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William Loney RN - Background

Home-Loney-Background-Niger expedition-Book Contents * Chapter II

A NARRATIVE
OF THE
EXPEDITION TO THE RIVER NIGER
.

VOLUME II, CHAPTER I.


Departure of the 'Wilberforce' from the Confluence - Increase of the sickness - Call at Abòh - Obi's apparent ingratitude - Simon Jonas the catechist turned tailor - African notion of gowns - Difficulty of procuring fuel - Melancholy thoughts - Boat lost by a singular accident - Repassing Louis Creek - Death of Mr. Wakeham - Indefatigable exertions of the Krumen - Proceed to Fernando Po - 'Soudan's' voyage down the river - Death of Messrs. Marshall and Waters - Preparations for voyage to Ascension - Doctor Vogel and Mr. Roscher left at Clarence Cove - Anxiety of some of the black settlers to be baptized - Mr. Beecroft offers his services to assist the 'Albert' - Remains of the former expedition - Departure of the 'Ethiope' and 'Soudan' - Reduced condition of the 'Wilberforce' - Death of Messrs. Harvey and Coleman.


Tuesday, September 21.- H.M. steam-vessel 'Wilberforce' sailed from the confluence of the Chadda and the Niger in a state almost as deplorable as that of the little 'Soudan.' Nearly all our crew were sick, more having been daily added to the list since the 19th. Some cases also from the 'Albert' were sent for a passage to the better air of the coast, including two officers, Mr. Harvey master, and Mr. Coleman assistant-surgeon. Our deck was completely covered fore and aft on the port side and a-midships with hammocks and beds, The starboard side was kept tolerably clear for working the vessel, though a few were even there. They were protected as much as possible by means of awnings and curtains, yet when tornadoes came on, the rain could not always be excluded. No serious inconvenience however accrued, and it was far better they should be in the fresh open air than in the confined space allotted for the men, even if there had been room enough. Some officers were in the captain's cabin and gun-room.

Commander W. Allen was very unwell in the morning, having been much exhausted by the late animated discussions; so that when Captain Trotter, accompanied by Commander B. Allen, came on board to say farewell, and deliver his instructions, he found it necessary to leave them with Lieutenant Strange, to be given to William Allen when he should be better. The latter was much grieved at this separation from his esteemed friends and colleagues, with whom, until the recent occasion, there had been no difference of opinion. It was doubly painful to him thus to separate; for while admiring the generous zeal with which they determined on prosecuting the enterprise, he deeply regretted being precluded from the possibility of accompanying them; and he could not stifle the fear and presentiment of its fatal result, which were too surely verified. It was the last time he saw poor Bird Allen.

As there were so many cases of fever now in the 'Wilberforce,' and only one medical man, Dr. Pritchett - Assistant-Surgeons Thomson and Stirling having been lent to 'Soudan' - Captain Trotter, on application, sent Assistant-Surgeon Woodhouse.

An exchange was made with the clergymen; - the Rev. Mr. Müller coming on board ' Wilberforce,' and Mr. Schön joining the 'Albert' for the purpose of extending - as far as that vessel might go his observations on the disposition of the chiefs to receive missionaries, which was indeed the peculiar object of that reverend gentleman in accompanying the expedition.

Lieutenant Strange took charge of the navigation of the 'Wilberforce,' which he conducted with great skill, and we rapidly descended as far as the new town of Adda Kuddu, where we were obliged to anchor to procure some firewood, as the 'Albert' having a longer voyage, could spare us but a small quantity of coa1s, of which she had not much more than ourselves. Fortunately we were not long delayed here: about twelve hours' fuel were purchased, thanks to the good will of our excellent old friend the Anajàh. He had 1ong been expecting a promised present, which our multifarious and painful occupations had deferred. A handsome tobe and some other useful articles were now sent to him.

At 2 p.m. we weighed anchor. Current and stream carried us with such rapidity, that it required the utmost vigilance to avoid the numerous rocks with which the bed of the river is studded for twenty-five miles below the Confluence. At this full season they were all under water, making them more dangerous. Our frequent narrow escapes kept up a painful excitement among the invalids. Opposite to Barràga or Beaufort Island we had a fine view of a section of the stratification: - at one place the sandstone dips 30° to the north, and half a mile to the northward the beds were horizontal.

22nd.- Weighed early, and ran quickly past Iddah and Addah-mugu, without communicating with the chiefs. On passing the Oniàh or Eggarah market, we found an immense number of canoes huddled together among the bushes. As there was no dry spot on the island, the transactions were of necessity carried on afloat; and judging from the noise and commotion - to which in all probability our presence contributed some of the excitement,- there must have been plenty of business on 'Change.

Illustration
Oniah Market

The locality at which we found the merchants assembled, was not the same as that pointed out to us in going up, as the Oniàh market-place; indeed, the site must be frequently changed, as in the 'Alburkah' in 1832 we passed a large market on the right bank near the Edòh river, which was then called Oniàh or Oriàh. It is probably an appellation of the Ibu people, as there is a town of the same name at the lower confines of King Obi's dominions. Another reason for thinking so is, that the same market is by the Ibus called Eggarah, which is the name of the nation next above who frequent it. Several canoes made the attempt to come alongside, but time was so precious that we would not wait, so left them holding up goats, &c., and vociferating in great disappointment.

9 A.M. Th. 81° wet bulb, Mason's Hygr." 77°
3 P.M. " 87° " 78°
9 P.M. " 80° " 76°

23rd.- Weighed at daylight, on passing the branch of the river which is said to go to Bonny, we were much struck with its reduction in magnitude, from what it appeared in 1833; and if we had not been certain of the locality, we could not have believed it to be the same. Even in its present overflowed state it carries off but an inconsiderable quantity of water, and cannot be ranked among the principal outlets of the mighty Niger. It appears to be filling up.

Soon after breakfast we anchored off the creek leading to Abòh; a messenger was immediately sent to apprize Obi of our arrival, and to request that he would send off all his canoes with wood, as we were obliged to return without delay to the "salt water." The king replied he was sorry he had no means of assisting us, as all his men were gone to the market; besides which, he said the flood was so high, that it had laid his town under water.

Disappointment made us look with suspicion and dissatisfaction on his answers, which were strengthened by his not coming to see us according to custom. This neglect, after all the benefits we had conferred on him and the warm professions he had made, showed at all events that it was useless putting our trust in such a prince as Obi.

Nevertheless, we had ocular demonstration of the overflowed state of the banks, the water being much higher than when we were here before; and as we knew so many of his canoes were at the Oniàh market, we perhaps judged him too hardly.

We learned from our visitors, that the 'Soudan' had passed three days previously without stopping, except to land Simon Jonas. This is the individual whom Obi had requested might be left with him to teach his people. It was at first decided that he should then remain, but Mr. Müller the chaplain, and Mr. Schön the church missionary, thought his usefulness would be much increased by a little longer stay with them, when his faith might be confirmed and his understanding enlarged by their instruction. The king was therefore told at the time, that his wishes should be gratified on our return. When however, the necessity of sending the 'Soudan' away, proved that we should not be able to remain much longer in the river, Simon was sent to do what good he might, in the short time he would have to stay.

Immediately on our arrival, he came on board to pay his respects, and said that the king had been very kind to him. It did not appear, that he had made any beginning in his pastoral duties; for the king, anxious to derive as much advantage as possible from his civilized countryman, had conferred upon him the dignity of chief tailor, thus showing a determination to begin by reforming his outward man. Simon however said that the people were desirous of being instructed. He was tolerably well lodged by the king, but complained that his allowance of provisions was small and precarious. In order, therefore, that he might not be altogether dependent on the despot's bounty, we supplied him amply with articles for barter, to procure for himself the necessaries of life, as well as to gain popularity by making occasional presents. This we were enabled to do, by the liberality of our fair countrywomen; and as we thought this a good opportunity for carrying out their charitable intentions, - which our hasty departure had hitherto prevented our complying with, - a considerable number of female dresses were left with him, and he was strictly charged whenever he gave them away, that he should confine his bounty to those for whom they were intended, namely, the scantily-clad females of his acquaintance; this injunction was the more necessary, as a gift of one of these dresses had been oddly perverted.

On our way up the river, we presented Ukasa, our friend of Oniàh, with a pink gauze frock, which we had admired on the graceful form of a fair young friend, and although he was told to bear it to his "mistress dear," he lost no time in forcing his own black carcase into the delicate garment, and was delighted with the improvement in his appearance, explaining that he thought it became him singularly well, and he hoped we should speedily return with fresh supplies of such "gauds."

The messenger who was sent by Obi seemed much concerned at finding the deck covered with sick officers and men; though he knew it would be so, as it is a bad country above; but it was at this time unhealthy even at Abòh.

A request was forwarded through Simon Jonas to the king, enjoining him to have plenty of wood ready for the 'Albert,' as that vessel might be expected in a few days. Though Obi gave no assistance, we procured a small quantity of fuel from some private individuals; yet as no canoes came after five o'clock, we were obliged to be content, especially as our Krumen who had been sent on shore to cut wood, had not found a convenient place. We therefore weighed, in the hope of being able to gain a good many miles before sunset; but the navigation was so intricate, that we could not make more than ten miles before darkness obliged us to anchor.

From appearances one might have thought that several of our invalids were improving. The fever had now assumed such variety of character, that it was frequently very deceptive, and Dr. Pritchett declared some to be in considerable danger who did not appear to be in the least conscious of it, but insisted they were nearly well, and complained of the restraint put upon their restlessness, which they mistook for returning strength. Mr. Wakeham the purser, seemed to be past recovery.

9 A.M. Th. 81° wet bulb, Mason's Hygr." 77°
3 P.M. " 87° " 79°
9 P.M. " 79° " 76°

24th.- Sailed at daylight, but the wood was found to be so bad and green, that we could only go on slowly. We attempted to cut some at Stirling Island, where the land was also submerged, and the Krumen could find no footing. At the village of Hellebolùh we rejoiced to see some large stacks of convenient sized billets lying on the bank, as if purposely prepared for us. Mr. Green was sent to purchase, and induce the natives to cut more. On landing, they met him with muskets in their hands and showed at first strong disposition to be hostile. We watched their proceedings from on board, and were particularly alarmed at seeing a man behind a bush cock his gun, and expected that his next movement would have deprived us of an officer or of a man, and be the signal for the destruction of these misguided people, as our few marines were ready with their rifles; but they fortunately seemed to be content with watching Mr. Green, who made no progress in treating for the wood. At first they said we might have it all if we would go away immediately, for the ship "was no good." Afterwards they sold a small quantity, but at a dear rate, and they were so long haggling about it, that we could wait no longer, and regretted the dash which had been thrown away on these savages; for they appeared to deserve that appellation more than any of the natives we had come in contact with. For some time they could not or would not understand an Ibu interpreter, although from the vicinity of that country - not being more distant than forty miles - we might conclude there would be frequent intercourse. Still the intestine divisions are so great that the natives of these little villages do not go much beyond their boundaries, and all the trade with Ibu is monopolised by King Boy, as the Ibus never pass their frontiers. The Delta is said, indeed, to have many dialects, hardly intelligible at a little distance from each other.

The river had risen so high that the people were walking among the huts mid-leg in the water; and marks on the mud walls proved it to have been even two feet higher this season.

At the next village we were again tantalized by the appearance of abundance of wood ready cut, in very large stacks. The natives having expressed their willingness to sell it, if we would go on shore and arrange about the price,- Mr. Strange, the First Lieutenant, made the attempt, but he could do nothing with them. We therefore left this inhospitable place; having wasted much valuable time, steam, and patience; and above all,- that which may be of most importance to these poor short-sighted people - such instances cannot but have the effect of diminishing the interest, which all have taken in their behalf: if ever the inhabitants of the Delta shall become so far civilized as to appreciate the motives of philanthropy which prompted such exertions, they will look with shame on the records of their refusal to assist those who were suffering so much to benefit them.

We were obliged to anchor for the night, soon after leaving this place, having made but a limited distance during the day.

9 A.M. Th. 81° wet bulb, Mason's Hygr." 76°
9 P.M. " 77° " 75°

25th.- We proceeded at daylight. Unfortunately when we were only about twenty miles from the sea our fuel ran short. The stokers having participated in the general anxiety to leave the river, had taken every opportunity of burning coal, when wood was ordered to be used. The consequence was, that the engineer was deceived as to the quantity, and surprised to find it all consumed when he believed there was sufficient to carry us to the mouth of the river, - if not over the bar. Our Krumen cut about four hours' supply with great difficulty, as the water covered the banks. At the margin of the river the men were standing in a swamp up to mid-leg; but further in they had to work with the water up to their hips. In other places we have observed that the land is lower at a little distance from the river; which had led to the supposition that artificial embankments had been raised; but though this may be the case where there are villages, it could not be so in this swampy and uninhabitable region, where solitude is so perfect that not a vestige of the operations of human industry was visible; we were therefore surprised at seeing a man paddling in a small canoe. He came on board, spoke very good English, and said he belonged to Akassa, at the mouth of the river.

We proceeded through these narrow and winding reaches with feelings very different to those we experienced in ascending the river. Then the elasticity of health and hope gave to the scenery a colouring of exceeding loveliness. The very silence and solitude had a soothing influence which invited to meditation and pleasing anticipations for the future. Now it was the stillness of death,- broken only by the strokes and echoes of our paddle-wheels and the melancholy song of the leadsmen, which seemed the knell and dirge of our dying comrades. The palm-trees, erst so graceful in their drooping leaves, were now gigantic hearse-like plumes.

We were borne mournfully along, but without accident, till a strong current swept the vessel into a deep bending of the river, where the bank was overhung with what appeared to be the delicate foliage of shrubs, but which proved to be parasitical plants concealing the stump of a hard-hearted African oak, against which we were carried with such violence, that in an instant it tore away our beautiful galley, with the davits, tackles, and all the gear. The destruction was so complete that we might have thought the shattered remains of the boat not worth the time and waste of steam required for their recovery, especially as we had already been taken a considerable distance below the scene of the disaster; when an unearthly yell was heard from the bush, and our people shouted out "The boy! the boy!" A black lad, in fact, had been heaving the lead from this boat, in which he now made a novel voyage. We had therefore to return and rescue him from his awkward situation. He was found perched in the bush, and fortunately unhurt.

In order that Captain Trotter might not be alarmed at seeing the wreck of the boat on the bank, when he should come down the river, a hawser was made fast, and though perfectly useless, we dragged her off by main force.

This unfortunate accident caused great loss of time and expenditure of steam; so that when we had arrived at the lowest reach of the river - having continuous banks - it was already half ebb-tide, and as the channel was shallow and intricate, there was great danger of our being detained all night in this, the very worst part of the river, which would doubtless have cost the lives of many. Already had the retreating tide left the arching roots of the mangrove - rhyzophora - dripping with the slimy fetid remains of animal and vegetable matter, rife with threatening fevers. This was opposite to Louis Creek {Vol I, page 177}, and is perhaps the most difficult part of the river, where, ceasing to be confined by firm banks, the water is diffused among the mangroves, and leaves in consequence, but little to scour a channel in the natural course of the stream, which though broad is much obstructed by shallows. No person knew the right channel but Commander W. Allen, who had already passed through it three times, besides having previously examined it in a boat. He was now fortunately well enough to pilot the vessel by stationing himself on the bowsprit, with a leadsman on each bow, who for some time called out the soundings as fast as possible. The danger may be imagined, when we say that the vessel drew five feet three inches, and the depth for some distance varied from five feet six inches to six feet. On entering Louis Creek the water gradually deepened, till we emerged from it in deep water, and in sight of the sea; on which the few men remaining on deck gave three cheers. But the joy which seemed to brighten all countenances at the near prospect of leaving this fatal river, could not fail speedily to give way to gloomy reflections, on the contrast which our present forlorn condition formed, with our brilliant anticipations on entering the Niger but little more than a month ago.

We anchored at sunset with the last gasp of steam near our former berth, just within Cape Nun, so that we could have the benefit of the sea-breezes.

The greater part of our sick were apparently recovering, but there was one whose hopes and confidence had been of the highest, who was now fast drawing to the termination of his earthly voyages. To poor Mr. Cyrus Wakeham, purser, the freshness of the sea-breeze could bring no relief. He was past consciousness.

The only occupant of this dreary estuary of the Niger was a small English schooner, the 'Selina,' trading in palm-oil. We looked in vain in the offing for one of the cruizers of the squadron, which we expected to find where the 'Buzzard' had been so many months, though if one had been lying there she could not have rendered us any assistance, as all we required was fuel, which our Kroomen could cut.

9 A.M. Th. 77° wet bulb, Mason's Hygr." 75°
3 P.M. " 83° " 75°
9 P.M. " 77° " 75°

Sunday, September 26th.- Heavy rain in the morning,- a melancholy sabbath. Divine service was performed in the captain's cabin to a very small congregation; of the whole ship's company, only fourteen were well enough to attend. Mr. Cyrus Wakeham died last night. He was from the first the most hopeless of all our cases, though he would hardly believe himself to be in danger. He had great faith in the system of total abstinence from all fermented liquors, which he pursued, and wished all to follow his example. However, his case proved that such means were not sufficient for averting the fatal effects of the fever. Indeed we had a case of one confirmed drunkard escaping entirely. The middle course, of moderation in all things, appears to be the safest. Poor Wakeham could not be prevailed on to allow his bed to be placed on deck, where he could have had the benefit of fresh air; for notwithstanding he had a little port in his cabin, the position of his bed-place prevented him from deriving any advantage from it.

The Krumen were employed all day cutting wood on shore, to enable us to leave the river with as little delay as possible.

9 A.M. Th. 79° wet bulb, Mason's Hygr." 76°
3 P.M. " 77° " 74°
9 P.M. " 77° " 74.5

27th.- It rained the greater part of the day, and sometimes in torrents. As therefore, it would have been an unnecessary exposure for the clergyman and the officers to have attended the last sad duties to their late messmate, the funeral service was read on board; after which the corpse was sent on shore at Cape Nun, to be laid in the earth at a point indicated. A board with a painted inscription, showing his name, age, and the date of his death, marked the spot.

The master of the little schooner, the 'Selina,' kindly sent his Krumen to assist ours in cutting wood. They all wished to be taken on board the 'Wilberforce,' making serious complaints and charges against him for ill-treatment and cruelty, which they alleged had already caused the death of three white men. After such an inquiry, however, as could be made under the circumstances, it was found that several of the white men of the vessel had died of fever, of which the master was also lying dangerously ill. Assistant-Surgeon Woodhouse was sent to render him medical assistance; but it appeared, that if guilty of such cruelties, he would shortly be summoned before a higher tribunal {This vessel afterwards came into Clarence Cove, Fernando Po, the men being in a state of mutiny from alleged cruelty on the part of the supercargo. An inquiry was made into the circumstances, but nothing was elicited to authorize Captain Trotter to interfere. All the white crew refused to serve any longer, and she took her departure, trusting to the Krumen; but we afterwards heard she had been picked up at sea abandoned, under what circumstances we know not}. They reported having seen a schooner in one of the creeks which was supposed to be a slaver.

9 A.M. Th. 79° wet bulb, Mason's Hygr." 76°
3 P.M. " 80° " 75°
9 P.M. " 77° " 75°
28th.- 9 A.M. Th. 81° wet bulb, Mason's Hygr." 76°
  3 P.M. " 77° " 76°
  9 P.M. " 79° " 76°

Wednesday, 29th Sept.- This was the fourth day we had been detained by the necessity for cutting a sufficient supply of fuel to take us on our little sea-voyage to Fernando Po, which appeared to go on but slowly, as there was no officer to look after the Krumen. The impatience to get away, perhaps, prevented our making allowance for the great difficulty under which they had to labour, cutting down trees in a swamp in some places up to their knees in water, and even to their middle, and with torrents of rain pouring on them the whole day, yet these poor fellows laboured cheerfully; in order to redeem their character, after having been taxed with idleness, they worked much beyond the time fixed for our departure: this added to the delay in sending the medical man for a last visit to the sick in the schooner, made it so late, when we weighed to leave the Niger, that high water - the best time for crossing the bar - was already past. Nevertheless, it was tolerably smooth. We stood out to sea to get a good offing, and then steered for Fernando Po with very beautiful weather.

9 A.M. Th. 80° wet bulb, Mason's Hygr." 76°
3 P.M. " 83° " 78°
9 P.M. " 80° " 77°

30th.- Mr. Green the second master, and a stoker who had assisted in working the engine, were taken sick this morning. We had now only one officer, Lieutenant Strange, and one engineer, doing duty. Some of the sick felt better, but others found the sudden change from the close atmosphere of the river to the fresh sea-breeze too much for them. The weather continued fine.

Friday, October 1st.- In the evening we saw the lofty peak of Fernando Po in the distance, and expected to be off Cape Bullen the following morning at day-light, but, on approaching, heavy rains and dense clouds completely shrouded the island until we were close to it, when we discovered that a strong current had drifted the vessel past Clarence Cove: we reached the anchorage at 9 P.M., and found lying there H.M. steam-vessels 'Pluto' and 'Soudan.' The latter was in a most deplorable condition: Lieutenant Fishbourne, who had been sent in temporary command, was ill of fever, caused by his great exertions in bringing the vessel down the river.

In obedience to Captain Trotter's orders, the first anxiety was to get the 'Soudan' ready as soon as possible to rejoin him up the river; as there was but too much reason to fear that he would require assistance.

We must now take our readers back to the Confluence, where it will be remembered how rapidly the fever progressed in the several vessels, and that it was considered to be most expedient to send the 'Soudan' down to the sea with the sick. On the evening of the 18th of September, she received thirteen cases of fever from the 'Albert,' and on the following morning six additional from the 'Wilberforce' making together with those of her own crew already in the list, upwards of forty cases. The weather was intensely hot.

Before the 'Soudan's' departure, Commander Bird Allen came on board to take leave of his former shipmates, by whom he was univerally esteemed for his many fine qualities. How little was it then thought, that in so short a time his loss would be another deep cause of regret to the officers of the expedition.

Soon after noon the 'Soudan' got under weigh, in charge of Lieutenant Fishbourne, to take the sick to the coast. Assistant-Surgeon Stirling was sent on board to assist Mr. Thomson in the medical duties. At this time, nearly all the white men, and even some of the coloured West-Indians, were laid down with fever, leaving only Mr. Sidney and four men able to move about, and do duty; of this number fortunately two were stokers, who had some little knowledge of the management of the engines. Every place on deck and below was crowded with sick, either worn out and exhausted by the continuance of fever, or in the more active and excited stages.

In the commander's small cabin were two officers, Lieutenant Ellis and Mr. Marshall; in the gun-room Lieutenant Harston and Mr. Waters, clerk-in-charge; forward were two engineers in their cabins, and Mr. Belam, master, in the small midshipman's berth; while the foremost compartment and decks were hung over with the cots and hammocks of the sufferers; the latter under proper awnings, but so thickly stowed that when administering remedies and food, it was necessary to pass or step from one over the other. Lieutenant Fishbourne pushed the little steamer onwards, and with a current in her favour, rapidly descended the river.

All the fair scenery which on the upward course had been gazed on with so much pleasure and enthusiasm was now passed unheeded, the pressing wants of the sick demanded the every attention and diligence of both. medical officers. Lieutenant Fishbourne's duties requiring him to be constantly and anxiously engaged in directing the course of the vessel.

On the 20th an unclouded sky and most sultry condition of the atmosphere added to the sick list the only remaining executive officer, Mr. Sidney; a quarter-master and a marine, who had previously been rather indisposed; thus all the executive duty fell on Lieutenant Fishbourne. Poor Perrham, a stoker, was also suffering, but as he was the only one who could safely keep the engine going, he took medicine and laid himself down near the engine-room hatch on deck, from which he was raised when his services were imperatively required. The sufferings of the sick altogether were much aggravated by the suffocating state of the air, and but for the frequent sponging and fanning of the most debilitated, the ultimate results would have probably been more unfavourable than they were.

The vomiting was a very distressing symptom, and increased by the urgent thirst which induced the sufferers to drink largely. The most efficacious remedy was an occasional small effervescing powder with slight excess of alkali or total abstinence from fluid for a short time.

On the 21st, the 'Soudan' was well down the river, and passing rapidly through the pestiferous delta. Thomas, a carpenter's mate, breathed his last about noon, and at night, just as the 'Soudan' had anchored at the mouth of the river, Mr. W.B. Marshall, acting-surgeon, entered on that happy change for which in the time of health he had so long and earnestly been preparing himself. From the first his case had been a most severe one, attended with almost constant irritability of stomach; but he would never be persuaded to continue the requisite means, or to abstain from drinking largely of tea, lemonade, &c., which increased it. In his death the expedition lost an active medical officer, and the African a most devoted friend. His remains were interred at Cape Nun, not far from where Back the instrument-maker had been buried on the first arrival of the 'Albert.'

Early on the 22nd, the 'Soudan' was under steam and crossed the bar, where she met the 'Dolphin,' on board of which vessel thirty-five of the sick were sent, retaining seven who were recovering, and two, Mr. Waters and Lewis Wolfe, who being in a dying state, were quite unfit to be removed. Mr. Stirling, assistant-surgeon, being unwell, it was considered advisable to send him also.

Under the circumstances, without officers, engineers, or fuel, it would have been impossible for the 'Soudan' to proceed to Ascension, and most fortunate was the 'Dolphin's' proximity; thus enabling the sick to be forwarded at once by her. The kindness and attention received by them on the passage will always be a subject of grateful remembrance.

In the afternoon the 'Soudan' made the best of her way to Fernando Po. Poor Waters lingered until about ten o'clock in the evening, when he expired. His case commenced with bad symptoms on the 10th,- a very sultry day,- after having been exposed for some time in the sun. At first strong excitement was present, speedily followed by depression of spirits. On the 19th, he sent for the chaplains of the 'Wilberforce' and 'Albert,' to whom he stated his anticipations that his earthly career was soon to close; every endeavour to raise his drooping spirits was in vain. After his decease some rough copies of verses, &c., were discovered, strongly illustrative of the interest he took in the cause of heathen Africa. His remains were unavoidably consigned to the deep on the following morning, Lieutenant Fishhourne reading the funeral service.

At all times, this ritual at sea is full of deep interest, but now that the excitement consequent on the many duties had passed off, leaving Lieutenant Fishbourne and his companion tired and nervous, solemn and sad thoughts succeeded which the occasion improved. Such are indeed, the seasons favourable to a train of calm and searching reflection; when we find our fond imaginings to be but vanity, and our brightest visions as illusory as the passing cloud. How gladly do we then turn to embrace the cheering promise, that there remains a rest to those who seek it! but, alas! too often only to forget it at some future time, and to trust once more to the anticipated successes of our own creative fancy.

On the 23rd, Christopher Bigley, stoker, whose partial knowledge of the engine had been so useful during the last three days, was added to the sick list, being quite unfit for the least duty. Lieutenant Fishbourne was therefore himself obliged to keep the engine working until they reached Clarence Cove, Fernando Po, where the arrival of the other vessels was awaited with anxiety. Some of the sick improved, but Lewis Wolfe, a quiet and well-behaved young man from the 'Albert,' breathed his last on the 27th, worn to a shadow by a disease which resisted every remedy. He was the first of the Expedition buried at Fernando Po. His remains were laid in the small spot appropriated as a burying-place, where so soon afterwards Captain Bird Allen, and several other brave spirits, found a last resting-place. On the 30th, Lieutenant Fishbourne was laid down with violent fever; and on the arrival of 'Wilberforce,' was removed to that vessel; Mr. Strange, first Lieutenant, was put in temporary command of 'Soudan,' with orders to get ready with all possible dispatch. That officer had fortunately been proof against the effects of the climate which had prostrated nearly all others.

As there was no diminution of the sick list, but on the contrary, many were still in a very dangerous state, Commander Allen was resolved to leave Fernando Po as soon as possible,- its reputation for unhealthiness being second only to the fatal Niger,- and to proceed to Ascension, as the best means under Providence of enabling the crew of 'Wilberforce' to recover their health. For this step he had discretionary power given him by Captain Trotter.

The task of preparing the ship for sea was one of no ordinary difficulty, as there were no officers, and few men being able to do duty. The decks were so encumbered by the sick, that there was very little room to work. But, in the belief that the pure air of the wide ocean must have a beneficial effect, every exertion was made with a view to try the climate to the southward of the equator as early as possible, and eventually to go to Ascension.

In consequence of the death of two pursers, surveys were to be held on the remains of provisions in the 'Wilberforce' and 'Soudan,' the holds were to be cleaned out; provisions, water, sails, and running-rigging were to be brought on board; besides the very laborious work of coaling.

In the dusk of one evening there was great excitement among all, by the report of a vessel having been seen in the offing; and as it was said the stranger looked like a steamer, all believed it to be our companion the 'Albert.' 'Soudan' was therefore ordered to get up steam, and go to assist her to the anchorage if necessary. However, on clearing the point of Clarence Cove, nothing was to be seen, and she returned. No one could tell how the report had originated: but all were willing to believe what we daily expected.

Thursday, October 2nd.- One of our stokers died to-day. His case was the opposite to that of poor Mr. Wakeham; having been in fact, a very drunken character. In the evening, Mr. Harvey, master of the 'Albert,' died, after a long aud painful struggle. He was for the last few days distressed by a constant hiccup, which increased to such an extent that his whole frame was most fearfully shaken and convulsed by it. Christopher Bigley, stoker, of 'Soudan,' was also added to the list of dead; his loss was much regretted, for he had, poor fellow, exerted himself greatly, and had even continued at the engine while in a high state of fever. Commander W. Allen was very unwell to-day, having been much harassed and fatigued by constant exertion.

Dr. Vogel the botanist, and Mr. Roscher the geologist, who appeared to be in a degree convalescent, thought they would be better on shore. Being unaccustomed to the confinement of a ship, it was not surprising that they should wish to be on terrâ firmâ.

The former highly-talented gentleman, whose ardour in pursuit of his favourite science was limited only by his delicate frame, wished very much to have been landed at the model farm when we came away, though he was at the time dangerously ill. Commander W. Allen succeeded in inducing him to leave a place which would have been inevitably fata1 to him, by assurances that he should be left at Fernando Po, where he would find a field for his exertions equally rich and new. Remonstrances were now renewed, pointing out the great risk he would incur by remaining, in his then weak state, in a climate so unhealthy as this was known to be; and we endeavoured to show him the advantage of recruiting his strength at Ascension, when he might be able not only to return to Fernando Po, but even to make another and a more successful voyage up the Niger. All arguments were, however, unavailing. He seemed to think he had once been inveigled away from his proper field of usefulness, and he was determined it should not be done again. A house was therefore procured for these gentlemen, such arrangements were made for their comfort as our limited means would allow, and also to further their project of ascending the mountain, as high as a road had been cut by Colonel Nicolls, about 4000 feet above the sea. Doubtless, if they could have accomplished this journey, the cool temperature of that altitude would have been of great service in restoring them to health.

Mr. Müller, our excellent chaplain, had been solicited by some of the black settlers to administer baptism to a large number of children, but he very much disappointed them, for he found not only the neophytes but the parents utterly ignorant of the nature of the religion which they proposed so conveniently to adopt. Mr. Müller was too conscientious a Christian to administer the sign of regeneration to whole flocks of pseudo-Christians.

In the afternoon he performed service on board, preaching emphatically on the propriety of showing gratitude to the Almighty Preserver for having permitted us to escape the great dangers which had beset us.

On the 5th, Mr. Coleman, assistant-surgeon, died. He was a most exemplary and consistent Christian; almost his last words were "I have no fears for the future." While he uttered these, his countenance assumed a placid cheerfulness that was really affecting.

The 'Ethiope' merchant-steamer arrived last night. This small vessel belonged to Mr. Jamieson, a merchant of Liverpool, who employed her in bringing palm-oil from the native depots at the mouths of the rivers to his ships, which were stationed at a healthy part of Fernando Po. This of course entailed considerable additional expense, but he was actuated by the benevolent intention of preserving the crews from the deadly effects of the swamps, on the banks of the rivers where the palm-oil is produced in abundance, but where ships are usually detained so long while it is collected by the dilatory native traders, that it is attended with great sacrifice of life.

The commander of the 'Ethiope,' Mr. Beecroft, a fine old veteran of the coast, had resided many years at Fernando Po, and knew more of this part of Africa and the natives than any other European. He had already made a trading voyage up the Niger in the steamer 'Quorra,' belonging to the first disastrous expedition; and had even proceeded about fifty miles beyond Rabba, the farthest point of Lander and Allen.

To his great experience, this gentleman joined a high and generous mind; and it seemed as if he was a fitting instrument sent by Providence to attempt the rescue of the 'Albert' from the perilous position in which she was supposed to be. Accordingly, when Commander W. Allen proposed the undertaking, Mr. Beecroft at once frankly acceded to it, his employer, Mr. Jamieson, having given him instructions to render any assistance in his power to the Expedition.

The vessel was supplied with coal from the Government stores for the purpose. In the mean time a complaint was examined into, which Mr. Beecroft preferred against his head Kruman, for having struck the engineer. This was easily arranged by the former acknowledging his error and begging pardon, after a severe lecture; but it appeared that there were faults on both sides,- indeed it is very rare that the Krumen exhibit anything like insubordination, so great is the prestige of the white man.

In this case we were fortunately able to testify strongly to the good character of the culprit, Grey, as he had served in the capacity of head Kruman of the 'Alburkah' in the expedition of 1832-3, when, with one exception, he had conducted himself in a most exemplary manner.

Illustration
Point William, Fernando Po

A melancholy visit was made to the remains of the two vessels, 'Quorra' and 'Alburkah,' which performed that unsuccessful and fatal voyage. They were lying on the shore in the next cove, called Goodrich Bay. As Captain Allen had passed a whole year in the Niger on board the little 'Alburkah,' it was with some degree of painful interest,- which a sailor usually feels for a vessel he has long served in,- that he saw the poor little craft lying high and dry on the shore, in rapid decay; the decks were gone, and the iron of the hull so corroded that there were many large holes through the sides. The engines and boilers were lying scattered about in fragments, and nearly concealed by the tangled vegetation on the beach. The 'Quorra' being of wood had been broken up, and people were burning her timbers for the purpose of getting the copper bolts, to assist in building a schooner which had been a long while on the stocks, with but little chance of ever being finished, as the workmen were very unwilling to take employment.

October 7th.- The 'Ethiope' sailed for the mouth of the Niger, with the intention of proceeding up the river until the 'Albert' could be met with.

On the 9th, the 'Soudan' being ready, sailed for N.W. Bay, in this island, in order to hire some Krumen, previously to going to the Niger, according to Captain Trotter's directions.

By the evening the preparations of the 'Wilberforce' were completed, having been materially forwarded by the assistance of the officers and crew of H.M.S.V. 'Pluto.' The necessity for going to sea was very much increased by the circumstance of the first and only remaining engineer Mr. Johnston, being at last taken ill with fever, owing in a great measure, to his constant exertions. Another strong reason for getting away from this place was the unfortunate facility which the convalescents had in procuring rum of the very worst description, which caused many a relapse. No exhortations could deter them, and we had not means to prevent it.

In consequence of our weak state, there being no officers to assist the captain, he thought it necessary to take the 'Pluto' under his orders, to accompany the 'Wilberforce' as far as might be required.


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