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

Royal Navy1841 Niger expeditionBookChapter V ◄► Chapter VII



Consultation of the Commissioners respecting future operations - Decide on returning to the coast - Dispatches sent to Government by Lieut. Toby - The Rev. Theodore Müller returns to England - Further remarks on Ascension - The Blowhole, or Grampus Cavern - Natural volcanic arch - Turtle - The "Wide-awake" and "Gannet Fairs" - Magnetic term-days - The 'Wilberforce' leaves Ascension for the Bight of Biafra - Discoloration of the sea by confervae - Luminosity of sea; how connected with this appearance - Phosphorescent polypi - Revisit Cape Coast - Change in the plumage of some of the birds - Accra - Mr. Bannerman's hospitality - Comparison between Fantis and Ashantis - A runaway Bornù slave - Swamped in the surf - Fernando Po - Its appearance - Clarence Cove - Edeeyahs, or natives - Their physical characters - No traditionary evidence of their origin - Native towns and villages - Moral and social condition of the inhabitants - Manners and customs - Government - Religious superstitions - Festival at the planting of the yam - Observances on decease of any of the tribe - System of betrothal - Severe punishment for adultery - Mode of fishing - Land crabs - Native method of chanting - Palm-nut gatherers - Description of a hunt with the Edeeyahs - Bota-kimmo, or chanting priest.

The information brought by the 'Albert' now demanded the gravest consideration, whether the suggestions of Captain Trotter should be acted up to, or whether the more recent reports of the attack on the settlers at the Model Farm required a modification of them, and more prompt measures. A consultation was therefore held on the 3rd February by Captain Allen and Mr. Cook,- the two remaining Commissioners,- on the steps most advisable to be taken under these circumstances. The latter gentleman strongly urged the necessity of our immediate departure for the coast, in order to ascend the Niger at once, in search of Mr. Carr, and for the relief of the settlers at the Model Farm. He was of "opinion that the river will have reached nearly the lowest in January, and as by the middle of March the quicksands which compose the greater part of its bed will become so drained and consolidated, as to throw the stream into one channel, it will be found deeper and more rapid at that time than after it begins to rise, or before it has reached its lowest."

He "thought it improbable that a river which Park describes at Sego to be 'as broad and deep as the Thames at Westminster,' and which in its course through a country more or less mountainous, of upwards of a thousand miles, must receive many large rivers as tributaries before it is joined by the Chadda, can afterwards dwindle into an insignificant stream, not having a depth of five or six feet."

Captain Allen agreed with Mr. Commissioner Cook that the additional information of this alleged attack on the model farm rendered it expedient to return to the coast with a view to enter the river as soon as possible, but he did not consider it safe to do so at the early period proposed by that gentleman; inasmuch as from his own experience of the river, the rise does not commence until the latter end of June; and he would not be justified - being the only person responsible for the safety of H.M. Vessels under his command,- in making the attempt before there was a certainty of the rising river having a channel sufficiently deep for our draft of water, or of floating the vessels off, should they unfortunately get aground.

At the same time he was of opinion that by entering the river at the end of July, we should be only twenty days in advance of last year's attempt, when we were so much straitened for time, and even should we be able to reach Rabbah, we should still remain in ignorance of the state of the river during the shallowest season, and also of the length of time it would be available for navigation. It was eventually determined that we should hasten our departure; Captain Allen reserving to himself - as naval commander of the Expedition,- the right of deciding when the ascent of the river could be undertaken with safety to Her Majesty's vessels. A further reason for not waiting at Ascension,- according to Captain Trotter's suggestion till the 1st of June - was, that it would be impossible to make the voyage to Fernando Po, and to the mouth of the river - with all the necessary preparations,- so as to be able to enter it at the beginning of July, especially as the 'Albert's' crew not being in a state of health to accompany us, it would be necessary to refit the 'Soudan,' which vessel was lying at Fernando Po. Fortunately in the 'Wilberforce' there were sufficient - with the assistance of some officers who volunteered for a renewal of the service to man both vessels {Lieutenant Ellis, who was appointed by Captain Allen to command the 'Soudan,' Lieutenant Webb, and Messrs. Sidney and Fairholme, Mates; and T. R, H. Thomson, Surgeon of 'Soudan'}. Captain Allen therefore resolved on hastening the departure for the coast of Africa, to be there guided by circumstances.

February 12th.- Dispatches were sent to the Colonial 0ffice and to the Admiralty, announcing these determinations. They were entrusted to Lieutenant Toby, of H.M.S. 'Wilberforce' whose constitution had been so shaken by the fever of the Niger, that it was necessary for him to be invalided.

The Reverend Theodore Müller also having expressed his conviction that his health would not allow him again to risk the climate of the Niger, applied for permission to go to England. He left us with three hearty cheers from the ship's company, to whom as well as to the officers, he had endeared himself by the amiability of his character, his truly christian demeanour, and the zealous but unaffected piety with which he discharged the duties of his holy calling.

Before leaving Ascension, some of the officers made excursions to several interesting localities, for although there is so little of verdant freshness wherewith to gladden and relieve the eye, the visitor will find much to admire in the fantastic forms which nature in her convulsive efforts has scattered throughout the island. Of these the Blowhole, or Grampus cavern, is well worthy of a visit. It is situated near Pyramid Point, about two miles from George Town, and as the way lies over the sharp and rugged clinkers, it can only be attained at the expense of a pair of shoes. When the rollers set in, the scene is one of terrific beauty. The swelling wave as it dashes with an awfully deep note into the cavern, compresses the air within its narrowing recesses, but the next instant a reaction takes place, its elasticity overcomes the intruder and sends it bellowing back in magnificent jets of spray.

This cavern has a small aperture through the rock above, by which the imprisoned air tries to escape, and if sand be cast into it at such a time, it is thrown up a considerable height with singular effect. Near this place there is also one of the curious arched forms which the lava must have assumed while in a state of fusion, on coming into contact with the sea. The lower parts in cooling, have formed points of support, as the fiery flood rolled on above, producing a labyrinth of low caverns, through which the sea rushes, foaming and fretting. The subject of the subjoined sketch is a light and somewhat high arch, resembling the mouldering remains of a Gothic gateway. It is about fifty feet in height and thirty in breadth {Nearly everything that can be said of this desolate-looking island has been given in the excellent description of it by Captain Brandreth, R.E.}.

The arch at Ascension

Fish are abundant, and, from January to June, the green turtle (Testudo mydas) visits the islands in great numbers for the purpose of depositing its eggs. During those months no gun is allowed to be fired, as the least noise frightens these amphibia, nor are any persons permitted to turn them except men regularly employed for the purpose. As many as fifteen hundred have been captured in one season, averaging each from two to four hundred weight, and the ponds are generally kept well stocked. It is not a little singular, that from the time of their leaving the island in the young state,- about the size of a dollar or rather larger,- they are never found there in any intermediate stage.

Ascension may be called the "home of the sea-birds," many varieties of which frequent it at all times, and in the breeding seasons occupy their respective fairs, as they are termed by the marines; thus the little colony of hack-backed sterns (Sterna fuliginosa) is called "wide-awake fair," and the more important one of the gannet goose (Pelicanus bassanus), "gannet fair." This interesting locality is about three miles from the town, on the gradual slope of a hill, where the birds have made innumerable terraces, along which they lay their eggs, two in number, merely scooping out sufficient of the sandy scoria, to prevent their rolling away.

From the multitudes which collect here, and from their white plumage, the place becomes visible at a distance. Nothing can be to all appearance more stupid than these gannets. They never attempt to escape, but sit on the eggs or young until fairly lifted off.

A regular series of magnetical observations was commenced by Captain W. Allen, assisted by Messrs. Sydney and Forster, with the horizontal force and declination needles of a transportable magnetometer, newly invented by M. Weber of Göttingen, which had just been completed in time for the sailing of the Expedition {Alluded to in chap. ii. vol. i.}. Much difficulty was experienced in setting the instrument up, but this was happily accomplished in time for the first term day after our arrival fixed by the Royal Society, and all the succeeding ones were kept until the Expedition sailed for England. A great many observations were also made with Fox's and other instruments at different positions on the island.

Thursday, March 10th.- The fresh arrangements consequent on the change of circumstances having been completed, we sailed for Cape Coast Castle at 7.30 P.M. Our comrades in the 'Albert' gave us three parting cheers, as did also a barque lying in the roads.

We were no less than ten days going from Ascension to Cape Coast Castle. The winds were at first S.E., until we had crossed the line, when they became variable, and then south-westerly. On approaching the coast, the clouds - in the form of cumuli, and sometimes assuming the threatening aspect of the "arch" - intimated the vicinity of the tornado regions. The air was charged with moisture, and the advantage of the plan of sending hot and dry air through all the compartments of the vessel, from the engine-room, was very evident.

As we passed near the supposed position of the island of St. Matthew, we felt for it with the lead, but could obtain no soundings.

The currents were against us the greater part of the distance, and we did not get into the Guinea stream till we were very near the termination of our voyage. We twice passed through large fields or patches of water, having a light brown or fawn-coloured tinge from the presence of fine particles, by our seamen popularly called "Whalesfood," but which in reality were nothing more than diminutive filamentous confervae, very similar to those observed. by Mr. C. Darwin on the eastern coast of South America. As the luminosity of the sea appeared to be much increased when these were present, we were induced to examine the water frequently and carefully, with a very powerful compound microscope. Three phosphorescent mollusca were discovered, but so minute that we were unable to decide the species. The most numerous and apparently the most important, was a tiny, circular, transparent, gelatinous mollusk, congregated in little masses or bundles, without any evident rays or feelers, but which after being shaken gently a few times, separated; each particle continuing to emit its scintillation of light on being moved. The second in frequency was a brownish disc with a circle of minute rays or feelers; the seat of luminosity apparently in the centre. The third was a series of two or more curved gelatinous tubes, partially fitting into each other, and which also separated on motion, each retaining its luminous property.

In all cases where we examined the water, it seemed to be absolutely necessary to cause a certain action in it before the luminosity was emitted. How far this may depend on a peculiar stimulus or irritability incited in these diminutive animalcules, or on the presence of phosphorescent particles in such a chemical stage as to be easily acted on by friction; it would be difficult to determine. One thing is very clear, that a certain movement is necessary, either by wind, tide, or mechanical means, to induce a luminous condition of the sea. In proof of this, we have only to instance the effect of a ship's progress through phosphorescent water; its more luminous condition during fresh breezes in hot climates; the greater quantity of light emitted by some of the larger acalephae in expanding and contracting their campanulate bodies.

On the coast of Brazil, where the sea is so frequently luminous, we have often been enabled to determine the state of the tides in calm weather, by observing the effect on the phosphorescent mollusca; their presence being scarcely perceptible when the water was quiescent, but at once evidenced by innumerable scintillations, when the tide was actively ebbing or flowing; or by putting a line overboard, when its downward course has been marked, by the luminosity, and on withdrawing it, we seldom failed to bring up some of the minute gelatinous mollusca.

Between St. Catherine's in Brazil, and the River Plate, we have frequently noticed a brownish discoloration of the water, which when placed under a microscope, was found to abound in filaments, resembling the spathae of minute gramineae. On such occasions the luminosity was almost invariably great, and we had come to the erroneous conclusion that these were indeed, phosphorescent mollusca; on examination, however, of similar appearances on the west coast of Africa, with a very powerful microscope, we found that these cylindrical bundles of fi1aments were vegetable, probably some confervae, and that the light proceeded from the minute gelatinous animalcules already mentioned as the most abundant, and which had become attached in greater or lesser quantity. Subsequent examinations made on the east coast of South America, confirmed this opinion.

Tuesday, March 20th.- In the afternoon we anchored at Cape Coast Castle; found there H.M. frigate 'Madagascar,' commanded by Captain Foote, the senior officer on the west coast of Africa. He kindly offered every assistance.

Lieutenant Fairholme, who had experienced a return of the effects of the fever, was invalided at this place. He was a great loss to the Expedition.

A magnetic term-day was kept in the castle.

The character of the foliage at Cape Coast had altered very much since our last visit, being now richer and more diversified; and the absence of rain enabled us to enjoy a few excursions into the woods: here we observed the tree-ants busily at work, preparing for the ensuing wet season, by making and mending the tortuous clay-roofed tunnels which led to their various colonies. Our interesting little friends the weaver-birds were also employed, in constructing their curious pensile nests, and some had advanced so far as to have completed and even tenanted them with unfledged broods, over which they watched with noisy twitterings. The male birds had now exchanged their rich yellow and rufous plumage for a dingy black, and looked quite out of character by the side of the richly adorned and solicitous females. These little artisans seem to have sympathy with the human species,- much like our own impudent sparrows,- for they always select such cocoa-nut or palm-trees, to suspend their woven habitations, as are surrounded by the busy haunts of man, where they form large settlements, as many as two hundred of these oddly shaped structures sometimes hanging from a single tree. The crimson nutcracker, too, had undergone a change for the worse, having lost his rich glossy crimson and brown, which was replaced by a sooty black, while the little grey-headed pyrgita, in its modest and never attractive plumage, had remained unaltered, like many other unpretending things in this life.

Some of the native women were engaged in the plantations, the dry season not being so profitable for the more favourite occupation of washing for gold. As to the men, they were as listless and lazy as ever, save the fishing portion, who being generally poorer than other classes, were now making a little harvest afloat. Whenever the surf permitted, a great number of persons were employed in canoes, or on the shore, with circular cast nets about twelve feet in diameter, which they used with much dexterity, and were amply repaid by large hauls of the bright silvery fish.

Governor M'Lean's hospitality seemed but to have received another stimulus in our second visit; the castle was open to us at all times, and nothing was left undone to conduce to our comfort and amusement. We were not a little disappointed to learn from him, that the Ashanti princes, Quantamissah and Ansah, had not fulfilled the expectations reasonably entertained by their kind friends in England.

Mr. Freeman, the enterprising and zealous Wesleyan missionary, was still here, and we rejoiced to hear that his labours had been attended with some prospect of ultimate good. He has endeavoured, with great judgment, to introduce a taste for mechanical employments among the natives, which if it progresses, will not only add to their domestic comforts, but lead to habits of industry, so much wanted at present among the men.

We were enabled to procure a suitable supply of fresh provisions and fruit. Fish too, was abundant, particularly a sort of clupaea which frequents the coast at this season.

Tuesday, March 29th.- We took leave of Captain Mc'Lean, the hospitable Governor of Cape Coast Castle, who saluted with eleven guns from the fort. In passing through the roads, most of the vessels lying there cheered us, and an American barque did us the honour to fire a salute, which we could not for various reasons return, much to our regret; but we duly appreciated this mark of national courtesy and sympathy. We arrived the following day at Accra.

Most of the officers lunched with Mr. Bannerman, a coloured merchant of very gentlemanly manners. He took Captain Allen an excursion into the country; it would be wrong to call it a drive; since the carriage was drawn by four stout negroes, who trotted away very cheerfully and with ease, at the rate of four or five miles an hour. It was an agreeable mode of locomotion, since neither whip, reins, nor attentive look-out were required, nothing, in fact, to distract the mind from the beauty of the scenery, or the agrémens of conversation, which with an intelligent and well-educated old gentleman such as Mr. Bannerman were very considerable.

It seemed at first to be a degradation of "immortal man," to be so employed, but it differs but little from the practice of drawing people about in Bath chairs in our own dear civilized England.

The country is very open,- in a state of nature near the town, except for the amusement of the Krumen, who have some gardens; but at the foot of the hills, about three miles off, it is richly cultivated.

The intervening land seems to be considerably depressed, and there is a large piece of salt water, similar to one near Cape Coast Castle, the resort of numbers of water fowl. It is an excellent sporting country; as many as five hundred deer are sometimes seen together, increasing the park-like appearance of the scenery.

We met several parties of Ashanti traders, starting off for the interior, with various articles of European produce, but principally salt, which they exchange for gold-dust and ivory. Everything is borne on the heads of slaves, a portion of whom of course belong to the commissariat department, and carry provisions for two or three days. These Ashanti traders communicate with all the nations of the interior adjoining their country, but they do not pass the frontier. Others meet them at appointed and regular markets, to interchange their commodities. It requires twelve days to reach a place called Sari, to meet those of Mallowa (query Melli), which some describe as a very large country, others say it is a general name for all the nations beyond Ashanti.

Judging from the specimens we saw of the Ashanti race, we must certainly give them the preference over the Fanti, in point of physical characteristics. They were muscular, lathy, active-looking men, of average stature, with smaller hands and feet; the eyes bright and intelligent;- in a few the hair was somewhat long, soft and glossy. We were also enabled to compare them with some of the pure Accra tribe: these latter were perhaps of better stature and development, but not better featured. Indeed, with the exception of some few whose lineaments are tolerably pleasing, they both have, in the words of Isert the Danish traveller, "commonly something apish" about the face.

We stopped to put a few questions to a runaway Bornù slave from Kumassi, who was sitting under a shed, merrily occupied in weaving a narrow cotton cloth of brilliant colours. He said, his country was very mountainous, though no names could be recognised but Wangara, of which he spoke with evident delight. It was, however, very difficult to understand him. He remembered a large fresh water lake, and one of salt water; the latter was the larger. He could give no intelligible account of the route by which he had reached Ashanti, nor of that country; but he seemed perfectly happy at having exchanged masters. This is a proof, among many others, of the great difficulty there is in making out an itinerary from the accounts of natives, who have generally been kidnapped and carried off as slaves in their youth; and consequently can hardly be supposed capable of remembering the names even of the towns they have passed through, still less can they give them seriatim, with the distance between each; especially as their journeys to the coast are sometimes extended over a period of many years.

Mr. Bannerman's house, during our visit, was beset with people offering various articles for sale; among these were skins of the beautiful Diana monkey, and others with long glossy black hair, probably the Sooty Mangabey, (Cercocebus fuliginosus). Provisions were plentiful, and at a reasonable price. We were also fortunate in meeting with some nice trinkets of native manufacture, worked in the purest gold, and displaying considerable taste. After partaking of the good things of our kind host's table, which, though cooked in native fashion, afforded proofs of an advancement in civilization, which would have delighted the philanthrophic gastro-regenerator, M. Soyer, we embarked. At this season the surf sets in very violently during the afternoon; and notwithstanding we were provided with one of Mr. Bannerman's largest canoes, containing forty pull-a-boys, we experienced much difficulty and no little danger before we got through the nearest line of breakers. In our first essay the huge canoe was swamped, on which the crew jumped out, and swam by the side until we reached the shore again, when, after baling out the water, and chanting another dirge to the presiding deities of the element, we made a second and more successful attempt. After the exercise we had on shore, the sitting in our wet clothes, kept us cold and shivering, while our pull-a-boys, who had no other covering than nature bestowed, seemed to rejoice in a soaking, and kept up a loud chorus, of which the usual prevailing subject was the white man's generosity, and his obligation to "dash dollar! big white dollar!"

In the evening we weighed, and continued our voyage along the coast. We passed the fine river Volta, seen from the mast-head flowing through a beautiful level country, not sufficiently elevated apparently, to secure it from inundation. We passed Occa and the Danish fort of Quittah, which Governor McLean said was formerly situated close to the sea. It is now apparently at a considerable distance from it. We here purchased some stock.

Friday, April 1st.- At Little Popoe we found H.M. vessels 'Rapid,' 'Termagant,' and 'Bonetta.' The Commodore in the 'Madagascar' was gone to Prince's Island. We had an opportunity of communicating with England by 'Termagant,' and by the Commander of the 'Rapid,' who was going to join the Commodore, a strong letter was written to that officer, stating the invaluable services which had been rendered to the Expedition, by Lieutenant Littlehales, in conveying the sick from the mouth of the Niger to Ascension; and the unwearied attention with which he devoted himself to their comfort on the passage.

In the evening we saw a most splendid meteor, which shot across the heavens with a brilliant light, for a distance of about twenty degrees, becoming extinct at 10° elevation. It was like a falling blue light. On the following evening also one was seen, but not so brilliant.

April 3rd.- We struck soundings in the evening near one of the mouths of the Niger, supposed to be the Rio Dodo; but as we did not obtain a latitude owing to the thickness of the weather, we cou1d hardly ascertain our exact position; it was evident that the vessel had been set into the Bight of Benin, by a northerly current, as we found also to be the case last year. We felt our way during the night along the shore of the dreaded delta by the lead. The weather was gloomy.

Monday, April 4th.- We passed the embouchures of the Niger, Sengana, and our own Rio Nun, which the sailors called the "Gate of the Cemetery."

Shark River, Fernando Po, and H.M.S.V. 'Wilberforce'

We then stood across towards Fernando Po. Unfortunately our coals ran short, so that we were reduced to sails and a light fair wind, with which we made wretchedly slow progress. When near the Boteler Rocks off the north-west part of Fernando Po, it fell calm, obliging us to consume the few remaining coals reserved for getting the vessel into the harbour. We had just enough to take us to Shark River, where an English barque belonging to Mr. Jamieson, supplied us with a ton and a half; with this timely help we succeeded in getting into Clarence Cove, Fernando Po; here we met H. M. ship 'Madagascar,' and our consort the 'Soudan.' The latter was a most deplorable object, lying alongside the jetty. The thatch with which she was covered fore and aft, to protect the goods, &c., from the rains, was in a very ruinous condition. We found Mr. Anderson, the second master, left by Captain Trotter's orders in charge of that vessel, in delicate health, having suffered much from fever. Assistant-Surgeon Stirling, who had gone on to Ascension with the sick in the 'Dolphin,' and thence to England with invalids, now rejoined us.

Captain Foote knowing Captain Allen's intentions, had very kindly commenced clearing out the 'Soudan,' he also lent us caulkers and every assistance during his short stay.

The utmost exertions were made to get both vessels ready for sea as soon as possible, it being an object with Captain Allen to make no longer stay at Fernando Po, than was absolutely necessary for this purpose; but to keep moving about as the most likely way of securing the health of the crews,- which was now very good,- as well by change of scene and excitement, as change of air. Some alarm had arisen on approaching the coast, by a few returns of fever, which seemed to verify Dr. McWilliam's opinion, that all would be attacked. However there were not many cases, and they happily soon recovered.

We gladly availed ourselves of this prolonged opportunity, to become acquainted with this interesting island of West Africa.

Fernando Po lies in the Bight of Biafra, between the parallels of 3° 12', and 3° 47' north latitude, and 8° 26' and 8° 57' east longitude. It is evidently of volcanic origin. In form an oblong square, broadest in the southern extremity; about thirty-five miles in length, and twenty-two in breadth. The land is high, and in many parts precipitous. Two principal mountain ranges intersect it, running in a direction nearly north and south, of which Clarence Peak towards the northern end, rising to a height of 11,040 feet, presents the leading feature; while a much less elevated range at the southern extreme, separates Melville Bay and Cape Badgely, terminating in a gradual slope towards North-West Bay. The appearance of the island at any view is picturesque in the extreme, being well-wooded, even towards the higher ranges; while skirting the sea-coast, may be observed numerous varieties of high and umbrageous trees, of which the graceful palm and the magnificent bombax stand forth conspicuous. The southern half is more deficient in wood, but it presents beautifully diversified features, with patches of open park-like scenery. The altitude of the mountain, commands even in the dry season, an abundance of water, which expends itself in numerous rivulets in the bays. One very essential point in the island, is the absence of swampy and marshy ground, except in some few places.

The principal settlement is in the crescentic little bay or cove of Clarence, at the northern extremity of the island, and is a better-looking place than could be anticipated, connected as it always is, in an Englishman's imagination, with the mortality which occurred in clearing it some years ago. The houses of the West African Company and the town are built on a cliff about one hundred feet above the level of the sea, - composed of tufas covering basalt; but which, according to Mr. Roscher, the mineralogist, are of three different ages and relative positions. The lowest formation is a volcanic breccia, composed of pebbles, basalt, and ashes, products of volcanic action. The dip at the point is 5° to the north-east: near the town the formation lies nearly horizontal. The second is composed of thin layers of ashes, in which are embedded conglomerates, consisting of fragments of basalt, with a compact structure dipping 15° to the south. The third formation is of an aqueous precipitate, composed of alternating beds of aluminous masses, and of fine conglomerate, dipping 20° to the south-east. The trees are well cleared for some distance, but leaving an abundance of dense brushwood, which, indeed, in such a climate, it would be quite impossible to keep under.

There is but one principal street; on each side of which the wooden houses, amounting to 180, are placed at irregular intervals. The population is between eight and nine hundred, including the Krumen. Independently of the latter, whose number varies much according to circumstances, the residents are chiefly liberated Africans from Sierra Leone. They are generally well behaved and happy, but extremely indolent. The men barter with the natives for palm-oil, while the females overlook the cultivation of the yam and such other vegetables as form their principal food, and are in demand by the few white residents and the crews of ships which occasionally touch here.

It is not a little singular that although so close to the mainland of Cameroons, only twenty-five miles off, much of the vegetation, and nearly all the birds and animals, are peculiar to the island; and the native Edeeyahs form in themselves a contradistinction to their not distant neighbours, both in their physical characters and language.

In Boteler's very interesting narrative [this is 'Narrative of a Voyage of Discovery to Africa and Arabia, Performed in His Majesty's Ships, Leven and Baracouta from 1821 to 1826, Under the Command of Capt. F.W. Owen' by Captain Thomas Boteler, R.N., 1835] of the expedition of H.M. ships 'Leven' and 'Barracouta' on the east and west coasts of Africa, he says, "Our intercourse with savages of various tribes and nations, for the last four years, has far exceeded that which generally falls to the lot of navigators, or of travellers overland, yet never did we meet with a people more savage in appearance, or more singular in their customs, than the people of Fernando Po." If that officer could have had time and proper opportunity, no doubt we should have been furnished with many particulars of their domestic and general history; and it seems truly astonishing that no subsequent visitor should have taken the trouble to inquire into the condition of this strange people, or to draw attention to the anomalous combination of barbarism and civilization which obtains among them.

Hitherto they have only been known to Europeans as the Boobies, or Bubies, and perhaps satisfied with the belief that this name must have arisen from something connected with their mental condition, too many visitors of the island have passed over unheeded, or with a few casual remarks, this most singular people.

The proper title of this race is Edeeyah, how or whence derived we know not. The first impression on beholding the Edeeyah in his native woods is certainly anything but favourable, and makes one feel rather anxious to avoid communication. The face is cut and disfigured with transverse stripes, which, to come up to their standard of beauty, ought to be as much raised and corrugated as possible, which is only attained by a tedious process in cicatrizing the wounds. The hair is done up into a number of little knobs with red clay and palm-oil, or drawn down behind and plastered with an immense mass of earth, weighing four or five pounds, and secured with grass-thread. The body is painted, or rather daubed, rudely over with yellow or red clay, so as often to give the most frightful and savage look. No European vesture or scanty cloth conceals any of his nakedness; perhaps a few dried leaves, some fibres of palm-branch, in front, offer an apology for more necessary coverings: but his ignorance of civilized requirements prevents his feeling any constraint in the presence of a white man. Most of them wear flat circular grass hats; others in shape not unlike a small bee-hive, and decorated with the feathers of the green parrot or magnificent blue plantain-eater, together with bones of snakes, monkeys, dogs, &c., &c.; but if a chief, a priest, or buyeh-rupi, the all-potent amulet of a goat's head stands forth as the frontispiece. The flat hats are secured to the hair by a wooden skewer.

On meeting a stranger it is usual with them to advance with a sort of dancing motion, the long wooden spear raised on high, as if to be brought into immediate use, conveying anything but a comfortable feeling to the mind of the spectator, who cannot on a first occasion divest himself of the belief that the wild ballet is the precursor to a tragedy. No sooner, however, is the spear depressed, and the word "Bubi - friend," pronounced in a gentle tone, than the barbarian offers his hand with looks truly expressive of the salutation, "I am your friend;" and a further acquaintance with the native character, their singular laws, and social system, removes all prejudice, and raises him high in estimation.

In physical conformation the Edeeyah people are for the most part well made and muscular, with an average height of five feet six inches, deduced from actual measurements. The lower extremities are particularly powerful and largely developed; this probably gives rise to the appearance as if the body were unnaturally long, and the legs from the pelvis downwards shortened; the continual exercise on foot, as well as the habit of sitting in their huts with the knees drawn up to the chin, must tend to produce this unusual increase. The hands and feet, especially of the females, are smaller than in any African race we have seen.

The face of the Edeeyah is more inclined to be round, the cheek-bones not so high, the nose less expanded, the lips thinner, and mouth better formed, than in their continental neighbours. The skin, too, is not so black, it is rather of an olive or brown shade; the hair is silky rather than woolly; the countenance is open, good natured, agreeable, and the eye expresses intelligence.

How or when they first settled in this island is not known, since we could not discover that they have any traditionary history, or record of past events. The curious laws, and some parts of their religion, certainly lead to the presumption of their having had connexion at a remote period with a civilized people.

As far as the language is concerned we have but little assistance, since it bears so few and slight affinities with any of those at present known of Western Africa, as shown in the appendix on this subject by Dr. J.C. [sic, should be R.G.] Latham. What is more strange, is the fact, according to good authority, that two, if not more, different languages are spoken on this small island; thus in Ban-na-pa, Bassi-pu, Bas-sil-1i, Re-bol-la, Barrio-ba-ta, Bas-sa-bu, Bu-u-tonos, Tu-pul-la-pal-la, that spoken is the Edeeyah of Vocabulary No. I. At West Bay, Bi-illi-pa, Ba-rio-bi, there is another distinct one, while at a town, name unknown, on the south-east side, a peculiar dialect obtains, so unintelligible to those near Clarence Cove, that while bartering, with such as visit them to purchase the earthen pots and jars made there, the traffic is carried on altogether by signs.

It is impossible to speak too highly of the disposition and character of this singular race; and had we not ample opportunities of becoming acquainted with them we should hesitate to repeat the statements made by persons who have lived much among them. They are most generous and hospitable to strangers in their own rude way; and wherever we visited them, they proffered us a share of whatever food they were eating. Humane and kindly disposed to each other in their respective communities, both in sickness and health; willing to assist each other in difficulties; brave, yet forbearing, and reluctant to spill the blood even of an enemy, their battles are not attended with cruelties, their religious rituals untainted by human blood; in this affording a notable difference over many other Africans, where man is made by his fellows the grand victim in conciliating the Juju or Fetiche. Murder is unknown among them, so much so, that one of their chiefs received the cognomen of "cut-throat," for an attempt made on one of his subjects whom he discovered stealing from a vessel of war's boat in 1825; and which affords also an instance of their antipathy to theft. In fact, we have seen them exposed to such temptations as few Africans could resist, and yet not betray the confidence placed in them.

Neither foreign or domestic slavery is tolerated; indeed, a spirit of freedom and independence is discernible in their looks. The Spaniards were driven off the island during the latter part of the last century, for endeavouring to entrap the people and carry on the slave-trade.

The females are here treated with greater consideration, and have less of the hard labour which is assumed to their sex throughout all other parts of the West Coast. Their principal duties are cooking food, preparing the palm-oil, and transporting it to market; or if the husband is engaged in any occupation away from his village, one or more wives accompany him to carry his food and palm-wine. They seem to be very gentle and feminine in their manner, and. much attached to their husbands and children.

There are about fifteen towns and villages situated at different points of the island, but none of them are built at a greater elevation than 3,000 feet above the level of the sea. The dwellings in many of them are most primitive and uncomfortable, being simply a piece of coarse matting extended over four upright posts, just large enough to screen the tenants from the dew, and occasionally rain, but open to all the winds of heaven; a pillow formed out of a block of palm-tree, or sometimes a stick about four feet long, is supported at an elevation of about six inches, by two forked sticks put in the ground; the advantage of which singular pillow is, that a loving couple can each put the arm round the other's neck, by passing it under the stick, as was shewn us by two young girls; this, and a small earthen pot to boil yams in, being the only articles of furniture either useful or ornamental found among them. The more influential persons have their domiciles of wattled palm-leaf, some even plastered with mud, particularly at Bannapa and Bassa-pu, which, being at no great distance from our settlement at Clarence Cove, have probably been imitated from those of the settlers. When we remember the variable climate of Fernando Po, it seems truly astonishing that anything human could exist under the miserable circumstances in which so many of them are placed; and yet they not only enjoy good health, but are robust. Cutaneous affections are the most common, especially a bad variety of the African psora, also dracunculus or Guinea worm; fevers occur most frequently at the commencement of the rainy season, but are not often fatal. Small-pox, that great enemy of mankind, especially the black portion, sometimes makes its appearance among them, carrying off immense numbers; nor has much been done to introduce the process of vaccination among these hardy islanders.

[illustration: Edeeyah Huts, Fernando Po]

At the entrance of their towns and villages, there is a hut for holding the palavers or councils of each community; there is also one for the secret ceremonies of the buyeh-rupi or priest, and an elevated mound of earth, from which he utters his incantations, while the people walk round in procession. Of the number of inhabitants we can only hazard a surmise, since no authentic accounts could be procured on the subject from the natives themselves. Judging, however, from the known harems of some of the chiefs, as also the population of some of the smaller towns near Clarence, there must be at least from fifteen to twenty thousand persons scattered over the island. This agrees very much with what we learned from a liberated African, who had been at nearly all the towns. In such of them as are settled near the coast, there are three divisions of labour - hunting, palm-nut and wine gathering, and fishing; the yam planting being common work for all the tribe.

Each town and village has a chief, or Eri-co-co-no, whose authority depends on the number of his subjects, paying merely a nominal deference to each other according to that standard.

The religion of this strange people is paganism, while at the same time they believe in, and worship as the supreme object of their adoration, an unknown Great Spirit, whom they call Rupi, and whom they assert to be the Almighty Ruler of the world. The intermediate idols are called the Mohs; there are two officiating priests to each tribe; the chief priest who chants at the great religious festivals, or Bota-kim-o; the other is the gods'-man, or Buyeh-rupi. These parties possess unlimited confidence; whether in health or sickness, peace or war, their councils prevail over all others; and whenever disputes occur, the issues depend more on their influence than that of the head men or chiefs, to whom civil matters are referred.

The Moha or idols are rude wooden or earthen figures, mostly under the charge of priests, who offer to them such portions of cooked venison, fowls,- if white, so much the better,- ground rat, and palm wine or topi, as the people bestow on their objects of worship.

The Edeeyah always spits out the first mouthful of whatever he is drinking, for the use of the Mobs. Every one carries about the person sundry charms or amulets, supposed to protect from evil. Many of these are very curious, and may, in connexion with other circumstances, tend to throw some light on the early source of their religion. Some of the most valued of these are goats' heads; the fat of sheep or goats enclosed in a piece of intestine, and fastened round the neck; the skin of a small species of wild cat, the Genetta Richardsonii, which being scarce and difficult to procure, is so much prized, that scarcely anything will induce them to part with one; the specimen of this animal we sent to the British Museum, was skinned in the most dexterous manner from the mouth. It was only obtained by accident: the man in whose possession it was, being intoxicated, was persuaded to part with it for a quantity of tobacco, which would have purchased half-a-puncheon of palm oil. Another very singular amulet we also got hold of with difficulty; it was round the neck of a fisherman, and probably represented the uncertainty of life in his occupation, and dependence on the Mohs. It was a small model canoe, having inside of it some minute bones covered with clay; it was suspended from the neck, and had connected with it some heads of dogs and monkeys, as also goat's fat in pieces of intestine. {In another chapter we have drawn attention to many remarkable coincidences existing between the religious observances of the different tribes of Western Africa and the Ancient Egyptians.}

The principal religious festival of the year is just before the planting of the yam, at which season each

village makes up a large hunting party, for the purpose of capturing deer, monkeys, ground rats, and buffaloes; the latter are reported to be wild, scarce, and only procurable at a considerable elevation; they call it Bush beef, or En-co-pu; the colour of skin is said to be mostly black above, and white beneath.

All the products of the chase are devoted to this feast or offering to the - alas! awful truth - unknown God, Rupi; portions of the meat are first presented to this great spirit, through the mediation of the Mohs, or idols, after which the assembled multitude, partake to repletion of the animal food, combining with it abundant libations of palm-wine, or topi. They believe by this, the deities are conciliated and a good yam season ensured.

On the death of any member of a tribe, lamentation is made for seven suns, or one week. The body of the deceased is first shaved, then covered all over with white clay, and buried the day of his demise. A hole is dug, just large enough to receive the body placed on the side, with the legs doubled up in a sitting posture; and the head laid towards the high mountain called Clarence Peak.

The whole term of mourning is a month, or twenty-eight suns, during which the relatives assemble together in one place, where they eat and drink, but as they then use the topi in a more fermented state, or spirituous liquors if they can be obtained; it is generally rather a season of quiet rejoicing than of sorrowing. At the end of the month, four of the sons, if the party may have had such family, otherwise, the four nearest male relatives, are obliged to go out hunting for the ground pig, a large description of Echimyna - the Aulacodus Poensis,- a favourite food of the Edeeyahs, which when cooked, is partaken of by those only who were engaged in the hunt; after which some of it with yam and palm-wine, are placed over the grave for the supposed use of the dead.

One of the most unfortunate accidents that can happen, in their opinion, is to touch the foot of a deceased person; they say it is certain to be followed by the death of the unlucky individual, and perhaps under the continued influence of religious fear, brought on by such an occurrence, it may be indeed realized. All their rude ornaments are buried with them.

The money, a sort of small limpet, (Patella,) with a hole drilled through it, and made up into strings, as also the yams or other property, is divided equally among the children, if there are any, if not, among the nearest relatives.

They believe in the immortality of the souls of the good, and that evil spirits can afflict them both here and hereafter, so that one great province of the priest or Buyeh-rupi, is to grant charms which may have the power of keeping away this dreaded influence {Moh-walla-bi is the expression both for devils and their hell or bad place}.

The system of betrothal observed among Eastern nations here obtains in the case of the first wife. It must continue at least for two years, during which time the aspirant to Edeeyah beauty is obliged to perform such labour as would otherwise fall to the lot of his intended wife; carrying the palm-oil to the market, water for household purposes, planting yams, &c., thus realizing in part, Jacob's servitude for his loved Rachel, "And they seemed but a few days, for the love he had to her." The girl is kept in a hut, concealed from public gaze as much as possible. The courtship or betrothal commences usually at thirteen or fourteen years of age, but connexion is not permitted until the conclusion of the two years, and should frail nature yield before the specified time, the offence is treated as seduction, the youth severely punished, as well as heavy fines exacted from his relatives; indeed to seduce an Edeeyah is one of the greatest crimes against their social system.

The period of betrothal having expired, the girl is still further detained in the hut until there are unequivocal symptoms of her becoming a parent, which failing, the term is prolonged until eighteen months. On her first appearance in public as a married woman, she is surrounded by all the young maidens of the tribe, who dance and sing round her, and a feast is held by the friends and relatives. The probationary system of betrothal is only observed for the first wife, who keeps all the others in order, polygamy being universally permitted; the number of wives here as elsewhere in Africa depending very much on the circumstances of the party. Some of the chiefs have upwards of one hundred wives and concubines. Bulloko, the so-called King of Bario-batah, a town seven or eight miles from Clarence, is said to have upwards of two hundred. Females are evidently, from whatever cause, more numerous than the other sex.

Adultery is considered to be one of the most serious offences, as the penalty indicates; for the first transgression both parties are punished with the loss of a hand; in the case of a man, however, he cannot forfeit the other hand, the punishment for a repetition of the offence, being severe chastisement and heavy fines extended even to the property of the relatives. The woman loses the remaining hand for a second act of adultery, and banishment from the tribe. These unfortunate creatures take refuge with the Krumen at Clarence, but they always feel deeply the exclusion from their native town, regarding it as a far greater loss than the deprivation of their hands. The amputation is performed with a common knife and is done at the wrist joint; after the operation, a strong vegetable astringent is applied, which is said to restrain the hemorrhage perfectly. Clay is put over all, and the arm held upright by a relay of friends. The body is well covered over with clay and palm-oil to keep the patient as warm as possible. We examined some of the stumps of these unhappy offenders against the Edeeyah moral code, and they seemed to have been as well done, as if under the care of an accomplished English surgeon.

In their military arrangements they are no less sagacious and prudent than in their civil governance. Every one above the age of fifteen is liable to take part in their wars. They are all exercised with a precision which astonishes a European. Forming into sections, and marching in regular order, armed with long wooden spears, slings, and a few with muskets; the Buyeh-rupi and Bota Kim-o, or chanting-priest, often taking the lead, and apparently directing in a sort of singing tone, the evolutions to be performed. The wars usually result from some aggressions, perhaps trifling,. between certain towns, mostly those at a distance; but they almost always end without loss of life. Perhaps a few may receive painful spear wounds - the kind-heated Edeeyah being reluctant to take a fellow creature's life - and then they come to an amicable arrangement.

They are remarkably expert in the management of the spear and sling, and scarcely any animal, however small, can escape them at a moderate distance.

Such as have fire-arms are very proud of them, and soon become first-rate shots, using them principally against monkeys and the large antelope or golden roode bok. They station themselves near brooks or certain trees where these animals are likely to come, and imitate so faithfully the several cries, that these cautious inhabitants of the forest are enticed to within a few paces of the spot where the sportsman stands prepared to salute them with the deadly discharge; for it is a rule among them,- powder and shot being both so scarce,- never to fire unless they are quite certain of securing the object.

The usual occupations of the people are hunting, fishing, and procuring the palm-nut, each of which is followed by separate persons in the town or village; but during the time of planting the yam, all are very industriously employed. This takes place before the conclusion of the rains in November, and as the underwood grows so rapidly, it is a work of labour to get the grounds properly cleared. The yam and corn plantations are kept in excellent order, and the twining foliage of the former being supported on upright canes, gives something the appearance of a hop-field in the commencement of the season. The yams of Fernando Po are justly considered the finest in the world, being very farinaceous, and when well cooked, mealy like good potatoes.

The natives have several methods of catching fish, which abound all round the island.

One of the most plentiful is a species of clupaea, resembling in size and appearance our English sprat, these they obtain with the seine; but their favourite sport is trolling for bonettas, which are here large and well-flavoured.

These fish usually frequent the bays morning and evening, to procure a meal off the tiny clupaea; this, therefore, is used alive as the bait, one person in each canoe being employed with a small line and hook to take these lesser fry, while the others stand up and with a long cane and line keep the tempting prey flickering about on the surface of the water, where it soon attracts the hungry bonetta, who in his turn falls into the trap of the wary fisherman. It is an exciting recreation, and some of the officers were very fond of it, especially as enabling them to indulge in a luxury which though so plentiful, is difficult to be obtained; what the Edeeyahs do not require for their own tribe can only be purchased by tobacco, and they would very often refuse half a dollar for a fish which five or six leaves of the favourite weed would have procured.

The canoes are long, rather flat-bottomed; sharp-pointed forward, but square aft, where the steersman sits; he is usually a person of some importance, and has the hair done up behind into a mass of red clay, so large and weighty that it is impossible to look at him in the frail bark, without feeling that the least motion in a wrong direction would overturn him, and down he would go like a stone; swimming being an art almost unknown among them. The sail is made of grass fibre. On the top of the light cane used as a mast, there is always suspended a bunch of grass enclosing some charm against danger and bad luck.

Land crabs are very common round the edges of the bays, and form at certain seasons a large and much relished portion of the food of those who live near the sea. These active little crustaceae scarcely move out of their holes in the dry sand, during the daytime, but at night they run about on the beach in immense numbers; the natives then sally out with torches of resinous wood, the light of which allures them, and they are easily taken. One evening, while at West Bay, the shore looked as if illuminated, by the number of flambeaux which flitted about in all directions.

One strange peculiarity in the Edeeyah tribes, is the inclination they feel to work, hunt, or dance, in unison; thus, whenever it is necessary to get them to labour, all the males of the village or town must be employed; in this way an immense deal is accomplished in a few days. Mr. Scott, a coloured person, who generally superintended their operations at Clarence, informed us, they could move the largest trees, and transport them, without difficulty, merely by the habit they have acquired of using their strength together; so that when the same number of other negroes would be pulling away one against another, without much effect,- the Edeeyahs are enabled to carry enormous weights. They are, however, very uncertain and capricious, seldom continuing many days consecutively at any work; and should the Buyeh-rupi take it into his head that the Mohs or idols are unpropitious, the whole tribe would walk off without further notice; but while engaged, they get through a great deal of work, either in clearing the ground or removing timber. Each man has with him his favourite wife, who carries his food for the day; and they all come armed as if for a fight, instead of to peaceful occupations. The wages are paid in tobacco and spirits, and very little suffices.

We were suddenly startled one morning at Clarence, by hearing a slow, sonorous chant, performed as it were by one voice of immense power, which struck on the ear with the most singular effect.

On looking in the direction of the sound, we observed about 200 Edeeyahs or Bubis, armed with spears, marching round in a large open space near Mr. Scott's house; first moving in single and double file, then forming into sections with tolerable regularity; while at the head stalked the Bota-Kim-o, or chanting priest, vociferating from time to time a few sentences, with the accompanying noise of a wooden rattle (vide African musical instruments), on which all present took up the dirge or incantation. Nothing could exceed the exact unison in which they joined; it seemed truly as if one person with stentorian lungs was enacting this extraordinary ceremony.

We concluded they were meditating an attack on the well-filled tobacco and rum casks in the adjacent store; but in a short time they all suddenly and quietly separated, moving off to a place where some work was to be executed by them.

It seems, that they never commence any undertaking either of pleasure or business, without invoking their Mohs or idols, and the ceremony we witnessed, was for that purpose.

The palm-nut and topi-gatherers are a separate class, who live almost entirely by this avocation; the products of which are exchanged for necessary articles of food, game, or fish. They ascend the trees by passing a hoop round, in which they insert the body, and leaning back in it, they draw up the feet one after the other, until about fourteen inches or more is gained; the rough bark of the palm prevents their slipping, and the hoop is jerked a little higher, and so on until the top is reached; they become so expert by practice, that they mount up with great rapidity. Most of them suffer from excoriations and ulcers about the legs, by rubbing against the rough palm-bark; and sometimes they meet with very disagreeable occupants at the summit, in the shape of snakes, who there betake themselves for the insects and smaller birds which frequent the feathery branches.

The Buyeh-rupis also officiate as medical advisers. They use several plants, chiefly as external applications. A favourite remedy is anointing the body all over with palm-oil and clay, and making the patient sit near a fire. They apply the leaves of a small herbaceous plant, either a Plumbago or Salvadora, to produce blisters, and it acts with rapidity and violence; nothing is, however, considered so efficacious as the mediation of the priest.

As it was desirable to be ready for any emergency, whether for going up the river or for returning to England, should orders arrive from Government for the abandonment of the enterprize; and they were most anxiously looked for,- every heavy and bulky article which could be spared was landed, with the view of lightening the vessels, and enabling them to take in as much coal as possible; and the 'Wilberforce' was laid on the beach for the purpose of clearing the bottom, which was found to be very foul.

The arrival of Lieutenant Littlehales in the 'Dolphin' gave an opportunity of showing our latitude to that kind officer for his great humanity to our sick men.

Wednesday, April 13th.- H.M. steam-vessel 'Driver,' on her way to China, arrived, bringing no instructions from Government. Some newspapers, however, contained a speech made by Lord Stanley on the 5th March in the House of Commons, in which he stated, that "Her Majesty's Government did not feel themselves justified, even for the important purposes for which it was thought right. to dispatch the last Expedition, to run the risk of sacrificing the health and live's of more of Her Majesty's subjects by repeating the attempt. So far then as white men were concerned, it was not the intention of Her Majesty's Government to renew the Expedition to the Niger."

This intelligence had the effect of determining Captain Allen to delay his proposed ascent, in the hope of being relieved from responsibility by instructions from England; and the arrival of H.M. Brig 'Rapid,' on her way to the Bight of Benin, gave an opportunity of inquiring into the rumour of the attack of the Model Farm and the death of Mr. Carr, both of which objects Lieutenant Earle kindly undertook.

While the 'Driver' was lying in the bay, taking in fuel, some of the officers being very anxious to witness the Edeeyah method of hunting, we made an arrangement with our friend the Chief of Bannapa to assemble his people; which he did on the 16th. However, only Mr. Phayre and another would venture, some one having hinted at the possibility of jungle fever and other perils. We started off to the place of rendezvous about three miles from Clarence, and there found our Edeeyah allies congregated to the number of two hundred. The place selected for the scene of the day's amusement was beautifully picturesque and diversified and we only required a more favourable state of the weather to have enjoyed it more fully. The unclothed and clay-bedaubed natives were lying about in little groups, smoking with evident gusto the much-prized tobacco, and speculating on the success of the day.

Soon after our arrival they commenced fastening a large net made of cocoa-nut or palm fibre to the surrounding trees; to which point it was intended to drive the game. The Bota-Kim-o having kindled a fire, bellowed forth his incantations to the great spirit Rupi, first in a slow, easy tone; by degrees he got more excited, calling out loudly for the assistance of the deity, and occasionally with uplifted spear performing sundry uncouth gesticulations, while his numerous companions joined their voices in rude chorus. The whole scene was indeed very wild and striking; nor did it lose any of its interest from being enacted beneath the lofty bombax and graceful palm-trees by which we were surrounded. The features of the chanting priest became contorted, his body covered with perspiration from his exertions, and he looked like a person out of his senses. How far this religious excitement might have carried him we know not: fortunately for us, who had ventured so far to see the chase, the spirit Rupi was at last propitiated, and in an instant all rushed to a small tree with a somewhat broad leaf, which they plucked, and began rubbing between the hands; placing a little branch in their armlets, and also in the button-holes of our shooting coats; this the interpreter informed us was to be a token of compact between all parties, that if any then present should be killed or wounded by spear or gun, it was to be considered the result of accident, not design, and as such should pass without retaliation.

[illustration: Edeeyah Hunt, Fernando Po]

The natives then spread out into two long lines, diverging to the right and left, from the spot where the net had been arranged, taking care to put us out of harm's way as much as possible, at the narrow pathways on the outskirts, where the larger deer were expected to break through. All the party then began to beat the bushes. The noise and hubbub on every side was deafening, especially as the startled game bounded forth from their hiding places, when spears and sticks were thrown in all directions at the frightened creatures, who, if they escaped these dangers, ran down between the lines and were captured at the net. This uproarious chase had not lasted more than half an hour when, much to our regret, it was put au end to by the approach of a very heavy tornado, from which we were but too thankful to take refuge in the town, not, however, without getting a good wetting, which our dark-skinned companions seemed to be as anxious to avoid as ourselves.

We were much pleased with the kindly anxiety of the Edeeyahs to prevent our being injured, while they were most desirous to show us all the amusement. The chief and his headmen received a present of some pounds of tobacco, with which they were well satiated. They only captured a few bush rats, Cricetomys poensis, some porcupines, Atherurae Africanae, and two black-rumped guevis, Cephalophus melanotus, a small description of antelope; but to make up for this the natives brought us alive the proceeds of another and more successful hunt some days after, in which we gladly recognised two splendid specimens of antelope.

The Cephalophorus Ogilbyii; of a rich golden brown, somewhat paler on the belly; the face, ears, and back of neck clothed with black hairs, which become more rigid and numerous along the back. The horns are short and conical, about two inches long, marked with five or six irregular transverse ridges. These, the first two perfect specimens sent to England, were forwarded to the collections at the British Museum and Zoological Society of London.

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