putes that there may be forty towns and Fundah, and less than fifty miles from the villages, occurring as they do every two or banks of the Chaddah. "At length Mr. three miles, and averaging a thousand in- Oldfield, in the Alburkah, descended the habitants each.

Quorra in June, 1834-all the Europeans Mr. Laird visited Fundah, situated upon who had accompanied him dead—and even a creek of the Chaddah.. The king's pa- the black crew diminished and disorderly. lace is an immense assemblage of circular Mr. Becroft subsequently entered the huts, covering nine or ten acres, inclosed river, in September, 1836, and ascended to with a mud wall fifteen feet high. Mr. Attah-Kuddah, near the mouth of the Laird subsequently descended in the Quor- Chaddah ; trading successfully for three ra to the coast; but Lander and Oldfield months, with the casualty of only one resolved on penetrating to Boussah in the death and two cases of illness. Alburkah. They first, however, entered The mortality which had attended the the Chaddah, and ascended it a hundred expedition of Laird and Oldfield, led to miles. The breadth of the Quorra above the reflection, whether, amidst the numeits junction with the Chaddah was found rous outlets of the Niger, a better access by Oldfield to continue about 3500 yards. might not be discovered, than by the deadNumerous islands intercepted the view of ly swamps of the Nun. An approach by the banks, and prevented the position of the Benin River was suggested by Mr. many tributaries of the river being defined. Jamieson of Liverpool, who, at his own The steam-vessel forced its way through expense, built the Ethiope steamer, at channels but recently filled with water, and Liverpool, in command of which Captain choked with long grass and numerous shells. Becroft entered the Benin in April, 1840, The population was found to be so dense, with a ship’s company of fifteen Europeans that, on descrying one town, four or five and a complement of Kroomen. They others were discovered in succession, with found it a fine bold river, varying in depth natives in every direction, as thick as crowds from six to three fathoms, as far as forty on market days in England. Eleven large miles from the sea ; but, at that point, a and populous towns, within a stone's throw bifurcation took place. Both branches of each other, extend up the river imme- were ascended, but were found to be not diately after passing Eggah-gineh, or Ba- only very tortuous, but navigable only forty chinkuh, a place under the dominion of or fifty miles up respectively. Moreover Edressah, a tributary of the Fellatahs. the water of both these streams was so The Alburkah anchored before Rabbah on different in its character from that of the the 18th September, between five and six Niger, that Captain Becroft was satisfied hundred miles from the sea. To Oldfield they had no connexion with that river. He the town seemed immense. Its inhabitants found his way, however, to the Niger by he computed at 40,000. Inhabited by a its Warree branch, which joins the Benin mixture of Houssahs, Yarribahs, Ibeddohs, a short distance from its mouth. But the and Nyfféhs, it was nevertheless tributary entrance proved much more intricate than to Sockatoo, and under the rule of the Fel- by the Nun, and quite as bad in respect of latahs. These individuals, holding the swamps. The first officer of the Ethiope, paramount power in Soudan, are not ne- two seamen, and two boys, were carried groes, but, according to Oldfield, have off by sickness. Captain Becroft in this woolly hair; and, like the Tuaryks, or tribes instance traded up the Niger to Rabbah, of the desert, carefully cover the mouth and and remained there for some time experinose, leaving the eyes alone visible. Rab- encing great kindness from chiefs and peobah, from its favorable position in the cen- ple. He found indigo of native preparatre of a populous country, commanded an tion in the market (in small quantity only extensive traffic. It was visited by Arabs for their own consumption), and cotton from Tripoli, and by merchants from Tim-tobes of native make and dye. Expecting buctoo and Bornou as well as by traders to ascend from this point to Boussah, he from the Guinea Coast. The attempts of found his progression the fourth day imLander and Oldfield to reach Boussah had peded by rapids impassable to a steamer of to be abandoned. But before finally quit- thirty horse power, and he returned to the ting the river, Mr. Oldfield learned some coast on the 30th October. important particulars respecting the great When at the Lever rapids referred to, town of Toto, the largest in that part of Captain Becroft was thirty or forty miles the country, situated thirty miles east of from Boussah, to which point Mungo Park


[ocr errors]

is understood to have navigated the river better versed in its commercial value. The in his schooner built at Sandsanding. Mr. expedition, on the whole, may be regarded Jamieson therefore urged the prospect of as proving the possibility of remunerative passing the rapids by a steamer of greater commercial intercourse, under a tolerably power, and navigating the Niger to its good bill of health, with Central Africa by

A number of subscribers conse- the Niger—a river free and open, as high quently came forward to assist in defraying as Rabbah, 500 miles from the coast, with the expenses of the expedition, which we no duties leviable, and no obstructions inare now, in conclusion, about to describe. terposed in passing from one territory to

On the first of June last, Mr. Jamieson another, whilst chiefs and people are friendsubmitted to the subscribers Dr. King's ly, and desirous of intercourse. Narrative of the ascent of the Niger in It was in consequence of the dissensions 1845, and of the expedition up the Gaboon that delayed the Ethiope for six months river in 1846. It is a private document; inactive, that Captain Becroft, nominating but to the courtesy of a friend in Parlia- a commission to act for him in his absence ment, who has signalized himself in the as governor of Fernando Po, assumed the promotion of African discovery and the command of the steamer, in which there amelioration of the condition of the Negro were only three Europeans, besides himself race, we are indebted for the privilege of and Dr. King. The expedition left Feravailing ourselves fully of its contents. nando Po on the 21st July, 1845. Having By a conjunction of disasters, such as, Mr. steamed up the Delta for a hundred miles, Jamieson declares, never perhaps overtook they hauled alongside of the bank, for the a commercial enterprise, this latest mission purpose of wooding, and were voluntarily to Africa may be said to have been nipped aided in that operation by the people bein the bud. The little Ethiope, disabled longing to the headmen of two small towns by a storm encountered in the Channel, below, on their seeing that the steamer's was first of all precluded, till too late, men did not injure their plantains and bafrom making a hasty preliminary ascent of napas. From the headmen, they heard of the river in 1844; and, secondly, although the death of King Obie, of Eboe, and the just then the season for exploring the Con-joint succession of his two sons, Tchoogo, the Ethiope was prevented from accom- Comoe and Adjéh. They compensated the plishing even that by a misunderstanding headmen for their help in wooding, and for amongst the crew, in consequence of which their yams and fowls, by a small present. she was laid up for six months idle at Fer- The following afternoon brought them to nando Po. An ascent of the Niger was Eboe. A canoe, with separate messengers effected by the Ethiope in 1845. But the from the royal brothers, came off in the fresh stores and supplies shipped for an as- evening, cautiously and timorously, alcent of the Congo, per the Bayfield of though in one of the messengers they reLiverpool, were lost, in consequence of the cognised an old friend, Ali Harréh, their destruction of that vessel at sea by light-interpreter in 1840. It seemed that, in ning, on her passage to Africa. And again consequence of the murder of Mr. Carr, of the ascent of the Congo was prevented. To the government model farm, in attempting employ the lost time, the Gaboon river was to ascend to its site at the confluence of explored, in the course of which the last Chaddah, in an open canoe, the natives and crowning calamity of the enterprise, were apprehensive that the steamer had as Mr. Jamieson terms it, was perceived, - como on that man-war-palaver.” The namely, the giving way of the Ethiope's Eboes having had no share in this melanboilers. Considerable expense necessarily choly business, were easily reassured. The attended this undertaking; as much, Mr. voyagers were then informed that Obie had Jamieson computes, was expended as ought been twelve months dead. Disliked by all to have covered all the three ascents for his grasping tyranny, whilst envied for originally contemplated—two of the Niger his multifarious riches by his very sons, he and one of the Congo. Produce of a re- had been poisoned by one of his females, spectable amount was obtained, however, with the connivance of his whole family in the ascent of the Niger, although in a He had been buried according to the supermeasure unlooked for by the natives. A stition of the country, along with a portion very considerable additional quantity of of his wealth, in the house he had inhabited. ivory might even, it seems, have been pur- Everything else had been seized by Tchoochased, had Dr. King, the supercargo, been Comoe and Adjéh, sons by different mo

thers, who were now upon friendly terms, country, along the Niger to the Chaddah, but afforded the speedy prospect of a rup- were in the hands of Ma’m Asidjéh. Beture and separation of their respective ad- hind Iddah, to the eastward, the country herents. Ali mentioned the total destruc- was held by bis opponent. tion of Rabbah, a fact afterwards con- Attah-Kuddah was reached, and they firmed; “ big war” had come up against it, anchored before it on the 15th. The and the Fellatahs were making plenty scenery here encountered was more beautipalaver.” Ali also spoke of the death of ful and romantic than any other from the the King of Iddah, and of the intestine dis- sea to Rabbah. The chief of the district, traction of the Eggarah country.

and principal inhabitants, received them The royal family of Eboe came off to the with much joy and satisfaction, offering steamer, by invitation, on the following them many presents, and telling them how day, in large canoes, filled almost to siek- sad they had felt, how their hearts had ing. They made a great and rather impus- sunk within them, and how they thought ing display of native made flags, of every that the white man had done with them shape and color. Musicians accompanied for ever, when they saw the last vessel of them, in

every variety of dress, playing and the Government Niger Expedition come up beating upon the most rude and discordant and remove the model farm, without askinds of instruments. A few guns were signing any reason. fired in honor of the chiefs, who were no

We are glad to perceive several geograsooner seated on the quarter-deck than the phical points further confirmed by this expewhole occupents of the canoes attempted dition. Amongst others, Oldfield's great and to get on board en masse. Armed men important town of Toto is mentioned by Dr. placed at the gangway permitted their ingress King as a town upon the Chaddah. It is not, in an orderly manner only. Nor was the gur- we believe, exactly upon the Chaddah, bat prise of the voyagers slight to discover, situated several days' journey from Fundah. after all had been accommodated, that they And even Fundah, we know, stands seven had the honor of the company of nearly the miles distant from a creek that proceeds to whole of the late king's family-viz. of a point rather remote from the river. Tchoo-Comoe and Adjéh, of five of their Attah-Kuddah, by the by, had changed wives, of a number of boys and girls, of its site since 1840. Such and so transitory eleven of the late king's ladies, eight others are African cities! From the right or of his sons, three of his daughters, and per- western bank of the river, close by the haps a score of little piceaniny grandsons confluence of the Chaddah, and near to and grand-daughters! The chiefs present- Mount Pateh, Attah-Kuddah had moved to ed each a small bullock, with one hundred the left or eastern bank, six or eight miles large yams. The others gave sheep, yams, below the confluence of the Chaddah, and it &c., and all got suitable returns. Every- now consisted of two towns, a mile apart. thing that interested them in the steamer The desolating Fellatahs were the authors was explained to them; and having invited of the change. the officers to return their visit, they de- The Ethiope continued trading upwards parted amidst a salute of nine guns from on the Niger. An attempt was made to the Ethiope, in the rude uproarious style open the communieation with Kuttum-Karof their approach.

afféh, a considerable town, but situated Next day Mr. Becroft and Dr. King par- some distance inland. Moyéh was passed, took of Eboe hospitality. They chopped a place of 1500 inhabitants. Ebiddah (the with Tchoo-Comoe. Ali Harréh was again Kakundah of Lander-a name applicable engaged as Houssah interpreter, and gene-to the country-Ebiddah being the name of ral trader. Two boys were also taken along the town), with a population of 6000, is with the expedition to acquire the English picturesquely embowered in wild cotton tongue.

trees. The first officer of the Ethiope, Mr. At Iddah, the statement of the death of Bevan, died and was buried here, near the Ali, the king of Eggarah, three years pre- grave of Mr. Harrower, another first officer viously, was confirmed. This had also been whom the Ethiope lost in the descent of a case of domestic poisoning. The usur- 1810. per and murderer, Ma'm-Asidjéh, a cousin From a blind Arab (morally and physiof the late king, was absent two days' cally a most equivocal authority), a Houssah journey N. E. from Iddah, making war trader, and from other persons at Eggah, against Ali's son. Iddah and the Eggarah | the history of the Fellatab war was ascertained. Thirty years since Mallam Den-daily market, and about a thousand inhabitdoe, brother of Sultan Belloe of Sockatoo, ants. The Si Wah canoes are the largest located himself with a body of Fellatahs in seen on the Niger, not being hollowed out Yarribah, paying however annual tribute to of the trunks of trees, but built of roughly the king for liberty to graze large herds of prepared planks, and some of them capable cattle. A war arose from an attempt of of containing 250 or 300 men. Massabah, the Yarribah king to prevent their removing Osman's younger and rebellious brother, their flocks into the Nyfféh country to es- dwelt at Laddeh.

He could not comprecape his oppressive exactions. The Yarri-hend the wish of our voyagers to visit Rabbah king was worsted, as he deserved to be; bah, a place which, he justly observed, had and Mallam Dendoe and his people thence- been utterly destroyed. They alleged in forth peaceably pastured part of the Nyfféh reply, the orders of their merchants. Mascountry, bordering on Yarribah, until the sabah behaved in every respect with great death of the king of Nyfféh raised up com- moderation and intelligence. He sent petitors for the succession in the person of them first his Sulliken Yakeh (king of war) his sons Ma'm-Adjéh and Issah.' Mallam with a considerable suite, bringing presents, Dendoe and his Fellatabs could not remain comprising a cow, some goats, sheep, turidle spectators of the conflict. They as- keys, ducks, pigeons, guinea-fowl, corn, sisted Ma’m-Adjéh, who, by their aid, rice, butter, milk, honey, goorah nuts, &c., drove his brother into the extreme east of and bearing a message to the effect, that if the kingdom. Becoming oppressive, how- they really intended going to Rabbah, in ever, to the Fellatahs, in his turn Ma'm- its prostrate condition, pilots would be Adjéh was expelled by the African Rob provided them. They were, in that case, Roy, Mallam Dendoe, from his capital of invited to visit Laddeh on their return. Rabbah, routed subsequently in battle, and The Sulliken Yakeh, a Nyfféh by birth, finally compelled to sue for peace on condi- was a courteous, dignified, pleasing, and tion of acknowledging Mallam Dendoe agreeable person. The machinery in the sovereign of Nyfféh. Mallam Dendoe then steamer's engine-room interested him, howbrought Issah, the other brother, to the ever, less than the construction of the ninesame terms, and took up his own abode in pound carronade pivot gun on deck.

The Rabbah, where he died in 1833. Osman, latter suited his comprehension, to which his son and successor, failed to retain the the engine was a chaos. ascendency of his father over tlie Nyfféhs. The pilots assigned by Massabah knew A son of Ma'm-Adjéh had become popular the river perfectly, and carried the Ethiope amongst them.

A younger brother of Os- safely to Rabbah, or rather to its ruins. man's had even united with this young They never once got into shoal water. The Nyfféh chief; and most important of all, voyagers saw amidst the ruins of Rabbah the allies had obtained the aid of the Bor- heaps of charred bones in every direction gous, a people who, like the Fellatahs, em- in some houses skeletons nearly complete ployed cavalry in warfare. Both parties --an unpleasant and melancholy spectacle. were therefore about equally matched. The Ethiope commenced her return on Much fighting and bloodshed had ensued. 22d of September. She stopped at si Osman falling back upon Rabbah, issued Wah with a view to the visit to Laddeh. forth from it whilst in a state of siege, leav- | This is a walled town. Entering by the ing it, like a second Moscow, wrapped in gate, a wide and open street leads to a large flames. The combined forces followed him irregular square, of which one side is eninto the interior, where he awaited rein- tirely occupied by the residence of Massaforcements from the Fellatah capital of bah. The other sides contain the resiSockatoo. Meanwhile the Borgous, it was dences of the Sullikens Yakeh and Dorkeh whispered, were getting tired of the pala- (masters of war and of the horse). Marver.

The presumption, therefore, was kets are held in the open space. At one that Osman would eventually return and re- corner stands a mosque. After an hour's build his favourite Rabbah.

conversation with Massabah, who was found On leaving Eggah, the voyagers set out seated on a mat in a large room, he begged in search of Laddeh, a town of importance, permission to leave his visitors to go to but discovered it to have an inland situa- prayers, as it was

The tion ; its port on the Niger being the large visitors were, however, conducted to the village of Si Wah, standing on a sandy ele- residence of the Sulliken Yakeh, where vation close to the river. Si Wah has á mats and skins were laid for them in a cool

[ocr errors]



chamber, with a supply of honey, milk, and Thus ended an exploring expedition, rankgoorah nuts for their refreshment. But the ing sixth in the series subsequent to that Sulliken likewise went to prayers, whilst his of the brothers Lander in 1830—the first visitors saucily enough despising “such being that of Laird and Oldfield in 1832; Juxuries,” preferred walking out to see the the second that of the Ethiope in 1840; town. For this purpose a guide was imme- the third that of H. M. steamers, Albert, diately provided. Near the slave mart Wilberforce, and Soudan (the vessels of the were seen several Arabs indolently reclining, disastrous Government Niger expedition) and listlessly smoking, upon mats spread in 1841; the fourth that of the Ethiope in beneath the shade of a tree. They stated the same year, to relieve the Albert in disthat they had come from Tripoli, having left tress ; the fifth that of the Wilberforce in it four months prior; and they were about 1842, to remove the remains of the Governto return, by joining a caravan at Kanoe. ment Model Farm ; and that just recapituThis round they represented themselves as lated being, finally, the sixth. going yearly, and effecting in ten months.

Massabah was reclining, after his return It remains only to mention the result of from the mosque, in an open verandah. the ascent of the river Gaboon, which, situHe put some shrewd questions respecting ated only a short distance from Fernando our country, its government, and tranquil Po, had long enjoyed commercial interlity-blamed his brother Osman for the un- course with England; although up to the settled state of his own-made inquiry for period of this exploration, only known for a guns and powder—and showed some fire- few miles from its entrance. It is worthy arms of which he was possessed of French of remark, that the French have very remanufacture, procured for him by Arab cently established a settlement at the entraders from Lurreh, a city represented to trance to this river. French policy appears be considerably larger than Rabbah in its to point to the project of making Africa its palmy days, and understood to be the capi- own. Their ambition may, it is true, be tal of Yarribah. Massabah finally begged concentrated on the acquisition of Egypt there might be sent him a large tent um- and Syria ; {but in connexion with the brella in lieu of one received from Lander mode in which they and Abdel Kader toand Oldfield, of which his brother Osman gether have blocked up the access to Africa had deprived him. He took his leave of from the Mediterranean shore, the jealousy the voyagers only after accompanying them with which their unjust and petty lodgpart of the way on horseback.

ment at the gates of the Gaboon is mainThe population of Laddeh is estimated tained, seems to be significant. The apat 20,000. The houses, like all those of pearance of the English steamer in the Central Africa, are round, built of brick, of Gaboon waters threw the French commandone story, with conical thatched roofs, and er into consternation. He instantly conopenings in the walls, serving the double sulted with the Baron Darricau, commandpurpose of doors and windows, and even ing a French war schooner stationed on the chimneys, of which the buildings are desti- spot. With no willing inclination, a formal tute.

acquiescence was given to the proposed The Joh-men, in the way of the Ethiope ascent of the Gaboon, of which Baron Dardown the Niger, were inclined to be hostile. ricau spoke very lightly, yet with some The whole of Captain Becroft's consummate candor, as likely to prove of no importance, care and skill as a navigator were, more-having himself in his cutter penetrated the over, needed to guide the little steamer out greater of two branches into which it soon diof the river. The waters had come down vides itself. Civilly enough the Baron gave in such a manner that spots on the face of some particulars and soundings. He stated the Delta, which, at the period of the ascent, that a lettered board would be found at the had seemed to be lakes with islands and highest point to which he had reached ; and large dry sand banks, were now become un- this proved to be the case. The Baron broken sheets of water. The increased Darricau, however, ere long changed his current of four miles an hour, and the tactics. Some visits paid to the chiefs near steamer's speed of six more, rendered an the entrance of the Gaboon excited the unusual degree of nerve and judgment ne- French suspicion ; and an assurance that cessary in steering her on her swift and he had no intention to purchase terriuncertain course. The Ethiope, however, tory on the river was exacted from Captain was brought to the coast without accident. Becroft. The French erected their fort,

« VorigeDoorgaan »