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between the German hinterland addition to repeated breaches and the Niger. Lieutenant of their treaties, had endeavBretonnet left Carnotville on oured to bring about a general December 28, 1896, with three rising against the Company. white officers, 100 Senegalese, They had solicited help from and a number of porters. It the king of Bussa; yet he had not only refused it, but had informed the Company of the plot. At this time diplomacy was still slowly endeavouring to solve the problem presented by the conflicting treaty claims in Borgu, and the French Government represented represented to the English that if the Niger Company had a considerable force on foot, they would be tempted to strengthen their claims by going in and occupying Nikki. Lord Salisbury's Government accordingly exacted from Sir George Goldie a pledge that he would not undertake any operations north of Jebba, which is the head of the navigable Niger. Nikki is well to the north of this point, and Bida and Illórin, the objectives of the expedition, were well to the south of it; and the pledge was accordingly given. Naturally it was taken as binding both sides to abide by the status quo. But just as the brilliant campaign against the Fulahs was practically decided by the victory at Bida on January 29, 1897, news came that a French expedition was at Illo, and shortly after a letter from the king of Bussa reached Sir George Goldie, stating that his capital had been occupied, and asking for assistance. In face of the pledge given to Government, however, nothing could be done by the Company, though they probably never expected that Lord Salisbury
is noticeable that he did not advance direct to Nikki and claim the benefit of the treaty: on the contrary, he turned west from Paraku and made a circuit to avoid what was theoretically a friendly town. He established posts at Bori, Bouay, and, after some skirmishing on the road, at Kandi. From Kandi he marched to Illo on the Niger, thence down-stream to Bussa, which he entered by his own account, at the king's invitation-on February 5, 1897. Now a great deal had happened since Captain Lugard went out to Borgu in 1894. The Niger Company had complained of the act of aggression committed by Captain Toutée in occupying Fort d'Arenberg, and Lord Rosebery had said definitely that the place must be evacuated. France yielded, and Fort d'Arenberg became Fort Goldie. Further, it was notified to France that Bussa was under British protection, and an announcement to that effect was made in the 'London Gazette' in June 1895 In the face of this, Lieutenant Bretonnet's entry into the town was no less than an act of war, and the Niger Company would have instantly repelled the aggression, but their hands were tied. In the latter part of 1896 it had been found necessary to organise a force to punish the Fulah Emirs of Nupe and Illórin, who, in
would continue to negotiate without insisting, as a preliminary to all discussion, upon the evacuation of a town over which a previous Government had expressly declared a protectorate. Lieutenant Bretonnet remained therefore in possession of Bussa, though not in peace. He was hotly attacked by the natives; but his Senegalese fought, as they always do, admirably, and he not only held his ground but extended his conquest. After considerable bloodshed he took Wawa, a town south of Bussa, and was met there by envoys from Kiama, where also he hoisted the tricolour. But the country, though nominally occupied, was not subdued up to July: Lieutenant Bretonnet was fighting continuously against what were described as "rebellions" in the different towns that had courted his alliance. Kishi, which lies on the direct road between Carnotville and Kiama, was occupied; but Nikki was still left untouched.
In the meantime the BaudVermeersch expedition, which had set out also in the end of 1896, had been even more fortunate than M. Bretonnet. They reached Gurma without difficulty, and had the good fortune to find the king coping Iwith a rebellion. In return for their help, which was effectually given, he placed all Gurma under French protection: this success bore fruit in the Franco-German agreement of July 1897, by which Germany resigned all her claims to a hinterland reaching to the Niger. Moving westward,
Captain Baud got into touch with Lieutenants Voulet and Chanoine, who were coming from Wagadugu: this junction of French forces despatched from countries so remote as the French Sudan and Dahomey impressed the natives considerably, and brought levies of auxiliaries flocking in. Gurma was occupied in force, and the Voulet Chanoine expedition turned westward again, leaving Captains Baud and Vermeersch to hold their acquisition. But in August the whole Bariba country rose against the Frenchmen. Lieutenant Bretonnet's garrisons had to fall back on his main force; and reinforcements were sent up from Carnotville under Captain Ganier, who, as senior, took command at Paraku, assisted by M. Vermeersch. By November they were strong enough to advance upon the heart of the resistance, and after a battle fought somewhat to the south, on November 6 they entered Nikki, this time as victors, and hoisted the flag there on December 10, and immediately opened communication with M. Bretonnet at Bussa. In the meanwhile Captain Baud, left in charge of Gurma, had struck across from Fada-N'Gurma to Say, where he met an outpost of M. Destenave's force from the French Sudan. He then proceeded to march upon Illo, whence Lieutenant Bretonnet's original post had been withdrawn. Marching south from this, he was surrounded by the Baribas; but after a severe fight he succeeded in routing them, and the country was
terrorised into submission. been declared a protectorate.
Thus by December 10, 1897, when Commandant Ricour came to take command as Governor of Upper Dahomey, the whole of Borgu as well as Gurma were in reality effectively occupied. Setting the question of international morality apart, the French officers had done their work extraordinarily well. Their troops took their supplies by force and cost nothing to keep; and they had very few of them. Three companies of Senegalese, one of Hausas hastily levied in the latter part of 1897, and two of the Dahomey police, made up the whole force at M. Ricour's disposal. In order to hold such a country with such a force, a reign of terror was imperative, and it was instituted. The soldiers were dotted about in the towns and villages in groups of half-a-dozen or less, and a white officer or noncommissioned officer went the rounds in perfect security. The Baribas were thoroughly cowed; they hated, but they were afraid. It was very different
the method in which we make war against savages, sending large expeditions and paying fair or even at times excessive prices for such goods as the natives choose to supply; but of its own kind it was an excellent piece of work.
Yet from the point of view of the British the whole thing simply amounted to this. France had occupied by force Borgu, a country which was British by prior treaty and by the 1890 agreement with France, and part, if not all, of which had
The recognition of the Niger Company's treaties by the Foreign Office had sealed the acquisition to the Company under the authority of her Majesty's Government. Now the Company could not declare war upon France, and it appealed to Lord Salisbury to redress such violent usurpation of its rights. Protests lodged by him in Paris produced no practical result. Moreover, the frontier between Dahomey and the hinterland of Lagos had been delimited by joint agreement from the coast up to the ninth parallel. But from the middle of 1897 the French, entirely disregarding this arrangement, had begun to cross our frontier, striking to the east from a point considerably south of Carnotville, and arranged a line of communication with Bussa through Saki and Kishi. Lieut.-Colonel M‘Callum, Governor of Lagos, at once reported this act of trespass, and was instructed to request the French to withdraw. On September 10 a French party under Lieutenant Brôt attempted to capture Ilesha, but were repulsed, and had to fall back on Saki; and on the 24th of that month, in consequence of Colonel M'Callum's prompt action, was obliged to evacuate Saki, which was at once occupied by men of the Lagos Hausa Force. later Lieutenant Neale, with a detachment of the same body, occupied Igboho, on the line to Kishi. In the meantime three companies of the West India Regiment, under Lieut.
A few days
Colonel Allen, had been ordered Yorubas, half of Hausas; and
from Sierra Leone to Lagos, and by November 15 companies were at Saki. But it was thought necessary, since diplomacy proved ineffectual, to make a further show of force in West Africa. In October 1897 Colonel Lugard was recalled from South Africa to organise a force (to be called the West African Frontier Force) which should have its headquarters in Nigeria.
The force which it was proposed to raise amounted practically to a brigade. It was to consist of two very strong battalions of infantry, each containing 1200 men, with twentynine officers and forty-four non-commissioned officers. To each battalion was affiliated
field - hospital, with three doctors and a nursing staff of six non-commissioned officers from the Army Medical Corps. There was also to be a base hospital at Lokoja, with two doctors and three nurses, selected from the staff at Guy's. The artillery consisted of three batteries, two of seven-pounders, one of twelve-pounders. There was also a transport department, an accounts department, and one engineer company. A small headquarter staff, consisting of the Commissioner and Commandant, his second in command, and an aide-de-camp, made up the whole. The second in command was Colonel Willcocks, D.S.O., who was telegraphed for before he had fairly returned from the Tochi Valley campaign on the N.W. frontier of India—the eighth on which he had seen service. Each battalion was to consist half of
as the Yorubas were the easier to get, recruiting began at Ibádan. On November 27. Lieut. - Colonel Pilcher sailed from London to raise the 1st battalion, taking with him his European staff, which consisted of one captain (commander), two subalterns, and five noncommissioned officers to each of the eight companies of which the battalion was to be composed. The nucleus of this battalion, which had been already recruited by Captains Creighton and Taubman Goldie at Ibadan, was sent to Lokoja, whither Lieut.-Colonel Pilcher proceeded direct by steamer. Lieut.-Colonel Fitzgerald, commanding the 2nd battalion, arrived at Lagos early in February, and proceeded to Ibádan, where he began recruiting Yorubas. Early in March 1898, Colonel Lugard left London to take command of all the forces in or near Borgu, including the detachments of the Lagos Constabulary and the West India Regiment, as well as a large part of the Niger Company's troops and and the new levies. Touching at Lagos, he went on to Lokoja, where were the headquarters of the 1st battalion the officers were busily engaged in drilling and recruiting. He himself proceeded to Jebba, and sent word to Colonel Fitzgerald to march across country from Ibádan to that point, which became now the general headquarters, and everything except the 1st battalion was moved up there.
It was the end of April before the headquarters were es
tablished at Jebba, and the situation had in the meantime become exceedingly strained. The Niger Company claimed Borgu; the French had issued a decree declaring that Borgu was now part of Upper Dahomey. The French, as has been seen, held the country; but the British troops, under Colonel M'Callum, had been actively pushing up from the south. On December 4, Lieutenant Turner, R.E., with twelve non-commissioned officers and sappers of his corps, left England for Lagos, to carry a telegraph wire through the hinterland of Lagos and Illórin to Jebba, in order to put the officers acting in this debateable land into direct communication with their Government. On December 12, the Hausas, under Major Ewart, occupied Ilesha, from which the French had been repulsed some months earlier; and on Christmas Day 100 Hausas, with four guns, left Saki to march on Okuta, a town of Borgu. Mr Rohrweger, a district commissioner of Lagos, who acted throughout this whole affair as politi cal agent, reported on January 15 that Okuta had been occupied. In the meanwhile preparation was being made for the telegraph wire as far as Saki, and by February 22 the wire was actually brought up to that point, and Governor M'Callum moved with it. His presence at the front was urgently necessary, because public feeling in England had been roused to fever pitch. Rohrweger had succeeded in occupying a couple more towns on the line between Okuta and
Kiama, and on February 6 a detachment of Hausas, under a non-commissioned officer, had hoisted the flag in Borea, some thirty-five miles south-east of Nikki. This village became suddenly notable throughout Europe, for on February 19 Mr Chamberlain read to the House of Commons two telegrams, one of which stated that thirty Senegalese had come to Borea, and had ordered the British post there to haul down the unionjack.
The demand was refused, and the Senegalese camped a little distance off. The other telegram related a similar incident at Wa, on the Gold Coast. In both of these regions parties of troops belonging to the rival nations were interspersed like men on a chessboard, and it was plain that the tension on the spot must be very great. It was particularly galling to the Frenchmen, because, while England merely asserted a protectorate these regions, on the French system whatever was part of a colony was part of France : Borgu was part of Upper Dahomey, and Lieutenant Bretonnet and the rest were defending, as they considered, the frontier of their country, just as much as if they had been, for instance, in Algeria.
Neither the Wa incident nor that of Borea had in itself any particular importance; but the manner in which they were announced, and the spirit in which the announcement was received by the country, were significant. The English continued their advance in Borgu wherever it was possible without an actual collision, which