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each cheek from the temples to the chin. They are an agricultural people, and inhabit a fertile country of great extent.
The town of Badagry, where considerable trade has been carried on by the slave dealers, is placed within three miles of the sea on the north bank of the lake or river that descends from Ardrah to Lagos, and is nearly equi-distant from those places. Its trade at one period was very extensive, for the customs exacted there were trifling both as it respected the inland traders and Europeans, which caused many of them to give it a preference to Lagos, as a trading station where the duties were exorbitant. It was also more conveniently situated for communicating with the shipping than Ardrah, and began to absorb a large portion of the trade of both places. But unfortunately it had not power to protect itself from the jealousy of those rival trading towns, who conspired its ruin, and soon effected it, by attacking it with a powerful
army and despoiling the inhabitants of al their property.
The town of Lagos is built on a bank or island, which appears to have been raised from Cradoo lake, by the eddies, after the sea and periodical rains had broken down the boundary which separated it from the ocean. The island is of inconsiderable size, about four miles from the sea, and a foot only above the level of the lake at high water, which is so shallow that boats of only ten or fifteen tons burthen can approach the town. An active traffic in slaves was carried on at this place, particularly after Ardrah was deserted by the French traders.
It has always been the policy of the Lagos people, like those of Bonny, to be themselves the traders and not brokers. They therefore go in their canoes to Ardrah and Badagry, and to the towns situated at the NE. extremity of Cradoo lake, where they purchase slaves, Jaboo cloth, and such articles as are required for domestic consumption.
The necessaries of life are here extremely abundant and cheap, and are brought chiefly from the country or northern margin of Cradoo lake, which communicates with Jaboo, a very fertile kingdom, and inhabited by an agricultural and manufacturing people.
It is these people who send so much cloth to Lagos and Ardrah, which the Portuguese traders from the Brazils purchase for that market, and which is held there in much estimation by the black population; probably, not only on account of its durability, but because it is manufactured in a country which gave many of them, or their parents, birth, as the Portuguese have always carried on an extremely active trade in slaves at Wydah, Ardrah, and Lagos.
The horrid custom of impaling alive a young female, to propitiate the favour of the goddess presiding over the rainy season, that she may fill the horn of plenty, is practised here annually. The immolation of this
victim to superstitious usage takes place soon after the vernal equinox; and along with her are sacrificed sheep and goats which, together with yams, heads of maize, and plantains, are hung on stakes on each side of her. Females destined thus to be destroyed, are brought up for the express purpose in the king's or caboceer's seraglio; and it is said, that their minds have previously been so powerfully wrought upon by the fetiche men, that they proceed to the place of execution with as much cheerfulness as those infatuated Hindoo women who are burnt with their husbands. One was impaled while I was at Lagos, but of course I did not witness the ceremony. I passed by where the lifeless body still remained on the stake a few days afterwards.
Male dogs are banished to the towns opposite to Lagos; for if any are caught there, they are immediately strangled, split, and trimmed like sheep, and hung up at the
door of some great man, where rows of the putrid carcases of their canine brethren are often to be seen. They are fetiche, and intended to countervail the machinations of the evil spirit.
At the eastern extremity of the town, there are a few large trees, which are covered with the heads of malefactors. The skulls are nailed to the trunks and large limbs, and present a very appalling spectacle.
The town swarms with water rats from the lake, which burrow in the ground, and are so audacious that they not unfrequently make their appearance under the dinnertable while the guests remain sitting at it.
The mouth of the river is very shallow and dangerous, and many boats belonging to English vessels, with their crews and cargoes, have been lost in entering it. The French, more prudent, always land their goods from canoes, upon the beach to the eastward of the river's mouth, and