* Home * Loney home * Life & career * Documents * Album * Ships * Portrait * Uniform * Background * * Search this site * 
William Loney RN - Background

Home-Loney-Background-Niger expedition-Book Chapter X * Chapter XII

A NARRATIVE
OF THE
EXPEDITION TO THE RIVER NIGER
.

VOLUME II, CHAPTER XI.


Lieutenant Webb's Instructions - Re-enters the Niger - Altered appearance of the River - Force of the Current - Anchor off Abòh Creek - Visit to Obi - Inquiry relative to the fate of Mr. Carr. - Obi's pretended ignorance - King Boy's statement - The hostile town - The 'Wilberforce' gets aground - People encamped on the sand-banks - Calls off Iddah - The vessel grounds again - Present to the Attàh of the Eggarahs - Intricate navigation - Vessel strikes on a concealed reef - Dangerous position - The exertions of the crew - Amada Bue visits the 'Wilberforce' - Reaches the Model Farm - Importance of divisional compartments in iron vessels - Shimaboe, the Attàh's uncle - Lieutenant Webb endeavours to hold communication with the Filatahs - Agajah, Chief of Priapì - A Letter and Present sent to the King of Rabbah - The Model Farm abandoned - Lieutenant Webb's reasons for so doing - Departure from the Confluence - Sickly condition of the crew - Proceedings at Abòh - Obi's treacherous behaviour - Attempt to seize Lieutenant Webb - Mr. Carr's supposed fate.


Saturday, July 2nd.- Lieutenant Webb having received his final orders from Captain Allen, of which the following is a copy:

"William Allen, Captain and Commissioner.
"Her Majesty's Steamer 'Wilberforce,' Clarence Cove, Fernando Po, 29th June, 1842.
"Sir, - Her Majesty's Government having declared that the Niger Expedition is at an end, but that one of the vessels shall be sent up the river for the purpose of communicating with the model farm; and as you have volunteered for this service, I hereby appoint you to the temporary command of Her Majesty's steamer 'Wilberforce;' and it is my direction that, as soon as your preparations shall be completed, you proceed to the Nun branch of the River Niger, and that you carry into effect the wishes of Her Majesty's Government. As I have the fullest confidence in your zeal and discretion, I feel that I cannot do better than enclose copies of their Lordships' letter to Captain Foote, together with Lord Stanley's minute, strictly enjoining you to carry out the spirit of the views of their Lordships therein contained. I will only add, that it is of the utmost importance that you use every dispatch consistent with the safety of the vessel, in accomplishing the service intrusted to you; and that, although Lord Stanley permits you to communicate with Rabbah, it is only to be done under the most favourable circumstances. If, therefore, the slightest symptoms of sickness should break out among your European party, you are on no account to attempt it. In any case my opinion is, that it is not desirable to appear before Rabbah with a reduced complement of officers, and a black crew; as the natives, knowing the deadly effect which their climate has always had on us, will believe that it places them beyond the reach of white men, especially if any of your officers should be sick while there. You will observe also, that Lord Stanley, and the Lords of the Admiralty, are peremptory in commanding you not to go beyond Rabbah, nor to explore the river with Her Majesty's vessel.

"You have with you, what you consider a sufficient number of officers, and on their zeal and cordial co-operation I feel confident you may rely. At your strong instance I have appointed a third engineer, which I agree with you in thinking absolutely necessary. The Krumen are of your own selection; one of whom, Yàrriba George, the stoker, was promised his discharge when he should go up the river again. He also applied for it when I was at Rabbah, in the Alburkah. You are therefore to discharge him at any convenient place, paying him the amount of his wages in goods and cowries.

"Mr. Cook, the Civil Commissioner, having very recently altered the determination he had made to accompany you, for the purpose of attending to the interests of the proprietors of the model farm, this difficult task devolves on you; and I have no doubt you will do all in your power to comply with the wishes expressed by the Chairman of the Society in his letter to Mr. Cook. I would, however, impress on your mind the importance of deeply considering the condition in which you may find the settlers at the model farm, since much of the future good to Africa which may still be hoped to arise out of the exertions which have been made in her behalf, may depend on the decision to which you may come with respect to that establishment. At the same time I must express my conviction that those who are interested in it, will be satisfied with whatever course you may take.

"As Her Majesty has declined to accept the sovereignty, or proprietary interest, in any land which the Attàh has agreed to cede to Her Majesty, you will explain to the Attàh, or to his officers, that the person left in charge of the model farm, is to be considered on the behalf of the Agricultural Society, as the proprietor of such a portion of the territory originally proposed to be purchased, as may be agreed on by you, in consideration of the sum of 160,000 cowries, which has been paid to the Attàh's agents, being one-fifth of the whole purchase-money. The limits of such portion are to be clearly defined by you, and explained as well to the native authorities as to our settlers. You will also explain to the settlers who may choose to remain, that they will not be under the sovereignty of the British Queen, but under that of the Attàh of Eggarah, and they must therefore abstain from violating any of his laws. You may possibly be able to stipulate on their behalf for the taxes and duties to which they will be liable.

"The Chief of Ibu, and of Eggarah, have agreed to abolish for ever the slave trade in their dominions; but as it is reasonable to suppose, that without the presence of a restraining influence, they will not take active measures to enforce the observance of the treaty by their subjects, you may have opportunities of seeing this inhuman practice still carried on. I am clearly of opinion, under existing circumstances, that you should refrain from all interference in such a case, since, in the first place, we have no authority from the Admiralty for capturing any vessel or canoe engaged in it; and in the next, there is reason to fear that such capture being totally at variance with the prejudices and ideas of right and wrong they have hitherto entertained; the natives not only would be unable to appreciate the principle upon which you act, but they might probably imagine that you have used your power for the purpose of appropriating the slaves to yourself. And, lastly, instances of rigour, although just, if they be not followed up, may, by exasperating the natives, be productive of much evil, not only to those persons who may remain as settlers, but to any future enterprize which may be purely commercial.

"On your return to the coast you will find one of Her Majesty's vessels at the mouth of the Nun ready to assist you, and probably with orders from the Senior Officer; otherwise you will return to this port, and be guided by instructions, which you will here receive.

"You will request the Senior Officer that he be pleased to take steps for sending all the Krumen and liberated Africans composing your crew, to their respective countries; and you will remember, in making out their pay-lists, that such men as you may think deserving of it, are entitled to one month's extra pay, as a reward for their good services.

"I have, &c.,
"(Signed) William Allen, Captain, and Senior Commissioner.
"To Lieutenant W. H. Webb,
"Her Majesty's Steam-vessel 'Wilberforce.' "

the 'Wilberforce' got under weigh, and steamed into the river, first taking leave of Captain W. Allen, with a salute and three hearty cheers. Having crossed the dangerous bar, and reached the entrance of the Nun, the vessel was grounded, to repair the tail of the rudder, which having been carried away soon after leaving Fernando Po, rendered the steering very difficult. By the active exertions of the carpenter and engineers, the defect was remedied in a few hours, but unfortunately the night tide was lost, and they were unavoidably detained until the morning of the following day, when they began the ascent.

Although the tide was then at flood, Lieutenant Webb found no variation in the soundings or the strength of the current, as observed on the first visit; until arriving near Sunday Island, where the influence of the tide ceases, and the sombre-looking mangrove begins to disappear. There the obstacles commenced, and, as Captain Allen had predicted, the appearance of the river was totally different, to what it had been during the rainy season. Sandbanks presented themselves in all parts of the bed of the stream, in some places extending nearly across the whole width, and never affording more than from seven to ten feet of water, or if it happened to be somewhat deeper near the banks, the snags, (sunken trees) protruded in such numbers, that it was with the utmost difficulty they were avoided.

As the 'Wilberforce' proceeded upwards, few of the natives made their appearance in the several villages and towns; nor was there the same curiosity, fear, or wonder, depicted on their countenances as on the previous visit; indeed the "Devil ship" passed along almost unheeded, except by a few, who, for a moment, left off their occupations to gaze at her. Lieutenant Webb was of opinion, this indifference might have arisen from the little intercourse we had had with the tribes in the Delta, or possibly as he suspected in many cases, from their having had some knowledge of Mr. Carr's fate, and therefore apprehensive that the object of the present mission was to retaliate.

Above Sunday Island, the current was found at that season to have lost much of its force, never exceeding two knots below Abòh, which taken in reference to steam-vessels of smaller dimensions and better proportioned powers than the 'Wilberforce,' affords, according to Lieutenant Webb's opinion, a good argument for preferring to ascend the river in the month of July or even so early as the middle of June.

On arriving at the branch of the river above Ingyama, through which the 'Wilberforce' made the passage in the August previous, and which Captain W. Allen thought might be tried on this occasion with advantage, it appeared to be nearly dry, and quite precluded the possibility of taking that route. The banks of the river, which in the rainy season had been in many cases inundated, now presented an elevation, varying from fifteen to twenty feet, while here and there, even in the bed of the stream, sand banks rose several feet above the surface. In fact this formerly broad sheet of water was diminished to a narrow stream abounding in shoals. In the neighbourhood of the larger Benin Branch, which was reached on the 5th July, these irregular deposits of sand were so numerous, and intersected the river in such a variety of ways, that the vessel grounded several times before they succeeded in finding a proper channel. What rendered the navigation more difficult here, was the fact that over many of them a few feet of water concealed the danger entirely from observation, and the first indication was the vessel striking, but where they showed above the water, the channel was generally well defined.

On the morning of the 6th, the 'Wilberforce' anchored off Abòh Creek, and, aware of the danger of losing time in such a pestilential atmosphere, Lieutenant Webb immediately proceeded to visit Obi, to state to him the objects of the mission, and if possible, to obtain some information respecting the settlement at the Confluence, and the fate of Mr. Carr.

The entrance of the Abòh Creek, which on the first visit of the Expedition was nearly a quarter of a mile in width, had now decreased so much, as to be barely sufficient to admit the use of the galley's oars, and the sandbanks were fully half way across the bed of the river.

After keeping Lieutenant Webb waiting almost an hour in the so-called palace, the King made his appearance, dressed out in the habiliments presented to him by the Commissioners, on signing the treaty for the suppression of the slave trade.

During the interview, which was very brief, Obi was informed of the ratification of that treaty by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, upon which he inquired, with his usual sagacity, how soon the trading vessels which had been promised, might be expected to arrive, but of course no satisfactory answer could be given on that subject. He assured Lieutenant Webb, that he had no knowledge whatever of Mr. Carr's fate, nor had any information been forwarded to him of any white man having entered the river, or passed through his territory, and he was quite sure he had not come up thus far.

Upon inquiry respecting the settlement or model farm, his sable Majesty reluctantly produced a small box containing letters from the settlers, dated in October, 1841, which one of his headmen had received at Iddah "six moons before," saying at the same time, that there was a rumour of the Fulahs or Filatahs having attacked the place, and murdered three of the farmers. This detention of the box of letters, which it would have been so easy for Obi to have forwarded to its destination through the Bonny or Brass traders, with whom he has such frequent intercourse, very properly raised doubts in Lieutenant Webb's mind as to his sincerity; and his constrained manner when speaking on the subject of the fate of Mr. Carr and the model farm, caused a suspicion, that he knew more about them than he was disposed to communicate. He was, however, invited to visit the ship, to receive the presents which had been intended for him, although in consequence of the very questionable behaviour of Obi, Lieutenant Webb had come to the determination not to give him all that he was authorized to do, feeling convinced that his anxiety and disappointment proceeded from fear, lest anything should be divulged which might interfere with his "dash." Under all circumstances, it was impossible to delay six hours, which was the time required by the king in compliance with Ibu etiquette; Lieutenant Webb having therefore waited until noon, without any appearance of the royal visitor, sent on shore by Prince Edjeh the following articles as a present, in the name of Her Britannic Majesty, viz.:- one double-barrelled gun, two single-barrelled ditto, one helmet, and twenty-two thousand cowries; after which, having already procured a native pilot, and being very anxious about the safety of those at the settlement, he hastened his departure from Abòh. In coming down the creek, a number of large canoes had been observed, and on inquiry, the pilot stated that they belonged to King Boy of Brass, who was said to be then on board one of them. This of itself was sufficient to authorize a doubt about Obi's conduct, since he had never mentioned that this person was at Abòh, although his name had been frequently referred to in the late conversation. On learning this, Lieutenant Webb immediately proceeded to the canoe in which Boy was staying, and requested to be furnished with any information he might possess respecting Mr. Carr. Boy's statement was just as unsatisfactory as that obtained from Obi; for while he acknowledged that Brown (a coloured man, employed as an interpreter in the expedition, and who had accompanied Mr. Carr a short way up the Brass Creek) had communicated with some of the Brass people about eight moons back, he disavowed having heard that Mr. Carr, or any white person, was with him, or knowing the reasons which had led Brown to visit the Brass river. He suggested, however, that if Mr. Carr had landed, or passed his, King Boy's water, the son of the late King Jacket, now a co-chief in the same river, might have been aware of the circumstance. This allusion, considering the near neighbourhood of these chiefs, was sufficient to convince Lieutenant Webb, that King Boy knew more than he chose to tell; and while it confirmed his fears as to Mr. Carr's fate, he was fully determined, that if spared, he would, on his return, make Boy account for Mr. Carr, or otherwise carry him a prisoner to Fernando Po.

Nothing could have been more disgusting than the fawning abject behaviour of that chief; his very look betrayed the consciousness of detected guilt. In the afternoon the 'Wiberforce' proceeded slowly up the river, and soon reached the village on the opposite bank, (marked the "hostile town" on Captain W. Allen's chart). Here the natives were assembled in immense numbers, and evinced the same degree of curiosity, that had been so remarked in every part of the river on the previous melancholy visit. At 3 p.m., a heavy squall was experienced from the southwest, accompanied with lightning, thunder, and rain; the direction of the wind - south-west, - was a very unusual one. Ali Herr the pilot, was soon found to be utterly incompetent for his task, being ignorant of the channel; and however qualified to be the conductor of canoes, was useless for a vessel drawing six feet of water. Having threaded their way among numerous sandbanks, which required no ordinary care, they anchored in the evening.

On the 7th, they were enabled to make a fair progress, and again anchored for the night.

Early on the 8th the passage was resumed; but soon after weighing, it was discovered that the wrong channel had been entered, and in "winding" the vessel to get out of the difficulty, she grounded. The kedges were quickly laid out, and with the assistance of the engines, aided by the untiring zeal of the Commander and crew, soon succeeded in clearing the shoal, and reaching the mid channel by dark, where they again brought to for the night. While the vessel lay aground, an Aboh canoe came alongside, from which some provisions were purchased. On looking into her, a slave, bearing the mark of the Haussa nation, was observed chained to the bottom of the boat. Lieutenant Webb pointed out to the owner this breach of faith on the part of King Obi; he did not wait for a further explanation, but moved off directly, quite pleased no doubt, to have escaped without loss of his little barque and cargo, which, according to the treaty, would have been forfeited. Captain Allen had suggested the propriety of not exasperating the natives, by seizing slaves in canoes, in case any were met with; and it was considered more prudent to act on this advice, (the vessel being surrounded by difficulties,) rather than indulge the impulse of feelings, which dictated the wish to liberate all that were discovered in bondage on the water. On the 9th the vessel grounded for about an hour, on a bank near Tanuku Market, in passing which a large concourse of people were observed bartering various kinds of food, grass mats, country cloths, &c. At 4 p.m., they were abreast of Onyah Market, the highest limit of the Ibu territory; the sandbanks here were even more extensive and higher than any yet met with, averaging nine feet above the surface of the stream. On all these, immense crowds of people were encamped in tents, to the number of at least fifteen hundred; each tent had its own appropriate flag, decorated with various fantastic devices. Apparently there was but little trade going on, but in its absence plenty of "palaver," as is indeed the case throughout all African communities. Soon after 5 p.m. they were abreast of the river 'Edoh' supposed to be a tributary of the Benin river, which the 'Soudan' attempted to ascend in the previous season, without any definite conclusion as to its source.

The object so judiciously kept in view by Lieutenant Webb, was to make the passage up, as rapidly as was consistent with the safety of the ship, as he thereby hoped, if the crew kept in good health, to be able to reach Rabbah and conclude the treaty with the King of that place, or at any rate, to make an appearance off the city. Soon after noon of the 10th, the 'Wilberforce' anchored off Iddah ; Mr. Davey the carpenter was sent on shore, for the twofold purpose of inquiring if the commander of the ship could have an interview with the Attàh, from whom it was hoped some information might yet be obtained respecting Mr Carr; also to ascertain by the mark, ordered by Captain Trotter during the former ascent, to be made on a large cotton-tree when the river was at its height, how much the water had decreased. The boat soon returned with intelligence, that the Attàh could not be seen until the following day; that the settlers at the Model Farm were all well, but that no tidings of Mr. Carr had as yet reached Iddah. By the mark just referred to, the river was found to have fallen thirty feet.

Not wishing, in a race of life and death, to lose twenty-four hours for the caprice of an African chief, they immediately weighed, and proceeded upwards, keeping between English Island and the cliffs on which the city is built. They had not, however, moved very far in that channel, before the soundings shoaled so much, that they were under the necessity of retracing their steps, in doing which, the vessel again got aground; a kedge was immediately thrown out, and subsequently the best hawser anchor and chain and every available means used to get the vessel hove off, without effect.

Notwithstanding the untiring and praiseworthy exertions on the part of officers and crew, continued during a great part of the night, the vessel remained aground until the following afternoon, when by renewed hard work she was got off. In the meantime the Attàh's head Mallam, Massabah, came on board, bringing a box of letters from the settlers, written five months previously, in which they described their anxiety for the return of the vessels, as the Filatahs had, on two occasions, threatened an attack. Mallam Massabah inquired why Lieutenant Webb had not visited the Attàh, on his way up here, and was told, that there was no time to be lost, and if the chief of Iddah had been so anxious to see the white officer, he would not have kept him waiting as had been required when an interview was sought; moreover, the letters had been detained a long and unreasonable time, instead of being forwarded to the coast as they ought to have been, according to the stipulation in the treaty to that effect. The Mallam replied that the Attàh of Iddah would have broken through a long established custom, if he had received a visitor the same day that he arrived, and as for the letters, there had been no opportunity of transmitting them. It was then explained to Massabah, why the vessel had come up on the present occasion, and he was requested to return to the Attàh, and obtain permission to accompany or follow the 'Wilberforce' to the Confluence, that a final settlement might be made on the spot, concerning the purchased territory, and to prevent any unfavourable impression from a supposed want of courtesy, a handsome silk tobe was forwarded to the chief of the Eggarahs, and a piece of drab silk to Amada Bue, the Attàh's sister.

Early on the morning of the 12th, they were again under weigh, and by half-past 7 a.m., were abreast of Bird Rock. The appearance of this locality was now entirely altered; when seen on the former passage up, it was only a few feet above the water, it now rose to a height of thirty feet, and at a little distance bore no slight resemblance to a ship under sail. Several rocks were observed on each side, some of which were from fifteen to twenty feet above water, although entirely hidden from view on the former ascent, and must have been passed over. At noon, in wending through a cluster of these rocks, some of which were thirty-five feet above the surface of the river, in the proper mid-channel, near the lower end of Beaufort's Island, with leads going fore and aft and every possible precaution, the vessel struck violently on a concealed reef, which penetrated the second compartment on the larboard side, in the neighbourhood of the Boatswain's store-room, and started four rivets in the third compartment on the starboard side; the soundings taken just before she grounded, by two careful leadsmen, showed three fathoms forward and four fathoms aft. The engines were stopped and immediately reversed, but ineffectually; and before Lieutenant Webb could run forward from the break of the poop, the foremost compartment filled up to the lower deck. All hands were without loss of time, at work, to clear the injured division, and the best bower anchor and chain were laid out astern, with a kedge on the larboard quarter, and two lengths of hawser to the rocks from the starboard bow. After several unavailing attempts by the various purchases, together with the reversed action of the engines, finding it impossible to move the vessel, she was made secure for the night. During the greater part of the following day, (the 13th) every exertion was made by altering the stowage, heaving on the purchase and using the engines, to get out of this critical position, but without success. It was then determined to send Mr. Waddington, the acting boatswain, to the Confluence, in charge of a boat, to clear out the 'Amelia' tender and drop her down the stream if possible, to take on board the stores and provisions and thus lighten the 'Wilberforce.'

Late in the evening, eight men belonging to the 'Amelia,' came down in a large galley attached to the settlement, which Waddington had sent off on reaching there, while he and his party remained busily engaged in preparing the schooner, in which he contrived to be back to the steam-vessel on the evening of the 14th. The difficulties which he met with, not only from the intricacy of the navigation for sixteen miles among rocks and sandbanks, but the mutinous disposition of some of the crew, rendered it a work of no ordinary care to fulfil as he had done, and well bestowed were the high eulogiums passed on him by his commanding officer.

On the 15th, the 'Amelia' was brought alongside, and great portion of the stores and provisions were removed, in which operation they were aided very much by the Bahah refugees, some of whom came down in the schooner from the Model Farm, where they had sought protection during the late wars. In the afternoon, another attempt was made to heave off, which failing, the vessel was secured for the night. Early on the following morning, the remainder of the stores were put on board the schooner, when the purchase was again tried, and the vessel moved a little; it was necessary, however, to throw overboard six tons of coals, to lighten her still further, and in the evening she was made fast for the night. A heavy squall broke over them about midnight, but was not productive of any injury to the vessel as she then lay. The baling and pumping were resumed through the night, and on the 17th, she was with some difficulty hove off. Taking the 'Amelia' in tow, they proceeded at full steam towards the Confluence.

When the enervating nature of the climate considered, it is truly surprising that this little band of Europeans could have endured, as they did, the continuous labour required under such trying circumstances. Had their commander been a less firm or enterprising character, perhaps the 'Wilberforce' would have remained in the river, to supply the natives with malleable iron for their spears and swords; but knowing the dangers that awaited him when he entered on the mission, he was prepared to undergo anything rather than not persevere in carrying out his instructions. Of the conduct of those who were with him, it is impossible to speak too favourably; deeply is it to be regretted that some of them so soon fell sacrifices to the astonishing exertions required on that occasion, and did not survive to enjoy the rewards they might reasonably have expected.

While the vessel was aground on the reef, the old princess, Amada Bue, came on board; she was accompanied by the chief Mallam, Massabah, who had been requested by Lieutenant Webb to go with him to the Confluence to make a final arrangement about the land ceded. Amada Bue brought with her two goats as a present from the Attàh of Iddah, and an assurance that he would supply any provisions required. The old princess was so pleased with her reception, and - like most of her people,- with what she saw going on, that she prolonged her visit to nearly twenty hours, when she quitted the vessel and returned to Iddah, landing the chief Mallam, on a neighbouring rock, whence he was again brought to the 'Wilberforce' by an Eggarah canoe, which was returning from a market higher up the river. In this canoe, two female slaves from Kakanda were discovered, and Lieutenant Webb, in pretty strong terms, reminded Massabah, that his master, the chief of Eggarah, was violating the treaty made the previous year, by thus allowing his people to deal in slaves; "the keeper of the king's conscience," instantly pushed off, and did not again make his appearance.

They anchored off the model farm, on the morning of the 18th, and found the settlers had not been molested by any of the neighbouring tribes, but were in a state of disorganization among themselves. Renewed attempts were made to keep under the leak, and the vessel's bottom was swept with a topsail and rain awning; this, however, with constant baling and pumping, was inefficient; the anchor was therefore again weighed, and the vessel was grounded with her bow on a grassy bank, about a cable's length from the right shore. On a careful examination, the injury was ascertained to be five feet in length and two inches in breadth, under the boatswain's store-room, which was only to be repaired by fixing an iron plate from within.

This case shews the immense importance of having vessels, especially steam-boats, built with water-tight compartments; had the 'Wilberforce' been otherwise constructed, she would certainly have been a total wreck ; the water would have passed rapidly into the engine-room, extinguishing the fires, and perhaps causing the boilers to collapse with all the attendant frightful consequences.

On the 19th, they were again busily employed on the leak, and in restowing the provisions and stores from the schooner, as the river was rising and Lieutenant Webb was anxious to reach the city of Rabbah with the least possible delay. Hitherto no sickness had appeared among the Europeans of the crew, and there was every reasonable ground of expectation, that he might be able to carry out the views of Her Majesty's Government, but in the evening two of the most efficient persons, Messrs. Davey, carpenter, and Johnstone, chief engineer, were seized with fever, thereby cancelling all the previous arrangements.

July 20th.-Early this morning, the after compartment was discovered to have three feet of water in it, which it appeared had been occasioned by the oversight of the engineers on the previous night, in not putting the box nuts on the pipes which connected the bilge in the engine-room, with the several compartments. In consequence of this accident, it was absolutely necessary again to remove the stores, and clear out the afterholds. Many of the presents and a good deal of powder were found to be damaged. The whole day was occupied in drying these articles, and in keeping the foremost division of the vessel constantly baled dry, so that the engineers might fix the plate.

21st.- Busily at work putting the holds in order, and restowing the stores. Mr. Cameron, the second engineer, was taken ill with fever, so that the whole duty of that branch fell on the remaining one, Mr. Collins. This reduced strength of engineers, of course retarded all the operations, which were now being made preparatory to moving down the river.

Shimaboe, uncle of the Attàh of Iddah, went on board to pay his respects, when he was informed of the necessity of removing the settlers from the model farm, at which he expressed his regret; but he fully concurred in the arrangements made by Lieutenant Webb with respect to the disposal of the buildings and crops; and as his conduct had evidently been so friendly, he was presented with a damask tobe. After the interview with Shimaboe, Lieutenant Webb proceeded on shore, having learned that the Fulahs or Filatahs were within three miles of the settlement, and engaged in an attempt on the village of Priapri, situated on a rocky eminence at the foot of Mount Pattèh. He took with him one of the officers and an interpreter, being in hopes of obtaining an interview, with the chief of the invading army. On arriving at the scene of action, it was found that Agajah, the chief of the village attacked, had obliged them to retreat, thus frustrating the prospect of a meeting with the predatory Filatah chief.

Agajah, a short robust man, with a countenance unusually open for an African, displayed two arrows as trophies of his late - probably bloodless - victory. He had with him about four hundred men, armed with bows and arrows: two persons, apparently of consequence, carried each an old-fashioned musket. These were the only fire-arms observed among them; nevertheless, the people were better appointed, and expressed more determination in their looks, than was to be expected from them. The position of the village - Priapri - was well chosen to resist an attack, and the chief averred he had successfully resisted all inroads for a number of years; that hitherto he had never had recourse to flight; but as his enemies (the persecuting Filatahs) were becoming more numerous every moon, he began to be apprehensive of the consequences. Agajah's manner was straightford and manly, and quite cordial, until Lieutenant Webb declined presenting him with the pair of pistols he had brought with him. The refusal evidently displeased him; however* on the following day, two single-barrelled guns were sent to him by the son, who visited the ship, and exhibited in his person the fine characteristics of his father.

A few days before the arrival of the 'Wilberforce' at the Confluence, Gogoe, a village between Priapri and the model farm, had been abandoned by its inhabitants, under apprehension of a hostile visit from the Fulahs. The fugitives took refuge on the dry sand banks in the bed of the river, where they had built huts, as a temporary security against the attacks of their enemies, who never venture on the water, and rarely dismount, unless to bind the unfortunate victims, who invariably give themselves up in passive hopelessness, without a shadow of resistance. These statements, show that the settlement, could not altogether secure its immediate neighbourhood from aggression; nor can it be wondered at, when it is known how few in numbers they were, and without a European to direct them.

On the 22nd July the repairs were so far completed as would enable the 'Wilberforce' to reach Fernando Po, and in the afternoon the steam was got up, and the vessel hauled alongside the landing-place, to receive the remaining stores, &c., belonging to the model farm. Four poor creatures from the Bahàh country, who had taken refuge at the settlement, were also brought away at their earnest solicitations, as they dreaded the thought of being left behind. Their country is situated a day's march, west of Mount Pattèh; and judging from their industrious dispositions, it is probably well cultivated; but the destroying Fulahs had found their way there, and obliged the wretched people to seek another home. Before leaving the Confluence, Yarriba George, a stoker, was discharged, at his own request, as also Harvey and Finlay, two men who had served some years in one of the West Indian regiments - subsequently as interpreters in the Expedition - and were now desirous of visiting once more their native town, Rabbah. The latter person wrote Arabic, and had excellent certificates of character with him. By him Lieutenant Webb forwarded, as a present to Hassaman Zaïki, King of Rabbah, one silk velvet tobe, two scarlet caps, and eleven thousand cowries, together with a letter, in which he thanked His Majesty for not having interfered with the settlers at the model farm, and expressed the hope, that should Her Britannic Majesty's government see fit at any future time to renew the attempt, the same amicable feelings, would be manifested: the disadvantages of the Slave Trade, were also represented.

By this opportunity, there were likewise sent to Attiko, the King of Soccatoo, a handsome silk tobe, a spy-glass, and a package of buttons; considering the occasion a good one, to cultivate a friendly understanding with these powerful chiefs.

The three liberated Africans who were thus discharged, had been for many years associated with Englishmen, and had numerous opportunities of becoming acquainted with the blessings of civilized life. As they were men of good character, particularly Finlay and Yarriba George, their reception and future influence in their several cities, will be a subject of interesting inquiry.

At the time of abandoning the model farm, there were about twenty acres of land under cultivation, and in good order, chiefly planted with cotton, and a few yams. The first cropping with corn and cotton had entirely failed, as it is supposed from the seed having got damaged on the voyage from England. The crops then growing were the produce of country seed, and were very promising.

Twelve mud-huts had been erected, as well as the model farm-house, except the gable end; and the reason given by Nichols the carpenter for this being unfinished was, that he could not obtain wood or teach the fugitives about the settlement to saw it into planks. This of course was a mere subterfuge, as wood abounded on the opposite shore, and also quite sufficient near the farm, which might easily have been cut into plank by the operatives on the spot. The fact is, Lieutenant Webb found, that Mr. Moore, the director pro tempore, had neither authority or influence over Nichols and his subordinates; that Mr. Neizer, the clerk, had been more occupied in malversation, than in the business of the society for whose benefit he was employed, and had besides appropriated to his own purposes a quantity of merchandise acquired with the means entrusted to his care, and which he was obliged to restore. Only a few of the settlers wished to remain, and these at increased wages. In short, the most complete disorganization had taken place, and there was no prospect of matters amending or going on favourably, without some European of ability and firmness, to direct the affairs.

Mr. Hensman, Acting-Assistant-Surgeon, proffered his services to remain as director of the settlement for six months, and in him no doubt would have been found the requisites for the proper management; but the time specified was too short - only six months -to hope for any permanent advantage; and besides, the rapidly-increasing sickness of the crew, rendered it absolutely necessary, for that officer to continue his duties on board.

On strict inquiry into the conduct of the settlers generally, it was ascertained that, except Thomas King, who had been left in command of the 'Amelia' schooner, they had been guilty of continued insubordination, and gross indulgence in the worst vices of the natives.

{This is fully corroborated by the journal of Thomas King, which, though minute and diffuse, contains some interesting particulars. As they tend to throw light on the manners of the natives of the interior, and especially on the disorganized state of society produced by the foreign slave-trade, to which it is a chief means of furnishing the victims, we give some brief abstracts from it:-

"The 'Albert' was hardly out of sight, when Thomas King began to feel the difficulties of command; his crew commenced a system of mutinous conduct, which continued throughout the whole period of their stay at the Confluence, and was marked by every crime, short of murder, which was several times with difficulty prevented. On one occasion they nearly provoked an attack on the settlement, by their atrocious conduct at the village of Pandaïki. Moore and King went through the form of trying them by jury, which was curiously composed of magistrates, witnesses, and advocates. The criminals were sentenced to pay a fine of 16,000 cowries, 10,000 to the injured chief and his people, the remainder as a court-fee. Her Majesty's stores furnishing the wherewithal.

"The natives on all occasions were well disposed towards the settlers. The Attàh in particular, proved he was sincere in his professions of friendship and protection. Shortly after the departure of the 'Albert,' he sent a present of a bullock, and his agents finding that some persons had committed theft, caused them to be seized and sent to the Attàh, who punished them, by selling them,- for his own profit we presume.

"They expressed some dissatisfaction at seeing the inhabitants of the mountain,- Kakanda people - move about unmolested, saying, that if it were not for the settlers at the model farm, they would all be made slaves if they ventured down to the bank of the river.

"Shimaboe, uncle of the Attàh, chief of Gandeh on the Chadda, also shewed good feeling towards the settlers. He performed a praiseworthy act in reconciling two petty chiefs, who for some trifling quarrel or debt, had been in the habit of capturing and selling such of the relatives and followers of one another as they could entrap. King, told him that this deed would afford the white men great pleasure on their return.

"March 3rd.- The whole district was in alarm at the reported approach of the Filatah army. The inhabitants of all the villages instantly took refuge on the sandbanks, and this was the only occasion on which King was able to muster his crew on board the schooner. The invaders, however, withdrew in the evening.

"The city of Egga has remained unmolested by them, since the visit of the 'Albert,' but the marauders had divided their army, one party intercepted all canoes going to the market below the Confluence, and the other had intended to attack Toto, the Kakanda people, and the settlers at the model farm; but the King of Rabbah was reported to have sent to the general, named Markeny, to deter him, saying, that 'white men had come from a distant country to see him but had been obliged to turn back by reason of illness, that they had left some of their party as settlers, and it was not comely nor reasonable to hurt strangers in that way.' One of the methods practised by the Filatahs in the countries devoted to their aggression, appears to be that parties of about ten horsemen and some foot soldiers, lie in wait in the 'bush,' near a village, and at daylight, when the unsuspecting natives go to their work in the fields, they are seized and hurried off to their camp, where they are kept in chains till sent off to the markets, but the women are thus confined only during the night, a few cowries being given for their daily subsistence.

"King witnessed several cases of kidnapping and private slave catching. A man applied to him for redress against a woman, who had recently captured two of his brothers, one of whom she had already sold - on an allegation of robbery - he said she had sold eleven of his relations altogether; King recognized one by name as being apprenticed to a friend of his at Sierra Leone. He said the price of slaves varied from 6,000 to 40,000 cowries; in time of great distress, they were as low as 300, and children were even sold for 10 yams each.

"Some natives near Adda Kudda, attacked a canoe, belonging to Pandaïki, on the way to the market; they were beaten off, mainly by the courage of a woman, and some of the aggressors captured. The exploit was celebrated at her village, by rejoicings during the night, and she came in procession to the farm singing her song of triumph.

"Another act of piracy took place in the neigbourhood: a man had made himself responsible for a debt contracted by his wife's mother, but, before he could pay it, he was put to death by the Attàh, together with all his sons, except one. The survivor, to avoid the persecution of the creditor, had recently settled on a sandbank, where he had built a temporary hut. During his absence one day, a canoe came from his native village and carried off his wife, child, and servant, in face of the whole population of Pandaïki; who made no other attempt at a rescue than by vociferations and threatening gesticulations. The poor man pursued them, but without success, and he said unless he could redeem them they would be sold. The debt was 40,000 cowries, about fifty shillings.

"King and Moore decided very wisely, that it would be better not to have anything to do with slave-cases, as they had neither the power nor the authority to enforce the treaty, and by interference they might draw on the settlement the ill-will of the natives. Among the people working at the farm, were five young men, who wished to earn sufficient money to defray the expense of the funeral of their father, who had been dead five months. In the mean while the body was preserved by fumigations and frequent washings, and was ornamented with dyewoods.

"King appears to have exerted himself very laudably in endeavouring to get a full attendance at Divine Service, and at the school, but without effect. He was much shocked at the immoral conduct of the settlers and natives, and had the schooner removed from abreast of the landing-place, where the women used to come of a morning to bathe indiscriminately with the men. He visited the different villages and wished to make an opening for the introduction of Christianity, by pointing out the folly of their fetiche worship, which in some cases the natives acknowledged. He was particularly annoyed at a mistaken attempt to do honour to our festival of Christmas by the natives of the surrounding villages; who at the invitation of Moore had come to the settlement with drums and shouting, &c., and fetiche men whom he called 'devils.' He explained the meaning of the holiday, and how it ought to be kept.

"July 7th.- King paid a visit to the mountain Pattèh. He found it 'as level as the deck of a ship,' with a great deal of cultivation. Many villages, but with one exception, Ajjidido, they were filthily dirty. Aggajeh was inhabited by fugitives from Bassàh ; having no land of their own, the chief sent his people to work for the settlers at the model farm, but he complained that one by one they were sold into slavery by the Pandaïki people, and even by their employers as he had been informed. But this we hope was untrue. King retorted the charge by saying 'Yea, and even they themselves sold one another sometimes.'

"During his absence, the houses of the model farm with the exception of the store and two others, were destroyed by fire; which gave occasion for him to lament 'the rude manner that we who came from a civilized country and are well acquainted with the damage the destructive element often causes, should build houses in worse condition than the natives."

King's journal terminates here.

Lieutenant Webb arrived eleven days subsequently, 18th July.}

They were lazy and indolent, not one of them willing or disposed to manual labour, yet ready enough to exercise authority over the negroes they had hired, and whom they employed on the most trifling occasions, rather than exert themselves. As a proof of their love of power and proneness to abuse it, it may be mentioned that a number of the surrounding natives had been hired to assist the people at the farm, in trans porting the stores from the hill to the vessels; and two of the settlers were found to have furnished themselves with whips, apparently for the purpose of urging those under them to greater exertion. These instruments were immediately laid aside by Lieutenant Webb's injunction, and although he had not seen them actually applied in punishing the natives, yet he had every reason to believe that they were in the habit of carrying these instruments, which even if never used, could not fail to inspire the natives with terror, and alienate their good feelings, to the great injury of the British character, inasmuch as they were reputedly under the English flag. Of the whole number (thirty-two,) who had been left there in charge of the model farm and the 'Amelia' tender, nine were willing to remain, but only on condition of receiving increased wages, and having an European superintendent to protect them. All these circumstances combined, obliged Lieutenant Webb to act on the discretionary power vested in him, and to abandon the settlement; a resolution which though, unavoidable, he could not help regretting, as he felt that they were retiring from a position of great advantage, whether regarded as an inland point from which commerce and civilization might be expected to diffuse their blessings throughout the adjacent countries, or as a place of refuge for numerous fugitives seeking to avoid slavery; where they might become acquainted with the advantages of improved agriculture, and possibly in time form a considerable and enlightened colony under British auspices.

Such indeed had been the fond expectations of its philanthropic originators, but without the directing aid and intelligence of a European it was vain to look for success. Had Mr. Carr, the superintendent, been spared to reach a second time the field of his important labours, it is more than probable the model establishment would have progressed satisfactorily. Even under the vicious and disorderly management of the settlers, a feeling of confidence in its protection had sprung up among the surrounding tribes, and no less than three hundred refugees had found an asylum there from the persecuting Filatahs; a gratifying proof of their faith in white men, which would have deepened and increased by proper guidance.

It was a source of pleasure to Lieutenant Webb, that he could leave these poor people in the care of Kulema, a Bahah chief, and Sumana, the head man of Pandaïki, both of whom had shown every anxiety to maintain amicable relations with the persons of the model farm, as well as with each other. And as a return for their many friendly offices, Sumana was allowed to take possession of the model farm buildings, while his neighbour, Kulema, was presented with the crops then growing. A horse was "dashed" to Kudajah, another of the Bahah chiefs, and 22,000 cowries (in value about 2l. 5s. sterling) among the natives of the adjacent villages who had been employed. This sum, though small in our estimation, was, in their circumstances, looked on as a very fair reward.

Of the immense traffic in slaves, which obtains in this part of the river some idea may be formed, when it is stated on the authority of King, who was in charge of the model farm, that he had seen as many as fifty canoes pass down in one day, with their cargoes of human victims.

Having made the final arrangements respecting the property of the settlement, and taken the 'Amelia' schooner in tow, Lieutenant Webb moved the 'Wilberforce' into the middle of the stream on the evening of the 22nd July, and early on the following morning commenced the passage downwards, arriving at Iddah during the afternoon. He proceeded on shore immediately, hoping to have an interview with the Attàh; but as the native etiquette, which demands a certain protracted ceremonial, was inconsistent with the weakened condition of the crew, he was under the necessity of merely holding a short "palaver" with the Attàh's sister - Amada Bue - to whom he communicated the changes that had been made at the settlement, and the disposition of the property. The good-natured princess conveyed this information to the Attàh, and returned with an answer that he quite acceded to all that had been done, regretted that the white men were going away, and hoped the English would, ere long, resume possession of the model farm. Lieutenant Webb had received instructions to make a suitable present to the chief of the Eggarahs, in return for his kindly feeling towards the Expedition in the previous year; and although he found him infringing the treaty by allowing his subjects to deal in slaves, it was considered better to leave a favourable impression, by sending him a tolerable present, in case the mission might be again attempted, or the farm re-established. The following articles were accordingly selected:- Three velvet tobes, three scarlet caps, one piece of silk, one cloth dress, one piece of blue velvet, one piece of variegated velvet, three boxes of razors, three papers of buttons, one snuff-box, one saddle and bridle, four pairs of pistols, one helmet, and thirty-five yards of cloth.

Nor was the dignified chief Mallam, Lobo, forgotten, a damask tobe and pair of silk trowsers being forwarded for his acceptance.

With as little delay as possible they again weighed, and proceeded down the river, anchoring for the night, and on the 25th arrived at Abòh, where they were obliged to stop, and communicate further with King Obi, and if possible with Boy, the King of Brass River, respecting the fate of Mr. Carr. Ali Here, the pilot, who was now discharged, was the bearer of an invitation to King Obi to visit the 'Wilberforce.' While waiting his answer, two messengers were sent on board from King Boy, who was encamped with his numerous followers on a sandbank near Aboh Creek, to say that their king wished to see the white captain, respecting the person who was said to have entered the Brass River, about seven or eight months back.

It will be remembered that on the former occasion, when questioned on this subject, he denied having any knowledge whatever, of the circumstances connected with Mr. Carr's arrival in his dominions.

A boat was immediately dispatched, with a request that King Boy would come on board as he had promised, but he returned an answer that he could not leave the camp without "white man" would fetch him. Although there was some appearance of treachery in this proviso, Mr. Hensman, Acting-Assistant-Surgeon, immediately volunteered to go for him, as it was considered safer to hold the palaver on board. Boy, however, still refused to come off; but he acknowledged that a white man - doubtless Mr. Carr - had entered his river about seven or eight moons since, though not under his protection, and that he (King Boy) had in his possession at Brass Town some of the white man's clothes, together with two prisoners (Bassa men), from whom the clothes were taken about that period.

Finding the king would not venture off, Lieutenant Webb proceeded on shore in person, and endeavoured to prevail on him to accompany him on board, hoping, when once there, to oblige him give a more particular account of the unfortunate superintendent. Boy still declined to leave the shore, but made the same statement as he had previously done. In reply to the questions, why he had concealed this knowledge from the white men on the late visit, as also from the King of Bonny River, he studiously avoided giving any direct answer; and while he declared that he had no positive evidence of the murder of Mr. Carr, yet he said he believed him to have been killed by the Bassa people, and he was ready to furnish the pilots for that locality, although averse to going himself.

Finding it impossible to obtain any satisfactory elucidation of the matter, Lieutenant Webb was anxious to have got Boy on board, and unless he afforded great proofs of sincerity, to have taken him on to Fernando Po; but having only a weakened and unarmed boat's crew, to oppose to Boy's numerous followers, strongly encamped, and supported by large armed canoes, he returned on board, and got the vessel under weigh, with a view to interrupt a retreat into Abòh, and thus perhaps intimidate the Brass chief into a compliance, without having recourse to actual hostilities. Owing, however, to the confusion and delay, occasioned by the numerous canoes which surrounded the vessel, Boy was enabled to make his escape up Abòh Creek, across which the 'Wilberforce' was laid, in ignorance of his having already past.

In the meantime King Obi had come on board, but alarmed at the movement of the vessel, he quitted it in one of his canoes, and proceeded to his town, despite of all entreaties to remain, and assurances that the white men were his friends.

Disappointed at not being able to bring King Boy to account, the two messengers (Brass men) were secured, in the expectation of getting further information from them, in case their chief could not be induced to furnish it. The sickly state of the white crew, eight in number - three of whom were dangerously ill with fever, and two others complaining - rendered it absolutely imperative to remain as short a time as possible in this most insalubrious portion of the river.

A second message was sent to Obi, informing him that they were friends, and begging him to renew his visit, which his sable majesty promised to do, if the Captain would come for him in person.

Lieutenant Webb, in compliance with the King's request, accordingly went on shore in the galley, accompanied by Mr. Hensman, intending to disembark at the landing-place, where there were many canoes. On the way thither, it was necessary to go near several war-canoes, which were secured close to the banks, on each side of the creek. After passing some of the first, the attention of the persons in the galley was attracted to the movement among some of the armed canoes astern, apparently endeavouring to close upon them, while their crews, by taking up fire-arms, no longer concealed their intention of cutting off the retreat of our countrymen. The galley was immediately turned and pulled up alongside the nearest war-canoe, and Lieutenant Webb pointed his pistols, (the only arms in the boats,) at the leader, who instantly dropped his musket, supplicating by sundry gestures for mercy, and calling aloud, "King Obi! King Obi!" The other canoes at once paddled away for the shore, but the right bank was simultaneously crowded with armed men, who, until that moment, had not shown themselves. Some of them directed their muskets at the galley, but the appearance of the pistols in

Lieutenant Webb's hands - acted like a talisman in deterring them from violence, and the boat was allowed to rejoin the vessel without further molestation. The messenger sent by King Obi had remained on board the 'Wilberforce' but seeing the galley on her way back, he hastily quitted in one of the canoes then alongside, on which Lieutenant Webb called out to those on board to prevent his escape; Mr. Webb, the clerk in charge, with his usual promptitude, sprung forward with a musket, which he pointed at the fugitives, desiring them by gestures to return, but fearing the consequences, they all jumped overboard from the canoe, and swam for the bank, the high grass of which, would have effectually concealed them from view. At this juncture, one of the Krumen threw a boarding-pike at the messenger, who avoided the stroke by diving, and continued his course; but the galley just then coming up, he was seized by the crew, and brought on board as a prisoner. There seemed to be every probability that this messenger had been sent to the vessel as a decoy, aware of the hostile intentions of his master, and perhaps ready to take advantage of any opportunity when Lieutenant Webb was captured, to have called the people out of the canoes, on board, and thus have secured the vessel. He was therefore put into irons; and as a punishment for his part of the treacherous scheme, as well as in the prospect of eliciting some information about Mr. Carr, was to be carried on to Fernando Po.

There was fortunately no firing on the part of our countrymen - who acted with most praiseworthy forbearance on the occasion. The only reprisal made, was to capture a canoe belonging to King Boy, by whose machinations, Obi had in all likelihood been induced, to make such an ungrateful return for the favours bestowed on him.

After waiting a short time to allow the chief an opportunity of explaining this hostile conduct, the 'Wilberforce' got under weigh, and proceeded down the river.

The next morning, Obi's messenger and the two Brass men, King Boy's subjects, were severally interrogated respecting Mr. Carr's captivity or murder. Their statements merely went to prove what had been already avowed, that King Boy had taken two Bassa men prisoners, who had in their canoe, when examined, some white men's clothes, and that the persons thus suspected, as well as the articles found in their possession, were at Brass Town, Boy's head-quarters. That the two Bassa men said, the "white man" had been tied to a tree and shot, at Bassa Town - a small place situated in a narrow creek of the lower Benìn branch, about forty miles from the mouth of the river - and his servant, a liberated African, sent into the country as a slave, but more probably murdered to prevent his giving evidence against them, at any future time.

The white man's effects were described, as comprising "plenty of clothes, plenty of books," thus affording a strong presumption, that they were the property of Mr. Carr. It could not be learned in what direction the Bassa men were going when captured by King Boy, nor could they explain away the very suspicious circumstance, that if the Bassa people had murdered the unfortunate gentleman, how came the canoe with his clothes into Brass Creek, nearly sixty miles apart from where the transaction was said to have taken place. It seemed probable, that these witnesses had been prepared by their chief, with the necessary evidence.

One thing was quite evident, their eager anxiety to exculpate their own tribe, and to fix the stigma on the Bassa people; this induced Lieutenant Webb to go down the first Benìn branch, under the pilotage of the prisoners, intending to make the fullest inquiry into the subject at Bassa Town. However, after passing five or six miles down the river to the entrance of the creek, the vessel grounded on a bank; the channel was sounded, and found to be very narrow, but having inside of the shoal as much as five fathoms water. The breadth of the creek was not more than one hundred and fifty yards. A kedge anchor was laid out, and the vessel hove off with some difficulty. While thus employed, three very large canoes were observed coming down the creek; and as their manoeuvres were suspicious, and the position of the ship rather critical, it was thought better to warn them off, by firing some of the brass swivels over their heads, which had the effect of dispersing them without coming to a collision. They jumped overboard, and fled to the bush, which seems to be the most approved native method, of getting out of difficulties. The boatswain had now become quite unfit for duty, the third engineer scarcely able to move about, and the medical officer also laid up with fever, so that of the small crew of whites, only Lieutenant Webb and the clerk-in-charge, were now out of the sick list. It was therefore thought impossible to prosecute the inquiry further, without risking the ship, and the lives of all on board; and late in the evening, they rejoined the 'Amelia' which had been left higher up, took her in tow, and anchored for the night in the middle of the stream ; in rounding the schooner, she ran foul of the right bank, and carried away her bowsprit.

On the 17th at daylight they were again under weigh, using every exertion to get down the river while there was a person left, capable of directing the steerage. A little below the Benìn branch, several volleys of musketry were discharged by the inhabitants of a small village on the right bank; but the distance at which it was observed, together with the circumstance of their having allowed the vessel to pass unmolested, rendered the intention of doing so doubtful; as a precautionary measure, the Krumen were kept under arms. At 10 a.m. they arrived at the mouth of the river, and having victualled the schooner for nine days, prepared for crossing the bar at low water. This step now became absolutely necessary, in consequence of the increasing sickness of the third engineer, who was so debilitated as to be scarce able to stand; and the others were confined to their beds in a high state of fever. The bar was crossed at noon, which, though time of low water, they found not less than two fathoms, and not much swell.

During the twenty-six days the 'Wilberforce' had been in the river, Lieutenant Webb ascertained, by careful observation, it had risen two feet. From the experience of that officer, and the general state of the atmosphere, (deduced from meteorological tables kept,) he is inclined to the opinion, that May, June, and July, are the best months for prosecuting any service there, with vessels of light draft of water. The air was infinitely cooler in the day-time, and with less dew at night, than had been found in the previous visit during August and September. Another advantage is, the diminished force of the current at that season, scarcely ever exceeding two knots, except in the neighbourhood of the rocks and narrows, where it was somewhat more rapid, but never more than three and a half knots.

On the passage to Fernando Po, the 'Amelia' schooner sprung a leak; and a large galley, which it had been necessary to tow astern, was totally lost,- the state of the weather being such as to prevent any delay in attempting to save her. On the 29th July, the 'Wilberforce' and 'Amelia' anchored once more in Clarence Cove, having been absent exactly one month. The latter, which had become quite unfit for H.M. service, was sold at Fernando Po; and as there was no further object in detaining as prisoners, the two natives of Brass River and Obi's messenger, they were liberated, and a passage to their own country arranged for them. The necessary repairs were made, as far as it was possible to be done; and after searching unsuccessfully for the Senior Officer, Lieutenant Webb considered it more prudent to bring the vessel to England; the 'Wilberforce' arrived at Plymouth on the 17th November, 1842. This course, indeed, was rendered imperative, as the engineers had only been enabled to secure the iron rivet-heads outside, very superficially and imperfectly, and delay would only have added to the danger by the corrosion, which must have taken place, immersed in water as the injured parts were; besides, there was no part of the station where the damages could have been properly rectified.

All the Europeans employed on that occasion, suffered more or less severely from fever, and two of the number (eight) fell victims to it,- Mr. J. H. Webb, clerk-in-charge, a most amiable and enterprizing young officer, and Mr. Waddington, boatswain, a noble specimen of a British seaman,- active, daring, and goodnatured. Both of these unfortunate persons had, throughout the difficulties of the expedition, conducted themselves in a manner it would be impossible to extol too highly; and their loss was a source of deep regret to all who had served with them.

We have only to add, that the conduct of Lieutenant (now Commander) Webb, whose proceedings had been marked by so much, energy, courage, and zeal, was approved of by both the Admiralty and Foreign Office, and will probably not be overlooked in future service.

The fate of Mr. Carr, the unfortunate superintendent of the model farm, has never yet been confirmed by further particulars; the general impression is, that he was murdered by some of King Boy's people, and that the chief himself was cognizant of the circumstances, if not actually an approver of the deed. The African Association, in whose service he was employed, thinking there might yet be a prospect of his being alive and in captivity, generously offered a reward of two thousand dollars for his recovery; but hitherto nothing has been elicited to confirm their hopes.


Top Chapter X * Chapter XII

 * Home * Loney home * Life & career * Documents * Album * Ships * Portrait * Uniform * Background *
Valid HTML 5.0