a fancy sketch of the pacific and pastoral way in which such a model-farm should have been managed; and secondly, anecdotes of the feelings and conduct of the surrounding native population towards the model farmers, which rest upon no better authority than that of these blacks, themselves, who are, no doubt, as loquacious and imaginative as every one familiar with the race knows them to be. And we are not even informed to whom we are indebted for this report of the counter-statements of the accused model-farmers.
I think you must see the palpable attempt at deception by printing these random recollections between inverted commas, as if drawn out by some great unknown eye-witness of the mighty wonders he relates, too illustrious for notoriety, and by "confirming" them by a line or two from Lieutenant Webb "as far as his knowledge extends." This truly gallant officer (pity that such courage and skill as that of these brave men should have been thus employed) can know nothing but what be saw during the very short time which the model farmers, then under the awe of superior authority, occupied in packing up themselves and the tools and goods not destroyed by the climate, or expended in procuring "native labour," and "securing the good-will of the chiefs."
Your readers will determine what weight is due to the assertion of this document, unsupported by other evidence, "that there was decidedly nothing like slave driving" at the "model farm."I am, your faithful servant,
London, Dec. 22.
|Sa 24 December 1842||The Wilberforce, on being examined in dock, was found to be so little injured in her bottom, that the whole of the repairs can be accomplished by the substitution of four new iron plates instead of those injured by striking on a rock and getting aground in the Niger. The iron sheets of which the vessel's bottom is entirely constructed appear to have stood very well, and are very little corroded, and, with the exception of a few shells of the limpet species, she has been found quite free from the attacks of marine insects. The precaution of having a few sheets of iron, of the same thickness as the bottom of the Wilberforce is constructed of, was found very advantageous when the accident occurred, as they were put over the injured part with great ease, and rendered the vessel perfectly water-tight. The Wilberforce is represented as being an excellent sea-boat, and kept her decks remarkably dry during her passage out and home. The only complaint against her is, that her engines have not sufficient power to render her a fast sailer. She is expected to be ready for sea in about a month.|
|We 28 December 1842||We have been requested to contradict a paragraph which appeared some days since with our intelligence from Woolwich, to the effect that Captain W. Allen, was about to re-commission the Wilberforce, and was anxious to return with her to the coast of Africa. The gallant officer to whom this unviable task was thus ascribed has heard nothing of his being appointed to any such service, and has had, as might have been expected, quite enough of the Niger expedition.|