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

Royal Navy1841 Niger expeditionBookPreface ◄► Chapter I



Chapter I

Ancient Copts first acquainted with the interior of Africa - Herodotus, his account of the earliest African explorers - Ptolemy - Greeks and Romans - Imperfect knowledge of the interior of Africa - Arab travellers - Ibn Batuta and Leo Africanus - First Association formed in England for promoting discovery in Africa - Meesrs. Ledyard and Lucas - Major Houghton - Mungo Park, his discovery of the Niger - Horneman - Park's second expedition - Captain Tuckey's attempt to penetrate Africa by the Zaire - Ritchie and Lyon - Clapperton, Oudney and Denham's overland route - Clapperton's second attempt - Sultan Bellos' idea of the Nile and Kowara, or Niger - Major Laing reaches Timbuktùh - Richard and John Lander trace the Niger from Bussah to the coast - Commercial Expedition formed at Liverpool to ascend the Niger - Lieutenant W. Allen accompanies it - Mr. Macgregor Laird and Richard Lander take charge of the enterprise - Its failure as a commercial speculation - Mr. Becroft ascends the Niger.

Chapter II

The exploration of Africa desirable for nobler ends than the acquisition of wealth - Sir Fowell Buxton proposes "The Remedy" - Formation of the Society for the Suppression of the Slave Trade and the civilization of Africa - Lord John Russell's views on the Slave Trade - Proposes to send an Expedition to communicate with the interior of Africa, and to establish commercial treaties - Size and construction of the vessels - Arrangements for artificial ventilation suggested by Dr. Reid - Armament - Paddle-box boats - Officers appointed - Captain H. D. Trotter to command the expedition - The 'Wilberforce' touches at Kingston - Visit of the Viceroy - Proceedings at Kingston - Awkward mistake - The 'Wilberforce' arrives at Woolwich - H.R.H. Prince Albert visits the vessels - His interest in the expedition - Munificent present to the Commanders - Commissioners appointed - Scientific gentlemen attached to the mission - Detentions.

Chapter III

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

Chapter IV

Departure from St. Vincent - Watering at Tarafal Bay - St. Antonio - Orange groves - Plants - Phosphorescence of the sea - Luminous acalephae - Precursory signs of a tornado - Curious appearance of the sea - Sierra Leone - Polite attentions of the acting Governor - Engage the interpreters and Krumen - Ludicrous names - Schooner purchased - Free-town - Markets - Abundance of fruit - African fruit-sellers - Violent tornado - Some Aku people killed while worshipping the lightning - Awful spectacle - Botany - Liberated Africans - Remarks on the condition of the colony - Missionary labours - Flight of locusts - Leave Sierra Leone - Arrival at Cape Mesurado Liberia, prospects of its advancement - Vegetation - Soil - Leewardly character of the vessels - Sinu River - Intermarriage of Fishmen and Blue-Barra people.

Chapter V

Visit Edina - Gran Bassa - 'Black Will,' King of Bassa - Dexterity of the Fishmen in the management of their canoes - Wooding - Huts of the relatives - Grave of 'Jack-be-off' - Foulahs at war with the Fishmen - Senegal larkheel - Naturalist shoots a black boy by mistake, or danger of "hopping the twig" - Trees and plants - Chamelions - Popular belief that the saliva of this reptile produces blindness - Pestilential swamps - Hammer-headed sharks - Cape Palmas - Procure fuel - 'Jack Smoke,' Captain W. Allen's old Kru servant, joins him - Appearance of the town and surrounding country - Dress of the natives - Missionary establishment - Interesting history of an American missionary - Sun-birds - Migratory black ants - Their destructiveness - Geology - Superstitious dread of the natives against planting Cocoa-nut trees - Meteorology.

Chapter VI

The Grain Coast - Krumen and Fishmen, or Grébus - Peculiar characteristics - Mode of government - Religious observances - Diseases - Music - Curious tradition - Good and evil spirits - Marocho, or Kru Christmas - Marriages - Observances on the death of individuals - Ceremony of drinking "Sassa water" - Aggri beads found among the Krus - Supposed communication with the ancient Egyptians - Kru fondness for finery - No slaves exported from the Kru country - Animosities of Krus and Grébus - Emigration recommended - Sail from Cape Palmas - Dangerous situation of the 'Wilberforce ' - Bottomless pit - Bobsum Accra - Whale-boat swamped in landing - Sudden death of a liberated African - Several cases of fever - Fatal case - Arrival at Cape Coast - Governor M'Lean's desire to forward the views of the expedition - Appearance of Cape Coast - Governor M'Lean's policy - Fanti aversion to labour - Difficulty of improving the condition of the natives - The Governor visits the 'Wilberforce' - Amusing scene - Surf - Town of Cape Coast - Huts - Weaver-birds and their pensile nests - Mr. Freeman's missionary labours among the Fantis - Searching for gold dust.

Chapter VII

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

Chapter VIII

The Expedition enters the Nun branch of the Niger - Death of Bach, the instrument-maker from fever - Physical characters of the mouth of the river - Curious effect of the rising tide - Chemical examination of the waters - Geology - Shells - Bodies of females exposed on the sea-beach - Surprise of the natives at our interest in them - Woods on the right bank - Beautiful birds - The black swallow - Rhyncops, or scissor-bill -Dangers of seining - Saw-fish sharks - The village of Akassa - Dwellings of the natives - Their customs - Diseases of the natives - The Chief, Enemery - 'Boy's' traffic with Abòh - 'Jack Fire' - The Reverend J. Muller's prayer - Pass through Louis Creek - Magnificent scenery - Monkeys in their native woods - Village of Paraboli - Alligator as a Ju-ju, or Fetiche - Alarm of the natives - Stillness of the Niger at night - Insect music - Natives - Rum preferred to Coffee - Village of Kiambli - White man said to live at Tchebhy - Rude Ju-ju idol - Ingyama - Inhabitants terrified by the 'Devil ship' - Lofty trees - New channel - Ogulbah - Scenery - Otua - Communication with the natives - Curious fashions in arranging the hair.

Chapter IX

Town of Amazuma - Ogulba - "Dash," or present from the natives - The "smoke-canoe" creates much alarm - Botany - Little Ibu, or 0'korotombi - Stirling Island - Indyama - Brass and Bonny canoes - Benìn branch - Town of Anyàh - Orissa and his wives - Ladies offended - African hair-dressers - Methods of catching fish - Granby, our interpreter recognizes an old friend - Native fishing-houses - Fishermen's Ju-jus, or idols - Ipàtani - Utok - Visit of the Chief - Beautiful birds - Arrival at Abòh - Prince Ejeh - Odd costume of a person of rank - Obi Ossaï, the Ezzeh or King, visits the 'Wilberforce' - Recognizes a former acquaintance - The royal dress - Native music - Harsh tones of the opé and eriki-riki - Obi's favourite wife and daughter - Prince Ejeh makes an addition to his wardrobe - The princes afraid of a sand-toy - The 'Albert' and ' Soudan' arrive - Honesty of a native woman - Amusing scenes - The pride of the Bimmenah people - Refuse to take the cowries because they were thrown on the ground - The 'Soudan' examines a creek opposite Abòh.

Chapter X

Obi Osaï's numerous sons - Visit to the 'Albert' - Large canoes - Officers of state - Conference with the Commissioners - Object of the Expedition explained to Obi Osaï - Questions relative to the slave-trade - Duty or per centage to be allowed the King - Obi Osaï promises to enter into a treaty for abolishing the slave-trade - Obi, on his return to shore, makes "Fetiche" - Rejoicings in the town of Abòh - Obi's wives - His "arrìsi," or idols - The war-god - Religious ritual - Title and right of succession to the sovereignty of Abòh - Royal prerogatives - Headmen, or elders, of the several towns and villages - Adultery, its punishment - Murder - The priests or Ju-ju men - Their cunning - Large war-canoes - Mode of levying people in time of war - King Boy's faithless wife, a daughter of Obi - Ibu women celebrated for their personal charms - Mode of fattening wives - Demoralising effects of the slave-trade - Abòh slaves often sent by Benìn branch to sea-coast - Number of inhabitants - Obi's powers.

Chapter XI

Physical characteristics of the Ibus - Religious superstitions - Idols numerous - Horrible practice on the birth of twins - Large earthen idol - Tshuku or the Great Spirit - Absurd stories of the priests - Abòh Creek - Beautiful birds - Native dwellings - Ezzeh Obi Osaï's mud palace - The Harem - Human sacrifices - Insalubrity of Abòh - Ornithology - Rare animals shot by accident - Plants - Domestic slavery - Obi Osaï's second visit to the 'Albert' - Obi Osaï kneels down with the white men to worship their God - His sudden fear - The "arrisi" or idol called for - The presents - Obi's anxiety to establish trade with England - Departure from Abòh - Ogou ladies - Proceed up the river - Body of a female floating in the stream - Ali Here, the Ibu pilot - Beauty of the country - "Osochaï" - Abòh trade-canoes - Okòh - Splendid sunset - Fishing-huts - Appearance of the hills - Anno - Abain-him or the "meeting of the waters" - Adda-Mugu or Abela - Sufferings of the former Expedition at this place - Circular huts first met with - The Edòh examined - Uliain village - King William's Mountain - Anchor off Iddah.

Chapter XII

Appearance of Iddah by moonlight - Native welcome - Landing-place - Splendid panoramic view from the cliffs of Iddah - Doctor McWilliam and Mr. Schön sent to communicate with the Attàh - Native mode of salutation - Edina, a chief - His wives - Etiquette to be observed by strangers at Iddah - Princess Amadá Bue - The Attàh's pretty daughter, Idjee-Futhul - Amadá Bue prepares a breakfast in native fashion for the strangers - The Attàh's unwillingness to appear - His dress - Ministers of State - The message delivered - Singular reply of the Attàh - Rain must never fall on the Attàh - Conference of the Commissioners with the Attàh - Natives testify their joy at seeing white men - Amadá Bue's idea of human sacrifices - Appearance of the Attàh and his courtiers - Lobo, the chief judge - Articles of a treaty agreed on for the suppression of the Slave Trade and human sacrifices - The Attàh's desire for the establishment of a model farm - Promises to protect white settlers, and wishes to have "white teachers" - His evident anxiety to obtain the presents.

Chapter XIII

The 'Wilberforce' and 'Soudan' dispatched across the river to procure fuel - Hostile character of the Natives - Their wars with the Eggarahs - Savage appearance - Arms - Beauty of the country - Ants' nests - Their formation - Snakes - The ko1a or goora-nut - Town of Wappa - The Chief "Egada Yaluelama" - King Obàh of Benìn - Human sacrifices - Specimens of birds - Snakes - Venomous centipide - African scorpion - Final interview of the Commissioners with the Attàh - The treaty signed and attested - Arabic Bible presented - List of presents - Scene in the Attàh's palace - City of Iddah - Divided into districts - Militia - Houses - Market place - Articles for sale - Cotton manufactures - Native smiths - Arms, &c. - Dying - Method of fishing - The Mallams - Physical character of the natives - Form of government and laws - Cavalry - Sale of charms - Religion of the people - Their notions of God - Human sacrifices - Prospects of Missionary labours - Polygamy - Melancholy death - The 'Wilberforce' gets aground - Fever commences.

Chapter XIV

Mount Franklin - Villages - Nearly all the officers of the 'Soudan' laid up with sickness - Adda Kuddu in ruins - English doctors appreciated by the natives - Kakanda people - Amèh Abokko, the Annajah, or Governor, visits the ships - Deaths of some of the crews from fever - Insupportable heat and closeness of the atmosphere - Visits from snakes - How accounted for - Drs. Stanger and Vogel ascend Mount Pattèh - Stirling Hill selected as the best locality for the Model Farm - First instalment of purchase money paid to the Attàh of Eggarah - Model Farm utensils and furniture landed - Malam Sabah - Towns on the banks of the Chaddah - Mr. W.H. Webb left in charge of the 'Amelia' tender and Model Farm - Fever progressing at an alarming rate in all the vessels - Death of Mr. Nightingale - Mortality in the vessels - Weakly condition of the crews generally - Captain Trotter decides on sending the sick to the sea-side in the 'Soudan' - Meeting of the Commissioners - The sick received on board the 'Soudan' - Increase of the fever on board the 'Wilberforce.'

Chapter XV

Recapitulatory remarks - The entrance to the River Nun - The extent of the Delta - The Nun the principal outlet - Dense forests - Increasing population as we ascend - Various nations - Conquests of the Filatahs - Lobo, the chief Judge of Iddah - Schools - Religion Advance of Mahomedanism - Simple architecture - Description of a native dwelling - Cooking - Native beer of the Pagans - Politeness of the natives in the interior - Treatment of the women - Languages very numerous - Interpreters speak many very fluently - Haussa the language of commerce - Dress and ornaments - Growth of cotton, indigo, &c. - The love of traffic, the ruling passion - Markets - Dilatory traders - Lander's promissory notes - The principal articles of trade enumerated - The average profit on European goods stated - Erroneous estimate of the quantity and price of ivory by Lander.

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