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Fort (where Cha Cha, the Chief Slaver, resides) to the beach in one day, and from thence put on board one of the Brigs on the following night. One Corvette had sailed a few days before our arrival with upwards of 800 on board. Two of the Corvettes were chiefly manned with American Sailors, but showed no Flag; the other was Spanish (the Minerva.) She came to Accra when I was there, and took on board 150 in one night, from Accra, the Caboceer of the Dutch Town. I afterwards saw 125 Slaves in one house, all in irons, sitting in 3 rows upon the floor. These belonged to 2 French Schooners, that were cruizing from Popoe to Accra for a Cargo. With the exception of Half Cape Lahoo, from whence these have been sent, about the month of August last, (about 130,) I have great reason to believe that the Traffick in Slaves has been entirely discontinued from the Gold Coast. We saw several French, Portuguese and Dutch, going down to Whydah and the Bigbt of Biafra. I went on board four that seemed furnished with every thing indicating their destination to be for Slaves. At Trade Town we met a French Brig and Schooner, the Brig direct from Nantes with a Cargo of 400; the Captain had his goods on shore, and was purchasing his Cargo at the Slave-house on the Beach, not daring, as usual, to trust King Wise at his Town in the Bush. However, His Majesty had, the morning I went up to his Town brought in 35 prisoners, whom his People had caught the evening before in a small Town in the Interior, and who were intended for the Vessel. At Cape Mesurado, the Brig Adolphe, direct from St. Maloes, liad nearly completed her Cargo for 380. The Captain hesitated not to assure me that he cared not for British Cruizers, and that he should be on the Coast again in 5 months. At the Gallinas we saw another Schooner that was to sail in 3 days, with 250.
I believe the following rough Statement may not be considered as overrated, at least it is the best guess I can give you from comparing the different Accounts, of which I took Notes at the time of receiving them. Say, since July 1820 to the end of February, so far as regards the windward Coast, and from July to November, to leeward of Cape Coast; viz.
4 Schooners.........for Gallinas.......... at 300......... 1,200
900 5 ditto ditto........for Trade Town.....
1,500 4 Vessels.... .for Accra......
1,200 2 ditto....... ..for Quitah ............ 400
800 6 ditto........ .....for Popoe
2,400 5 Corvettes ....for Whydah
3,500 6 Brigs ...... ....for ditto...... 500
3,000 8 Schooners.... ..for ditto....... 300
.30 ditto..... ......... 10,500
There are seldom less than 12 to 15 Vessels in Bonny River at a time, and from 20 to 25 in Calabar. Of the state of the Trade to the Southward of the Line, I have no particular information, and cannot give any opinion. The Slaves furnished at Lagos and Porto Nova are chiefly from Eyes, and are from the North Bank of the Niger, from Sego to Ahoussa.
Referring to your third enquiry, I would observe, that the effects of the restrictions of the Treaties of Abolition are only visible from the Gold Coast to Sierra Leone, as the means at present possessed by the British Cruizers are not at all sufficient to reach the Slavers that frequent the large Rivers in the Bight of Benin and Biafra; and at Whydah and Popoe the Trade is still carried on with boldness and impunity. On the Windward Coast, however, where they still continue the Traffick, the Natives engaged in it are timid, and fearful o some dreadful visitation from the British Cruizers. The more in telligent of the Traders at the Gallinas, Mesurado and Trade Town are also impressed with the belief that the British and American Men of-War will, in the course of 2 more Years, be enabled effectually ti abolish the Trade at all those Places. The propriety of employing an increase of Force in this Service, and that Force of a different descrip tion from the present, has, I believe, already been represented to Go vernment through the proper Channels; and if the suggestions mad are followed, I have little doubt but that the Windward Coast woul be kept clear, and a good account given of the Slavers in the Bight Biafra.
It is with pleasure I offer a few remarks upon your fourth and fift enquiries, as from my knowledge of those parts of the Coast to whic those enquiries principally relate, and from the intercourse I had wit the Natives, I am enabled to speak with a confidence which, to thos who have not had the same opportunities of observation, might appe: much too sanguine. Along the whole range of Coast where the restrictions
may sidered as having been effective (that is, from Accra to Trade Town industrious habits are extending their beneficial influence amongst t] Inhabitants; a greater attention to agricultural and commercial pu suits is evidently increasing; and these pursuits want only encourag ment to render them productive of extensive gain to the Merchan
and to make them the means of supplying the increasing wants of the Natives. As a proof that on the total abolition of the Traffick in Slaves, the Africans would, in the course of a short time, turn their attention to other pursuits, I would refer you to the fact, that though, previous to the abolition, the Inhabitants of the Gold Coast actually purchased palm oil from the Lago and Benín Traders, for domestic purposes, yet, in the course of the last 12 months, there were shipped from the same Country above 500 tons of that commodity.
The establishment of a Colonial Government, with the consequent extension of the benefits of British Laws, and the regular administration of justice, to the Fantee and Adanessee People on the Gold Coast, is an event much to be desired by every benevolent friend of Africa. It would completely prevent any Slaves from being carried off the Coast from Cape Lahoo to the Rio Volta. The security and protection afforded to Persons and property, the comparative salubrity of the climate, the openness of the Country, and a soil peculiarly adapted to the cultivation of various articles of tropical produce of extensive consumption in the European markets, together with the low price of labour, would, I conceive, encourage Settlers from home with other than merely commercial views. Their success would encourage the Natives to the employing of their numerous domestic Slaves in similar objects, which is what is chiefly wanted, to lead to the rapid civilization and improvement of the African People.
To accelerate this improvement, however, not only the fostering hand of Government, but the exertion of those enlightened friends of Africa, who have for so many Years, with unremitting assiduity, laboured for her benefit, is absolutely necessary. It is necessary that those who wish well to her interests should take every opportunity of directing the attention of His Majesty's Ministers to the best means of extending British influence and protection to those parts of the Coast where the Slave-trade has been discontinued; to press upon them the expediency of affording every possible facility to those whom the pursuits of business may induce to establish settlements with the views of cultivation; and most essentially to impress on their minds the great importance of immediately directing the benevolent exertions of the National School and Missionary Society, particularly the former, to those Parts where they would meet with a welcome reception. Along the whole Coast from the Kroo Country as far as Appollonia, the Inhabitants are all anxious to cultivate a close and increased connexion with the English, and the Chief Men desirous that their sons should be taught to read and write, or, as they express it, " to s'ane book all the same as white man.” In corroboration, and as an evidence of the existence of this spirit, I have only to acquaint you that the Caboceers of Accra and of Cape Lahoo sent their sons with me to this place to be educated, and had I been aware that the object would have been so liberally met by the Government here, I could have brought two or three of the Chiefs' Sons from every Town on the Coast where I am known. I shall, probably, early in September, bring up 10 or 12 more, to be placed at School here for 2 or 3 years. By so doing, good, I know, will be produced, which may eventually lead to consequences important and beneficial.
It certainly would be no discredit to the Colony of Sierra Leone, which has already deserved well of our Country, to be in after-times considered as the sacred fountain, originating and supplying those streams of knowledge and civilization which the enlightened philanthropist confidently anticipates shall in time overspread this great, though hitherto much neglected, Country.
That the produce of the Countries lying between the River Sierra Leone and Whydah, (the Countries farther to the south ward not having come under my own observation, I do not presume to give an opinion respecting them) would, in the space of a few Years, by proper encouragement, lay the foundation of an extensive legitimate commerce, fully equivalent to the Slave-trade, I think admits not a doubt.
On the establishment of a new Government at Cape Coast, a more active Commercial Intercourse between this Colony and that Settlement, it is probable, will be carried on; and it ought to be an object with both Governments to encourage the Chiefs along the whole Coast to visit both Establishments, to send their Children and People to them to learn mercantile Trades, &c. as well as “to s'ane book.” I can assure you, that they only want such opportunities, and a recommendation of them by those in whom they have confidence, to embrace them with alacrity. But the chief intercourse that the Natives have had with White Men, has been with the Traders, who come to Africa direct from England, run down the Coast, purchase what the Natives bring to them, and return home, in most cases, after they have seen the Coast but 3 or 4 times; consequently they have little opportunity, and perhaps less inclination, to point out any thing to the Natives which might tend to enlighten or to improve them. The Countries from the Kroo Country to Bereby, merit the
particular attention of Government, as the Inhabitants are a fine and industrious race of People, most of them speaking English, and desirous that Englishmen should settle among them. The landing for boats is good at Grand Sisters, Gansway, and Cape Palmas; at this latter place, there is an excellent Harbour and good anchorage. The establishment of a British Colony at Cape Palmas would be a great point gained towards the general object. The Country is rich and not unhealthy, and produces pepper, gums, ivory, fine timber, and a supply of rice sufficient to direct the views of the West India interest hither, instead of to our rivals on the other side of the Atlantic.
The River Cavally has a long course from the Interior, and affords the means of
extensive inland Navigation. Bereby is important on account of the large quantity of ivory brought from the Interior; there is also excellent anchorage close in shore, and good and protected landing for boats, in the roughest weather. From St. Andrews to Appollonia the Country is rich in the productions of the soil, but it might be rendered ten times more so, by cultivating a more intimate and friendly connexion with the Inhabitants. The Cape Lahoo, Grand Bassa, and Assignee Rivers, facilitate the communication of the Traders with remote Countries in the Interior, even to those on the banks of the Niger, from whence they bring large quantities of gold and ivory; and, if encouraged, many other productions of the Interior would find their way to the Coast. This part of the Coast is particularly worthy of attention, from its being the entrepôt of the whole of those Countries which constituted the Western Provinces of the Ashantee Empire, but which, by the defeat of the King of Ashantee by the Bontoohoos last year, are now become independent of that Government.
I have thus laid before you what I know of the present state of the Slave-trade, and as far as my information enabled me, answered your enquiries. If I have introduced any observations which you may consider tedious and inapplicable, or offered opinions that may be deemed impertinent, I beg you will attribute them to the ardent desire that I feel to give every information on the subject, to those who have the means to recommend with effect, whatever measures may be most conducive to the amelioration and civilization of the African People, and consequently beneficial to our Country.
I conclude with assuring you, that I shall feel happy in endeavouring to procure you whatever information I can, regarding any points with which you may be pleased to signify your desire to be acquainted I shall sail for the leeward Coast in the course of next week.
(Inclosures 3, 4 and 5, are the Sierra Leone Gazettes; of March 3d
and 24th, and April 14th, 1821.)
No. 77.—Messrs. Gregory and Fitzgerald to Viscount Castlercagh.
(Received July 27.)
Sierra Leone, 16th April, 1821. We have the honour to acquaint your Lordship, that on the 9th instant, Don Francisco Lefer, His Catholick Majesty's Commissary Judge, addressed a Letter to the Acting Registrar of the British and Spanish Court of Mixed Commission, signifying his intention to quit Sierra Leone, for the purpose of residing at the French Settlement at Goree, during the continuance of the next rainy season; but that he would be ready, should the service of his Sovereign require him to return to this Colony, on notice being given to him by the Acting Registrar.