Samuel Abraham Walker.

The Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... online

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the redemption of their fellow-countrymen, and perhaps their nearest
and dearest relations. I also prayed that the natives might be favour-
ably disposed towards us, and ended with a short prayer for protection
daring the night.''

Next day, the 18th, the work commenced with^preparations for the
erection of the frame-house by the Sierra Leone carpenters, and the
clearing away of brushwood and rank grass by a number of the natives,
whom Mr. Carr hired for the purpose, and who laboured vigorously
and well. Mr. Carr was able to fix the rate of wages to the satisfac-
tion of all employed, viz. 100 cowries* for a day's labor— eighty
cowries when the laborer commenced after breakfast ; and so on in
proportion. At these rates he had abundance of laborers, men, wo-
man and boys, whom he found obedient and industrious. These Mr.
Carr found were refugees from a town in the interior, which was sacked
hy a hostile nation, (probably the Fellatahs, who were a terror to this
whole neighbourhood on account of their repeated incursions,) and
when he arrived, they were actually in a starving state. *' At first,"
he says in his Journal, '^ I objected to employ them, seeing them no-
thing but skin and bone. I soon found, however, that they worked
well ; and, in a short time, I had not only the satisfaction to find them
getting fat, but to hear from themselves that they had nearly com-
pleted the payment of their debts, (which they had contracted for sub-
sistence previous to Mr. Carr's coming.) They said it was the good
Spirit that had sent me to relieve them."

The firame-house was soon erected on the cleared summit of Mount
Stirling, and encircled with a stone wall to secure it from tornadoes.
A neighbouring headman sent word to Mr. Carr, that he ought to
abandon that spot, for it was dedicated to a spirit. Mr. Carr enquired
whether it was a good or a bad spirit ; and, on being informed that it
was a good one, replied that then the place chosen must be the best
for his purpose, at the same time telling the headman that God was
the only good Spirit, and that He is every where.

A few days after this, a box of cowries was missing. In a short
time it was found thrown down« and half of its contents extracted. On
a search being made, the thieves were traced to the neighbouring
village of Pandaild, the headman of which was applied to for the pro-
perty, and after some hesitation he produced the thieves and their
booty. They turned out to be two lads, the youngest about ten or
twelve years of age. Having confessed the crime, they were flogged

* About 800 cowriei will make a ehiUing, conseqaentlj the wageB of these laboren
were three-half-pence and a penny a day.



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486 CRVRCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

by the person who arrested them in the presence of the aggrieved
party, and then dismissed, amidst the jeers and tannts of theif coun-
tiymen.

We shall now leare Mr. Carr for the present, and accompany the

* Albert ' up the river.

The same day that the ' Wilberforce * returned to the sea, the

* Albert ' got up he^ steam and proceeded on her solitary way. Her
, condition was now far from encouraging, no more than six Eunqjcaio

among her crew were fit for duty, and before night even some of
these began to complain : Captain Bird Allen was one of the number.

Mr. Schon says, that the people inhabiting the banks of the river,
with whom he had an opportunity of conversing, expressed thor
satis&ction at the establishment of an English settlement in thdr
neighbourhood, as a protection against their inveterate enemies, the
Fulatahs, (or FeUatahs) and he augured well from this circumstance of
a Mbsionary Station in this quarter.

Several vUlages were visited on the way to E^;a, of which it wm
be sufficient to say that they exhibited the same appearance of filth,
poverty and irregularity as characterized the others which had been
passed ; they were mostly inundated with water, as were the banks on
both sides, as far as could be seen, except a snudl rising patch of
ground here and there. The Attah of Iddah was generaDy acknow-
ledged as the Sovereign authority, to which the several chiefs owed
allegiance, but every where the warlike Fulatahs were held in supreme
terror, none knowing when a visit from them might be expected, to
carry off slaves, and commit other acts of depredation. Paganism is
the general religion, but the Mahommedans make many converts, and
exercise considerable influence wherever they appear ; they are gene-
rally, however, themselves very ignorant, and superstitious ; slavery
existed everywhere, but often in a mitigated form : it was hoped
however, that the king of Iddah would cause his engagements in this
respect, to be felt to the extremity of his dominions. At Gon, a
considerable market town, thirty miles above the confluence, Captom
Trotter set three slaves, two women and one man, at Uberty, according
to the convention which had been entered into with the Attah, to
whom Gori was subject.

Egga was reached on the 28th ; it is about fifty miles above the
junction of the Tschadda, and 320 from the sea. The 'Albert' had
losft two men since she parted from the ' Wilberforce,' and several were
added to the sick list : on her arrival at Egga, her only remaining
engineer was taken iU. Mr. Crowther was sent forward to hold »
conversation with Rogang the Chief of Egga, on the subject of ft
treaty for the abolition of the slave trade, &c. The Chief received
him courteously, but referred him and " the king of the ship," ^



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EGGA. 487

Sumo Sariki (or Hassaman Zaiki) the Fulatah king of Rabba,'*' to
whom he was subject^ for an answer to the message which he delivered.
It was quite evident that here also these Mahommedan usurpers and
despots were held in great dread, for much apprehension was expressed
lest they should suspect any alliance with the white people on the
part of their vassals, in which case the utmost exercise of their
vengeance was to be expected. Mr. Schon thus describes Egga :

" Sept. 29. Egga. This is undoubtedly the largest town we have
yet seen on the banks of the river, the population, may safely be
stated at 7000 or 8000. Nufi is the language of the country, though
many others are extensively spoken and understood.

" The Nufi language is spoken at the confluence of the Tshadda
and Niger, on the left bank of the river all the way to Rabba, and
even beyond it. The Nufi nation must comprise more than 100,000
persons. What a large field for Missionary labours; they are a
harmless, teachable, and industrious people here : and such is their
character at Sierra Leone. The people, not including the strangers
from various other kingdoms, differ in nothing from those below, as
regards their religion. The same mixture of Paganism and Mahom-
edanism is everywhere observed. There are, however, fewer charms,
and other marks of super^tion, to be seen than in the towns below
Iddah.

'' Egga appears to be entirely surrounded by water ; and the swamps
behind it extend to a considerable distance. The whole coimtry may
become perfectly dry in the dry season ; but it is a question whether
the healthiness of the town would be advanced by it. The unanimous
testimony of the Natives is, that the dry season is very unhealthy, and
that fever, small-pox, and dysentery, carry off large numbers, even
of those born and brought up at the place.

** The answer to the question, whether Egga might be considered a
suitable station for European Missionaries, is obvious. It is much
more objectionable than Iddah, because much more unhealthy. Hav-

* A Yttj important commercial town, 150 miles from the conflaenoe, said to be the
iecond city in the Fulatah dominion. It contained at this time a population of 10,000,
gathered from all the anrrounding countries ; bnt Captain Beecroft, who succeeded in
reaching it for the second time in the * Ethiope,^ in the year 1845, found it in ruins and
deserted. There was here a spacious market-pUce divided into suitable departments for
separate articles, and exhibiting an extensire assortment of horses, asses, mules, raw silk,
led caps from Tripoli, cotton, cloth, beads, saddles, and saddle-cloths, of ostrich feathers,
amulets, anklets, looking-glasses, needles, paper, indigo. Senna, ostriches, camels, leopard
skins, bees*- wax, mats, (for which the inhabitants are £eimous) sandals, stained leather,
ivory, and sUves. The town was seated on the slope of a gently rising hill, up which
the houses ascended one above another. The neighbourhood is well peopled and culti-
Tated, with abundance of com and rice, flocks and herds of the finest kind. In the
middle of the river opposite to Rabba lies the island of Zagdshi, which from its extensive
manu&ctnre of various articles in cotton, silk, straw, timber, brass and iron, has been
called the Manchester of Africa.



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488 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

ing now advanoed upward of 300 miles into the interior, in search of
comparatively healthier stations than those along the coast, and being
obliged to sum up my investigations in this single sentence, ' I hftve
seen none/ I feel no small portion of grief and sorrow, especially when
I consider that the people, to all appearance, would he ready to
receive the Gospel of our salvation with open arms and hearts. Thej
are prepared by those means which Grod, in His providence, has often
sent as the forerunners of the Gospel — trials and troubles. They have
suffered oppression and hardships, for many years, from a haughty
people ; and the dehveranoe from the chains of slavery which woold
attend British intercourse with them would be the best recommenda-
tion for the introduction of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the EeUgion which we profess. How shall it be accomplished?
He knows, who reigneth on high, and who has promised to be with
his Church even unto the end of the world. He will find means,
when all human plans are disappointed ; that all the glory may redound
unto Him."

Egga pays an annual tribute to Sumo Sariki of 400^000 cowries ;*
and a still larger sum is annually exacted from the inhabitants, under
various pretences, chiefly as fines for real or alleged offences : they only
paid 50,000 cowries to their own king before the Fulatahs obtained
dominion over them. It was said that Sumo Sariki allowed his
warriors to keep half the number of slaves captured in war, or to
dispose of them to their own advantage, which no doubt stimulates
the ferocious ardor with which they pursue their blood-stained
career.

Mr. Schon describes the heat as peculiarly oppressive here, the
thermometer standing at 88® in his cabin, and 90® on deck ; the river
was now beginning to fall, and the most prejudicial effects to health
were consequently to be anticipated. Captain B. AHea continued
very ill. On the 3rd of October, Captain Trotter was taken iH, an^
next day there was but one officer in the vessel capable of duty.f
Under these melancholy circumstances, no other course was open but
an immediate return to the sea, and orders to this effect were accord-
ingly issued on the morning of the 4th, when such was the extent of
the mischief inflicted by disease, that Doctor Mc William was com-
pelled to take charge of the vessel in addition to his arduous duties of
attending on the sick, while Doctor Stanger acted as engineer, a task
for which he qualified himself chiefly by reading Tredgold's treatise

♦ That \b £2 : lOs., according to the value of cowries in the London market, which h
100 for Ud.
t Mr, Willie, mate, who afterwards died at Fernando Po.



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THB FTJLATAH8. 489

on the steam-engine. At this time there were but two or three of the
European seamen capable of performing their duty.

There being no prospect of reaching Rabba this year, a message was
sent to the king, informing him that the messengers of the Queen of
England were prevented from seeing him at present, partly on account
of illness, and partly on account of the fall of the river : but that they
expected to return next season, and would then deliver the message
from the Queen of England ; that the principal thing for which they
had come, was to prevent the exportation of slaves, and to estabhsh
a friendly and commercial intercourse between Great Britain and the
countries in the vicinity of the River Niger. This message was ac-
companied by a drawing of the vessels composing the Expedition, a
rich velvet robe and a handsomely-bound Arabic Bible. The king was
also informed that the English had formed a settlement at Adda
Kuddu ; and he was intreated not to allow his warriors to come near
that settlement.

Rogang, the chief of Egga, was requested to forward the message
and presents to the king of the Fulatahs, which he promised to do,
and expressed much pleasure and satisfaction at the message, as it
would, he thought, save himself from the suspicion in Sumo Sariki's
mind, of having prejudiced Captain Trotter against him, and pre-
vented the intended visit.

On the return of the ' Albert ' down the river, it was ascertained
that the Attah of Iddah had fulfilled his engagements concerning the
slave-trade, and had published the abolition-law throughout his
dominions. The people expressed their satisfaction at the termination
of the traffic, but said they feared the Fulatahs found the present
system too lucrative to abandon it. These people always exact a high
tribute from the people whom they visit ; if this is promised and paid,
they kill no one, and take no slaves, but in case of non-payment they
indemnify themselves by capturing as slaves, whoever happens to
come into their hands, always carrying away those for whose redemp-
tion they can exact a large sum, which is usually paid by the friends
or relations to purchase them back from the Fulatahs, or those to
whom they have been sold. Every Fuktah is armed with a gun ;
they have besides plenty of swords, spears, and arrows, and a great
number of horses.

European constitutions could have but little chance in a climate which
periodically proves fatal to numbers of the natives themselves. During
the dry season, which was approaching, small-pox, dysentery and fever
make great ravages among ihe people. Dr. McWilliam vaccinated
several, both going up the river and returning ; he likewise taught
them how to perform the operation themselves, providing them with
lancets and lymph, and directing them how to procure the lymph from



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490 CHURCH MISSION IN SIBKRA LBONB.

vesicles formed at the proper period after vaccination. So strong was
their conviction that white men would not injure them, that tliej
submitted themselves to Dr. McWilliam, without the slightest
hesitation.

The state of the * Albert's ' crew was now deplorable : on the 7th
of October the Captain's dark,* in a fit of deliram, jumped overboard,
but was providentally saved from drowning by two black seamen, who
plunged into the water for the purpose. Another of the sufferersf
made the attempt but was secured ; however on the day following,
he too fatally succeeded in his object, and sunk before the boat could
reach him. Mr. Schon's reflections on the distressing scene which
he was called upon to witness, are painfully illustrative of the deadly
errand on which the Niger expedition was sent forth —

''I have endured personal sufferings, family afflictions, sore and
grievous, and witnessed and shared in the triab of others, during my
residence of about eight years in Sierra Leone ; but nothing that I
have hitherto seen or felt, can be compared with our present condition.
Pains of body, distress of mind, weakness, sorrow, sobbing and cry-
ing, surround us on all sides. The healthy, if so they may be called,
are more like walking shadows than men of enterprise. Truly Africa
is an unhealthy country ! When will her redemption draw nigh ? All
human skill is baffled, all human means fidl short."

The confluence was reached on the 9th of October. At the modd
farm, the two Europeans, Messrs. Kingdon and Ansel, who had been
left there with Mr. Carr, who was a West Indian, were found seriously
ill of fever ; in which state they had been since shortly after the de-
parture of the < Albert.' Dr. McWilliam ordered them instantly on
board, and under these circumstances Mr. Schon encouraged Thomas
King, one of the Society's native schoolmasters to remain at the farm,
where there were left twenty-one blacks, men, women, and children,
besides a crew of twelve men belongmg to the Schooner, 'Amelia,'
which lay at anchor opposite the farm. Ralph Moore, an American
emigrant, taken in at Liberia, received charge of the farm establishment ;
and the schooner with her crew was committed to the care of Thomas
King. In the course of the day, nine months' provision for these
people was landed from the steamer, and cowries, sufficient to purchase
three months' more ; it being calculated that so much time must elapse
before they could be visited in the coming year, and there being no
chance of any sufficient supply from local sources, the natives seldom



* Mr. Willmett : be died afterwardi at Fernando Po. The two gallant negroes het«
mentioned, William Gay and Tom Osmond, receiyed the " Honorary silrer medallion **
fiom the Royal Homane Society of London, for their benevolent conduct,
t Mr. William Lodge, second engineer.



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H0FSLB88 CONDITION OF CAPTAIN B. ALLEN. 491

using animal food, but living on yams, onions^ dried fish^ si»ilfl» oorn,
beer made of guinea-corn, &c.*

This day, the 9th, an affecting scene was witnessed on board the
* Albert ;' Captains Trotter and B. Allen, who were both very ill, took
an affectionate leave of each other ; the case of the latter was now
hopeless, although he had frequently rallied throughout his illness ;
but nothing could exceed the heavenly calm which his mind enjoyed
£rom the commencement of the disease. He simply relied on Jesus*
and if he exhibited the least concern it was for others, not for
himself. His heart was fixed — ^believing in the Lord. At His bidding
he had braved pestilence and death, knowing that should He be
pleased to summon him hence, he would be only walking on the
waters to go to Jesus.

The confluence was left on the 10th, and on the 12th the 'Albert'
reached Aboh, where abundance of firewood was found prepared by the
provident kindness of King Obi, who welcomed his white Mends with
cordiality, and reminded Mr. Schon of his promise to send him Chris-
tian teachers.f About midnight of this day, Mr. Eingdon exchanged
a bed of suffering for the presence of his Lord : he was buried by
Mr. Schon in a small village, called Barra, on the main land between
two houses, the natives standing around in silent amazement while the
funeral service was read.

Simon Jonas, the Native Catechist from Sierra Leone, who had
been left at Aboh three weeks before, spoke very fiivourably of the
treatment which he had received from Obi. He had spent his time
partly in making clothes for the king, and teaching others
the art of sewing ; and partly in teaching children English and speak-
ing to old and young about the Christian religion. The number of
children who flocked to him from time to time, he estimated at 2000.
Having had an opportunity of observing the condition of the slaves at
Aboh, who he considered were more numerous than the free people, he

* In Jnne, 1842, Lieut. W. H. Webb, former mate of the * Soudan,' gallantly
Tolunteered, notwitbstanding his previous severe sufierings and imminent peril in the
Expedition, to reascend the Niger in the * Wilberforce,' with a crew of eight white
officers including himself, and forty-six Kroomen, for the purpose of visiting the model-
form and the people left there the year before. Information had already been received
that Mr Carr, while sailing up the Brass River with his servant, on his return from
Fernando Po, had disappeared in some unaccountable way, the supposition being that
he had been murdered for the sake of his luggage. At the farm all was disorganization,
Thomas King being the only person who seems to have conducted himself properly.
Under these painful circumstances, Mr. Webb surrendered the settlement to the native
chie&, and paid off the settlers.

+ " Obi's prompt assistance to us on this occasion,'* says Dr. Mc William," was of the
highest importance. He is decidedly a fine character, and assuredly did not discredit the
opinion we had already formed of him. He was melted with pity when he saw the cap-
tain sick in the cabin."



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492 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA. LEONE.

said they were treated with kindness and humanity, and enjoyed
many privileges, with the power, hy their own industry of emancipating
ihemselyes. The commerce of Ahoh is principally with the people from
Bonny, who come up for palm-oil, and pay in exchange chiefly rum,
guns, and powder.

Ahoh was left behind on the Idth, and about two o'clock, p. m. the
approach of a steamer was announced, and it was supposed that the
' Soudan ' was returning, but it proved not to be that vessel, but the
' Ethiope/ Captain Beecroft, which had been sent from Fernando Po
in search of the * Albert.' It appeared that the owner of the
'Ethiope,' Mr. Jamieson, merchant of Liverpool, with the generosity
which marks the character of British gentlemen, had sent out instruc-
tions to the shipmasters in his employ, to render all the assistance in
their power to the officers and crews of the Niger expedition. When
therefore the 'Ethiope ' made her appearance at Fernando Po on the
6th of October, her commander, Mr. Beecroft, on learning from
Captain William Allen the probable distress of the ' Albert,' gallantly
turned his steamer's head towards the Niger, with an intent to ascend
in search of that vessel, and render every assistance which she might
require, When the steamers met, Captain Beecroft came on board
the ' Albert' with his first engineer ; and both vessels arrived in safety
at the mouth of the river on the 1 4th, and crossed the bar on the 16th,
Captain Beecroft being on board the ' Albert, ' and contributing not a
little by his presence and skilly through Gfod's assistance, to the security
of the disabled crew.

On the 17th the ' Albert * reached Fernando Po, and on the follow-
ing day, arrangements having been previously made by the medical
men, twenty-eight invalids were carried on shore. One of them, Mr.
Willie, mate of the ' Albert ' died in the evening. Captain Trotter
was far advanced towards convalescence, but poor Captain Bird Allen
was fast sinking into the grave. He lingered until the 25th, and
then resigned his happy spirit into the hands of Him who gave it.

"Of him," wrote Mr. Schdn, "it can be said with perfect truth
* to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' His patience under sufferings,
his resignation to the will of God, and his firm but humble assurance
of his acceptance with God through Jesus Christ, made his position
truly amiable, and demanded from all who witnessed him the sincere
prayer 'Let my last end be like his!' His humility, his fidth in
Gkxi's word, his ' love unfeigned,' his tender concern for every one in the
expedition, and especially for his companions in tribulation, his mild
and charitable judgment in all things, will, I trust, be ever before my
eyes, as worthy of imitation."

Of the twenty-eight invalids brought on shore besides Captain Allen
and Mr. Willie, the following officers and seaman finished their mortal



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EXTENT OP MORTALITY. 493

career at Fernando Po : — Mr. H. Stenhoosey second lieutenant of the
• Albert* — Mr. Woodhouse, assistant sui^eon of do. — Mr. J. A. Will-
mett, clerk of do. — Robert Milward, purser's steward of do. — J. McClin-
tock, stoker, and Morgan Kingston, mariner, both of the ' Albert.' Pe-
ter Fitzgerald, stoker of the ' Wilberforce ' — Mr. H, C. CoUman, assis-
tant surgeon of the * Soudan' — and Christopher Bigley, stoker of do.*
The number of deaths which occurred during the expedition hj
casualties and disease was 53 ; of which three only were those of
colored persons, and these did not die of the " River Feyer," nor did
eight of the remaining whites. But, as the number of white men com-
posing the crews of the several vessels, was, it will be remembered, 145 ;
it thus appears that nearlj one third perished by pestilence in this phi-
lanthropic attempt ; f to engage in which, let it be well remembered,
those brave men were neither bribed, compelled, nor entrapped, but they



Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 61 of 73)