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William Loney RN - Background

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

A NARRATIVE
OF THE
EXPEDITION TO THE RIVER NIGER
.

VOLUME I, CHAPTER III.


Departure from England - Madeira - Hospitable reception - A fair Nun - Santa Cruz - Teneriffe - Spanish beggars - Dress and peculiarities of the People - Iglesia Concepcion - Extraordinary Painting - Fish-market - Convents - Monks - Peasants - Cochineal insect procured for introduction into West Africa - Fertility of the Soil - Remarks on the growth and cultivation of the Opuntia Tuna and Cochineal - Museum - Remains of the Guanches - Arrival at St. Vincent - Cape de Verd Islands - Meet the 'Soudan' and 'Harriot' - Their stormy passage - Appearance of St. Vincent - Fort Major turned laundress - Magnetical observations - Botany and Geology of the Island - Vaccination introduced - Shooting "Cabras bravas" or Wild Goats - Its dangers - Fossil shells - Curious spider's nest - Seining - The doctor fish - Melancholy accident.


On May 12th at 6.50 P.M. the 'Albert' and 'Wilberforce' sailed from Devonport. In passing the several line-of-battle ships anchored in Plymouth Sound, they did us the honour to man the rigging, and give us three hearty cheers, with which flattering mark of sympathy, crowning the many we had already received from our country, we took leave of the shores of England.

We had a favouring breeze, and with sails and steam - economizing the latter when the wind freshened - we made steady, though rather slow progress, in this first stage of our voyage; which had all the monotony of fine weather. There was nothing seen of interest, except now and then a dolphin, a few Algae, Nautili, and the occasional phosphorescence of the sea, which was a subject of curiosity and admiration to those who had not witnessed it before.

21st.- Arrived in the evening at Madeira - our first stopping place for coals, &c. On rounding the eastern part of this lovely island, the admiration of all was kept in full excitement as we passed the numerous craggy points and opened little valleys and ravines, where every available spot is devoted to the production of the wine so highly prized in England.

The dazzling white quintas, convents and churches scattered over the base of the mountain, which rises to the clouds in sullen grandeur behind this smiling and varied scene, formed a powerful contrast with what our eyes had recently been familiar with on the shores of our own island; and this was carried to the utmost as the town of Funchal burst on our view, rivalling whatever has obtained the meed of celebrity in picturesque beauty in any part of the world.

Nor is the interest diminished on landing, to find a clean, well paved, Portuguese town; with suburban streets, in many places, shaded from the powerful rays of the sun by trellis-work, over which luxuriant vines creep and cling, with their pendant fruit-promising branches; while here and there the admixture of orange-trees, bananas and pine-apples, with our own European fruits, astonishes the novice, who little anticipates so great a change in the botanical character. We visited again and with pleasure some of the many interesting localities in the neighbourhood; the Camara de Lobos; the mountain 'Jardin' of Mr. Veitch; the Church of Nossa 'Senhora do Monte' - where also is situated the beautiful and hospitable residence of Mr. Webster Gordon - overlooking, from its elevated position, the town and roadstead of Funchal; but above all the far-famed "Corral," where nature has concentrated a picture of such combined wildness and grandeur, as she only can display.

Madeira is so well known, and much of its flora, especially, has been so well described by Mr. Lowe, that it is unnecessary to enter on any description of either here, particularly as our stay was so short. Dr. Vogel had indeed, only time to take a few short excursions, and have the gratification of observing the habitat of many interesting indigenous species. But it may easily be imagined, that a locality so favoured by temperature, soil, aspect and great variety of elevation, would afford an inexhaustible field of interest to botanical researches. He, however, considered the flora of the island to be of a south European character, only a few plants, chiefly of Dracoenae, pointing to an extra European mixture.

We received very great kindness and hospitality from our countrymen resident on this island; and our grateful acknowledgments are particularly due to Mr. Stothard, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul, to Mr. Webster Gordon, and to Mr. Veitch. At a handsome entertainment given by the first, in honour of our beloved Queen's birth-day, we were nearly deprived of the pleasure of meeting the Commander of a Portuguese man-of-war brig, by a little misunderstanding, of which we were the innocent cause. It was, however, very easily remedied, and the gallant officer made a speech highly complimentary to the British navy, in which he said he was proud of the honour of having served under Sir Charles Napier.

Before saying adieu to this lovely island, curiosity led us to the convent, in the hope of seeing the once celebrated nun - Maria Clementina. We were informed she was no longer there; but our guide directed us to inquire for a Senorita Jeanevelle, who made her appearance, and looked interesting even in her sombre attire. She was rather fat, very fair, and certainly forty, with brilliant eyes, expressing anything but a predilection for monastic life.

In purchasing some very pretty feather flowers, we embraced the opportunity to ask her if she was ever allowed to go into society. She replied, that, of late, the discipline had not been so strict; and when very unwell, they were permitted sometimes to visit their families. A sigh, which accompanied this statement, revealed more than words could express, how little after all her heart was in the seclusion of the convent.

Tuesday, May 25.- The 'Albert' and 'Wilberforce' proceeded on their voyage to Teneriffe, where we arrived on the 27th, in the evening.

There was of course a general landing as soon as the visit of the 'Health Boat' allowed communication. The various novelties in the island being of great interest, and as our time was but short, all were anxious to profit by it. We took in coals, verified again the rates of the chronometers, made magnetical observations, &c.; while those who were not engaged in the immediate duties of the ship, eagerly commenced researches in their favourite pursuits.

The town of Santa Cruz, like most of the Spanish settlements, has a very clean and regular appearance, being built in squares or quadras, the houses neatly painted with light yellow, or whitewashed, the external raised work of the verandahs being for the most part green.

The town extends in a direction from east to west, and looks well from the shipping. The landing at the Mole is sometimes attended with difficulty; and on most occasions, persons must expect to be more or less wet with the surf which eddies round the point.

The stranger no sooner puts his foot on shore, than he is surrounded by a crowd of idle striplings, who are ever officiously ready to proffer themselves as guides to the hotel, or to procure horses, &c. It is vain to select one; the crowd follows and thickens, to his great discomfiture, and amid a running fire of Spanish juvenile wit, he gladly takes shelter at the English Hotel. Here his followers congregate outside, in the hope of benefitting by a little of the spare cash, which they consider Englishmen to be so abundantly blessed with. Another annoyance is the number of beggars, chiefly aged or diseased, who, with astonishing quickness, find out the arrival of los Ingleses, and come to solicit their mite. A mere trifle satisfies, and is, in most cases, of great assistance to these unfortunates.

The people have a very healthy appearance, nor does the indifferent food of the lower orders appear to operate against them much in this respect; although it is said that the major part of the poorer classes cannot afford to live at a higher rate than a halfpenny or penny per diem. Their diet consists in a species of lupin, and fish, with some fruit in certain seasons. As to clothing, the climate enables them to consider as superfluous all but the most scanty amount of garments; and numbers of children may everywhere be seen, with no other wearing apparel than a coarse straw hat, and the tattered remains of an old shirt, so entirely a thing of shreds and patches as to require no small address to keep it together in such a manner as may indicate its original form. The holiday attire of the Campãneros is a blue or green cloth jacket, with numerous small globular buttons, a pair of velveteen inexpressibles, slashed at the side, and reaching half way down the leg; under these they generally wear a pair of coarse linen drawers, which are somewhat longer: the stockings are thick, and come over the shoe, but are without soles; sometimes boots made of goat-skins, and ornamented with red, are worn: A high-crowned hat, with a tassel or two, completes the costume. The towns-people do not differ very much from English in their style of dress, except that the poorer women wear a square light drab mantilla, edged with white, under a straw hat; and the Señoras and Señoritas one of silk, which - spread over the head, and falling down gracefully on the person - has a pretty effect, We need scarcely say that the softer sex have that peculiar and striking carriage, which is so much noticed in the mother country. The features of the people are good, especially the eyes, which are dark and lustrous.

The churches, two in number, are like most of these edifices in Catholic countries, the altars being gorgeously fitted up, nor are the usual rich decorations of Nuestra Señora forgotten.

The Iglesia de la Concepcion possesses some objects of interest to an Englishman; - the two flags taken in the unsuccessful attack made by Nelson on the town, when he lost his arm. They are placed over an altar on the left-hand side on entering the church, and have suffered greatly from the ravages of time: so much so indeed, that it is reported to be the intention of the authorities to enclose them in glass to prevent further decay. Many of our countrymen on visiting this, appear to be chagrined that the flag, which has braved a thousand years, the "battle and the breeze," should be in such hands; indeed, on two occasions, if the cicerone statements can be credited, attempts have been made to remove them clandestinely. This feeling, however, is neither liberal nor creditable, since every nation unites in the sentiment, that those emblems which have been honourably won, should be held sacred. In the present case, it only causes the good people of Santa Cruz to imagine we feel too keenly a loss which arose from precipitancy; as it is well known they were picked up on the beach, where they were left in the hurry and bustle of the re-embarkation. In the same church is a painting, asserted by the guide to be a work of Raphael. It is a gross conception of Purgatory, representing our Saviour at the upper part of the picture, and in the blood which flows from the places where he was nailed to the cross, a woman is seen besprinkling her hands; a little below, an angel is employed weighing souls in a balance, while a destroying angel stands, prepared with drawn and uplifted sword, to "commit" the sinner on his sentence.

The holy fathers occupy a conspicuous place in the lower part of the picture, being ranged on each side of the flames of Purgatory, ready, or in the act of helping the unfortunates out of the burning fire. One of them is seen tugging away at the ends of a string of beads and a crozier, which he had thrown on the neck of a little child. We also noticed that the fraternity - known by the shaven head - appeared to take the matter of passing through the ordeal, much more coolly than could have been expected from the nature of the element by which they were surrounded.

The fish-market, which is on the left-hand side of the road leading up from the Mole, appeared to be well supplied with a sort of mackerel and some species of bream, one of which is much esteemed. The former are tough and of indifferent flavour, they are called 'cavallos,' which answers to our name of horse-mackerel, but they are only one-third the size. The fish is mostly procured in the Bay during the night, and as lights are employed to allure them, the effect of the numerous flambeaux on all sides is very beautiful.

These are made of a sort of pine, containing a large quantity of resinous matter, which emits a brilliant light, and are held on the gunwale of the boat. Lines and hooks are used, and not the spear, as in most countries where such methods of alluring the fish are practised. The wood just referred to, is also most serviceable for the torches of travellers at night, and possesses this valuable quality - the heavier the rain, the brighter it burns; indeed it can scarcely be extinguished by immersion in water.

The gardens in the neighbourhood abound in good and delicious fruit; the orange, banana, and pa-paw - Papaya carina; the green fruit of the last is used medicinally, a single drop of the milky fluid, which exudes on puncturing the young fruit, being esteemed a specific for the cure of worms. When quite ripe, it is a grateful, rich fruit. The black fig is met with everywhere in the ravines, and appears to be in a wild state.

There are several convents, that of San Francisco being the largest. They are no longer what they were, the haunts of mingled charity and vice; since the decline of Don Carlos's power in the mother country, they exist only in name. The numerous monks are now let loose on society, the Government allowing them a dollar per diem; which, if paid regularly, would more than suffice for their maintenance: the state of the exchequer in Spain does not, however, admit of this, and, as a consequence, they have become a pest to the place, since even their learning and outward pretensions to religion cannot hide their depravities.

The rides and walks in the island are very fine; particularly the road to Orotava, a little mountain village about ten miles from Sta. Cruz. Some of the ravines in the immediate vicinity are also well worth a visit, the scenery being wild and striking; many of the rocks are naturally excavated. Some varieties of cactus and aloe, as well as the Euyhorbia Canariensis, are abundant; the latter is used by the natives to produce the effect of blisters, they call it Tabriba, the juice more diluted is said to be a useful remedy for obstinate ulcers, &c. The houses of the small farmers are very clean. We were induced to enter one, but even here we found the faithful dog ready to dispute our approach, until a pretty sample of the Pisanos, called out, "A'guarde perro estos son amigos, Ingleses," "Take care dog, these are friends, they are English." We met with a hospitable reception. The good folks pressed us to partake of the simple dinner, which being declined, some nice fruit was set before us. The ox is here still used for thrashing corn, which is done by driving two or more, round a circle, over the sheaves. It was gratifying to notice, that the Mosaic injunction was still observed - "Thou shall not muzzle the ox that treadeth the corn." The dromedary is much employed here in conveying heavy goods, or for long journeys. They were brought originally from Fuerta Ventura, where they are said to be numerous, and found in a wild state. Large panniers are suspended across the hump, on which the bundles are secured. They carry a great weight, are very hardy, enduring and patient. In general a few bells are suspended to the neck, causing, as the animal moves, a not unpleasant tinkling.

Corn is grown in small patches all over the mountain sides, but as these are steep, it becomes necessary to raise up thick stone parapets, and the débris falling down and filling up the interstices to a level, enables the farmer to cultivate it. The soil is naturally rich, and well it is so, for the farmer is mostly poor, and without means to expend in improving, The system is bad. A proprietor allows the tenant the use of the land, four which the latter tills, sows, and reaps the produce; and, after all, only receives one half the sum it may realise. If a dry season occur, which is too often the case, the poor farmer is ruined. The owner of the estate has no consideration. We were informed by an Englishman the case of one of his tenants, who had been rather unfortunate, yet by an advance of twelve dollars, the poor man was enabled to proceed with his labours, which remunerated all a hundred fold. Had it been a Spanish proprietor, the farmer would have been dismissed, and both parties would have suffered. Of late years the cultivation of the Cactus Cocci or Opuntia Tuna, and the Cochineal insect, have greatly superseded that of corn. The plants, indeed, are found to suit the climate, and are less precarious. The Opuntia Tuna is a species of Cactus, with broad, thick, oval leaves, very succulent, and covered with little masses of prickles, which irritate and inflame the skin where they come in contact. The plant requires three years to attain its proper size and growth. The Cochineal insect, Coccus Cacti, from which the beautiful purple dye is produced, and for whose nutrition the plant is cultivated, was originally and exclusively confined to South America. It was only introduced a few years ago into this island as a curiosity; and now it forms one of most valuable exports. The female, which alone yields the dye, is, when full grown, a small, oval insect, covered with a whitish powder. At first it is quite a microscopic object, but it gradually, though quickly enlarges, until it becomes about the size of a grain of wheat, rather rounder and thicker when it is matured, and fit to be removed.

The gathering is at two seasons of the year, June and September; the insects are then dried over a gentle heat till the juices are nearly, if not entirely dissipated. After being sprinkled with vinegar, and again dried in the sun, they are ready for exportation. Ninety full sized insects weigh forty-eight grains, and after dessication, twenty-five; this gives about twenty-seven thousand to the pound of prepared insects.

They are propagated at different seasons, as the insects happen to be matured. A few full sized females are placed in a little piece of green gauze, and fastened to the cactus by one of the prickles; in a few days, if the weather be fine, the little insects - which are viviparous - begin to come forth, each one in a very fine transparent silky looking cocoon, which it almost immediately throws off. The female soon settles, but the male being winged moves about for the necessary offices. The former appears to change the cuticle at least once if not oftener, and it is this and the remains of the cocoons which form the chief part of the powdery substance which covers them. The female never stirs from the spot where it first commences to feed. The emigration of the young insect, as mentioned in popular works, by means of the spider's web, may occasionally take place, but not often, as they mostly settle on the nearest spot, from which they have no reason to move. It is probably sometimes wafted by the soft filaments of the cocoons - in which it is embedded - to a different plant, to which these fibres then readily adhere.

Before leaving Teneriffe, we visited the Museum which has been formed with some difficulty, and contains many objects of deep interest; among these may be mentioned the skeleton of a Guancho, the extinct Aboriginal race of this and the neighbouring Islands.

Although there is reason to believe that this beautiful Archipelago was not unknown to the ancients, it is only in the middle of the fourteenth century that we begin to find any precise information relating to them. In 1341, an expedition from Portugal under the auspices of Don Alphonso IV., visited the islands, after which they were again lost sight of until the conquest of them by Bethencourt, the chronicles of which were written by his chaplains, Bontier and le Verrier, in 1402; these, and a variety of other authors of the period, or soon after the conquest, have furnished Monsieur Sabin Berthelot with materials for two very interesting papers {Mémoires de la Société Ethnologique de Paris}, from which we have taken the liberty of abstracting the following brief notice.

"These islands were, doubtless, peopled from the adjacent continent; and the Guanches or aboriginal inhabitants have left traces of resemblance. It is, therefore, presumable that they were inhabited long before our era, by people of Lybian race, who preserved until the close of the fifteenth century in their original purity, those primitive manners of which we find traces in the most remote antiquity."

All the authors who have written on the subject of the Guanches about the time of the conquest, give a romantic description of their chivalrous character; of the virtue and beauty of the women, and the great strength, courage, and agility of the men; skeletons of the latter which have been found, justify the account of their great stature. Among the skulls found in the caverns of Teneriffe, one was very remarkable for the strength of the bones, and especially for its almost gigantic dimensions, which show that it must have belonged to an athletic frame, much above the ordinary height. It bore marks of many wounds, one of these was most extraordinary, and proved the robust organisation of the individual; this was a depression - caused doubtless, by the blow of a club or stone - extending along the inferior and exterior angle of the parietal bone, immediately behind its articulation with the temporal. It was so deep that the thumb might be placed in it, notwithstanding which, it appeared that the warrior must have lived long after the cure of this fracture, as all traces of it had been effaced by the reorganization of the bone. Their extraordinary agility and address are shown by an account given by Cada Mosto, who says that he saw at Madeira, a Canarian, who engaged to place himself at eight or ten paces from three men, who should each, as well as himself, be provided with twelve oranges, which he would throw at them successively without missing one; while he would ward off with his hands all those which they should throw. No person would try the experiment, from a confidence that he would be able to perform this extraordinary feat. Galindo also says, that it was a customary exercise among them, for two men to hold a long lance as high as they could above their heads; while their companions would clear by successive bounds, three lances so held at different parallel distances. This interesting race is said to be extinct, in its purity, but their descendants are found mixed with Spanish blood; Monsieur Berthelot, says to their honour, they have more of the characteristics of the former than of the latter, in their carriage, lineaments, manners, and customs. Some few words of the ancient language are found mixed with the Castillian, and many of the proper names perpetuate the fame of their heroes. The Guanches of Teneriffe are - more than those of the other islands - distinguished by the preservation of the virtues of their ancestors; as they, also, the longest maintained their independence. {De Fuertaventura trigo, / De Lancerot cebada, / De Tenerife los hombres. / Las mujeres de Canaria.}

Some portion of the population, even to the present day, in Teneriffe is found inhabiting caverns. The shepherd still excels in throwing the stone with precision, is swift of foot, and with the assistance of a light staff leaps with great facility the most dangerous precipices.

The name Teneriffe may be derived from Tinerfe the Great, the last prince who united in his person the sole sovereignty of the island, one hundred years before the conquest; previously to which desolating event, it would appear from tradition that these islands were very populous. Viera says, that in Grand Canary there were no less than ninety thousand souls. The law did not permit polygamy, Previous to marriage, the fiancée was shut up for thirty days; during which time, she was fed on choice viands, in order that she might attain the condition of embonpoint, which would be her principal attraction in the eyes of the husband.

Friday, May 28th. - Sailed from Teneriffe. Our voyage of six days to the Cape de Verd islands was as devoid of interest as the preceding. Being in the trade wind, we went before it all the way, and arrived at Porto Grande in the island of St. Vincent on the 3rd of June, where we found Her Majesty's steamer 'Soudan' and the 'Harriot' transport, which had been here since the 22nd of May. They experienced a severe gale in the Bay of Biscay. The 'Harriot' lost some spars off deck, and part of her bulwarks. The 'Soudan,' was struck by a heavy sea on the quarter, and some of the woodwork abaft the sponson carried away; but her qualities as a sea-boat were admirable, and excited the surprise of all who saw her. During the whole of the 22nd, when many fine vessels were obliged to lay to on account of the heavy sea, she ran on with safety. One of the men was unfortunately drowned by accident on the 19th of May, soon after leaving Teneriffe.

The appearance of St. Vincent caused much disappointment. Instead of a verdant isle, rich with tropical productions, as some had been led by description to expect, it presented a succession of volcanic ridges, arid ravines, and sandy plains.

Porto Grande is, however, a noble bay, situated on the north-west side of the island, and therefore well protected from the prevalent winds - the north-east trades. It is very spacious, and from its salubrity and intermediate situation within the tropics, it was considered by Captain Trotter to be a very advantageous position for the necessary operations of thoroughly cleaning out and re-stowing the holds, and transferring to the 'Harriot' the stores, &c., for which we anticipated no further use before we reached the coast of Africa. As this involved a considerable exposure of the crews to a hot sun, it was a good preparation of their constitutions The water is scarce and bad, and the stunted brushwood quite unfit for fuel. The chronometers were again verified; magnetical observations made, and Commander W. Allen observed the declination of the magnetic needle with a new instrument - the transportable Magnetometer - which had been completed expressly for this expedition, by M. Weber, of Göttingen, the inventor.

The town consisted of about sixty dirty and uncomfortable mud huts, which are seen not far from the shore. The Governor inhabits a somewhat superior building, but in many respects, is not much better off. The people of the place - Portuguese, Creoles, and Negroes - number about five hundred. They looked healthy, though spare, which is not to be wondered at, as they are dependent during great part of the year on the Island of St. Antonio, for supplies of food, which they receive in exchange for the Lichen Orchilla, a beautiful purple die growing abundantly in the rocks, and lime, prepared by burning shells. The Governor, Capitan L. Bans, appeared to be an affable person, and anxious, so far as his means would enable him, to be civil. He is of English extraction. His very small salary is so irregularly paid, that he must at times not only have great difficulty in maintaining the dignity of his office, but be put to much personal inconvenience.

A coloured officer, who came on board in the double capacity of Master of the Port and Fort Major, amused every one by suddenly merging his official visit and capacity into that of agent to the laundress, by saying: "Me next man gubberna, me Major of de Fort, and my wife very happy to wash officer clothes."

The naturalists profited by our detention, to make longer and more fruitful excursions than they had been able to do at Madeira and Teneriffe. Dr. Vogel anticipated but little promise in the burnt-up and arid appearance of the island. He commenced his researches at the only green spot he could see, in one of the two principal valleys, descending from the central mountain region, and found there Tamarix Senegalensis, a shrub from six to seven feet high, and sometimes as a small tree. It is the only plant indeed, almost the only object in these ravines, which casts a shade.

"After a search of four hours, climbing several hills and crossing as many valleys, I only met with two plants of the same Tamarix, and a low shrubby-like Labiata (Lavendula formosa) almost dried up, with a few leaves, and some blossoms just opening. This plant was, however, found subsequently to spread over the whole island. The desert, in its most desolate parts described by travellers, cannot exhibit a more melancholy aspect than this part of St. Vincent. Yet the soil ought to be fertile; it is conglomerate of fragments of basalt of various sizes in a loamy and chalky soil, closely covered in many places with dried grass - the natural hay - furnishing a scanty fodder to cattle and goats when they have not the Tamarix to browse on. In fact, the soil only wants water; and we may guess from such remnants of vegetation, how prolific it must be, when supplied with some moisture during the brief rainy season; which according to the natives, lasts from the beginning of August to the middle of October, though even then the rain is not always abundant.

"To these plants of the plain before mentioned - if such a term may be applied - where there is little besides hill and dale - but few more were subsequently added; a small Euphorbia, perhaps prostrata or serphyllifolia, believed to be new; a few sea-shore plants, especially Zygophyllum album and simplex, and Cassia obovata, just then in blossom and fruit, and extending from the shore, about six hundred feet up the side of the mountains."

This scanty harvest below, induced the Doctor to search in the higher regions, for more botanical treasures; but even there he was but little rewarded for much exertion. "The mountain chain, bordering the western side of the principal valley, rising frequently to one thousand five hundred feet, only afforded a dozen species on the northern declivity. Two spots, however, were better furnished; that is to say, the two most elevated ridges situated towards the middle of the island. The highest of these can boast of being the best clothed with vegetation, and hence its name 'Monte Verde.' This rock of basalt, topping a gradually ascending table-land, rises according to barometrical measurement to two thousand five hundred feet; and is the only mountain on the island generally enveloped in clouds. Consequently its upper half is found to have many well watered spots, while every other part is burnt by drought.

"It is difficult to state precisely the difference between the vegetation of the lower and the upper regions. But it appeared that many plants nourishing in the mountain, did also grow in the lower country, though now dried up. As the Tamarix was of the plain, so was an Euphorbia - perhaps the only one of the island, commonly two or three feet high, but sometimes a small tree, with some twenty or thirty leaves among the blossoms at the ends of the branches - characteristic of the mountains. It gave an agreeable verdure to the clefts, it abounded in the upper valleys and reached to the very top of 'Monte Verde.' It appears to be the same found by Brunner in St. Jago, and mentioned as Euph. genestoides. ? Doctor Vogel thought it to be an undescribed species. A spreading, creeping, branching, completely leafless Asclepiadea, occurred frequently at an elevation of five hundred feet, on small flats, or hanging from rocks, sometimes with white flowers at the ends of the branches. A handsome Statice, a Companula, related to dulcis, a Labiata with red flowers, and coriaceous leaves. Lavendula, a Sida, which is probably new, with a Linaria, Borago Africana, Echium, Tribulus terrestris, Achyranthes aspera, Lotus, half a dozen Compositae, a shrubby Urtica, a flowerless Sempervivum, and a few Gramineae, and Cyperaceae, formed an agreeable spectacle in this region, such as one would hardly have expected on an apparently desert island.

"The general aspect of vegetation was very European, enhanced by Samolus Valerandi, Nasturtium officinale, and Plantago minor. ? In these situations were some cultivated plants; but they looked, at least then, very indifferent. Beans, especially lablah, maize, cucumbers, a few bananas, cotton, ricinus, and batatas, seemed to be the chief, but scarcely in sufficient quantities for the inhabitants. The bananas furnished to us, were said to come from St. Antonio. There were also a few Sycamores, and Jatropha curcas, and there are said to be some Guavas and Payayas. A creeping convolvulus was much cultivated, as the natives asserted, for the purpose of thatching.

"Of Cryptogamia this island is proportionally still poorer; four ferns, all at above four hundred feet, a few Conferva, perhaps three or four mosses on the top of 'Monte Verde,' all without fructification, and Algae on the sea-coast very sparingly. On the whole, eighty or ninety Phanerogamia were collected in flower. Of insects, chiefly flies and grasshoppers were found, few beetles."

Roscher and several of the officers, visited a thin bed of lime-stone on the south side of the bay, and which abounds in varieties of conus, buccinium, and murex. On the sea-shore this bed lies horizontally six feet above the level of the sea; but it is gradually upraised by tufa - cut through by basalt, to the height of forty feet on every side. This bed and some few volcanic cones at different points of the island, form the chief geological subjects of interest. The formation seems to be of the older lavas, traversed in all directions by basaltic dykes. The summits of the mountains are nearly all capped with basalt.

Dr. MacWilliam, senior surgeon of the expedition, and Mr. Marshall of H.M. Ship 'Soudan,' vaccinated a number of the children, thereby preserving them from a disease, which once introduced here, commits such fearful ravages; and yet nothing is done by the parent Government to introduce or continue such a simple process.

One of our officers started - attended by active guides - on a two days' zoological ramble on the mountains, in search of wild goats (Cabras bravas), &c., little anticipating the sort of ground he would have to pass in pursuing them. At first it was found to be quite impossible to follow in the footsteps of the adventurous mountaineers, who, accustomed to spend days in these wild regions, looking for stray goats, acquire great agility, sometimes jumping with the utmost sang froid from one part to another of frightful precipices; or twisting with eel-like dexterity, round overhanging rocks, where the loss of self-possession for a moment would ensure destruction. The first day was almost lost in vain endeavours to approach the animals; on the second, with great difficulty, a single but ineffectual shot was obtained. In descending the mountain, the party at one time was in a situation of great peril. To avoid passing near the edge of a very steep and dangerous precipice, our countryman had taken a rather circuitous route, where the difficulty was apparently less; unfortunately the surface over which he was walking, happened to be the débris of the surrounding rocks, and just before he had reached a point which appeared to be firm ground, the mass on all sides began to move, at first slowly, but quickly increasing in velocity downwards; the guides observed the danger, which in a few moments would have ended fatally, and with that ready tact, coolness and skill, only acquired by being much inured to such occurrences, one of them slipped down to a spot some distance below, where a rock awarded a standing place. There he awaited the coming mass, and by suddenly thrusting out his long hunting staff, enabled our friend to withdraw himself from his unpleasant predicament. In less than a minute he must have inevitably followed the masses of broken rock and débris, which sliding down, were borne over the precipice below; it was certainly not without feelings of thankfulness that he returned to the plain.

At the hut of a negro couple, who superintended the Governor's little patch of vegetables, the party were hospitably entertained. In the evening all slept in the same compartment; the black couple, children, guides and our sportsman, but neither the visits of the fleas - both strong and numerous - nor the discussion of the man and his wife, as to whether "El Senor Branco" was a Christian or a heretic, could prevent him from enjoying a refreshing sleep, interrupted only by visions of precipices, and hair-breadth escapes.

A very curious specimen of spider's nest is met with in one of the valleys near the mountains. It is found attached to a sort of Cassia, and is in the shape of a perfect cone inverted; the upper and largest part, which has a lid, being about two-thirds of an inch in diameter; it is made of a white silky tissue, externally worked up with some viscous fluid to give it firmness and resistance to water, while the inside is filled with numerous eggs placed in a quantity of brownish coloured, very fine and soft silk. When the young mygalia are hatched, they feed on each other until one of them has worked a small aperture through the top, by which the remainder escape.

Although during the day all hands had plenty of employment, at night the amusement of fishing with the seine brought out a goodly party of volunteers. The figures of the men running past the fires on the shore, and their noisy mirth, making quite a relief to the monotony of the bay. A very curious fish, called by the natives the "doctor fish" (Axinurus), abounds here, it has on each side of the tail a little lancet-shaped spine, which, when laid hold of, it raises, and unless care be used it will inflict a disagreeable wound; the colours are a very pretty brown and yellow.

Fishes of many sorts are very plentiful, especially mullet, (Mullus Barbatus, Thinnus, Choetodon), and a fine-flavoured description of rock cod, curiously marked with scarlet, and minute blue spots.

11th.- A sad accident occurred this afternoon on board the 'Wilberforce,' which threw a gloom over all her crew, James Morley, a carpenter's mate, while working over the bows of the vessel to stop a small leak where the wood joins the iron at the cutwater, fell into the sea, and after struggling for a few moments, disappeared. The boats were all away from the ship, and the only person whose swimming qualifications could have been useful, a powerful man of colour, was deterred from jumping overboard after him by the fear of sharks, which abound in the bay; some having been seen near the vessel a short time previously, which no doubt prevented others, who, though inferior performers in the water, would have ventured their lives for a kind shipmate. After some time he was dragged up and every means used to resuscitate him, but in vain. Commander W. Allen, was on board the 'Albert' at the time, and his anxiety may be conceived, when he observed the bustle on board his vessel, without knowing the cause, or being able to get on board; the 'Albert's' boats being also absent.

Poor Morley's death was deeply regretted by all on board, as he was universally esteemed for his good conduct, industry, and civility; the only attention that could mark the respect of his messmates, was paid in bearing his remains to their last resting place. Every person who could be spared of the officers and men from all the ships were present on the melancholy occasion. His younger brother, to whom he was much attached, and who had entered on board the 'Wilberforce,' to be with his only friend and protector, as his parents were dead, was among the spectators of the tragical event, and it may be imagined how intense must have been his suffering, especially on finding that not only himself, but all others were for some time deprived of the power of rendering any assistance. What added to the difficulty and delay in recovering him, was the fact that knowing the exact spot where he fell overboard, and the water in the bay being so clear that the stones at the bottom could easily be seen, every one was naturally looking for his body in the neighbourhood of that spot; whereas, he was at length found at some distance, which must be accounted for, either by a little underset of current, or that a flaw of wind had altered the position of the 'Wilberforce.'

The unfortunate youth, his brother, soon afterwards fell into such a melancholy state of mind, bordering on imbecility, that it became necessary, on our arrival at Sierra Leone, to send him to England.

While lying at this place, Captain Trotter issued general directions for the better regulation of the conduct of the officers and men, in the trying circumstances in which we might be expected to be placed, the principal object of which was, to secure if possible, the health of the crews, by preventing unnecessary exposure, &c {See Appendix}.


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