William Allen's Narrative of the 1841 Niger expedition
William Allen's Narrative of the 1841 Niger expedition

Royal Navy1841 Niger expeditionBookChapter II ◄► Chapter IV



'Soudan' dispatched from Fernando Po to the 'Albert's' assistance - Meet off the entrance to Nun River - Melancholy condition of the 'Albert's' crew - Doctor McWilliam's journal of proceeding above the Confluence - Kellebeh - Filatahs - Omeh, chief of Kakandah - Increasing sickness of the 'Albert's' crew - Gori market - Tribute exacted by the Filatahs - Native garrulity - A slave canoe captured - Price of slaves - History of a slave - Buddu - Kinami - Domestic slaves - Natives of Bushi - Ideas of a future state - Rogang, the Nufi chief - Egga - Form of the dwellings - Native fashion of painting the eyes - Religion of the Nufis - Dress - Price of a wife - Death of King Musa - Origin of the subjugation of the Nufi people - Zumozariki, an important chief - Vaccination - Captain Trotter attacked with the fever - Obliged to relinquish the further prosecution of the Expedition up the river.

On the 28th January our suspense was relieved,- the melancholy intelligence brought by the 'Buzzard' was confirmed by the arrival of the 'Albert,' bringing dispatches from Captain Trotter. By these Captain W. Allen was informed that he was to consider himself as in command of the Expedition and Acting Chief Commissioner until the return of that officer, who suggested that the beginning of July would be the earliest time for the vessels to re-enter the Niger; but, from information he had received, he thought that the end of that month would be the safest to ensure the passage up the river without detention, and therefore recommended that we should wait for instructions from the Government till the 1st of June, at Ascension.

Before however taking these points into consideration, we will bring the narration of the 'Albert's' proceedings up to her arrival at Ascension.

It will be remembered {page 25} that in consequence of the illness of Lieutenant Fishbourne, Lieutenant Strange was put in charge of the 'Soudan,' by Commander W. Allen, with orders to proceed to the Niger, and assist the 'Albert,' if necessary.

On the 9th, the 'Soudan,' having completed her stores and fuel, and with a small crew of white officers and men, sailed for the river Nun. In the passage thither, she touched at George's Bay, on the north-western side of the island.

Having but one person on board who understood the engine - a stoker from the 'Pluto' - and his knowledge being superficial, the machinery often came to a sudden stand-still, and - against a head sea and wind - the vessel made but slow progress. On the 18th there was a long delay in consequence of some derangement of the engine; however, after the loss of some hours, it was put in order, and on the morning of the 16th, the 'Soudan' was just going over the bar into the Nun, when the 'Ethiope' and 'Albert' were perceived coming out.

It was a lovely morning, and the scenery about the river looked very beautiful, affording a sad contrast to the dingy and deserted look of the 'Albert.'

Many were of course the painful surmises as to the fate of those on board. On approaching, however, the melancholy truth was soon told. The fever had been doing its direst work; several were dead, many dying, and, of all the officers, but two, Drs. McWilliam and Stanger, were able to move about. The former presented himself and waved his hand, and one emaciated figure was seen to be raised up for a second. This was Captain Trotter, who in his anxiety to look at the 'Soudan' again, had been lifted out of his cot.

A spectacle more full of painful contemplation, could scarcely have been witnessed. Slowly and portentously, like a plague-ship filled with its dead and dying, onwards she moved in charge of her generous pilot, Mr. Beecroft. Who would. have thought that little more than two mouths previously she had entered that same river with an enterprising crew, full of life, and buoyant with bright hopes of accomplishing the objects on which all had so ardently entered? If any of the few who afterwards raised the voice of censure, or called in question the enduring courage of those employed on the Expedition, had been there, it cannot be believed but that such a picture would have repressed their unfeeling expressions; and while it would have shewn them how easy it is to write "hard things" at a comfortable English fireside, it is impossible, without being absolutely engaged in the trying circumstances themselves, to estimate the character or exertions of those they criticise. The interesting journal of Dr. McWilliam, from which he has kindly given us the following abstract, will further corroborate these remarks.

Notes of Proceedings on board Her Majesty's steam-vessel 'Albert,' after departure of the 'Wilberforce,' by Dr. McWilliam.

"September 21st.- Early this morning the 'Wilberforce' steamed down the river, while we at the same time proceeded on the voyage up the Niger. Fishbourne, my messmate for six years, in various ships, having been appointed to the temporary command of the 'Soudan:' Mr. Müller, the chaplain, having for the time, exchanged duties with Mr. Schön.: and Mr. Bowden, purser, and Mr. Harvey, master, having gone on board the 'Wilberforce' sick; there remain, of those who left England, in the gun-room, only Dr. Stanger and myself. Every part of the ship, indeed, shows a sad reduction of both officers and men; but we are all full of hope, and resolved, if possible, to reach Rabbah. Above the confluence, the land becomes more rounded and undulating, and the river more winding in its course. Several small villages were seen in the forenoon. At two, P.M., we were at a village on the right bank, called " Kelebeh." The huts were circular, built of mud, and many of them completely surrounded, and damaged by the river overflowing its banks. Here two natives, one called "Ganna," and the other "Mamuda," came on board, and offered to show us where firewood was to be got, and to pilot the vessel to the higher part of the Kakandah country. Ganna stated, that he was a native of Buddu, the chief Kakandah town. He informed us, that Filatah horsemen, to the number of nine hundred, about three months since, encamped five miles inland from "Kelebeh." From their encampment, the Filatahs were constantly making predatory excursions to the neighbouring villages, from which they generally returned with captives, whom they enslaved. Some time back, the Filatahs attacked "Kelebeh" by night, burnt and destroyed many of the huts, and made numbers of the inhabitants prisoners. The inhabitants of a village inland, near which some Filatahs are at present settled, had begged to be received into Kelebeh; but the chief was obliged to refuse them protection, for fear of giving offence to his terrible enemies.

The chief of "Muye," another Kakandah town, has, of late, interceded for the poor people of the beleaguered village, and has sent a headman to Kelebeh, to beg for their reception into that village, as a personal favour.

It was at "Kelebeh" that we first lost sight of an aquatic plant, which from above twenty miles within the Nun, had been very abundant, particularly at Abòh, where the surface of the river was literally covered with it{ Pistia (Stratiotes?) "Nilus secum et interiore Africa affert, Pelusium usque: sed florentem haud in AEgypto videruit." - Sprengel, Systema, vol. iii.}.

At 5.30 P.M., we were at "Muyè." Here the natives speedily launched a canoe, with the intention of bringing off wood to us; but as we, ourselves, were anxious to cut a considerable quantity higher up the river, and it beginning to get dark, we continued onwards, and anchored in the evening off Lelem, or Lelemu, a village on the right bank.

It grieved me to see my excellent messmate and townsman, Lieutenant Stenhouse, who was slightly unwell before we left the Confluence, complaining of severe headache; Commander Bird Allen, had also suspicious symptoms. A seaman, and one of the engineers, were also added to the sick list.

"Omeh" or "Muyè" is one of the chief Kakandah towns. The town was, in former days, situated about three miles inland, but the natives, in consequence of the Filatah incursions, were obliged, for greater security, to resort to the river side. The huts are built of mud, and the roofs are neatly thatched with grass. The headman is appointed by the chief of the Kakandah country, who is styled King by his people, although subject to the Attàh of Iddah. At the death of a king, the Attàh can appoint any one he pleases, but he generally selects a Kakandah man for the office. Circumcision is performed when the children are three or four months of age. The operators on these occasions are mallams from Egga, who are paid according to the circumstances of the parents of the children. The mallams profess to teach the people; but no one seemed to know what books they used.

During the period of the Jewish ritual, sheep, goats, and fowls are slain in abundance. They declared that they never performed human sacrifices, although they admitted that the Attàh of Iddah occasionally did so.

They said the river would not rise any higher this season; and that in three months it would be quite low. Small pox and dysentery occasionally prevail in Kakandah; especially during very dry seasons. For the cure of dysentery, they prepare medicine from the root of a plant, the native name of which is Laboji. The articles sent from this place to the Gori market are, tobacco, camwood, and ivory; for these they get in exchange, cowries, rice, and salt.

The day throughout was beautiful, but extremely hot; a tornado, however, came on in the evening, with very heavy rain, which cooled the atmosphere.

September 22nd.- This morning the transparency of the atmosphere was remarkable; the most minute ridges of the mountains ("Barker's Mount," the Dolli, and the "Eildon Hills, the Jegila of the natives,) standing out in the most perfect and delicate relief. The river between Lelemu and Atchiba is nearly a mile in breadth; the distant land is high, and the flats on each side are extensive.

The flats were by the overflowing of the river in many parts cut up into numerous islets. Here and there dark clusters of trees, and sometimes even a single palm, were seen to emerge from the smooth and glassy surface of the water, with a singularly graceful effect. At one, P.M., we weighed, and passed a large village called Domeh, and several others in the course of the afternoon. At four o'clock, Captain Trotter, Dr. Stanger, Mr. Schön, and I, landed at Gori, a small island on the left bank, where a market of some note is held weekly. In the creek there were about sixty canoes of all sizes, containing goods of various kinds. Having landed with some difficulty, we were conducted by narrow winding paths between the huts, to the chief, whom we found sitting on a mat in front of his door. He begged us to seat ourselves, and informed us that Gori was an independent territory{ He here made a mistake; for on the arrival of Aduku, the Attàh's son, next day, he found it necessary to acknowledge submission to the Attàh of Iddah (Eggarah.)}, and that he ruled over four other large towns, called Arra, Akokou, Atchino, and Ogbou. He spoke with great horror of the dreaded Filatahs. In the market-place there were assembled not less than fifteen hundred people. The chief articles exposed for sale were - salt in bags made of stout matting, tobes, country cloth of various patterns, camwood in balls, hoes and shovels, calabashes beautifully carved, wooden spoons and platters, mats, straw hats with immense brims, bows and arrows, heaps of Indian corn, seeds of various kinds, twine and silk, Shea butter, yams, dried buffalo's flesh, dried fish, and kouskous. The chief told us that slaves and ivory were also sold in the market.

A blacksmith was sitting in the market-place making hoes. His bellows, although of rude and primitive construction, seemed to answer the purpose very well. This machine consisted of a large, stout leathern bag, with two wooden cylinders closed at the farther ends, attached to it. The cylinders were perforated on the sides, and fitted with clay tubes which projected into the fire, the points nearly meeting each other. A good blast was kept by the alternate elevation and depression of the upper part of the bag.

The mallam said, that every canoe bringing goods to the market pays a duty of fifty cowries for each of the crew. The same duty is demanded on each bag of salt. Slaves are brought from all the towns in the neighbourhood to the Gori market; five were sold yesterday. The niece of the King of Nufi came on board with the mallam. She was young, good-looking, and intelligent - married to a nian who is at present on a slave-purchasing expedition to Fundah, Toto, and some other places on the Tchadda.

Gori pays an annual tribute of 360,000 cowries to the Filatah king; and to the Attàh of Iddah a mere nominal tribute, being only a horse yearly. The same is paid by several other headmen of the villages in the neighbourhood. If the Attàh requires soldiers, he may levy upon the Gori people.

Mr. Fairholme and Mr. Webb, mates, were added to the sick list in the course of the day; and Commander B. Allen's symptoms were unequivocal.

September 23rd.- We were awoke before daylight by the din and chattering of the natives, who came alongside, with canoe-loads of wood. It would appear that here, each tries to vie with his fellow in the perpetual motion of the tongue. Persuasion, remonstrance, or threats produce no cessation of the noise. Palaver is the order of the day in all their transactions.

In the forenoon a large canoe came alongside belonging to Agiddi, the Chief of Muyè and Ajimba his son was in charge of it. It contained three slaves - two females, and one male; besides three horses and a load of other articles, all purchased at the market of Egga. As Muyè is in the territory of the Attàh of Iddah, the slaves, canoe, horses, &c., were condemnable, by virtue of the treaty made with the Attàh and Her Majesty's Commissioners, which prohibited the Attàh or his subjects from dealing in slaves out of his own dominions. Fortunately Aduku, the Attàh's son, who had been sent the day after the treaty was concluded (6th September) to promulgate its conditions to his father's subjects, was at this time at Gori. Captain Trotter resolved to show that the terms of the treaty were to be strictly enforced, detained the canoe, and got the slaves on deck. Aduku came on board soon afterwards, when Ajimba was subjected to a formal trial, for a violation of the law. Ajimba admitted freely that the law had been broken, but pleaded in his defence that at the time he purchased the slaves, he was not aware of its existence. Captain Trotter commented strongly upon Aduku's negligence, in not sooner having made the law known at Muyè; and assured Ajimba that it would be rigidly acted upon in future; that for the present, taking everything into consideration, he would not destroy the canoe, nor would he seize any property in it; but the slaves he would instantly make free. In token of this, the females were each habited in an English dress, and the man was rigged out in a sailor's frock and trousers. Poor creatures, their looks expressed a mixed feeling of fear, amazement, and gratitude. Kindness from their own species seemed new to them.

Ajimba said that he paid for the oldest and fattest of the two girls 40,000 cowries, and for the other woman and the young man 20,000 cowries each.

Captain Trotter gave the very appropriate names of Hannah Buxton and Elizabeth Fry to the two women, while the man was called Albert Gori,- after His Royal Highness, the consort of our beloved Queen, and Patron of the Society for the Civilization of Africa; - and as commemorative of the place where he threw off the chains of human bondage.

Shortly after dark the sorrows and troubles of the women were for awhile drowned in deep sleep. I saw then lying under the awning closely locked in each other's arms.

In the course of a day or two they became less timid, and an Aku boy (my servant, who had also been with me in H.M.S; 'Scout,') soon became a favourite with them both. They told him they made certain, when they came first on board, that we were about to kill them, for we "looked so strong." A sad illustration of the state of society in this unhappy country, where power cannot be regarded otherwise than as a means of oppression.

It appeared that the older of the two had become an object of jealousy to her husband, and that he in consequence sold her to a slave-dealer who at the time happened to be trading in their country. She said that before she saw the water (Niger) the slave-gang to which she belonged travelled wearily every day for nearly a month. They were some days on the water before they reached Egga; and during the passage parties of her unhappy companions were from time to time disposed of at villages on the banks of the river. At Egga she was exposed for sale in the market-place, where she became the property of a slave-merchant there; and shortly afterwards passed into the hands of a third master, (Ajimba,) who was conveying her to Muyè, when we fell in with the canoe. The females subsequently were left at Fernando Po, under the care of a respectable matron, and Albert Gori was apprenticed to a carpenter of the same place.

Two P.M. weighed. In the afternoon passed Buddu, a large Kakandah town on the right bank, (marked Kakanda in Captain W. Allen's chart); towards the evening anchored for the night a little way above the village Adama Dalù, on left bank. At this place Aduku left us, promising to follow us next day, as far as Egga.

Some rain fell during the early part of this day. In the afternoon and evening the weather was sultry and oppressive. Two fresh cases of fever in the course of the day.

September 24th.- Got under weigh early in the morning. A great many villages were passed, especially on the right bank; many of these were inundated and deserted, the river extending far beyond its usual limits.

We stopped for a short time to admire the singular beauty of the situation of one of the villages, which was built on an elevated bank close to the river, on the margin of a forest of palms. The natives rushed out of their huts, and looked at the vessel, at first, with amazement and doubt; but soon took courage, launched several canoes, and came alongside with goats, Guinea-fowls, calabashes, &c.

At eleven A.M. got twice aground near the right bank, but were off almost immediately.

The left bank was nearly destitute of huts, with the exception of a miserable-looking village called Bezzani, where the squalid wretchedness of the inhabitants (Nufis) corresponded with the appearance of the place. Their only habiliment was a small cloth round the middle, showing altogether a degree of poverty not observed among any other people we have fallen in with since leaving the Confluence.

At half-past three grounded near the left bank; laid a stream-anchor and hawser out, on the quarter, and hauled off in about twenty minutes.

Later in the afternoon we were off Mount Elphinstone Fleming, a table mountain with sloping sides, which, as well as the hills and undulating lower grounds near it, were wooded and beautifully green; and dotted here and there with huts, peeping through the clumps of palm-trees. The day was fine, and the atmosphere unusually clear. The character of the scenery had now, in a great measure, changed. We had no longer a dense luxuriant vegetation growing to the water's edge and overhanging the river; the banks, except in the creeks, were clearly defined, and elevated from three to six or eight feet above the river. We had emerged, as it were, from the forest to a fine open country, with extensive plains and distant hills, over which the eye could range in all directions. Between one of the mountain ranges (Terry Mountains) in the distance, and Mount Elphinstone Fleming, a fine open tract of flat land extends, to which the name of Oldfield Plains has been given.

Oldfield Plains, Niger

One of the stokers began to complain in the afternoon, and the other patients were nearly in the same state as yesterday. A heavy tornado was experienced in the evening, with relief to all after the oppressive heat of the day. Anchored in the evening near a village on the right bank called Kinami.

September 25th.- The Krumen were sent ashore to cut wood at Kinami, when they procured five boatloads. Kinami consists of seven diferent clusters of huts, built on a bank about eight feet above the river, and the inhabitants are Nufi people. The rapacious Filatahs lately paid them a visit, and took away the whole of their crop of corn. There is now a native of Kinami for sale in the market of Egga, (two hours higher up the river,) who was carried off from his home by them. A number of Kinami people have come on board during the day; among them an old woman, who came to consult me for an aggravated case of lepra. I did what I could for the poor creature, and the chief expressed his gratitude by thanking me, and sending off a jar of native beer, which was rather acid, but not otherwise disagreeable. The patients were by no means improving, and during the day the carpenter's mate, a quarter-master, the captain's steward, one of the sappers and miners, and a private marine, were added to the sick-list.

The name of the headman at "Kinami" is Atchieko. He was appointed by the Nufi king, Magia, who now resides at Sakuma, a town beyond Rabbah, and has been totally divested of power, being in fact a slave himself since the conquest of the country by the Filatahs. A tribute to the amount of 20,000 cowries is annually exacted by the Filatahs from the Kinami people. This sum, although apparently not large, they have often great difficulty in having ready for their tax-master. Robbed as they continually are of their agricultural implements, their clothes, their crops, and even their children, they are kept in a state of constant terror and poverty. A boy was lately carried off from Kinami by the Filatahs to Egga, where he was exposed in the market-place for sale. His parents, poor, miserable, and heart-broken, resolved to make an attempt to redeem their child, and sold everything they possessed. With the cowries raised in this way, the father hurried off to Egga, hoping to be able to purchase his own child. His all was not enough for his rapacious foes. "Go back," said the Filatah, "you must get more cowries." "Yes," answered the half-distracted man, " I will endeavour to get more." Upon this the Filatah said, "You had better not come here; if you do, we will sell you." The mother, who was impatiently waiting the result, on being told that her child was not, on any terms, to be ransomed, wept long and bitterly.

At Kinami, domestic slaves are sold, only in the event of their attempting to run off. Theft is punished by being flogged for the first offence, and being sold for the second. No slave-owner can legally inflict a heavier punishment upon a slave. The crime of murdering a slave is expiated by a heavy pecuniary fine; but killing any other than a slave is punished with death.

No slaves are sold at Kinami; those for sale being always sent to Egga, where a market is held every fifth day.

The condition of the domestic slave differs little from that of his master, except that for some offences, or upon a great emergency, he may be sold. The town belongs to the district called Bushi, which extends from the bank opposite Bachinku as far as Egga, and comprises about forty towns and villages, containing a population of upwards of thirty thousand. At Kinami, there are not more than a thousand inhabitants. I should say, that the number of huts in Kinami is not much short of seven or eight hundred; so that, the population may seem to be estimated as much too low. But from the disturbed state of the country, people are every day changing their place of residence, and consequently many of the huts are neglected, and become uninhabitable. The people in the Bushi district seem to be a laborious and industrious race. They weave a cloth, of good texture, purchasing the cotton from the Nufi people on the left bank, where it grows in great abundance. The value of a bag of cotton containing about twelve pounds' weight, is cowries to the value of about 6d. sterling. Rice is cultivated to a considerable extent in the Bushi district; but the unusual height of the river this season has destroyed the whole crop. The people told us, that elephants abounded in the neighbourhood, but that they did not kill many, and consequently had little or no ivory for sale. They send yams, sheep, and goats to the Egga market; and obtain salt from Dohma. The Rabbah people are said to get the salt from "Yauri," where it is brought from the interior of the Haussa country.

Mr. Schön endeavoured to find out what notions they entertained of a future state. They said a good man may "take road again;" but that a bad man never could "take road again." They could not tell where the good man would "take road to," nor did they know what became of the bad man; or if either of them came back after death. Mr. Schön asked, what they thought would happen to a man who had committed murder, but was never found out, and consequently never punished in this world. The answer was, that the murderer and murdered would meet before God, who knew all things; and that He would punish the murderer. The headman and others listened attentively to Mr. Schön, while he explained to them the leading doctrines of the Christian religion. They said, they were glad to hear that, by God's grace, some of our countrymen might be sent to them, "to teach them better things." Some of our Nufi men, who were cutting wood, told their countrymen that an English settlement had been formed at the Confluence, and assured them of the good intentions of the English towards the black men; which they heard with delight, and expressed a wish to be removed to the settlement, where they should have protection.

Sept. 26th.- The weather throughout the day has been fine and clear, but the heat terribly oppressive, the thermometer 92° Fahr. in the coolest part of the ship. Divine service was performed by Mr. Schön. Our congregation, alas! what with death, with those who had left us at the Confluence, and those lying sick around us, seemed reduced to a mere skeleton of what we had been.

In the afternoon Mr. Saunders, Second Master, was taken ill.

Sept. 27th.- Got under weigh towards the evening for a short time, chiefly with the view of removing the stagnated atmosphere of the ship, by connecting the ventilating fanner with the engine. A small quantity of chlorine was also diffused over the vessel, through the medium of the medicator, which was found to be grateful to the patients. About eight o'clock, John Fuge, an able seaman, died.

Sept. 28th.- The remains of poor Fuge were interred this morning on the right bank. Mr. Schön read the funeral service. We were shortly afterwards on our way to Egga. At eleven A.M. we were approaching the town, which lies on the right bank, near to the river. The huts seem to be densely packed together. Extensive table-mountains were seen in the distance. To the northward there were the Rennell Mountains, and the Earl Grey and Admiralty Ranges.

The only remaining engineer now began to feel the effect of the duties, which of late had pressed hard upon him, and he was laid down shortly after we anchored at Egga. Several of the patients were in a very low condition. and one of the best seamen was in a state of great danger.

Abstract of Meteorological Journal from Abò to Egga.

◄Table scrolls horizontally►
  Barom. Average Height Average of Ther. Fahr. Average of Dew Point Winds
At Abòh, Iddah, and confluence of Niger and Tchadda. 29.690 84.00 73.50 Very light, S.W. generally calm
Confluence of Niger and Tchadda to Egga. 29.570 86.60 72.00 During tornadoes, easterly

At Egga I was prevented going on shore, owing to the number of sick on board the ship; but Mr. Schön and Dr. Stanger, who were several times on shore, furnished me kindly with much information relative to the place. These gentlemen carried a message to the chief Roga, or Rogang, a Nufi by birth, but now under the rule of the Filatahs. Before they were admitted to the chief, they had to undergo the tedium of long waiting, so common among the Africans. This was rendered the less tolerable by reason of the immense crowds hemming them in, in all directions, and hardly affording breathing room. At length there appeared preparatory signs of the chief's arrival, which consisted in spreading a mat on a mud elevation about two feet from the ground, destined for his occupancy. Over the mat were thrown a leopard's skin and leathern cushions stuffed with cotton. In a short time Rogang came in and sat down. He soon pulled off his sandals and commenced scratching his toes and eating goora-nuts{ A very pleasant bitter, the seed of the "Sterculia Acuminata," thus described by Sprengel: "Foliis oblongis, acuminatis, integerrimis glabris, longe petiolatis, paniculis axillaribus, antheris 2 serialibus sessilibus fructibus, 1 Spermis." (Guinea.)}. A mat with a bolster was spread on the floor for Mr. Schön and Dr. Stanger. After the usual interchange of compliments they invited him to come on board the 'Albert.' To this he made no reply, but soon said that it was time for them to drink water with him, (meaning beer made of Guinea corn,) which was found by no means disagreeable. The chief's house seemed to differ little from those of the people, except that its compartments were less crowded and huddled together than in theirs. A stranger is seldom admitted within doors, audiences being generally held in the open air. The chief soon requested them to follow him, and they passed through a compartment, at the further end of which there was a door, bolted inside. Leading from this door there was an open space, about twelve feet long and seven wide, comfortably shaded. Here the visitors were again requested to be seated on the mat. The chief soon seated himself on another opposite to them. Only three of his people were admitted, who appeared more as servants than counsellors; they, however, occasionally threw in a word or two of remark. The old chief told the visitors that he was most desirous to see the captain; that he had heard of our coming, and was glad to know that we came not for war but for peace; but that he was deterred from going on board for fear of the Filatahs. Were he to go on board the English ship, the news would instantly fly to Rabhah, and the king then would at once say, "Oh! Rogang has joined the whites," (of whom the king stands in great fear,) and no sooner would the white people leave than he (Rogang) would suffer for his imprudence. On being told that the great object of the Expedition was to abolish the slave trade, he said, that he was aware of that, and was perfectly willing to act in favour of our views, but that he could do nothing until he saw what the king did in the affair. He plainly told them that he believed the Filatahs would not be favourable to our plans. He thought that such a grand measure could only be brought about through the instrumentality of God; and he hoped. that God's hand would be with us, and thereby the thing would be brought to pass. He acknowledged that he did not like the Filatahs, and would be glad to be relieved from their thraldom. Rogang would not show any slaves; the report of our having liberated those in Ajimba's canoe, some days before, having already reached Egga. Mr. Schön assured him that the faith had not been broken by us, but by the people of the Attàh of Iddah. Rogang, however, thought as we had already liberated Ajimba's slaves, we might do the same by others; and it was only after a full and detailed explanation of the circumstances attending the seizure of the canoe, that he was persuaded we had acted with justice. In the early part of the "palaver " there were a few Filatahs present; but none were admitted into the private yard of the chief, and those whom they saw approached not in the friendly manner of the Nufi people. They appeared more as spies, or people whose countenances indicated that they were engaged in a bad cause. Two or three Arabs were seen, who spoke Haussa very well. The colour of their skin was only a shade darker than that of the Spaniards. As the night was approaching they bade adieu to the excellent old chief, who presented them with country lamps each, very nicely made of clay, and curiously painted and ornamented.

September 29th, Wednesday.- As this was market-day at Egga, and consequently likely to afford a good opportunity of seeing the various articles brought to that city for sale, Dr. Stanger and Mr. Schön proceeded to Rogang's palace, where they had to wait for some hours, surrounded by a mob, whose incessant noise was deafening, and the pressure of the crowd, under a burning sun, insupportable. All were anxious to sell their little wares: calabashes beautifully wrought and carved, silk from Bornù, natron from the same place, country cloth, net work, Guinea corn, yams, Indian corn, sweet potatoes, dried fish, a few European articles, a piece of cotton handkerchief, beads and gun-powder, about fifteen horses, and Guinea corn pounded with shea butter.

Amongst the articles of manufacture, the country cloth deserves the first notice. Throughout the town there are not less than two hundred looms in operation. The cloth is seldom made broader than three inches, and these bands are afterwards sewed together to the required size. The bands are sometimes made sixty yards long. Of the cloth thus manufactured, tobes, and all their apparel, are made. The cloth is sometimes white, more generally blue, striped with gray and red. The dyes are indigo and camwood. Camwood is powdered in a large mortar: three women, provided with pestles, beating in regular succession. When reduced to a fine powder and mixed with clay, it is used as a dye for the body. Red seems to be, under any circumstances, considered ornamental to the person. No iron pots were seen, but earthen vessels for cooking of various sizes.

In the rambles of Dr. Stanger and Mr. Schön through the town, they observed a place roofed in, filled with people; some of them were soon discovered to be slaves, and a conversation was begun with the slave-dealer. {At the slave-market there was a large sheep for sale; its legs were remarkably long. It was from the Haussa country, and was covered with brownish sleeky hair - long, particularly about the neck, back, and feet. Head small, nose prominent, ears very pendulous.} He spoke the Haussa language, showed no reluctance to answer any question, and at once admitted that he sold slaves, but that they were not his own property, he being merely an agent. He had at this time for sale, twelve women, and three boys about seven or eight years old: all prisoners of war to the Filatahs. 40,000 cowries were asked for each of the women, and 20,000 for each of the children. He said that there were few slaves sold now, compared with former days; the demand which had been at one time so great, for the Gori and Kiri markets, having now nearly altogether ceased. He added, that it would be necessary to send all the slaves now, to Rabbah, which he considered to be the chief slave-market in the interior of Africa. Mr. Schön explained the object of our mission, and reasoned on the sinfulness of slavery, as being contrary to the law of God, and productive of great evils to themselves.

The dealer granted the force of what Mr. Schön said, and replied, that although contrary to God's law, it was in accordance with the laws of the King of Rabbah: and if the king could be persuaded to change the law, he would be very glad, and so would, he believed, the rest of the people. He also said, that neither Rogang, nor Ederissa, were in a position to enter into a treaty with England. The King of the Filatahs would treat any treaty made by them, just as he thought proper.

On returning to the chief's residence, he was much pleased to see them both, and they entered at once

into the subject of the treaty, when he at once said, that it was not in his power to engage in anything of the kind. They then asked him, whether he would send a messenger to Rabbah, with a message from the Commissioners of the Queen of England. He also refused to do this, on the ground, that the king might suppose him to be intriguing with the white people. In his opinion, if one vessel was to visit Rabbah yearly, slavery might in time be done away with.

Egga appears to be the largest town we have as yet seen on the Niger. The population is not much under 10,000. The houses are of a conical form, somewhat similar to those at Iddah. The doors are higher, and therefore render ingress and egress much more convenient. They are closely packed together and in some places there is not room for two to walk abreast, in the streets. The walls of the huts are built of clay, rendered more cohesive by having grass mixed up with it. Some of the walls are fifteen inches thick, while others do not exceed six inches. Some of the fronts of the huts are beautifully smooth, and stained with indigo. As at Iddah, there is generally an outer circular wall, between which and that of the hut, a piazza, which is the general place of resort. Besides this, it serves to keep the inner apartment cool. There is seldom more than one door to each hut; windows are a luxury not yet introduced. The town is entirely surrounded by swamps at this season, which the inhabitants say become dry in the hot season, when sickness breaks out. While we were there, the town was completely surrounded by water, and the land for miles, in all directions, was completely inundated. Dr. Stanger, on wading two miles from the main stream, (here about a mile in breadth,) was still up to his middle in water, when he reached a shea butter-tree, which he found to be not very lofty, but umbrageous. The mortality among the natives after the rains is very great. In many parts of the town the stench is horrible. The Nufi is the prevailing language, though many others are spoken, among which may be mentioned Yariba, Haussa, Filatah, Egarra and Bornù. People from these countries have joined the Filatahs, some from choice, but the greater part from coercion.

With regard to the religion of the Egga people, it seems to differ little from that of those lower down the river; the same mixture of Paganism and Mohamedism exists; but there are fewer charms and idols than in the countries below Iddah. In the mallam's house at Egga, there were several books and scraps of leaves, all well written in Arabic, but he could not read them himself. Even the few who could read them, did not understand them.

The shea butter-tree (Bassia Parkia), abounds in this neighbourhood, and the butter is extensively made. A quantity in a large earthen pot, containing about sixteen pounds, was purchased in the market for cowries to the amount of two shillings. Specimens of leaves and fruit were obtained, but no tree was seen bearing flowers {Bassia, Lin., named by Ferdinand Bassi, Curator of the Botanical Garden at Bologna. Natural order, Sapo1aceae, called Parkia, in honour of the distinguished African traveller Mungo Park, who brought specimens of the tree to England, and described it as resembling the American oak. The butter, according to M. Chevreul, consists of a small proportion of aromatic principle; 2dly, of oleine; 3dly, of stearine: this last is analogous to the stearine of mutton fat, for, in saponification, it gives stearic acid. This vegetable butter, according to the same chemist, is perfectly liquid at 120° Fahrenheit; at 100.250°, it begins to get turbid; at 95 4/5°, it exhibits a liquid portion, in which floats some brilliant crystals: the liquid part is a combination of oleine and stearine. A thermometer plunged into melted vegetable butter, falls to 80 3/4°; it afterwards ascends to 89 3/5°, when the vegetable butter becomes concrete. The vegetable butter is easily converted into soap, when heated with a solution of potass or soda; and the soaps thus obtained are analogous to those made with mutton fat, with this advantage, that they are indorous. It would therefore be a valuable article in many of our manufactures}.

Branch of the shea butter plant and nut

The Nufi people extend over a great territory, aud may comprise 100,000 people. The nation may be said to extend from the Confluence, on the left bank, beyond Rabbah. On the right bank there are also Nufi people, but they are more assimilated with the Filatahs. The Nufi people are, generally, marked in the face thus: - three elliptical gashes extending from the temple to the mouth, and one from the nose, crossing the cheek; sometimes there are more than three.

{The Nufi people have a cicatrix under each eye, while the Kakandas have three gashes on the cheek; but even these are not invariable.

The custom of painting the eye-lids of a dark blue colour with "galena" prevails here to a great extent indeed; it has been generally seen especially among the females since we left Eboe (Aboh). This fashion is alluded to in Jeremiah, ch. iv. 30th verse, the word eye being rendered face in the translation. It is also spoken of in 2nd Kings, ix. 30. It gives to the eye a calm, soft appearance. The nails are also occasionally dyed with a leaf called Henna. This is called, in Nufi, Laleh; in Arabic, "Hanna." The galena is generally contained in small leathern bottles, with rounded globular bottoms, and long narrow necks; in the stopper of the bottle a long pencil is fixed, with which the staining of the eye-lids is performed. Kohol is the Arabic name of this dye. In a note appended to Moore's Lalla Rookh, in explanation of "Kohol's jetty dye"- "None of these ladies," says Shaw, "take themselves to be completely dressed till they have tinged the hair and edges of their eyelids with the powder of lead ore." Now as this operation is performed first by dipping into the powder a small wooden bodkin of the thickness of a quill, and then drawing it afterwards through the eyelids over the ball of the eye, we shall have a lively image of what the prophet (Jer. iv. 30) may be supposed to mean, "by renting the face with painting." This practice is no doubt of great antiquity; for besides the instance already taken notice, we find that when Jezebel is said (2nd Kings, ix. 30) to have painted her face, the original words are, she adjusted her eyes with the powder of lead.}

The hair is shaved so as to leave three circular patches: one behind, one in the middle, and the other in the front. Most of the Nufi men I saw at Egga, wore the tobe: many of them were dressed with a cloth, which hung somewhat gracefully from one shoulder, after the fashion of the Roman toga. They were, in general, tall and well made: the form of the head, the countenance, the contour of figure, and the lighter shade of the colour of the skin, indicated an intermixture of the Caucasian with the Negro race.

A man may marry as many wives as he can afford to purchase. The price of a bride is 20,000 cowries, which is paid to the parents, the consent of the damsel not being at all considered necessary. The payment of the money and a grand feast ratify the compact. A man may send his wife away, but he cannot make a slave of her, or sell her. The Filatahs marry Nufi women, but never give their women in marriage to Nufi men. The Filatahs observe the law of the Koran with regard to the number of wives, never having more than four. Mr. Schon told them, that Christian people never took more than one wife: and God had so ordered it. They were surprised to hear that God had so appointed it. One man seemed particularly struck with this communication; and asked again, and again, "If God really had said so."

Saturday, October 2nd.- From what Mr. Schon could learn from mallams and others, it would appear that although there are nominally two Nufi kings, yet all matters of importance are referred to the court at Rabbah; and no chief, of whatever rank, or however high in court favour, can enter into a treaty, or act in any way, without permission from Sumozariki. The burden of his yoke seems to hang heavy on the Nufi people; and they make no secret of the prevalence of a general desire to rid themselves of the usurper. One of our interpreters, a Filatah man, found out to-day that it was generally understood that Mamagia Ederisa, the chief of Egga, and a younger brother of Sumozariki had resolved to unite their powers to remove their common oppressor. It is even said that they seriously intend to attack the town of Rabbah next month. The Yarriba people, who are now also tributary to the Filatahs, are quite ripe to join any effort to obtain their former independence.

The Filatah power has been extending for many years in Africa: they obtained possession in Nufi about twenty-three years since, on the occasion of the death of King Musa, when a dispute arose as to who should succeed him,- a case by no means uncommon at the demise of an African king. His son, Mamagia, was the first claimant of the throne, and his nephew, (son of his eldest sister,) called Jematu, also became a candidate for this honour. Mamagia called in the Filatah assistance (an unwise measure). "Jematu" was killed, but "Isa" his son, carried on the war, until ultimately, the kingdom was divided, and both divisions became a province of the King of Rabbah.

{Lander's account differs from this. He says that Ederissa and Mamagia are brothers: that Ederissa is the eldest, and is the proper claimant of the throne. In short, Ladler says that Ederissa actually succeeded his father, and was acknowledged king by the nation. Magia or Mamagia, the younger brother, rebelled, and begged the assistance of Bello, the Sultan of Sokatu, who at once reinforced Magia's rebel army by a body of soldiers. Ederissa was defeated, and obliged to leave Nufi. Magia reigned, paying Bello an annual tribute. Ederissa was again called to the throne, and was desirous of expelling the Filstahs from Nufi. Magia at once perceived his opportunity, and the Filatahs again joined him, and again defeated Ederissa, and restored Magia. Magia was again deposed; and it is probable that a Filatah ruler has been at Egga ever since.}

Ederissa, more correctly "Ezu Issa," lives at present at Barra, a town said to be about a day's journey higher up on left bank, than Egga. Mamagia dwells above Rabbah, at a place called Lakuma or Sakuma.

Sumozariki must be one of the most powerful chiefs in Central Africa. His present territory is great, and he is continually extending his power. He pays merely a nominal tribute to Bello, the reigning sultan of Sokatu {Bello, it is said, is dead, and was succeeded by his brother Atieko (?)}. His own exactions from the Nufis and Kakandas are upon a very different scale.

The proper name of Ederisa, is Isa or Issa, and Ezu signifies King in the Nufi language. The proper mode of expression is therefore Ezu Issa, the King Issa; or Ezu Mamagia, the King Mamagia. There were several mallams on board this morning; mallams so called, but they could not read or write. What ministers of religion they must be! No wonder that a moral gloom hangs over this country. Mr. Schon found, that though professing Mahometism, they knew little or nothing of its tenets, and expressed a strong desire to learn of us. They are glad to know that we are messengers of peace. They said, "when we heard that white men were coming, we were afraid of war; but since we have heard that you come for peace, we rejoice." This must be of God, for the mallam of Sokatu has sent letters to intreat all Filatah people to "sit and be quiet." The white people are saying the same thing, so "this must be of God." The women unhesitatingly brought their children on board to be vaccinated. And the mallams were not a little pleased at being taught how to perform the operation.

James Macaulay, one of the Nufi interpreters engaged at Sierra Leone, accidentally met with his sister in the streets of Egga. This man had been enslaved and sold twenty years before, when he was sent down to the coast. Her object in coming on board, was to see if Captain Trotter could intercede with the Filatahs in her behalf, as they had lately carried off two of her children to Sokatu.

The Krumen were engaged all day in cutting wood on the bank opposite to Egga.

The weather continues sultry and most oppressive during the day. A tornado in the evening was welcomed by all on board,- by the healthy as well as by the sick.

George Syme, quartermaster, was added to the number dead, in the evening. An examination of the body was hurriedly made on the sponson the following morning.

October, 3rd.- This day our hopes of penetrating further into the interior received a finishing blow. Our arduous, enterprising, and kind chief, who was complaining yesterday, has now unmistakeable symptoms of fever. Commander Bird Allen lies in a very critical state, and upwards of twenty others of our companions are completely prostrated. In short, of the whites at all fit for duty, there remain only one seaman, the serjeant, and one private of marines, John Huxley, sick attendant, John Duncan, master-at-arms, Mr. Willie, mate, Dr. Stanger, and myself. Mr. Willie, I fear, is not altogether well. How unfortunate is all this! To be arrested as it were, at the very threshold of this fine open country, where the mountain ranges - tabular, rounded, and of all forms, seen afar, rising majestically on the clear horizon, invite us with all the interest and attraction that belongs to unknown regions.

But in our present weakened condition, we are not fit to meet the contingency of getting aground, and other difficulties likely to arise, in navigating a comparatively unknown, and now falling river {Dr. Stanger found by the marks on shore that the water had fallen fourteen inches on the 29th September, and on the 5th October not less than three feet.}.

The time, therefore, seems now to have arrived when there is no reasonable prospect of our reaching Rabbah this season; and no alternative left us but to return to the sea with all possible speed.

This resolution having been taken in the morning, the anchor was weighed, and the vessel dropped down with the stream, a few miles below Egga, where we anchored in the evening.

Those only who were with Captain Trotter from first to last in the Expedition, and had an opportunity of observing with what unceasing zeal, what untiring energy he devoted himself to its grand objects, can form any idea of the painful sacrifice stern necessity compelled him to make, when he issued the order to turn the vessel's head downwards, and relinquish designs, which his benevolent mind had so long and so ardently cherished.

To say more of this excellent man on this trying occasion, might appear unseemly. Justice to my own feelings, as well as to him, tells me I ought not to say less.

Averages of Meteorological Observations taken at and below Egga, from the 1st to the 5th October;
both days included. (3 P.M.)

◄Table scrolls horizontally►
Barometer Thermometer Dry Bulb Wet Bulb Dew Point Winds
29.540 89.33 89.33 90.00 72.16 Dead calm all day. Occasional tornados during night

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