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William Loney RN - Background

Home-Loney-Background-Niger expedition-Book Chapter IX * Chapter XI

A NARRATIVE
OF THE
EXPEDITION TO THE RIVER NIGER
.

VOLUME II, CHAPTER X.


Visit to Prince's Island - A Ride to Santa Anna - View up the Porto - Kru boat dance - New Case of Fever - Return to Clarence - Awaiting Orders - Instructions from England expected - Salubrity of the Bay of Amboises - Preparations to re-ascend the Niger - Captain Allen's proposed Plan of Operations - Timely arrival of H.M.S. vessel 'Kite' - The Expedition ordered to England - H.M.S. vessel 'Kite' ordered to take the crews home by Captain Allen - 'Wilberforce' sent up to the Model Farm with a few officers and a black crew - Visit to the grave of our companions - The 'Kite' sails for England - Captain Allen's illness - Arrival of the Expedition at Plymouth.


June 5th.- Captain Allen being desirous of ascertaining whether the senior officer on this coast had received any communication from Government, we sailed in the 'Wilberforce' for Prince's Island, having sent 'Soudan' to lie in the healthy bay of Amboises during our absence of a few days.

The usual head-wind prevailed on this little passage, and though the thermometer was at 81°, the weather felt pleasantly cool, proving that there is considerable advantage in being habituated to the high temperature of the tropics. {Before leaving England, Captain Fitzroy, R.N., had strongly advised that we should pass the first season at Ascension, in order that the crews might be seasoned before entering the river.}

June 7th.- We arrived at West Bay, Prince's Island, and were disappointed at finding no communication from Captain Foote. We sailed again, and went in three hours round to Porto St. Antonio, the chief place on the island, in order to get some fresh provisions, as nothing was to be procured at West Bay, owing to the absence of Madame Ferreira.

Captain Allen waited on the Governor, who thanked him for the honour through his Captain of the Guard, but said he had fever, and could not see him. We understood that he always made that excuse.

The Captain of the Guard having laid aside his dignity, and the laced jacket with which he received us in the Governor's empty saloon, pestered us to buy fowls and eggs of him exclusively, at a very dear rate.

We called on poor Madame Ferreira, who was confined to her own house, on the charge - formerly alluded to - of having been concerned in the slave-trade. She was suffering much annoyance, but declared her innocence of the accusation.

It is perhaps to be regretted - on more accounts than one - that this plan was not adopted.

June 8th.-Early in the morning we landed, to take a ride a little way into the country with Dr. Pritchett and Mr. Lilly; we had two horses, and a beautiful little skittish mare, which without due consideration that we had no more equestrian experience than is becoming to sailors, played us various mad pranks.

Captain Allen received a kick from one, and Dr Pritchett's horse seized Mr. Lilly by the knee, and dragged him off the mare to the ground, but neither was much hurt. The first part of our way was by a narrow and rocky, though romantic path; crossing two or three little brooks, forming a succession of gentle cascades, and overhung with a rich variety of foliage. We were a quarter of an hour too late in starting, as a heavy shower came on, while we were in the valley, where we were obliged to take shelter under a large tree, until the dripping leaves obliged us, at a gallop, to seek more impervious protection from the torrent: this was fortunately met with in a gentleman's hovel, very prettily situated, where we were detained some time, On resuming our journey, we very soon arrived at the summit of the ridge, where we found there had been no rain whatever, although we were afterwards informed at the town, that it had rained there heavily for four hours.

Our road was now good, along a narrow ridge of rock, through numerous plantation of coffee, cassada, &c., many of which belong to Madame Ferreira.

Vegetation seemed to riot in the utmost luxuriance of the tropics, the soil being exceedingly fertile.

The fresh air and the richness of the scenery made our ride one of great enjoyment. Through every opening in the magnificent trees, we had on one side of the ridge or the other, some beautiful view.

We arrived at length at Santa Anna, the object of our ride. It is a house which formerly belonged to Madame Ferreira's father, who lived there without ever coming down to the town, and such is the purity of the air, that he preserved his health and his European -Portuguese - complexion. She was born here. The house and estate now belongs to her brother, who is an idiot, and it is to be sold to pay some alleged deficiencies in the father's account. It was formerly the best on the island, but being of wood is fast going to decay. The church, which is a complete ruin,- the roof having fallen in,- was once apparently a very neat building. The images and ornaments of the high altar are removed to a little room, and placed on a table, opposite to the window with a lamp suspended over it, to serve for an altar. In this humble little chapel the priest officiates, while his congregation being very strict in their religious observances, assist at the mass, on the green outside.

On one side of the house is a neat little village, inhabited by the slaves of the estate, who looked well and happy,- their labours being very light.

The view up the Porto from the neighbourhood of the house is singularly picturesque; richly wooded or cultivated hills slope down to the water's edge on either side. At the end is the town, rendered beautiful and imposing by distance. In the background are the fantastic forms of the highest mountains on the island, thickly wooded to the summit. Opposite is the Fort St. Antonio, to which also distance lends importance.

Illustration
Port St. Antonio, Prince's Island

Our morning's exercise had given us an appetite, and the prospect of a ride all the way back on an empty stomach, was anything but agreeable; we therefore hinted at a boiled egg to the old negress who showed the house, judging, from some fowls we saw, that such a thing might be within the compass of her ability. She, however, held out no hopes, except such as arose out of an apparently reluctant promise, to see if the hens had furnished the means. Such prospects we had so often found to be fallacious that we calculated but little thereon. Nevertheless, after having waited so long, it became a matter of necessity to exercise our patience a little further,- while the gossips were discussing the extraordinary event of the visit of the white men, and the still more extraordinary fact that they wanted a breakfast.

Our patience was, however, rewarded; for we were regaled with the sight of our old friend the negress, crossing the green from the village, bearing a tray, covered with a snow-white though ragged napkin, on which were some beautiful plantains, fine fish, broiled and boiled, and eggs. These, with our well-established appetites, and pure water from a calabash, formed a delicious breakfast. When it became evident to the horses,- which had been also enjoying a breakfast of fresh grass under the shade of some noble trees,- that we meditated a return to the town, they recommenced their pranks, breaking loose and galloping round the village, to the no small terror of the quiet little "niggers." When caught, they showed a decided repugnance to the saddle, and kicked most furiously, until convinced, by the application of a bamboo to their hoofs every time they lashed out, that resistance was useless.

[illustration: Madame Ferreira's house at Princes Island]

Our ride back was even more agreeable, from the fineness of the weather; as although the sun shone brilliantly, it was not uncomfortably warm. Returning by a different road, we visited a quinta belonging to Madame Ferreira, of which she has many all over the island, with much land under cultivation.

On arriving at her house in the town we found an excellent breakfast had long been waiting. Besides our kind hostess, we had Madame Fretus and her two young and interesting daughters, to whom we had to make ourselves as agreeable as we could, under the disadvantage of not having a language in common.

It had been intimated to Madame Ferreira this morning, that she was no longer to be kept under restraint, though she had not the gratification of being formally absolved from the alleged charges. Neither the Governor nor the Chief Judge would interfere in her case. From this it would appear that they think they have gone too far in persecuting this unprotected woman.

This lady's residence and that of the Governor, are the only good ones in the town. The others are built of wood, raised on piles, and surrounded by spacious and heavy verandahs; causing some of those which have apparently slight supports and bad foundations, to lean over in various directions, threatening their neighbours with a visitation, as their penchans may lead them.

The streets may lay some claim to regularity; and though the houses diminish in importance as they ascend the valley, the upper end can boast of the principal church or cathedral.

The little stream which flows through the valley, divides into two branches before reaching the estuary, forming a miniature delta - the term is more familiar than agreeable to us - on which the principal part of the town is built.

Mr. Lilly has a neat little place, with about forty acres of land, on the south side of the estuary, which he purchased from Madame Ferreira. He politely invited some of the officers of the 'Wilberforce' to dine with him there.

In a house near our friend's we saw two young ladies, quite black, who much interested us by their really fascinating manners. Their dress was a mixture of the European and African fashions; and though a small amount of either, there was enough for grace and modesty.

We obtained some observations of magnetic dip and intensity, unfortunately on a volcanic locality, but we could not ascertain whether any basalt was near to affect the results.

On the way off to the vessel, our merry-hearted Kru paddlers amused us with one of their boat dances. At a given signal from the leading man, they jumped up simultaneously on the thwarts of the gig, pirouetted on one leg, sat down again with much agility, paddled three strokes, then mounted again, and performed the same evolutions several times, which they went through, keeping the most exact time; but not without, as we thought, some danger of upsetting our frail bark, which had never been intended for such displays of African gymnastics; it was, however, consolatory to know from the lips of Messrs. Frying-pan and Co. that we "no could drown where Kru boy live."

Thursday, June 9th.- We sailed this day from the pretty little harbour of Porto St. Antonio. In going out, the wind was so strong against us, that we had great difficulty, with all the power of steam, in getting clear of the point, before we could bear up and make use of our sails. Returned to West Bay, where magnetic observations were made in the verandah of Madame Ferreira's house,- the same spot where some had been taken in 1834 by Captain Allen. We had here heavy rain.

10th.- In the hope that a vessel might arrive during the night, our sailing was delayed till 4 a.m., when we departed from Prince's Island to return to our position at Fernando Po, or in its vicinity. The disappointment was very great at not finding any communication from the senior officer at Prince's Island, which is the general rendezvous for the squadron.

We were reminded of our hopes and trials of last year by the death of a young man who had been sent from England as assistant-engineer to the Expedition. He was taken ill soon after he joined the 'Wilberforce,' and died after suffering a week. He could not get over his "seasoning fever," which he probably caught while waiting for us at Fernando Po; though after his attack he had the advantage of fresh and pure breezes, as we were at sea nearly the whole time.

We made a very fair passage with the square fore-sail, assisting the steam, and our stock of wood lasted the greater part of the voyage But the weather was so cloudy, that although not far from Fernando Po, we could not make out the land before dark.

11th.- At daylight we were abreast of Bassapo. No vessel was lying there.

On approaching Clarence Cove, our expectations were raised by seeing a barque lying at anchor; but these proved as usual to be fallacious, it being an old slaver, the 'Golden Spring,' now a merchant-vessel.

'Soudan' arrived soon after 'Wilberforce,' according to Captain Allen's directions, and was sent back to Amboises.

June 12th.- There being no inducement to remain at Clarence, we sailed at 8 a.m. In order that we might obtain the earliest notice of any arrivals, the head Kruman, "Jack Smoke," was left with six of his "boys," with orders to bring immediate intelligence, and to occupy their unemployed time in cutting spars and fuel for the ship. We had beautiful weather on the passage across, and anchored in what appeared to be a very sheltered position, between the high island Mòndoleh, and the south-eastern promontory of the Bay of Amboises.

Commander Ellis said that the last few days that 'Soudan' was lying near Kieh the rollers set in very heavily, which would render that anchorage unsafe, though otherwise apparently good.

This, however, according to Mr. Beecroft, is the worst time of the year for wind, and when it is much to the southward, it brings in a very uncomfortable swell, which in all other points of the compass is broken by the chain of islands, or the projecting points of the bay. We remained quietly here another week.

June 20th.-A delightfully cool morning. Thermometer was at 75°.5 at daylight, when we weighed and went to the watering place at Kieh, where, after having filled our tanks, we took leave of this lovely scenery with very great regret.

Illustration
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On a second visit to the chief of the "woody hill," he forfeited the good impression of the first. In attempting to purchase a fine little bullock, we were quite angry at his caprice and extortion. He had made a bill of the price, with a piece of dried banana leaf, torn into as many shreds as he required "bars," or pieces of cloth; however, we had none which suited his fastidious trade. We could not "make trade."

During our frequent visits to the Bay of Amboises, we had ample reason to be satisfied with having selected it as our principal station, while we were obliged to remain in this part waiting for orders, as the continued health of the crews of 'Wilberforce' and 'Soudan' justified the opinion that had been formed of its comparative salubrity. It is open to the almost constant south-west wind coming in purity across the wide Atlantic, and is backed by the lofty Cameroons Mountain, over which the land-breeze passes at night, bringing a diminished temperature, which secures a calm and refreshing sleep, and, possibly, a freedom from noxious exhalations. We experienced a few tornadoes, but in general the weather was very beautiful, without much rain. In the daytime the men were kept in activity by a variety of little incidents, occupations, and amusements to beguile the time; the vessels were moved about from one part of the bay to another, for the purpose of examination. The natives were very much alarmed on our firing at a target, especially the Chief of Abobbi, for whose peculiar edification it was, in fact, intended. While he was on board, we sent a shot whistling over the island, and made use of a craggy pinnacle sort of islet as a mark, till he begged of us to desist, saying that it kept the "saucy water" from breaking his island.

There are few places on the Coast of Africa more suitable for a settlement than the Bay of Amboises.

As usual, on returning to Fernando Po to keep the magnetic term day, all eyes watched the opening of the point forming Clarence Cove, nothing however, was to be seen there but the 'Golden Spring,' which had so often raised our hopes and disappointed them.

The time had now nearly arrived, when Captain Allen had resolved if no orders to the contrary were received, to renew the operations of the Expedition by re-ascending the Niger with 'Wilberforce' and 'Soudan.' We therefore began seriously to make preparations, by taking on board as large a quantity of coals as possible, which would enable us to pass the dangerous parts of the river without delaying to cut wood; and if, on the contrary, orders should arrive in the meantime for us to return to England, we might be able to make a long stretch homewards, before requiring another supply.

Some newspapers brought by the 'Ethiope' of the 13th and 29th of April, contained no allusion to the Expedition. The first had, a simple notice of the promotion of Captain William Allen, which, in the absence of any other motive, had the effect of deciding and rather hastening our departure. The dispatches announcing the intentions of re-entering the river, which had been sent from Ascension, on the 12th of February, having had two months to reach England by the 13th of April, and more than two months having since elapsed, Captain Allen considered that this fact of his promotion, might be taken as some proof of the approbation of Her Majesty's Government, of the views detailed in those dispatches; he therefore resolved, much against his own personal wishes, to lose no more time, but sail immediately in prosecution of the objects of the Expedition, which a further delay might interfere with, by curtailing the period of remaining in the river.

It may be as well here to state briefly, what were Captain Allen's intentions, had not the opportune arrival of the orders from England prevented him. On arriving at the model farm near the confluence of the two rivers, he would have left the 'Soudan' to arrange the affairs of that establishment, if necessary, and taking Commissioner Cook with him, would have proceeded at once to Rabbah; as it had been originally an object, in which all the Commissioners were agreed, to gain over if possible, to the wishes of Her Majesty's Government, the chief of the Filatahs, who resides in that city. The negotiations with minor chiefs would then have been easy, as his influence is so widely extended. If time and health had permitted, he would afterwards have ascended the river Chadda, to carry out the instructions with any powerful chief - as yet unknown - who might have been found on its banks; and to add to geographical science some knowledge of that noble river, which he had many reasons for believing to be the more important of the two,- the Niger being its tributary: and also that it may be the outlet of the Lake Chad.

By landing all the heavy and bulky articles which were not likely to be wanted in the river, we had so much lightened, and cleared the vessel, that we were able to take on board one hundred and thirty-five tons of coals. This would, on the calculation of the engineer, be sufficient for forty days of river navigation, that is, by steaming only in the day time.

Captain Allen endeavoured to arrange with Mr. Beecroft to accompany us with a cargo of coals, and to bring thirty tons more in a month, to be deposited at the mouth of the Niger. He would willingly have acceded, but stated that the plans and interests of his employer would not admit of it.

Although most of the officers and men had been anxiously looking for the return to England, and though nearly all of the men who had suffered, wished at one time to have left the vessels at Ascension, nevertheless we believe they were cheerfully disposed again to encounter the dangers of the river, in the execution of their duty, humbly relying on the wisdom and power of the Omnipotent Protector, who had suffered us to escape from them on the former occasion.

A modification of these arrangements, however, became necessary, inasmuch as Mr. Commissioner Cook decided at this time, to return to England in the barque 'Golden Spring.' It would therefore have been advisable, in order to relieve Captain Allen from the onerous responsibility of being the sole commissioner, to have appointed Acting-commander Ellis to assist him in that office, which he would have done after leaving Fernando Po, according to the provision in Lord John Russell's instructions.

Our preparations were very nearly completed, and it was the intention of Captain Allen to have sailed for the Niger on the evening of Saturday, the 25th June; when in one moment all these plans were changed: all hands were awakened at one o'clock on the morning of the 24th, by the report that a steamer was in the offing.

The order for a boat was hardly issued, when one shoved off from the 'Wilberforce' with a mixed crew of officers and men, so great was the anxiety to obtain information as to our destiny.

A very few minutes brought Lieutenant Gooch {now Captain}, the Commander of H.M.S. vessel 'Kite,' on board, who had been sent express from England, with despatches from the Colonial Office and the Admiralty, to the senior officer on the station, to stop the further proceedings of the Expedition; the officers and men of which, he was directed to forward to England by the first opportunity. He was, moreover, instructed to send one of the steamers up the Niger, with a black crew, and a limited but requisite number of white officers, to communicate with the settlers there, to bring them and their property away, if they wished to abandon the model farm. One of the Commissioners was directed, in Lord Stanley's minute, to accompany the steamer, and decide on behalf of the proprietors of that establishment, whether it was to be continued or not; and if circumstances were peculiarly favourable, especially as to health, &c., he was authorized to proceed as far as Rabbah, in order to open a communication with that city, but he was not on any account to explore the river beyond.

After the resolution Captain Allen had with great difficulty come to, of again tempting the climate of the deadly Niger,- after the preparations he had completed, the plans he had formed, the length of time he had dwelt on them, and the hopes he had of being able, under God's providence, to carry them into execution - it was not without something like a sense of disappointment that he found in one instant all his projects entirely overturned. On the other hand, he could not but feel that these wishes were in a manner factitious, being excited by long meditation on the subject, and by a desire to perform to the utmost the duty, which had unfortunately devolved on him. He had a severe struggle in his mind throughout the night as to whether he should himself undertake the charge pointed out, or give Mr. Cook the alternative. In fine, he considered that Lord Stanley's minute was not imperative on him; that the instructions of the Lords of the Admiralty required that the officers and men composing the Expedition should be sent home, without exempting him,- and that consequently they did not authorize him to abandon his ship's company; moreover, that those instructions decidedly stated, that volunteer officers were to be sent on that service; lastly, not only that the service was one with which he was not officially connected, namely, that of regulating the affairs of the model farm on the behalf of the proprietors of that establishment, but the wishes of those proprietors expressly pointed to Mr. Cook in the letter of their chairman; Captain Allen, therefore, guided by all these circumstances, decided on yielding the post to that gentleman; who, on the proposition being made to him, consented to undertake it, though, on subsequent consideration, he thought it advisable to decline it; and he took his departure for England in the barque, 'Golden Spring,' which vessel was about to sail.

Another difficulty arose from the fact of the absence of the senior officer, Captain Foote, to whom the Admiralty instructions were directed, and the probability that it would be a considerable time before he could visit this part of the station. Sending the 'Kite' in search of him was quite out of the question. It therefore became necessary, for Captain Allen to take upon himself, the prompt execution of their Lordships' wishes. In this he had the high gratification to find, that he was most cheerfully seconded by the zeal of his first lieutenant, W. H. Webb, who, with a requisite number of officers, volunteered without hesitation, for a service of almost unparalleled danger, as their sufferings had already taught them, and the result subsequently proved, by the sacrifice of two of the limited number. {The officers were Lieutenant W. H. Webb, Mr. J. H. R. Webb, Acting-Purser; Mr. - Hensman, Assistant-Surgeon, resident medical officer of Fernando Po; Mr. John Waddington, Boatswain ; Mr. Henry Davey, Carpenter; Messrs. W. Johnston, Cross and Henry Coiling, Engineers.}

The preparations in the 'Wilberforce' having been already nearly completed for the voyage, little was left to be done, but to fill up with coals, and to turn over the remaining officers of 'Wilberforce' temporarily to the 'Soudan,' and prepare the instructions for Lieutenant Webb, who, with his gallant little band of volunteers, lost no time in making his arrangements. Mr. Webb made his selection of forty of the best Krumen, among whom was Captain Allen's faithful Jack Smoke, who had well sustained his excellent character.

Sunday, June 26th.- The Captain performed Divine Service for the last time, to his little congregation: and all the officers were assembled at a farewell dinner at his table. The various thoughts that crowded in their minds, however, prevented all approach to cheerfulness. It was rather a mournful assemblage.

Wednesday, 29th.- All the arrangements having been made, the 'Kite' took 'Wilberforce' in tow, in order that the latter might enter the river with as much coal as possible. Captain Allen embarked in the 'Kite,' to see his old ship safely over the bar.

We had a strong adverse wind, so that we could only make about three and a-half knots against it.

Friday, 1st July.- In the morning we passed the Rio Bento, or St. John's, and soon after we made out the "Gate of the Cemetery," the Rio Nun, or principal navigable embouchure of the Niger. We observed first the "gallows-like" tree, on Point Tilana; then by opening the three points we distinctly saw the ragged tree on the Second Point, and Alburkah Island. At 11, both vessels anchored in four and a-quarter fathoms, off the mouth of the river. It was high water, and so smooth, that 'Wilberforce' might have entered at once, but some little final matters detained her till the following day. At low water a heavy tumultuous surf was seen breaking.

2nd.- The morning was excessively gloomy when the 'Wilberforce' crossed the bar to pursue her solitary route; dense black clouds, shrouded the entrance to the Niger, and seemed to be deluging it with torrents of rain.

Captain Allen watched her with intense and painful anxiety, sometimes she appeared too far to the westward towards the spit, and once he fancied she had "broached to," among the breakers, of which there were some on the bar, although it was high-water. At length he had the gratification of seeing the ensign hoisted, the preconcerted signal of having passed the dangerous part in safety. Soon after this the vessel was lost sight of, in a heavy intervening shower of rain.

The 'Kite' weighed at 11 o'clock, and proceeded to Prince's Island, in order to obtain intelligence of the senior officer's movements - we had a strong head-wind during our passage.

July 4th.- In the evening, anchored in West Bay, Prince's Island. Found by a memorandum which had been left there, for the guidance of the cruizers, that Captain Foote, after visiting the southern part of his station, would pass a month at Ascension. In the absence therefore of the proper authority, it was incumbent on Captain Allen to make the necessary arrangements for conveying the remaining officers and men to England on his own responsibility, since it would have been incurring a fearful risk, nay almost certainty of much loss of life, to have kept them crowded in the little 'Soudan,' until the Commodore's arrival.

The only alternative was for Captain Allen to order the 'Kite' to receive all on board, and proceed homewards. In this he was borne out by the Admiralty Instructions, which authorized any vessel of the African Squadron to be devoted to this service, if none were about to sail for England. Moreover the 'Kite' was in such a defective state, that she would not long have been serviceable as a cruiser. While the peculiar capabilities of the vessel from having been a packet, would afford accommodation for the officers, and led to the presumption that the Admiralty had such a contingency in view, in selecting the 'Kite.' On returning to Fernando Po, therefore, on the 5th July, Captain Allen ordered Lieutenant Gooch to receive on board, all the officers and men belonging to the Expedition, and to proceed at once to England.

Dispatches were left for Captain Foote, announcing this determination, and enclosing duplicates of the instructions from the Colonial Office and the Admiralty: also a request to the officers of the squadron, that they would occasionally visit the Nun branch of the Niger, in order to be able to render assistance to Lieutenant Webb, if he should require it on his return from the interior.

The Government stores belonging to the Expedition, including valuable presents for the chiefs, &c., were placed in secure houses at Clarence under the care of Mr. White, the agent for the West African Company, to be delivered over to the senior officer on the coast.

Charge of the 'Soudan' was given, with a second master's appointment, to Mr. Sturgess, who had volunteered for that service, and eleven seamen were left with him, who had been sent out from England in the 'Kite' to join the squadron.

Before leaving Fernando Po, we visited for the last time, the small locality appropriated as a burying-ground, where so many of our brave companions had found a last resting-place. It is a little outside of the town; a narrow winding footpath leads to it, through paths of guava and other dark-leaved trees, and near it a murmuring stream pursues its downward course. On reaching the sequestered spot, we stood once more beside the lofty cotton-tree, at the broad base of which, is the tumulus marking the grave of Richard Lander. Near that enterprising traveller is deposited, all that was mortal of the talented and amiable Commander Bird Allen, and on the right and left those of Lieutenant David Hope Stenhouse and Mr. W. C. Willie, mate, while around are commingled the remains of Doctor Vogel, botanist, Mr. G. B. Harvey, master; James Wood and Horatio Collman, assistant-surgeons; W. H. Wilmett, clerk, Louis Wolf, seaman schoolmaster, Robert Milward, purser's steward, Morgan Kinson, marine, John McClintock, Peter Fitzgerald, and Christopher Bigley, stokers.

How quiet, solemn, and how full of melancholy interest did that little place appear, draped with the sombre and almost impenetrable underwood, which nature in her luxuriance had already began to throw around. Twas not eight months since all these our friends, companions, fellow-labourers, had been laid there, and now each mound was mantled with a vegetation which almost obscured them from view: yet still the mighty bombax, with its stupendous branches, overshadowed them, sprinkling around the silken cotton from its pendant seeds; the broad-leaved banana, disturbed by the squirrel in his evening gambols, moved slowly to and fro; while on high the graceful palms reared their drooping plumes, and lent their trailing dependents, the parasitic orchidaceae, to scatter their blossoms, and diffuse their odours, over a spot sacred to the memory of the philanthropist, the man of science, and the "friends of Africa."

Illustration
The burial place of the expedition, and of Lander, Fernando Po

July 7th.- All our preparations having been completed, we set sail for England; our thoughts, which, but a few days previously, had been cheerfully bent on the prosecution of an arduous duty, were now turned with more joyful feelings towards home, the factitious excitement having ceased to exist.

The 'Kite' touched at Sierra Leone, Bonavista, Teneriffe, Madeira, and Lisbon, to take in coals. Lisbon was the first opportunity we had, of giving intimation to Her Majesty's Government of the fulfilment of their instructions. All were in good health on the passage, with the exception of Captain Allen, whose mind being freed from the responsibility by which it had been so long absorbed, no longer supported him against the effect of the climate. He had an attack of fever, which at one time placed his life in some danger.

It is a curious coincidence with the period of attack in other cases, that it came on about the sixteenth day of his having been on shore at Sierra Leone. On arriving at Madeira he was so weak, that he was unable to walk; but the effect of mountain air in that lovely island, was almost miraculous. Mr. Veitch having kindly offered him the use of his country-house in the "Jardine" - a mark of hospitable attention, which Mr. Webster Gordon also showed by inviting him to his beautiful residence at the Monte, Captain Allen was immediately taken to the "Jardine," situated at an elevation of about 5,000 feet, in a hammock; and having been there only two nights and one clear day, on which he was able to enjoy the beauty of the scenery, his strength was so far restored, that he rode half the way down on horseback.

Lieutenant Gooch had anticipated the possibility of being ordered to bring us home; and had most liberally and handsomely provided for it, by laying in a large stock of cabin stores of the best description. He enhanced all these advantages by the provident arrangements of a good officer, as well as the constant cheerfulness and urbane attentions, of a well-bred gentleman.

The poor 'Kite' was however a dull sailer; and we were fifty-seven days making the passage. As we approached the shores of our dear country, we were obliged to alter the original intentions of going to Portsmouth, by some little disasters which occurred to the already defective engines; and added to which, the coals in the bunkers were found to have taken fire by spontaneous combustion; some beams were even charred before it could be extinguished. We therefore put into Plymouth on the 2nd September, which was fortunate, as we found the Lords of the Admiralty there, who did Captain Allen the honour to receive him, with a very distinguished and public mark of their Lordships' approbation.


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