A. B. (Alfred Burdon) Ellis.

A history of the Gold Coast of West Africa online

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in December to the Governor, who had in the meanwhile
been authorised by the Secretary of State to ratify the
election of Kwaku Dua, provided he was able to satisfy
himself that he was likely to establish himself firmly in
power, and to be acknowledged by the Ashanti tribes. Tc
have ratified the election would now have put an end tc
all further differences, for Assistant-Inspector Kirby, whc
was sent to Kumassi in December, reported that the Kari-
kari faction could never have been a source of danger tc
Kwaku Dua, the number of its supporters being insignificant
and that the Kumassi chiefs only refrained from stamping il
out altogether because they believed the Colonial Governmem
to be favourable to Kwoffi Kari-kari's re-election, a belie
which was chiefly due to the machinations of Prince Ansa a
Cape Coast, but had been supported by some ambiguous
expressions used by the Governor to the messengers of the 5tl
of September. Unfortunately, Sir Samuel Rowe was alway.'
loth to accept the responsibility of decisive action, and 01
the 2nd of January, 1884, he dismissed the messengers fron

* Boreman " Poison Town."


Kumassi with a number of vague expressions, and a few
words upon the desirability of peace.

This inaction prolonged the unsettled condition of
Ashanti, and the chiefs of Dadiassi and Inkwanta declared
their intention of remaining independent of Kumassi. The
chief of Bekweh also adopted this course, but was speedily
dethroned by his sub-chiefs and people, who were favourable
to Kwaku Dua. Shortly after his secession from the king-
dom, the chief of Dadiassi, pretending a friendly visit to his
feudal lord, the chief t of Kokofu, seized him, together with
his mother and many influential persons, destroyed the town
of Kokofu, and carried off his captives to Dadiassi. No
steps were taken to avenge this, for Kari-kari's party was
too weak, and Kwaku Dua was afraid to commit himself to
any adventures until his installation was complete. He
appears to have known that the Governor had been
authorised to ratify his election, and at all state meetings he
sat by the side of the royal stool, as keeper of it, waiting for
the sanction of the Government, before taking his seat on it.
At last, on the 24th of April, 1884, tired of waiting for the
expected ratification, the provincial chiefs and those of
Kumassi formally placed him on the stool, and the kingdom
would no doubt have speedily quieted down, and Dadiassi
and Inkwanta have been reduced to obedience, had not the
young King died of small-pox on the loth of June. A few
days after his decease, the chiefs brought to Kumassi Kwoffi
Kari-kari, who was lying ill of dysentery in the village in
which he had been interned, but he succumbed to the disease
on the 24th of June. The two rival candidates thus expired
within fifteen days, and by the death of Prince Ansa at Cape
Coast on the I3th of November, the three principal actors in
these events were removed from the scene in the same year.

Towards the end of the year 1884, Geraldo de Lema, who
had returned to Voji in 1882, and had been living there
unmolested ever since, once more caused disturbances in the
Kittah district, by inducing the inhabitants of the island of
Anyako to blockade Kittah ; and as the people of Kittah
are entirely dependent upon the productions of the islands


and northern shores of the lagoon for food, for the sea-coast
produces nothing but cocoanuts, the Governor, Mr. W. A.
G. Young, who had been appointed in the spring of 1884,
ordered his arrest. Captain Campbell, the District Commis-
sioner, with the aid of two friendly Awuna chiefs named
Tamaklo and Akolatsi, succeeded in seizing Geraldo at
night in his house at Voji ; but then, most imprudently, con-
sidering the great local influence of the man, instead of
sending him to Accra by sea, he placed him in charge ol
five men of the Houssa Constabulary to be conveyed there by
land. The escort passed through the town of Awuna witf
their prisoner in safety, the inhabitants being taken by sur
prise, but swift messengers were sent on ahead of the party
and when it reached the village of Huteh it was stopped am
detained. The news of this reached Kittah on the mornins
of I7th January, 1885, and Captain Campbell, with the ver
inadequate force of thirty-eight Houssas, immediately pro
ceeded to Huteh, in company with chiefs Tamaklo an
Akolatsi. On arriving at the village, where he found tw
Anyako chiefs with a large number of armed followers, h
released the Houssa escort and sent them on their journey t
Accra with their prisoner ; and, remaining at Huteh for
night, commenced next morning his return march to Kittal
taking with him the two Anyako chiefs to answer for the
conduct. About a mile and a half out of the village the par!
was fired upon by a force of Awunas, estimated at thr<
thousand, and a conflict ensued in which the District Commi ,
sioner was severely wounded, and ten Houssas killed at
several wounded. Most unwisely only twenty rounds >
ammunition per man had been provided, and when the
were exhausted the constabulary was compelled to retre i
towards Kittah, closely pursued by the Awunas, now led
the two Anyako chiefs who had escaped from custody di
ing the confusion of the fight. Time after time the Hous< i:
had to turn upon their pursuers and charge with the bayon
but fortunately the Awunas had not the courage to pr ss|
their attacks home, and after about an hour the pursuit d
away. Captain Campbell had received five wounds, a i


chief Akolatsi was wounded, while two of Tamaklo's sons,
and several of the followers of the two chiefs, had been killed.
Geraldo de Lema was conveyed to Accra in safety and lodged
in the gaol.

As soon as the news of this affair reached the Govern-
ment, H.M.S. Frolic, and reinforcements of Houssa Con-
stabulary from Elmina and Accra, under Inspector C. Dudley,
were sent down to Kittah. The Governor demanded the
surrender of the rebellious chiefs, and the payment of a fine
of ;i,ooo, but no attention was paid to these demands,
and it was accordingly determined to destroy the town of
Anyako, and also that of Awuna, as its inhabitants had
joined in the attack upon the Constabulary. On 3ist January,
Commander Parr of the Frolic, with a small party of seamen,
and about one hundred Houssas under Inspector Dudley,
proceeded in boats across the lagoon to Anyako, and burned
the town, which had been abandoned by the enemy. On
2nd February the Houssas marched to Awuna, which was
also found deserted, and was similarly destroyed without any
resistance being met with.

A few months after the deaths of Kwaku Dua II. and
Kwoffi Kari-kari, the Kumassi chiefs, who, when there was no
King, considered themselves entitled to represent the nation,
commenced negotiations with certain of the Inkwantas, to
induce that people to return to their allegiance. This being
discovered by the King of Inkwanta, he forbade his people to
resort to Kumassi to trade, as they had been in the habit of
doing, and the Kumassi chiefs thereupon marched with a
force to the district, where they suffered a serious defeat,
eleven chiefs being killed, and several, among them Buakji
Tintin, made prisoners. This defeat had the effect of com-
pleting the disorganisation of Ashanti, each provincial chief
now maintaining his own authority and being virtually inde-
pendent, and many of the inhabitants abandoned Kumassi,
which fell into a poor condition. In order to prevent the
complete disintegration of the kingdom the queen-mother
sent to ask the provincial chiefs to assemble in Kumassi and
elect a new King, which they agreed to do, provided that a


European officer was sent up by the Government to be
present at the election. She accordingly sent messengers to
the Governor asking him 'to send an officer, and stating that
it was proposed to place Akwasi Tchissi, a grandson of
Effua Sapong, and cousin of the late King Mensa, on the
stool.* The messengers were received by Mr. Young at
Accra on i6th October, 1884, and he promised to send
Assistant-Inspector Kirby, who was shortly expected to
return from England ; but that officer retired from the service
of the Colony, then the outbreak at Kittah diverted attention
from Ashanti affairs, and on 24th April, 1885, Mr. Young
died at Accra. He was succeeded by Mr. W. B. Griffith,
who was now appointed Governor, but no European officer
was sent to Kumassi during the whole of the year 1885, and
the Ashanti messengers were still waiting at Accra in
February, 1886, when war broke out between Bekweh and

The Adansis, taking advantage of the disorganisation
of Ashanti, had for some months been plundering and
kidnapping Ashanti traders passing to and from the coast
and the King of Adansi, Kwaku Inkansa, had treated witt
contempt the complaints made by the chief of Bekweh, whc
appears to have been regarded by the Ashanti chiefs a<
the guardian of the trade route. In December, 1885, fou:
traders from Nsuta were murdered by an Adansi chief
but the immediate cause of the war was the seizure am
execution by the King of Adansi of one hundred and fift)
Ashantis, who were returning from the coast, and wen
murdered for the sake of the goods they were carrying
Failing to obtain any redress for this massacre, Kari-kari
chief of Bekweh, called out his men, and the King of Adans
thereupon sent to ask the Governor for assistance, he beinj
still under the impression that Adansi was under Britisl
protection. In consequence of this application Mr. Griffiti
sent Inspector Firminger, of the Constabulary, to Prahsu
to ascertain the exact condition of affairs, and to mak

* See Genealogical Table.


arrangements, should the Adansis be driven across the
Prah, for locating the fugitives " in those portions of the
Protectorate bordering on Prahsu." This, it may be
remarked, was a most injudicious arrangement, as it was
certain that the Adansis, if driven across the Prah, would,
if possible, use the Protectorate as a base from which to
make incursions into Ashanti ; and orders ought consequently
to have been given for their internment in districts of the

; PA Colony as remote as possible from Prahsu.

On February 1st, 1886, before any collision between
the opposing tribes had occurred, Kari-kari of Bekweh
died ; but Yow Janfi was elected to the vacant stool the

ce j same day, and soon after, two skirmishes, the result of

i reconnaissances made by the Bekwehs, took place. Mr,

Firminger arrived at Prahsu early in March, and found

^ that the Bekwehs, who had been joined by a contingent

from Kumassi, and were about 6,000 strong, were concen-

.. trated at Donkuassi, near Amoafu, and that the Adansis
expected to be attacked almost immediately. The Adansi
King fully expected to be driven from his country, a

J punishment which he richly deserved, and he was most

, eager in his appeals to Mr. Firminger, who, in the interests
of peace, sent a messenger with a letter to the chief of
Bekweh, informing him that the Governor wished to prevent
bloodshed, and requesting him to state his grievances against
Adansi, and refrain from hostilities till he received a reply
thereto. The chief of Bekweh replied, with great modera-
tion, that he had for a very long time had to complain
of the Adansis; that more than two years ago he had
sent messengers to Sir Samuel Rowe to complain of their
' conduct, but had received no satisfactory answer ; that he
had to revenge the murder of many of his people, and
was now in a position to drive the Adansis out of the
country; but that, as a mark of respect for the Governor,
he would take no action till 2Oth March, by which time
a reply ought to be received from Accra.

The Adansis, who had induced the Inkwantas to join
them, were, to the number of some 3,000, encamped at



Dompoassi, near the Bekweh frontier, the women and
children being all distributed among the villages near the
Prah, ready to cross that river in the event of a reverse.
The 2Oth March having passed without any reply being
received from Mr. Griffith, the Bekvvehs, on the 23rd, pushed
forward a force of about 2,000 men, who attacked the Adansi
village of Akrocheh early in the morning, and a desultory
skirmish lasted till late in the afternoon, when the Bekwehs
retired, leaving five heads, one of them that of a chief, in
the hands of the Adansis. The latter were so elated by
this trifling success, which they regarded as a great victory ,
that their King, Kwaku Inkansa, completely changed hi.'
tone, and now, instead of humbly begging the Governmen ;
to protect him, forcibly detained an accredited messenge
sent by Mr. Firminger to the chief of Bekweh, an act whic] i
according to native etiquette was a deliberate insult. Th
Adansis declared their intention of at once invading Bekvveh J
but as several days passed without any movement bein ;j
made, Mr. Firminger crossed the Prah and proceeded t >
Fomana, to see what could be effected by negotiation .
The exultation of the Adansis having by this time die I!
away, the King was able to take a more accurate vie /
of the situation, and at a meeting held at Fomana on tf 2
7th and 8th of April, he and his chiefs promised to lea\ *
the settlement of the quarrel with Bekweh in Mr. Firmingei s
hands. From Fomana he accordingly went to Begroasf .
where the Bekweh army was now encamped, and had a
conference with Yow Janfi and his chiefs, who at fir
promised to make peace if the Adansis would cede certa r
villages, but ultimately declared their resolution to dri
the Adansis across the Prah. This decision could surpri >
no one, for the Adansis had only owed their long immuni 3
from punishment to the belief, carefully promulgated
themselves, that the Government was bound to prot< :
them, and the Bekvvehs had now learned that this v i
not the case. The Bekweh army numbered about /,c x
men, and while Mr. Firminger was with it, a reinfor< *
ment of 200 men, a large number of whom were arrr ;ci


with Snider rifles, marched in from Kumassi. Finding
nothing could be done, Mr. Firminger returned to Prahsu,
and on his way there effected the release of forty women
and children, who had fallen into the hands of the Adansis,
and were about to be sacrificed.

The destruction of Adansi now seemed imminent, when
the situation was suddenly changed by an alliance which
Kwaku Inkansa succeeded in making with Dadiassi, the
chiefs of which district were probably afraid that if Adansi
were destroyed, they would soon lose the independence they
had enjoyed since the early part of the year 1884. Dadiassi
was now more powerful than either Bekweh or Adansi
alone, and could put some 5,000 men into the field. The
frontier tribes of the Protectorate now began to be drawn
into the quarrel, the Akims making an agreement with the
Dadiassis to allow them to enter their territory, and promising
to close the roads to all Ashanti traders, while the Upper
Denkeras offered to assist the Adansis. The active co-
operation of these tribes was only stopped by the despatch
of officers of the Colony to their respective Kings, but several
Ashanti traders had already been plundered and seized by
the Akims.

On 23rd April the Adansi army, with a strong force from
Dadiassi, advanced against the Bekwehs, and reached their
outposts at the village of Ahiman, shortly after noon. The
outposts fell back upon a detachment about one thousand
strong at Pampassu, which then advanced and engaged the
Adansis at Ahiman till nightfall, when both sides returned to
their camps. During the- night the Bekwehs were reinforced
from Begroassi, and on the 25th they renewed the conflict
at Ahiman, but unsuccessfully, the Adansis holding the
place after fighting all day, while next day they made a
forward movement and drove the Bekwehs back beyond
Pampassu, which was burned. The greater part of the
Bekweh army had taken no part in these affairs, it having
been engaged in watching the main Dadiassi army, which
had taken up a position threatening the Bekweh left flank.
On the 1 3th April and I4th May other battles took place, in


which the Adansis and Dadiassis captured and destroyed
the camp at Begroassi, and threatened the town of Amoafu.

From some unknown cause the Kumassi forces had all
been withdrawn from the Bekweh camp, and the Bekwehs
had, so far, fought single-handed ; but now the chiefs of the
capital and the northern provinces, alarmed at the success of
the Adansis, sent messengers and state officials to Attobiassi,
the principal town of Dadiassi, to induce the chief to with-
draw from his alliance with Adansi. Partly by threats of
invasion and partly by bribes, they succeeded in persuading
him to suspend hostilities, and join with them in electing a
King at Kumassi ; and they then sent a message to the King
of Adansi that he must stop the advance of his army, and
submit his dispute with Bekweh to them for arbitration.
At the same time, Amuofa, chief of Dadiassi, sent to
inform his ally of the step he had taken, and to advise
him to go to Kumassi and take part in the forthcoming
election, as a large Kumassi army had joined the Bekwehs
The King of Adansi rejected this advice, and being
defeated in a general engagement, began to take measure.'
for retiring into the Protectorate. On I3th June h(
abandoned Fomana, and retired to within six miles o
the Prah, which he crossed three days later with some
3,500 followers. In all, 12,411 Adansis came into th<
Protectorate, and, as the Governor had directed, wer<
distributed in the neighbourhood, the King, with his imme
diate following, filling up the Assin villages on the Pra' t
road, chief Kotiko, with about 600 men, going to Uppe
Denkera, and chief Affakwa, with about 7,000 mer , j|
women, and children, settling in Akim. The Bekweh ;
destroyed Fomana and all the Adansi villages, and the . 1
turned their attention to the Inkwantas, whom they drov : j
out of their country; after which they sent messenge: >a
to the Governor to report what had taken place, and to sa r\
that the road from Prahsu to Kumassi would now be ke trj
open by them. They also announced that the chiefs fjl
Ashanti were about to assemble at Kumassi to place a Kir j|
on the stool.


The German Government having in 1885 declared a
Protectorate over Togoland and Beh Beach, and thus made
their territory conterminous with the colonial frontier at
Aflao, a Commission was appointed to delimit the boundary,
and in 1886 it was laid out for a distance of two and a half
miles inland, beyond which it was not defined. The German
Government was therefore at liberty to acquire territory
beyond that limit, and in March, 1886, it announced that it
had taken over the districts of Agotine, Toveh, and Keveh,
which lay behind the sea-board of the Colony ; whereupon the
British Government, to protect itself from any further exten-
sion of German territory in that direction, annexed the
Krikor country, which lies north and east of the Kittah
lagoon. In the same year, and for the same reason, the
Kings of Krepi 'and Akwamu were informed that, as their
territories had been included in the Danish Protectorate when
the Danes ceded their possessions, they must now be con-
sidered to be under British protection.

The western boundary of the Colony was not yet defined.
In a convention between the Dutch and French it had been
fixed at a point three miles to the west of Newtown, but the
convention had never been ratified, and in 1880 the Colonial
Government requested that the matter might be settled. A
joint Commission, appointed in 1882, met in November, 1883,
and it was decided that the boundary line should separate
the districts of Western Appollonia and Awuin, which were
under British protection, from the kingdom of Kinjabo,
which was under French protection ; but the limits of these
states were not defined, and the Commission separated
without any boundary having been actually traced.

2 c


Rival candidates for the stool of Ashanti Raids made on Ashanti from
the Protectorate Effect of the unsettled condition of affairs upon
British trade War between Bekweh and Kokofu The Colony
intervenes to restore peace Prempeh placed on the stool
Murder of Mr. Dalrymple in Tavievi Expedition to Tavievi Re-
bellion and defeat of Kokofu.

IN August, 1886, the Government of the Gold Coast at last
determined to send an officer to Kumassi, in accordance with
the request delivered on October i6th, 1884, by the queen-
mother's messengers, who were still at Accra awaiting a reply ;
but, instead of sending a European officer, as had been asked,
they entrusted the mission to a native interpreter, named
Badger. Mr. Badger, who took with him a letter from the
Governor to the queen-mother and chiefs of Ashanti, asking
if they still wished a white officer to be sent, and promising,
if they did, to send one within two months, visited Bekweh,
Kokofu, and Kumassi, and was well received. He learned
that there were two candidates for election to the royal stool
of Ashanti, namely, Prince Prempeh, brother of the late
Kwaku Dua II., and Prince Archiriboanda, son of the
Princess Yah Freh,* and that consequently the nation was
divided into two parties. The Kumassi chiefs had referrec
the decision to the chief of Bekweh, but he, declaring that ii
must be settled by the majority, had sent to the differen*

* See Genealogical Table.


provincial chiefs to ascertain their wishes, and he now said
that as soon as a selection had been made he would send to
the Governor for a white officer to be present at the installa-
tion. Mr. Badger reported that the destruction of Adansi
was so complete that no house remained in which a traveller
could find shelter for the night.

Nothing more was heard from Ashanti till December I7th,
when a message was received from the chief of Bekweh to
the effect that a decision as to the person to be chosen as
King of Ashanti had been delayed by Atjiempon, who was
threatening to attack Bekweh. This chief, who was the same
who had been released by Colonel Harley in 1872, was, it
appeared, a supporter of Archiriboanda, while the chief of
Bekweh and the Kumassi party supported Prince Prempeh.
What, however, concerned the Colony more nearly was that
the Adansi and Inkwanta refugees, just as ought to have been
foreseen, were making raids from the Protectorate into Ashanti,
and had induced the people of Upper Denkera to join them.
A party had recently formed an ambuscade on the main
road, a mile or two north of the Prah, and had attacked some
Bekweh traders who were returning from Cape Coast, killing
three, wounding four, and carrying off all the goods. The
chief of Bekweh very naturally complained of the Protectorate
being used as a base for such forays, and asked that the
Denkeras, and the Adansi and Inkwanta refugees, might be
restrained, otherwise the result might be serious. Inspector
Dudley, who had lately returned from England, was
accordingly sent to Upper Denkera, and an arrangement
was made by which, every tenth day, traders were to be
escorted by a guard of Houssa Constabulary from Prahsu to
the frontier of Bekweh, where they were to be received by an
escort of Bekwehs, who would transfer to the safe custody of
the Houssas such Ashanti traders as wished to go down.
This was the best arrangement that could be made under the
circumstances, but the necessity for it would never have arisen
had the Adansis been interned in parts of the Colony remote'
from the frontier, when they were driven across the Prah.
During the last week in December, however, and before the

2 c 2


plan had been put in force, an Adansi chief, named
Karsang, made an incursion from Upper Denkera at the
head of a considerable force, with which he destroyed two
Bekweh villages, killed several men, and carried off about
one hundred prisoners of both sexes. A few days later, a
party of Ashanti traders were attacked on the road between
Bekweh and Prahsu, and about the same time it was
discovered that the Adansis in Akim had entered into a
league with the chief of Akim Swaidru to make war upon
Bekweh. Even now the Government did not seem to see
that the only way to put a stop to these . occurrences was to

Online LibraryA. B. (Alfred Burdon) EllisA history of the Gold Coast of West Africa → online text (page 32 of 34)