Infomotions, Inc.Journal of an African Cruiser / Bridge, Horatio, 1806-1893



Author: Bridge, Horatio, 1806-1893
Title: Journal of an African Cruiser
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): liberia; cape palmas; colonists; sierra leone; cape; coast; porto praya; governor; natives; africa
Contributor(s): Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864 [Editor]
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Title: Journal of an African Cruiser

Author: Horatio Bridge

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    JOURNAL

     OF AN

AFRICAN CRUISER:

COMPRISING SKETCHES OF THE CANARIES, THE CAPE DE VERDS, LIBERIA, MADEIRA,
SIERRA LEONE, AND OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST ON THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA.

       *       *       *       *       *

BY AN OFFICER OF THE U. S. NAVY.

EDITED BY NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.

       *       *       *       *       *

LONDON: WILEY AND PUTNAM, 6, WATERLOO PLACE 1845

[ENTERED AT STATIONERS' HALL.]


PREFACE.

The following pages have afforded occupation for many hours, which might
else have been wasted in idle amusements, or embittered by still idler
regrets at the destiny which carried the writer to a region so little
seductive as Africa, and kept him there so long. He now offers them to the
public, after some labor bestowed in correction and amendment, but
retaining their original form, that of a daily Journal, which better
suited his lack of literary practice and constructive skill, and was in
fitter keeping with the humble pretensions of the work, than a
re-arrangement on artistic principles. At various points of the narrative,
however, he has introduced observations or disquisitions from two or three
common-place books, which he kept simultaneously with the Journal; and
thus, in a few instances, remarks are inserted as having been made early
in the cruise, while, in reality, they were perhaps the ultimate result of
his reflection and judgment upon the topics discussed.

If, in any portion of the book, the author may hope to engage the
attention of the public, it will probably be in those pages which treat of
Liberia. The value of his evidence, as to the condition and prospects of
that colony, must depend, not upon any singular acuteness of observation
or depth of reflection, but upon his freedom from partizan bias, and his
consequent ability to perceive a certain degree of truth, and inclination
to express it frankly. A northern man, but not unacquainted with the slave
institutions of our own and other countries--neither an Abolitionist nor a
Colonizationist--without prejudice, as without prepossession--he felt
himself thus far qualified to examine the great enterprise which he beheld
in progress. He enjoyed, moreover, the advantage of comparing Liberia, as
he now saw it, with a personal observation of its condition three years
before, and could therefore mark its onward or retreating footsteps, and
the better judge what was permanent, and what merely temporary or
accidental. With these qualifications, he may at least hope to have spoken
so much of truth as entirely to gratify neither the friends nor enemies of
this interesting colony.

The West Coast of Africa is a fresher field for the scribbling tourist,
than most other parts of the world. Few visit it, unless driven by stern
necessity; and still fewer are disposed to struggle against the enervating
influence of the climate, and keep up even so much of intellectual
activity as may suffice to fill a diurnal page of Journal or Commonplace
Book. In his descriptions of the settlements of the various nations of
Europe, along that coast, and of the native tribes, and their trade and
intercourse with the whites, the writer indulges the idea that he may add
a trifle to the general information of the public. He puts forth his work,
however, with no higher claims than as a collection of desultory sketches,
in which he felt himself nowise bound to tell all that it might be
desirable to know, but only to be accurate in what he does tell. On such
terms, there is perhaps no very reprehensible audacity in undertaking the
history of a voyage; and he smiles to find himself, so simply and with so
little labor, acquiring a title to be enrolled among the authors of books!

APRIL 5, 1845.



CONTENTS


CHAPTER I.

Departure--Mother Carey's Chickens--The Gulf Stream--Rapid Progress--The
French Admiral's Cook--Nautical Musicians--The sick Man--The Burial at
Sea--Arrival at the Canaries--Santa Cruz--Love and Crime--Island of Grand
Canary--Troglodytes near Las Palmas.


CHAPTER II.

Nelson's Defeat at Santa Cruz--The Mantilla--Arrival at Porto
Grande--Poverty of the Inhabitants--Portuguese Exiles at the Cape de
Verds--City of Porto Praya--Author's Submersion--Green Turtle--Rainy
Season--Anchor at Cape Mesurado.


CHAPTER III.

Visit of Governor Roberts, &c.--Arrival at Cape Palmas--American
Missionaries--Prosperity of the Catholic Mission--King Freeman, and his
Royal Robe--Customs of the Kroo-People--Condition of Native Women.


CHAPTER IV.

Return to Monrovia--Sail for Porto Praya--The Union Hotel--Reminiscences
of Famine at the Cape de Verds--Frolics of Whalemen--Visit to the Island
of Antonio--A Dance--Fertility of the Island--A Yankee Clockmaker--A
Mountain Ride--City of Poverson--Point de Sol--Kindness of the Women--The
handsome Commandant--A Portuguese Dinner.


CHAPTER V.

Arrival of the Macedonian--Return to the Coast of Africa--Emigrants to
Liberia--Tornadoes--Maryland in Liberia--Nature of its Government--Perils
of the Bar--Mr. Russwurm--The Grebo Tribe--Manner of disposing of their
Dead.


CHAPTER VI.

Settlement of Sinoe--Account of a Murder by the Natives--Arrival at
Monrovia--Appearance of the Town--Temperance--Law-Suits and
Pleadings--Expedition up the St. Paul's River--Remarks on the Cultivation
of Sugar--Prospects of the Coffee-culture in Liberia--Desultory
observations on Agriculture.


CHAPTER VII

High Character of Governor Roberts--Suspected Slaver--Dinner on
Shore--Facts and Remarks relative to the Slave-Trade--British
Philanthropy--Original cost of a Slave--Anchor at Sinoe--Peculiarities and
distinctive Characteristics of the Fishmen and Bushmen--The King of
Appollonia--Religion and Morality among the Natives--Influence of the
Women.


CHAPTER VIII.

Palaver at Sinoe--Ejectment of a Horde of Fishmen--Palaver at Settra
Kroo--Mrs. Sawyer--Objections to the Marriage of Missionaries--A
Centipede--Arrival at Cape Palmas--Rescue of the Sassy-wood
drinker--Hostilities between the Natives and Colonists.


CHAPTER IX.

Palaver with King Freeman--Remarks on the Influence of
Missionaries--Palaver at Rock-Boukir--Narrative of Captain Farwell's
murder--Scene of Embarkation through the Surf--Sail for Little Berebee.


CHAPTER X.

Palaver at Little Berebee--Death of the Interpreter and King Ben Cracko
and burning of the Town--Battle with the Natives, and Conflagration of
several Towns--Turkey Buzzards--A Love-Letter--Moral Reflections--Treaty
of Grand Berebee--Prince Jumbo and his Father--Native system of
Expresses--Curiosity of the Natives.


CHAPTER XI.

Madeira--Aspect of the Island--Annual races--"Hail Columbia!"--Ladies,
Cavaliers, and Peasants--Dissertation upon Wines--The Clerks of
Funchal--Decay of the Wine-Trade--Cultivation of Pine-Trees--A Night in
the Streets--Beautiful Church--A Sunday-evening Party--Currency of
Madeira.


CHAPTER XII.

Passage back to Liberia--Coffee Plantations--Dinner on shore--Character of
Colonel Hicks--Shells and Sentiment--Visit to the Council-chamber--The
New-Georgia Representative--A Slave-ship--Expedition up the St.
Paul's--Sugar Manufactory--Maumee's beautiful grand-daughter--The Sleepy
Disease--The Mangrove-tree.


CHAPTER XIII.

The Theatre--Tribute to Governor Buchanan--Arrival at Settra Kroo--Jack
Purser--The Mission School--Cleanliness of the Natives--Uses of the
Palm-tree--Native Money--Mrs. Sawyer--Influence of her character on the
Natives--Characteristics of English Merchant-Captains--Trade of England
with the African Coast.


CHAPTER XIV.

American Trade--Mode of Advertising, and of making Sales--Standard of
Commercial Integrity--Dealings with Slave-Traders--Trade with the
Natives--King's "Dash"--Native Commission-Merchants--The Gold Trade--The
Ivory Trade--The "Round Trade"--Respectability of American
Merchant-Captains--Trade with the American Squadron.


CHAPTER XV.

Jack Purser's wife--Fever on board--Arrival at Cape Palmas--Strange figure
and equipage of a Missionary--King George of Grand Bassam--Intercourse
with the Natives--Tahon--Grand Drewin--St. Andrew's--Picaninny
Lahoo--Natives attacked by the French--Visit to King Peter--Sketches of
Scenery and People at Cape Lahon.


CHAPTER XVI.

Visit from two English Trading-Captains--The invisible King of
Jack-a-Jack--Human sacrifices--French fortresses at Grand Bassam, at
Assinoe, and other points--Objections to the locality of
Liberia--Encroachments on the limits of that Colony--Arrival in
Axim--Sketches of that Settlement--Dixcove--Civilized Natives--An
Alligator.


CHAPTER XVII.

Dutch Settlement at El Mina--Appearance of the Town--Cape Coast
Castle--Burial-place of L. E. L.--An English dinner--Festivity on
shipboard--British, Dutch, and Danish Accra--Native wives of Europeans--A
Royal Princess--An Armadillo--Sail for St. Thomas--Aspect of the Island.


CHAPTER XVIII.

Excursion to St. Anne de Chaves--Mode of drying Coffee--Black
Priests--Madam Domingo's Hotel--Catering for the Mess--Man swallowed by a
Shark--Letters from home--Fashionable equipage--Arrival at the
Gaboon--King Glass and Louis Philippe--Mr. Griswold--Mr. and Mrs.
Wilson--Character of the Gaboon People--Symptoms of illness.


CHAPTER XIX.

Recovery from Fever--Projected Independence of Liberia--Remarks on Climate
and Health--Peril from Breakers--African Arts--Departure for the Cape de
Verds--Man Overboard.


CHAPTER XX.

Glimpses of the bottom of the Sea--The Gar-fish--The Booby and the
Mullet--Improvement of Liberia--Its prospects--Higher social position of
its Inhabitants--Intercourse between the White and Colored. Races--A night
on shore--Farewell to Liberia--Reminiscence of Robinson Crusoe.


CHAPTER XXI.

Sierra Leone--Sources of its Population--Appearance of the Town and
surrounding Country--Religious Ceremonies of the Mandingoes--Treatment of
liberated Slaves--Police of Sierra Leone--Agencies for Emigration to the
West Indies--Colored Refugees from the United States--Unhealthiness of
Sierra Leone--Dr. Fergusson--Splendid Church--Melancholy Fate of a Queen's
Chaplain--Currency--Probable Ruin of the Colony.


CHAPTER XXII.

Failure of the American Squadron to capture Slave-Vessels--Causes of that
Failure--High character of the Commodore and Commanders--Similar
ill-success of the French Squadron--Success of the English, and
why--Results effected by the American Squadron.



      JOURNAL

       OF AN

 AFRICAN CRUISER.




CHAPTER I.

Departure--Mother Carey's Chickens--The Gulf stream--Rapid Progress--The
French Admiral's Cook--Nautical Musicians--The Sick Man--The Burial at
Sea--Arrival at the Canaries--Santa Cruz--Love and Crime--Island of Grand
Canary--Troglodytes near Las Palmas.


_June_ 5,1843.--Towed by the steamer Hercules, we go down the harbor of
New York, at 7 o'clock A.M. It is the fourth time the ship has moved,
since she was launched from the Navy Yard at Portsmouth. Her first
experience of the ocean was a rough one; she was caught in a wintry gale
from the north-east, dismasted, and towed back into Portsmouth harbor,
within three days after her departure. The second move brought us to New
York; the third, from the Navy Yard into the North river; and the fourth
will probably bring us to an anchorage off Sandy Hook. After a hard winter
of four months, in New Hampshire, we go to broil on the coast of Africa,
with ice enough in our blood to keep us comfortably cool for six months at
least.

At 10 A.M. the steamer cast off, and we anchored inside of Sandy Hook; at
12 Meridian, hoisted the broad pennant of Commodore Perry, and saluted it
with thirteen guns. At 3 P.M. the ship gets under way, and with a good
breeze, stands out to sea. Our parting letters are confided to the Pilot.
That weather-beaten veteran gives you a cordial shake with his broad, hard
hand, wishes you a prosperous cruise, and goes over the side. His life is
full of greetings and farewells; the grasp of his hand assures the
returning mariner that his weary voyage is over; and when the swift pilot
boat hauls her wind, and leaves you to go on your course alone, you feel
that the last connecting link with home is broken. On our ship's deck,
there were perhaps some heart-aches, but no whimpering. Few strain their
eyes to catch parting glimpses of the receding highlands; it is only the
green ones who do that. The Old Salt seeks more substantial solace in his
dinner. It is matter of speculation, moreover, whether much of the misery
of parting does not, with those unaccustomed to the sea, originate in the
disturbed state of their stomachs.

7.--We are in the Gulf-stream. The temperature of the water is ten degrees
above that of the air. Though the ship is deep, being filled with stores,
and therefore sailing heavily, we are yet taken along eleven knots by the
wind, and two or three more by the current. Swiftly as we fly, however, we
are not quite alone upon the waters. Mother Carey's chickens follow us
continually, dipping into the white foam of our track, to seize the food
which our keel turns up for them out of the ocean depths. Mysterious is
the way of this little wanderer over the sea. It is never seen on land;
and naturalists have yet to discover where it reposes, and where it
hatches its young; unless we adopt the idea of the poets, that it builds
its nest upon the turbulent bosom of the deep. It is a sort of nautical
sister of the fabled bird of Paradise, which was footless, and never
alighted out of the air. Hundreds of miles from shore, in sunshine and in
tempest, you may see the Stormy Petrel. Among the unsolvable riddles which
nature propounds to mankind, we may reckon the question, Who is Mother
Carey, and where does she rear her chickens?

9.--We are out of the Gulf-stream, and the ship is now rolling somewhat
less tumultuously than heretofore. For four days, we have been blest with
almost too fair a wind. A strong breeze, right aft, has been taking us
more than two hundred and forty miles a day on our course.  But the
incessant and uneasy motion of the ship deprives us of any steady comfort.
In spite of all precautions, tables, chairs, and books, have tumbled about
in utter confusion, and the monotony is enlivened by the breaking of
bottles and crash of crockery.  As some consolation, our Log Book shows
that we have made more than half of a thousand miles, within the last
forty-eight hours. Land travelling, with all the advantages of railroads,
can hardly compete with the continual diligence of a ship before a
prosperous breeze.

11.--Spoke an American brig from Liverpool, bound for New York. Though the
boat was called away, and our letters were ready, it was all at once
determined not to board her; and, after asking the captain to report us,
we stood on our course again. The newspapers will tell our friends
something of our whereabouts; or, at least, that on a certain day, we were
encountered at a certain point upon the sea.

13.--Wind still fair, and weather always fine. We have not tacked ship
once since leaving Sandy Hook, and are almost ready to quarrel with the
continual fair wind. There is nothing else to find fault with, except the
performances of our French cook in the wardroom, who came on board just
before we left New York, and made us believe that we had obtained a
treasure. He told us that he had cooked for a French Admiral. We swore him
to secrecy on that point, lest the Commodore should be disposed to engage
the services of so distinguished an artist for his own table. But our
self-congratulations were not of long continuance. The sugared omelet
passed with slight remark. The beefsteak smothered in onions was merely
prohibited in future. But when, on the second day, the potatoes were
served with mashed lemon-peel, the general discontent burst forth;  and we
scolded till we laughed again at the dilemma in which we found ourselves.
Next to being without food, is the calamity of being subjected, in the
middle of the Atlantic, to the diabolical arts of the French Admiral's
cook. At sea, the arrangements of the table are of far more importance
than on shore. There are so few incidents, that one's dinner becomes, what
Dr. Johnson affirmed it always to be, the affair of which a man thinks
oftenest in the course of the day.

16.--All day, the wind has been ahead, and very light. This evening, a
dead calm is upon the sea; but the sky is cloudless, and the air pure and
soft. All the well are enjoying the fine weather. The commodore and
captain walk the poop-deck; the other officers, except the lieutenant and
young gentlemen of the watch, are smoking on the forecastle, or
promenading the quarter-deck. A dozen steady old salts are rolling along
the gangways; and the men are clustered in knots between the guns,
talking, laughing, or listening to the yarns of their comrades--an
amusement to which sailors are as much addicted as the Sultan in the
Arabian Nights. But music is the order of the evening. Though a band is
not allowed to a ship of our class, there are always good musicians to be
found among the reckless and jolly fellows composing a man-of-war's crew.
A big landsman from Utica, and a dare-devil topman from Cape Cod, are the
leading vocalists; Symmes, the ship's cook, plays an excellent violin; and
the commodore's steward is not to be surpassed upon the tambourine. A
little black fellow, whose sobriquet is Othello, manages the castanets,
and there is a tolerable flute played by one of the afterguard. The
concerts usually commence with sentimental songs, such as "Home, sweet
Home," and the Canadian Boat Song: but the comic always carries off the
palm; "Jim along Josey," "Lucy Long," "Old Dan Tucker," and a hundred
others of the same character, are listened to delightedly by the crowd of
men and boys collected round the fore-hatch, and always ready to join in
the choruses. Thus a sound of mirth floats far and wide over the twilight
sea, and would seem to indicate that all goes well among us.

But the delicious atmosphere, and the amusements of the ship, bring not
joy to all on board. There are sick men swinging uneasily in their
hammocks; and one poor fellow, whose fever threatens to terminate fatally,
tosses painfully in his cot. His messmates gently bathe his hot brow, and,
watching every movement, nurse him as tenderly as a woman. Strange, that
the rude heart of a sailor should be found to possess such tenderness as
we seldom ask or find, in those of our own sex, on land! There, we leave
the gentler humanities of life to woman; here, we are compelled to imitate
her characteristics, as well as our sterner nature will permit.

22.--The sick man died last night, and was buried to-day. His history was
revealed to no one. Where was his home, or whether he has left friends to
mourn his death, are alike unknown. Dying, he kept his own counsel, and
was content to vanish out of life, even as a speck of foam melts back into
the ocean. At 11 A.M., for the first time, in a cruise likely to be fatal
to many on board, the boatswain piped "all hands to bury the dead!" The
sailor's corpse, covered with the union of his country's flag, was placed
in the gangway. Two hundred and fifty officers and men stood around,
uncovered, and reverently listened to the beautiful and solemn burial
service, as it was read by one of the officers. The body was committed to
the deep, while the ship dashed onward, and had left the grave far behind,
even before the last words of the service were uttered. The boatswain
"piped down," and all returned to their duties sadly, and with thoughtful
countenances.

23.--At 4 A.M., the island of Palma and the Peak of Teneriffe are in full
sight, though the lofty summit of the mountain is one hundred miles
distant.

24.--At 5 A.M., anchored at Santa Cruz, capital of the island of
Teneriffe. The health-officer informed us that we must ride out a
quarantine of eight days. A fine precaution, considering that we are
direct from New York! After breakfast, I went to the mole, to see the
Consular Agent, on duty. While waiting in our boat, we were stared at by
thirty or forty loafers (a Yankee phrase, but strictly applicable to these
foreign vagabonds), of the most wretched kind. Some were dressed in coarse
shirts and trowsers, and some had only one of these habiliments. None
interested me, except a dirty, swarthy boy, with most brilliant black
eyes, who lay flat on his stomach, and gazed at us in silence. His
elf-like glance sparkles brightly in my memory.

One of the seamen in our boat spoke to the persons on shore in Spanish. I
inquired whether that were his mother-tongue, and learned that he was a
native of Mahon. On questioning him further, I ascertained that he was
concerned in a tragedy of which I had often heard, while on the
Mediterranean station, two or three years ago. A beautiful girl of
sixteen, of highly respectable family, fell in love with a young man, her
inferior in social rank, though of reputable standing. The affair was kept
secret between them. At length, the lover became jealous, and, one
evening, called his mistress out of her father's house, and stabbed her
five or six times. She died instantly, and her murderer fled. It was
believed in Mahon that he was drowned by falling overboard from the vessel
in which he escaped. Nevertheless, that murderer was the man with whom I
was speaking in the boat, now bearing another name, and a common sailor of
our ship. He told me his real name; and I heard, afterwards, that, when
drunk, he had confessed the murder to one of his messmates.

This incident illustrates what I have often thought, that the private
history of a man-of-war's crew, if truly told, would be full of high
romance, varied with stirring incident, and too often darkened with, deep
and deadly crime. Many go to sea with the old Robinson Crusoe spirit,
seeking adventure for its own sake; many, to escape the punishment of
guilt, which has made them outlaws of the land; some, to drown the memory
of slighted love; while others flee from the wreck of their broken
fortunes ashore, to hazard another shipwreck on the deep. The jacket of
the common sailor often covers a figure that has walked Broadway in a
fashionable coat. An officer sometimes sees his old school-fellow and
playmate taken to the gangway and flogged. Many a blackguard on board has
been bred in luxury; and many a good seaman has been a slaver and a
pirate. It is well for the ship's company, that the sins of individuals do
not, as in the days of Jonas, stir up tempests that threaten the
destruction of the whole.

The island of Grand Canary is one of the most interesting of the group at
which we have now arrived. The population of its capital, the city of Las
Palmas, is variously estimated at from nine thousand inhabitants, to twice
that number. The streets, however, have none of the bustle and animation
that would enliven an American town, of similar size. Around the city
there is an aspect of great fertility; fields of corn and grain,
palm-trees, and vineyards, occupy the valleys among the hills, and extend
along the shores, twining a glad green wreath about the circuit of the
island. The vines of Canary produce a wine which, two or three centuries
ago, was held in higher estimation than at present, and is supposed by
some to have been the veritable "sack" that so continually moistened the
throat of Falstaff. The very name of Canary is a cheerful one, associated
as it is with the idea of bounteous vineyards, and of those little golden
birds that make music all over the world.

The high hills that surround the city of Las Palmas are composed of soft
stone, the yielding quality of which has caused these cliffs to be
converted to a very singular purpose. The poorer people, who can find no
shelter above ground, burrow into the sides of the hill, and thus form
caves for permanent habitation, where they dwell like swallows in a
sand-bank. Judging from the number of these excavations, the mouths of
which appear on the hill-sides, there cannot be less than a thousand
persons living in the manner here described. Not only the destitute
inhabitants of Grand Canary, but vagabonds from Teneriffe and the other
islands, creep thus into the heart of the rock; and children play about
the entrances of the caverns as merrily as at a cottage-door: while, in
the gloom of the interior, you catch a glimpse of household furniture, and
women engaged in domestic avocations. It is like discovering a world
within the world.




CHAPTER II.

Nelson's defeat at Santa Cruz--The Mantilla--Arrival at Porto
Grande--Poverty of the inhabitants--Portuguese Exiles at the Cape de
Verds--City of Porto Prayo--Author's submersion--Green Turtle--Rainy
Season--Anchor at Cape Mesurado.


_July_ 1.--Ashore at Santa Cruz. The population of the city is reckoned
at six or eight thousand. The streets are clean, and the houses built in
the Spanish fashion. Camels are frequent in the streets.

The landing at the Mole is generally bad, as Nelson found to his cost. It
is easy to perceive that, even in ordinary times, the landing of a large
party, though unopposed, must be a work of considerable difficulty. How
much more arduous, then, was the enterprise of the great Naval Hero, who
made his attack in darkness, and in the face of a well-manned battery,
which swept away all who gained foot-hold on the shore! The latter
obstacle might have been overcome by English valor, under Nelson's
guidance; but night, and the heavy surf, were the enemies that gave him
his first and only defeat. The little fort, under whose guns he was
carried by his step-son, after the loss of his arm, derived its chief
interest, in my eyes, from that circumstance. The glory of the great
Admiral sheds a lustre even upon the spot where success deserted him. In
the Cathedral of Santa Cruz are to be seen two English flags, which were
taken on that occasion, and are still pointed out with pride by the
inhabitants. I saw them five years ago, when they hung from the walls,
tattered and covered with dust; they are now enclosed in glass cases, to
which the stranger's attention is eagerly directed by the boys who swarm
around him. The defeat of Nelson took place on the anniversary of the
patron-saint of Santa Cruz; a coincidence which has added not a little to
the saint's reputation. It was by no means his first warlike exploit; for
he is said to have come to the assistance of the inhabitants, and routed
the Moors, when pressing the city hard, in the olden time.

We wandered about the city until evening, and then walked in the Plaza.
Here the ladies and gentlemen of the city promenade for an hour or two,
occasionally seating themselves on the stone benches which skirt the
square. Like other Spanish ladies, the lovely brunettes of Santa Cruz
generally wear the mantilla, so much more becoming than the bonnet. There
are just enough of bonnets worn by foreigners, and travelled Spanish
dames, to show what deformities they are, when contrasted with the
graceful veil. This head-dress could only be used in a climate like that
of Teneriffe, where there are no extremes of heat or cold. It is a proverb
that there is no winter and no summer here. So equable and moderate is the
temperature, that, we were assured, a person might, without inconvenience,
wear either thick or thin clothing, all the year round. With such a
climate, and with a fertile soil, it would seem that this must be almost a
Paradise. There is a great obstruction, however, to the welfare of the
inhabitants, in the want of water. It rains so seldom that the ground is
almost burnt up, and many cattle actually perish from thirst. It is said
that no less than thirty thousand persons have emigrated from the island,
within three years.

The productions of Teneriffe, for export, are wine and barilla. Of the
first, the greater part is sent to England, Russia and the United States.
About thirty thousand pipes are made annually, of which two thirds are
exported. Little or no wine is produced on the southern slope of the
island. The hills around Santa Cruz are little more than rugged peaks of
naked rock. The scenery is wild and bold, but sterile; and scattered
around are stupendous hills of lava, the products of former volcanic
eruptions, but which have, for ages, been cold and wave-washed.

14.--Arrived at Porto Grande, in the island of St. Vincent's, one of the
Cape de Verds. The harbor is completely landlocked by the island of St.
Antonio, which stretches across its mouth. Still, there is, at times, a
considerable swell. The appearance of the land is barren, desolate, and
unpromising in the highest degree; and the town is in keeping with the
scenery. Eighty or ninety miserable hovels, constructed of small, loose
stones, in the manner of our stone-fences, stand in rows, with some
pretence of regularity. Besides the Governor and his aid, there are here
five white men, or rather Portuguese (for their claim to white blood is
not apparent in their complexions), viz. the Collector, the American
Consular Agent, a shop-keeper, whose goods are all contained in a couple
of trunks, and two private soldiers. We called to see the Governor, and
were politely received; he offered seats, and did the honors of the place
with dignity and affability. His pay is one dollar per diem. He has five
soldiers under his command, two of them Portuguese, and three native
negroes, one of whom has a crooked leg.

The people here are wretchedly poor, subsisting chiefly by fishing, and by
their precarious gains from ships which anchor in the port. The Collector
informed me that there had been sixty whale-ships in the harbor, within
the past year. The profits accruing from thence, however, are very
inadequate to the comfortable support of the inhabitants. The adults are
mostly covered with rags, while many of the children are entirely naked;
the cats and dogs (whose condition may be taken as no bad test of the
degree of bodily comfort in the community) are lean and skeleton-like. As
to religion, I saw nothing to remind me of it, except the ruins of an old
church. There has been no priest since the death of one who was drowned, a
few years ago, near Bird Island, a large rock, at the mouth of the harbor.
At the time of this fatal mishap, the reverend father was on a drunken
frolic, in company with some colored women.

The Cape de Verd Islands derive their name from the nearest point of the
mainland of Africa; they are under the dominion of Portugal, and,
notwithstanding their poverty, furnish a considerable revenue to that
country, over and above the expenses of the Colonial Government. This
revenue comes chiefly from the duties levied upon all imported articles,
and from the orchilla trade, which is monopolized by the Government at
home, and produces 50,000 dollars per annum. Another source of profit is
found in the tithes for the support of the Church, which, in some, if not
all the islands, have been seized by the Government (under a pledge for
the maintenance of the clergy), and are farmed out annually. These islands
supply the Portuguese with a place of honorable exile for officers who may
be suspected of heresy in politics, and hostility to existing
institutions. They are advanced a step in rank, to repay them (and a poor
requital it is) for the change from the delicious climate of Portugal, and
the gaieties of Lisbon, to the dreary solitude, the arid soil, and burning
and fever-laden air of the Cape de Verds. It is a melancholy thought, that
many an active intellect--many a generous and aspiring spirit--may have
been doomed to linger and perish here, chained, as it were, to the rocks,
like Prometheus, merely for having dreamed of kindling the fire of liberty
in their native land.

22.--We have spent some days at Porto Praya, the capital of St. Jago, the
largest of the Cape de Verd islands; whence we sail to-day. A large part
of the population is composed of negroes and mulattoes, whose appearance
indicates that they are intemperate, dissolute, and vile. The Portuguese
residing here are generally but little better; as may be supposed from the
fact, that most of those who were not banished from Portugal, for
political or other offences, came originally to engage in the slave-trade.

Going ashore to-day, we beached the boat, and a large negro, with a ragged
red shirt, waded out and took me on his shoulders. There is no position so
absurd, nor in which a man feels himself so utterly helpless, as when thus
dependant on the strength and sure-footedness of a fellow-biped. As we
left the boat, a heavy "roller" came in. The negro lost his footing, and I
my balance, and down we plunged into the surf. My sable friend seemed to
consider it a point of duty to hold stoutly by my legs, the inevitable
tendency of which manoeuvre was to keep my head under water. Having no
taste for a watery death, under these peculiar circumstances, I freed
myself by a vigorous kick, sprang to my feet, and seizing the negro by the
"ambrosial curls," pushed his head in turn under the surf. But seeing the
midshipmen and boat's crew laughing, noiselessly but heartily, at my
expense, the ludicrousness of the whole affair struck me so forcibly that
I joined in their mirth, and waded ashore as fast as possible. An
abolitionist, perhaps, might draw a moral from the story, and say that
all, who ride on the shoulders of the African race, deserve nothing better
than a similar overthrow. Sailed from Porto Praya. The bay of this port is
a good one, except in south-east gales, when the anchorage is dangerous.
The town, called Villa de Praya, contains about two thousand inhabitants
of every shade, the dark greatly predominating. Many vessels from Europe
and the United States, bound to India, Brazil, or Africa, find this a
convenient place to procure water and fresh provisions, and bring, in
return, much money into the city. There are three hundred troops here,
nearly all black, and commanded by forty Portuguese officers. The men are
under severe discipline, are tolerably well dressed, and make a soldierly
appearance. It is said that a St. Jago soldier formerly wore only a cocked
hat, being otherwise in a state of nature; but I cannot pretend to have
seen any instance of this extreme scantiness of equipment.

23.--Saw a large green turtle asleep on the surface of the water. One of
our boats went alongside of him, and two men attempted to turn him over
with boat-hooks. He struggled successfully, however, to keep himself
"right side up," and, in a few moments, plunged beneath the surface. Once
upon his back, he would have been powerless and a prisoner, and we might
have hoped for the advantage of his presence at our mess-table.

24.--At noon, the first rain came. It continued heavy and unremitting, for
twenty-four hours, after which there was a glimpse of the blue sky. Two
startling thunder-claps burst over the ship, at about 9 o'clock, A.M. Last
night, at 10, a heavy plunge carried away both our chain bobstays at once,
and all hands were turned up in the rain, to secure the bowsprit.

The sanitary regulations of the squadron, induced by the commencement of
the rainy season, cause considerable mirth and some growling. One rule is,
that every man shall protect himself with flannel next his person, and at
night shall also wear a cloth-jacket and trowsers. Stoves are placed on
the berth-deck, to dry the atmosphere below. It is a curious fact, that,
in March last, at Portsmouth, N. H., with the thermometer at zero, we were
deprived of stoves the moment the powder came on board; while now in the
month of July, on the coast of Africa, sweltering at eighty degrees of
Fahrenheit, the fires are lighted throughout the ship.

27.--Continual rain for the last three days. All miserable, but getting
used to it.

29.--A clear day, and comfortably cool. Wind fair.

30.--Made land, and saw an English brig of war. Commander Oakes, of the
Ferret, came on board.

31.--Made Cape Mount.

_August_ 1.--At 12, meridian, anchored at Cape Mesurado, off the town of
Monrovia. We find at anchor here the U. S. brig Porpoise, and a French
barque, as well as a small schooner, bearing the Liberian flag. This
consists of stripes and a cross, and may be regarded as emblematical of
the American origin of the colony, and of the Christian philanthropy to
which it owes its existence. Thirty or forty Kroomen came alongside. Three
officers of the Porpoise visited us. All are anxious to get back to the
United States. They coincide, however, in saying that, with simple
precautions, the health of this station is as good as that of any other.
They have had only a single case of fever on board; and, in that instance,
the patient was a man who ran away, and spent a night ashore.

My old acquaintance, Captain Cooper, came on board, and is to be employed
as pilot.




CHAPTER III.

Visit of Governor Roberts, &c.--Arrival at Cape Palmas--American
Missionaries--Prosperity of the Catholic Mission--King Freeman, and his
royal robe--Customs of the Kroo-people--Condition of native women.


_August_ 2.--We were visited by Governor Roberts, Doctor Day, and General
Lewis, the latter being colonial secretary, and military chief of the
settlement. They looked well, and welcomed me back to Liberia with the
cordiality of old friendship. The Governor was received by the commodore,
captain, and officers, and saluted with eleven guns. He and his suite
dined in the cabin, and some of the officers of the Porpoise in the
ward-room. In the evening, we brought out all our forces for the amusement
of our distinguished guests. First, the negro band sang "Old Dan Tucker,"
"Jim along Josey," and other ditties of the same class, accompanied by
violin and tambourine. Then Othello played monkey, and gave a series of
recitations. The French cook sang with great spirit and skill. The
entertainments of the evening, as the theatrical bills expressed it,
concluded with Ma Normandie and other beautiful songs and airs well
executed by the French cook, accompanied by Symmes on the violin, and a
landsman on the flute.

5.--Sailed for Cape Palmas, in company with the Porpoise.

9.--Anchored at Cape Palmas. We were boarded by Kroo-men, in eight or ten
canoes. While the thermometer stood at 75 or 80 degrees, these naked
boatmen were shivering, and seemed absolutely to suffer with cold; and
such is the effect of the climate upon our own physical systems, that we
find woollen garments comfortable at the same temperature.

Visited and lunched with Governor Rasswurm. Called on Mr. James, a colored
missionary, now occupying the house of Mr. Wilson, who has lately removed
to Gaboon river. Mr. James presented us with some ebony, and a few Grebo
books. He informed us that the fever had visited him more or less
severely, as often as once in four weeks during seven years. This may
truly be called a feverish life! He is about to remove to Gaboon.

The Catholic Mission seems to have driven the Presbyterian from the
ground. We called on Mr. Kelly, a Catholic priest from Baltimore, and the
only white man of the Mission at present in Africa. Preparations, however,
have already been made for twenty more, principally French, whose arrival
is expected within a year, and who will establish themselves at different
points along the coast. Mr. Kelly is now finishing a very commodious
house, on a scale of some magnitude, with piazzas around the whole. There
is evidently no lack of money. The funds for the support of the Catholic
mission are derived principally through Lyons, in France; and the
enterprise is said to be under the patronage of the king. The abundant
pecuniary means which the priests have at command, and the imposing and
attractive ceremonies of their mode of worship--so well fitted to produce
an effect on uncultivated natures, where appeals either to the intellect
or the heart would be thrown away--are among the chief causes of their
success. It is said, too, and perhaps with truth, that as many converts
are made, among the natives, by presents, as by persuasion. But no small
degree of the prosperity of the mission must be attributed to the superior
shrewdness and ability of the persons engaged in it--to their skilful
adaptation of their precepts and modes of instruction to the people with
whom they have to deal, and to their employment of the maxims of worldly
policy in aid of their religious views. These qualities and rules of
conduct have characterized the Catholic missionaries in all ages, in all
parts of the world, and in their dealings with every variety of the human
race; and their success has everywhere been commensurate with the
superiority, in a merely temporal point of view, of the system on which
they acted.

Before returning on board, we called on King Freeman, who received us,
seated on a chair which was placed in front of his house. His majesty's
royal robe was no other than an old uniform frock, which I had given him
three years ago. We accepted the chairs which he offered us, and held a
palaver, while some twenty of his subjects stood respectfully around. He
remembered my former visit to the colony, and appeared very glad to see me
again. His town was nearly deserted, the people having gone out to gather
rice. About the royal residence, and in the vicinity, I saw thirty or
forty cattle, most of them young, and all remarkably small. It is said,
and I believe it to be a fact, that cattle, and even fowls, when brought
from the interior, take the coast-fever, and often perish with it. Certain
it is that they do not flourish.

11.--King Freeman came on board, dressed in his uniform frock, with two
epaulettes, a redcap, and checked trowsers. He received some powder and
bread from the Commodore, and some trifles from the ward-room.

12.--Joe Davis brought his son on board to "learn sense." In pursuit of
this laudable object, the young man is to make a cruise with us. The
father particularly requested that his son might be flogged, saying,
"Spose you lick him, you gib him sense!" On such a system, a man-of-war is
certainly no bad school of improvement.

13.--A delightful day, clear sky, and cool breeze. We sailed from Cape
Palmas yesterday, steering up the coast.

I have been conversing with young Ben Johnson, one of our Kroomen, on the
conjugal and other customs of his countrymen. These constitute quite a
curious object of research. The Kroomen are indispensable in carrying on
the commerce and maritime business of the African coast. When a Kroo-boat
comes alongside, you may buy the canoe, hire the men at a moment's
warning, and retain them in your service for months. They expend no time
nor trouble in providing their equipment, since it consists merely of a
straw hat and a piece of white or colored cotton girded about their loins.
In their canoes, they deposit these girdles in the crowns of their hats;
nor is it unusual, when a shower threatens them on shore, to see them
place this sole garment in the same convenient receptacle, and then make
for shelter. When rowing a boat, or paddling a canoe, it is their custom
to sing; and, as the music goes on, they seem to become invigorated,
applying their strength cheerfully, and with limbs as unwearied as their
voices. One of their number leads in recitative, and the whole company
respond in the chorus. The subject of the song is a recital of the
exploits of the men, their employments, their intended movements, the news
of the coast, and the character of their employers. It is usual, in these
extemporary strains, for the Kroomen attached to a man-of-war to taunt,
with good-humored satire, their friends who are more laboriously employed
in merchant vessels, and not so well fed and paid.

Their object in leaving home, and entering into the service of navigators,
is generally to obtain the means of purchasing wives, the number of whom
constitutes a man's importance. The sons of "gentlemen" (for there is such
a distinction of rank among them) never labor at home, but do not hesitate
to go away, for a year or two, and earn something to take to their
families. On the return of these wanderers--not like the prodigal son, but
bringing wealth to their kindred--great rejoicings are instituted. A
bullock is killed by the head of the family, guns are fired, and two or
three days are spent in the performance of various plays and dances. The
"boy" gives all his earnings to his father, and places himself again under
the parental authority. The Krooman of maturer age, on his return from an
expedition of this kind, buys a wife, or perhaps more than one, and
distributes the rest of his accumulated gains among his relatives. In a
week, he has nothing left but his wives and his house.

Age is more respected by the Africans than by any other people. Even if
the son be forty years old, he seldom seeks to emancipate himself from the
paternal government. If a young man falls in love, he, in the first place,
consults his father. The latter makes propositions to the damsel's father,
who, if his daughter agree to the match, announces the terms of purchase.
The price varies in different places, and is also influenced by other
circumstances, such as the respectability and power of the family, and the
beauty and behavior of the girl. The arrangements here described are often
made when the girl is only five or six years of age, in which case she
remains with her friends until womanhood, and then goes to the house of
her bridegroom.

 Meantime, her family receive the stipulated price, and are responsible
for her good behavior. Should she prove faithless, and run away, her
purchase-money must be refunded by her friends, who, in their turn, have a
claim upon the family of him who seduces or harbors her. If prompt
satisfaction be not made (which, however, is generally the case), there
will be a "big palaver," and a much heavier expense for damages and costs.
If, after the commencement of married life, the husband is displeased with
his wife's conduct, he complains to her father, who either takes her back,
and repays the dowry, or more frequently advises that she be flogged. In
the latter alternative, she is tied, starved, and severely beaten; a mode
of conjugal discipline which generally produces the desired effect.

Should the wife be suspected of infidelity, the husband may charge her
with it, and demand that she drink the poisonous decoction of sassy-wood,
which is used as the test of guilt or innocence, in all cases that are
considered too uncertain for human judgment. If her stomach free itself
from the fatal draught by vomiting, she is declared innocent, and is taken
back by her family without repayment of the dower. On the other hand, if
the poison begin to take effect, she is pronounced guilty; an emetic is
administered in the shape of common soap; and her husband may, at his
option, either send her home, or cut off her nose and ears.

There is one sad discrepancy in the moral system of these people, as
regards the virtue of the women. No disgrace is imputed to the wife who
admits the immoral advances of a white man, provided it be done with the
knowledge and consent of her husband. The latter, in whose eyes the white
man is one of a distinct and superior order of beings, usually considers
himself honored by an affair of this nature, and makes it likewise a
matter of profit. All proposals, in view of such a connection, must pass
through the husband; nor, it is affirmed, is there any hazard of wounding
his delicacy, or awakening his resentment, whatever be his rank and
respectability. The violated wife returns to the domestic roof with
undiminished honor, and confines herself as rigidly within the limits of
her nuptial vow, as if this singular suspension of it had never taken
place.

 In spite of the degradation indicated by the above customs, the
Kroo-women are rather superior to other native females, and seem to occupy
a higher social position. The wife first married holds the purse, directs
the household affairs, and rules the other women, who labor diligently for
the benefit of their common husband and master. Their toil constitutes his
wealth. It is usual for a man to live two, three, or four days, with each
of his wives in turn. As old age advances, he loses the control of his
female household, most of the members of which run away, unless he is wise
enough to dispose of them (as usage permits) to his more youthful
relatives. As a Krooman of sixty or seventy often has wives in their
teens, it is not to be wondered at that they should occasionally show a
disposition to rove.




CHAPTER IV.

Return to Monrovia--Sail for Porto Praya--The Union Hotel--Reminiscences
of famine at the Cape de Verds--Frolics of Whalemen--Visit to the island
of St. Antonio--A dance--Fertility of the island--A Yankee clock-maker--A
mountain ride--City of Poverson--Point de Sol--Kindness of the women--The
handsome commandant--A Portuguese dinner.


_August_ 14.--Passed near Sinoe, a colonial settlement, but did not show
our colors. An English merchant brig was at anchor. Our pilot observed,
that this settlement was not in a flourishing condition, because it
received no great "_resistance_" from the Colonization Society. Of
course, he meant to say, "_assistance_;" but there was an unintentional
philosophy in the remark. Many plants thrive best in adversity.

Anchored at the river Sesters, and sent a boat ashore. Two canoes paddled
alongside, and their head-men came on board. One was a beautifully formed
man, and walked the deck with a picturesque dignity of aspect and motion.
He had more the movement of an Indian, than any negro I ever saw. Two men
were left in each boat, to keep her alongside, and wait the movements of
their master. They kneel in the boat, and sit on their heels. When a
biscuit is thrown to them, they put it on their thighs, and thence eat it
at their leisure.

16.--Ashore at Monrovia. The buildings look dilapidated, and the wooden
walls are in a state of decay. Houses of stone are coming into vogue.
There is a large stone court-house, intended likewise for a Legislative
Hall. What most interested me, was an African pony, a beautiful animal,
snow white, with a head as black as ebony. I also saw five men chained
together, by the neck; three colonists and two natives, with an overseer
superintending them. They had been splitting stone for Government.

A gun from the ship gave the signal for our return. Going on board, we got
under way, and sailed for Porto Praya.

 20.--For four days, we have had much rain; and I have seldom visited the
deck, except when duty called me. Fortunately, Governor Roberts had lent
me the report of the Committee of Parliament, on the Western Coast of
Africa, the perusal of which has afforded me both pleasant and profitable
occupation. It is an excellent work, full of facts, from men who have
spent years on the coast.

21.--Wind still favorable. The day is sunny, and all are on deck to enjoy
the air. Damp clothes hang in the rigging to-day, and mouldy boots and
shoes fill the boats.

24.--We find ourselves again off the harbor of Porto Praya. I landed in
quest of news, and heard of the death of Mr. Legare, and the loss of the
store-ship, at this port. All hands were saved, but with the sacrifice of
several thousand dollars' worth of property, besides the vessel.

On approaching the shore, three flags are observed to be flying in the
town. One is the consular flag of our own nation; another is the banner of
Portugal; and the third, being blue, white, and blue, is apt to puzzle a
stranger, until he reads UNION HOTEL, in letters a foot long. When last at
Porto Praya, a few friends and myself took some slight refreshment at the
hotel, and were charged so exorbitantly, that we forswore all visits to
the house in future. To-day, the keeper stopt me in the street, and begged
the favor of our patronage. On my representing the enormity of his former
conduct, he declared that it was all a mistake; that he was the master of
the hotel, and was unfortunately absent at the time. I was pleased with
this effrontery, having paid the exorbitant charge into his own hands, not
a month before. It is delightful, in these remote, desolate, and
semi-barbarous regions, to meet with characteristics that remind us of a
more polished and civilized land.

The streets are hot and deserted, and the town more than ordinarily dull,
as most of the inhabitants are out planting. The court has gone to
Buonavista, on account of the unhealthiness of Porta Praya, at this season
of the year. A few dozen scrubby trees have been planted in the large
square, but, though protected by palings and barrels, have not reached the
height of two feet. In the centre stands a marble monument, possibly
intended for a fountain, but wholly destitute of water.

25.--The boat went ashore again, and brought off the consul, and some
stores. We then made sail, passing to the windward of all the islands, and
reached our former anchorage at Porto Grande.

28.--There are one barque and three brigs, all American whalers, in the
harbor of Porto Grande. They have been out from three to six months, and
are here for water, bad though it be, and fresh provisions. Their
inducements to visit this port, are the goodness of the harbor, and the
smallness of the port charges. No consular fee has been paid until now,
when, an agent being appointed, each vessel pays him a perquisite of four
dollars.

This group of islands is chiefly interesting to Americans, as being the
resort of our whale-ships, to refit and obtain supplies, and of other
vessels trading to the coast of Africa. Little was generally known of
them, however, in America, until 1832, when a long-continued drought
parched up the fields, destroyed the crops, and reduced the whole
population to the verge of death, by famine. Not less than ten thousand
did actually perish of hunger; and the remainder were saved only by the
timely, prompt and bountiful supplies, sent out from every part of the
United States. I well remember the thrill of compassion that pervaded the
community at home, on hearing that multitudes were starving in the Cape de
Verd islands. Without pausing to inquire who they were, or whether
entitled to our assistance, by any other than the all-powerful claim of
wretchedness, the Americans sent vessel after vessel, laden with food,
which was gratuitously distributed to the poor. The supplies were liberal
and unremitted, until the rains returned, and gave the usual crops to the
cultivators.

Twelve years have passed since that dismal famine; but the memory of the
aid extended by Americans has not yet faded, nor seems likely to fade,
from the minds of those who were succored in their need. I have heard men,
who were then saved from starvation, speak strongly and feelingly on the
subject, with quivering lip and faltering voice. Women, likewise, with
streaming eyes, to this day, invoke blessings on the foreign land that fed
their children, when there was no other earthly help. England, though
nearer, and in more intimate connection with these islands, sent not a
mouthful of food; and Portugal, the mother country, shipped only one or
two small cargoes to be sold; while America fed the starving thousands,
gratuitously, for months. Our consul at Porto Praya, Mr. Gardner, after
making a strong and successful appeal to the sympathies of his own
countrymen, distributed his own stores to the inhabitants, until he was
well-nigh beggared. He enjoys the only reward he sought, in the approval
of his conscience, as well as the gratitude of the community; and America,
too, may claim more true glory from this instance of general benevolence,
pervading the country from one end to the other, than from any victory in
our annals.

29.--Ashore again. An ox for our ship was driven in from the mountains by
three or four horsemen and as many dogs, who chased him till he took
refuge in the water. A boat now put off, and soon overtaking the tired
animal, he was tied securely. When towed ashore, one rope was fastened
round his horns, and another to his fore-foot, each held by a negro, while
a third took a strong gripe of his tail. In this manner, they led and
drove him along, the fellow behind occasionally biting the beast's tail,
to quicken his motions; until at length the poor creature was made fast to
an anchor on the beach, there to await the butcher.

There is here a miserable church, but no priest. Passing the edifice
to-day, I saw seven or eight women at their devotions. Instead of
kneeling, they were seated, with their chins resting on their knees, on
the shady side of the church.

30.--The crews of the whale-ships, when ashore, occasionally give no
little trouble to the colonial police. This evening, one of their sailors
came up to us, quite intoxicated, and bleeding from a hurt in his head. He
was bent upon vengeance for his wound, but puzzled how to get it; inasmuch
as a female hand had done the mischief, by cutting his head open with a
bottle. His chivalry would not allow him to strike a woman; nor could he
find any man who would acknowledge himself her relative. In this dilemma,
he was raving through the little village, accompanied by several of his
brother whale-men, mostly drunk, and ready for a row. The Portuguese
officer on duty called out the guard, consisting of two negroes with fixed
bayonets, and caused them to march back and forth in the street. Fifty
paces in the village would bring them to the country; when the detachment
came to the right about, and retraced its steps. These two negroes formed
precisely two-fifths of the regular military force at Porto Grande; but,
besides this formidable host, there are some thirty officers and soldiers
of the National Guard, comprising all the negro population able to bear
clubs.

The women here have a peculiar mode of carrying children, when two or
three years old. The child sits astride of the mother's left hip, clinging
with hands and feet, and partially supported by her left arm. The little
personage being in a state of total nudity, and of course very slippery,
this is doubtless the most convenient method that could be adopted.

The gait of the women is remarkably free and unembarrassed. With no
constraint of stays or corsets, and often innocent of any covering, the
shoulders have full play, and the arms swing more than I have ever seen
those of men, in our own country. Their robes are neither too abundant,
nor too tight, to prevent the exhibition of a very martial stride. The
scanty clothing worn here is owing partly, but not entirely, to the warmth
of the climate. Another cogent reason is the poverty of the inhabitants;
so, at least, I infer from the continual petitions for clothes, and from
remarks like the following, made to me by a mulatto woman:--"You very good
man, you got plenty clothes, plenty shirt."

_September_ 3.--The Cornelia, of New Bedford, came in and anchored. She
has been out fifteen months, and has only 400 barrels of oil.

4.--Left the ship in the launch on an expedition to the neighboring island
of St. Antonio; being despatched by the Commodore to procure information
as to the facilities for anchoring ships, and obtaining water and
refreshments. Our boat was sloop-rigged, and carried three officers, a
passenger, and ten men. At 11 A.M. we "sheeted home," and stood out of the
harbor with a fair breeze, and all canvass spread: but, within an hour,
the wind freshened to a gale, and compelled us to take in everything but a
close reefed mainsail. The sea being rough, and the weather squally, our
boat took in more water than was either agreeable or safe, until we
somewhat improved matters by constructing a temporary forecastle of
tarpaulins. Finding it impossible, however, to contend against wind and
current, we bore up for an anchorage called Santa Cruz. This was formerly
a notorious haunt for pirates; but no vestige of a settlement remains,
save the ruins of an old stone house, which may probably have been the
theatre of wild and bloody incidents, in by-gone years. The serrated hills
are grey and barren, and the surrounding country shows no verdure.
Anchoring here, we waited several hours for the wind to moderate, and
tried to get such sleep as might perchance be caught in an unsteady boat.

By great diligence in working against wind and current, we succeeded in
reaching Genella at 9 o'clock in the evening of the second day. Our
mulatto pilot, Manuel Quatrine, whistled shrilly through his fingers; and,
after a brief delay, the response of a similar whistle reached our ears
from shore. A conversation was sustained for some moments, by means of
shouts to-and-fro in Portuguese; a man then swam off to reconnoitre; and,
on his return, the people launched a canoe and carried us ashore, weary
enough of thirty-six hours' confinement in an open boat. We took up our
quarters in the house of a decent negro, who seemed to be the head man of
the village, and, after eating such a supper as the place could supply,
sallied out to give the women an opportunity of preparing our beds.

Meanwhile, the pilot had not been idle. Though a married man, and the
father of six children, he was a gay Lothario, and a great favorite with
the sex; he could sing, dance, and touch the guitar with infinite spirit,
and tolerable skill. Being well known in the village, it is not surprising
that the arrival of so accomplished a personage should have disturbed the
slumbers of the inhabitants. At ten o'clock, a dance was arranged before
the door of one of the huts. The dark-skinned maidens, requiring but
little time to put on their ball-costume, came dropping in, until, before
midnight, there were thirty or forty dancers on foot. The figures were
compounded of the contra-dance and reel, with some remarkable touches of
the Mandingo balance. The music proceeded from one or two guitars, which,
however, were drowned a great part of the time, by the singing of the
girls and the clapping of each individual pair of hands in the whole
party. A calabash of sour wine, munificently bestowed by a spectator,
increased the fun, and it continued to wax higher and more furious, as the
night wore away. Our little pilot was, throughout, the leader of the
frolic, and acquitted himself admirably. His nether garments having
received serious detriment in the voyage, he borrowed a large heavy
pea-jacket, to conceal the rents, and in this garb danced for hours with
the best, in a sultry night. Long before the festivity was over, my
companions and myself stretched ourselves on a wide bag of straw, and fell
asleep, lulled by the screaming of the dancers.

The next morning we were early on foot, and looked around us with no small
interest. The village is situated at the point where a valley opens upon
the shore. The sides of this vale are steep, and, in many places, high,
perpendicular, and rocky. Every foot of earth is cultivated; and where the
natural inclination of the hill is too great to admit of tillage, stone
walls are built to sustain terraces, which rise one over another like
giant steps to the mountain-tops. It was the beginning of harvest, and the
little valley presented an appearance of great fertility. Corn, bananas,
figs, guavas, grapes, oranges, sugar-cane, cocoa-nuts, and many other
fruits and vegetables, are raised in abundance. The annual vintage in this
and a neighboring valley, appertaining to the same parish, amounts to
about seventy-five pipes of wine. It is sour and unpalatable, not unlike
hard-cider and water. When a cultivator first tries his wine, it is a
custom of the island for him to send notice to all his acquaintances, who
invariably come in great force, each bringing a piece of salt-fish to keep
his thirst alive. Not unfrequently, the whole produce of the season is
exhausted by a single carouse.

The people are all negroes and mulattoes. Male and female, they are very
expert swimmers, and are often in the habit of swimming out to sea, with a
basket or notched stick to hold their fish; and thus they angle for hours,
resting motionless on the waves, unless attacked by a shark. In this
latter predicament, they turn upon their backs, and kick and splash until
the sea-monster be frightened away. They appear to be a genial and
pleasant-tempered race. As we walked through the village, they saluted us
with "Blessed be the name of the Lord!" Whether this expression (a
customary courtesy of the islanders) were mere breath, or proceeded out of
the depths of the heart, is not for us to judge; but, at all events, heard
in so wild and romantic a place, it made a forcible impression on my mind.
When we were ready to depart, all the villagers came to the beach, with
whatever commodities they were disposed to offer for sale; a man carrying
a squealing pig upon his shoulders; women with fruits and fowls; girls
with heavy bunches of bananas or bundles of cassada on their heads; and
boys, with perhaps a single egg. Each had something, and all lingered on
the shore until our boat was fairly off.

Five or six miles further, we landed at Paolo, where reside several
families who regard themselves as the aristocracy of St. Antonio, on the
score of being connected with Senor Martinez, the great man of these
islands. Their houses are neatly built, and the fields and gardens well
cultivated. They received us hospitably, principally because one of our
party was a connection of the family. I was delighted with an exhibition
of feeling on the part of an old negro servant-woman. She came into the
parlor, sat down at the feet of our companion, embraced his knees, and
looked up in his face with a countenance full of joy, mingled with respect
and confidence. We saw but two ladies at this settlement. One was a matron
with nine children; the other a dark brunette, very graceful and pleasing,
with the blackest eyes and whitest teeth in the world. She wore a shawl
over the right shoulder and under the left arm, arranged in a truly
fascinating manner.

The poorer classes in the vicinity are nearly all colored, and mostly
free. They work for eight or ten cents a day, living principally on fruit
and vegetables, and are generally independent, because their few wants are
limited to the supply. The richest persons live principally within
themselves, and derive their meats, vegetables, fruits, wine, brandy,
sugar, coffee, oil, and most other necessaries and luxuries, from their
own plantations. One piece of furniture, however, to be seen in several of
the houses, was evidently not the manufacture of the island, but an export
of Yankee-land. It was the wooden clock, in its shining mahogany case,
adorned with bright red and yellow pictures of Saints and the Virgin, to
suit the taste of good Catholics. It might have been fancied that the
renowned Sam Slick, having glutted all other markets with his wares, had
made a voyage to St. Antonio. Nor did they lack a proper artist to keep
the machine in order. We met here a person whom we at first mistook for a
native, so identical were his manners and appearance with those of the
inhabitants; until, in conversation, we found him to be a Yankee, who had
run away from a whale-ship, and established himself as a clock and
watch-maker.

After a good night's rest, another officer and myself left Paolo, early,
for a mountain ride. The little pilot led the way on a donkey; my friend
followed on a mule, and I brought up the rear on horseback. We began to
ascend, winding along the rocky path, one by one, there being no room to
ride two abreast. The road had been cut with much labor, and, in some
places, was hollowed out of the side of the cliff, thus forming a gallery
of barely such height and width as to admit the passage of a single
horseman, and with a low wall of loose stones between the path and the
precipice. At other points, causeways of small stones and earth had been
built up, perhaps twenty feet high, along the top of which ran the path.
On looking at these places from some projecting point, it made us shudder
to think that we had just passed, where the loosening of a single one of
those small stones might have carried us down hundreds of feet, to certain
destruction. The whole of the way was rude and barren. Here and there a
few shrubs grew in the crevices of the rocks, or wild flowers, of an
aspect strange to our eyes, wasted their beauty in solitude; and the small
orchilla weed spread itself moss-like over the face of the cliff. At one
remarkable point, the path ran along the side of the precipice, about
midway of its height. Above, the rock rose frowningly, at least five
hundred feet over our heads. Below, it fell perpendicularly down to the
beach. The roar of the sea did not reach us, at our dizzy height, and the
heavy surf-waves, in which no boat could live, seemed to kiss the shore as
gently as the ripple of a summer-lake. This was the most elevated point of
the road, which thence began to descend; but the downward track was as
steep and far more dangerous. At times, the animals actually slid down
upon their haunches. In other places, they stept from stone to stone, down
steep descents, where the riders were obliged to lie backwards flat upon
the cruppers.

Over all these difficulties, our guide urged his donkey gaily and
unconcernedly. As for myself, though I have seen plenty of rough riding,
and am as ready as most men to follow, if not to lead, I thought it no
shame to dismount more than once. The rolling of a stone, or the parting
of stirrup, girth, or crupper, would have involved the safety of one's
neck. Nor did the very common sight of wooden crosses along the path,
indicating sudden death by accident or crime, tend to lessen the sense of
insecurity. The frequent casualties among these precipitous paths,
together with the healthfulness of the climate, have made it a proverb,
that it is a natural death, at St. Antonio, to be dashed to pieces on the
rocks. But such was not our fate. We at length reached the sea-shore, and
rode for a mile along the beach to the city of Poverson, before entering
which metropolis, it was necessary to cross a space of level, sandy
ground, about two hundred yards in extent. Here the little pilot suddenly
stuck his heels into the sides of his donkey, and dashed onward at a
killing pace; while mule and horse followed hard upon his track, to the
great admiration of ragamuffins, who had assembled to witness the entree
of the distinguished party.

Poverson is the capital of the island, and contains about two thousand
inhabitants, who, with few exceptions, are people of color. The streets
are crooked and narrow, and the houses mean. We called upon the military
and civil Governors, and, after accepting an invitation to dine with the
former, left the place for a further expedition. Passing over a shallow
river, in which a number of women and girls were washing clothes, we
ascended a hill so steep as to oblige us to dismount, and from the summit
of which we had a fine view of the rich valley beneath. It is by far the
most extensive tract of cultivated land that we have seen in the island,
and is improved to its utmost capacity. We thence rode three miles over a
path of the same description as before, and arrived at the village and
port of Point-de-Sol. The land about this little town is utterly barren,
and the inhabitants are dependent on Poverson for food, with the exception
of fish. A custom-house, a single store, a church, and some twenty houses
of fishermen, comprise all the notable characteristics of the principal
seaport of the island.

It was a part of our duty to make an examination of the harbor, for which
purpose we needed a boat. Two were hauled up on the beach; but the
smallest would have required the power of a dozen men to launch
her;--whereas, the fishermen being absent in their vocation, our party of
three, and a big boy at the store, comprised our whole available masculine
strength. The aid of woman, however, is seldom sought in vain; nor did it
fail us now. Old and young, matron and maid, they all sallied forth to
lend a hand, and, with such laughing and screaming as is apt to attend
feminine efforts, enabled us to launch the boat. In spite of their patois
of bad Portuguese, we contrived to establish a mutual understanding. A
fine, tall girl, with a complexion of deep olive, clear, large eyes, and
teeth beautifully white and even, stood by my side; and, like the Ancient
Mariner and his sister's son, we pulled together. She was strong, and, as
Byron says, "lovely in her strength." This difficulty surmounted, we rowed
round the harbor, made our examination, and returned to the beach, where
we again received the voluntary assistance of the women, in dragging the
boat beyond the reach of the waves. We now adjourned to the store, in
order to requite their kindness by a pecuniary offering. Each of our fair
friends received two large copper coins, together equal to nine cents, and
were perfectly satisfied, as well they might be--for it was the price of a
day's work. Two or three individuals, moreover, "turned double corners,"
and were paid twice; and it is my private belief that the tall beauty
received her two coppers three times over.

After a lunch of fried plantains and eggs, we rode back to Poverson. On
the way, we met several persons of both sexes with burdens on their heads,
and noticed that our guide frequently accosted them with a request for a
pinch of snuff. With few exceptions, a horn or piece of bone was produced,
containing a fine yellow snuff of home-manufacture, which, instead of
being taken between the thumb and finger, was poured into the palm of the
hand, and thence conveyed to the nose. Arriving at the city, we proceeded
at once to the house of the Commandant, and in a little time were seated
at dinner.

Our host was fitted by nature to adorn a far more brilliant position than
that which he occupied, as the petty commander of a few colored soldiers,
in a little island of the torrid zone. He was slightly made, but perfectly
proportioned, with a face of rare beauty, and an expression at once noble
and pleasing. His eyes were large, and full of a dark light; his black
hair and moustache were trimmed with a care that showed him not insensible
of his personal advantages; as did likewise his braided jacket, fitting so
closely as to set off his fine figure to the best effect. His manners were
in a high degree polished and graceful. One of the guests, whom he had
invited to meet us, understood English; and the conversation was sustained
in that language, and in Spanish. The dinner was cooked and served in the
Portuguese style; it went off very pleasantly, and was quite as good as
could be expected at the house of a bachelor, in a place so seldom visited
by strangers. Each of the Portuguese gentlemen gave a sentiment, prefaced
by a short complimentary speech; and our party, of course, reciprocated in
little speeches of the same nature. The Commandant did not fail to express
the gratitude due from the people of the Cape de Verd islands to America,
for assistance in the hour of need. Time did not permit us to remain long
at table, and we took leave, highly delighted with our entertainment.

Mounting again, we rode out of town more quietly than we had entered it. A
sergeant was drilling some twenty negro soldiers in marching and wheeling.
His orders were given in a quick, loud tone, and enforced by the
occasional application of smart blows of a rattan to the shoulders of his
men. Suspecting that the blows fell thicker because we were witnesses of
his discipline, it seemed a point of humanity to hasten forward;
especially as the approach of night threatened to make our journey still
more perilous than before. After riding about three miles, we met two
well-dressed mulatto women on donkeys, accompanied by their cavaliers. Of
course, we allowed the ladies to pass between us and the rock; a matter of
no slight courtesy in such a position, where there was a very
uncomfortable hazard of being jostled headlong down the precipice. We
escaped, however, and spurring onward through the gloom of night, passed
unconsciously over several rough spots where we had dismounted in the
morning. The last mile of our mountain-ride was lighted by the moon; and,
as we descended the last hill, the guide gave a shrill whistle, to which
the boat's crew responded with three cheers for our return.

A good night's rest relieved us of our fatigue. The following morning,
with a fair breeze and a six hours' sail, we reached our floating-home,
and have ever since entertained the mess-table with the "yarn" of our
adventures; until now the subject is beginning to be worn thread-bare.
But, as the interior of the island of St. Antonio is one of the few
regions of the earth as yet uncelebrated by voyagers and tourists, I
cannot find in my heart to spare the reader a single sentence of the
foregoing narrative.




CHAPTER V.

Arrival of the Macedonian--Return to the Coast of Africa--Emigrants to
Liberia--Tornadoes--Maryland in Liberia--Nature of its Government--Perils
of the Bar--Mr. Russwurm--The Grebo Tribe--Manner of disposing of their
Dead.


_September_ 9.--Weighed anchor, and stood out to sea. At 8 o'clock A.M.,
made the frigate Macedonian. She saluted the broad pennant, and both ships
bore up for Porto Grande, where we anchored, and read the news from home.

11.--The Commodore left the ship, and hoisted his broad pennant on board
the Macedonian.

16.--Sailed at 6 o'clock P.M., for Porto Praya.

17.--Anchored at Porto Praya, where we find the Decatur, which arrived
yesterday, after a passage of forty-five days from Norfolk.

22.--Sailed in the evening for the coast.

_October_ 7.--Off Cape Mount.

8.--Ashore at Monrovia. It being Sunday, we attended the Methodist Church.
Mr. Teage, editor of the Liberia Herald, preached an appropriate and
well-written discourse, on occasion of admitting three men and a woman to
church-membership. One of the males was a white, who had married a colored
woman in America, and came out to the colony with Mr. McDonough's people,
some time ago. His wife being dead, he has married another woman of color,
and is determined to live and die here.

10.--Dined with the Governor. Visited the house of a poor colonist, a
woman with two children and no husband. She endeavors to support her
family by washing. Two or three, other women of the neighborhood dropped
in. It is said that the proportion of female emigrants to males is as
three and a half to one. Unless it be expected that these women are to
work in the fields, it is difficult to imagine how they are to earn a
subsistence. A little chance washing and sewing, not enough to employ one
in ten, is all they have to depend upon. The consequence is, that every
person, of even moderate means of living, has two or three women to feed
and clothe. They do not need their services, but cannot let them starve.
This is one of the drawbacks upon Colonization.

Even the able-bodied men are generally unfit for promoting the prosperity
of the colony. A very large proportion of them are slaves, just liberated.
Accustomed to be ruled and taken care of by others, they are no better
than mere children, as respects the conduct and economy of life. In
America, their clothes, food, medicines, and all other necessaries, have
been furnished without a thought on their own part; and when sent to
Liberia, with high notions of freedom and exemption from labor (ideas
which with many are synonymous), they prove totally inadequate to sustain
themselves. I perceive, in Colonization reports, that the owners of slaves
frequently offer to liberate them, on condition of their being sent to
Liberia; and that the Society has contracted debts, and embarrassed itself
in various ways, rather than let such offers pass. In my opinion, many of
the slaves, thus offered, are of little value to the donors, and of even
less to the cause of Colonization. Better to discriminate carefully in the
selection of emigrants, than to send out such numbers of the least
eligible class, to become burdens upon the industrious and intelligent,
who might otherwise enjoy comfort and independence. Many a colonist, at
this moment, sacrifices his interest to his humanity, and feels himself
kept back in life by the urgent claims of compassion.

The Society allows to new emigrants provisions for six months. After that
period, if unable to take care of themselves, they must either starve, or
be supported by the charitable. Fifty young or middle-aged men, who had
been accustomed to self-guidance in America, would do more to promote the
prosperity of the colony, than five hundred such emigrants as are usually
sent out. The thievish propensity of many of the poor and indolent
colonists is much complained of by the industrious. On this account, more
than any other, it is difficult to raise stock. The vice has been acquired
in America, and is not forgotten in Africa.

13.--A rainy morning. Last night we were all roused from sleep by the sea
coming into the starboard air-ports. We of the larboard side laughed at
the misfortune of our comrades, and closed our own ports, without taking
the precaution to screw them in. Half an hour afterwards, a very heavy
swell assailed us on the larboard, beat in all the loose ports, and
deluged the rooms. I found myself suddenly awakened and cooled by a
cataract of water pouring over me. Out jumped the larboard sleepers, in
dripping night-gear, and shouted lustily for lights, buckets, and swabs;
while the starboard gentlemen laughed long and loud, in their turn.

14.--Sailed for the leeward.

17.--Beautiful weather. This afternoon all hands were called to shorten
sail, in those earnest, startling tones, which are prompted by the sense
of danger alone. Every man sprang to his station with the instinctive
readiness of disciplined seamen. The idlers were all on deck, and looked
about for the cause. Had a man fallen overboard? No! Nor was there any
particular appearance of a squall. But the earnest gaze of the commander
and a passenger, towards the shore, drew all eyes in the same direction;
and, behold! a smoke was seen rising from the land, which had been
mistaken for the cloud that precedes the tornado. It is necessary to
prepare for many blows that do not come. In the tornado-seasons (which may
be estimated at four or five weeks, about the months of March and
November), there are frequent appearances of squalls, sometimes as often
as twice or thrice in twenty-four hours. The horizon grows black, with
very much the aspect of a thunder-shower in America. Generally, the
violence of the wind does not equal the apprehensions always entertained.
We could have carried royals through nineteen out of twenty of the
tornadoes that assailed our ship; but the twentieth might have taken the
sticks out of us. The harmless, as well as the heavy tornadoes, have the
same black and threatening aspect. They usually blow from the land,
although once, while at anchor, we experienced one from seaward.

19.--Anchored at Cape Palmas. This colony is independent, of Liberia
proper, and is under the jurisdiction and patronage of the Maryland State
Colonization Society. Its title is Maryland in Liberia. The local
government is composed of an agent and an assistant agent, both to be
appointed by the Society at home, for two years; a secretary, to be
appointed by the agent annually; and a vice-agent, two counsellors, a
register, a sheriff, a treasurer, and a committee on new emigrants, to be
chosen by the people. Several minor officers are appointed by the agent,
who is entrusted with great powers. The judiciary consists of the agent,
and a competent number of justices of the peace, who are appointed by him,
and two of whom, together with the agent, constitute the Supreme Court. A
single justice has jurisdiction in small criminal cases, and in all civil
cases where the claim does not exceed twenty dollars.

Male colored people, at twenty years of age, are entitled to vote, if they
hold land in their own right, or pay a tax of one dollar. Every emigrant
must sign a pledge to support the constitution, and to refrain from the
use of ardent spirits, except in case of sickness. By a provision of the
constitution, emigration is never to be prohibited.

Our boat attempted to land at some rocks, just outside of the port, in
order to avoid crossing the bar; but as the tide was low, and the surf
troublesome, we found it impracticable. I hate a bar; there is no fair
play about it. The long rollers come in from the sea, and, in consequence
of the shallowness of the water, seem to pile themselves up so as
inevitably to overwhelm you, unless you have skilful rowers, a good
helmsman, and a lively boat. At one moment, your keel, perhaps, touches
the sand; the next, you are lifted upon a wave and borne swiftly along for
many yards, while the men lie on their oars, or only pull an occasional
stroke, to keep the boat's head right. Now they give way with a will, to
escape a white-crested wave that comes trembling and roaring after them;
and now again they cease rowing, or back water, awaiting a favorable
moment to cross. Should you get into a trough of the sea, you stand a very
pretty chance to be swamped, and have your boat rolled over and over upon
its crew; while, perchance, a hungry shark may help himself to a leg or
arm.

Pulling across this ugly barrier, we landed at the only wharf of which the
colony can boast. There is here a stone warehouse, but of no great size.
In front of it lay a large log, some thirty feet long, on which twelve or
fourteen full grown natives were roosting, precisely like turkeys on a
pole. They are accustomed to sit for hours together in this position,
resting upon their heels. A girl presented us with a note, informing all
whom it might concern, that Mrs. ---- would do our washing; but, as the
ship's stay was to be short, we turned our attention to the cattle, of
which a score or two were feeding in the vicinity. They are small, but,
having been acclimated, are sleek and well-conditioned. As I have before
observed, it is a well-established fact, that all four-footed emigrants
are not less subject to the coast fever than bipeds. Horses, cattle, and
even fowls, whether imported or brought from the interior to the coast,
speedily sicken, and often die.

I dined with Mr. Russwurm, the colonial agent, a man of distinguished
ability and of collegiate education. He gave me, some monkey-skins and
other curiosities, and favored me with much information respecting the
establishment. The mean temperature of the place is eighty degrees of
Fahrenheit, which is something less than that of Monrovia, on account of
its being more open to the sea. The colony comprises six hundred and fifty
inhabitants, all of whom dwell within four miles of the Cape. Besides the
settlement of Harper, situated on the Cape itself, there is that of Mount
Tubman (named in honor of Mr. T. of Georgia), which lies beyond Mount
Vaughan, and three and a half miles from Cape Palmas. There is no road to
the interior of the country, except a native path. The agent, with a party
of twenty, recently penetrated about seventy miles into the Bush, passing
through two tribes, and coming to a third, of large numbers and strength.
The king of the latter tribe has a large town, where many manufactures are
carried on, such as iron implements and wooden furniture of various kinds.
He refused Mr. Russwurm an escort, alleging that there was war, but sent
his son to the coast, to see the _black-white_ people and their
improvements.

A large native tribe, the Grebo, dwells at Cape Palmas in the midst of the
colonists. Their conical huts, to the number of some hundreds, present the
most interesting part of the scene. Opposite the town, upon an uninhabited
island at no great distance, the dead are exposed, clad in their best
apparel, and furnished with food, cloth, crockery, and other articles. A
canoe is placed over the body. This island of the dead is called by a
name, which, in the plainest of English, signifies "Go-to-Hell;" a
circumstance that seems to imply very gloomy anticipations as to the fate
of their deceased brethren, on the part of these poor Grebos. As a badge
of mourning, they wear cloth of dark blue, instead of gayer colors. Dark
blue is universally, along the coast, the hue indicative of mourning.

The Fishmen, at Cape Palmas, as well as at most other places on the coast,
refuse to sell fish to be eaten on board of vessels, believing that the
remains of the dead fish will frighten away the living ones.

21.--Sailed at 5 o'clock A.M., with a good wind, and anchored at Sinoe at
6 P.M.




CHAPTER VI.

Settlement of Sinoe--Account of a murder by the natives--Arrival at
Monrovia--Appearance of the town--Temperance--Law-suits and
Pleadings--Expedition up the St. Paul's river--Remarks on the cultivation
of sugar--Prospects of the coffee-culture in Liberia--Desultory
observations on agriculture.


_October_ 22.--At Sinoe. Mr. Morris, the principal man of the settlement,
came on board, in order to take passage with us to Monrovia. He informs us
that there are but seventy-two colonists here at present, but that nearly
a hundred are daily expected. Such an accession of strength is much needed
for the natives in the vicinity are powerful, and not very friendly, and
the colony is too weak to chastise them. Our appearance has caused them
some alarm. This is the place where the mate of an American vessel was
harpooned, some months since, by the Fishmen. We shall hold a palaver
about it, when the Commodore joins us.

We left Sinoe at 7 o'clock, P.M.

23. Mr. Morris has been narrating the circumstances of the murder of the
American mate, at Sinoe, in reference to which we are to "set a palaver."
"Palaver," by-the-by, is probably a corruption of the Portuguese word,
"Palabra." As used by the natives, it has many significations, among which
is that of an open quarrel. To "set a palaver," is to bring it to a final
issue, either by talking or fighting.

The story of the murder is as follows. A Fishman agreed to go down the
coast with Captain Burke, who paid him his wages in advance; on receiving
which, the fellow jumped overboard, and escaped. The captain then refused
to pay the sums due to two members of the same tribe, unless the first
should refund the money. Finding the threat insufficient, he endeavored to
entice these two natives on board his vessel, by promises of payment, but
ineffectually. Meanwhile, the mate going ashore with a colonist, his boat
was detained by the natives, during the night, but given up the next
morning, at the intercession of the inhabitants. The mate returned on
board, in a violent rage, and sent a sailor to catch a Fishman, on whom to
take vengeance. But the man caught a Tartar, and was himself taken ashore
as prisoner. The mate and cook then went out in a boat, and were attacked
by a war-canoe, the men in which harpooned the cook, and stripping the
mate naked, threw him overboard. They beat the poor fellow off, as he
attempted to seize hold of the canoe, and, after torturing him for some
time, at length harpooned him in the back. Captain Burke, having but one
man and two passengers left, made sail, and got away as fast as possible.

23.--Arrived at Monrovia, where we find the Porpoise, with six native
prisoners on board, who were taken at Berebee, as being concerned in the
murder of Captain Farwell and his crew, two years ago. To accomplish their
capture, the Porpoise was disguised as a barque, with only four or five
men visible on deck, and these in Scotch caps and red shirts, so as to
resemble the crew of a merchant-vessel. The first canoe approached, and
Prince Jumbo stepped boldly up the brig's side, but started back into his
boat, the moment that he saw the guns and martial equipment on deck. The
Kroomen of the Porpoise, however, jumped into the water and upset the
canoe, making prisoners of the four natives whom it contained. Six or
eight miles further along the coast, the brig being under sail, another
canoe came off with two natives, who were likewise secured. The Kroomen
begged to be allowed to kill the prisoners, as they were of a hostile
tribe.

28.--Leaving the ship in one of our boats, pulled by Kroomen, we crossed
the bar at the mouth of the Mesurado, and in ten minutes afterwards, were
alongside of the colonial wharf. Half-a-dozen young natives and colonists
issued from a small house to watch our landing; but their curiosity was
less intrusive and annoying, than would have been that of the same number
of New-York boys, at the landing of a foreign man-of-war's boat. On our
part, we looked around us with the interest which even common-place
objects possess for those, whose daily spectacle is nothing more varied
than the sea and sky. Even the most ordinary shore-scenery becomes
captivating, after a week or two on shipboard. Two colonists were sawing
plank in the shade of the large stone store-house of the colony. Ascending
the hill, we passed the printing-office of the Liberia Herald, where two
workmen were printing the colonial laws. The publication of the newspaper
had been suspended for nearly three months, to enable them to accomplish
work of more pressing importance. Proceeding onward, we came to the
Governor's house, and were received with that gentleman's usual courtesy.
The house is well furnished, and arranged for a hot climate; it is
situated near the highest point of the principal street, and commands from
its piazza a view of most of the edifices in Monrovia town.

The fort is on the highest ground in the village, one hundred feet above
the sea; it is of stone, triangular in shape, and has a good deal the
appearance of an American pound for cattle, but is substantial, and
adequate for its intended purposes. From this point, the street descends
in both directions. About fifty houses are in view. First, the Government
House, opposite to which stand the neat dwellings of Judge Benedict and
Doctor Day. Further on, you perceive the largest house in the village,
erected by Rev. Mr. Williams, of the Methodist mission. On the right is a
one-story brick house, and two or three wooden ones. A large stone
edifice, intended for a Court-House and Legislative Hall, has recently
been completed. The street itself is wide enough for a spacious pasture,
and affords abundance of luxuriant grass, through which run two or three
well-trodden foot-paths. Apart from the village, on the Cape, we discerned
the light-house, the base of which is about two hundred feet above the
sea.

We dined to-day at the New Hotel. The dinner was ill-cooked (an
unpardonable fault at Monrovia, where good cooks, formerly in the service
of our southern planters, might be supposed to abound), and not served up
in proper style. But there was abundance to eat and drink. Though the
keeper of the house is a clergyman and a temperance-man, ale, porter,
wine, and cherry-brandy, are to be had at fair prices. Three years ago, a
tavern was kept here in Monrovia by a Mr. Cooper, whose handbill set
forth, that "nothing was more repugnant to his feelings than to sell
ardent spirits"--but added--"if gentlemen _will_ have them, the following
is the price." Of course, after such a salvo, Mr. Cooper pocketed the
profits of his liquor-trade with a quiet conscience. He used to tell me
that a little brandy was good for the "suggestion;" but I fear that he
made, in his own person, too large a demand upon its suggestive
properties; for his house is now untenanted and ruinous, and he himself
has carried his tender conscience to another settlement.

30.--Went ashore in the second cutter. The Kroomen managed her so
bunglingly, that, on striking the beach, she swung broadside to the sea.
In this position, a wave rolled into her, half-filled the boat, and
drenched us from head to foot. Apprehending that she would roll over upon
us, and break our limbs or backs, we jumped into the water, and waded
ashore.

While in the village, I visited the Court House, to hear the trial of a
cause involving an amount of eight hundred dollars. Governor Roberts acted
as judge, and displayed a great deal of dignity in presiding, and much
wisdom and good sense in his decision. This is the highest court of the
Colony. There are no regularly educated lawyers in Liberia, devoting
themselves exclusively to the profession; but the pleading seems to be
done principally by the medical faculty. Two Doctors were of counsel in
the case alluded to, and talked of Coke, Blackstone, and Kent, as
learnedly as if it had been the business of their lives to unravel legal
mysteries. The pleadings were simple, and the arguments brief, for the
judge kept them strictly to the point. An action for slander was
afterwards tried, in which the damages were laid at one hundred dollars.
One of the medico-jurisconsults opened the cause with an appeal to the
feelings, and wrought his own sensibilities to such a pitch as to declare,
that, though his client asked only for one hundred dollars, he considered
the jury bound in conscience to give him two. The Doctor afterwards told
me that he had walked eighty miles to act as counsel in this court. A
tailor argued stoutly for the defendant, but with little success; his
client was fined twenty dollars.

On our return, a companion and myself took passage for the ship in a
native canoe. These little vessels are scooped out of a log, and are of
even less size and capacity than the birch-canoes of our Indians, and so
light that two men, using each a single hand, may easily carry them from
place to place. Our weight caused the frail bark to sit so deep in the
water, that, before reaching the ship, we underwent another drenching.
Three changes of linen in one day are altogether too expensive and
troublesome.

_November_ 1.--Went up the St. Paul's river on a pleasure excursion, with
the Governor, and several men of lesser note. We touched at the public
farm, and found only a single man in charge. The sugar-cane was small in
size, was ill-weeded, and, to my eye, did not appear flourishing. The land
is apparently good and suitable, but labor is deficient, and my
impressions were not favorable in regard to the manner of cultivation. The
mill was exposed to the atmosphere, and the kettles were full of foul
water. We landed likewise at New Georgia, a settlement of recaptured
Africans. There was here a pretty good appearance, both of people and
farms. We called also at Caldwell, a rich tract of level land, of which a
space of about two miles is cultivated by comfortable and happy-looking
colonists. A very pleasant dinner was furnished by the Governor at what
was once a great slave station, and the proprietor of which is still
hostile to the colonists, and to both English and Americans, for breaking
up the trade. We saw several alligators. One of them, about three feet in
length, lay on a log, with his mouth wide open, catching flies.

From the whole course of my observation, I cannot but feel satisfied that
the colonists are better off here than in America. They are more
independent, as healthy, and much happier. Agriculture will doubtless be
their chief employment, but, for years to come, the cultivation of sugar
cane cannot be carried to any considerable extent. There are many calls
upon the resources of the Colonization Society and the inhabitants, more
pressing, and which promise a readier and greater return. A large capital
should be invested in the business, in order to render it profitable. The
want of a steam-mill, to grind the cane, has been severely felt. Ignorance
of the most appropriate soil, and of the most productive kind of cane, and
the best methods of planting and grinding it, have likewise contributed to
retard the cultivation of sugar. But the grand difficulty is the want of a
ready capital, and the high price of labor. The present wages of labor are
from sixty to seventy-five cents per day. The natives refuse to work among
the canes, on account of the prickly nature of the leaves, and the
irritating property of a gum that exudes from them. Yet it may be doubted
whether the colony will ever make sugar to any important extent, unless
some method be found to apply native labor to that purpose. Private
enterprise is no more successful than the public efforts. A plantation has
been commenced at Millsburg, and prosecuted with great diligence, but with
no auspicious results. Sugar has been made, indeed, but at a cost of three
times as much, per pound, as would have purchased it.

Hitherto, the plantations of Coffee trees have not succeeded well. Coffee,
it is true, is sometimes exported from Liberia; and doubtless the friends
of Colonization drink it with great gusto, as an earnest of the progress
of their philanthropic work. The cup, however, will be less grateful to
their taste, when they learn that nearly all this coffee is procured at
the islands of St. Thomas and St. Prince's, in the Bight of Benin, and
entered as the produce of Liberia, _ad captandum_. The same game has been
played in England, by entering their coffee as from Sierra Leone or
Gambia, to entitle it to the benefit of the lower duties on colonial
produce. But the English custom-house officers are now aware of the
deception, and the business is abandoned.

The mode of forming a coffee-plantation is simply to go into the woods
(where the tree abounds), select the wild coffee tree, and transport it
into the prepared field. The indigenous coffee-tree of Liberia produces
fruit of a superior quality, larger and finer flavored, than that of the
West Indies. But the cultivation, I think, is conducted upon wrong
principles. Instead of having large plantations, with no other vegetables
on the land, let every man intermingle a few coffee trees with the corn,
cassada, and other vegetables in his garden or fields. These few trees,
having the benefit of the hoeing and manuring bestowed on the other crops,
will produce much more abundantly and with less trouble, than by separate
culture. In fact, after setting out the trees, there will be no trouble,
except that of gathering and preparing the berries for market. In this
burning climate, the shade afforded by the tree will be beneficial to most
vegetables.

The want of success, hitherto, in the cultivation of coffee, has been
attributed by some to the custom of transplanting the trees from the
forest, instead of raising them from seed. The colonial Secretary is now
making trial of the latter method. He has several thousand young trees in
his nursery, and will soon be able to test the comparative efficiency of
the different systems. Not improbably, the cultivation of seedlings may be
found preferable to that of transplanted trees; but, in my opinion, the
great obstacle to success has been the deficiency of care and proper
manuring. In order to bear well, trees require to have the ground
enriched, and kept free from weeds. Failing this, the plant often dies,
and never flourishes so well as in its native woods. The inhabitants of
Liberia have not the means of bestowing the requisite care upon the
cultivation of coffee, on an extended scale; and I say boldly, that large
plantations, in that region, cannot compete with those of Brazil and the
West Indies, where the plantations are well-stocked, and cultivated by
slave-labor. Free labor in Africa will not soon be so cheap as that of
slaves in other countries. Even in Cuba, the planters can barely feed
themselves and their slaves, by the culture of coffee. How, then, can it
be made profitable in Liberia, where labor commands so high a price, and
is often impossible to be procured?

As incidental, however, to other branches of agriculture, coffee may be
advantageously raised. The best trees are those seen in gardens, where,
from ten or twelve, more berries are gathered than from hundreds in a
plantation. A single tree, in the garden of Colonel Hicks, is said to have
produced sixteen pounds at a gathering; and I have seen several very fine
trees in similar situations. Fifty or a hundred trees, well selected, and
properly distributed through the fields, would yield several hundred
pounds of coffee, which, being gathered and dried by the women and
children, would be gratuitous as regards the cost of labor. Thus, the
coffee culture, in Liberia, must be considered far more eligible than that
of sugar; inasmuch as the latter requires a large capital and extensive
operations, while the former succeeds best on a very moderate scale.

Judge Benedict has probably bestowed more attention on this business, than
any other person in Liberia. He is a man of excellent sense and
information, and has the means to carry out his views, as well as the
patriotism to exert himself for the advantage of the commonwealth. With
these qualifications, he has employed five or six years in the experiment
of raising coffee, and thus far, with little success, although his
plantation comprises some thousands of growing trees. In the spring of
1841, he made presents, to myself and other officers, of genuine Liberian
coffee, in small native bags, containing two or three pounds each. The
Judge is still giving away little bags of the same kind; but I do not yet
learn that his crop is more than sufficient for his own use, and for
distribution as specimens; certainly, it is not so abundant as to render
the sale of it an object. As for the plantation itself, I must confess
that it appeared to me more flourishing three years ago, than at present.
Most of the trees, on the spot originally planted, are dead, and the rest
in a sickly condition; while the most thriving trees are to be seen on the
lower and damper land adjacent, which, at my former visit, was covered
with a dense forest. Beyond a doubt, the coffee tree is as well adapted to
this soil and climate as to those of Cuba, and produces a larger and
better flavored berry; but I repeat my opinion, that the Liberian, hiring
laborers at sixty cents a day, cannot compete with the West Indian, who
has his hundreds of slaves already paid for, and his trees growing in
well-weeded land. The mere feeding, I might almost say, of a dozen
laborers in Liberia, will cost more than all the coffee they raise would
re-imburse, at the Cuba prices.

The cultivation of rice is universal in Africa. The natives never neglect
it, for fear of famine. For an upland crop, the rice-lands are turned over
and planted in March and April. In September and October, the rice is
reaped, beaten out, and cleaned for market or storing. The lowland crop,
on the contrary, is planted in September, October, and November, in marshy
lands, and harvested in March and April. Lands will not produce two
successive crops without manuring and ploughing. About two bushels of seed
are sown to the acre; and the crop, on the acre of upland, is about thirty
bushels, and from forty to forty-five bushels on the lowlands. The rice is
transported to market on the backs of natives, packed in bundles of about
three feet long and nine inches in diameter. The wrappers are made of
large leaves, bound together by cords of bark. The load is sustained by
shoulder-straps, and by a band, passing round the forehead of the bearer.

Cassada is a kind of yam, and sends up a tall stalk, with light green
leaves. It has a long root, looking like a piece of wood with the brown
bark on; the interior is white and mealy, rather insipid, but nutritious,
and invaluable as an article of food. It is raised from the seed, root, or
stem; the latter being considered preferable. Its yield is very great. In
six months, it is fit to dig, and may be preserved fifteen or eighteen
months in the ground, but ceases to be eatable in three or four days after
being dug. Tapioca is manufactured from this root.

Indian corn is planted in May and harvested in September; or, if planted
in July, it ripens in November and December. Sweet potatoes constitute one
of the main reliances of the colonists; they are raised from seeds, roots
or vines, but most successfully from the latter. The season of planting is
in May, or June, and the crop ripens four months later. Plantains and
bananas are a valuable product; they are propagated from suckers, which
yield a first crop in about a year. The top is cut down, and new stalks
spring from the root. Ground nuts are the same article peddled by the old
women at our street-corners, under the name of pea-nuts; so called from
the close resemblance of the bush to the tops of the sweet pea. This nut
is used in England for making oil. The Cocoa is a bulbous root of the size
of a tea-cup, and has some similarity to the artichoke. Pine-apples,
small, but finely flavored, grow wild in the woods, and are abundant in
their season.

In concluding these very imperfect and miscellaneous observations on the
agriculture and products of Liberia, it may be remarked that the farmer's
life and modes of labor are different from those of the same class, in
other countries; inasmuch as there is here no spring, autumn, or winter.
The year is a perpetual summer; therein, if in nothing else, resembling
the climate of the original Paradise, to which men of all colors look back
as the birth-place of their species. The culture of the soil appears to be
emphatically the proper occupation of the Liberians. Many persons have
anticipated making money more easily by trade; but, being unaccustomed to
commercial pursuits, and possessing but little capital, by far the greater
number soon find themselves bankrupt, and burthened with debt. With these
evidences of the inequality, on their part, of competition with vessels
trading on the coast, and with the established traders of the colony, the
inhabitants are now turning their attention more exclusively to
agriculture.




CHAPTER VII.

High character of Governor Roberts--Suspected Slaver--Dinner on
shore--Facts and remarks relative to the slave trade--British
philanthropy--Original cost of a slave--Anchor at Sinoe--Peculiarities and
distinctive characteristics of the Fishmen and Bushmen--The King of
Appollonia--Religion and morality among the natives--Influence of the
women.


_November_ 3.--Ashore, botanizing. In this region, where all the plants
are strange, and many of them beautiful, it is easy work to form a
collection. With a Kroo-boy to carry my book, I cut leaves and flowers as
they came to hand.

4.--Governor Roberts, General Lewis, and Doctor Day, dined with us in the
ward-room. The Governor is certainly no ordinary person. In every
situation, as judge, ruler, and private gentleman, he sustains himself
creditably, and is always unexceptionable. His deportment is dignified,
quiet, and sensible. He has been tried in war as well as in peace, has
seen a good share of fighting, and has invariably been cool, brave, and
successful. He is a native of Virginia, and came from thence in 1828. The
friends of Colonization can hardly adduce a stronger argument in favor of
their enterprise, than that it has redeemed such a man as Governor Roberts
from servitude, and afforded him the opportunity (which was all he needed)
of displaying his high natural gifts, and applying them to the benefit of
his race.

To-night we had a Kroo-dance on the forecastle. It was an uncouth and
peculiar spectacle, characterized by singing, stamping, and clapping of
hands, with a great display of agility. National dances might be taken as
no bad standard of the comparative civilisation of different countries. A
gracefully quiet dance is the latest flower of high refinement.

5.--Two vessels descried standing in; and bets were five to one that they
were the Macedonian and Decatur. It proved otherwise; they were a British
gun-brig and French merchant-schooner.

8.--It has been raining for three days, almost incessantly. No Macedonian
yet.

10.--Dined on shore. Our captain and five officers, the master and surgeon
of an English merchantman, and the captain of the French schooner, were of
the party. It was a pleasant dinner. The conversation turned principally
upon the trade and customs of the coast. The slave-trade was freely
discussed; and the subject had a peculiar interest, under the
circumstances, because this identical Frenchman, at table with us, is
suspected to have some connection with it. It is merely a surmise. The
French captain speaks a little English; but, after dinner, as a matter of
courtesy, we all adopted his native language. Our friend Colonel Hicks, as
usual, did most of the talking; he is as shrewd, agreeable, and
instructive a companion, as may often be met with in any society.

The dinner-conversation, above alluded to, suggests some remarks in
reference to the slave-trade. There is great discrepancy in the various
estimates as to the number of slaves annually exported from Africa. Some
authorities rate it as high as half a million. Captain Bosanquet, R.N.,
estimates that fifteen thousand are annually sent to the West Indies, and
a greater number to Arabia, all of which are from Portuguese settlements.
He affirms that the trade has increased very much between the years 1832
and 1839, and particularly in the latter part of that period; an effect
naturally consequent upon the great number of captures made by the English
cruisers. A trader, for instance, contracting to introduce a given number
of slaves into Cuba, must purchase more on the coast to make up for those
lost by capture. Captain Brodhead, another British officer, says that the
number of slaves carried off is grossly exaggerated, and that the English
papers told of thousands being shipped from a port, where he lay at anchor
during the period indicated, and for fifty days before and afterwards; in
all which time, not a slave vessel came in sight. Doctor Madden states,
that, during his residence in Cuba, the number of slaves annually imported
was twenty-five thousand. Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton calls it one hundred
and fifteen thousand! Her Majesty's Commissioners say that the number is
as well known as any other statistical point, and that it does not exceed
fifteen thousand. The slave-trade rose to a great height in 1836, owing
principally to the high price of colonial produce. I was in Cuba in that
year, and witnessed the great activity that prevailed in buying negroes,
and forming plantations, especially those of sugar. The prices have since
fallen, and the slave-trade decreased, on the plain principle of political
economy, that the demand regulates the supply.

The English cruisers are doubtless very active in the pursuit of vessels
engaged in this traffic. The approbation of government and the public (to
say nothing of L5 head-money for every slave recaptured, and the increased
chance of promotion to vacancies caused by death) is a strong inducement
to vigilance. But, however benevolent may be the motives that influence
the action of Great Britain, in reference to the slave-trade, there is the
grossest cruelty and injustice in carrying out her views. Attempts are now
being made to transport the rescued slaves in great numbers to the British
West India islands, at the expense of government. It is boldly
recommended, by men of high standing in England, to carry them all thither
at once. The effect of such a measure, gloss it over as you may, would be
to increase the black labor of the British islands, by just so much as is
deducted from the number of slaves, intended for the Spanish or Brazilian
possessions. "The sure cure for the slave-trade" says Mr. Laird, "is in
our own hands. It lies in producing cheaper commodities by free labor, in
our own colonies." And, to accomplish this desirable end, England will
seize upon the liberated Africans and land them in her West India islands,
with the alternative of adding their toil to the amount of her colonial
labor, or of perishing by starvation. How much better will their condition
be, as apprentices in Trinidad or Jamaica, than as slaves in Cuba?
Infinitely more wretched! English philanthropy cuts a very suspicious
figure, when, not content with neglecting the welfare of those whom she
undertakes to protect, she thus attempts to made them subservient to
national aggrandizement. The fate of the rescued slaves is scarcely better
than that of the crews of the captured slave-vessels. The latter are
landed on the nearest point of the African coast, where death by
starvation or fever almost certainly awaits them.

I am desirous to put the best construction possible on the conduct as well
of nations as of individuals, and never to entertain that cold scepticism
which explains away all generosity and philanthropy on motives of selfish
policy. But it is difficult to give unlimited faith to the ardent and
disinterested desire professed by England, to put a period to the
slave-trade. If sincere, why does she not, as she readily might, induce
Spain, Portugal, and Brazil, to declare the traffic piratical? And again,
why is not her own strength so directed as to give the trade a death-blow
at once? There are but two places between Sierra Leone and Accra, a
distance of one thousand miles, whence slaves are exported. One is
Gallinas; the other New Sesters. The English keep a cruiser off each of
these rivers. Slavers run in, take their cargoes of human flesh and blood,
and push off. If the cruiser can capture the vessels, the captors receive
L5 per head for the slaves on board, and the government has more
"emigrants" for its West India possessions. Now, were the cruisers to
anchor at the mouths of these two rivers, the slavers would be prevented
from putting to sea with their cargoes, and the trade at those places be
inevitably stopped. But, in this case, where would be the head-money and
the emigrants?

It has been asserted that the colonists of Liberia favor the slave-trade.
This is not true. The only places where the traffic is carried on, north
of the line, are in the neighborhood of the most powerful English
settlements on the whole coast; while even British authority does not
pretend that the vicinity of the American colonies is polluted by it.
Individuals among the colonists, unprincipled men, may, in a very few
instances, from love of gain, have given assistance to slavers, by
supplying goods or provisions at high prices. But this must have been done
secretly, or the law would have taken hold of them. Slavers, no doubt,
have often watered at Monrovia, but never when their character was known.
On the other hand, the slave stations at St. Paul's river, at Bassa, and
at Junk, have undeniably been broken up by the presence of the colonists.
Even if destitute of sympathy for fellow-men of their own race and hue,
and regardless of their deep stake in the preservation of their character,
the evident fact is, that self-interest would prompt the inhabitants of
Liberia to oppose the slave-trade in their vicinity. Wherever the slaver
comes, he purchases large quantities of rice at extravagant rates, thus
curtailing the supply to the colonist, and enhancing the price. Moreover,
the natives, always preferring the excitement of war to the labors of
peace, neglect the culture of the earth, and have no camwood nor palm-oil
to offer to the honest trader, who consequently finds neither buyers nor
sellers among them.

The truth is, the slave-traders can dispense with assistance from the
Liberian colonists. They procure goods, and everything necessary to their
trade, at Sierra Leone, or from any English or American vessel on the
coast. If the merchantmen find a good market for their cargoes, they are
satisfied, whatever be the character of their customers. This is well
understood and openly avowed here. The English have no right to taunt the
Americans, nor to claim higher integrity on their own part. They lend
precisely the same indirect aid to the traffic that the Americans do, and
furnish everything except vessels, which likewise they would supply, if
they could build them. It is the policy of the English ship-masters on the
coast to represent the Americans as engaged in the slave-trade; for if, by
such accusations, they can induce British or American men-of-war to detain
and examine the fair trader, they thus rid themselves of troublesome
rivals.

The natives are generally favorable to the slave-trade. It brings them
many comforts and luxuries, which the legitimate trade does not supply.
Their argument is, that "if a man goes into the Bush and buys camwood, he
must pay another to bring it to the beach. But if he buy a slave, this
latter commodity will not only walk, but bring a load of camwood on his
back." All slaves exported are Bushmen, many of whom are brought from two
or three hundred miles in the interior. The Fishmen and Kroomen are the
agents between the slave-traders and the interior tribes. They will not
permit the latter to become acquainted with the white men, lest their own
agency and its profits should cease. A slave, once sold, seldom returns to
his home.

If transported to a foreign country, his case is of course hopeless; and
even if recaptured on the coast, his return is almost impossible. His
home, probably, is far distant from the sea. It can only be reached by
traversing the territories of four or five nations, any one of whom would
seize the hapless stranger, and either consign him to slavery among
themselves, or send him again to a market on the coast. Hence, those
recaptured by the English cruisers are either settled at Sierra Leone, or
transported to some other of the colonies of Great Britain.

The price paid to the native agents for a full grown male slave, is about
one musket, twelve pieces of romauls, one cutlass, a demijohn of rum, a
bar of iron, a keg of powder, and ten bars of leaf-tobacco, the whole
amounting to the value of thirty to thirty-five dollars. A female is sold
for about a quarter less; and boys of twelve or thirteen command only a
musket and two pieces of romauls. Slave-vessels go from Havana with
nothing but dollars and doubloons. Other vessels go out with the above
species of goods, and all others requisite for the trade. The slaver buys
the goods on the coast, pays for them with specie, and lands them in
payment for the slaves, money being but little used in traffic with the
natives.

13.--The Decatur arrived this evening, after a passage of thirty days from
Porto Praya. She left the Macedonian on the way, the winds being light,
the current adverse, and the frigate sailing very badly.

17.--The Macedonian arrived.

Coming off from town, to-day, I took a canoe with a couple of Kroomen, who
paddled down the river, till we arrived at a narrow part of the
promontory. On touching the shallows, one of the Kroomen took me on his
back to the dry land. The two then picked up the canoe, carried her across
the cape, perhaps a hundred yards, and launched her, with myself on board,
through the heavy surf.

21.--Sailed at daylight for Sinoe, leaving the Macedonian and Decatur, an
American ship and barque, an English brig, and two Hamburg vessels, at
anchor.

25.--Anchored at Sinoe at noon.

26.--Ashore. Visited Fishtown, a well-built native village, containing
probably four hundred inhabitants. It is within about two hundred yards of
the colonial dwellings. The people are said to have committed many
depredations upon the colonists; and there is an evident intention of
driving them off. This is the tribe with which we are to hold a palaver.

There are two grand divisions of native Africans on the Western Coast, the
Fishmen and the Bushmen; the latter being inhabitants of the interior; and
the former comprising all the tribes along the sea-shore, who gain a
subsistence by fishing, trading between the Bushmen and foreign vessels,
and laboring on shipboard. The Kroomen, so often mentioned, are in some
respects a distinct and separate people; although a large proportion,
probably nine-tenths of those bearing that name, are identical with the
Fishmen. The latter are generally treacherous and deceitful; the Kroomen
are much more honest, but still are not to be trusted without reserve and
discrimination.

The government of these people, and of the natives generally, is nominally
monarchical, but democratic in substance. The regal office appears to be
hereditary in a family, but not to descend according to our ideas of
lineal succession. The power of the king is greatly circumscribed by the
privilege, which every individual in the tribe possesses, of calling a
palaver. If a man deems himself injured, he demands a full discussion of
his rights or wrongs, in presence of the rulers and the tribe. The
head-men sit in judgment, and substantial justice is generally done. There
are persons, celebrated for their power and copiousness of talking, who
appear as counsel in behalf of the respective parties. The more
distinguished of these advocates are sometimes sent for, from a distance
of two or three hundred miles, to speak at a palaver; and, in such cases,
they leave all other employment, and hurry to the scene of action.

It would appear that, on other parts of the coast, or farther in the
interior, the native kings possess more power and assume greater state,
than those who have come under my notice. The King of Appollonia,
adjoining Axim Territory, is said to be very rich and powerful. If the
report of his nearest civilized neighbor, the Governor of Axim, is to be
credited, this potentate's house is furnished most sumptuously in the
European style. Gold cups, pitchers, and plates, are used at his table,
with furniture of corresponding magnificence in all the departments of his
household. He possesses vast treasures in bullion and gold dust. The
Governor of Dixcove informed me, that, about four years ago, he
accompanied an English expedition against Appollonia, which is still
claimed by England, although their fort there has been abandoned. On their
approach, the King fled, and left them masters of the place. Some of the
English soldiers opened the sepulchre of the King last deceased, and took
away an unknown amount of gold. Afterwards, by order of the Governor, the
remainder was taken from the grave, amounting to several hundred dollars.
Together with the treasure, numerous articles had been buried, such as a
knife, plate, and cup, swords, guns, cloth, goods of various kinds, and,
in short, every, thing that the dead King had required while alive. There
were also four skeletons, two of each sex, buried beneath the royal
coffin. It is said that sixty victims were sacrificed on occasion of the
funeral, of whom only the most distinguished were allowed, even in death,
to approach their master so nearly, and act as his immediate attendants in
the world of spirits. The splendor of an African funeral, on the Gold
Coast, is unparalleled. It is customary for persons of wealth to smear the
corpses of their friends with oil, and then to powder them with gold-dust
from head to foot, so as to produce the appearance of bronzed or golden
statues.

The present King of Appollonia deposited six hundred ounces of gold (about
ten thousand dollars) with the Governor of Cape Coast Castle, as security
for his good behavior. His cellar is well supplied with rare wines, which
he offers liberally to strangers who land at his residence. All these
circumstances, and this barbaric magnificence, indicate a far different
condition from that of the native Kings in the vicinity of Liberia, who
live simply, like their subjects, on vegetables and fish, and one of whom
was proud to array himself in a cast-off garment of my own. Their wealth
consists not in gold, plate, or bullion, but in crockery and earthenware.
Not only the Kings, but all the rich natives, accumulate articles of this
kind, until their dwellings resemble warehouses of crockery. Perhaps fifty
white wash-bowls, with as many pitchers, mugs, and plates, may be seen
around the room; and when these utensils become so numerous as to excite
the envy of the tribe, the owners are said to bury them in the earth. In
the house of King Glass (so named, I presume, from the transparency of his
character), I noticed the first indications of a taste for the Fine Arts.
Seventy coarse colored engravings, glazed and framed, were suspended on
the wall; and, what was most curious, nearly all of them were copies of
the same print, a portrait of King William the Fourth.

It is to be desired that some missionary should give an account of the
degree and kind of natural religion among the native tribes. Their belief
in the efficacy of sassy-wood to discover guilt or innocence, indicates a
faith in an invisible Equity. Some of them, however, select the most
ridiculous of animals, the monkey, as their visible symbol of the Deity;
or, as appears more probable, they stand in spiritual awe of him, from an
idea that the souls of the dead are again embodied in this shape. Under
this impression, they pay a kind of worship to the monkey, and never kill
him near a burial-place; and though, in other situations, they kill and
eat him, they endeavor to propitiate his favor by respectful language, and
the use of charms. Other natives, in the neighborhood of Gaboon, worship
the shark, and throw slaves to him to be devoured.

On the whole, their morality is superior to their religion--at least, as
between members of the same tribe--although they scarcely seem to
acknowledge moral obligations in respect to strangers. Their landmarks,
for instance, are held sacred among the individuals of a tribe. A father
takes his son, and points out the "stake and stones" which mark the
boundary between him and his neighbor. There needs no other registry. Land
passes from sire to son, and is sold and bought with as undisputed and
secure a title as all our deeds and formalities can establish. But,
between different tribes, wars frequently arise on disputed boundary
questions, and in consequence of encroachments made by either party.
"Land-palavers" and "Women-palavers" are the great causes of war. Veracity
seems to be the virtue most indiscriminately practised, as well towards
the stranger as the brother. The natives are cautious as to the accuracy
of the stories which they promulgate, and seldom make a stronger
asseveration than "I tink he be true!" Yet their consciences do not shrink
from the use of falsehood and artifice, where these appear expedient.

The natives are not insensible to the advantages of education. They are
fond of having their children in the families of colonists, where they
learn English, and the manners of civilized life, and get plenty to eat.
Probably the parents hope, in this way, to endow their offspring with some
of the advantages which they suppose the white man to possess over the
colored race. So sensible are they of their own inferiority, that if a
person looks sternly in the face of a native, when about to be attacked by
him, and calls out to him loudly, the chances are ten to one that the
native runs away. This effect is analogous to that which the eye of man is
said to exert on the fiercest of savage beasts. The same involuntary and
sad acknowledgment of a lower order of being appears in their whole
intercourse with the whites. Yet such self-abasement is scarcely just; for
the slave-traders, who constitute the specimens of civilized man with whom
the natives have hitherto been most familiar, are by no means on a par
with themselves, in a moral point of view. It is a pity to see such awful
homage rendered to the mere intellect, apart from truth and goodness.

It is a redeeming trait of the native character, so far as it goes, that
women are not wholly without influence in the public councils. If, when a
tribe is debating the expediency of going to war, the women come beneath
the council-tree, and represent the evils that will result, their opinion
will have great weight, and may probably turn the scale in favor of peace.
On the other hand, if the women express a wish that they were men, in
order that they might go to war, the warriors declare for it at once. It
is to be feared, that there is an innate fierceness even in the gentler
sex, which makes them as likely to give their voices for war as for peace.
It is a feminine office and privilege, on the African coast, to torture
prisoners taken in war, by sticking thorns in their flesh, and in various
other modes, before they are put to death. The unfortunate Captain Farwell
underwent three hours of torture, at the hands of the women and children.
So, likewise, did the mate of Captain Burke's vessel, at Sinoe.

The natives are very cruel in their fights, and spare neither age nor sex;
they kill the women and female children, lest they should be the mothers
of future warriors, and the boys, lest they should fight hereafter. If
they take prisoners, it is either to torture them to death, or to sell
them as slaves. The Fishmen have often evinced courage and obstinacy in
war, as was the case in their assaults upon the Liberian settlers, in the
heroic age of the colony, when Ashman and his associates displayed such
warlike ability in defeating them. The Bushmen are as cruel as the former,
but appear to be more cowardly. I have heard the Rev. Mr. Brown, himself
an actor in the scene, relate the story of the fight at Heddington, in
which three colonists, assisted by two women, were attacked at daybreak by
five hundred natives, many of whom were armed with muskets. Zion Harris
and Mr. Demery were the marksmen, while the clergyman assumed the duty of
loading the guns. The natives rushed onward in so dense a crowd, that
almost every bullet and buckshot of the defenders hit its man. The
besieged had but six muskets, one hundred cartridges, and a few charges of
powder. Their external fortifications consisted only of a slight
picket-fence, which might have been thrown down in an instant. But,
fortunately, when there were but three charges of powder left in the
house, a shot killed Gotorap, the chief of the assailants, at whose fall
the whole army fled in dismay. One of the trophies of their defeat was the
kettle which they had brought for the purpose of cooking the missionaries,
and holding a cannibal feast. The battle-field is poetically termed the
bed of honor: but the bravest man might be excused for shrinking from a
burial in his enemy's stomach! Poetry can make nothing of such a fate.

Rude and wretched as is the condition of the natives, it has been affirmed
that many of the Liberian colonists have mingled with them, and preferred
their savage mode of life to the habits of civilisation. Only one instance
of the kind has come to my personal knowledge. We had on board, for two or
three months, a party of Kroomen, among whom was one, dressed like the
rest, but speaking better English. Being questioned, he said that he had
learned English on board of merchant-vessels, where he had been employed
for several years. We took this young man into the ward-room, where he
worked for three months, associating chiefly with the Kroomen on deck,
speaking their language, and perfectly resembling them in his appearance
and general habits. About the time of discharging him, we discovered that
he was a native of North Carolina, had resided many years in Liberia, but,
being idle and vicious, had finally given up the civilized for the savage
state. His real name was Elijah Park; his assumed one, William Henry.




CHAPTER VIII.

Palaver at Sinoe--Ejectment of a Horde of Fishmen--Palaver at Settra
Kroo--Mrs. Sawyer--Objections to the Marriage of Missionaries--A
Centipede--Arrival at Cape Palmas--Rescue of the Sassy Wood-Drinker
Hostilities between the Natives and Colonists.


 _November_ 27.--At Sinoe. The settlement here is in a poor condition.
The inhabitants are apparently more ignorant and lazy than the colonists
on any other part of the coast. Yet they have a beautiful and fertile
situation.

28.--The Macedonian and Decatur arrived. Governor Roberts, and other
persons of authority and distinction among the colonists, were passengers,
in order to be present at the intended palaver.

29.--At 9 A.M., thirteen boats left the different ships, armed, and having
about seventy-five marines on board, besides the sailors. Entering the
river, with flags flying and muskets glittering, the boats lay on their
oars until all were in a line, and then pulled at once for the beach, as
if about to charge a hostile battery. The manoeuvre was handsomely
executed, and seemed to give great satisfaction to some thirty colonists
and fifty naked natives, who were assembled on the beach. The officers and
marines were landed, and formed in line, under the direction of Lieutenant
Rich. The music then struck up, while the Commodore and Governor Roberts
slept ashore, and the whole detachment marched to the palaver-house,
which, on this occasion, was the Methodist Church.

The Commodore seated himself behind a small table, which was covered with
a napkin. The officers, with Governor Roberts and Doctor Day, occupied
seats on his right, and the native chiefs, as they dropped in, found
places on the left. If the latter fell short of us in outward pomp and
martial array, they had certainly the advantage of rank, there being about
twenty kings and headmen of the tribes among them. Governor Roberts opened
the palaver in the Commodore's name, informing the assembled chiefs, that
he had come to talk to them about the slaughter of the mate and cook,
belonging to Captain Burke's vessel. Jim Davis, who conducted the palaver
on the part of the natives, professed to know nothing of the matter, the
chiefs present being Bushmen, whereas the party concerned were Fishmen.
After a little exhibition of diplomacy, Davis retired, and Prince Tom came
forward and submitted to an examination. His father is king of the tribe
of Fishmen, implicated in the killing of the two men. The prince denied
any personal knowledge on the subject, but observed that the deed had been
done in war, and that the tribe were not responsible. When asked where
Nippoo was (a chief known to have taken a leading part in the affray), he
at first professed ignorance, but, on being hard pressed, offered to go
and seek him. He was informed, however, that he could not be permitted to
retire, but must produce Nippoo on the spot, or be taken to America.

The council went on. The depositions of three colonists were taken, and
the facts in the case brought out. They were substantially in accordance
with the narrative already given in this Journal; and, upon full
investigation, Captain Burke was decided to have been the aggressor. The
proceedings of the Fishmen had been fierce and savage, but were redeemed
by a quality of wild justice, and exhibited them altogether in a better
light than the white men.

This affair being adjusted, the business of the palaver might be
considered at an end, so far as the American squadron had any immediate
connection with it. But there were points of importance to be settled,
between the natives and the colonists. It was the interest of the latter,
that the Fishmen, residing in the neighborhood of the settlement, should
be ejected from their land, which would certainly be a very desirable
acquisition to the emigrants. It seems, that the land originally belonged
to the Sinoe tribe, whose head-quarters are four miles inland. Several
years ago, long before the arrival of the emigrants, this tribe gave
permission to a horde of Fishmen to occupy the site, but apparently
without relinquishing their own property in the soil. Feeble at first, the
tenants wore a friendly demeanor towards their landlords, and made
themselves useful, until, gradually acquiring strength, they became
insolent, and assumed an attitude of independence. Setting the interior
tribe, of whom they held the land, at defiance, these Fishmen put an
interdict upon their trading with foreigners, except through their own
agency. Eight or ten years ago, however, the inland natives sold the land
to the Colonization Society, subject to the incumbrance of the Fishmen's
occupancy, during good behavior; a condition which the colonists likewise
pledged themselves to the Fishmen to observe, unless the conduct of the
latter should nullify it.

For the last two or three years, the settlement at Sinoe, being neglected
by the Mississippi Society, under whose patronage it was established, has
dwindled and grown weaker in numbers and spirit. The Fishmen, with their
characteristic audacity, have assumed a bolder aspect, and, besides
committing many depredations on the property of the colonists, have
murdered two or three of their number. The murderers, it is true, were
delivered up by the tribe, and punished at the discretion of the Monrovian
authorities; but the colonists at Sinoe felt themselves too feeble to
redress their lighter wrongs, and therefore refrained from demanding
satisfaction. About a month since, an addition of sixty new emigrants was
made to the seventy, already established there. Considering themselves now
adequate to act on the offensive, they determined to drive off the
Fishmen. In this purpose they were confirmed by the Monrovian government;
and it was a part of the governor's business, at the palaver, to provide
for its execution.

Governor Roberts exhibited much sagacity and diplomatic shrewdness in
accomplishing his object. It was obviously important to obtain the
assistance of the Bushmen, in expelling and keeping away the Fishmen.
They, however, were unwilling to take part in the matter, alleging their
fears as an excuse; although it might probably be a stronger reason, that
they could trade more advantageously with merchant-vessels, through the
medium of the Fishmen, than by the agency of the colonists.

But the interposition of the American Commodore, and the affair of the
murder, afforded the Governor the advantage of mixing up that question
with the colonial one; so as to give the natives the impression that
everything was done at the instance and under the authority of our armed
force. This vantage-ground he skilfully made use of, yet not without its
being perceived, by the native politicians, that the question of expelling
the Fishmen was essentially distinct from that of the murder of Captain
Burke's seamen. Davis the interpreter, and one of the headmen of the Sinoe
tribe, inquired why the Commodore did not first talk his palaver, and then
the Governor in turn talk his. It did not suit his excellency's views to
answer; and the question was evaded. By this ingenious policy, the Bushmen
were induced to promise their aid in ridding the settlement of its
troublesome neighbors; while the Fishmen, overawed by the presence of a
force friendly to the colonists, submitted to their expulsion with a
quietude that could not, under other circumstances, have been expected.
Doubtless, they had forfeited their claim to the land by non-observance of
the conditions on which they held it; yet, in some points, the affair had
remarkably the aspect of a forcible acquisition of territory by the
colonists.

No time was lost in carrying the decree of the palaver into execution.
Apprehending hostilities from the squadron, the Fishmen had already
removed most of their property, as well as their women and children, and
had evacuated the town. Governor Roberts, Mr. Brown, Doctor Day, late
government agent, together with a few colonists, repaired to the place and
directed its demolition. This was partially effected by the natives, of
whom some hundreds from the interior were present. They cut down and
unroofed many of the dwellings; and the Governor left directions to burn
every house, if the Fishmen should attempt to re-occupy the town. This
wild horde, therefore, may be considered as permanently ejected from the
ground which they held on so singular a tenure; and thus terminated an
affair which throws a strong light on many of the characteristics of the
natives, and likewise on the relations between them and the emigrants.

_December_ 3.--We sailed, at two o'clock A.M., for Settra Kroo, fifteen
miles down the coast. Anchored at eleven A.M. A boat being sent ashore,
brought news of the death of Mr. Sawyer, the missionary. He left a wife,
now the only white person at the place.

4.--The boats landed at Settra Kroo, to settle a palaver. The matter in
question was the violence offered by the natives to Captain Brown, master
of an American vessel, in striking and attempting to kill him. They
admitted the fact, begged pardon, and agreed to pay ten bullocks, four
sheep, and some fowls, or the value thereof, to Captain Brown, and further
to permit him to trade without payment of the usual "dash." This town is
said to be very superior to any other native settlement on the coast; and
the people are the best informed, most intelligent, and the finest in
personal appearance, that we have met with.

Dined on shore. Mrs. Sawyer presided at the table, although her husband
was buried only yesterday. It is impossible not to look with admiration at
this lady, whose husband and only child have fallen victims to the
climate, yet who believes it her duty to remain alone, upon a barbarous
coast, in a position which perhaps no other woman ever voluntarily
occupied. She is faithful to her trust, as the companion of him who fell
at his post, and is doubtless happy in obedience to the unworldly motives
that guide her determination. Yet I cannot reconcile myself to the idea of
a woman sharing the martyrdom, which seems a proper, and not an
undesirable fate (so it come in the line of his duty) for a man. I doubt
the expediency of sending missionary ladies to perish here. Indeed, it may
well be questioned whether a missionary ought, in any country, to be a
married man. The care of a family must distract his attention and weaken
his efficiency; and herein, it may be, consists one great advantage which
the Catholic missionary possesses over the Protestant. He can penetrate
into the interior; he can sleep in the hut, and eat the simple food of a
native. But, if there be a wife and children, they must have houses and a
thousand other comforts, which are not only expensive and difficult to
obtain, but are clogs to keep the missionary down to one spot. I know how
much the toil and suffering of man is alleviated, in these far-off
regions, by the tenderness of woman. But the missionary is, by his
profession, a devoted man; he seeks, in this life, not his own happiness,
but the eternal good of others. Compare him with the members of my own
profession. We are sustained by no such lofty faith as must be supposed to
animate him, yet we find it possible to spend years upon the barren deep,
exposed to every variety of climate, and seeking peril wherever it may be
found--and all without the aid of woman's ministrations. Can a man, vowed
to the service of a Divine Master, think it much to practise similar
self-denial?

5.--This morning, while performing my ablutions with a large sponge, a
centipede, four and a half inches long, crawled out of one of the
orifices, and, ran over my hand. The venomous reptile was killed, without
any harm being done. It had probably been hidden in one of a number of
large land-shells, which I brought on board a day or two ago. His touch
upon my hand was the most disagreeable sensation that I have yet
experienced in Africa.

For a month past it has rained almost every night, but only three or four
times during the day. The tornadoes have not troubled us, and the regular
land and sea-breezes prevail.

6.--At 4 P. M., anchored off Cape Palmas. The Decatur had hardly clewed up
her top-sails, when she was directed by signal to make sail again. Shortly
afterwards, a boat from the frigate brought us intelligence that there is
trouble here between the natives and the colonists. The boats are ordered
to be in readiness to go ashore to-morrow, in order to settle a palaver.
The Decatur has gone to Caraway to protect the missionaries there. Thus we
are in a fair way to have plenty of work, palavering with the natives and
protecting the colonists. Not improbably, the latter have felt encouraged,
by the presence of our squadron, to assume a higher tone towards the
natives than heretofore. But we shall see.

8.--We landed, this morning, with nine armed boats, to examine into the
difficulties above alluded to. The first duty that it fell to our lot to
perform, was one of humanity. We had scarcely reached Governor Russwurm's
house, when, observing a crowd of people about a mile off, on the beach,
we learned that a man was undergoing the ordeal of drinking sassy-wood.
The Commodore, with most of the officers, hastened immediately to the
rescue. On approaching the spot, we saw a woman with an infant on her
back, walking to and fro, wailing bitterly, and throwing up her arms in
agony. Further on, we met four children, from eight to twelve years of
age, crying loudly as they came towards us, and apparently imploring us to
save their father. Beyond them, and as near the crowd as she dared go,
stood a young woman, supporting herself on a staff, with the tears
streaming down her cheeks, while she gazed earnestly at the spot where her
husband was suffering. Although she took no notice of us, her low moans
were more impressive than the vociferous agony of the former woman; and we
could not but suppose that the man was peculiarly amiable in the domestic
relations, since his impending fate awakened more grief in the hearts of
_two_ wives, than, in civilized life, we generally see exhibited by one.
Meeting a colonist, with intelligence that the victim was nearly dead, we
quickened our pace to a fast run.

Before we could reach the spot, however, the man had been put into a
canoe, and paddled out into a lagoon by one of the party, while the
remainder moved on to meet us. The Commodore ordered two of the leaders to
be seized and kept prisoners, until the drinker of sassy-wood should be
given up. This had the desired effect; and, in half an hour, there came to
the Government House a hard-featured man of about fifty, escorted by a
crowd, no small portion of which was composed of his own multifarious
wives and children, all displaying symptoms of high satisfaction. He
looked much exhausted, but was taken into the house and treated medically,
with the desired success. When sufficiently recovered he will be sent to a
neighboring town, where he must remain, until permitted by the customs of
his people to return. He had been subjected to the ordeal, in order to
test the truth or falsehood of an accusation brought against him, of
having caused the death of a man of consequence, by incantations and
necromantic arts. In such cases, a strong decoction of the sassy-wood bark
is the universally acknowledged medium of coming at the truth. The natives
believe that the tree has a supernatural quality, potent in destroying
witches and driving out evil spirits; nor, although few escape, do the
accused persons often object to quaffing the deadly draught. If it fail to
operate fatally, it is generally by the connivance of those who administer
it, in concocting the potion of such strength that the stomach shall
reject it. Should the suspected wizard escape the operation of the
sassy-wood, it is customary to kill him by beating on the head with clubs
and stones; his property is forfeited; and the party accusing him feast on
the cattle of their victim. The man whom we rescued had taken a gallon of
the decoction the previous evening, and about the same quantity just
before we interrupted the ordeal. His wealth had probably excited the envy
of his accusers.

We had just returned to the Government House and were about to seat
ourselves at the dinner-table, when an alarm-gun was heard from Mount
Tubman. A messenger soon arrived to say that the natives were attempting
to force their way through the settlement, to the Cape. The marines,
together with all the officers who could be spared, were instantly on the
march. The Commodore and Governor Russwurm led the force, on horseback;
the flag-lieutenant and myself being the only other officers fortunate
enough to procure animals. Mine was the queerest charger on which a knight
ever rode to battle; a little donkey, scarcely high enough to keep my feet
from the ground; so lazy that I could only force him into a trot by the
continual prick of my sword; and so vicious that he threw me twice, in
requital of my treatment. The rest of the detachment footed it four miles,
on a sandy road, and under the scorching sun. On the way we overtook
several armed colonists, hurrying to the point of danger. Passing the foot
of Mount Vaughan we reached Mount Tubman, and, ascending a steep, conical
hill, found ourselves on a level space of a hundred yards in diameter,
with a strong picket-fence surrounding it, and a solitary house in the
centre. Fifteen or sixteen armed men were on the watch, as conscious of
the neighborhood of an enemy; the piazza was crowded with women and
children; and from the interior of the house came the merry voices of
above a score of little boys and girls, ignorant of danger, and enjoying a
high frolic. Apart, by the wall, sat a blind man, grasping his staff with
a tremulous hand; and near him lay a sick woman, who had been brought in
from a neighboring farm-house. All these individuals, old and young, had
been driven hither for refuge by the alarm of war.

Not far off, we beheld tokens that an attack had been made, and sternly
resisted by the little garrison of the stockade. On the side opposite the
Cape, a steep path rose towards the gate. Some twenty yards down this
passage lay a native, dead, with an ugly hole in his scull; and, in a
narrow path to the right, was stretched another, who had met his death
from a bullet-wound in the centre of his forehead. The ball had cut the
ligature which bound his "greegree" of shells around his head, and the
faithless charm lay on the ground beside him. Already, the flies were
beginning to cluster about the dead man's mouth. The attacking party, to
which these slain individuals belonged, were of the Barroky tribe. It is
supposed that, knowing King Freeman to be at variance with the colonists,
and hearing the salute in honor of the Commodore's landing, they mistook
it for the commencement of hostilities, and came in to support the native
party and gather spoil.

As their repulse had evidently been decisive, we looked around us to enjoy
the extensive and diversified view from the summit of the hill. Casting
our eyes along the road which we had just passed, the principal settlement
was visible, consisting of two separate villages, intermingled with large
native towns, the dwellings in which greatly outnumbered those of the
colonists. On one side of the rude promontory ran a small river; on the
other, the sea rolled its unquiet waves. At a short distance from the
shore was seen the rocky islet, bearing the name of Go-to-Hell, where the
natives bury their dead. Northward, were the farms of those whom the
recent hostile incursion had driven to this place of refuge. In various
directions, several spurs of hills were visible, on one of which,
glittering among the trees, appeared the white edifices of the Mount
Vaughan Episcopal Mission.

On our return, some of the party halted at the Mission establishment; but
I urged my little donkey onward, and, though this warlike episode had cost
me a dinner, made my re-appearance at the Governor's table in time for the
dessert.




CHAPTER IX.

Palaver with King Freeman--Remarks on the Influence of
Missionaries--Palaver at Rock Boukir--Narrative of Captain Farwell's
Murder--Scene of Embarkation through the Surf--Sail for Little Berebee.


_December_ 9.--At Cape Palmas. We again landed, as on the preceding day,
and met the redoubtable King Freeman, and twenty-three other kings and
headmen from the tribes in the vicinity. The palaver, like that at Sinoe,
was held in the Methodist Church; the Commodore, the Governor, and several
officers and colonists, appearing on one side, and the natives on the
other. There were several striking countenances among the four-and-twenty
negro potentates, and some, even, that bore the marks of native greatness;
as might well be the case, in a system of society where rank and authority
are, in a great measure, the result of individual talent and force of
character. One head man was very like Henry Clay, both in face and figure.
It is remarkable, too, that one of the chiefs at Sinoe not only had a
strong personal resemblance to the same distinguished statesman--being, as
it were, his image in ebony, or bronze--but, while not speaking, moved
constantly about the palaver-house, as is Mr. Clay's habit in the
senate-chamber. The interpreter, on the present occasion, Yellow Will by
name, was dressed in a crimson mantle of silk damask, poncho-shaped, and
trimmed with broad gold lace.

The palaver being opened, the colonists complained that the chiefs had
raised to double what it had been, or ought to be, the prices of rice and
other products, for which the settlements were dependent upon the natives;
also, that they would permit no merchant vessels to communicate with the
colonial town. On representation of these grievances, the Kings agreed to
rescind the obnoxious regulations. This, however, did not satisfy the
Governor, who had hoped to induce King Freeman to remove his town to
another site, and allow the colonists more room. As matters at present
stand, the King's capital city is within three hundred yards of Governor
Russwurm's house, and entirely disunites the colonial settlements on the
Cape. In case of war, the communication between these two sections of the
town of Harper would be completely broken off. The Governor, therefore,
proposed that King Freeman should sell his land on the Cape, receiving a
fair equivalent from the colony, and should transplant his town across the
river, or elsewhere. But the King showed no inclination to comply; nor did
the Commodore, apparently, deem it his province to support Governor
Russwurm, or take any part in the question. The point was accordingly
given up; the Governor merely requesting King Freeman to "look his head,"
that is, consider--and let him know his determination.

There was also a complaint made, on the part of the missionaries, that the
natives had cut off their supplies, and had attempted to take away the
native children, who had been given them to educate. I was subsequently
informed, however, by the Rev. Mr. Hazlehurst, that the missionaries had
no difficulty with the natives, and did not wish their affairs to be
identified with those of the colonists. The above representation,
therefore, appears to have been unauthorized by the mission establishment.
And here, without presuming to offer an opinion as respects their conduct
at this particular juncture, I must be allowed to say, that the
missionaries at Liberia have shown themselves systematically disposed to
claim a position entirely independent of the colonies. They are supported
by wealthy and powerful societies at home; they have been accustomed to
look upon their own race as superior to the colored people; they are
individually conscious, no doubt, in many cases, of an intellectual
standing above that of the persons prominent among the emigrants; and they
are not always careful to conceal their sense of such general or
particular superiority. It is certain, too, that the native Africans
regard the whites with much greater respect than those of their own color.
Hence, it is almost impossible but that jealousy of missionary influence
should exist in the minds of the colonial authorities. The latter
perceive, in the midst of their commonwealth, an alien power, exercised by
persons not entitled to the privileges of citizenship, and to whom it was
never intended to allow voice or action in public affairs. By such a state
of things, the progress of Christianity and civilisation must be rather
retarded than advanced.

There is reason, therefore, to doubt whether the labors of white
missionaries, in the territory over which the colonists exercise
jurisdiction, is, upon the whole, beneficial. If removed beyond those
limits, and insulated among the natives, they may accomplish infinite
good; but not while assuming an anomalous position of independence, and
thwarting the great experiment which the founders of Liberia had in view.
One grand object of these colonies is, to test the disputed and doubtful
point, whether the colored race be capable of sustaining themselves
without the aid or presence of the whites. In order to a fair trial of the
question, it seems essential that none but colored missionaries should be
sent hither. The difficulties between the Government and the Methodist
Episcopal mission confirm these views. At a former period, that mission
possessed power almost sufficient to subvert the Colonial rule.

Let it not be supposed, that these remarks are offered in any spirit of
hostility to missionaries. My intercourse with them in different parts of
the world, has been of the most friendly nature. I owe much to their
kindness, and can bear cheerful testimony to the laborious, self-devoting
spirit in which they do their duty. At Athens, I have seen them toiling
unremittingly, for years, to educate the ignorant and degraded descendants
of the ancient Greeks, and was proud that my own country--in a hemisphere
of which Plato never dreamed--should have sent back to Greece a holier
wisdom than he diffused from thence. In the unhealthy isle of Cyprus, I
have beheld them perishing without a murmur, and their places filled with
new votaries, stepping over the graves of the departed, and not less ready
to spend and be spent in the cause of their Divine Master. I have
witnessed the flight of whole families from the mountains of Lebanon,
where they had lingered until its cedars were prostrate beneath the storm
of war, and only then came to shelter themselves under the flag of their
country. Everywhere, the spirit of the American Missionaries has been
honorable to their native land; nor, whatever be their human
imperfections, is it too much to term them holy in their lives, and often
martyrs in their deaths. And none more so than the very men of whom I now
speak, in these sickly regions of Africa, where I behold them sinking,
more or less gradually, but with certainty, and destitute of almost every
earthly comfort, into their graves. I criticise portions of their conduct,
but reverence their purity of motive; and only regret, that, while
divesting themselves of so much that is worldly, they do not retain either
more wisdom of this world, or less aptness to apply a disturbing influence
to worldly affairs.

But it is time to return from this digression. Matters being now in a good
train at Cape Palmas, we go to use our pacific influence elsewhere.

10.--We sailed at daylight, and anchored this evening at Rock Boukir.

11.--In the morning, twelve armed boats were sent ashore from the three
ships. We landed on an open beach, all in safety, but more or less
drenched by the dangerous surf. One or two boats took in heavy seas,
broached to, and rolled over and over in the gigantic surf-wave. On
landing, we found a body of armed natives, perhaps fifty in number, drawn
up in a line. Their weapons were muskets, iron war-spears, long
fish-spears of wood, and broad knives. They made no demonstrations of
opposing us, but stood stoutly in their ranks, showing more independence
of bearing and less fear, than any natives whom we have met with. They
were evidently under military rule, and, as well as the remainder of the
tribe, evinced a degree of boldness, amounting almost to insolence, which,
it must be owned, would have made our party the more ready for a tustle,
on any reasonable pretext.

The town of Rock Boukir is enclosed by palisades, about eight feet high,
with small gates on every side. It was not the purpose of the natives to
admit us within their walls; but a rain made it desirable that the palaver
should be held in a sheltered place, instead of on the beach, as had been
originally intended.

We therefore marched in, took possession of the place, and stationed
sentinels at every gate. The town was entirely deserted; for the warriors
had gone forth to fight, if a fight there was to be; and the women and
children were sent for security into the "bush." In the central square
stood the Palaver House, beneath the shadow of a magnificent
wide-spreading tree, which had perhaps mingled the murmur of its leaves
with the eloquence of the native orators, for at least a century. Here we
posted ourselves, and awaited the King of Rock Boukir.

The messengers announced, that he wished to bring his armed men within the
walls, and occupy one side of the town, while our party held the other. As
this proposition was not immediately acceded to, and as the King would not
recede, it seemed doubtful whether there would be any palaver, after all.
At length, however, the Commodore ordered the removal of our sentinels
from the gates, on one side of the town, and consented that the native
warriors should come in. A further delay was accounted for, on the plea
that the King was putting on his robes of state. Finally, he entered the
Palaver House and seated himself; an old man of sinister aspect, meanly
dressed, and having for his only weapon a short sword, with a curved
blade, six inches wide. Governor Roberts now opened the palaver, by
informing the king that his tribe were suspected of having participated in
the plunder of the Mary Carver, and the murder of her captain and crew. I
subjoin a brief narrative of this affair.

Two years since, the schooner Mary Carver, of Salem, commanded by Captain
Farwell of Vassalboro', was anchored at Half Berebee, for the purpose of
trading with the natives. Her cargo was valued at twelve thousand dollars.
Captain Farwell felt great confidence in the people of Half Berebee,
although warned not to trust them too far, as they had the character of
being fierce and treacherous. One day, being alone on shore, the natives
knocked him down, bound him, and delivered him to the women and children,
to be tortured by sticking thorns into his flesh. After three hours of
this horrible agony, the men despatched him. As soon as the captain was
secured, a large party was sent on board the vessel, to surprise and
murder the mate and crew. In this they were perfectly successful; not a
soul on board escaped. They then took part of the goods out, and ran the
schooner ashore, where she was effectually plundered. Within a space of
twelve miles along the beach, there are five or six families of Fishmen,
ruled by different members of the Cracko family, of which Ben Cracko of
Half Berebee is the head. All these towns were implicated in the plot, and
received a share of the plunder. A Portuguese schooner had been taken, and
her crew murdered, at the same place, a year before. The business had
turned out so profitably, that other tribes on the coast began to envy the
good fortune of the Crackos, and declared that they likewise were going to
"catch" a vessel.

The object of our present palaver was to inquire into the alleged agency
of the tribe at Rock Boukir in the above transaction. The King, speaking
in his own language, strenuously denied the charge; at the same time
touching his ears and drawing his tongue over his short curved
broad-sword. By these symbols and hieroglyphics, I supposed him to mean,
that he had merely heard of the affair, and that his sword was innocent of
the blood imputed to him. It seems, however, that it is the native form of
taking an oath, equivalent to our kissing the book. The King agreed to go
to Berebee, and assist in the grand palaver to be held there; complying
with a proposal of the Commodore, to take passage thither in the
Macedonian. Matters being so far settled, the council was broken up, and
the party re-embarked.

Several of the boats having been anchored outside of the surf, the
officers and men were carried off to them in the native canoes. The scene
on the beach was quite animated. Hundreds of natives, having laid aside
their weapons, crowded around to watch the proceedings. The women and
children came from the woods in swarms, all talking, screaming, laughing,
and running hither and thither. The canoes were constantly passing from
the shore to the boats, carrying two persons at a time. Our men, being
unaccustomed to such rough water and unsteady conveyances, often capsized
the canoes and were tumbled ashore by the surf, perhaps with the loss of
hats, jackets, or weapons. Here was visible the head of a marine, swimming
to one of the boats, with his musket in his hand. Another, unable to swim,
was upheld by a Krooman. Here and there, an impatient individual plunged
into the surf and struck out for his boat, rather than await the tedious
process of embarkation. All reached the vessels in safety, but few with
dry jackets. His majesty of Rock Boukir, too, went on board the frigate,
according to agreement, and probably, by this mark of confidence, saved
his capital from the flames. If all stories be true, he little deserves
our clemency; and it is even said, that the different tribes held a grand
palaver at this place, for the division of the spoil of the Mary Carver.

We set sail immediately.

12.--Anchored at half past five P.M., off Little Berebee.




CHAPTER X.

Palaver at Little Berebee--Death of the Interpreter and King Ben Cracko,
and burning of the Town--Battle with the Natives, and Conflagration of
several Towns--Turkey Buzzards--A Love-Letter--Moral Reflections--Treaty
of Grand Berebee--Prince Jumbo and his Father--Native system of
Expresses--Curiosity of the Natives.


_December_ 13.--At nine A.M., the boats of the squadron repaired to the
flag-ship, where they were formed in line, and then pulled towards the
shore abreast. The landing-place is tolerably good, but contracted. Four
or five boats might easily approach it together; but when most of the
thirteen attempted it at once, so narrow was the space, that one or two of
them filled. They were hauled up, however, and secured. Our force, on
being disembarked, was stationed in line, opposite the town of Little
Berebee, and the wood in its immediate vicinity. Many of the officers went
up to the Palaver House, a temporary shed erected for the occasion, about
fifty yards from the town-gate. King Ben Cracko now making his appearance,
with five or six headmen or kings of the neighboring tribes, the palaver
began.

The interpreter, on this occasion, was well known to have been, in his own
person, a leading character in the act of piracy and murder, which it was
the object of the palaver to investigate. He had therefore a difficult
part to act; one that required great nerve, and such a talent of throwing
a fair semblance over foul facts, as few men, civilized or savage, are
likely to possess. With the consciousness of guilt upon him, causing him
to startle at the first aspect of peril, it is singular that the man
should have had the temerity to trust himself in so trying a position. His
version of the Mary Carver affair was a very wretched piece of fiction. He
declared that Captain Farwell had killed two natives, and that old King
Cracko, since deceased, had punished the captain by death, in the exercise
of his legitimate authority. He denied that the tribe had participated in
Captain Farwell's murder, or in those of the mate and crew, or in the
robbery of the vessel; affirming that the schooner had gone ashore, and
that everything was lost. All this was a tissue of falsehood; it being
notorious that a large quantity of goods from the wreck, and portions of
the vessel itself, were distributed among the towns along the coast. It
was well known, moreover, that these people had boasted of having "caught"
(to use their own phrase), an American vessel, and that the neighboring
tribes had threatened to follow Ben Cracko's example.

Governor Roberts, who conducted the examination on our part, expressed to
the man his utter disbelief of the above statements. The Commodore,
likewise, stept hastily towards him, sternly warning him to utter no more
falsehoods. The interpreter, perceiving that the impression was against
him, and probably expecting to be instantly made prisoner, or put to
death, now lost the audacity that had hitherto sustained him. At this
moment, it is said, a gun was fired at our party, from the town; and,
simultaneously with the report, the interpreter sprang away like a deer.
There was a cry to stop him--two or three musket-bullets whistled after
the fugitive as he ran--but he had nearly reached the town-gate, when his
limbs, while strained to their utmost energy, suddenly failed beneath him.
A rifle-shot had struck him in the vertebra of the neck, causing
instantaneous death. Meanwhile, King Ben Cracko had made a bolt to escape,
but was seized by his long calico robe; which, however, gave way, leaving
him literally naked in the midst of his enemies. A shot brought him to the
ground; but he sprang to his feet, still struggling to escape. He next
received two bayonet wounds, but fought like a wild beast, until two or
three men flung themselves upon him, and held him down by main force.
Finding himself overpowered, he pretended to be dead, but was securely
bound, and taken to the beach. A lion of the African deserts could not
have shown a fiercer energy than this savage King; and those who gazed at
him, as he lay motionless on the sand, confessed that they had never seen
a frame of such masculine vigor as was here displayed. His wounds proved
mortal.

The melee had been as sudden as the explosion of gunpowder; it was wholly
unexpected, but perhaps not to be wondered at, where two parties, with
weapons in their hands, had met to discuss a question of robbery and
murder. When the firing commenced, about two hundred natives were on the
spot, or in the vicinity; they were now flying in all directions, some
along the beach, a few into the sea itself, but by far the greatest number
to the woods. Many shots were fired, notwithstanding the Commodore's
orders to refrain. We were now directed to break down the palisades, and
set fire to the town. A breach of twenty or thirty feet was soon made in
the wall, by severing the withes that bound together the upright planks.
Before this could be effected, another party crept through the small
holes, serving the purpose of gates, and penetrated to the centre of the
town, where, assembling around the great council-tree, they gave three
cheers. The houses were then set on fire, and, within fifteen minutes,
presented one mass of conflagration. The palisades likewise caught the
flames, and were consumed, leaving an open space of blackened and smoking
ruins, where, half an hour before, the sun had shone upon a town.

The natives did not remain idle spectators of the destruction of their
houses. Advancing to the edge of the woods, they discharged their muskets
at us, loaded not with Christian bullets, but with copper-slugs, probably
manufactured out of the spikes of the Mary Carver. A marine was struck in
the side by one of these missiles, which tumbled him over, but without
inflicting a serious wound. A party from our ship penetrated the woods
behind the town, where one of them fired at an object which he perceived
moving in the underbrush. Going up to the spot, it proved to be a very
aged man, apparently on the verge of a century, much emaciated, and too
feeble to crawl further in company with his flying towns-people. He was
unharmed by the shot, but evidently expected instant death, and held up
his hand in supplication. Our party placed the poor old patriarch in a
more sheltered spot, and left him there, after supplying him with food; an
act of humanity which must have seemed to him very singular, if not
absurd, in contrast with the mischief which we had wrought upon his home
and people. Meantime, the ships were disposed to have a share in the
fight, and opened a cannonade upon the woods, shattering the great
branches of the trees, and adding to the terror, if not to the loss, of
the enemy. Little Berebee being now a heap of ashes, we re-embarked,
taking with us an American flag, probably that of the Mary Carver, which
had been found in the town. We also made prizes of several canoes, one of
which was built for war, and capable of carrying forty men. The wounded
King Cracko, likewise, was taken on board the frigate, where, next
morning, he breathed his last; thus expiating the outrage in which, two
years before, he had been a principal actor. We afterwards understood that
the natives suffered a loss of eight killed and two wounded.

15.--The season for palavers and diplomacy being now over, we landed at
seven o'clock this morning, ten or twelve miles below Berebee, in order to
measure out a further retribution to the natives. On approaching the
beach, we were fired upon from the bushes, but without damage, although
the enemy were sheltered within twenty yards of the water's edge. The
boat's crew first ashore, together with two or three marines, charged into
the shrubbery and drove off the assailants. All being disembarked, the
detachment was formed in line, and marched to the nearest town, which was
immediately attacked. Like the other native towns, it was protected by a
wall of high palisades, planted firmly in the soil, and bound together by
thongs of bamboo. Cutting a passage through these, we entered the place,
which contained perhaps a hundred houses, neatly built of wicker-work, and
having their high conical roofs thatched with palmetto-leaves. Such
edifices were in the highest degree combustible, and being set on fire, it
was worth while for a lover of the picturesque to watch the flames, as
they ran up the conical roofs, and meeting at the apex, whirled themselves
fiercely into the darkened air.

While this was going on, the war-bells, drums, and war-horns of the
natives were continually sounding; and flocks of vultures (perhaps a more
accurate ornithologist might call them turkey-buzzards) appeared in the
sky, wheeling slowly and heavily over our heads. These ravenous birds
seemed to have a presentiment that there were deeds of valor to be done:
nor was it quite a comfortable idea, that some of them, ere nightfall,
might gratify their appetite at one's own personal expense. To confess the
truth, however, they were probably attracted by the scent of some
slaughtered bullocks; it being indifferent to a turkey-buzzard whether he
prey on a cow or a Christian. After destroying the first town, we marched
about a mile and a half up the beach, to attack a second. On our advance,
the marine drummer and fifer were ordered from the front of the column to
the rear, as being a position of less danger. They of course obeyed; but
the little drummer deeming it a reflection upon his courage, burst into
tears, and actually blubbered aloud as he beat the _pas de charge_. It
was a strange operation of manly spirit in a boyish stage of development.

As we approached the second town, our boat-keepers, who watched the scene,
distinctly saw a party of thirty or forty natives lying behind a palisade,
with their guns pointed at our advanced guard. Unconscious that the enemy
were so near, we halted for an instant, about forty yards from the town,
and then advanced at a run. This so disconcerted the defenders that they
fled, after firing only a few shots, none of which took effect. In fact,
the natives proved themselves but miserable marksmen. They can seldom hit
an object in motion, although, if a man stand still, they sometimes manage
to put a copper-slug into his body, by taking aim a long time. After
firing, the savage runs a long distance before he ventures to load. Had
their skill or their hardihood been greater, we must have suffered
severely; for the woods extended nearly to the water's edge, and exposed
us, during the whole day, to the fire of a sheltered and invisible enemy.

After the storm and conflagration of the second town, we took a brief
rest, and then proceeded to capture and burn another, situated about a
mile to the northward. This accomplished, we judged it to be dinner-time.
Indeed, we had done work enough to ensure an appetite; and history does
not make mention, so far as I am aware, of such destruction of cities so
expeditiously effected. Having emptied our baskets, we advanced about
three miles along the beach--still with the slugs of the enemy whistling
in our ears--and gave to the devouring element another town. Man is
perhaps never happier than when his native destructiveness can be freely
exercised, and with the benevolent complacency of performing a good
action, instead of the remorse of perpetrating a bad one. It unites the
charms of sin and virtue. Thus, in all probability, few of us had ever
spent a day of higher enjoyment than this, when we roamed about, with a
musket in one hand and a torch in the other, devastating what had hitherto
been the homes of a people.

One of the sweetest spots that I have seen in Africa, was a little hamlet
of three houses, standing apart from the four large towns above-mentioned,
and surrounded by an impervious hedge of thorn-bushes, with two palisaded
entrances. Forcing our way through one of these narrow portals, we beheld
a grassy area of about fifty yards across, overshadowed by a tree of very
dense foliage, which had its massive roots in the centre, and spread its
great protecting branches over the whole enclosure. The three dwellings
were of the same sort of basket-work as those already described, but
particularly neat, and giving a pleasant impression of the domestic life
of their inhabitants. This small, secluded hamlet had probably been the
residence of one family, a patriarch, perhaps, with his descendants to the
third or fourth generation--who, beneath that shadowy tree, must have
enjoyed all the happiness of which uncultivated man is susceptible. Nor
would it be too great a stretch of liberality, to suppose that the green
hedge of impervious thorns had kept out the vices of their race, and that
the little area within was a sphere where all the virtues of the native
African had been put in daily practice. These three dwellings, and the
verdant wall around them, and the great tree that brooded over the whole,
might unquestionably have been spared, with safety to our consciences. But
when man takes upon himself the office of an avenger by the sword, he is
not to be perplexed with such little scrupulosities, as whether one
individual or family be less guilty than the rest. Providence, it is to be
presumed, will find some method of setting such matters right. In fine,
when the negro patriarch's strong sable sons supported their decrepit sire
homeward, with their wives, "black, but comely," bearing the glistening,
satin-skinned babies on their backs, and their other little ebony
responsibilities trudging in the rear, there must have been a dismal wail;
for there was the ancestral tree, its foliage shrivelled with fire,
stretching out its desolate arms over the ashes of the three wicker
dwellings.

The business of the day was over. Besides short excursions, and charges
into the bush, the men had marched and countermarched at least twelve
miles upon the beach, with the surf sometimes rolling far beyond our
track. Some hundreds of slugs had been fired at us; and, on our part, we
had blazed away at every native who had ventured to show his face; but the
amount of casualties, after such a day of battle, reminds one of the
bloodless victories and defeats of an Italian army, during the middle
ages. In a word, we had but two men wounded; and whether any of the enemy
were killed or no, it is impossible to say. At all events, we slew a
number of neat cattle, eight or nine of which were sent on board the
ships, where they answered a much better purpose than as many human
carcasses. The other spoil consisted of several canoes, together with
numerous household utensils--which we shall bring home as trophies and
curiosities. There was also a chain cable, and many other articles
belonging to the Mary Carver, and a pocket-book, containing a letter
addressed to Captain Robert McFarland. The purport of the epistle is not a
matter of public interest; but it was written in a lady's delicate hand,
and was probably warm with affection; and little did the fair writer dream
that her missive would find its way into an African hut, where it was
probably regarded as a piece of witchcraft.

Thus ended the warfare of Little Berebee. The degree of retribution meted
out had by no means exceeded what the original outrage demanded; and the
mode of it was sanctioned by the customs of the African people. According
to their unwritten laws, if individuals of a tribe commit a crime against
another tribe or nation, the criminal must either be delivered up, or
punished at home, or the tribe itself becomes responsible for their guilt.
An example was of peremptory necessity; and the American vessels trading
on the coast will long experience a good effect from this day's battle and
destruction. The story will be remembered in the black man's traditions,
and will have its due weight in many a palaver. Nevertheless, though the
burning of villages be a very pretty pastime, yet it leaves us in a
moralizing mood, as most pleasures are apt to do; and one would fain hope
that civilized man, in his controversies with the barbarian, will at
length cease to descend to the barbarian level, and may adopt some other
method of proving his superiority, than by his greater power to inflict
suffering. For myself personally, the "good old way" suits me tolerably
enough; but I am disinterestedly anxious that posterity should find a
better.

16.--We sailed at day-light for Grand Berebee. Nearing the point on which
it is situated, the ships hoisted white flags at the fore, in token of
amity. A message was sent on shore to the King, who came off in a large
canoe, and set his hand to a treaty, promising to keep good faith with
American vessels. He likewise made himself responsible for the good
conduct of the other tribes in the vicinity.

On board the Macedonian, there were five prisoners, who had been taken two
months ago, by the brig Porpoise. One was the eldest son of this King, and
the others belonged to his tribe. The meeting between the King and prince
was very affecting, and fully proved that nature has not left these wild
people destitute of warmth and tenderness of heart. They threw themselves
into each other's arms, wept, laughed, and danced for joy. To the King,
his son was like one risen from the dead; he had given him up for lost,
supposing that the young man had been executed. The prisoners were each
presented with a new frock and trowsers, besides tobacco, handkerchiefs,
and other suitable gifts. The prince received a lieutenant's old uniform
coat; and when they got into their canoe, it was amusing to see how
awkwardly he paddled, in this outlandish trim. He made two or three
attempts to get the coat off, but without success. One of his companions
then offered his assistance; but as he took the prince by the collar,
instead of the sleeve, it was found impracticable to rid him of the
garment. The more he pulled, the less it would come off; and the last we
saw of Prince Jumbo, he was holding up his skirts in one hand, and
paddling with the other. There will be grand rejoicings to-night, on the
return of the prisoners. All will be dancing and jollity; plays will be
performed; the villages will re-echo with the report of fire-arms and the
clamor of drums; and the whole population will hold a feast of bullocks.

20.--Anchored at Cape Palmas. The natives here were alarmed at the return
of the three ships; and many of them carried away their moveables into the
woods. News of the destruction of the towns below had reached them several
days since. They have a simple, but very effective system of expresses.
When information of great interest is to be conveyed from tribe to tribe,
one of their swiftest runners is despatched, who makes what speed he can,
and, when tired, entrusts his message to another. Thus it is speeded on,
without a moment's delay. Should the runner encounter a river in his
course, he shouts his news across; it is caught up on the other side, and
immediately sent forward. In this manner, intelligence finds its way along
the coast with marvellous celerity.

23.--We sailed two days ago. Yesterday, there came off from the shore,
some six or eight miles, a couple of canoes, paddled by six men each, who
exerted themselves to the utmost to overtake us. They had nothing to sell;
and their only object seemed to be, to obtain the particulars of the fight
and conflagration at Little Berebee, a hundred and fifty miles below.

25.--Anchored at Monrovia, and landed Governor Roberts, who, with Dr.
Johnson, had been a passenger from Cape Palmas.

28.--Sailed for Porto Praya, with the intention of visiting Madeira,
before returning to the coast.




CHAPTER XI.

Madeira--Aspect of the Island--Annual races--"Hail Columbia!"--Ladies,
Cavaliers, and Peasants--Dissertation upon Wines--The Clerks of
Funchal--Decay of the Wine-Trade--Cultivation of Pine-Trees--A Night in
the Streets--Beautiful Church--A Sunday-evening Party--Currency of
Madeira.


_January_ 19, 1844.--We made Madeira yesterday, but, the weather being
thick and squally, stood off and on until to-day.

20. Our ship rides gently at her anchor. The Loo rock rises fifty feet
perpendicular from the water, at so short a distance, that we can hear the
drum beat tattoo in the small, inaccessible castle, on its summit. This
rock is the outpost of the city of Funchal. The city stretches along the
narrow strip of level ground, near the shore, with vine-clad hills rising
steeply behind. On the slopes of these eminences are many large houses,
surrounded with splendid gardens, and occupied by wealthy inhabitants,
chiefly Englishmen, who have retired upon their fortunes, or are still
engaged in business. On a height to the left, stands a castle of
considerable size, in good repair. High up among the hills, in bold
relief, is seen the church of Our Lady of the Mount, with its white walls
and two towers. The hills are rugged, steep, and furrowed with deep
ravines, along which, after the heavy rains of winter, the mountain
torrents dash headlong to the sea.

My remarks on Madeira will be thrown together without the regularity of a
daily journal; for our visit to the island proves so delightful, that it
seems better worth the while to enjoy, than to describe it.

The annual races are well attended. During their continuance, throngs of
passengers, on foot, on horseback, and in palanquins, are continually
proceeding to the course, a little more than a mile and a half from town.
The road thither constantly ascends, until you find yourself several
hundred feet above the sea, with an extensive prospect beneath and around.
A tolerable space for the track is here afforded by an oblong plain,
seven-eighths of a mile in length. Near the judges' stand was a large
collection of persons of all classes, ladies, dandies, peasants, and
jockeys. Here, too, were booths for the sale of eatables and drinkables,
and a band of music to enliven the scene.

These musicians saw fit to honor us in a very particular manner. They had
all agreed to ship on board our vessel; and, with a view to please their
new masters, when three or four of our officers rode into the course, they
played "Hail Columbia." We took off our caps in acknowledgment, and
thought it all very fine. Directly afterwards, two other officers rode in,
and were likewise saluted with "Hail Columbia!" Anon, two or three of us
dismounted and strolled about among the people, thinking nothing of the
band, until we were reminded of their proximity by the old tune again. In
short, every motion on our part, however innocent and unpretending, caused
the hills of Madeira to resound with the echoes of our national air.
Finding that our position assumed a cast of the ridiculous, we gave the
leader to understand, that, if the tune were played again, the band's
first experience of maritime life should be a flogging at the gangway. The
hint was sufficient; not only did we hear no more of "Hail Columbia," but
none of the musicians ever came near the ship.

With few exceptions the running was wretched. One or two of the
match-races (which were ten in number, all single heats, of a mile each)
were well contested. The first was run by two ponies; a fat black one with
a chubby boy on his back, and a red, which, as well as his rider, was in
better racing condition. The black was beaten out of sight. The second
race was by two other ponies, one of which took the lead, and evidently
had the heels of his antagonist. Suddenly, however, he bolted, and leaped
the wall, leaving the track to be trotted over by the slower colt. Two
grey horses succeeded, and made pretty running; but their riders, instead
of attending to business, joined hands, and rode a quarter of a mile in
this amiable attitude. Rather than antagonists, one would have taken them
for twin brethren, like two other famous horsemen, Castor and Pollux. To
the ladies this mode of racing appeared delightful; but the remarks of our
party, consisting of several English and American officers and gentlemen,
were anything but complimentary. The last quarter of this heat was well
run, one of the horses winning apparently by a neck. The judge, however, a
Portuguese, decided that it was a dead heat.

At one extremity of the course, the hill rises abruptly; and here were
hundreds of persons of both sexes, in an excellent position to see the
running, and to impart a pretty effect to the scene. A large number of
peasantry were present, dressed in their peculiar costume, and taking
great interest in the whole matter. Both men and women wear a little blue
cap lined with scarlet, so small that one wonders how it sticks on the
head. In shape it is like an inverted funnel, running up to a sharp point.
The women have short, full dresses, with capes of a dark blue, trimmed
with a lighter blue, or of scarlet with blue trimming. These colors form a
sectional distinction; the girls of the north side of the island wearing
the scarlet capes, and those of the south side, the blue. In the intervals
of the races, ladies and gentlemen cantered round the course, and some of
them raced with their friends. Three Scottish ladies, with more youth than
beauty, and dressed in their plaids, made themselves conspicuous by their
bold riding, and quite carried off the palm of horsemanship from their
cavaliers.

A sketch of Madeira would be incomplete indeed, without some mention of
its wines. Three years ago, when it was more a matter of personal
interest, I visited this island, and gained considerable information on
the subject. Madeira then produced about thirty thousand pipes annually,
one third of which was consumed on the island, one-third distilled into
brandy, and the remainder exported. About one-third of the exportation
went to the United States, and the balance to other parts of the world.
The best wines are principally sent to our own country--that is to say,
the best exported--for very little of the first-rate wine goes out of the
island. The process of adulteration is as thoroughly understood and
practised here, as anywhere else. The wine sent to the United States is a
kind that has been heated, to give it an artificial age. The mode of
operation is simply to pour the wine into large vats, and submit it for
several days to a heat of about 110. After this ordeal, the wine is not
much improved by keeping.

There are other modes of adulteration, into the mysteries of which I was
not admitted. One fact, communicated to me by an eminent wine-merchant,
may shake the faith of our connoisseurs as to the genuineness of their
favorite beverage. It is, that, from a single pipe of "mother wine," ten
pipes are manufactured by the help of inferior wine. This "mother wine" is
that which has been selected for its excellence, and is seldom exported
pure. The wines, when fresh from the vintage, are as various in their
flavor as our cider. It is by taste and _smell_ that the various kinds
are selected, after which the poorer wines are distilled into brandy, and
the better are put in cases, and placed in store to ripen. The liquor is
from time to time racked off, and otherwise managed until ready for
exportation. It is _invariably_ "treated" with brandy. French brandy was
formerly used, which being now prohibited, that of the island is
substituted, although of an inferior quality.

Besides the "Madeira wine," so famous among convivialists, there are
others of higher price and superior estimation. There is the "Sercial,"
distinguished by a kind of Poppy taste. There is the Malmsey, or "Ladies'
wine," and the "Vina Tinta," or Madeira Claret, as it is sometimes called.
The latter is made of the black grapes, in a peculiar manner. After being
pressed, the skins of the grapes are placed in a vat, where the juice is
poured upon them and suffered to stand several days, until it has taken
the hue required. The taste of this wine is between those of Port and
Claret. There is a remarkable difference in the quality of the vintages of
the north and south sides of the island; the former not being a third part
so valuable as the latter. The poorer classes drink an inferior and acid
wine.

The vineyards are generally owned by rich proprietors, by whom they are
farmed out to the laborer, who pays half the produce when the wine has
been pressed; the government first taking its tenth. The grape-vines run
along frame-work, raised four or five feet from the ground, so as to allow
the cultivator room to weed the stalks beneath. The finest grapes are
those which grow upon the sunny side of a wall. At the season of vintage,
the grapes are placed in a kind of canoe, where they are first crushed by
men's feet (all wines, even the richest and purest, having this original
tincture of the human foot), and then pressed by a beam.

Perhaps the very finest wines in the world are to be found collected at
the suppers given by the clerks, in the large mercantile houses of
Madeira. By an established custom, when one of their corps is about to
leave the island, he gives an entertainment, to which every guest
contributes a bottle or two of wine. It is a point of honor to produce the
best; and as the clerks know, quite as well as their principals, where the
best is to be found, and as the honor of their respective houses is to be
sustained, it may well be imagined that all the _bon-vivants_ on earth,
were they to meet at one table, could hardly produce such a variety of
fine old Madeira, as the clerks of Funchal then sip and descant upon. In
no place do mercantile clerks hold so respectable a position in society as
here; owing to the tacit understanding between their principals and
themselves, that, at some future day, they are to be admitted as partners
in the houses. This is so general a rule, that the clerk seems to hold a
social position scarcely inferior to that of the head of the
establishment. They prove their claim to this high consideration, by the
zeal with which they improve their minds and cultivate their manners, in
order to fill creditably the places to which they confidently aspire.

At my second visit to Madeira, I find the wine trade at a very low ebb.
The demand from America, owing to temperance, the tariff, and partly to an
increased taste for Spanish, French, and German wines, is extremely small.
Not a cargo has been shipped thither for three years. The construction
given to the tariff, by the Secretary of the Treasury, will infuse new
life into the trade.

The hills around the city of Funchal are covered with vineyards, as far up
as the grape will grow; then come the fields of vegetables; and the
plantations of pine for the supply of the city. The island took its name
from the great quantity of wood which overshadowed it, at its first
discovery. This being long ago exhausted, considerable attention is paid
to the cultivation of the pine-tree, which produces the most profitable
kind of wood. In twelve or thirteen years, it is fit for the market, and
commands a handsome price. Far up the mountains, we saw one plantation, in
which fifty or sixty acres had been covered with pines, within a few
years; some of the infant trees being only an inch high. Thus in the
course of a morning's ride, we ascend from the region of the laughing and
luxuriant vine, into that of the stately and sombre pine; it is like being
transported by enchantment from the genial clime of Madeira into the
rugged severity of a New England forest.

In going up the mountain, the traveller encounters many peasants, both men
and women, with bundles of weeds for horses, and sticks for fire-wood,
which are carried upon the head. Thus laden, they walk several miles, and
perhaps sell their burthens for ten or twelve cents apiece. Articles
cannot easily be conveyed in any other manner, down the steep declivities
of the hills. In the city, burthens are drawn by oxen, on little drags,
which glide easily over the smooth, round pavements. The driver carries in
his hand a long mop without a handle, or what a sailor would term a "wet
swab." If any difficulty occur in drawing the load, this moist mop is
thrown before the drag, which readily glides over it.

The beggars of Funchal are numerous and importunate, and many of them
wretched enough, as, in one instance, I had occasion to witness. With a
friend, I had quitted a ball at two o'clock in the morning. The porter of
our hotel, not expecting us at so late an hour, had retired; and, as all
the family slept in the back part of the house, we were unable to awaken
them by our long and furious knocking. Several Englishmen occupied the
front apartments, but scorned to give themselves any trouble about the
matter, except to breathe a slumberous execration against the disturbers
of their sleep. On the other hand, our anathemas were louder, and quite as
bitter upon these inhospitable inmates. Finally, after half an hour's
vigorous but ineffectual assault upon the portal, we retreated in despair,
and betook ourselves to walk the streets. The night was beautifully clear,
but too cool for the enervated frame of an African voyager. We were tired
with dancing, and occasionally sat down; but the door-steps were all of
stone, and, though we buttoned our coats closely, it was impossible to
remain long inactive.

Near morning, we approached the door of the Cathedral, and were about to
seat ourselves, when we perceived a person crouching on the spot, and
apparently asleep. The slumber was not sound; for when we spoke, a young
girl, a mere rose-bud of a woman, about fourteen years of age, arose and
answered. She was very thinly clad; and, with her whole frame shivering,
the poor thing assumed an airy and mirthful deportment, to attract us. It
was grievous to imagine how many nights like this the unhappy girl was
doomed to pass, and that all her nights were such, unless when vice and
degradation procured her a temporary shelter. Ever since that hour, when I
picture the pleasant island of Madeira, with its sunshine, and its
vineyards, and its jovial inhabitants, the shadow of this miserable child
glides through the scene.

One of the most beautiful houses of worship I have ever seen, is the
English church, just outside of the city of Funchal. The edifice has no
steeple or bells, these being prohibited by the treaty between Portugal
and Great Britain, which permits the English protestants to erect
churches. You approach it through neat gravel walks, lined with the most
brilliant flowers, and these in such magnificent profusion, that the
building may be said to stand in the midst of a great flower-garden. The
aspect is certainly more agreeable, if not more appropriate, than that of
the tombstones and little hillocks which usually surround the sacred
edifice; it is one method of rendering the way to Heaven a path of
flowers. On entering the church, we perceive a circular apartment, lighted
by a dome of stained glass. The finish of the interior is perfectly neat,
but simple. The organ is fine-toned, and was skilfully played. Pleasant it
was to see again a church full of well-dressed English--those Saxon faces,
nearest of kin to our own--and to hear once more the familiar service,
after being so long shut out from consecrated walls!

Sunday is not observed with much strictness, in Madeira. On the evening of
that day, I called at a friend's house, where thirty or forty persons, all
Portuguese, were collected, without invitation. Music, dancing, and cards,
were introduced for the entertainment of the guests. The elder portion sat
down to whist; and, in a corner of the large dancing room, one of the
gentlemen established a faro-bank, which attracted most of the company to
look on, or bet. So much more powerful were the cards than the ladies,
that it was found difficult to enlist gentlemen for a single cotillion.
After a while, dancing was abandoned, and cards ruled supreme. The married
ladies made bets as freely as the gentlemen; and several younger ones,
though more reserved, yet found courage to put down their small stakes. I
observed one sweet girl of sixteen, standing over the table, and watching
the game with intense interest. Methought the game within her bosom was
for a more serious stake than that upon the table, and better worth the
observer's notice. Who should win it?--her guardian angel? or the gambling
fiend? Alas, the latter! She bashfully drew a little purse from her bosom,
and put her stake down with the rest.

The currency of Madeira is principally composed of the old-fashioned
twenty cent pieces, called cruzados, which pass at the rate of five for a
dollar. Payments of thousands of dollars are made in this coin, which, not
being profitable to remit, circulates from hand to hand.




CHAPTER XII.

Passage back to Liberia--Coffee Plantations--Dinner on Shore--Character of
Col. Hicks--Shells and Sentiment--Visit to the Council Chamber--the New
Georgia Representative--a Slave-Ship--Expedition up the St. Paul's--Sugar
Manufactory--Maumee's beautiful Grand-Daughter--the Sleepy Disease--the
Mangrove-Tree.


 _February_ 29.--We are on our return to Liberia. The ship is destined to
cruise along the whole coast, from Cape Mesurado to the river Gaboon,
touching at all important and interesting points. It will present the best
opportunity yet enjoyed, to observe whatever things worthy of notice the
country can present. Hourly, as we approach the coast, we perceive the
difference in temperature. It is a grateful change, that of winter to
summer. Last night was as mild as a summer evening at home. I remained on
the forecastle till midnight, enjoying the moonlight, the soft air, and
the cheerful song of a cricket, which had been, in some manner, brought on
board at Porto Praya, a week ago. He seems to be the merriest of the crew,
and now nightly pipes to the forecastle men.

Our ship slides along almost imperceptibly, yet gets over the sea
wonderfully well. She is a noble ship, stiff, fast, and dry. Her motion is
very easy, and her performance, whether in strong or light breezes, is
always excellent. Her grating-deck has been taken off, as it made her a
little top-heavy and uneasy, and detracted from her speed; and she is
infinitely better for the change.

_March_ 2.--Anchored at Monrovia, in less than eight days from Porto
Praya, although the winds were light, most of the time. Several of our
Kroomen, who left us, two months ago, completely dressed in sailor-rig,
came on board with only a hat and a handkerchief, and forthwith proceeded
to haul upon the ropes, as before.

6.--I have been walking through Judge Benedict's coffee-plantation, from
the condition of which I find little encouragement to persons disposed to
engage in the business. The trees are certainly not so thrifty, and are
apparently less in number than they were three years ago. There is little
or no weeding done; consequently, the plantation is overgrown with grass
and bushes, and looks as if the forest might, at no distant day, reclaim
its children. All the trees have been transplanted from the neighboring
woods, and, it is said, do not flourish so well as those raised from seed,
in nurseries. General Lewis has several thousand coffee-plants growing
from the seed, and, in two or three years, will have tested the
comparative advantages of this plan.

I dined ashore to-day. At the table were a Dutchman, a Dane, four American
officers, and Colonel Hicks. All, except myself, were good talkers, and
composed a delightful dinnerparty. Colonel Hicks, of whom I have before
spoken in this Journal, is one of the most shrewd, active and agreeable
men in the colony. Once a slave in Kentucky, and afterwards in
New-Orleans, he is now a commission-merchant in Monrovia, doing a business
worth four or five thousand dollars per annum. Writing an elegant hand, he
uses this accomplishment to the best advantage by inditing letters, on all
occasions, to those who can give him business. If a French vessel shows
her flag in the harbor, the Colonel's Krooman takes a letter to the
master, written in his native language. If an American man-of-war, he
writes in English, offering his services, and naming some person as his
intimate friend, who will probably be known on board. Then he is so
hospitable, and his house always so neat, and his table so good--his lady,
moreover, is such a friendly, pleasant-tempered person, and so
good-looking, into the bargain--that it is really a fortunate day for the
stranger in Liberia, when he makes the acquaintance of Colonel and Mrs.
Hicks. Every day, after the business of the morning is concluded, the
Colonel dresses for dinner, which appears upon the table at three o'clock.
He presides with genuine elegance and taste; his stories are good, and his
quotations amusing. To be sure, he occasionally commits little mistakes,
such, for instance, as speaking of America as his Alma Mater; but, on the
whole, even without any allowance for a defective education, he appears
wonderfully well. One circumstance is too indicative of strong sense, as
well as good taste, not to be mentioned;--he is not ashamed of his color,
but speaks of it without constraint, and without effort. Most colored men
avoid alluding to their hue, thus betraying a morbid sensibility upon the
point, as if it were a disgraceful and afflicting dispensation. Altogether
the Colonel and his lady make many friends, and are as apparently happy,
and as truly respectable as any couple here or elsewhere.

Coming to the beach, we found no boat; and nearly half an hour passed
before one arrived to take us on board. In the interim, I strolled along
the shore, picking up the small shells, which the waves had thrown in
abundance upon the sand. In the eye of a conchologist, they would have
been of little value, as all of them were common, and none possessed more
than a single valve. But the purple blush of the interior pleased me; and
what is more, I was gathering these trifles for a lady whom I have never
seen, yet whom I trust that I may venture to count among my friends. I
know that she will be pleased with the poor offering and its giver; for
each of these shells is linked with a thought that flew over the sea--from
the sunset shore of Africa to a fireside in New England--and returned
thence to the wanderer, bringing grateful fancies, reminiscences, and
hopes. It was a smiling half-hour.

9.--Ashore, and in the council-chamber. It is a spacious apartment on the
second floor of the stone building recently erected for the purposes of a
Legislative Hall and Court-House. The Governor presided, sitting in a high
backed rocking-chair; which, by the by, the natives call a "Missionary
Horse." The colonial Secretary acted as chief-clerk, and Doctor Prout, in
gold-bowed spectacles, as his assistant. An ungainly lad, with big feet
and striped hose, seemed to engross in his own person the offices of
door-keeper, sergeant-at-arms, and page. The council proper consisted of
ten members, who sat at separate desks, arranged semi-circularly in front
of the Governor. The spectators occupied rude benches in the rear of the
members.

The question before the council related to the building of a market-house
in Monrovia, at the expense of the commonwealth, as proposed in one of the
sections of a bill to form a city government. This being a matter of some
interest, each member expressed his views, but with such brevity that the
whole debate occupied scarcely forty minutes, although several individuals
spoke twice. This conciseness was less a virtue of choice than necessity,
being attributable chiefly to the fact, that the presiding officer set his
face against all vagaries of eloquence, and kept the speakers strictly to
the point. If one wandered in the least, he was instantly called to order,
and compelled to take his seat, upon the slightest deviation from the
rules of the house. One of the members was a wilder specimen of humanity
than even our legislative bodies at home have ever presented to an
admiring world. He was a re-captured African, representing New Georgia, an
uncouth figure of a man, who spoke very broken English, with great
earnestness, and much to the amusement of his brother counsellors and the
audience generally. I regret my inability to preserve either the matter or
the manner of so original an orator.

Here, as in the various other situations in which I have seen him placed,
Governor Roberts acquitted himself as a dignified, manly, and sensible
person. Deriving his appointment from the Society at home, he can act with
more independence, in an official capacity, than if indebted to the voices
of the members for his position.

15.--At sea again, on our way to Gallenas.

17.--Fell in with the English brig-of-war Ferret. Our captain went on
board, and was told that she had been engaged with a large slaver, four
days ago. Previous to the action, the slave-ship went to Gallenas, where
the Ferret's pinnace was at anchor. She ran alongside of the boat, with
three guns out on a side, and her waist full of musketeers--a superiority
of force in view of which the pinnace did not venture to attack her; and
the ship took in nine hundred or a thousand slaves, and went off
unmolested. At sea, she encountered the Ferret, and was fired into
repeatedly by that vessel, during the night, but succeeded in making her
escape. The slaver was under Portuguese colors, and is said to have been
formerly the American ship Crawford, now owned by Spaniards, and bearing a
Spanish name.

18.--Again came to an anchor at Monrovia.

19.--Just returned from an excursion up the St. Paul's river. Three
officers, in company with Dr. Lugenbeel, left Monrovia seasonably in the
forenoon, in one of our boats, rowed--and well rowed too--by five Kroomen.
Near the village, we passed from the Mesurado river through Stockton's
creek, seven or eight miles, to the St. Paul's. Our first landing was at
the public farm, where the manufacture of sugar was going on. Twelve
Kroomen (whose power, in this country, is applied to as great a variety of
purposes as those of steam and water in our own) were turning the mill by
two long levers, walking round and round in one interminable circle, like
the horse in an old-fashioned bark-mill. Three or four boys fed the mill
with cane, which about a score of colonists were employed in cutting and
bringing in by small armsfull, from a field in the immediate vicinity. The
overseer, Mr. Moore, and a few other persons, were occupied in boiling the
cane-juice. Mr. Moore informed me that sixteen Kroomen were employed on
the premises, at three dollars per month, and twenty-five colonists at
sixty-two and a half cents a day, besides their food. This year, they make
about thirty barrels of sugar (which will cost at least twenty-five cents
per pound), and two pipes of molasses. The cane, now in process of
manufacture, is very small and unprofitable, all of the larger kind having
been already ground. The sugar-house is a wretched building, with a
thatched roof, and the sides roughly boarded like a cow-shed. There were
four boilers in full bubble, and ten thousand bees in full buzz about the
establishment; the insects bidding fair to hoard up more profit than the
sugar-manufacturers.

Mr. Moore had accompanied the Niger expedition in the capacity of farmer,
and resided nine or ten months on the model farm, without undergoing the
prevalent sickness. While almost every white man perished, the colored
colonists all survived. A large amount of property was left in the charge
of Mr. Moore, and he returned with the expedition to England. As
superintendent of the public farm, he now receives from the Colonization
Society a salary of three hundred dollars.

Leaving the farm, we soon entered the St. Paul's, a noble river, which
comes rolling onward from the yet unexplored interior of the country.
Following its course a mile or more towards the sea, we arrived at
Maumee's Town, a village of thirty or forty huts, where a considerable
slave-trade was carried on, until broken up by the colonists under
Governor Ashman. Old Maumee still resides here, and cherishes a bitter
hatred against the Liberians, and all Americans and Englishmen, as having
caused the ruin of her profitable commerce. The old hag was not now at
home, having obeyed the custom of the country by retiring to a more
secluded spot, for the purpose of nursing a sick granddaughter. The
persons who remained were quite uninteresting. The only noticeable group
was composed of two women, one lying flat on her face, with her head in
the other's lap. Her hair being combed out as straight as the tenacity of
its curls would allow, her friend was arranging it in that fine braid with
which it is customary to cover the head.

Having procured a guide, we crossed the river, and, at the mouth of
Logan's creek, exchanged our boat for a large canoe, in which we followed
the windings of the deep and narrow inlet for nearly two miles. This
brought us to a village of six huts. Without ceremony, we entered the
dwelling of the old Queen (who was busied about her household affairs),
and looked around for her grand-daughter, to see whom was the principal
object of our excursion. On my former visit to Maumee's town, four or five
months ago, this girl excited a great deal of admiration by her beauty and
charming simplicity. She was then thirteen or fourteen years of age, a
bright mulatto, with large and soft black eyes, and the most brilliantly
white teeth in the world. Her figure, though small, is perfectly
symmetrical. She is the darling of the old Queen, whose affections exhaust
themselves upon her with all the passionate fire of her temperament--and
the more unreservedly, because the girl's own mother is dead.

We entered the hut, as I have said, without ceremony, and looked about us
for the beautiful grand-daughter. But, on beholding the object of our
search, a kind of remorse or dread came over us, such as often affects
those who intrude upon the awfulness of slumber. The girl lay asleep in
the adjoining apartment on a mat that was spread over the hard ground, and
with no pillow beneath her cheek. One arm was by her side--the other above
her head--and she slept so quietly, and drew such imperceptible breath,
that I scarcely thought her alive. With some little difficulty she was
roused, and awoke with a frightened cry--a strange and broken murmur--as
if she were looking dimly out of her sleep, and knew not whether our
figures were real, or only the phantasies of a dream. Her eyes were wild
and glassy, and she seemed to be in pain. While awake, there was a nervous
twitching about her mouth and in her fingers; but, being again extended on
the mat, and left to herself, these symptoms of disquietude passed away;
and she almost immediately sank again into the deep and heavy sleep, in
which we found her. As her eyes gradually closed their lids, the sunbeams,
struggling through the small crevices between the reeds of the hut,
glimmered down about her head. Perhaps it was only the nervous motion of
her fingers; but it seemed as if she were trying to catch the golden rays
of the sun and make playthings of them--or else to draw them into her
soul, and illuminate the slumber that looked so misty and dark to us.

This poor, doomed girl had been suffering--no, not suffering, for, except
when forcibly aroused, there appears to be no uneasiness--but she had been
lingering two months in a disease peculiar to Africa. It is called the
"sleepy disease," and is considered incurable. The persons attacked by it
are those who take little exercise, and live principally on vegetables,
particularly cassady and rice. Some ascribe it altogether to the cassady,
which is supposed to be strongly narcotic. Not improbably, the climate has
much influence, the disease being most prevalent in low and marshy
situations. Irresistible drowsiness continually weighs down the patient,
who can be kept awake only for the few moments needful to take a little
food. When this lethargy has lasted three or four months, death
comes--with a tread that the patient cannot hear, and makes the slumber
but a little more sound.

I found the aspect of Maumee's beautiful grand-daughter inconceivably
affecting. It was strange to behold her so quietly involved in sleep--from
which it might be supposed she would awake so full of youthful life--and
yet to know that this was no refreshing slumber, but a spell in which she
was fading away from the eyes that loved her. Whatever might chance, be it
grief or joy, the effect would be the same. Whoever should shake her by
the arm--whether the accents of a friend fell feebly on her ear, or those
of strangers, like ourselves, the only response would be that troubled
cry, as of a spirit that hovered on the confines of both worlds, and could
have sympathy with neither. And yet, withal, it seemed so easy to cry to
her--"Awake! Enjoy your life! Cast off this noon-tide slumber!" But only
the peal of the last trumpet will summon her out of that mysterious sleep.

On our return, we passed under the branches of the mangrove tree, and
pulled some of the long fruit or seed. This singular seed is about fifteen
or sixteen inches long, and in its greatest diameter not more than an
inch. It is round, heavy, and pointed at both ends. When ripe, it detaches
itself from a sort of acorn, to which the smaller end has been firmly
joined, and falls with sufficient force to implant itself deeply in the
mud. After a few days, it begins to shoot, and soon becomes a tall
mangrove. This tree has many strings to its bow; for, while the seed is
growing, as here described, the branches send down slender and cord-like
shoots, perhaps thirty feet long, and less than an inch in thickness.
These strike into the mud, and aid in giving sustenance to the tree. Thus
the Mangrove presents the appearance of a large tree, supported by
hundreds of lesser trunks, standing so thickly together as to be
impassable for even small animals. Therein it differs from the tree
described by Milton, to which it otherwise seems to bear an analogy:--

     "In the ground
      The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow
      About the mother-tree, a pillar'd shade,
      High overarched, and echoing walks between!"

Returning to the ship, we found it lighted up, and the Theatre about to
open. The scenery has been much improved, since the last performance, and
the actors are more perfect in their parts.




CHAPTER XIII.

The Theatre--Tribute to Governor Buchanan--Arrival at Settra Kroo--Jack
Purser--The Mission-School--Cleanliness of the Natives--Uses of the
Palm-Tree--Native Money--Mrs. Sawyer--Influence of her Character on the
Natives--Characteristics of English Merchant-Captains--Trade of England
with the African Coast.


_March_ 21.--The scenery of the theatre having been damaged by the rain,
the other night, it is spread out to dry, and will be re-painted. Much
interest is felt in the Drama, and the exertions of the performers are
rewarded with full houses nightly. Some of the actors have evidently
trodden other boards than these. Among two hundred men, many of whom have
led wild and dissipated lives on shore, it is easy to suppose that enough
are familiar with the theatre in front of the curtain, and a few behind
it. Thus a tolerable company has been collected, needing only a few female
recruits to render it perfect. The dresses and scenery were procured by
general subscription, and are showy as well as appropriate; and many a
manager might deem himself fortunate to engage the whole corps, with
wardrobe and decorations included, for a summer campaign. On board ship,
our buskined heroes are of more importance than Booth, Forrest, or
Macready ashore, as affording amusement to a set of fellows who would have
precious little of it, without this resource.

22.--At 3 P.M. up anchor for the leeward, and stand off with a good
breeze.

23.--We have passed Bassa Cove, merely sending in some letters by a
Kroo-canoe, which boarded us. A considerable settlement of colonists is
established here. Many of their houses are visible along the shore, while
two smaller villages, in the immediate vicinity, are concealed by the
woods. The bar at this place has a bad reputation; several boats having
been swamped in passing it. In 1836, ten persons, including a midshipman
and purser's clerk, were drowned here, by the capsizing of a boat
belonging to the frigate Potomac.

At Bassa Cove, in 1842, died Thomas Buchanan, Governor of Liberia; a man
who has identified his name with the existence of the colony, by his
successful exertions to promote its strength and respectability. No other
person had done so much to impress the natives with awe and respect for
the colonists, and to give Liberia an independent position in the eyes of
foreigners. A year before his death, it was my good fortune to be a
shipmate of this great and excellent man; for great and excellent I do not
hesitate to call him, although the remoteness of his sphere of action has
left his name comparatively obscure. Like all who came in contact with
him, I was deeply impressed with his pure, high, determined, and chivalric
character. In a grove, near the village, he selected a spot for his
burial; and there rest the remains of a finished gentleman, an
accomplished scholar, a fearless soldier, a wise legislator, an ardent
philanthropist, and a sincere Christian. So long as Liberia shall have a
history, Governor Buchanan will be remembered in it. Honor to his ashes!

24.--Sunday. No service to-day, in consequence of a heavy rain, which
commenced at nine in the morning, and continued till one in the afternoon.
In the evening, four or five miles from land, we were boarded by the mate
of an English brig, at anchor off Grand Botton. He seemed a well-disposed,
off-hand man, telling us, among other things, that he had run away from
the U.S. schooner Enterprise, in the Pacific ocean, four years ago. This
was rather a hazardous communication to make, on the deck of a national
vessel; and it so happened that one of our lieutenants was in the
Enterprise, at the time referred to, and remembered the circumstance and
the man. However, as he had put confidence in us, we did not molest him.

25.--Anchored at Settra Kroo.

26.--Ashore, and dined upon roasted oysters, in a native hut. A large,
shrewd Krooman, Jack Purser by name, seems to be the most important
private individual here. He is the great tradesman of the place, and very
accommodating in his mode of transacting business. We saw a specimen of
his dealings with the natives. Being told that we wanted wood, he sent
intelligence through the town; and, directly, many women and girls flocked
to his house, each with a bundle of wood upon her head, which she
deposited near the door. After twenty or thirty loads had been brought,
Jack Purser came forth with a bundle of tobacco under his arm, and threw
the price of each load upon the wood, one, two, or three leaves of
tobacco, according to its size. There was no haggling, as is invariably
the case when a white man is the customer, but all assented to the
decision of the trademan. Jack Purser is a man of fortune, if the number
of his wives, twenty-nine, be a criterion.

I saw a native doctor making his "greegree," or charm, for rain. There
were two large mortars, with leaves, bark, and roots, in each, and a long
vine extending from one to the other. Into these mortars he poured water,
until it ran over.

27.--Dined on shore, at Mrs. Sawyer's. The repast consisted of bits of
mutton in palm-butter, mutton roasted, rice, palm-cabbage, chicken, and
papaw, with coffee, but no wine. There are thirty children in the
Mission-school, mostly boys, who show considerable aptitude for learning.
It is an obstacle in the way of educating girls, that many of them are
betrothed before entering school, and, just when their progress begins to
be satisfactory, their husbands claim them and take them away. Mr. Wilson
adopted the plan of taking the pair of betrothed ones; and, after pursuing
their studies in unison (doubtless including the conjugation of the verb,
to love), they left the school together.

One of the scholars, a little fellow called Robert Soutter, took a strange
fancy to me, and followed everywhere at my heels, expressing a strong wish
to accompany me to Big America. When we returned to the ship, he actually
jumped into the boat, without saying a word, and came off, ready for the
voyage. To be sure, there were few preparations requisite to rig him out.
A handkerchief about his loins comprised all the earthly goods of Robert
Soutter.

The houses at Settra Kroo are often two stories high, with piazzas round
the whole. The entrance to the upper story is by a ladder from without.
Like other native houses, they are built with bamboo, and thatched. There
being a war with other portions of the Kroo-people, the Beachmen have been
obliged to plant cassada in the town itself, instead of the neighboring
fields. Hence high fences are necessary to keep out the cattle; and these,
being irregular, make it a kind of labyrinth for a stranger. The place is
one of the best on the coast for watering ships, in the dry season. A
large stream of sweet and clear water runs through a grove of palm-trees,
to the sea. Hither come all the women of the village, in the old
scriptural fashion, with the water-jar, holding three or four gallons, on
the head. The consumption of water by the natives is very great. Whether
it be part of their religious ritual, I know not--although cleanliness is
in itself a religion--but the whole population wash themselves from head
to foot, at least twice a day, in fresh water, when to be procured. These
naked people, however, are as much averse as ourselves to being wet by the
rain; and every man of consequence has his umbrella, to protect him both
from sun and shower.

Palm-trees are more abundant here, than in any place which I have visited
on the coast. No tree, as has been said a thousand times, is so useful as
the palm. It gives a good shade, and is pleasing as an ornamental tree.
The palm-nut is very palatable and nutritious for food, and likewise
affords oil, the kernel as well as the pulpy substance being available for
that purpose. Palm-wine is the sap of the tree; and its top furnishes a
most delicious dish, called palm-cabbage. The trunk supplies fire-wood,
and timber for building fences. From the fibres of the wood is
manufactured a strong cordage, and a kind of native cloth; and the leaves,
besides being used for thatching houses, are converted into hats. If
nature had given the inhabitants of Africa nothing else, this one gift of
the palm-tree would have included food, drink, clothing, and habitation,
and the gratuitous boon of beauty, into the bargain.

I have procured some of the country-money. It is more curious than
convenient. The "Manilly," worth a dollar and a half, would be a fearful
currency to make large payments in, being composed of old brass kettles,
melted up, and cast in a sand-mould. The weight is from two to four
pounds; so that the circulation of this country may be said to rest upon a
pretty solid metallic basis. The "Buyapart," valued at twenty-five cents,
is a piece of cloth four inches square, covered thickly over with the
small shells called cowries, sewed on. The other currency consists
principally in such goods as have an established value. Brass kettles,
cotton handkerchiefs, tobacco, guns, and kegs of powder, are legal tender.
[Footnote: Specimens of the native money have been presented by the author
to the National Institute at Washington.]

29.--Mrs. Sawyer was on board yesterday. It is not without regret that we
part with this interesting, energetic, and truly Christian woman. She is
the only white person here, and lives alone among a tribe of savages, as
safe, and perhaps more so, than in a civilized city. The occasional visits
of vessels of war prevent any evil-minded person from molesting her; but
she has little need of guardianship of this nature; for her own kind acts,
and purity of character, will always ensure her the respect of the
natives. Mrs. S. told us, that, before her husband died, the war-king of
the Settra Kroos had quarrelled with him, and was his enemy at the time of
his death. Not long afterwards, this war-king came to Mrs. Sawyer, and
assured her of his protection and assistance to the utmost of his power,
which is very great, as he commands all the fighting-men of the tribe. I
know not that the power of feminine excellence has ever been more
strikingly acknowledged, than by this act of an incensed and barbarous
warrior. Somewhat of her influence, as well as that of the missionaries
generally, is probably owing to her color. Many of the natives look with
contempt on the colonists, and do not hesitate to tell them that they are
merely liberated slaves. On the other hand, the colonists will never
recognize the natives otherwise than as heathen. Amalgamation is scarcely
more difficult between the white and colored races in America, than it is
in Africa, between the "black-white" colonist and the unadulterated
native.

On our arrival here, we found an English brig, whose commander has been
once on board of us. He has a large assortment of trade-goods of all
sorts, and his vessel is fitted up with a view to comfort in living, as
well as the convenience of trade.

A native colored woman has her residence on board, as his washerwoman and
stewardess, and likewise, if the captain be not belied, in a more intimate
relation. To-day, also, came in another English brig, the master of which
has a female companion, filling the same variety of offices as the former.
Many of the English trading vessels retain such persons on board, during
the whole time they are on the coast. The masters, so far as we have had
opportunity to observe, have generally been hard-drinking unscrupulous
men. Few of them hesitate to avow their readiness to furnish slavers with
goods, equally with any other purchasers, if they can make their profit,
and get their pay. There is great jealousy among the traders, and much
underhand work to get the business from each other. They have native
trade-men in their interest, all along the coast, watching their rivals,
and preparing to take any advantage that may offer. Profound secrecy is
observed as to their movements and intentions. The crews of some vessels
are seldom allowed to visit the shore, lest they should give information
about the affairs of the master.

Not a few of the reports about American slavers spring from this jealousy
of trade. The masters of English merchant-vessels, jealous of the
Americans, and desirous to engross the trade to themselves, report them to
the British cruisers as suspicious vessels. The cruiser, if he give too
ready credence to the calumny, will probably overhaul the American, and
perhaps break up his voyage; he being, nevertheless, as honest as any
trader on the coast. But the ends of the Englishman are answered; he sells
his cargo, and cares little about the diplomatic correspondence that may
ensue, and the possible embroilment of the two nations.

English vessels far outnumber all others on the coast. Dr. Madden, the
commissioner to examine the condition of the British colonial settlements,
reports the total imports into England from the West Coast of Africa, in
1836, at L800,000. In 1840, the exports of British products to Africa
amounted to L492,128, in the transportation of which, 72,000 tons of
shipping were employed. The government and people of England are giving
great attention to this coast, as an important theatre of trade.

A committee of the House of Commons, in 1842, made extensive and minute
inquiries into the subject, and published a great mass of interesting
information. They recommended, that the Crown should resume the
jurisdiction of several forts, on the Gold Coast, which have been given up
to a committee of merchants; and that there be new settlements
established, and block-houses erected at various points.

The English have lost the gum-trade, by the French subsidizing the King of
the Trazars, who holds the key to the gum-country; and the mahogany-trade
has been destroyed by that of Honduras, the wood from which is of a better
quality. The experiment on the part of the English, of carrying African
rice to compete with that of America, has likewise failed.

The subject of American Trade with the west of Africa is so important,
that it may be well to devote a separate chapter to some account of its
nature, and the methods of carrying it on.




CHAPTER XIV.

American Trade--Mode of Advertising, and of making Sales--Standard of
Commercial Integrity--Dealings with Slave-Traders--Trade with the
Natives--King's "Dash"--Native Commission-Merchants--The Gold Trade-The
Ivory Trade--The "Round Trade"--Respectability of American
Merchant-Captains--Trade with the American Squadron.


More vessels come to the coast of Africa from Salem than from any other
port in the United States; although New York, Boston, and Providence, all
have their regular traders. Some of these trade chiefly to Gambia or
Sierra Leone; others to Gallinas, Monrovia and down the coast, touching at
different points. Others, again, go to the Gaboon river, and the islands
of Princes and St. Thomas; and some stretch still farther south, to
Benguela, and beyond. Most American vessels bring provisions, such as
flour, ship-bread, beef, pork, and hams, which are bought chiefly by the
European or American colonists. The natives, however, are yearly acquiring
a taste for them. The market being often overstocked, this part of the
trade is precarious. Other exports are furniture, boots and shoes, wooden
clocks, and all articles of American manufacture, or such as are used
among civilized men. All the vessels bring New England rum, leaf-tobacco,
powder, guns, large brass pans, and cotton cloth. On these points, a great
deal of correct information has been given by Dr. Hall, and may be found
in some of the numbers of the African Repository.

The mode of trading has some peculiarities. On arriving at a civilized
settlement, the captain sends his "list" ashore to some resident merchant.
This list contains a schedule of his cargo, with the prices of each
article annexed, and the kind of pay required. Some take only cash. Most
vessels, however, take the productions of the country at a stipulated
price; for instance, camwood at, say, sixty dollars per ton, palm-oil, at
twenty-five to thirty-three cents per gallon, ivory, ground or peanuts,
gold dust, and gum. At the Cape de Verd islands, salt, goat-skins, and
hides, are the chief commodities received in exchange; at Gambia, hides;
at Monrovia, Cape Palmas, and other settlements in Liberia, camwood and
palm-oil are the great staples. There is likewise some ivory, but not in
large quantity. On the Gold Coast, the trade is in gold-dust and palm-oil;
at the Gaboon, in ivory and gold-dust,--and at Benguela, in gum.

The "list" being put up conspicuously in the merchant's store (such being
the method of advertising in Liberia, where the newspapers are not made
use of, for this purpose), the traders, purchasers, and idlers, come to
see what is for sale. The store becomes, for the time being, the public
Exchange of the settlement, where people assemble, not merely with
commercial views, but to hear the intelligence from abroad, and to diffuse
it thence throughout the country. In due time, the captain comes on shore
with his samples, and individual purchasers bargain for what they want.
The captain receives payment, whether in cash or commodities, and weighs
the camwood, or measures the palm-oil, at the merchant's store. If credit
be given, the merchant is responsible, and receives a perquisite of five
per cent on all sales. The captain takes up his residence on shore, and
sends for goods from his vessel, as they are wanted; while the mate and
crew remain on board, to despatch and receive the cargo. Every vessel has
in its employ several Kroomen, by whom all the boat-service is performed.

When the demand for goods appears to have ceased, the captain either takes
his unsold cargo away, or leaves a portion to be disposed of in his
absence, and sets sail for another settlement. Here the same process is
gone through with, and so on, until the cargo is sold. The captain then
turns back, touching at the several places where he has left goods, to
receive the proceeds, and thence home to America, for a new cargo. Regular
traders have numerous orders to fill up, from persons resident on the
coast; taking care, of course, to allow themselves a good profit for their
trouble and freight. The trade with the colonists is easy and sufficiently
plain; the only difficulty being the somewhat essential one of obtaining
payment. Colonial traders, in abundance, are eager to buy on credit; but,
possessing little or no capital, they often fail to satisfy their
obligations at the period assigned--if, indeed, they ever pay at all.
Commercial integrity is not here of so high an order as in older
countries, where the great body of merchants have established a standard
of rectitude, which individuals must not venture to transgress.

Another large branch of business is at places where the slave-trade is
carried on; as at Gallinas and Wydah. Here, provisions, guns, powder,
cotton cloths, and other goods, suitable for the purchase or subsistence
of slaves, are sold at good prices for cash, or bills of exchange. The
bills of Pedro Blanco, the notorious slave-dealer at Gallinas, on an
eminent Spanish house in New York, and another in London, are taken as
readily as cash. A large number of the vessels engaged in the African
trade, whether English or American, do a considerable part of their
business either with the slavers, or with natives settled at the
slave-marts, and who, from their connection with the trade, have plenty of
money. Some of the large English houses give orders to their captains and
supercargoes not to traffic with men reputed to be slave-dealers; but, if
a purchaser come with money in his hand, and offer liberal prices, it
requires a tenderer conscience and sterner integrity than are usually met
with, on the coast of Africa, to resist the temptation. The merchant at
home, possibly, is supposed to know nothing of all this. It is quite an
interesting moral question, however, how far either Old or New England can
be pronounced free from the guilt and odium of the slave trade, while,
with so little indirectness, they both share its profits and contribute
essential aid to its prosecution.

The method of trade with the natives is more tedious than that with the
colonists, and differs entirely in its character. On anchoring at a
trade-place, it is necessary, first of all, to pay the King his "dash," or
present, varying in value from twenty dollars to seven or eight hundred.
Such sums as the latter are paid only by ships of eight hundred or a
thousand tons,--and in the great rivers, as Bonny or Calebar. The "dash"
may be considered as equivalent to the duties levied on foreign imports,
in civilized countries; and doubtless, as in those cases, the trader
remunerates himself by an enhanced price upon his merchandize.

The King being "dashed" to his satisfaction, trade commences. The canoes
bring off the articles which the natives have for sale; and the goods of
the vessel are exhibited in return. At first, it is a slow process; either
party offering little for the commodity of the other, and asking much for
his own. But, in a few days, prices becoming established on both sides,
business grows brisk, and flags only when one party has little more to
exchange. Native agents are employed by the stranger; some being Kroomen
attached to the vessel, and others trade-men, inhabiting the native towns.
These men, in addition to their small regular pay, continually receive
presents, which are necessary in order to excite their activity and zeal.

There is still another mode of trading, resorted to by many masters of
vessels. They entrust quantities of goods--varying in value from a
trifling sum up to a thousand dollars, or even more--to native trade-men.
With these, or part of them, the trade-man goes into the interior, makes
trade with the Bushmen, and brings the proceeds to his employer. These
native agents are sometimes trusted with large amounts, for several months
together, and not unfrequently give their principal great trouble in
collecting his dues. Their families, to be sure, are held responsible, and
the King is bound to enforce payment. Nevertheless, if so disposed, they
can procrastinate, and finally cheat their creditor out of his debt;
especially as the vessel cannot remain long upon the coast, awaiting the
King's tardy methods of compulsion.

On the Gold Coast, each vessel employs a native who is called its
"gold-taker," and is skilful in detecting spurious metal. The gold-dust is
brought for sale, wrapped up in numerous coverings, to avoid waste. It is
tested by acids; or, more commonly, by rubbing the gold on the
"black-stone," when the color of the mark, which it leaves upon the stone,
decides the character of the metal. The gold, after its weight has been
ascertained, is put by the captain into little barrels, holding perhaps
half a pint, and with the top screwing tightly on. This "glittering dust"
(to use the phrase which moralists are fond of applying to worldly pelf),
commands from sixteen to eighteen dollars per ounce, in England and the
United States. It is gathered from the sands which the rivers of Africa
wash down from the golden mountains; and, when offered for sale, small
lumps of gold and rudely manufactured rings are sometimes found among the
dust--ornaments that have perhaps been worn by sable monarchs, or their
sultanas, in the interior of the country.

In the ivory trade, small teeth (comprising all that weigh less than
twenty pounds) are considered to be worth but half the price, per pound,
that is paid for large teeth. From fifty cents to a dollar is the ordinary
value of a pound of ivory. Some large teeth sell for a hundred dollars, or
even a hundred and fifty. The sale of such a gigantic tusk, as may well be
supposed, is considered an affair of almost national importance, and the
bargain can only be adjusted through the medium of a "big palaver." The
trade in ivory is now on the decline; the demand in England and France not
being so great as formerly, and America never having presented a good
market for the article.

Palm-oil is brought from the interior, on the heads of the natives, in
calabashes, containing two or three gallons each. In speaking of the
interior, however, a comparatively short distance from the coast is to be
understood. Gold, where great value is concentrated into small bulk, and
some ivory, may occasionally come from remote regions; but the vast inland
tracts of the African continent have little to do, either directly or
indirectly, with the commerce of the civilized world.

In dealing with the natives, there was formerly a system much in vogue,
but now going out of use, called the "round trade." The method was, to
offer one of each article; for instance, one gun, one cutlass, one flint,
one brass kettle, one needle, and so on, from the commodity of greatest
value down to the least. In all traffic there is a desire on the part of
the native to obtain as great a variety as his means will compass. If the
native commodity on sale be valuable, the captain offers two or more of
his guns, cutlasses, flints, brass kettles, and needles; if it be small,
and of trifling value, he perhaps exhibits only a flint and a needle as an
equivalent. The native of course tries to get the most valuable, and the
purchaser to pay the least. If the former demand a piece of cloth, and if
it be refused by the captain, the native then asks what he will "room" it
with. The captain, it may be, proposes to substitute a needle; and, after
much talk, the troublesome bargain is thus brought to a point. English
vessels usually have supercargoes; the Americans are seldom so provided.
But the American captains, on the other hand, are respectable,
intelligent, and trustworthy men, almost without exception. The exigencies
of the trade require such men; and any defect, either of capacity or
integrity, would soon be brought to light by the onerous duties and
responsibilities imposed upon them. Great latitude must be allowed them,
or the voyage cannot be expected to turn out profitably. They perform the
double duty of master and supercargo, and perhaps with the more success,
as there can be no disunion or difference of judgment. These captains are
likewise often part owners of vessel and cargo.

Since the African coast has been made the cruising ground of an American
squadron, the merchantmen have brought out stores, with the expectation of
disposing of them to the ships of war. Some of these speculations have
turned out very profitable; but now, when the Government understands and
has made provisions for the wants of the station, this market is not to be
relied upon. To the officers, indeed, there is a chance, though by no
means a certainty, of selling mess-stores. The prices charged by
merchantmen correspond with the scarcity of the article, and are sometimes
enormous. I have known nine dollars a barrel asked for Irish, or rather
Yankee potatoes, and have paid my share for a small quantity, at that
rate. To those who see this vegetable daily on their tables, it may seem
strange that men should value a potatoe five times as highly as an orange.
After eating yams and cassada, however, for months together, one learns
how to appreciate a mealy potatoe, the absence of which cannot be
compensated by the most delicious of tropical fruits. Adam's fare in
Paradise might have been much improved, had Eve known how to boil
potatoes; nor, perhaps, would the fatal apple have been so tempting.




CHAPTER XV.

Jack Purser's wife--Fever on Board--Arrival at Cape Palmas--Strange Figure
and Equipage of a Missionary--King George of Grand Bassam--Intercourse
with the Natives--Tahon--Grand Drewin--St. Andrew's--Picaninny
Lahoo--Natives attacked by the French--Visit of King Peter--Sketches of
Scenery and People at Cape Labon.


_March_ 30.--Got under way, at daylight, and stood down the coast.

I recollect nothing else, at Settra Kroo, that requires description,
unless it be the person and garb of a native lady of fashion. Sitting with
my friend Jack Purser, yesterday, a young woman came up, with a pipe in
her mouth. A cloth around her loins, dyed with gay colors, composed her
whole drapery, leaving her figure as fully exposed as the most classic
sculptor could have wished. It is to be observed, however, that the sable
hue is in itself a kind of veil, and takes away from that sense of nudity
which would so oppress the eye, were a woman of our own race to present
herself so scantily attired. The native lady in question was tall, finely
shaped, and would have been not a little attractive, but for the white
clay with which she had seen fit to smear her face and bosom. Around her
ankles were many rows of blue beads, which also encircled her leg below
the knee, thus supplying the place of garters, although stockings were
dispensed with. Her smile was pleasant, and her disposition seemed
agreeable; and, certainly, if the rest of Jack Purser's wives (for this
was one of the nine-and-twenty) be so well-fitted to make him happy, the
sum total of his conjugal felicity must be enormous!

31.--Sunday. An oppressively hot day. There are three new cases of fever,
making fourteen in all, besides sixteen or seventeen of other complaints.
There is some apprehension that we are to have general sickness on board.

_April_ 1.--Off Cape Palmas. A canoe being sent ashore, returned with a
letter from the Rev. Mr. Hazlehurst, stating that two missionaries wish
for a passage to the Gaboon, and making so strong an appeal that the
captain's sympathies could not resist it. So we run in and anchor.

2.--Went ashore in the gig, and amused myself by reading the newspapers at
the Governor's, while the captain rode out to the mission establishment,
at Mount Vaughan. During my stay, one of the new missionaries, a native of
Kentucky, came in from Mount Vaughan, and rode up to the Government House,
in country style. He was in a little wagon, drawn by eight natives, and
sat bolt upright, with an umbrella over his head. The maligners of the
priesthood, in all ages and countries, have accused them of wishing to
ride on the necks of the people; but I never before saw so nearly literal
an exemplification of the fact. In its metaphorical sense, indeed, I
should be very far from casting such an imputation upon the zealous and
single-minded missionary before me. He is a man of eminent figure, at
least six feet and three inches high, with a tremendous nose, vast in its
longitude and depth, but wonderfully thin across the edge. It was curious
to meet, in Africa, a person so strongly imbued with the peculiarities of
his section of our native land; for his manner had the real Western swing,
and his dialect was more marked than is usual among educated men. With a
native audience, however, this is a matter of no moment.

We were told that the Roman Catholics are about to leave Cape Palmas, and
establish branches of their mission at the different French stations on
the coast, under the patronage of Louis Philippe. The Presbyterians have
all gone to the Gaboon river. The Episcopal Mission pines at Cape Palmas,
and will probably be removed. The discord between its members and the
Colonial Government continues with unabated bitterness. Mr. Hazlehurst
regrets that the missionaries were identified with the colonists, in our
great palaver with the four-and-twenty kings and headmen, at Cape Palmas.
He believes, that, in case of any outbreak of the natives, the
missionaries on the out stations would fall the first victims. His
sentiments, it must be admitted, are such as it behoves a minister of
religion to entertain, in so far as he would repudiate military force as
an agent for sustaining the cause of missions.

We sailed at noon for the leeward without the missionaries, who declined
taking passage, as it is doubtful whether the ship will proceed beyond
Cape Coast Castle. We have now fifteen cases of fever, most of them mild
in character. The prospect of sickness will cut short our leeward cruise.

4.--Off Tahoo. The natives have come on board, with fowls, ivory, and
monkey-skins, to "make trade." Tobacco is the article chiefly sought for
in exchange. A large canoe came off, with a small English flag displayed,
and a native in regimentals standing erect; a most unusual and
inconvenient posture to be maintained in a canoe. Mounting the ship's
side, he proved to be no less a man than King George of Grand Bassam. His
majesty wore a military frock trimmed with yellow, two worsted epaulettes
on his shoulders, and an English hussar-cap on his head, with the motto
FULGOR ET HONOS. A cloth around his loins completed his heterogeneous
equipment. In the canoe was a small bullock, tied by the feet, together
with several ducks, chickens, kids, and plantains. The bullock and one
duck were presented to the captain by way of "dash;" always the most
expensive mode of procuring provisions, for, unless you dash the donor to
at least an equal extent, he will certainly importune you for more. King
George remarked that the other articles in the canoe belonged to the boys,
and were for sale. They refused to sell them, however, until the King,
after eating and drinking his fill in the cabin, went out, and engaged in
the traffic at once. The liquor brought out his real character; and this
royal personage scolded and haggled like a private trader, and a sharp one
too.

Having sold his stock, and received much more than its value, his majesty
thought it not beneath his station to beg, and thus obtain divers odd
things for his wardrobe and larder. When he could get no more, he finally
took his leave, carrying off the remains of the food which had been set
before him, without so much as an apology.

We have been running along that portion of the coast, where, three months
ago, we burned the native towns. No attempt has yet been made to rebuild
them, for fear of a second hostile visit from the ships; but the natives
have indirectly applied to the Commodore for permission to do so, and it
will probably be granted, on their pledging themselves to good behavior.

5.--At anchor off Grand Berebee. All day, the ship has been thronged with
natives. They are civil at first, but almost universally display a bad
trait of character, by altering their manners for the worse, in proportion
to the kindness shown them. As they acquire confidence, they become
importunate, and almost impudent. Every canoe brings something to sell. It
is amusing to see these people paddling alongside with two or three
chickens tied round their necks, and hanging down their backs, with an
occasional flutter that shows them to be yet alive. Some of the kings hold
umbrellas over their heads; rather, one would suppose, as a mark of
dignity, than from a tender regard to their complexions. These umbrellas
were afterwards converted into bags, to hold the bread which they
received.

The weather has been cooler for two days, and the fever-patients are fast
improving.

6.--This morning, our visitors of yesterday, and many more, came
alongside, but only persons of distinction were admitted on board.
Nevertheless, they suffice to crowd the deck. A war-canoe, with a king in
it, paddled round the ship twice, all the men working for dear life, by
way, I suppose, of contrasting their naval force with our own. All our
guests, of whatever rank, come to trade or to beg; and it is curious to
see how essentially their estimation of money differs from our own. Coin
is almost unknown in the traffic of the coast, and it is only those who
have been at Sierra Leone, or some of the colonial settlements, who are
aware of its value. One "cut money," or quarter of a dollar, is the
smallest coin of which most of the natives have any idea. This is
invariably the price of a fowl, when money is offered; but a head of
tobacco or a couple of fish-hooks would be preferred. Empty bottles find a
ready market. Yesterday, I "dashed" three or four great characters with a
bottle each; all choosing ale or porter bottles in preference to an
octagonal-sided one, used by "J. Wingrove and Co." of London, in putting
up their "Celebrated Raspberry Vinegar." The chiefs must have consulted
about it afterwards; for, this morning, no less than three kings and a
governor, begged, as a great favor, that I would give them that particular
bottle, and were sadly disappointed, on learning that it had been paid
away for a monkey-skin. No other bottle would console them.

After the traffic is over, the begging commences; and they prove
themselves artful as well as persevering mendicants. Sometimes they make
an appeal to your social affections; "Massa, I be your friend!" The rascal
has never seen you before, and would cut your throat for a pound of
tobacco. Another seeks to excite your compassion: "My heart cry for a
bottle of rum!" and no honest toper, who has felt what that cry is, can
refuse his sympathy, even if he withhold the liquor. A third applicant
addresses himself to your noble thirst for fame. "Suppose you dash me, I
take your name ashore, and make him live there!" And certainly a deathless
name, at the price of an empty bottle or a head of tobacco, is a bargain
that even a Yankee would not scorn.

7.--We passed Tahoo in the night, and are now running along a more
beautiful country. The land is high and woody, unlike the flat and marshy
tracts that skirt the shores to windward. These are the Highlands of
Drewin. The ship has been full of Grand Drewin people, who come to look
about them, to beg, and to dispose of fowls, ducks, cocoa-nuts, and small
canoes. They are the most noisy set of fellows on the coast.

8. We left Grand Drewin, and anchored at St. Andrew's, six miles distant.
The inhabitants, being at war with those of Grand Drewin, do not come off
to us, apprehending that their enemies are concealed behind the ship.
These tribes have been at war more than a year, and have made two
expeditions, resulting in the death of two men on one side and three on
the other. The army of Grand Drewin, having slain three, boasts much of
its superior valor. It must be owned, that the absurdity of war, as the
ultimate appeal of nations, becomes rather strikingly manifest, by being
witnessed on a scale so ridiculously minute.

9.--A message having been sent in to inform the King of our character,
three or four canoes came off to us. The inhabitants have little to sell
compared with those of Grand Drewin. Indian corn, which does not flourish
so well to windward, has been offered freely at both places, in the ear.

I went ashore, in company with four other officers. The bar is difficult,
and, in rough weather, must be dangerous. A broad bay opens on your sight,
as soon as the narrow and rocky mouth of the river is passed. Two large
streams branch off, and lose themselves among the high trees upon their
banks. A number of cocoa-nut trees, on the shore, made a thick shade for
fifteen or twenty soldiers, who loitered about, or sat, or lay at length
upon the ground, watching against the approach of the enemy. Some held
muskets in their hands; others had rested their weapons against the trunks
of the trees. We were first conducted to the residence of King Queah, who
received us courteously, regaled us with palm-wine, and inflicted a duck
upon us by way of "dash." The wine, in a capacious gourd, was brought out,
and placed in the centre of the large open space, where we sat. The King,
his headman, and his son, all drank first, in order to prove that the
liquor was not poisonous; a ceremony which makes one strongly sensible of
being among people, who have no very conscientious regard for human life.
The mug was then refilled, and passed to us.

On the walls of the house there were fresco-paintings, evidently by a
native artist, rudely representing persons and birds. The most prominent
figures were the King, seated in a chair, and seven wives standing in a
row before him, most of them with pipes in their mouths. Black, red, and
white, were apparently the only colors that the painter's palette
supplied. The groundwork was the natural color of the clay, which had been
plastered upon the wall of wicker-work.

There seem to be two crowned heads at this place, reminding one of the two
classic Kings of Brentford; for, after leaving King Queah, we were led to
the house of another sovereign, styled King George. The frequent
occurrence of this latter name, indicates the familiarity between the
natives and the English. His Majesty received us in state; that is to say,
chairs were placed for the visitors, and the King, with a black hat on his
head, looked dignified. I was so fortunate as to make a favorable
impression on his principal wife, by means of an empty bottle and a head
of tobacco, which she was pleased to accept at my hands in the most
gracious manner. Though probably fifty years of age, she had beautified
herself, and concealed the touch of time by streaks of soot carefully laid
on over her face and body.

The houses of each family are enclosed within bamboo walls, sometimes to
the number of eight or ten huts in one of these insulated hamlets. They
are generally wretched hovels, and of the simplest construction, merely a
thatched roof, like a permanent umbrella, with no lower walls, and no
ends. Altogether, the dwellings and their inhabitants looked miserable
enough. The tribe has the reputation of being treacherous and cruel, and
the aspect of the people is in accordance with their character.

I purchased a man's cloth, of native manufacture. It is said to be made of
the bark of a tree, pounded together so as to be strong and durable. I
also procured a hank of fine white fibre of the pine-apple leaf. Of this
material the natives make strong and beautiful fishing-lines, and other
cords. Before being twisted it has the appearance of hemp.

11.--We anchored, last evening, at Picaninny Lahoo. Only one canoe has
come off to us. The natives are shy of all strange vessels, in consequence
of a French man-of-war having fired upon one of the neighboring towns, a
few days since. It seems that a French merchant-barque was wrecked here,
by running ashore. The master saved his gold and personal property, and he
and the crew were kindly treated; but the vessel and cargo were plundered,
in accordance with the custom of the African coast, as well as of
countries that boast more of their civilisation. Nevertheless, the captain
of the French man-of-war demanded restitution, and kept up a fire upon the
town for several successive days. An English merchant-vessel, lying there
at the time, protested against the cannonade, and threatened to report the
French captain to Lord Stanley!--on the plea that his measures of
hostility prevented the natives from engaging in trade.

In fact, these masters of English merchant-vessels would probably consider
the interruption of trade as the greatest of all offences against human
rights. We boarded a brig of that nation to-day, and found her full of
natives, with whom a very brisk business was going forward. Some brought
palm-oil, and others gold, which they exchanged principally for guns,
cloth, and powder. We here saw the gold tested by the "blackstone;" a
peculiar kind of mineral, black, with a slight tinge of blue. If, when the
gold is rubbed upon this stone, it leaves a reddish mark, it is regarded
as a satisfactory proof of its purity; otherwise, there is more or less
alloy. The trader is obliged to depend upon the judgment and integrity of
a native in his employ, who is skilful in trying gold. The average profit,
acquired by the foreign traders in their dealings with the natives, is not
less than a hundred per cent. on the principal articles, and much more on
the smaller ones. No inconsiderable portion of this, however, is absorbed
by the numerous "dashes;" in the first place, to the king, then to the
head trade-men, the canoe-men, and all others whose agency can anywise
influence the success of the business.

The masters or supercargoes of English vessels receive, besides their
regular pay of six pounds per month, a commission of five per cent. on all
sales; they being responsible for any debts which they may allow the
natives to contract.

12.--Ashore at Cape Lahon, the scene of the recent hostilities between the
French and the natives. We landed in large heavy canoes, flat-bottomed and
square-sided. The town is built upon a narrow point of land between the
sea and a lake, just at the outlet of two rivers. On the side next the
sea, you discern only the bamboo walls of the town, and a few cocoa-nut
trees, scattered along the sandy beach; but on the lake side, there is one
of the loveliest views imaginable. The quiet lake and its wooded islands;
the thousand of green cocoa-nut trees, laden with fruit, and shadowing all
the shore; the rivers, broad and dark, stretching away on either hand,
until lost among the depths of the forest, which doubtless extends into
the mysterious heart of Africa; the canoes, returning along these majestic
streams with people who had fled; the hundreds of natives who reclined in
the shade, or clustered around a fountain in the sand, or busied
themselves with the canoes;--all contributed to form a picture which was
very pleasant to our eyes, long wearied as we were with the sight of ocean
and sky, and the dreary skirts of the sea-shore. It was an hour of true
repose, while we lay in the shadow of the trees, and drank the cool milk
of cocoa-nuts, which the native boys plucked and opened for us.

I should have narrated, in the first place, our visit to King Peter, who
rules over this beautiful spot. He held his court under an awning of
palm-leaves, in an area of more than a hundred feet square, around the
sides of which were the little dwellings that, conjointly, composed his
palace. The King received us with dignity and affability; and probably not
less than two hundred of his subjects were collected in the area, to
witness the interview; for it was to them a matter of national importance.
They are exceedingly anxious to adjust their difficulties with the French,
and hope to interest us as mediators. By their own history of the affair,
which was laid before us at great length, they appear to have been only
moderately to blame, and to have suffered a great deal of mischief. King
Quashee and nine men were killed, and fifty or sixty houses burnt, besides
other damage.

These people are a fine-looking race, well formed, and with very pleasing
countenances. At our first arrival the women were all at the plantations,
in the interior, whither they had fled when our ship came in sight,
apprehending her to be French. Towards evening, they returned to the
village, and afforded us an opportunity to see and talk with them. They
are the handsomest African dames with whom I have formed an acquaintance,
and the most affable. It grieves me to add, that, like all their
countrymen and countrywomen, they are importunate beggars, and seem
greatly to prefer the fiery liquors of the white man to their own mild
palm-wine and cocoa-nut milk. One of our party offered rum to the eight
young wives of Tom Beggree, our trade-man; and every soul of them tossed
off her goblet without a wry face, though it was undiluted, and
thirty-three per cent. above proof.

As at other places, each family resides in a separate enclosure, which is
larger or smaller, according to the number of houses required. Domestic
harmony is in some degree provided for, by allotting a separate residence
to each wife. There is a courtyard before most of the enclosures, after
traversing which, you enter a spacious square, and perceive neatly built
houses on all four of its sides. They are constructed of bamboo-cane
placed upright, and united by cross-pieces of the same, strongly sewed
together with thongs of some tough wood. Some of the floors are not
untastefully paved with small pebbles, intermingled with white shells.
Doors there are none, the entrance being through the windows, in order to
keep out the pigs and sheep, which abound in the enclosures. The streets
or passages through the town are about five feet wide, and are bordered on
either side by the high bamboo wall of some private domain. The settlement
extends more than a mile in length, and is the largest and best-built that
I have yet had the good fortune to see on the coast of Africa.




CHAPTER XVI.

Visit from two English Trading-Captains--The Invisible King of
Jack-a-Jack--Human Sacrifices--French Fortresses at Grand Bassam, at
Assinee, and other points--Objections to the Locality of
Liberia--Encroachments on the Limits of that Colony--Arrival at
Axim--Sketches of that Settlement--Dix Cove--Civilized Natives--An
Alligator.


_April_ 14.--Under way from Cape Lahon at daylight. All the morning,
there were light breezes and warm air; but a fine sea-breeze set in, in
the afternoon, and brought us, at seven o'clock, to anchor at "Grand
Jack," or "Jack-a-Jack." The distributors of names along this coast
deserve no credit for their taste. The masters of two English merchantmen
came on board and spent the evening. One of them was far gone with a
consumption; the other was, in his own phrase, a "jolly cock," and seemed
disposed to make himself amusing; in pursuance of which object he became
very drunk, before taking his departure. Englishmen, in this station of
life, do not occupy the same social rank as with us, and, consequently,
have seldom the correct and gentlemanly manners of our own ship-masters.
The master of an English merchant-vessel would hardly be considered a fit
guest for either the cabin or ward-room of a British man-of-war.

These masters informed us that they had paid three hundred dollars each,
for the king's "dash," at this place; in addition to which, every
merchant-captain must pay eight dollars on landing, and if from Bristol,
twenty-four dollars. This distinction is in consequence of a Bristol
captain having shot a native, some years ago; and when the palaver was
settled, the above amount of blood-money was imposed upon all ship-masters
from the same place. Our two visitors have now been here for months, and
will remain for months longer, without once setting foot on shore; partly
to avoid incurring the impost on landing, partly from caution against the
natives, and partly to keep their business secret. The jealousy between
the traders is very great. Those from Bristol, Liverpool, and London, all
are in active competition with each other, and with any foreigner who may
come in their way; and their policy may truly be described as
Machiavelian, in its mystery, craft, and crookedness. The business
requires at least as long an apprenticeship as the diplomacy of nations,
and a new hand has but little chance among these sharp fellows.

15.--Some canoes from the shore have been off to us. We learn from them,
that there is to be a great annual festival today; on which occasion the
king, who has been secluded from the sight of his subjects for eight
years, will shine forth again, "like a re-appearing star." There is
something very provocative to the imagination in this circumstance. What
can have been the motive of such a seclusion? was it in the personal
character of the king, and did he shut himself up to meditate on high
matters, or to revel in physical indulgence? or, possibly, to live his own
simple life, untrammelled by the irksome exterior of greatness? or was it
merely a trick of kingcraft, in order to deify himself in the superstition
of his people, by the awfulness of an invisible presence among them? Be
the secret what it may, it would be interesting to observe the face of the
royal hermit, at the moment when the sunshine and the eyes of his subjects
first fall upon it again. The inhabitants from many miles around have come
to witness and participate in the ceremonies. There are to be grand
dances, and all manner of festivity; and one of the English captains
informed us that he had sold a thousand gallons of rum, within a
fortnight, to be quaffed at this celebration.

There is another circumstance that may give the festival a darker
interest. It is customary, on such occasions, to sacrifice one or two
slaves, who are generally culprits reserved for this anniversary. The
natives on board deny that there will be any such sacrifice, but admit
that a palaver will be held over a slave, who had attempted to escape.
Should it be so, the poor wretch will stand little chance for mercy at the
hands of these barbarians, frenzied with rum, and naturally blood-thirsty.
We are all anxious to go on shore, to see the ceremonies, and try to save
the destined victim; or, if better may not be, to witness the thrilling
spectacle of a human sacrifice, which, being partly a religious rite, is
an affair of a higher order than one of our civilized executions. But our
captain has heard of an English vessel ashore and in distress, a day's
sail below, and is hastening to their assistance. While taking our
departure, therefore, we can only turn our eyes towards the shore, where a
large town is visible, clustered under the shelter of a cocoa-nut grove.

16.--At 7 A.M., we are passing Grand Bassam, seven or eight miles from
land. Our track just touches the outer edge of the semicircular line of
dirty foam, indicating the distance to which the influence of the river
extends. Within the verge, the water is discolored by recent contact with
the earth; beyond it, ripples the uncontaminated, pure, blue ocean. One is
the emblem of human life, muddied with base influences; the other, of
eternity, which is only not transparent because of its depth.

Grand Bassam is one of the many places on the coast, where the French have
recently established forts, and raised their flag. Three large houses are
visible. The one in the centre seems to be the military residence and
stronghold; the other two are long buildings, one story high, and are
probably used as storehouses. A picket-fence surrounds the whole. At
Assinee, likewise, which is now in sight, there is another French fort,
consisting of a block-house and two store-houses, encompassed by pickets.
The French government are also fortifying other points along the coast, in
the most systematic manner. The general plan is, a block-house in the
centre, with long structures extending from each angle, two for barracks,
and two for trading-houses; the whole enclosed within a stockade. They are
imposing establishments, and constructed with an evident view to
durability. It is said that all but French vessels are to be prohibited
from trading within range of their guns, and that a man-of-war is to be
stationed at each settlement. The captain of a Bremen brig informed me,
that the Danes are about to sell their fort at Accra to the French; he
gave as his authority the single Danish officer remaining at Accra.

It is perhaps to be regretted that the colonies of Liberia were not
originally planted in the fertile territory along which we have recently
sailed, and which other nations are now pre-occupying. Liberia does not
appear to possess so rich a soil as most other parts of the coast; there
is more sand, and more marsh, above than below Cape Palmas. But the
country between Cape Palmas and Axim is inhabited by cruel, warlike, and
powerful tribes; and a colony would need more strength than Liberia has
ever yet possessed, to save it from destruction. From Axim to Accra, there
is a chain of forts which have been held by different European nations,
for centuries; nearly all the coast is claimed by these foreigners; while
the interior is occupied by such powerful kingdoms as those of Ashantee
and Dahomey. On these accounts, the tract now called Liberia (extending
about three hundred miles, from Cape Mesurado to Cape Palmas) was the most
open for the purposes of colonization. Even within the limits just named,
however, both France and England have recently betrayed a purpose of
effecting settlements. It is to be hoped that these nations will hereafter
transfer their titles to Liberia. Their policy doubtless is, to hold the
country for its exclusive trade, or until they can obtain advantageous
terms of commercial intercourse with the colonists and natives. The
attention of the Society at home, as well as of the Liberian government,
is now fully awake to the importance of securing territory. They are
aware, that, without vigorous and prompt measures to extinguish the native
title to the country between Monrovia and Cape Palmas, foreign nations
will occupy the intermediate positions, and cause much embarrassment
hereafter.

17.--At Assinee. We boarded a French brig-of-war, the Eglantine, last
evening, and learned that the vessel, which ran ashore here, had gone to
pieces; so that all our hurry was of no avail.

Sailed at 9 A.M. for Axim.

18.--Last night, we had thunder, lightning, wind, and rain. There are
showers and small tornadoes, almost every night, succeeded by clear and
pleasant days. We are now in sight of Cape-Three-Points, and the fort at
Axim. It is pleasant, after the monotonous aspect of the shore to
windward, to see a coast with deep indentations and bold promontories. The
fort at Axim has a commanding appearance, and the country in the vicinity
has a decidedly New-England look.

19.--Ashore at Axim, where we met with some features of novelty. The fort
here is really an antique castle, having been built by the Portuguese so
long ago as 1600, and taken from them by its present possessors, the
Dutch, in 1639. It is of stone, built upon scientific principles, with
embrasures for cannon and loop-holes for musketry. The walls are four feet
thick, and capable of sustaining the assault of ten thousand natives. The
fortress is three stories high, the basement story being widest, and each
of the others diminishing in proportion, and surrounded by a terrace. The
two lower departments are intended for the cannon and the mass of the
defenders; while the Governor occupies the upper as his permanent
residence, and may there fortify himself impregnably, even if an enemy
should possess the fort below--unless, indeed, they should blow him into
the air.

The country claimed by the Dutch, extends about thirty miles along the
coast, and twenty miles into the interior, with a population estimated at
about ten thousand. They seem--particularly those who reside in the
villages beneath the fortress--to be entirely under the control of their
European masters, and to live comfortably, and be happy in their
condition. The natives possess slaves; and there are also many "pawns," of
a description seldom offered to the pawnbrokers in other parts of the
world; namely, persons who have pledged the services of themselves and
family to some creditor, until the debt be paid. It is a good and forcible
illustration of the degradation which debt always implies, though it may
not always be outwardly visible, as here at Axim. The Governor himself,
who is a native of Amsterdam, and apparently a mulatto, is one of those
pawn-brokers who deal in human pledges. He is a merchant-soldier, bearing
the military title of lieutenant, and doing business as a trader. The
Governor of El Mina is his superior officer, and the fort at Axim is
garrisoned by twelve black soldiers from the former place. War has existed
for several years between these Dutch settlements and their powerful
neighbor, the king of Appollonia, who is daily expected to attack the
fortress. In that event, the people in the neighboring villages would take
refuge within the walls, and there await the result.

The native houses are constructed in the usual manner, of small poles and
bamboo, plastered over with clay, and thatched. They might be kept
comfortable if kept in repair, but are mostly in a wretched state,
although thronged with occupants. The proportion of women, as well as
children, appears larger than in other places; and they wear a greater
amplitude of apparel than those of their sex on the windward coast,
covering their persons from the waist to the knee, and even lower. The
most remarkable article of dress is one which I have vaguely understood to
constitute a part of the equipment of my own fair countrywomen--in a word,
the veritable bustle. Among the belles of Axim, there is a reason for the
excrescence which does not exist elsewhere; for the little children ride
astride of the maternal bustle, which thus becomes as useful, as it is
unquestionably ornamental. Fashion, however, has evidently more to do with
the matter than convenience; for old wrinkled grandams wear these
beautiful anomalies, and little girls of eight years old display
protuberances that might excite the envy of a Broadway belle. Indeed,
fashion may be said to have its perfect triumph and utmost refinement, in
this article; it being a positive fact, that some of the Axim girls wear
merely the bustle, without so much as the shadow of a garment. Its native
name is "tarb koshe."

Axim is said to be perfectly healthy, there being no marshes in the
vicinity. The soil is fertile and the growth luxuriant. There is a fine
well of water, from which ships may be supplied abundantly and easily,
though not cheaply. The landing place is protected by small islands and
reefs, which break the force of the swell; so that boats may land with as
much safety and as little difficulty as in a river. One of our boats,
nevertheless, with fifteen or sixteen persons on board, ran on a rock and
bilged, in attempting to go ashore. All were happily saved by canoes from
the beach. There is a great abundance of pearl-shells to be found along
the shore, not valuable, but pretty.

The currency here is gold dust, which passes from hand to hand as freely
as coin bearing the impress of a monarch or a republic. The governor's
weights for gold are small beans; a brown one being equivalent to a
dollar, and a red one to fifty cents.

22.--Ashore; and spent most of the day in the fortress; one of the cool
places of Africa. Situated on a high, rocky point of land, with the sea on
three sides, every breeze that stirs, however lightly, is sure to be felt
on the terraces of the castle of Axim; and they bring coolness even at
noontide, being tempered by the spray constantly rising from the waves
that dash against the rocks below.

There is great difficulty in procuring any supplies here, except wood and
water, and those at a high rate--seven dollars per cord for the former,
and one dollar for each hundred gallons of the latter; this, too,
including only the filling of the casks, and rolling them a short distance
on the beach. We found it impossible to purchase bullocks, sheep, or pigs,
and but very little poultry. The governor explained, that several
men-of-war had recently visited the settlement, and taken all the live
stock that could be spared, and that the war with Appollonia had cut off
the large supply formerly drawn from that country. The natives at this
place cannot furnish vessels with supplies, unless by the governor's
express permission; which, it is said, he does not grant, except upon
condition that they expend the proceeds in purchasing goods from him. One
of our stewards bought a roasting-pig, on shore; and the fact coming to
the ears of Governor Rhule, he notified the people that there would be a
palaver after our departure, for the discovery of the offender. The fine
for a transgression of this kind is two ounces of gold, or thirty-two
dollars. Let us imagine a village storekeeper, in our own country,
possessing supreme control over all the traffic of his neighbors--and we
shall have an idea of the relative position of the Governor of Axim and
the natives. Moreover, he is the general arbitrator, _ex officio_, and
expects that all awards shall be paid in cash, and that the successful
party spend the amount at his shop.

We learned from Governor Rhule, that the Dutch government, some years ago,
had sent agents from El Mina to Comassee, the capital of Ashantee, for the
purchase of slaves, to be employed in the wars between the Dutch East
India settlements and the natives of that region. Three thousand were thus
purchased, at forty dollars each, and transported to Batavia. Perhaps no
circumstance, possible to be conceived, could do more to strip war of its
poetry, than such a fact; and yet it is in good keeping with the character
of a shrewd, commercial, business-like people, endowed with more common
sense than chivalry or sensibility. A British general, in order to carry
on an expedition against a French colony, once entered into a similar
speculation; but it was indignantly annulled by his government. In the
present case, the exportation of slaves, to fight the battles of their
masters, ceased only two or three years since, on the termination of the
war. These servile soldiers continued in Batavia, except a few wounded
ones, who have been sent back to El Mina, and now reside there on
pensions.

Between Axim and Accra, both inclusive, there are six Dutch forts now
occupied and in repair, besides several which have been abandoned. I was
told that the annual cost of these establishments, to the home-government,
is not more than twenty thousand dollars; most of their expenses being
defrayed by duties, port-charges and other revenue accruing on the spot.

24.--We left Axim yesterday, and anchored, last night, off the British
settlement at Dixcove. This morning, while heaving up the anchor, a boat
came off from the schooner Edward Burley of Bevaley, requesting
assistance, as her spars had been shivered by lightning. Soon after, the
commandant of the fort came on board, in a large and handsome canoe,
paddled by ten or twelve natives. The passengers sit in the bows, using
chairs or stools for seats, and protected from the surf and spray by the
high sides of the canoe. We dined on shore with the Governor, Mr. Swansey,
at his new residence, in the cool and refreshing atmosphere of a high
hill. The house is handsomely furnished in the English style. Mr. Swansey
has resided ten years on the coast, and was one of the persons examined
before the Committee of Parliament in reference to the state and affairs
of this region. There is a circumstance that connects this gentleman,
though but slightly, with poetic annals. Being at Cape Coast Castle at the
time of Mrs. McLean's death, he was one of the inquest that examined into
that melancholy event. His account confirms the general impression, that
her death was unpremeditated, and caused by an accidental over-dose of
prussic-acid, which she was in the habit of taking for spasms. She was
found alone, and nearly dead, behind the door of her apartment. Alas, poor
L.E.L.! It was certainly a strange and wild vicissitude of fate that made
it the duty of this respectable African merchant, in company with men of
similar fitness for the task, to "sit" upon the body--say, rather, on the
heart--of a creature so delicate, impassioned, and imaginative.

The native houses here are quite large; three or four being two stories
high, with balconies, built of stone, in the Spanish style. They are
furnished with sofas, bedsteads, and pictures. One elderly native received
us in a calico surtout, and gave us ale. Another wore the native garb,
with the long cloth folded around him and resting upon his shoulder, like
a Roman toga. He offered champagne, Madeira, gin, brandy, ale, and cigars,
and pressed us to partake, with a dignified and elegant hospitality. This
was Mr. Brace. He had a clerk (of native blood, but dressed in cap,
jacket, and pantaloons, in the English style), who spoke good English, and
was very gentlemanly. It is interesting to meet the natives of Africa at
so advanced a stage of refinement, yet retaining somewhat of their
original habits and character, which is of course entirely lost in the
Liberian colonists.

25.--Spent the morning on shore, at the government-house, reading the
English newspapers, and enjoying the coolness of the position and the
society of the intelligent governor. I was interested in observing an
alligator, inhabiting a fresh-water pond, on the edge of the town. A
chicken being held out to him as a lure, he came out of the pond and
snapped at it, making a loud, startling noise with his teeth. He had
entirely emerged from his native element, and remained some fifteen
minutes on land, during which time he snapped five or six times at the
fowl, which was as often drawn away by a string. At length, seizing his
prey, he plunged with it into the water, dived, swam across the pond, and
rose to the surface on the other side, where he masticated his breakfast,
at his leisure. Three alligators inhabit this pond, and being regarded as
"fetishes," or charmed and sacred creatures, are never injured by the
natives. On their part, the amphibious monsters seem to cherish amicable
feelings towards the human race, and allow children to bathe and sport in
the pond, without injury or molestation. The reptile that I saw was seven
or eight feet long, with formidable teeth and scales.

Instead of the cassada and rice of the windward coast, corn is here the
principal food. After being pounded in their long mortars, it is ground
fine, by hand, between two stones like those used by painters, and is
mixed with palm-wine.

28.--Having repaired the American schooner, and supplied her with one of
our spare topmasts, we are ready to sail to-day.




CHAPTER XVII.

Dutch Settlement at El Mina--Appearance of the Town--Cape Coast
Castle--Burial-place of L. E. L.--An English Dinner--Festivity on
Ship-board--British, Dutch, and Danish Accra--Native Wives of Europeans--A
Royal Princess--An Armadillo--Sail for St. Thomas--Aspect of the Island.


_April_ 29.--At 10 A.M., anchored off the Dutch settlement of El Mina.
The Governor's lieutenant boarded us in a large canoe, paddled by about a
score of blacks. A salute was fired by our ship, and returned from the
castle with a degree of splendor quite unexpected; for a portion of the
native town, situated beneath the castle-walls, was set on fire by the wad
of a cannon, and twenty or thirty houses burnt to the ground. On landing,
we received a message, intimating that the Governor would be glad to see
us, and consequently called upon him. He is a man of about thirty, who
came out in 1832, as a clerk, and has risen to be Governor, with the
military rank of lieutenant-colonel. All the civil officers have military
titles, and wear the corresponding uniforms, for effect upon the natives;
but the Dutch evince their shrewdness by placing practical men of
business, rather than soldiers, at the head of their colonial
establishments. The only officer of the regular army is a lieutenant,
commanding the guard, of one hundred men.

El Mina--the Mine--was built in 1482, or thereabouts, by the Portuguese,
whose early navigators have left tokens of their enterprise all along this
coast; although the achievements of those adventurous men do but
illustrate the nation's present supineness and decay. The settlement was
taken by the Dutch about a century after its foundation. The main fortress
is extensive, mounting ninety guns, and is capable of withstanding the
assault of a large force of regular troops. On an eminence, above the
town, is a second fort, apparently strong and in good repair; and two
small batteries are placed in commanding situations.

The houses in the town are built of stone, and thatched. The streets are
narrow, crooked, and dirty, imparting to the place the air of intricate
bewilderment of some of the old European cities. Much of the trade is done
in the streets, and entirely by women, who sit with their merchandize on
the ground before them, and their gold-scales in their laps, waiting for
customers. It would perhaps add to our manliness of character, if at least
the minor departments of traffic were resigned to the weaker sex, among
ourselves. Crossing a small river, we came to another, and by far the best
section, of the town. There are long, wide streets, two of which, meeting
at an obtuse angle, form together an extent of nearly a mile. A double row
of trees throw their shade over the central walk of this Alameda. At
intervals are seated groups of women-traders. The wares of some are
deposited upon the ground, while pieces of cloth are displayed to
advantage upon lines, stretching from tree to tree.

Before returning on board, we bespoke rings and chains of a native
goldsmith. The fashions of Africa are less evanescent than those of
Europe; and we may expect to see such ornaments as glittered on the bosom
of the Queen of Sheba.

_May_ 2.--Sailed for Cape Coast Castle with the evening breeze.

3.--At Cape Coast Castle.

The landing is effected in large canoes, which convey passengers close to
the rocks, safely and without being drenched, although the surf dashes
fifty feet in height. There is a peculiar enjoyment in being raised, by an
irresistible power beneath you, upon the tops of the high rollers, and
then dropped into the profound hollow of the waves, as if to visit the
bottom of the ocean, at whatever depth it might be. We landed at the
castle-gate, and were ushered into the castle itself, where the commander
of the troops received us in his apartment.

I took the first opportunity to steal away, to look at the burial-place of
L.E.L., who died here, after a residence of only two months, and within a
year after becoming the wife of Governor McLean. A small, white marble
tablet (inserted among the massive grey stones of the castle-wall, where
it faces the area of the fort) bears the following inscription:--

       Hic jacet sepultum
     Omne quod mortale fuit
   LETITIAE ELISABETHAE McLEAN,
     Quam, egregia ornatam indole,
       Musis unice amatam;
   Omniumque amores secum trahentem,
       In ipso aetatis flore,
     Mors immatura rapuit,
   Die Octobris XV., A.D. MDCCCXXXVIII,
              Atat 36.

       *       *       *       *       *

      Quod spectas viator marmor,
     Vanum heu doloris monumentum,
       Conjux moereng erexit.

The first thought that struck me was the inappropriateness of the spot for
a grave, and especially for the grave of a woman, and, most of all, a
woman of poetic temperament. In the open area of the fort, at some
distance from the castle-wall, the stone pavement had been removed in
several spots, and replaced with plain tiles. Here lie buried some of the
many British officers who have fallen victims to the deadly atmosphere of
this region; and among them rests L.E.L. Her grave is distinguishable by
the ten red tiles which cover it. Daily, the tropic sunshine blazes down
upon the spot. Daily, at the hour of parade, the peal of military music
resounds above her head, and the garrison marches and counter-marches
through the area of the fortress, nor shuns to tread upon the ten red
tiles, any more than upon the insensible stones of the pavement. It may be
well for the fallen commander to be buried at his post, and sleep where
the reveille and roll-call may be heard, and the tramp of his
fellow-soldiers echo and re-echo over him. All this is in unison with his
profession; the drum and trumpet are his perpetual requiem; the soldier's
honorable tread leaves no indignity upon the dead warrior's dust. But who
has a right to trample on a woman's breast? And what had L.E.L. to do with
warlike parade? And wherefore was she buried beneath this scorching
pavement, and not in the retired shadow of a garden, where seldom any
footstep would come stealing through the grass, and pause before her
tablet? There, her heart, while in one sense it decayed, would burst forth
afresh from the sod in a profusion of spontaneous flowers, such as her
living fancy lavished throughout the world. But now, no verdure nor
blossom will ever grow upon her grave.

If a man may ever indulge in sentiment, it is over the ashes of a woman
whose poetry touched him in his early youth, while he yet cared anything
about either sentiment or poetry. Thus much, the reader will pardon. In
reference to Mrs. McLean, it may be added, that, subsequently to her
unhappy death, different rumors were afloat as to its cause, some of them
cruel to her own memory, others to the conduct of her husband. All these
reports appear to have been equally and entirely unfounded. It is well
established here, that her death was accidental.

We dined at the castle to-day, and met the officers of a new English brig,
the Sea-Lark, among whom I was happy to recognize Lieutenant B----, an
acquaintance at Mahon, and a messmate of my friend C----. All these
officers are gallant fellows; and the commencement of our acquaintance
promises to place them and ourselves on the most cordial terms. The
dinner, like other English dinners, was rather noisy, but rendered highly
agreeable by the perfect good feeling that prevailed. At eight in the
evening, we returned on board, though strongly urged to sleep on shore by
the Governor and all our other friends. Such hospitality, though
unquestionably sincere, and kindly meant, it was far better to decline
than accept; for it was much the same as if Death, in the hearty tone of
good-fellowship, had pressed us to quaff another cup and spend the night
under his roof. Had we complied, it would probably have cost the lives of
more than one of us. Our captain took wisdom by the sad experience of the
English brig, which had lost her purser and master by just such a
festivity, prolonged to a late hour, and finished by the officers passing
the night on shore. The fever of the climate punished their imprudence.

All vessels, except those of our own navy, allow their officers to sleep
on shore. They expect to be taken sick, but hope that the first attack of
fever will season them. Possibly, this is as wise a course as the British
officers could adopt; for, unlike ourselves, they are compelled by duty to
trust themselves in pestiferous situations, particularly in the ascent of
rivers, where there is scarcely a chance of escaping the deadly influence
of the atmosphere. They therefore confront the danger at once, and either
fall beneath it, or triumph over it.

4.--Governor McLean, and all the officers of the castle and brig, dined on
board. The table was laid on the quarter-deck, and was the scene of much
mirth and friendly sentiment. In the evening, the theatre was open, with
highly respectable performances; after which came a supper; and the guests
took their leave at midnight, apparently well-pleased.

6.--We sailed yesterday from Cape Coast Castle, and anchored to-day at
Accra, abreast of the British and Dutch forts.

7.--Early this morning, we were surrounded with canoes, filled with
articles for sale. The most remarkable were black monkey-skins. There are
seven vessels at anchor here, including our own, and an English
war-steamer. Three of the seven, a barque, brig, and schooner, are from
the United States. Landing in a canoe, we were met on the beach by the
Governor and some of his gentlemen, and escorted to the castle. Thence we
went to the residence of Mr. Bannerman. He is the great man of Accra,
wealthy, liberally educated in England, and a gentleman, although with a
deep tinge of African blood in his cheeks. But when native blood is
associated with gentlemanly characteristics and liberal acquirements, it
becomes, instead of a stigma of dishonor, an additional title to the
respect of the world; since it implies that many obstacles have been
overcome, in order to place the man where we find him. This, however, is a
view not often taken by those who labor under the misfortune (for such it
is, if they so consider it) of having African blood in their veins.

8.--A missionary, on his way to the Gaboon, and two American
merchant-captains, Hunt and Dayley, dined with us in the ward-room. The
latter are respectable men. The missionary, Mr. Burchell, seems much
depressed. He has had the fever at Cape Palmas, the effects of which still
linger in his constitution; while his companion, the Rev. Mr. Campbell,
although but recently from America, has already finished his earthly
labors, and gone to his reward. We left them only a month ago at Cape
Palmas, in perfect health.

9.--My impressions of Accra are more favorable than of any other place
which I have yet seen in Africa. British and Dutch Accra are contiguous.
The forts of the two nations are within a mile of each other, situated on
ground which, at a little distance, appears not unlike the "bluffs" on our
western rivers; level upon the summit, with a precipitous descent, as if
the land had "caved in" from the action of the water. The country round is
level, and nearly free from woods as far as the rise of the hills, some
ten miles distant. About three miles to the eastward, Danish Accra shows
its neat town and well-kept fortress. I did not visit the place, but learn
that it is fully equal to its neighbors. Thus, within a circuit of three
or four miles, the traveller may perform no inconsiderable portion of the
grand tour, visiting the territory of three different countries of Europe,
and observing their military and civil institutions, their modes of
business, their national characteristics, and all assimilated by a general
modification, resulting from the climate and position in which they are
placed. There seems to be an exchange of courtesy and social kindness
among the three settlements. Seven or eight Europeans reside in the
different forts; so that, together with the captains of merchant-vessels
in the roads, there are tolerable resources of society.

All the Europeans have native wives, who dress in a modest, but peculiar
style, of which the lady of Mr. Bannerman may give an example. She wore a
close-fitting muslin chemisette, buttoned to the throat with gold buttons,
a black silk tunic extending to the thigh, a colored cotton cloth,
fastened round the waist and falling as low as the ankles, black silk
stockings and prunella shoes. This lady is jet black, of pleasing
countenance, and is a princess of royal blood. In the last great battle
between the Europeans on the coast and the powerful King of Ashantee (the
same who defeated and slew Sir Charles McCarthy), the native army was put
to total rout by the aid of Congreve rockets. The king's camp, with most
of his women, fell into the hands of the victors. Three of his daughters
were appropriated by the English merchants, here and at Cape Coast, and
became their faithful and probably happy wives. One of the three fell to
the lot of Mr. Bannerman, and is the lady whom I have described. These
women are entrusted with all the property of their husbands, and are
sometimes left for months in sole charge, while the merchants visit
England. The acting governor of the British fort, Mr. Topp, departs for
that country to-morrow, leaving his native wife at the head of affairs.

Mr. Bannerman is of Scottish blood by paternal descent, but African by the
mother's side, and English by education, and is a gentleman in manner and
feeling. He is the principal merchant here, and transacts a large business
with the natives, who come from two or three hundred miles in the
interior, and constantly crowd his yard. There they sit, in almost perfect
silence, receiving their goods, and making payment in gold-dust and ivory.
Towards us Mr. Bannerman showed himself most hospitable, yet in a
perfectly unostentatious manner.

Accra is the land of plenty in Africa. Beef, mutton, turkeys and chickens
abound; and its supply of European necessaries and luxuries is unequalled.

10.--We got under way, yesterday, for the "Islands," a term well
understood to mean those of St. Thomas and Prince's. Mr. Bushnell (one of
the two missionaries who proposed to take passage with us from Cape
Palmas, a month since) is now on board as a passenger to Prince's Island.
The other, Mr. Campbell, is dead. He was of a wealthy and influential
family in Kentucky, and is said to have been a young man of extraordinary
talent and promise.

Yesterday we fired seventeen minute-guns, in obedience to an order from
the Navy-Department for the melancholy death of its chief, by the
explosion of the Princeton's gun. At twelve o'clock to-day, we fired
thirteen minute guns, as a tribute of respect to the memory of Commodore
Kennon, who fell a victim to the same disastrous accident. Alone on the
waters, months after the event, and five thousand miles from the scene of
his fate, we gave a sailor's requiem to a brave and accomplished officer.

11.--Calm and sunny. Oh, how sunny!--and, alas, how calm!

At Accra, I received a present of an armadillo, or ant-eater, who is
certainly a wonderful animal, and well worth studying, in the tedium of a
calm between the tropics. The body proper is but about nine inches, but,
when stretched at length, he covers an extent of two and a half feet, from
head to tail, and is wholly fortified with an impenetrable armor of bony
scales. On any occasion of alarm, it is his custom to thrust his long nose
between his hind-legs and roll his body and tail compactly together, so as
to appear like the half of a ball, presenting no vulnerable part to an
enemy. In this condition he affords an excellent example of a
self-involved philosopher, defending himself from the annoyance of the
world by a stoical crustiness, and seeking all his enjoyment within his
own centre. His muscular strength being great, and especially that of his
fore-legs, it is very difficult to unroll him. An attempt being made to
force his coil, he sticks his fore-claws into the scales of his head, and
holds on with a death-like grip. At night, however, or when all is quiet,
he vouchsafes to unbend himself, and waddles awkwardly about on his short
legs, in pursuit of cockroaches, weevils and spiders. [Footnote: The
above-described ant-eater is properly the long-tailed Manis, being an
African species of the Pangolin. His scaly armor will turn a musket-ball.
This animal, with a few other natural and artificial curiosities from
Africa, has been deposited in the National collection, attached to the
Patent Office at Washington.] 18.--After many days of calm or light
winds, a stiff and fair breeze, for twenty-four hours past, has been
driving us rapidly on our course. We hope to see St. Thomas to-morrow.

19.--Land was discovered at daylight; but the wind had again failed us. It
being Sunday, divine service was performed, and well performed, by Mr.
Bushnell. He has gained the respect and regard of all on board, by his
amiable, guileless disposition, and unassuming piety.

At noon the breeze freshened, and brought us within ten miles of the
island, by the close of day. St. Thomas is high, and possesses strong
features. One landmark is so singular as to strike every beholder most
forcibly. It is a rock, apparently not less than five hundred feet high,
and shaped like a light-house, towering into the air, about a third of the
distance from the southern extremity of the island. We are now within a
few miles of the equator; and sundry jokes, not unfamiliar to the nautical
Joe Miller, are passing through the ship, touching the appearance of "the
line."

20.--A heavy tornado struck us last night. We were prepared for it,
however, with nothing on the ship but the topsail, clewed down, and the
fore-topmast-staysail. The last mentioned sail blew away, and the ship lay
over with her guns in the water. In five minutes, nevertheless, we were
going before the wind and away from shore.

The appearance of the island is pleasant. A high volcanic peak, hills
covered with wood, and spots of ground reminding us of the lawns or
pasture-lands of our own country. On these tracts not a tree or a bush is
visible for acres together; but whether the soil was left naked by nature,
or rendered so by cultivation, is yet to be ascertained. A ruined chapel
on the top of a hill, a large mansion, apparently unoccupied, on the
shore, and a few huts among the cocoa-trees, are the only evidences that
men have ever been here. Several canoes have now come off to us, bringing
fruit and shells.




CHAPTER XVIII.

Excursion to St. Anne de Chaves--Mode of drying Coffee--Black
Priests--Madame Domingo's Hotel--Catering for the Mess--Man swallowed by a
Shark--Letters from Home--Fashionable Equipage--Arrival at the
Gaboon--King Glass and Louis Philippe--Mr. Griswold--Mr. and Mrs.
Wilson--Character of the Gaboon People--Symptoms of Illness.


_May_ 22.--I have just returned from an excursion to St. Anne de Chaves,
the capital of St. Thomas. Leaving the ship, yesterday, at 9 A.M., we
landed, but did not find the horses which had been ordered from the city.
Deeming it unadvisable to wait, three of the party started on foot, and
two in the "gig" (not the land-vehicle of that name), which was to proceed
on the same destination. After walking three or four miles along the
beach, we met two of the six horses expected. These served to mount a pair
of us, while the third, with the guide and boys, proceeded on foot; it
being arranged that we should travel in the old-fashioned mode of "ride
and tie." Most of the distance was across open land, without a tree or
shrub, but overgrown with coarse, high grass. The whole appearance was
that of a western prairie, but without the grandeur of its extent, or the
flowers that attract the traveller, when wearied with the immensity of
prospect. The soil, like that of the cocoa-nut groves, is a black, deep,
fertile loam.

In two hours, we arrived at St. Anne de Chaves. The town is spread out
upon the circular shore of the bay, nearly half a mile in extent, and is
defended by a stone fort, situated on the extreme point of the cape. There
are three or four hundred houses, which, with few exceptions, are small,
and constructed of wood. A long stone building is appropriated as the
residence of the governor, and contains the public offices. The only
remarkable edifices besides, are a large wooden church, looking very like
a barn, and a smaller one of stone. The streets are unpaved, but kept
remarkably clean, and not without an especial reason. The great, and
almost only, article of commerce is coffee, which is kept in the houses,
and dried daily in the streets. As soon as the sun is up, therefore,
servants sweep the streets, as carefully as if it were a parlor-floor, and
bring out large quantities of coffee, which they spread upon the ground to
dry. At night, it is carried in. More than half the street, at the proper
season, is covered with coffee yet in the husk. The exports of this
article amount annually to about a million of pounds, producing from
seventy to eighty thousand dollars. The only whites residing on the
island, with one exception, are about sixty Portuguese; the number of
colored inhabitants is estimated at fifteen thousand.

Black priests are plenty in the streets, walking about in bombazine robes,
with the crisp hair shaven from their crowns. The Jesuits invariably
followed hard upon the heels of the early Portuguese adventurers, in their
African discoveries; but I am not aware that their efforts to Catholicise
the natives have anywhere produced such permanent results, as in this
island. To be sure, the religion of the inhabitants seems to amount to
little more than the practice of a few external rites; for they have both
the appearance and character of dishonesty and treachery, and are said to
be addicted to all sorts of vice. So far as the black priests possess any
influence, however, it is believed to be used conscientiously, and with
excellent effect; nor, though provoked to smile at these queer specimens
of the cloth, could I indulge the impulse without being self-convicted of
narrowness and illiberally. St. Augustine, and other Fathers of the
church, if I have heard aright, were of the same sable hue as the priests
of St. Anne de Chaves.

The currency of the island is wretched. Coppers are the sole coin in use,
in all domestic transactions, and pass at ten times their intrinsic value.
They are said to be introduced mainly by the American merchantmen, who do
most of the trade with the island.

The foreign business is chiefly transacted by Mr. Lippitt, a Hamburgh
merchant, at whose house we were hospitably received. He set his best fare
before us; and some of the party not only ate at his table, but slept
beneath his roof. The others took lodgings at the house of Madam Domingo,
a fat black lady, whose first husband, a merchant of considerable
business, had left her a large mansion, several slaves, some children, and
other desirable property. A young, dandy-looking negro succeeded to the
vacant place in her house and heart, and now does the honors of the
establishment. The largest room had a singular aspect of familiarity to
our eyes; its walls being adorned with prints of American origin, among
which were portraits of all the Presidents of the United States, previous
to General Harrison. These, perhaps, were the gift of some
merchant-captain to his hospitable landlady; or, more probably, they had
been hung up in compliment to the national sensibilities of Madam
Domingo's most frequent guests. Tawdry mirrors and chandeliers completed
the decoration of the apartment. A supper of coffee and hard-boiled eggs,
beds harder than the eggs, and a bill equally difficult of digestion,
comprise all that is further to be said of the fashionable hotel of St.
Anne de Chaves. After a good breakfast with our Hamburgh friend, we all
embarked in the gig, and, spreading our canvass to the breeze, reached the
ship in an hour and ten minutes.

23.--Ashore with the caterer of the mess, marketing for sea-stores; a
difficult task among a set of people who, though poor, care little about
making a profit by selling what they have. Many of them would not take
money, requiring in payment some article of clothing, especially shirts,
or, as the next grand desideratum, trowsers. By careful research among the
small plantations we were able to pick up a few goats, pigs, and fowls,
and came off with materials to keep the mess in good humor for at least
ten days. None but sea-faring men can appreciate the great truth, that
amiability is an affair of the stomach, and that the disposition depends
upon the dinner.

We found the soil very fertile. Groves of cocoa-nuts cover many acres
together. Beneath the shade, coffee trees were in full bearing; and
bananas, plantains, and corn, flourished luxuriantly. The people are all
blacks, speak Portuguese, and--a circumstance that affords the voyager an
agreeable variety, after seeing so much nakedness--wear clothes. Their
habitations are scattered among the trees. It is usual to have one house
for rainy weather, for sleeping, and for storage, and another as a
kitchen, and for occupation during the day. The first is close, the other
has merely corner-posts, supporting a roof sufficiently light to make a
shade.

Part of the day was spent in picking up shells upon the shore.
Occasionally, I unhoused a "soldier-crab," who had taken up free quarters
in some unoccupied cone, and became so delighted with its shelter as never
to move without dragging it at his heels along the sand.

24.--6 P.M., a horrid accident has just occurred. As the gig was coming
alongside, under sail, the tiller broke, and the coxswain who was
steering, fell overboard. He was a good swimmer, and struck out for the
ship, not thirty yards distant, while the boat fell off rapidly to the
leeward. In less than half a minute, a monstrous shark rose to the
surface, seized the poor fellow by the body, and carried him instantly
under. Two hundred men were looking on, without the power to afford
assistance. We beheld the water stained with crimson for many yards
around--but the victim was seen no more! Once only, a few seconds after
his disappearance, the monster rose again to the surface, displaying a
length of well nigh twenty feet, and then his immense tail above the
water, as if in triumph and derision. It was like something preternatural;
and terribly powerful he must have been, to take under so easily, and
swallow, in a moment, one of the largest and most athletic men in the
ship. Poor Ned Martin!

25.--Again visited the town, where we found an American brig, the Vintage
of Salem, Captain Frye. She is from the South Coast, homeward bound, with
a cargo of gum copal. The Captain had some letters for the squadron, which
were now eleven months old. My own gave an account of the President's
visit to Boston, the Bunker Hill Celebration, and other events of that
antediluvian date. Epistolary communication is, at the best, a kind of
humbug. What was new and true, when written, has become trite and false,
before it can be read. It assures of nothing--not even of the existence of
the writer; for his hand may have grown cold, since the characters which
it traced began their weary voyage in quest of us; and all of which we can
be absolutely certain is, that many unexpected events have happened, and
many expected ones have failed to happen, betwixt the sealing of the
letter and the unfolding it again. Until the ocean be converted into an
electric telegraph, through which intelligence will thrill in an instant,
there can be no real communication between the sailor and his far-off
friends. And yet, after all, how pleasant it is to write letters!--how
much pleasanter to receive them! I acknowledged the receipt of these musty
epistles, by the same vessel that conveyed them to me.

I have seen but one equipage in the capital of St. Thomas, but that was a
sufficiently remarkable one; a small, three-wheeled vehicle, like a
velocipede, with a phaeton-top to it. Drawn by two negroes, and pushed by
three, it rolled briskly to the door of the church, and there deposited a
plump and youthful dame, as black as ebony. From the deference shown her
by the priests, I inferred that it was my good fortune to behold the
leading belle of St. Anne de Chaves.

After dining with Mr. Lippitt, we returned to the boats, and got safely on
shipboard before dark. My impressions of St. Thomas and its delightful
climate are highly favorable. A visit to an island has generally more of
interest and amusement than one to a spot on the continent, because the
secluded position of the inhabitants imparts an originality and raciness
to their modes of life.

27.--Got under way yesterday morning for the Gaboon. Today the wind has
been favorable, and we are now at anchor for the night, off the mouth of
the river, five miles from land.

28.--At 4 P.M., anchored within three miles of the missionary
establishment. Mr. Bushnell took his leave, respected by us all, as a
pious, unpretending, sensible, and amiable man.

29.--Ashore. We found our friends well, and glad to see us. They are
comfortably situated in large houses, made of bamboos, and thatched with
the bamboo-leaves sewed together. These present an airy, cool, and light
appearance, highly suitable to a tropical region, and yet are impervious
to rain.

We visited the house of King Glass, where several of the chiefs assembled
to talk a palaver. They are apprehensive of difficulties with the French,
and wish the English and Americans to interpose. According to their story,
the commandant of a French fort, three miles distant, had attempted, a
short time ago, to procure a cession of their territory. This they
constantly refused, declaring their intention to keep the country open for
trade with all nations, and allow exclusive advantages to none. After
several trials, the commandant apparently relinquished his purpose. A
French merchant-captain now appeared, who ingratiated himself into the
favor of the simple King Glass, invited him to a supper, and made his
majesty and the head-man drunk. While in this condition, he procured the
signatures of the King and two or three chiefs to a paper, which he
declared to be merely a declaration of friendship towards the French, but
which proved to be a cession of certain rights of jurisdiction. Next
morning, the French fired a salute of twenty-one guns in honor of the
treaty between Louis Philippe and King Glass, and sent presents which the
natives refused to receive. They now apprehend a forcible seizure of their
territory by the French, and desire our interposition, as calculated to
prevent such a national calamity. Our captain, however, declined to
interfere, or to express any opinion in the premises, on the ground that
it was not his province to judge of such matters abroad, unless the
interests of Americans were involved.

The missionaries have perhaps some agency in this movement. They see the
probability that the Catholic priests will follow them to the Gaboon, and
subvert their influence with the natives.

31.--In the morning I visited Mr. Griswold's place, about two miles from
Baracca, the residence of Mr. Wilson. The former establishment was
commenced only eight months ago; and already there are two buildings
finished, and two more nearly so, all of bamboo. The ground is more
fertile than that occupied by Mr. Wilson, and has been brought thus
seasonably into a good state of cultivation. Mr. Griswold is a Vermonter,
a practical farmer, and an energetic man, and doubtless turns his
agricultural experience to good account, great as is the difference
between the bleak hills of New England, and this equatorial region. His
lady, an interesting woman, is just recovering from fever.

After an agreeable visit, we returned to the ship, accompanied by Mr. and
Mrs. Griswold, and there found Mr. Wilson and lady, and Mr. James and his
daughter. They all dined and spent the day on board. Mr. Wilson is well
known in America by reputation, and is one of the most able and judicious
among the three hundred missionaries, whom the American Board sends forth
throughout the world. Here at Gaboon, he preaches to the natives in their
own language, which he represents as being very soft, and easy of
acquirement. The people frequent divine services with great regularity,
and are at least attentive listeners, if not edified by what they hear.
Mrs. Wilson is a lady of remarkable zeal and energy. Reared in luxury, in
a Southern city, she liberated her slaves, gave up a handsome fortune to
the uses of missions, and devoted herself to the same great cause, in that
region of the earth where her faith and fortitude were likely to be most
severely tried. It is now six years since she came to Africa; and she has
never faltered for a moment. Having had the good fortune, on a former
cruise, to make the acquaintance of Mrs. Wilson, at Cape Palmas, I was
happy to renew it here. I have seldom met with a person so well fitted to
adorn society, and never with one in whose high motives of action and
genuine piety I had more confidence.

The natives at the Gaboon, to whom these excellent people are sacrificing
themselves, are said to present more favorable points of character than
those in most other parts of Africa. They are mild in their manners,
friendly to Europeans and Americans, and disposed to imitate them in dress
and customs. They own many slaves among themselves, but treat them with
singular gentleness, and never sell them to foreigners. They are very
indolent, and make no adequate improvement of their advantages for
agriculture and trade. Their country is excellent for grazing, and the
cattle of the best kind; but they take so little forethought as to sell
even the last cow, should a purchaser offer. Consequently, there are
hardly more than thirty cattle left in a tract of country capable, in its
present state, of sustaining a thousand.

King Glass is an old man, much inclined to drink, yet more regular than
any of his subjects in attendance at church. Toko, a headman, is very
shrewd and intelligent, and highly spoken of by Mr. Wilson, in reference
to his moral qualities. Will Glass, nephew to the King, is blessed with a
couple of dozen wives, and seldom moves without a train of five or six of
them in attendance. He paid a visit to our ship in a full-dress English
uniform, said to have cost three hundred dollars. On the other side of the
river lives King Will, a great man, and with the reputation of a polished
gentleman. The slave-trade is carried on in this King's dominions; and,
while I write, a Spanish slaver lies at anchor off his town, waiting for
her human cargo.

_June_ 1.--Got under way, and went down the river about three miles,
when, the wind failing, we anchored. At 3 P.M., we started again, and
stood out to sea. Mr. Wilson accompanied us to the mouth of the river, and
there left us, bearing back our hearty good wishes for his personal
prosperity and that of the mission.

2.--At 12, meridian, we have made the run to the island of St. Thomas, and
are now about fifteen miles to the northward of it.

3.--The wind is still sufficiently fresh and fair to enable us to make
seven knots westing; the great desideratum. Four months we have been
running away from our letters; and now we go to meet them. Blow, breezes,
blow, and waft us swiftly onward!

4.--A continuance of favorable winds. I am not well to-day. Slight
headache, and heaviness of feeling--no great matter--but these are ominous
symptoms, on the coast of Africa.

5.--One year since we left America; a year not without incident and
interest. We are still on the first parallel of north latitude, and going
nine. I am under the surgeon's hands, apprehending a fever, but hoping to
throw it off.

6.--We have made two hundred and twenty miles within the last twenty-four
hours; and still the breeze does not slacken. Much better in health. Bless
the man who first invented Doctors!




CHAPTER XIX.

Recovery from Fever--Projected Independence of Liberia--Remarks on Climate
and Health--Peril from Breakers--African Arts--Departure for the Cape de
Verds--Man Overboard.


June 18.--A weary blank! Since my last date, I have had the coast fever,
caught by sleeping on shore, at St. Anne de Chaves, and am now just
recovering my physical force. My sickness was accompanied with little
bodily pain, but with great prostration of strength. Able medical advice,
and kind and judicious treatment, have brought me up a little; and, with
the help of God, I may again call myself well, in a week or two more. But
there is great danger of relapses, caution!

We are now at Monrovia, having made the passage from the river Gaboon,
hitherward, in seven days and fourteen hours, from anchorage to
anchorage--an unprecedented run! The Macedonian has been here, and is
gone.

19.--Still better this morning. The sky looks brighter than before; the
woods seem greener, and cast a lovelier shade; the surf breaks more
gracefully along the beach; and the natives, paddling their canoes around
the ship, look more human--more like brethren. Returning health gives a
more beautiful aspect to all things. It is almost worth while to have been
brought so low by sickness, for the sake of the freshness of body and
spirit, the renewed youth, the tenderer susceptibility to all good
impressions, which make my present consciousness so delightful. It is like
being new-created, and placed in a new world. Life, to the convalescent,
looks as fair and promising as if he had never tried it, and been weary of
it.

20.--Still improving. The fine weather of yesterday and to-day invigorates
and cheers me. Lieutenant Governor Benedict and some friends are expected
on board, by special invitation. We pay much attention to the persons in
authority here; it being the policy of our government to befriend and
countenance the colonies. I hear that a serious effort is now in progress,
at this place, to declare Liberia independent of the Colonization Society,
and set up a republic. Lieutenant Governor Benedict and Mr. Teage are said
to be at the head of the movement. Both are men of talent. Mr. Teage
formerly edited the Liberia Herald, and preached in the Baptist Church,
where his services were most emphatically gratuitous; for he not only
ministered without a stipend, but supplied a place of worship--the sacred
edifice being his own private property. He is certainly one of the ablest,
if not the very ablest, writer and preacher in the colony. The project
above-mentioned seems to me an unwise one; but benefits, which do not now
appear, may possibly be obtained by sundering the relations between the
settlement and the parent society. Much is expected from England. That
nation, however, can never feel a maternal interest in the colony, nor
will do for it what the Society has all along done, and continues to do.

21.--Still stronger. I am now able to resume my place at the mess-table.
But care is necessary to avoid a relapse. It is one of the worst features
of this disease, that it appears to continue in the system for many months
after the patient's recovery, and to renew its attacks upon the slightest
exposure. Most persons find it necessary to leave the coast, in order to
the re-establishment of their health. I am not the only convalescent on
board the ship. Mr. Ewal, a young Danish supercargo, is here for a few
days, to try the benefit of a change of air, and enjoy the attendance of a
regular physician. He has been on shore above a month, sick of the fever,
under the charge of Dr. Prout, a colored practitioner. Our captain pitied
his condition, invited him on board, and, with his uniform kindness, took
him into the cabin, where, in only three days, he has already improved
wonderfully.

27.--A sunny day, after three or four dull and rainy ones. My health is
now so far restored, that I shall insert no more bulletins. I owe much to
the care of our surgeon, who is very able and attentive, and has seen much
yellow-fever practice, in the West Indies. The assistant-surgeon is also
an excellent and an untiring officer. My fever, like the other cases which
have happened on board, was of a bilious kind. All foreigners make
themselves liable to it, either in its milder or more aggravated forms, by
sleeping even a single night on shore; but, according to Dr. Hall, a
physician of great experience on the coast, health may be preserved for an
indefinite period, by the simple precaution of sleeping always on
ship-board, at a very moderate distance from land. This does not
altogether coincide with my own observations. It is true, that during
eight or ten months after the arrival of a ship upon the coast, the health
of her crew will probably continue good, if they neither sleep on shore
nor ascend the rivers. But, if exposed for a longer period to the
enervating influences of the unceasing heat, and the frequent penetrating
rains, it may reasonably be expected that any ship's company will be
broken down, even though not a single death may occur. In our own ship, we
have recently had many cases of fever, where the patients have neither
slept on shore, nor been exposed to the peculiar malaria of rivers.
Doubtless, however, the fever of the country, where all due precautions
have been used, will be much lighter on board, than on shore. But the
patients will be liable to frequent relapses, and a complete recovery will
be almost out of the question, without a change of climate. It is another
objection to the long continuance of ships on this station, that all
wounds or injuries, however slight, have a tendency to become obstinate
and dangerous sores, which incapacitate these afflicted from performing
any duty.

Besides the coast fever (which, Dr. Hall remarks, he has never known an
emigrant completely to escape), there is an intermittent fever, against
which no acclimation will protect the colonist, any more than against the
bilious fever of America. The Rev. Mr. James, a colored missionary, told
me, that, for seven years, he had been accustomed to suffer attacks of
fever, once in every four or five weeks.

The natives of this country are as healthy as any people under Heaven. A
benignant Providence has adapted the climate, soil, and productions, of
every part of the globe to the constitutions of those races of mankind
which it has placed there. Nor is Africa an exception. In spite of her
desolating wars, and the immense drain of her children through the slave
trade which for centuries has checked the increase of population, she is
still a populous country. The aboriginal natives, unless killed through
superstition or cruelty, survive to an almost patriarchal longevity. The
colored people of America, or any other part of the world, may be regarded
as borrowed from Africa, and inheriting a natural adaptation to her soil
and climate. Such emigrants, therefore, may be expected to suffer less
than the whites, in the process of acclimation, and may, in due time, find
their new residence more genial to their constitutions, than those which
they have quitted. At all events, their children will probably flourish
here, and attain a fulness of physical, and perhaps moral and intellectual
perfection, which the colored race has fallen short of, in other regions.

As the country becomes cleared and cultivated, the mortality of the
emigrants decreases. It is asserted to be one-third less, at this period,
than it was ten years ago. The statistics of Cape Palmas show the
population to be on the increase, independently of immigration. Dr. Hall
affirmed (but, I should imagine, with unusual latitude of expression)
that, in the sickliest season ever known at Cape Palmas, the rate of
mortality was lower than that of the free colored population in Baltimore,
in an ordinary year. In another generation, this may no doubt be said with
perfect accuracy.

28.--Last night, the Porpoise came in, and anchored inside of us. As we
lay unusually near the shore, and as the wind was rising, with a heavy
swell, the brig found herself, this morning, in a dangerous position. She
sent us a boat, to say that she was dragging her anchor, and to ask for a
hawser. This was immediately supplied; but, before we could give her the
end of it, she had drifted into the breakers. She hoisted her colors,
union down, and was momentarily expected to strike. At this instant, a
tremendous roller swamped one of our boats, and left the men swimming for
their lives. The other boats went to their assistance, and providentially
succeeded in rescuing them all. Meantime, the brig made sail, and, by the
help of our hawser, was able to keep her wind, and got out to sea, leaving
both her anchors behind.

Soon after the Porpoise was saved, we found ourselves likewise in equal
peril. The breakers began to whiten about the ship. The wind was not
violent, but the swell was terrible; and the long rollers filled the bay,
breaking in forty feet of water, and covering the sea with foam. Our
anchors held tolerably well; but we dragged slowly, until, from seven
fathoms, we had shoaled our water to four and a half. A council of the
officers being called, it was determined to get under way. A hawser and
stream-anchor being sent out, in order to bring the ship's head in the
proper direction for making sail, the cables were slipped. It was a moment
of intense interest; for, had the rollers or the wind inclined the ship
from her proper course, we must inevitably have been lost; but she stood
out beautifully, and soon left all peril astern.

There were still three merchant-vessels at anchor; the American barque
Reaper, a Bremen brig, and a Hamburg schooner. While we had our own danger
to encounter, we thought the less of our fellow-sufferers; but, after our
escape, it was painful to think of leaving them in jeopardy. To the
American barque (which lay inshore of us, with her colors union down) we
sent a boat, with sixteen Kroomen, by whose assistance she was saved. The
Bremen brig had her colors at half-mast, appealing to us for aid. She was
nearer to the shore than the other vessels, and lay in the midst of the
breakers, which frequently covered her from stem to stern. Her escape
seemed impossible; and her cargo, valued at thirty thousand dollars, would
have been considered a dear purchase at a thirtieth of that sum. We gave
her all the help in our power, and not without effect; but her salvation,
under Providence, was owing to a strong tide, which was setting out of the
river, and counteracted the influence of wind and swell. Finally, we had
the satisfaction to see all the vessels, one after another, come off safe.

During this scene, there was great commotion on shore, the people
evidently expecting one or all of us to be lost. When the Porpoise got
off, the Kroomen on the beach raised a great shout of joy.

29.--There is a very heavy sea this morning, with no prospect of its
immediately subsiding. The Kroomen say that it will last four days from
its commencement. It must have been terrific in the bay, last night. All
the vessels are in sight, keeping off till the swell abates. We have left
two boats behind us, and two anchors, besides the stream-anchor. There has
been nothing like this storm, since our arrival on the coast.

_July_ 2.--Again at anchor.

As we shall soon have done with Liberia, I must not forget to insert,
among the motley records of this journal, some account of its ants. The
immense number of these insects, which infest every part of the land, is a
remarkable provision in the economy of Africa, as well as of other
tropical countries. Though very destructive to houses, fences, and other
articles of value, their ravages are far more than repaid by the benefits
bestowed; for they act as scavengers in removing the great quantity of
decaying vegetable matter, which would otherwise make the atmosphere
intolerable. They perform their office both within doors and without.
Frequently, the "drivers," as they are called, enter houses in myriads,
and, penetrating to the minutest recesses, destroy everything that their
omnivorous appetite can render eatable. Whatever has the principle of
decay in it, is got rid of at once. All vermin meet their fate from these
destroyers. Food, clothing, necessaries, superfluities, mere trash, and
valuable property, are alike in their regard, and equally acceptable to
their digestive powers. They would devour this journal with as little
compunction as so much blank paper--and a sermon as readily as the
journal--nor would either meal lie heavy on their stomachs. They float on
your coffee, and crawl about your plate, and accompany the victuals to
your mouth.

The ants have a Queen, whom the colonists call Bugga-Bug. Her subjects are
divided into three classes; the Laborers, who do nothing but work--the
Soldiers, who do nothing but fight--and the Gentry, who neither work nor
fight, but spend their lives in the pleasant duty of continuing their
species. The habitations of these insects, as specimens of mechanical
ingenuity, are far superior to the houses of the natives, and are really
the finest works of architecture to be met with on the African coast. In
height, these edifices vary from four to fifteen or twenty feet, and are
sometimes ten or twelve feet in diameter at the base. They contain
apartments for magazines, for nurseries, and for all other domestic,
social, and public purposes, communicating with one another, and with the
exterior, by innumerable galleries and passages. The clay, which forms the
material of the buildings, is rendered very compact, by a glutinous
matter, mixed with earth; and all the passages, many of which extend great
distances under ground, are plastered with the same kind of stucco.
Captain Tuckey, in his expedition to the river Zaire, discovered ant-hills
composed of similar materials to the above, but which, in shape, precisely
resembled gigantic toad-stools, as high as a one-story house. In this part
of Africa, they have the form of a mound. At the present day, when the
community-principle is attracting so much attention, it would seem to be
seriously worth while for the Fourierites to observe both the social
economy and the modes of architecture of these African ants. Providence
may, if it see fit, make the instincts of the lower orders of creation a
medium of divine revelations to the human race: and, at all events, the
aforesaid Fourierites might stumble upon hints, in an ant-hill, for the
convenient arrangement of those edifices, which, if I mistake not, they
have christened Phalanxteries.

8.--At 11 A.M., got under way for the Cape de Verds.

10.--Calm in the morning, and predictions of a long passage. At noon,
sprung up a ten-knot breeze; and are sanguine of making a short run. In
the evening, at the tea-table, we were talking of the delights of
Saratoga, at this season, and contrasting the condition of the fortunate
visitors to that fashionable resort, with that of the sallow, debilitated,
discontented cruisers on the African station. In the midst of the
conversation, the cry of "man overboard," brought us all on deck with a
rush. There was not much sea, though we were going seven knots. The man
kept his head well above water, and swam steadily toward the life-buoy,
which floated at a short distance from him--his only hope--while the wide
Atlantic was yawning around him, eager for his destruction. We watched him
anxiously, until he seized it, and then thought of sharks. We were too far
at sea, however, for many of these monsters to be in attendance. In a few
moments a boat picked up man and buoy, and the ship was on her course
again.

21.--Anchored at Porto Praya.

The season of journalizing, to any good purpose, is over. Scenes and
objects in this region have been so often presented to my eyes, that they
now fail to make the vivid impressions which could alone enable me (were
that ever possible) to weave them into a lively narrative of my
adventures. My entries therefore, for the rest of the cruise, are likely
to be "few, and far between."




CHAPTER XX

Glimpses of the bottom of the Sea--The Gar-Fish--The Booby and the
Mullet--Improvement of Liberia--Its Prospects--Higher social position of
its Inhabitants--Intercourse between the White and Colored Races--A Night
on Shore--Farewell to Liberia.--Reminiscence of Robinson Crusoe.


_September_ 1.--At Porto Grande.

To-day, as for many previous days, the water has been beautifully clear.
The massive anchor and the links of the chain-cable, which lay along the
bottom, were distinctly visible upon the sand, full fifty feet below.
Hundreds of fish--the grouper, the red snapper, the noble baracouta, the
mullet, and many others, unknown to northern seas--played round the ship,
occasionally rising to seize some floating food, that perchance had been
thrown overboard. With my waking eye, I beheld the bottom of the sea as
plainly as Clarence saw it in his dream; although, indeed, here were few
of the splendid and terrible images that were revealed to him:--

   "A thousand fearful wrecks;
    A thousand men that fishes gnawed upon;
    Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
    Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels."

Nevertheless, it was a sight that seemed to admit me deeper into the
liquid element than I had ever been before. Now and then came the long,
slender gar-fish, and, with his sword-like beak, struck some unhappy fish
which tempted his voracity. I watched the manoeuvres of the destroyer and
his victims, with no little interest. The fish (which, in the two
instances particularly observed, was the mullet) came instantly to the
surface, on being struck, and sprang far out of water. He swam on his side
with a circular motion, keeping his head above the surface. From time to
time he leaped into the air, spasmodically, and in a fit of painful agony;
for it could not be from alarm, as the foe was nowhere visible. Gradually,
his strength failed, and his efforts became feebler, and still more
feeble.

The fates of the two mullets were different. One received a second blow
from the inexorable gar-fish, which, for a moment, increased his agony and
his exertions. He then lay motionless upon the surface, at rest from all
trouble. The conqueror came a third time, seized his prey, and swam
swiftly out of sight.

The other mullet, which rose half an hour afterwards, swam closer to the
ship than his predecessor, and received no second blow. While the poor
fellow was yet in the death-struggle, came two great sable birds, with
bills, wings, and legs, like those of the heron. Flapping their dark wings
in the air, they circled round, and repeatedly swooped almost upon the
dying fish. But he was not doomed to be their victim. Presently, with his
brown back, white breast, and pink bill, came flapping along a booby, and,
without a moment's hesitation, stooped upon the mullet, and appeared to
swallow him in the twinkling of an eye. The fish was at least six inches
in length, and the bird not twice as much. How so liberal a morsel could
be so quickly disposed of, was a marvel to a dozen idlers, who had been
curiously observing this game of life and death to one party, and a dinner
to the other. Certainly, the booby carried off the fish. Borne down by the
weight of his spoil, the feathered gormandizer alighted on the
water--rested himself for a moment--rose again, and re-alighted--and in
this manner, with many such intervals of repose, made his way to the
shore.

25.--At 1 P.M., sailed for the Coast, in company with the Truxton.

26.--Anchored off Cape Mesurado.

It is now fourteen months since our ship first visited Monrovia. Within
that period there has been a very perceptible improvement in its
condition. The houses are in better repair; the gardens under superior
cultivation. There is an abundant supply of cattle, which have been
purchased from the natives. More merchant-vessels now make this their
port, bringing goods hither, and creating a market for the commodities,
live stock, and vegetables, of the colonists. An increased amount of money
is in circulation; and the inhabitants find that they can dispose of the
products of their industry for something better than the cloth and
tobacco, which they were formerly obliged to take in payment. The squadron
of United States men-of-war, if it do no other good, will at least have an
essential share in promoting the prosperity of Liberia.

After having seen much, and reflected upon the subject even to weariness,
I write down my opinion, that Liberia is firmly planted, and is destined
to increase and prosper. This it will do, though all further support from
the United States be discontinued. A large part of the present population,
it is true, are ignorant, and incompetent to place a just estimate on
freedom, or even to comprehend what freedom really is. But they are
generally improving in this respect; and there is already a sufficient
intermixture of intelligent, enterprising and sagacious men, to give the
proper tone to the colony, and insure its ultimate success. The great
hope, however, is in the generation that will follow these original
emigrants. Education is universally diffused among the children; and its
advantages, now beginning to be very manifest, will, in a few years, place
the destinies of this great enterprise in the hands of men born and bred
in Africa. Then, and not till then, will the experiment of African
colonization, and of the ability of the colonists for self-support and
self-government, have been fairly tried. My belief is firm in a favorable
result.

Meantime, it would be wiser in the Colonization Society, and its more
zealous members, to moderate their tone, and speak less strongly as to the
advantages held out by Liberia. Unquestionably, it is a better country
than America, for the colored race. But they will find it very far from a
paradise. Men, who expect to become independent and respectable, can only
achieve their object here on the same terms as everywhere else. They must
cultivate their minds, be willing to exert themselves, and not look for a
too easy or too rapid rise of fortune. One thing is certain. People of
color have here their fair position in the comparative scale of mankind.
The white man, who visits Liberia, be he of what rank he may, and however
imbued with the prejudice of hue, associates with the colonists on terms
of equality. This would be impossible (speaking not of individuals, but of
the general intercourse between the two races) in the United States. The
colonist feels his advantage in this respect, and reckons it of greater
weight in the balance than all the hardships to which he is obliged to
submit, in an unwonted climate and a strange country. He is redeemed from
ages of degradation, and rises to the erect stature of humanity. On this
soil, sun-parched though it be, he gives the laws; and the white man must
obey them. In this point of view--as restoring to him his long-lost
birthright of equality--Liberia may indeed be called the black man's
paradise.

It is difficult to lay too great stress on the above consideration. When
the white man sets his foot on the shore of Africa, he finds it necessary
to throw off his former prejudices. For my own part, I have dined at the
tables of many colored men in Liberia, have entertained them on shipboard,
worshipped with them at church; walked, rode, and associated with them, as
equal with equal, if not as friend with friend. Were I to meet those men
in my own town, and among my own relatives, I would treat them kindly and
hospitably, as they have treated me. My position would give me confidence
to do so. But, in another city, where I might be known to few, should I
follow the dictates of my head and heart, and there treat these colored
men as brethren and equals, it would imply the exercise of greater moral
courage than I have ever been conscious of possessing. This is sad; but it
shows forcibly what the colored race have to struggle against in America,
and how vast an advantage is gained by removing them to another soil.

10.--Yesterday, Governor Roberts gave our officers a farewell dinner. We
left the table early, made our adieus, and were on our way down the river
half an hour before sunset. The pilot and some of our friends endeavored
to dissuade us from attempting the passage of the bar, pronouncing the
surf too dangerous. Some Kroomen also discouraged us, saying that the bar
was "too saucy." With the fever behind us, and the wild breakers and
sharks before, it was matter of doubt what course to pursue. Anxiety to be
on our way homeward settled the difficulty; and we left the wharf, to
make, at least, a trial. A trial, and nothing more, it proved; for, as we
neared the bar, it became evident that there would be great rashness in
attempting to cross. The surf came in heavily, and with the noise of
thunder, and the gigantic rollers broke into foam, across the whole width
of the bar. Darkness had fallen around us, with the sudden transition of a
tropical climate. There was no open space visible amid the foam; and,
while the men lay on their oars, we looked anxiously for the clear water,
which marks the channel to the sea. Many minutes were thus spent, looking
with all our eyes.

A council of war was held between the captain and myself, in which we
discussed the probabilities of being swamped and eaten. Having once fairly
started, we did not like to turn back, especially as it would be necessary
to go through the insipid ceremony of repeating our good-bye. Then, too,
the image of fever rose behind us. By the prohibition of the Commodore,
and the dictates of prudence, not an officer had slept on shore on any
part of the mainland of the African coast, during the whole period of our
cruise; and now, at the very last moment, to be compelled to incur the
risk, was almost beyond patience. On the other hand, there was the foaming
surf, and the ravenous sharks, in whose maws there was an imminent
probability of our finding accommodation, should we venture onward. It is
a fate proper enough for a sailor, but which he may be excused for
avoiding as long as possible. Our council ended, therefore, with a
determination to turn back, and trust to the tender mercies of the fever.

It was a splendid moonlight night; one of those nights on which the
natives deem it impossible to catch fish, saying that the sky has too many
eyes, and that the fish will shun the bait. The frogs kept up an incessant
chorus, reminding me of the summer evening melodies of my native land, yet
as distinct from those as are the human languages of the two countries. I
have observed that the notes of frogs are different in different parts of
the world. On the banks of the beautiful Arno, it is like the squalling of
a cat. Here, it is an exact imitation of the complaining note of young
turkeys. Unweariedly, these minstrels made music in our ears, until dawn
gleamed in the East, and ushered in a bright and glorious morning. The
birds now took the place of the frogs in nature's orchestra, and cooed,
peeped, chattered, screamed, whistled, and sang, according to their
various tastes and abilities. The trees were very green, and the dew-drops
wonderfully brilliant; and, amid the cheerful influence of sun-rise, it
was difficult to believe that we had incurred any deadly mischief, by our
night's rest on the shore of Africa.

At a later period, I add, that no bad result ensued, either to the
captain, myself, or the eight seamen, who were detained ashore on the
above occasion. This good fortune may be attributable to the care with
which we guarded ourselves from the night-air and the damps; and besides,
we left the coast immediately, and, after a brief visit to Sierra Leone,
pursued our homeward course to America. On another occasion, a lieutenant,
a surgeon, and six men, belonging to our squadron, were detained on shore
at Cape Mount, all night, after being capsized and wet. What were their
precautions, I am unable to say; but, all the officers and men were
attacked by fever, more or less severely, and in one instance fatally.
[Footnote:  While revising these sheets for the press, the writer hears of
an example which may show the necessity of the health-regulations imposed
on the American squadron. The U.S. ship Preble ascended the River Gambia
to the English settlement of Bathurst, a distance of fifteen miles, to
protect the European residents against an apprehended attack of the
natives. Although the ship remained but one or two days, yet, in that
brief space, about a hundred cases of fever occurred on board, proving
fatal to the master, a midshipman, and seventeen of the crew.] And now we
leave Liberia behind us, with our best wishes for its prosperity, but with
no very anxious desire to breathe its fever-laden atmosphere again. There
is enough of interest on the African station; but life blazes quickly
away, beneath the glare of that torrid sun; and one year of that climate
is equivalent to half a dozen of a more temperate one, in its effect upon
the constitution. The voyager returns, with his sallow visage, and
emaciated form, and enervated powers, to find his contemporaries younger
than himself--to realize that he has taken two or three strides for their
one, towards the irrevocable bourne; and has abridged, by so much, the
season in which life is worth having for what may be accomplished, or for
any zest that may be found in it.

Before quitting the coast, I must not forget that our cruising-ground has
a classical claim upon the imagination, as being the very same over which
Robinson Crusoe made two or three of his voyages. That famous navigator
sailed all along the African shore, between Cape de Verd and the Equator,
trading for ivory, for gold dust, and especially for slaves, with as
little compunction as Pedro Blanco himself. It is remarkable that De Foe,
a man of most severe and delicate conscience, should have made his hero a
slave-dealer, and should display a perfect insensibility to anything
culpable in the traffic. Morality has taken a great step in advance, since
that day; or, at least, it has thrown a strong light on one spot, with
perhaps a corresponding shadow on some other. The next age may shift the
illumination, and show us sins as great as that of the slave-trade, but
which now enter into the daily practice of men claiming to be just and
wise.




CHAPTER XXI.


Sierra Leone--Sources of its Population--Appearance of the Town and
surrounding Country--Religious Ceremonies of the Mandingoes--Treatment of
liberated Slaves--Police of Sierra Leone--Agencies for Emigration to the
West Indies--Colored Refugees from the United States--Unhealthiness of
Sierra Leone--Dr. Fergusson--Splendid Church--Melancholy Fate of a Queen's
Chaplain--Currency--Probable Ruin of the Colony.

_October_ 15.--We arrived off the point of Sierra Leone, last night, and
were piloted up to the town, this morning.

This is one of the most important and interesting places on the coast of
Africa. It was founded in 1787, chiefly through the benevolent agency of
Mr. Granville Sharp, as a place of refuge for a considerable number of
colored persons, who had left their masters, and were destitute and
unsheltered in the streets of London. Five years later, the population of
the colony was recruited by above a thousand slaves, who had fled from the
United States to Nova Scotia, during the American revolution. Again, in
1800, there was an addition of more than five hundred maroons, or outlawed
negroes, from Jamaica. And finally, since 1807, Sierra Leone has been the
receptacle for the great numbers of native Africans liberated from
slave-ships, on their capture by British cruisers. Pensioners, with their
families, from the black regiments in the West Indies, have likewise been
settled here. The population is now estimated at about forty-five
thousand; a much smaller amount, probably, than the aggregate of all the
emigrants who have been brought hither. The colony has failed to prosper,
but not through any lack of effort on the part of England. It is the
point, of all others on the African coast, where British energy, capital,
and life, have been most profusely expended.

The aspect of the Cape, as you approach it from the sea, is very
favorable. You discern cultivated hills, the white mansions of the
wealthy, and thatched cottages, neat and apparently comfortable, abodes of
the poorer class. Over a space of several miles, the country appears to be
in a high state of improvement. One large village is laid out with the
regularity of Philadelphia, consisting of seven parallel streets, kept
free from grass, with thatched huts on either side, around which are small
plots of ground, full of bananas and plantain trees. The town itself is a
scene of far greater activity than any other settlement on the West Coast.
Great numbers of negroes, of various tribes and marks, are to be seen
there. So mixed, indeed, is the colored population, that there is little
sympathy or sense of fellowship among them. The Mandingoes seem to be the
most numerous, and are the most remarkable in personal appearance. Almost
without exception, they are very tall figures, and wear white robes, and
high caps without visors.

These Mandingoes hold the faith of Mahomet, and at the time of our
arrival, were celebrating the feast of the Ramazan. Several hundreds of
them paraded through the streets in a confused mass, occasionally stopping
before some gentleman's house, and enacting sundry mummeries, in
consideration of which they expected to receive a present. In front of a
house where I happened to be, the whole body were ranged in order; and two
of them, one armed with a gun, and the other with a bow and arrow, ran
from end to end of the line, crouching down and pretending to be on the
watch against an enemy. At intervals, their companions, or a portion of
them, raised a cry, like those which one hears in the mosques of Asia. The
above seemed to compose nearly all the ceremony; and our liberality was in
proportion to the entertainment, consisting merely of a handful of
coppers, scattered broadcast among the multitude. When this magnificent
guerdon was thus proffered to their acceptance, they forthwith forgot
their mummery, and joined in a general scramble. The king, or chief, now
stept forward, and protested energetically against this mode of
distribution; it being customary to consign all the presents to him, to be
disposed of according to his better judgment. However, the mob picked up
the coppers, and showed themselves indifferently well contented.

When cargoes of slaves are brought to Sierra Leone, they are placed in a
receptacle called the Queen's Yard, where they remain until the
constituted authorities have passed judgment on the ship. This seldom
requires more than a week. The liberated slaves are then apprenticed for
five, seven, or nine years; the Government requiring one pound ten
shillings sterling from the person who takes them. Unless applicants come
forward, these victims of British philanthropy are turned adrift, to be
supported as they may, or, unless Providence take all the better care of
them, to starve. For the sick, however, there is admittance to the
Government Hospital; and the countrymen of the new-comers, belonging to
the same tribe, lend them such aid as is in their power. Food, consisting
principally of rice, cassadas, and plantains, or bananas, is extremely
cheap; insomuch that a penny a day will supply a man with enough to eat.
The market is plentifully supplied with meats, fowls, and vegetables, and
likewise with other articles, which may be tidbits to an African stomach,
but are not to be met with in our bills of fare. For instance, among other
such delicacies, I saw several rats, each transfixed with a wooden skewer,
and some large bats, looking as dry as if they had given up the ghost a
month ago. Supporting themselves on food of this kind, it is not to be
wondered at, that the working-classes find it possible to live at a very
low rate of labor. The liberated slaves receive from four to six pence,
and the Kroomen nine pence per diem; these wages constituting their sole
support.

As may be supposed, so heterogeneous and wild a population as that of
Sierra Leone requires the supervision of a strict and energetic police.
Accordingly, the peace is preserved, and crimes prevented, by a whole army
of constables, who, in a cheap uniform of blue cotton, with a white badge
on the arm, and a short club as their baton of office, patrol the streets,
day and night. Their number cannot be less than two or three hundred.

There is a desire, in some quarters, to destroy the colony of Sierra
Leone; and one of the means for accomplishing this end is, of procuring
the emigration of the colored colonists to the West Indies. For this
purpose there are three different agencies. One has over its
door:--"British Guiana Emigration Office;" another is for Trinidad; and a
third for Jamaica.

Great promises are made to persons proposing to emigrate; such as a free
passage to the West Indies, wages of from seventy-five cents to a dollar
per day, and permission to return when they choose. Very few, however, of
those who have been long resident here, can be induced to avail themselves
of these offers, small as are the earnings of labor at Sierra Leone. They
believe that the stipulations are not observed; that emigrants, on their
arrival in the West Indies, will be called upon to pay their passages, and
that it will not be at their option to return. In short, they suspect
emigration to be only a more plausible name for the slave-trade. The
Kroomen are the class most sought for as emigrants, although negroes of
any tribe are greedily received. Even the Africans just re-captured are
sent off, as the authorities are pleased to term it, "voluntarily." The
last emigration, consisting of somewhat less than two hundred and fifty
persons, included seventy-six slaves, almost that instant landed from a
prize. A respectable merchant assured me, that these men were not
permitted to communicate with their countrymen, but were hurried off to
the vessel, without knowing whither they were bound. The acting governor,
Dr. Fergusson, denied the truth of this, although he admitted that the
seventy-six liberated slaves did emigrate to the West Indies, very soon
after landing from the prize.

It is to be remarked, that the white inhabitants of Sierra Leone, as well
as the colored people, entertain very unfavorable notions of this scheme
of procuring laborers for the West Indies. The best defence of it,
perhaps, is, that neither blacks nor whites can flourish in this
settlement, and that a transportation from its poor soil and sickly
climate, to any other region, may probably be for the better. But,
undeniably, the British government is less scrupulous as to the methods of
carrying out its philanthropic projects, than most other nations in their
schemes of self-aggrandizement.

In Freetown, which is the residence of all the Europeans, are to be found
what remains of the emigrants from Nova Scotia, and their descendants. The
whole number transported hither at several periods, was about fifteen
hundred. Not more than seventy or eighty of these people, or their
progeny, now survive upon the spot. Our pilot is one of the number. He
affirms, that his countrymen were promised fifty acres of land, each, in
Sierra Leone, on condition of relinquishing the land already in their
possession in Nova Scotia. With this understanding they emigrated to
Africa; but, in more than half a century which has since elapsed, the
government has never found it convenient to fulfil its obligations. Only
two or three acres have been assigned to each individual. Meantime, the
body of emigrants has dwindled away, until the standard six feet of earth
by two, the natural inheritance of every human being, has sufficed for
almost all of them, as well as fifty, or five thousand acres could have
done. These emigrants were the colonial slaves, who were taken or ran away
from the United States, during the Revolutionary war. Considered
physically and statistically, their movement was anything but an
advantageous one. It would be matter of curious speculation to inquire
into the relative proportions now alive, of slaves who remained upon our
southern soil, and of these freed men, together with the amount of their
posterity. Not, of course, that it has been in any degree a fair
experiment as to the result of emancipating and colonizing slaves. The
trial of that experiment has been left to America; and it has been
commenced in a manner that might induce England to mistrust her own
beneficence, when she contrasts Liberia with Sierra Leone.

This settlement has been known as "The White Man's Grave;" and it is
certainly a beautiful spot for a grave--as lovely as one of those
ornamental cemeteries, now so fashionable, and on which so much of our
taste is lavished; as if only the dead had leisure for the enjoyment of
shrubbery and sculpture. Sierra Leone, however, is by no means the fatal
spot that it once was. Formerly, a governor was expected to die every
year, although a few held the reins of power, and enjoyed the pomp and
dignity of office, twice or even thrice that period. Brave and excellent
men have accepted the station, on this fearful tenure. Among them was
Colonel Denham, the adventurous traveller in Africa. Very great mortality
likewise prevailed among the merchants, military and civil officers, and
soldiers. This was partly owing to the recklessness of their mode of life.
The rich were in the habit of giving champagne-breakfasts at noon, and
heavy and luxurious suppers at night. The continual neighborhood and near
prospect of death made them gaily desperate; so that they grew familiar
with him, and regarded him almost as a boon companion. And, besides, in a
sickly climate, each individual is confident of his own personal immunity
against the disease which, he is ready to allow, may be fatal to those
around him. I have noticed this absurd hallucination in others, and been
conscious of it in myself. In battle it is the same--the bullet is
expected to strike any and every breast, except one's own--and here,
perhaps, is the great secret of courage.

Latterly, the Europeans at Sierra Leone practise a more temperate life.
Another circumstance that has conduced to render the settlement less
insalubrious, is the clearing of lands in the vicinity, and conversion of
the rank jungle into cultivated fields. The good effect of this change
will be readily appreciated by those who have noticed the improved health
of our Western settlers, as the forest falls before the axe; or who have
seen the difference between the inhabitants of old and new lands, in any
country.

It is said, by the old residents here, that they do not find it very
sickly, except once in seven years, when an epidemic rages, and carries
off many settlers. This has happened regularly since 1823, until the
present year, when, in the proper order of things, the angel of death
should have re-appeared. Several persons provided for their safety by
quitting the place; and others made their arrangement to retreat, on the
first symptoms of danger. But the year, thus far, seems to have been
distinguished by no peculiar mortality.

Life, in a climate like this, must generally be much more brief than in
temperate regions, even if it do not yield at once to the violence of
disease. Yet there are circumstances of Europeans attaining a good and
green old age at Sierra Leone. Mr. Hornell, a Scotch merchant of great
wealth and probity--which latter virtue is rare enough, in this quarter,
to deserve special mention--has resided here fifteen years, and
twenty-seven years in the West Indies. He lives regularly, but generously
imbibing ale, and brandy-and-water, in moderate quantities, every day of
his life.

The governor, Colonel George Macdonald, is now absent in England. In the
interim, the duties of the office are performed by Dr. Fergusson, a
mulatto in color, but born in Scotland, and married to a white lady, who
now resides in that country. Dr. Fergusson was regularly educated at
Edinburgh, and is a medical officer of the British army; a man of noble
and commanding figure, handsome and intellectual countenance, and finished
manners. He is affable, as well as dignified, in his deportment, and
fluent and interesting in conversation. To him, and five or six other men
of color, whom I have met on the coast, I should refer, as proofs that
individuals of the African race may, with due advantages, be cultivated
and refined so as to compare with the best specimens of white gentlemen.

There is a large church here, said to have cost seventy thousand pounds
sterling; notwithstanding which vast expenditure, divine service has
ceased to be performed. The last clergyman, a young man universally
beloved and respected, lost his life, two or three years ago. He had gone
with a party of friends, five in all, on board a homeward-bound vessel,
which lay at a short distance from the shore. On their return the boat
capsized and sunk. The five Kroomen saved themselves, by swimming, until
picked up by a canoe; the five whites were lost; and the young clergyman
among them. The latter swam well, and was almost within reach of a canoe,
when he threw up his hands, exclaiming, "God have mercy on me!"--and
disappeared. A shark had undoubtedly seized him, at the moment when he
believed himself safe. This gentleman held the office of Queen's Chaplain;
and since his melancholy fate, no new appointment of that nature has been
made. If credit be due to the statements reciprocally made by the
colonists, in reference to one another, there is great need of teachers to
inculcate the principles of religion, morality, and brotherly love;
although the spiritual instruction heretofore bestowed (which has cost
large sums to the pious in England) has been almost entirely thrown away.
There are some missionaries here, who have directed their labors
principally to the business of education.

The tide runs so strongly, into and out of the river, that such accidents
as that which befell the five Europeans, above-mentioned, are of no
unfrequent occurrence. When boats or canoes are upset, it is impossible
for the passengers to swim against the current. We had an instance of the
danger, while at anchor there. The captain was seated in his cabin, with
the stern windows open, when he heard a native in a canoe, under the
stern, say "Man drown!" Being asked what he meant, he reiterated the
words, pointing towards the sea. Just then, a cry was indistinctly heard.
Two of our boats were instantly despatched, and picked up three Kroomen,
whose canoe had sunk, leaving them to the mercy of the current, which was
rapidly drifting them towards the ocean. The Humane Society of Sierra
Leone bestows a reward for every person rescued from drowning. In this
instance, of course, no claim was made upon their funds.

The currency here differs from that of all the other settlements on the
coast, except those belonging to Great Britain. The Spanish and South
American doubloons are valued at only sixty-four shillings sterling each,
or fifteen dollars and thirty-six cents; while they are worth elsewhere,
sixteen dollars. Spanish and South American dollars pass at about one per
cent. discount. The English sovereign is reckoned at four dollars eighty
cents; and the French five-franc piece at ninety-two cents. The gold and
silver coin of the United States is not current at Sierra Leone. Bills on
London, at thirty days sight, are worth from par to five per cent.
premium, and may actually be sold in small sums (say, from L100 to L2000)
at fair rates.

Pilotage is five shillings sterling per foot; and the port-charges are so
exorbitant as to prevent the entrance of many vessels, which would
otherwise stop to try the market. Of late years, the trade of Sierra Leone
has suffered great diminution. Money having been lost on all the timber
exported, that business is at present nearly abandoned. Another cause of
decay is the withdrawal of the British squadron, which has now its
principal rendezvous at Ascension. More than all, as contributing to the
decline of the colony, the home-government has discontinued the greater
part of the assistance formerly rendered. The governor, colonial
secretary, and chief justice, are believed to be all the civil officers
who now draw their salaries from England. The military force consists of a
captain, five or six subalterns, and probably two or three hundred
soldiers. In consequence of the failure of support from the
mother-country, the colony has imposed higher duties upon certain
articles, in order to try the experiment of raising a revenue from their
own resources. The most sagacious and best informed residents predict that
the result aimed at will not follow, and that three or four years will
suffice to render the colony of Sierra Leone bankrupt.




CHAPTER XXII.

Failure of the American Squadron to capture Slave-Vessels--Causes of that
Failure--High character of the Commodore and Commander--Similar
ill-success of the French Squadron--Success of the English, and
why--Results effected by the American Squadron.


It will not have escaped the reader's notice, that the foregoing journal
of our cruise records not the capture of a single slave-vessel, either by
our own ship or any other belonging to the American squadron. Such is the
fact, and such it must inevitably be, so long as the circumstances, which
prevented our efficiency in that respect, shall continue to exist. The
doctrines relative to the right of search, held by our Government and
cordially sanctioned by the people, declare that the cruisers of no
foreign nation have a right to search, visit, or in any way detain an
American vessel on the high seas. Denying the privilege to others, we must
of course allow the same inviolability to a foreign flag, as we assert for
that of our own country. Hence, our national ships can detain or examine
none but American vessels, or those which they find sailing under the
American flag. But no slave-vessel would display this flag. The laws of
the United States declare the slave-trade, if exercised by any of its
citizens, to be piracy, and punishable with death; the laws of Spain,
Portugal and Brazil, are believed to be different, or, at least, if they
threaten the same penalty, are certain never to inflict it. Consequently,
all slaves will be careful to sail under the flag of one of these latter
nations, and thus avoid the danger of losing life as well as property, in
the event of capture.

Undoubtedly, many American vessels have been sold to foreigners, by
unprincipled citizens of our country, with a belief or full understanding
that they were to be employed in this nefarious trade. In some instances,
such vessels have been sold, with stipulations in the contract, binding
the seller to deliver them at slave-stations on the coast of Africa; they
have been sent out to those stations under American colors, and commanded
by American captains; and there, being transferred to new masters, they
have immediately taken on board their cargoes of human flesh. But how is
an American cruiser to take hold of a vessel so circumstanced? On her
departure from the United States, and until the transfer takes place, she
is provided with regular papers, and probably sails for her destined port
with a cargo which may be used in lawful, as well as unlawful trade. After
the transfer, she appears under foreign colors, is furnished with foreign
papers, commanded by a foreign master, and manned by a foreign crew. It is
not to be presumed that this change of nationality will be effected in
presence of one of our men-of-war. How then can such a vessel be taken or
molested, so long as the present treaties and laws continue in force?

It is well that the public should be prepared for an inefficiency which
can hardly fail to continue; and, in justice to the American squadron, it
should be imputed to the true cause, and not to any lack of energy or
good-will on the part of the officers. Whatever be their zeal (and
hitherto they have been active and indefatigable), it is almost certain
that their efforts will not be crowned with success, in the capture of a
single prize. The Commodore, under whose general direction we have acted,
is a gentleman of the highest professional character, persevering,
sagacious, and determined, and well known as such, both in and out of the
service. The commanders of the different vessels were likewise men of
elevated character, zealous in performing their duty, and honorably
ambitious of distinction. If the incentive of gain be reckoned stronger
than considerations of duty and honor, it was not wanting; for, besides
half the value of the vessel, each liberated slave would have been worth
twenty-five dollars to the captors--a handsome amount of prize-money, in a
cargo of six or eight hundred.

The French, like ourselves, having no reciprocal treaties with Spain,
Portugal, and Brazil, are equally unsuccessful in making prizes. Eleven of
their vessels of war were stationed on the coast, during the period of our
cruise, but effected not a single capture. England, by virtue of her
treaties with the three nations above mentioned, empowers her cruisers to
take slave-vessels under either of their flags. Hence the success of the
English commanders; a success which is sometimes tauntingly held up, in
contrast with what is most unjustly termed the sluggishness of our own
squadron.

Still, the presence of American national vessels, on the coast of Africa,
has not been unattended with results that may partly compensate for the
sacrifice of human life and health, which the climate renders inevitable.
The trade of the United States has been protected. The natives have been
taught, that the humblest American merchant-vessel sails under the shadow
of a flag, which guarantees security to everything that it covers. The
colonies of Liberia have been made more respectable in the eyes of the
barbarian nations that surround them. This latter advantage it is
creditable to our country to bestow; for the United States demand from
Liberia no commercial exemptions, nor anything in return for the
countenance which she lends to that growing commonwealth. Never before,
perhaps, did a colony exist, so entirely free from vexatious interference
on the part of the mother-country, and so carefully fostered by the
benevolence that planted it. Slight as is the present political connection
between the United States and Liberia, the latest advices inform us that
it is in contemplation to sever the silken thread. The Colonization
Society, I understand, is discussing the expediency of relinquishing its
further control over the government, and allowing the infant colony to
take a place among independent nations. Should this event come to pass,
and Liberia either find the protection of another maritime power, or prove
adequate to protect herself, there will be one reason the less for sending
a squadron of gallant ships to chase shadows in a deadly climate.

THE END.





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