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time, indeed, before the crash came; but it was foreseen, foreknown, its place in the score fatally provided years ago by a composer whose deafness would have been much less afflicting to him in these days than it was in his own. The Attraction, his opportunity arriving, justified expectancy to the full. From the time when the thumping began legitimately, his action was the action of a man who would shampoo an unwilling tiger. At every stroke the artist's head was jerked forward from the second vertebra (vertebra dentata, the pivot-bone, you know), so violently did he throw himself upon the keyboard; and when dislocation seemed possible in consequence, the music which might have soothed and compensated our alarms was а mere ill-mixed noise of percussion and reverberation. The thump was more audible than the note.

"But it pleased. The audience applauded vehemently, and again applauded and again. But I-I could have cried for

pity of the violins, and for the 'cello's sake and my own (for we are lovers) could have murdered the concert grand. Yet I would not have you think me contemptuous of the pleasure of the audience. It was sincere and improving in every way; and I hope to die in the opinion that the sensitive taste which is also supercilious is in the first place stupid, in the second place vulgar, in the third inhuman. We rise upon the stepping-stones of our dead selves to higher things.' It is the hammerer of concert grands, not even the grand itself, that really offends, and what cares he for music, or anything but marvellous execution? If he would only make it all léger-demain!

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"But perhaps if I had not gone to the New Gallery that morning, or if the Bath Club had been subsequently visited

However, it is useless to follow out these speculations, and herewith concludes-Yours very faithfully,




IT is a mark of the nature of the British empire, and of the conditions under which we hold it, that hardly a month passes, certainly never so much as half a year, but some place which the average well-educated person cannot even find on the map leaps into sudden publicity, and is on every newspaper placard and in every one's mouth. Yesterday they were unknown, to-morrow probably they will be forgotten. Fashoda made a somewhat deeper impression; yet for a week or so last year eyes were fixed on Borgu and Mossi just as keenly as they were later on the Bahr-el-Ghazal-and with good reason, for there was more serious danger of a conflict over the Niger than ever arose over the Nile. Now the strain has been forgotten the men out there who were doing the empire's work on its frontiers are no longer actors before a great theatre; but the work goes on all the same, and it is just as well to set on record what was done and is being done.

The Convention signed last July in Paris between Great Britain and France ended suddenly and summarily a chapter of history which has not yet been written the story of French aggressions on territories claimed by us in West Africa, and of our too-long-deferred resistance to those aggressions. The encroachment proceeded steadily


from the Berlin Conference in

1884-85. Within ten years from that date the French, working south and south-east from Senegambia and the Upper Niger, had interposed themselves between the protectorate of Sierra Leone and the Niger so completely that there was nothing to be done but fix a frontier by joint commission, which left that colony practically resourceless; and they were pushing with feverish activity into the regions north of the Gold Coast. In the meanwhile Dahomey, conquered in 1890, had become another base, and expeditions from it were moving northward. Thus in the acute period of the struggle the French were making their way southeast from their posts of Ségu and Bandiagara in the French Sudan, and north and northwest from Carnotville in Upper Dahomey. By 1896 their forces had joined hands behind the Gold Coast, and were striving to retrench as far as possible the hinterlands of that colony, and of German Togoland, while at the same time they endeavoured to make themselves masters of the west bank of the Niger and secure a port on its waters accessible direct from the sea. Thus there were two distinct points of friction between English and French: first, the hinterland of the Gold Coast (Mossi, 2 R

Gurunsi, and the surrounding countries); and secondly, Borgu, which is part of the natural hinterland of Lagos. The French forces working from the French Sudan and from Dahomey were, when matters came to a critical juncture, in touch with each other as well as with their respective bases; our forces resisting them, almost non-existent at first, were up to the end disconnected. The object of this paper is to relate what took place during the final phase of the struggle in Borgu, part of the territory held by the Royal Niger Company. The story of the resistance offered in the hinterland of our Crown Colony of the Gold Coast is similar, but quite distinct. It constitutes by itself another chapter of history not yet written, but which we hope to write as soon as the facts are available.

In 1894 Commandant Toutée started on a voyage, professedly of private exploration, and applied to the Royal Niger Company for leave to pass through territories under their jurisdiction; but as he was taking with him a considerable armed force, this request was refused. Accordingly he set out from Porto Novo on the Dahomey coast, and from Carnotville made his way north east through the Bariba country, till he struck the Niger opposite Badjibo, a point about midway between Bussa and Jebba. Here he established a camp and fortified a position which he called Fort d'Arenberg. From this point it is possible to navigate to the sea, though not safe; no

vessel is insured beyond Jebba. Above Badjibo the river is practically unnavigable for more than 500 miles. In the meantime a strong expedition, under Commandant Decœur, had been despatched in July 1894 from Dahomey northward, having for its main objects to secure a treaty with the chief of Gurma, a country lying to the north of Borgu and Togoland, thus cutting the Germans off from the Niger; and to obtain treaties with the king of Nikki, which, the French asserted, was the capital of Borgu. Borgu, comprising the riverine inhabitants of the right bank of the Niger from Illo southward to near Jebba, would, it was thought, give them a port on the navigable waters of the Lower Niger.

Now the Royal Niger Company claimed both these countries, Gurma and Borgu. They claimed Gurma in virtue of treaty rights on the ground that it was a province of Gando, with which country they had a treaty. Moreover, Gando is itself a fief of the Sultanate of Sokoto, and by the convention of 1890 the Company had rights over all appanages of Sokoto. They claimed Borgu, first, on the ground that the Say-Barrua line, fixed in 1890, gave to Great Britain all included by a line drawn from Say south to the ninth parallel, up to which the frontiers were delimited from the coast; and secondly, on the ground that the king of Bussa alleged himself to be sovereign of all Borgu, and with this king they had concluded a treaty in 1890 and paid him a subsidy.

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But as the French asserted that Nikki, not Bussa, was the capital of Borgu, it was thought advisable to despatch Captain Lugard to secure a treaty with that town.


Decoeur's expedition did not make rapid progress. Borgu is a difficult country; its inhabitants, the Baribas, are a warlike, predatory people, whose chief weapon is the poisoned arrow. According to Mockler Ferryman, they came originally from Northern Africa, and profess not to be pagans, but to worship "Kisra, a Jew." At all events, their country was explored, and they had beaten back the wave of Fulah conquest which, sweeping over all the countries between Lake Tchad and the Niger, had surged across the river into Gurma and Illórin, Borgu's neighbours. Consequently, alConsequently, although Decœur left Dahomey before Captain Lugard sailed from England, the English officer, proceeding by water to Jebba, succeeded in organising a force, and reaching Nikki before the French. Marching by way of Kiama, he entered Nikki, and concluded a treaty there on November 10, 1894, then passed on southward to secure the Company's rights in Okuta and Ilesha. Five days later the French came on the scene. M. Ballot, governor of Dahomey, hearing of the English mission, had sent up two other expeditions. That under M. Alby was the first to arrive; M. Decœur joined him with a strong force (whereas Captain Lugard had been accompanied only by twenty-four

men with arms, all recruits), insisted that the king of Nikki should accept the French flag, and wrote home to say that a treaty had been concluded on November 26, making no mention of Captain Lugard. Then the various French exploring parties pushed on hastily to the north, to anticipate Dr Grüner and Lieutenant von Karnap, who were on a similar errand on behalf of Germany. Flags of both colours were distributed freely through the country, and as the signing of each treaty was accompanied by a handsome gratuity, some chiefs did a profitable trade in the business. The ruler of Sansanné Mango accepted three within a space of six months.

So ended in 1895 the first "race for Borgu," in which European expeditions hunted treaties from negro chiefs. The result was somewhat to discredit all such treaties, but to strengthen the Niger Company's claim to Borgu. Whether Nikki or Bussa was the capital of Borgu might be a matter of opinion; but in each place the Company had a prior claim. The French practically recognised this by shifting their ground and attempting to secure the country by what was called "effective occupation," but in reality was open usurpation.

In the end of 1896 two expeditions were organised by M. Ballot in Dahomey: one under Lieutenant Bretonnet, whose object was Borgu and the navigable Niger; the other, under Captains Baud and Vermeersch, which was directed to interpose

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