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William Loney RN - Background

Home-Loney-Background-Niger expedition-Book Chapter VI * Chapter VIII

A NARRATIVE
OF THE
EXPEDITION TO THE RIVER NIGER
.

VOLUME I, CHAPTER VII.


Messrs. B. Marshall and W. H. Webb volunteer to proceed overland to the confluence of the Niger and Chadda [modern name: Benué River]- Resting-place of the gifted L. E. L. - Inscription on the tomb - Fanti soldiers - Indolence of the natives - Dress - Marriages - Gold ornaments usually buried with females - Native method of carrying children - Ornithology - The oriole babbler - Its singular note - Fanti canoe men - Singing and paddling - Mr. Schwansey's model garden - Botany and soil - Governor M'Lean settles a dispute between two Akim chiefs - Isert, the philanthropic Botanist - Growth of coffee - Doctor Vogel's anxiety for his collection - Accra - Its superior salubrity - Gregre idols, or Fetishes - Manufacture of gold ornaments - Moral and physical condition of the people on the Gold Coast - Fanti language - Appearance of the natives - Sail from Accra - Heavy sea - Employed removing Model Farm property from the transport - Liability to mistake the Sengana for the River Nun - Rollers off the mouth of the river - Curious appearance of the "Meeting of the Waters."


[illustration: Map of the Niger]

Two officers of the Expedition, Mr. Marshall, surgeon, and Mr. Webb, mate of the 'Soudan,' actuated by zeal and the spirit of enterprise, volunteered their services to travel overland from this place - Cape Coast Castle - through Ashanti, to meet the Expedition at the upper part of the Niger. The Commissioners consulted Mr. President M'Lean on the feasibility of the project; which he at one declared to be impracticable, especially at this season of the year. There were also other very serious objections in addition to those adduced by the President, which related to the difficulty and risk of such an undertaking. In the first place, it was very questionable whether a sufficient motive had been made out. Secondly, we had only the requisite number of officers for the duties of the vessels, and especially while we were ignorant of the demand which the well-known sickliness of the climate would make on the medical officers, it would be imprudent to spare one for detached service. Thirdly, it was uncertain whether we should, in the vessels, be able to reach the "Upper Niger" - in itself a vague term; but admitting this, it would have been impossible for travellers overland through unknown countries, to arrive at any given spot on the banks of the Niger in time to meet us there. We thought the converse of this plan might have been practicable, if the strength and zeal of the officers should still prompt them to the dangerous undertaking; that is to say, in the event of our reaching Bussah or its neighbourhood, a traveller starting from thence in the dry season, might with comparative ease come through Yarriba and Ashanti to the coast. President M'Lean promised to send timely instructions to the chiefs, to ensure a safe conduct should such be attempted.

This energetic Governor entered readily in fact into all our views, and promised every assistance in his power in furtherance of them.

Captain Tucker, also, the senior officer on the coast, whom we fortunately fell in with, gave the most cordial offers of co-operation. An order from the Admiralty directed that a vessel of his squadron should be anchored off the mouth of the Rio Nun, and remain there while the Expedition should be up the river, in order to be able to render assistance in case of emergency.

The strict system of blockade which this lamented officer had already established, enabled him easily to comply with this, and he gave general instructions to the officers in his squadron to aid us on all occasions.

We were fully occupied during our stay at Cape Coast Castle in trans-shipping from the transport our stores and provisions, and the goods for the Model Farm; profiting by the fineness of the weather here - though there was much inconvenience from the heavy swell - in order that we might be detained a shorter time off the entrance to the Niger, where it might not be so favourable, and certainly would be less healthy.

In the meantime, Governor M'Lean's hospitable invitations induced all the officers who could be spared to visit the Castle, where he left nothing undone which could add to their comfort or amusement. This edifice is large, strongly built and commodious; furnished in a manner that would appear scanty to persons whose ideas of comfort require a well carpetted room, &c. But it was very suitable to a climate, where it is desirable above all things, that superfluous furniture should be discarded, in order that the aspect should conduce as much as possible to the idea of coolness.

In passing across the square within the walls, an object of deep interest presents itself in the little space containing all that was mortal of the late Mrs. M'Lean; the once well-known, amiable and accomplished L.E.L. A plain marble slab, bearing the following inscription, is placed over the spot:

Hic jacet sepultum,
Omne quod mortale fuit
LETITIAE ELIZABETHAE M'LEAN,
Quam egregia ornatam indole, Musis
Unice amatam. Omniumque amores
Secum trahentem; in ipso aetatis flore,
Mors immatura rapuit.
Die Octobris xv., mdcccxxxviii. AEtatis xxxvi.
Quod spectas viator marmor vanum
Heu doloris monumentum
Conjux maerens erexit.

[Here lies interred / all that was mortal / of Letitia Elizabeth M'Lean, adorned with a pure mind, / singularly favoured by the muses, / and dearly loved by all; / she was prematurely snatched away by death / in the flower of her age, / on the 15th of October 1836, / aged 36 years. / The marble which you behold, O traveller, / a sorrowing husband has erected; / vain emblem of his grief]

The beams of the setting sun threw a rich but subdued colouring over the place, and as we stood in sad reflection on the fate of the gifted poetess, some fine specimens of the Hirundo Senegalensis, or African swallow, fluttered gracefully about, as if to keep watch over a spot sacred indeed to the Muses; while the noise of the surf, breaking on the not distant shore, seemed to murmer a requiem over departed genius.

The troops of the garrison consisted of about eighty men, under Captain M'Lean - the brother of the Governor; who had got them into fair discipline, which we can well imagine to have been no easy matter, considering the antipathy these people have to any sort of active exercise.

Everywhere there seemed to be abundance of good fruit, Pine-apples, Plantains, Bananas, and some Oranges, as well as vegetables; labour is the only requisite to produce almost anything from the soil, which is too rich for such indolent possessors.

We observed here, as at several points along the coast, that some of the people were more or less daubed with clay; this is practised by those who are suffering from disease; being one of the principal native methods of cure for many disorders, especially head-aches and febrile attacks.

The only clothing worn by them is a waist-cloth of blue and white cotton of native manufacture, or handkerchiefs of Manchester stuff, with strings of beads round the neck, waist and ankles.

The female usually marries, or more properly enters on a state of concubinage, at fifteen, when all the gold ornaments and dresses she can muster are displayed on her person. At her decease, any of these which may actually have been her own property are buried with her; but as the body is generally interred within the hut, they are not often allowed to remain: the Fantis having less compunction than any Africans, we know, about disturbing the dead.

The women always carry their infants about with them, seated on a little pad or cushion, called a kanki, secured to the mother behind.

Some nice specimens of ornithology were procured in the neighbouring woods, one of these the Crateropus Oriolides, or Oriole babbler, possesses a varied and pleasing note, and may be ranked as the highest of African warblers. It sometimes whistles so truly like a person going through a native air, that the sportsman is often deterred from firing, under the impression that there must be a woolly-headed performer in the bush, until the anxious specimen-hunter becomes impatient and silences the little songster.

The surf on embarking was very bad, and brought into play all the experience and care of our Fanti canoe men. The canoes are of different sizes, most of them being suitable for about eight or ten persons, while others have as many as thirty or forty in their crew; they are flat-bottomed, and rise a little at each end. The passengers are placed in the bow, which is surrounded by high "weather-boards," to "fend off" the spray of the surf.

Before launching the canoe, they watch for a lull, in which they shove off; but in going through the worst part of the surf they paddle slowly, chanting a sort of solemn dirge, which is intended to propitiate their Fetiche, and ensure safety. When past all danger, they strike out in good style - if they expect to be well paid - using their broken English to sing some subject connected with the passengers, and every now and then hitting the side of the canoe with the paddle. The following is a sample: "Man o' war come again - come again - come again," repeated over and over, with an occasional "whish," during which they take a long slow stroke; then probably will come in "White man - good man, dash a dollar, dollar, dollar," "White offosher dash dollar, big white dollar," &c. They say, "Plenty money, plenty song."

The Ashantee princes, Quantamissah and John Ansah, were sent from the 'Albert' to the care of Governor M'Lean. As much expense has been incurred by friends who take an interest in the scions of African royalty, and much good ought to be anticipated from their example among the Ashantis, it is to be hoped they may justify, by their conduct, the expectations that have been formed of them.

One of the spots near Cape Coast well worth a visit is the model garden and plantation under the superintendence of Mr. Schwansey, an English merchant, who has been endeavouring for some years to introduce a better system of culture. It is called Napoleon, and is about four or five miles from the town. The road thither is somewhat tortuous and bad, but the scenery is fine. Like everything else connected with Cape Coast, it suffered much during the Ashanti wars, and no one but an enterprising and zealous man would have made an attempt to support it.

Almost every species of tropical fruit and vegetable grows well, and even the bread fruit (Artocarpus incisa) was visible, with its rich dark foliage. Some attention has also been paid to the growth of coffee, but it does not remunerate the cultivator. It seems to be a strange, but certain fact, that although the small-grained coffees of the greater part of West Africa, more especially Sierra Leone and Cape Coast, are admitted to be equal in flavour to the general descriptions of Mocha, there should be so little remunerative inducement to cultivate it. Does this proceed from the duty levied on its arrival in England? or does the difficulty of procuring continuous labour among the natives occasion it? That coffee could be made one of the best articles of export cannot be doubted; why it is not so may be better explained by those who understand the causes operating against its more general cultivation and increase in our West African settlements.

With the exception of a half-shrubby Cassia, somewhat similar to the Occidentalis or Stink-weed senna, but with a round divided fruit, there is nothing of botanical novelty near the town; nor at such a season - the conclusion of the rains - could much be expected, even in the interior. In an excursion of six miles, not one Monocotyledon was met with in flower, although many are said to be found in the dry season, of the most beautiful colours. The difference of the vegetation between this and Cape Palmas is in general very great.

Here the Leguminosae were predominant, and the Rubiceae less prevalent. The Mimosae, with their graceful characteristic foliage, which had hitherto been seen but rarely, now became conspicuous. The country was varied with hill and dale, covered with shrubs six or seven fleet high, while here and there lofty cotton trees towered on high, or the less assuming iron-wood tree, a species apparently of Siderodendron. One tree of considerable height was found to be in flower and fruit, and seemed to be a new genus allied to Crescentia; the fruit is filled with firm, solid pulp, two feet long, half a foot broad, hanging downwards, as also the flowers, by a long pedicle. There was also the magnificent Fan palm, but not abundant; and from a few stems noticed, it is probable that some sorts of Calumus are common further inland. The Poinciana pulcherrima, or Barbadoes fence flower, in full bloom, lined the road-sides, interspersed with yellow Compositae. At the west end of the town, a beautiful avenue of Hibiscus was a most interesting feature.

We had an opportunity of witnessing the arrangement of one of the numerous disputes which are referred to the Governor from all parts of the neighbouring country - of itself a sufficient proof they consider him to be impartial and wise in his administrations.

The case was explained by native interpreters to be a feud between two Akim chiefs, but in such a round-about way, that no person could make much of it, except that some one was guilty of having committed murder and outrage. Governor M'Lean here shewed his perfect estimate of the Fanti character, by punishing both. However strange it may sound to an Englishman's ears, it was at least a verdict likely to be of use to them. Similar to making each party pay his own costs in our own courts of jurisdiction, it would diminish the tendency to aggression, while both appeared to be perfectly satisfied with the decision. When the case was terminated, the disputants withdrew, amid loud plaudits at the Governor's sagacity, and beating of drums and tomtoms. Each of the chief's was carried away in a palanquin, attended by his sword-bearer, cane-bearer, tail-bearer, and many followers.

Saturday, July 31.- The 'Wilberforce' sailed this morning, from Cape Coast Castle, the 'Albert' and 'Soudan' having preceded us last night. We were ordered to tow the transport, if necessary. That vessel, however, sailed so well that she was soon out of sight: but in this case the race was not to the swift, as we arrived before her at British Accra, about noon, on the 1st of August, and she anchored in the evening. At this place, fresh provisions were procured; and some large canoes for service in the river had already been purchased by President M'Lean for the Expedition.

Dr. Vogel, the botanist, and Dr. Stanger, our geologist, made an excursion to Danish Accra, for which Governor M'Lean kindly furnished the means. They set out in two little carriages, each drawn by four negroes - here also the ordinary way for Europeans to travel. They were introduced to Mr. Dall, the Danish Governor, by Mr. Richter, a Danish merchant, and by Mr. M'Lean. "The forts here inhabited by the Europeans, are not important; they consist of a few large houses, with lofty, airy rooms, surrounded by a wall and breast-work, white-washed, and conspicuous at a great distance. This is classic ground for a botanist; for here Isert and Thonning formed the collections which have made the world acquainted with this Flora. The humane spirit of Isert, so zealously expressed in his writings on behalf of the negroes, rendered this place very interesting; the more so, as we were engaged in an enterprise aiming at the same objects which he had endeavoured to attain during the last years of his life. No authentic information could be obtained of Isert's establishments in the interior: after his decease they had gone to decay. Mr. De Kohns, who was reported to have assumed the management, and introduced the plough, and who was represented in various works to have done so much, never got here, as Mr. Richter and the Danish Governor positively declared. Since Isert's time, indeed, no one has troubled himself about these plantations; and about the year 1808 they were altogether given up. Everything is now a wilderness, and the place is not to be recognised. Flindt established about this time another plantation, on the River Volta, near the port, the main object being distillation; but this was soon dropped. About ten years back, another plantation was made at the foot of the mountain in Aguapim, named 'Frederick's gave,' and as they wished to visit it, Mr. Dall had the kindness to indulge them, though he said it was not important, and the superintendent being sick, that it would not be in a very satisfactory state. The distance is fourteen or fifteen miles: the only way of getting there is by a sort of palanquin or basket, carried by means of two poles, on the heads of two, sometimes four, negroes. Mr. Dall, by providing abundantly for all their wants, caused the cortège to amount to about sixteen persons. The direction, according to the compass, was almost exactly N. by E. They started at half-past eleven o'clock. The greatest part of the way was through Savannahs, covered with grasses and Cyperaceae, intermixed with many species of shrubby and half shrubby Leguminosae, besides many Malvaceae, though only a few species. Trees were scattered about, viz., Bombax, the genus of Cape Coast, which appears related to Crescentia, Ficus, Fan palms, Euphorbia drussifera, quite distinct on account of its naked spur-like branches, with only a few stiff leaves at the extreme points; and near the village and huts, Tamarinds and Hibiscus. Near the coast the soil is sandy, like decomposed sandstone; it now improved, and served for the culture of Indian corn, Cassava, Yams, Arachis, various sorts of Cucurbitae, and Bananas. Cocos were cultivated but little here, or in any part of Africa which we have seen. They crossed several ridges of hills, affording pleasant views over the surrounding country, covered with fresh green, and got then into the jungle, where the shrubs common on this coast grew abundantly, about a man's height, and closely interwoven with creepers. Leguminosae diminished, Rubiaceae increased, and Sarcocephalus, described by Schumacher as Cephalina esculenta, was not uncommon.

They arrived at the settlement towards six o'clock P.M., too late to see much. The house of the superintendent lies half-way up the mountain ridge, and is roomy and comfortable. Being white-washed, it is seen far off. At the foot of the mountain is a negro village and the plantation. Having passed the night comfortably, in consequence of the friendly care of Mr. Dall, and being supplied with every convenience, they were up at the dawn of day - thermometer, 73½ Fahr. The mountain is quartz rock, covered in many places - often to the thickness of several feet - with vegetable mould, overgrown, when not cultivated, with brushwood. The site of the house was at an elevation of one thousand feet. One hundred feet above it was a high Oil palm. The brushwood consisted chiefly of Rubiaceae, interwoven with Convolvuli; few in flower, and none remarkable. In the plantation were the usual edible plants of this country. The settlement consists of a coffee ground of no great extent. Governor Dall said, that about three years back, the trees had been destroyed by an insect; and they were now very small, three to four feet high, but thriving, and bearing abundantly. The soil is excellent, and rich; but the establishment looks neglected, which must be ascribed to the absence of the superintendent. Close by is another coffee ground belonging to Mr. Richter. Near these grounds is an avenue of Sour-sops, Anona muricata, and oranges; and close by, several trees, just now with ripe fruit, clearly the Akee, or Blighia sapida. These seemed to have been planted; but on looking into Schumacher's description of Guinea plants, Cupania edulis is mentioned as an indigenous tree, which is probably identical with the above."

On Dr. Vogel's return on board H.M.S. 'Wilberforce,' with his usual anxiety to advance the branch of science committed to his charge, his first duty was to shift his whole collection, especially that made during our stay at Cape Coast; but although he had taken the greatest care, he found many specimens spoiled, and almost all in a bad state.

As it is possible that some persons may have been surprised at the imperfect and unsatisfactory condition of the herbarium made by that talented and persevering botanist, we subjoin a passage from his manuscript, which will shew the difficulties in which he was placed from the unavoidable want of space an board ship; but even though surrounded by the numerous disadvantages inseparable from a position afloat, the result of his labours evidenced, that had he been spared to make a deeper research into the Flora of Western Africa, he would have left little undone.

He says, "It has been my lot with almost all my collections on this coast, that with endless labour, I could only get together ill-conditioned plants; for dampness and want of room were obstacles impossible to overcome, and they forced me at last to satisfy myself with the miserable consolation that I have done all that the circumstances would permit. {To this Captain Allen strongly bears testimony. One great cause of the lamented doctor's disappointment, was his excusable ignorance of the amount of available space in a man-of-war}. I mention this on purpose that, in case my collection should come into other hands, I may not be accused of negligence. I have sacrificed every convenience to give rooms, and spared no trouble to overcome the dampness of the ship and the atmosphere, but without success. The general arrangements of a man-of-war do not allow much chance for such experiments. When will the time arrive when expeditions, whose results must depend on the observations of naturalists, will afford them the necessary and appropriate support? At present, the vessels are fitted up for other purposes, and it is left to chance to discover a little nook for the philosopher. I was now obliged to devote the two days that we still remained at Accra to the drying of my collection, that all might not be lost."

Accrah or Accra, is the most eastern of the British factories on the Gold Coast, and as far as the eye is concerned, is the worst situated, being built on even lower ground than Cape Coast Castle; but there is less of the thick underwood which prevails near the latter, and more general attention is paid on the part of the natives, to keep the superfluous vegetation under.

The Danes have a factory (Christiansberg) at a short distance from ours, which is said to be well regulated, and business is rather on the increase. The small one belonging to the Dutch is unimportant.

Like Cape Coast, the most prominent feature is the fort, the white-washed front of which, though dilapidated, serves to shew out more strongly the flat, character of the surrounding country.

The surf here is very bad, and extends much further out than at most other places; nevertheless, it is generally possible to land at the expense of a good wetting. Some of the English houses are large, anal comfortably arranged for the climate, especially Mr. Bannerman's.

Accra has the reputation of being the most healthy point along the coast, although the statistics of our military, when they were formerly employed there, show a mortality quite incompatible with this belief, and one more in accordance with the low and insalubrious appearance of the locality. The native dwellings are much the same as at Cape Coast, but, if anything, dirtier, while their tenants are decidedly behind their neighbours in improvement. At several places Fetiche figures of pious characters were displayed; some of them pro bono publico, yet without any want of others, private or household. Most parts of the town are intersected with deep water-courses, formed during the rains, which, if not thus carried off; would form an unwholesome marsh.

The only occupation of any importance among the natives is the searching after gold, and its subsequent manufacture into various trinkets. The latter is only followed by a few whose position is more respectable. Their instruments are few and extremely rude, yet they make very beautiful chains, and finish them in a style hardly to be expected from such imperfect means. The rings are mostly plaited, of a fine cable-twisted wire, and are pretty. The chief value of the jewellery of this and the other places on the coast, arises from the purity of the gold employed, scarcely any alloy being admitted. Many of the articles sent from thence to Europe are melted down, and re-manufactured with a remunerative admixture of less valuable metals. The exports of Cape Coast and Accra are more valuable than abundant, being principally gold dust, ivory, gums, palm oil, coffee, and latterly, the ground-nut, Arachis hypogea, which, as containing an excellent oil, is much in demand. The imports are chiefly cotton goods, earthenware, muskets, knives, gun-powder, beads, aguadiente, tobacco, and such European luxuries as are required by our countrymen resident there.

All our merchants regretted the former unfortunate collisions with the Ashanti kingdom, and spoke of them as having destroyed the fair prospect which once existed of opening up the interior of Africa to our commerce, and the gradual diffusion of more enlightened views among the native Princes. At one time, the amount of British manufactures carried to Kumasi was very great, but it almost ceased with the Ashanti wars; and although said to be of late somewhat increasing, it will require a long period to re-establish the traffic, which does not now extend more than forty or fifty miles from the sea-coast.

Although Accra is under the jurisdiction of Cape Coast, and is within the Fanti country, a large part of the population is from the adjacent tribes of Agoona and Inkran, as well as from others more in the interior. Before leaving this, it is, perhaps, better to say something on the moral condition and physical characters of a people with whom in our possessions there, we have had much intercourse.

The Fantis inhabit that part of the Gold Coast included between the River Sekoom, 0° 2' west longitude, and Cape Three-points, 1° 58' west longitude. In this distance all are not pure Fantis, but such admixture has taken place, as obliges us thus to dispose of them. That all the tribes included in this portion of the coast, and thence inland to Ashanti, have had one common origin, and are probably included in one race - the Inta - appears in the numerous philological coincidences met with in examining the several dialects as far as they have yet been obtained. Even at Accra - which some suppose to have been peopled by a distinct race - perhaps the mountain negroes of Adampi - the language offers many similarities, as mentioned by Mr. De Graft. Whether this depends on the intercourse which has obtained of later years between that and other portions of the coast, remains to be proved. Mr. Bowdich states that the Ashantis have a popular belief that the As-hantis, Fantis, Was-sang, Akims, Assins, Aquambus, were included in twelve tribes or families, each having a symbol of its own, and which yet connects the scattered members of each to one another.

In general, the Fantis on the sea-coast have an appearance of height somewhat above the middle size, but which, in reality, is not so; the too frequent leanness of the body and meagreness of the extremities causing this. The joints are large and bony, as also the hands and feet, which are quite African in shape. The head is round, rather than oval, and rises to such an extent as to present much of what is styled the pyramidal form of cranium. The face is long, and the chin prognathous, or protruding forward, more than in any other race we have met with; the nose frequently flat, the lips thick, and ears large. The skin is brownish-black; in many of them dry, and inclined to be harsh; it has little gloss. The females, although not much better featured, are often in better condition, their skin softer, and their appearance generally more prepossessing than the other sex. We looked in vain to realize any of the descriptions given by Barbot of the physical characters of these people. Skin affections and country fevers are the most common diseases, with sometimes dysentery.

They are under the nominal dominion of chiefs or caboceers, of whom King Agry, at Cape Coast, is one of the most influential. Each of the diferent towns or krooms, has a pynim or chief magistrate. Since, the Ashanti wars, they have been more or less tributary to the latter, although the large annual fine or exaction, once so oppressive, no longer exists.

In all probability, the Ashantis would have exterminated them had not British influence raised up a barrier for their protection in the friendly relations established between Kumasi and the authorities at Cape Coast Castle. As before stated, Governor M'Lean has directed much attention to the improvement of those under his especial charge, as also to raise them in the estimation of their neighbours; but such is the degraded state of the people, and their antipathy to a change of their moral, social, or religious condition, that no one but an enthusiast can hope much for them.

Wednesday, August 4.- The Expedition left Accra for its final rendezvous off the mouth of the Niger. The 'Wilberforce' weighed at 8 P.M., and having the 'Soudan' in tow, we made less rapid progress than the 'Albert.' The 'Amelia' tender kept company with us.

Sunday, August 8.- In the evening, the weather being extremely bad, with squalls, a heavy sea and a great deal of rain, we were obliged to cast off the 'Soudan' to shift for herself.

Soon afterwards we struck soundings in twenty-three fathoms, and therefore stood off and on shore till day-light, when we anchored abreast of the mouth of a river; but from the excessive gloom of the weather, it was quite impossible to ascertain which of the many outlets of the Niger.

We remained at, anchor all day. The air was charged with electricity, and had a very depressing effect; while the low and dense clouds hung over the prospect like an impenetrable veil. On the following morning, we made out that we had anchored off the Rio Sengana; as it cleared up, we saw H.M.S. 'Albert' and 'Buzzard' lying about eight miles to the S.E.

Weighed and ran towards them; and in the course of the day all the Expedition assembled off the Rio Nun, by which mouth of the Niger we intended to enter.

The weather was so bad here and with such a heavy sea, especially in shallow water, that the vessels were obliged to anchor eight or nine miles from the entrance of the river. The heavy rolling very much impeded our operation of taking in our last supply of coals, stores and provisions, and even rendered it dangerous to the boats and the men employed in them. The goods, especially, belonging to the Model Farm, were difficult to remove, on account of the weight, bulk and quantity. The promoters of that auxiliary undertaking being naturally anxious to ensure its prosperity as far as depended on their exertions, had spared no expense in providing everything which could be required for its advancement. It would perhaps have been better for them, and would have caused much less delay to the Expedition if these supplies, so generously furnished, had been proportioned to the progressive wants of an infant settlement.

When the freshes came out, the line of demarcation between the river and sea-water could be distinctly traced for many miles along the shore with its tortuous line of foam, the salient points indicating the various débouchures. The colour of the fresh-water was of a loamy yellow, that of the salt-water an olive green. The contention between them was very remarkable on first coming in contact, but being specifically lighter, the mastery of the former over its huge opponent was certain and quite palpable to the eye, though the conquest seemed to require effort on the part of the aggressor; the ebullition was indeed so great that the water came in at the cabin windows, which had not occurred before, with all the heavy swell we had experienced on this coast.

At this time the current was observed to set one mile per hour towards S.W.


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