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Title: Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party

Author: Martin Robinson Delany

Release Date: July 22, 2007 [eBook #22118]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by Suzanne Shell, Janet Blenkinship,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team







Martin R Delany

Published 1861


Section I. Political Movements229
Section II. Succeeding Conventions234
Section III. History of the Project236
Section IV. Arrival and Reception in Liberia254
Section V. Liberia—Climate, Soil, Productions, etc.263
Section VI. Diseases—Cause—Remedy278
Section VII. The Interior—Yoruba284
Section VIII. Topography, Climate, etc.288
Section IX. Diseases of This Part of Africa, Treatment, Hygiene, Aliment312
Section X. Missionary Influence332
Section XI. What Africa Now Requires338
Section XII. To Direct Legitimate Commerce345
Section XIII. Cotton Staple351
Section XIV. Success in Great Britain361
Section XV. Commercial Relations in Scotland379
Section XVI. The Time to Go to Africa387
Section XVII. Concluding Suggestions391

[Pg 229]



On or about the latter part of July, 1853, the following document was sent on, and shortly appeared in the columns of "Frederick Douglass' Paper," Rochester, N.Y., and the "Aliened American," published and edited by William Howard Day, Esq., M.A., at Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., which continued in those papers every issue, until the meeting of the Convention:

Call For A National Emigration
Convention Of Colored Men

To be held in Cleveland, Ohio, on the 24th, 25th, and
26th of August, 1854

Men and Brethren: The time has fully come when we, as an oppressed people, should do something effectively, and use those means adequate to the attainment of the great and long desired end—do something to meet the actual demands of the present and prospective necessities of the rising generation of our people in this country. To do this, we must occupy a position of entire equality, of unrestricted rights, composing in fact, an acknowledged necessary part of the ruling element of society in which we live. The policy necessary to the preservation of this element must be in our favor, if ever we expect the enjoyment, freedom, sovereignty, and equality of rights anywhere. For this [Pg 230]purpose, and to this end, then, all colored men in favor of Emigration out of the United States, and opposed to the American Colonization scheme of leaving the Western Hemisphere, are requested to meet in Cleveland, Ohio, Tuesday, the 24th day of August, 1854, in a great National Convention, then and there to consider and decide upon the great and important subject of Emigration from the United States.

No person will be admitted to a seat in the Convention, who would introduce the subject of Emigration to the Eastern Hemisphere—either to Asia, Africa, or Europe—as our object and determination are to consider our claims to the West Indies, Central and South America, and the Canadas. This restriction has no reference to personal preference, or individual enterprise; but to the great question of national claims to come before the Convention.

All persons coming to the Convention must bring credentials properly authenticated, or bring verbal assurance to the Committee on Credentials—appointed for the purpose—of their fidelity to the measures and objects set forth in this call, as the Convention is specifically by and for the friends of Emigration, and none others—and no opposition to them will be entertained.

The question is not whether our condition can be bettered by emigration, but whether it can be made worse. If not, then, there is no part of the wide spread universe, where our social and political condition are not better than here in our native country, and nowhere in the world as here, proscribed on account of color.

We are friends to, and ever will stand shoulder to shoulder by our brethren, and all our friends in all good measures adopted by them for the bettering of our condition in this country, and surrender no rights but with our last breath; but as the subject of Emigration is of vital importance, and has ever been shunned by all delegated[Pg 231] assemblages of our people as heretofore met, we cannot longer delay, and will not be farther baffled; and deny the right of our most sanguine friend or dearest brother, to prevent an intelligent inquiry into, and the carrying out of these measures, when this can be done, to our entire advantage, as we propose to show in Convention—as the West Indies, Central and South America—the majority of which are peopled our brethren, or those identified with us in race, and what is more, destiny, on this continent—all stand with open arms and yearning hearts, importuning us in the name of suffering humanity to come—to make common cause, and share one common fate on the continent.

The Convention will meet without fail at the time fixed for assembling, as none but those favorable to Emigration are admissible; therefore no other gathering may prevent it. The number of delegates will not be restricted—except in the town where the Convention may be held—and there the number will be decided by the Convention when assembled, that they may not too far exceed the other delegations.

The time and place fixed for holding the Conventions are ample; affording sufficient time, and a leisure season generally—and as Cleveland is now the centre of all directions—a good and favorable opportunity to all who desire to attend. Therefore, it may reasonably be the greatest gathering of the colored people ever before assembled in a Convention in the United States.

Colonizationists are advised, that no favors will be shown to them or their expatriating scheme, as we have no sympathy with the enemies of our race.

All colored men, East, West, North, and South, favorable to the measures set forth in this Call will send in their names (post-paid) to M. R. Delany, or Rev. Wm. Webb, Pittsburgh, Pa., that there may be arranged and attached to the Call, five names from each State.[Pg 232]

We must make an issue, create an event, and establish a position for ourselves. It is glorious to think of, but far more glorious to carry out.

Rev. Wm. Webb, M. R. Delany, H. G. Webb, Thos. A. Brown, John Jones, R. L. Hawkins, Samuel Venerable, John Williams, A. F. Hawkins, S. W. Sanders, Jefferson Miller, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Rev. A. R. Green, P. L. Jackson, J. H. Mahoney, G. Harper, Jonathan Green, H. A. Jackson, E. R. Parker, Samuel Bruce, Allegheny City; J. J. Gould Bias, M.D., Rev. M. M. Clark, A. M. Sumner, Johnson Woodlin, Philadelphia; James M. Whitfield, John N. Still, Stanley Matthews, New York.

This Call was readily responded to by the addition of names from other States, which appeared in subsequent issues.

At the Convention, which according to the Call sat in Cleveland successively on Thursday, 24th, Friday, 25th, and Saturday, 26th of August, 1854, the following States were represented: Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Virginia, and the Canadas; the great body consisting of nearly sixteen hundred persons. W. H. Day, Esq., editor of the Aliened American, entered the Convention, and the Chairman invited him forward, offering him the privileges of the Convention, stating that wherever colored people were, William Howard Day was free—whether or not he altogether agreed in sentiment on minor points; and the Convention unanimously concurred in the invitation given.

Mr. Day subsequently proffered to the Convention any books or documents at his command for the use of that body.[Pg 233]

The following permanent Institution was established:

Organization of the National Board of Commissioners

Central Commissioners, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaM. R. Delany, President; Wm. Webb, Vice-President; Thos. A. Brown, Treasurer; Edw. R. Parker, Auditor; Chas. W. Nighten, Secretary; Professor M. H. Freeman, A.M., Special For. Sec.; Samuel Venerable, Alfred H. Johns, Samuel Bruce, Parker Sorrell.


Committee on Domestic Relations.Samuel Bruce, Chairman; Samuel Venerable, Charles W. Nighten. Financial Relations.Thomas A. Brown, Chairman; Parker Sorrell, Alfred H. Johns. Foreign Relations.Rev. Wm. Webb, Chairman; M. R. Delany, Edw. R. Parker. Special Foreign Secretary. Prof. Martin H. Freeman, A. M. State Commissioners.MassachusettsWm. C. Nell, Boston; C. L. Remond, Salem. New York, Buffalo.James M. Whitfield, J. Theodore Holly. Ohio, Cincinnati.Augustus R. Green, Phillip Tolivar, Jun. Michigan, Detroit.William C. Munroe, William Lambert. Kentucky, Louisville.Conaway Barbour, James H. Gipson. Missouri, St. Louis.Rev. Rich'd Anderson, Rev. Jordan Brown. Virginia, Richmond.Richard Henderson, John E. Ferguson. Tennessee, Nashville.Elder Peter A. H. Lowry, Charles Barratt. Louisiana, New Orleans.Jordan B. Noble, Rev. John Garrow. California, San Francisco.Henry M. Collins, Orange Lewis.[Pg 234]



The Second Convention, pursuant to a call, was held in Cleveland, in August, 1856, when some modification and amendments were made in the Constitution, and some changes in the officers of the Board; but the president was unanimously re-elected, and continued in office until the close of the of the Third Convention, which met pursuant to a call in the town of Chatham, Canada West, in August, 1858, when, resigning his position in the Board, the following officers succeeded to the


Central Commissioners—Chatham, Canada
William Howard Day, President
Matison F. Bailey, Vice-President
George Wash. Brodie, Secretary
James Madison Bell, Treasurer
Alfred Whipper, Auditor
Martin R. Delany, Foreign Secretary

Note.—The names only of the Central Commissioners are here given, the others being re-elected as chosen in 1856, at Cleveland.

[Pg 235]

Other Members

Abram D. Shadd
J. Henry Harris
Isaac D. Shadd

At an Executive Council Meeting of the Board, September 1st, 1858, the following resolution, as taken from the Minutes, was adopted: That Dr. Martin R. Delany, of Chatham, Kent Country, Canada West, be a Commissioner to explore in Africa, with full power to choose his own colleagues.[Pg 236]



In the winter of 1831-32, being then but a youth, I formed the design of going to Africa, the land of my ancestry; when in the succeeding winter of 1832-33, having then fully commenced to study, I entered into a solemn promise with the Rev. Molliston Madison Clark, then a student in Jefferson College, at Cannonsburg, Washington County, Pennsylvania, being but seventeen miles from Pittsburgh, where I resided (his vacations being spent in the latter place), to complete an education, and go on an independent and voluntary mission—to travel in Africa—I as a physician and he as a clergyman, for which he was then preparing.

During these vacations of about seven weeks each, Mr. Clark was of great advantage to me in my studies, he being then a man of probably thirty years of age, or more, and in his senior year (I think) at college.

This design I never abandoned, although in common with my race in America, I espoused the cause, and contended for our political and moral elevation on equality with the whites, believing then, as I do now, that merit alone should be the test of individual claims in the body politic. This cause I never have nor will abandon; believing that no man should hesitate or put off any duty for another time or place, but "act, act in the living present, act," now or then. This has been the rule of my life, and I hope ever shall be.[Pg 237]

In 1850, I had fully matured a plan for an adventure, and to a number of select intelligent gentlemen (of African descent, of course) fully committed myself in favor of it. They all agreed that the scheme was good; and although neither of them entered personally into it, all fully sanctioned it, bidding me God-speed in my new adventure, as a powerful handmaid to their efforts in contending for our rights in America.

In 1854, at the great Emigration Convention in Cleveland, my paper, read and adopted as a "Report on the Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent," set forth fully my views on the advantages of Emigration.

Although the Call itself strictly prohibits the introduction of the question of emigration from the American Continent or Western Hemisphere, the qualification which directly follows—"This restriction has no reference to personal preference, or individual enterprise"—may readily be understood. It was a mere policy on the part of the authors of those documents, to confine their scheme to America (including the West Indies), whilst they were the leading advocates of the regeneration of Africa, lest they compromised themselves and their people to the avowed enemies of the race.

The Convention (at Cleveland, 1854), in its Secret Sessions made, Africa, with its rich, inexhaustible productions, and great facilities for checking the abominable Slave Trade, its most important point of dependence, though each individual was left to take the direction which in his judgment best suited him. Though our great gun was leveled, and the[Pg 238] first shell thrown at the American Continent, driving a slaveholding faction into despair, and a political confusion from which they have been utterly unable to extricate themselves, but become more and more complicated every year, Africa was held in reserve, until by the help of an All-wise Providence we could effect what has just been accomplished with signal success—a work which the most sanguine friend of the cause believed would require at least the half of a century.

It is a curious, and not less singular historical fact, that a leading political journal, and the first newspaper which nominated Mr. James Buchanan, many years ago, for the Presidency of the United States; and at a time whilst he was yet at the court of St. James (1854), as Envoy Extraordinary, this paper was strongly urging his claims as such, thus expresses itself, which gives a fair idea of the political pro-slavery press generally, especially in Pennsylvania, Mr. Buchanan's native State. I intended to give the article entire, as alarm will be seen even at the commencement; but pressure for space will prevent my quoting but a few sentences. It is from the Pittsburgh Daily Morning Post, Wednesday, October 18th, 1854:

A Grand Scheme for the Colored Race

In August last, a National Convention of colored people was held at Cleveland, Ohio. It was composed of delegates from most of the States. It was called the 'National Emigration Convention,' and its objects were to consider the political destinies of the black race; and recommend a plan of Emigration to countries where they can enjoy political liberty, and form nations 'free and independent.'

The Committee then proceeds to mark out a grand scheme by which the Negro race may be regenerated, and formed into free, intelligent, and prosperous nations.[Pg 239] The West India Islands, Central America, and all the Northern and middle portions of South America, including the whole of Brazil, are designated as the regions desired; and that can be obtained as the seat of Negro civilization and empire. These regions and islands together are represented as containing twenty-four and a half millions of population; but one-seventh of which, some three and a half millions, are whites of pure European extraction; and the remainder, nearly twenty-one millions, are colored people of African and Indian origin. This immense preponderance of the colored races in those regions, it is supposed, will enable them, with the aid of Emigration from the United States, to take possession of all those countries and islands, and become the ruling race in the empires to be formed out of those wide and fruitful realms. The Committee expresses full confidence in the practicability of this great undertaking; and that nothing is wanting to its success at no distant day but unanimity of sentiment and action among the masses of the colored people. The climate of those regions is represented as entirely congenial to the colored race, while to the European races it is enervating and destructive; and this fact, added to the present immense superiority of numbers on the part of the negroes, is relied on as a sure guarantee of the success of the great enterprise; and that their race could forever maintain the possession and control of those regions.

Other great events, it is supposed, will follow in the train of this mighty movement. With the West India Islands, and Central and South America, composing free negro nations, slavery in the United States would, they suppose, soon be at an end. The facility of escape, the near neighborhood of friends and aid, it is urged, would rapidly drain off from the Southern States all the most intelligent, robust, and bold of their slaves.

Dr. M. R. Delany, of Pittsburgh, was the chairman of[Pg 240] the committee that made this report to the convention. It was, of course, adopted.

If Dr. D. drafted this report, it certainly does him much credit for learning and ability; and cannot fail to establish for him a reputation for vigor and brilliancy of imagination never yet surpassed. It is a vast conception of impossible birth. The Committee seem to have entirely overlooked the strength of the 'powers on earth' that would oppose the Africanization of more than half the Western Hemisphere.

We have no motive in noticing this gorgeous dream of 'the Committee,' except to show its fallacy—its impracticability, in fact, its absurdity. No sensible man, whatever his color, should be for a moment deceived by such impracticable theories.

On the African coast already exists a thriving and prosperous Republic. It is the native home of the African race; and there he can enjoy the dignity of manhood, the rights of citizenship, and all the advantages of civilization and freedom. Every colored man in this country will be welcomed there as a free citizen; and there he can not only prosper, and secure his own comfort and happiness, but become a teacher and benefactor of his kindred races; and become an agent in carrying civilization and Christianity to a benighted continent. That any one will be turned aside from so noble a mission by the delusive dream of conquest and empire in the Western Hemisphere is an absurdity too monstrous and mischievous to be believed. Yet 'the Committee's Report' was accepted, and adopted, and endorsed by a 'National Convention;' and is published and sent forth to the world.

In July, 1855, Rev. James Theodore Holly, an accomplished black gentleman, now rector of St. Luke's Church, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S., was commissioned to[Pg 241] Faustin Soulouque, Emperor of Hayti, where he was received at court with much attention, interchanging many official notes during a month's residence there, with favorable inducements to laborers to settle.

During the interval from the first convention, 1854 to 1858, as President of the Council, I was actively engaged corresponding in every direction, among which were several States of Central and South America, as well as Jamaica and Cuba; the Rev. J. T. Holly, who, during two years of the time, filled the office of Foreign Secretary, contributing no small share in its accomplishment.

Immediately after the convention of 1856, from which I was absent by sickness, I commenced a general correspondence with individuals, imparting to each the basis of my adventure to Africa to obtain intelligent colleagues. During this time (the Spring of 1857), "Bowen's Central Africa" was published, giving an interesting and intelligent account of that extensive portion of Africa known on the large missionary map of that continent as Yoruba. Still more encouraged to carry out my scheme at this juncture, Livingstone's great work on Africa made its appearance, which seemed to have stimulated the Africo-Americans in many directions, among others, those of Wisconsin, from whom Mr. Jonathan J. Myers, a very respectable grocer, was delegated as their Chairman to counsel me on the subject. In the several councils held between Mr. Myers and myself, it was agreed and understood that I was to embody their cause and interests in my mission to Africa, they accepting of the policy of my scheme.

At this time, I made vigorous efforts to accomplish my design, and for this purpose, among others, endeavored to obtain goods in Philadelphia to embark for Loando de St. Paul, the Portuguese colony in Loango, South Africa, where[Pg 242] the prospect seemed fair for a good trade in beeswax and ivory, though Lagos, West Central Africa, was my choice and destination. Robert Douglass, Esq., artist, an accomplished literary gentleman (landscape, portrait painter, and photographer) of Philadelphia with whom I was in correspondence, sent me the following note:

Mr. M. R. Delany:—Philadelphia, June 17, 1858

Dear Sir—I think very highly of the intended Expedition to the 'Valley of the Niger.' I would be pleased to accompany it professionally, if I were to receive a proper outfit and salary. Dr. Wilson declines; but Mr. Robert Campbell, of the 'Institute for Colored Youth,' a very accomplished Chemist, &c., &c., &c., says he will gladly accompany the Expedition, if a proper support for his family in his absence were assured. Rev. William Douglass, in conversation with me, has expressed very favorable views. Hoping you may be very successful, I remain in expectation of receiving more detailed accounts of the plan, its prospects and progress,

Your friend and well-wisher,
Robert Douglass

661, N. Thirteenth St., Phil.

Up to this time, I had never before known or heard of Mr. Campbell, who is a West India gentleman, native bred in Jamaica, but the recommendation of Mr. Douglass, an old acquaintance and gentleman of unsullied integrity, accompanied as it was by the following note from Dr. Wilson, also an accomplished gentleman of equal integrity, a physician, surgeon, and chemist, who, being selected by me as Surgeon and Naturalist of the party, also recommended Mr. Campbell in a detached note which has been mislaid, was sufficient at the time:[Pg 243]

Dr. Delany:—Philadelphia, June 7th, 1858

Dear Sir—I received your note of May 25th, through the kindness of R. Douglass, Jr., and can truly say, I am highly gratified to learn of so laudable an enterprise and expedition; and would be happy and proud to be numbered with the noble hearts and brilliant minds, identified with it. Yet, whilst I acknowledge (and feel myself flattered by) the honor conferred upon me in being selected for so important and honorable position, I regret to inform you, that it will be wholly out of my power to accept.

Very respectfully,
James H. Wilson

838, Lombard Street.

I have been the more induced to give the letters of Mr. Douglass and Dr. Wilson in favor of Mr. Campbell, because some of my friends were disposed to think that I "went out of the way to make choice of an entire stranger, unknown to us, instead of old and tried acquaintances," as they were pleased to express it. I had but one object in view—the Moral, Social, and Political Elevation of Ourselves, and the Regeneration of Africa, for which I desired, as a preference, and indeed the only adequate and essential means by which it is to be accomplished, men of African descent, properly qualified and of pure and fixed principles. These I endeavored to select by corresponding only with such of my acquaintances.

At the Council which appointed me Commissioner to Africa, having presented the names of Messrs. Douglass and Campbell, asking that they also might be chosen; at a subsequent meeting the following action took place:

Whereas, Dr. Martin R. Delany, Commissioner to Africa, having presented the names of Messrs. Robert Douglas and[Pg 244] Robert Campbell of Philadelphia, Pa., U.S., requesting that they be appointed Commissioners, the Board having made him Chief Commissioner with full power to appoint his own Assistants, do hereby sanction the appointment of these gentlemen as Assistant Commissioners.

A paper was then laid before the Council, presenting the name and scheme of the party, which was received and adopted.

Dr. Amos Aray, surgeon, a highly intelligent gentleman, and Mr. James W. Purnell, also an intelligent young gentleman, bred to mercantile pursuits, having subsequently sent in their names and received appointments by the Chief Commissioner, the following document was made out:

African Commission

The President and Officers of the General Board of Commissioners, viz: William H. Day, A.M., President; Matison F. Bailey, Vice-President; George W. Brodie, Secretary; James Madison Bell, Treasurer; Alfred Whipper, Auditor; Dr. Martin R. Delany, Special Foreign Secretary; Abram D. Shadd, James Henry Harris, and Isaac D. Shadd, the Executive Council in behalf of the organization for the promotion of the political and other interests of the Colored Inhabitants of North America, particularly the United States and Canada.

To all, unto whom these letters may come, greeting: The said General Board of Commissioners, in Executive Council assembled, have this day chosen, and by these presents do hereby appoint and authorize Dr. Martin Robison Delany, of Chatham, County of Kent, Province of Canada, Chief Commissioner; and Robert Douglass, Esq., Artist, and Prof. Robert Campbell, Naturalist, both of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of the United States of America, to be Assistant Commissioners; Amos Aray, Surgeon; and James W Purnell, Secretary and Commercial[Pg 245] Reporter, both of Kent County, Canada West, of a Scientific Corps, to be known by the name of

The Niger Valley Exploring Party

The object of this Expedition is to make a Topographical, Geological and Geographical Examination of the Valley of the River Niger, in Africa, and an inquiry into the state and condition of the people of that Valley, and other parts of Africa, together with such other scientific inquiries as may by them be deemed expedient, for the purposes of science and for general information; and without any reference to, and with the Board being entirely opposed to any Emigration there as such. Provided, however, that nothing in this Instrument be so construed as to interfere with the right of the Commissioners to negotiate in their own behalf, or that of any other parties, or organization for territory.

The Chief-Commissioner is hereby authorized to add one or more competent Commissioners to their number; it being agreed and understood that this organization is, and is to be exempted from the pecuniary responsibility of sending out this Expedition.

Dated at the Office of the Executive Council, Chatham, county of Kent, Province of Canada, this Thirtieth day of August, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty-eight.

By the President,
William Howard Day
Isaac D. Shadd, Vice-President[2]
George W. Brodie, Secretary

[Pg 246]

So soon as these names with their destined mission were officially published, there arose at once from mistaken persons (white) in Philadelphia, a torrent of opposition, who presuming to know more about us (the blacks) and our own business than we did ourselves, went even so far as to speak to one of our party, and tell him that we were not ready for any such important undertaking, nor could be in three years yet to come! Of course, as necessary to sustain this, it was followed up with a dissertation on the disqualification of the Chief of the Party, mentally and physically, external appearances and all. So effectually was this opposition prosecuted, that colored people in many directions in the United States and the Canadas, were not only affected by it, but a "Party" of three had already been chosen and appointed to supersede us! Even without any knowledge on my part, claims were made in England in behalf of the "Niger Valley Exploring Party," solely through the instrumentality of these Philadelphians.

Such were the effects of this, that our preparatory progress was not only seriously retarded (I having to spend eight months in New York city to counteract the influence, where six weeks only would have been required), but three years originally intended to be spent in exploring had to be reduced to one, and the number of Commissioners from five to two, thereby depriving Mr. Robert Douglass from going, an old friend and most excellent gentleman, whose life, as well as that of his father before him, had been spent in efforts, not only of self-elevation, but the elevation also of his people. Many years ago, the accomplished articles of "Robert Douglass, Jun," to the United States Gazette, and other public journals, forced those negro-hating periodicals to respect at least the writer, if not his race. Dr. Aray, also an excellent gentleman who had given up business to join the[Pg 247] party, was doomed to disappointment. And of Mr. Jas. W. Purnell—who met me in New York two weeks after my arrival, and through the whole eight months of adversity and doubtful progress, stood by me, performing the duty of Secretary, writing in every direction, copying, and from dictation for hours at a time—I cannot say too much. For a young gentleman inexperienced in such matters, he has no superior; and for integrity, true heartedness, and trustworthiness, in my estimation, he has few if any rivals. To his great and good uncle, under whom he was brought up, much of his character is to be credited.

As an expression of the feelings of the most intelligent emigrationists with whom I corresponded generally in America, I give below two extracts from letters of Professor Freeman. The Professor is now as he then was, the Principal of Avery College.

Alleghany City, April 14, 1858

My Dear Friend—Your letter of condolence was duly received, for which we tender you our warmest thanks.

I have read Bowen's work, and shall to-day purchase Livingstone's. I am more and more convinced that Africa is the country to which all colored men who wish to attain the full stature of manhood, and bring up their children to be men and not creeping things, should turn their steps; and I feel more and more every day, that I made a great mistake in not going there, when I was untrammelled by family ties, and had the opportunity.

Respectfully yours,
M. H. Freeman

Again the Professor says:

I see that Emigration has broken out in the East, and that —— can notice one now without scoffing at,[Pg 248] which he could not in 1854. Well, people can grow wondrously wise in four years. But it will take several more Olympiads to bring the leaders among us up to the old Cleveland Platform of 1854.

All the fault of that movement was this, that it was at least one generation ahead of the colored heads of our people. We may, if we please, refuse to emigrate, and crouch like spaniels, to lick the hand that beats us; but children's children at the farthest, will have outgrown such pitiful meanness, and will dare to do all that others have dared and done for the sake of freedom and independence. Then all this cowardly cant about the unhealthy climate, the voracious beasts, and venomous reptiles of Africa, will be at a discount, instead of passing current as now for wisdom and prudence.

Mr. Campbell, who finally agreed voluntarily to be one of the "Niger Valley Exploring Party," spent some time with us in New York and some time in Philadelphia, but finally, in consequence of the doubtful prospects of my success, left, it would seem, at the suggestion and with the advice and recommendation of parties in Philadelphia, disconnected with and unknown to me, from whom he received letters of introduction for England. In justice to myself and party as organized, as well as the great cause and people whom I represent, I here simply remark, that this was no arrangement of mine nor our party, as such at the time; and whatever of success the visit was attended with, and benefit thereby accrued mutually to us in Africa, I as frankly decline any authority in the matter and credit to myself, as I should had the result proved what it might have done otherwise. I am only willing to claim that which is legitimately mine, and be responsible for my own doings[Pg 249] whether good or bad; but this act the integrity of the Party was forced to acknowledge, as the following circular published in England will show:

EXPEDITION TO AFRICA To Promote the Cultivation of Cotton and Other Products of Slave-Labor by Emigrants from America

A party, consisting of Martin R. Delany, M.D., Robert Campbell, J. W. Purnell, Robert Douglass, and Amos Aray, M.D., (the last two subsequently omitted) has been commissioned by a Convention of Colored Persons, held at Chatham, C.W., to proceed to Africa, and select a location for the establishment of an Industrial Colony.

While such an enterprise is of importance in the Evangelization and Civilization of Africa, and in affording an asylum in which the oppressed descendants of that country may find the means of developing their mental and moral faculties unimpeded by unjust restrictions, it is regarded as of still greater importance in facilitating the production of those staples, particularly Cotton, which now are supplied to the world chiefly by Slave Labor. The effect of this would be to lessen the profits of Slavery, to render in time the slave a burden to his owner, and thus furnish an irresistible motive to Emancipation. Africa possesses resources which, properly developed, must doubtless render her eventually a great, if not the greatest, producer of all the products of Slave Labor. And how would all good men rejoice to see the blow which shall effectually prostrate the giant Slavery, struck by the Black Man's arm! It is necessary, however, that civilized influences be diffused in her midst or, at least, that facilities for rendering available her products, be supplied equal to the demand for them.

It is the purpose of the party to proceed to Lagos,[Pg 250] thence through Abbeokuta to Rabba, on the Niger, about 350 miles from the coast; to study the Agricultural and Commercial facilities of the country, and the disposition of the Natives towards strangers as settlers; also to negotiate for the grant or purchase of land, and to ascertain the conditions on which we might be protected in the usages of civilized life.

These objects being accomplished, the party will return and report the result of their labors, when a considerable number of intelligent and enterprising persons from the United States and Canada, many of them intimately acquainted with the production of Cotton, and its preparation for market, will be prepared to emigrate.

Towards defraying the expenses of this undertaking, £500 has been subscribed in America. This amount has been expended in providing for the families of two of the party in their absence; in paying the passage of Martin R. Delany and J. W. Purnell to Africa, direct from America, and providing them a few articles of outfit; in defraying the current expenses of the party since the 1st December ult., while engaged in soliciting subscriptions and otherwise forwarding the objects of the Expedition; and in providing the Subscriber with the means of coming hither.

It is desired to raise in this country, in time to enable the Subscriber to depart for Africa in June by the steamer from Liverpool, an additional sum of £250, with which to provide other articles of outfit, and goods for trading with the natives for the means of subsistence, as well as to provide for other necessary and contingent expenses.

The Subscriber will take the liberty of calling upon you personally, at an early day, to solicit your aid in this enterprise.

Manchester, May 13th, 1859 Robert Campbell

[Pg 251]

Grant, for charity's sake, that it was done with the best of motives, it was flagrantly and fatally at variance with every principle of intelligent—to say nothing of enlightened—organizations among civilized men, and in perfect harmony with that mischievous interference by which the enemies of our race have ever sought to sow discord among us, to prove a natural contempt for the Negro and repugnance to his leadership, then taunt us with incapacity for self-government. These flambeaus and rockets directed with unerring precision, taking effect in the very centre of our magazine, did not cause, in those for whom it was intended, a falter nor a wince in their course, but steadily and determinedly they pressed their way to the completion of their object under prosecution. In this design the enemy was thwarted.

I drop every reflection and feeling of unpleasantness towards my young brother Campbell, who, being a West Indian, probably did not understand those white Americans, and formed his opinion of American blacks and their capacity to "lead," from the estimate they set upon them. I owe it to posterity, the destiny of my race, the great adventure into which I am embarked and the position I sustain to it, to make this record with all Christian (or African, if you please) forgiveness, against this most glaring and determined act of theirs to blast the negro's prospects in this his first effort in the Christian Era, to work out his own moral and political salvation, by the regeneration of his Fatherland, through the medium of a self-projected scheme; and thereby take the credit to themselves. It was too great an undertaking for negroes to have the credit of, and therefore they must go under the auspices of some white American Christians. To be black, it would seem, was necessarily to be "ungodly"; and to be white was necessarily to be "godly," or Christian, in the estimation of some.[Pg 252]

With a grateful heart, I here as freely record as an equal duty I owe to posterity, my unfeigned thanks to all those gentlemen who took an active part and in any way aided the mission on my behalf, either from the pulpit, by the contribution of books, stationery, charts, instruments, or otherwise, especially those who made each the one hundred dollar contribution, and the two in New York, through whose instrumentality and influence these were obtained. Those disinterested and voluntary acts of kindness I never shall forget whilst reason occupies her throne, and would here willingly record their names, had I their consent to do so.

I sailed from New York May 24th, in the fine barque Mendi—Captain M'Intyre—vessel and cargo owned by Johnson, Turpin and Dunbar, three enterprising colored gentlemen of Monrovia, Liberia, all formerly of New York, U.S. In the name of the General Board of Commissioners for the promotion of the political and other interest of the colored people of the United States and the Canadas, by self-exertion, I thank them.

I cannot close this section without expressing my obligations to Captain M'Intyre for his personal kindness to me; and also to his first officer, Captain Vernon Locke, (himself a ship-master, who took the position of first officer for the voyage, and who had been, for the last three or four years, collecting scientific information by astronomical, meteorological, and other observations, for Lieutenant Maury, Director of the Observatory at Washington, D.C., U.S.,) I am greatly indebted for many acts of kindness in facilitating my microscopic and other examinations and inquiries, during the voyage. Concerning the nautilus and whale, I learned more through this accomplished seaman than I had ever learned before. The first by examination of the mollusca, which were frequently caught by Captain L. for my[Pg 253] accommodation—and of the latter, by oral information received from him (who had been a great whaler) on frequently observing those huge monsters during the voyage.[Pg 254][1]



Arrival in Africa

Saturday, July 10th.—I landed on the beach at Grand Cape Mount, Robertsport, in company with Messrs. the Hon. John D. Johnson, Joseph Turpin, Dr. Dunbar, and Ellis A. Potter, amid the joyous acclamations of the numerous natives who stood along the beautiful shore, and a number of Liberians, among whom was Reverend Samuel Williams, who gave us a hearty reception. Here we passed through the town (over the side of the hill), returning to the vessel after night.


Monday, July 12th.—The roadstead of Monrovia was made about noon, when I, in company with B. E. Castendyk, Esq., a young German gentleman traveling for pleasure, took lodgings at Widow Moore's, the residence of Rev. John Seys, the United States consular agent, and commissioner for recaptured Africans.

On the day after my arrival, the following correspondence took place:[Pg 255]

Residence of the United States Consular Agent
Monrovia, Liberia, July 12th, 1859

To His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Liberia: Sir—By a Convention of Colored People of the United States and the Canadas, Martin R. Delany, Robert Douglass, Robert Campbell, Amos Aray, and James W. Purnell, were appointed as Commissioners under the name of the 'Niger Valley Exploring Party,' to make an Exploration through different parts of Africa.

I have arrived, Sir, near your Government, and expect soon to meet other members of the party. Any aid, orally, documentary, or in the person of an Official Commissioner, which you may please to give to facilitate the mission in Liberia will be gratefully and highly appreciated. I ask the favor of an interview with your Excellency, either privately or in Cabinet Council, or with any other gentlemen that the occasion may suggest, at such time as may be designated.

I am happy, Sir, of the opportunity of giving your Excellency assurance of my most distinguished consideration.

M. R. Delany

His Excellency, President Benson.

Government House, Monrovia, July 13, 1859

Sir—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 12th instant, conveying to me the information of your appointment (in connection with colleagues expected soon to arrive), by a Convention of the colored people of the United States and the Canadas, 'Commissioners,' under the name of 'The Niger Valley Exploring Party'; and of your arrival near this Government. You have also been pleased to signify, that you will duly appreciate any aid, oral, documentary or in the form of an official Commissioner this Government may feel disposed to afford you, in facilitation of the enterprise.[Pg 256]

In reply, I have to express my deep regret, that the receipt of your very interesting note is on the very eve of my leaving this city on an official visit to the leeward counties, which will, for the present, deprive me of the pleasure I had anticipated of an interview with you on the very interesting and highly important objects of your mission.

The Hon. John N. Lewis, Secretary of State, with whom I will converse on the subject matter of your note before leaving, will be pleased to grant you an audience; and will, with pleasure, meet your wishes, so far as he can consistently.

Please be reassured of the deep interest I feel in your very laudable enterprise; and that, if it were not for very important despatches received last week from the county of Maryland, which make it absolutely necessary that I should delay no time in reaching there, I would defer my departure a couple of days for the express purpose of consultation with you in person.

I have the honor to be most respectfully,
Your very obedient servant,

To M. R. Delany, Esq., &c. Stephen A. Benson

Monrovia, July 13, 1859

Martin R. Delany, Esq.:

Dear Sir—The undersigned, citizens of the city of Monrovia, having long heard of you and your efforts in the United States to elevate our down-trodden race, though those efforts were not infrequently directed against Liberia, are glad to welcome you, in behalf of the community to these shores; recognizing, as they do in you, an ardent and devoted lover of the African race, and an industrious agent in promoting their interests. And they take this opportunity of expressing to you their most cordial sympathy with the enterprise which has brought you to these[Pg 257] shores, sincerely praying that your endeavors may be crowned with complete success.

The undersigned, further, in the name and behalf of the members of this community, respectfully request that you would favor the citizens with a lecture to-morrow evening, or on any other evening you may choose to appoint, at half-past seven o'clock, on any subject you may be pleased to select.

On receiving your reply notices will be issued accordingly.

B. P. YatesH. W. Dennis
D. B. WarnerUrias A. McGill
Saml. F. McGillH. A. Johnson
B. V. R. JamesEdw. W. Blyden
Saml. Matthews

Residence of the United States Consular Agent,
Monrovia, July 13th, 1859

Gentlemen—Your note of to-day has been received, for the honor of which I thank you, and beg to say that numerous engagements prevent me from complying with your request on to-morrow evening.

You are mistaken, gentlemen, in supposing that I have ever spoken directly 'against Liberia,' as wherever I have been I have always acknowledged a unity of interests in our race wherever located; and any seeming opposition to Liberia could only be constructively such, for which I am not responsible.

Should it be your pleasure, I will do myself the honor serving you on Monday evening next, or any other evening during the week, by a discourse on the 'Political Destiny of the African Race,' and assure you of the pleasure with which I have the honor to be,[Pg 258]

Your most obedient servant,

M. R. Delany

Col. B. P. Yates; Hon. D. B. Warner; S. F. McGill, M.D.; Hon. B. V. R. James; Rev. Saml. Matthews; Urias McGill, Esq.; Rev. Edw. W. Blyden; H. W. Dennis, Esq.; H. A. Johnson, Esq., District Attorney.

M. R. Delany, Esq.: Monrovia, July 14, 1859

Sir—We have the honor to acknowledge your note of to-day in reply to an invitation of yesterday from us requesting that you would favor us, with many others, with an address on to-morrow evening, or at any other time agreeable to yourself. Having signified to us that next Monday evening you would be pleased to comply with the request, we tender you our thanks and will be happy to listen to a discourse on the 'Political destiny of the African Race.'

We have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c., yours,

B. V. R. James
Saml. Matthews

And others


On Monday evening, the 19th of July, having addressed a crowded audience in the Methodist Episcopal Church, Ex-Governor McGill in the chair, T. M. Chester, Esq., Secretary; Ex-President Roberts rose and in a short speech, in the name of the Liberians, welcomed me to Africa. By a vote of thanks and request to continue the discourse on a subse[Pg 259]quent evening, this request was complied with on the following Tuesday evening.

Dr. M. R. Delany, Monrovia, July 28, 1859

Dear Sir—The undersigned citizens of Monrovia having been much edified by listening to two very interesting lectures delivered by you in the Methodist church, avail themselves of this method to express their appreciation of the same, and to respectfully request that you will favor the community with a popular lecture on 'Physiology' on Friday evening, the 29th inst.

Henry J. Roberts
Saml. F. McGill
B. P. Yates
Henry W. Dennis
Edwd. W. Blyden

Public Lecture

The reply to this polite invitation of Doctors Roberts and McGill, and others, having been mislaid, I simply remark here that the request was complied with on the evening of August 3d, in the Methodist Church, to a crowded house of the most intelligent citizens of Monrovia, of both sexes and all ages.

Departure from Monrovia.
Coasting, Cape Palmas

On the evening of August 5th, I left Monrovia in the bark Mendi, stopping at Junk, Little Bassa, Grand Bassa mouth of[Pg 260] St. John's River, Sinou, arriving at Cape Palmas Sabbath noon, August 20th.

Missionary Greeting

Half an hour after my arrival, I was called upon by the Rev. Mr. Hoffman, Principal of the Female Orphan Asylum, at the residence of John Marshall, Esq., whose hospitality I was then receiving, and in the name of the white Missionaries welcomed to that part of Liberia. Before Mr. Hoffman left I was honored by a visit also from Rev. Alexander Crummell, Principal of Mount Vaughan High School, where, after partaking of the hospitality of Mr. Marshall during that day and evening, I took up my residence during a month's stay in this part of Liberia.


Having taken the acclimating fever on the 5th of the month, the day I left Monrovia, and besides regularly a dessert spoonful of a solution of the sulphate of quinia three times a day, and the night of my arrival two eight grain doses of Dover's Powder, the reference to "the state of my health" in the following correspondence, will be understood:

To Dr. M. R. Delany:

Dear Sir—We, the undersigned citizens of the county of Maryland, Liberia, beg to tender you a heartfelt welcome to our neighborhood, and to assure you of our warmest interest in the important mission which has called you to the coast of Africa. Perhaps you will con[Pg 261]sent, should your health permit, to favor us with a public interview before you leave. We would be most happy to hear your views concerning the interest of our race in general, and of your mission in particular. Moreover, by so doing, you will afford us an opportunity of paying you that respect which your reputation, talents, and noble mission command, and which it is our sincere desire to pay you.

If Thursday or Friday will suit your convenience it will be agreeable to us; but we leave the character of the meeting to be designated by yourself.

Aug. 23,1859

Alex Crummel 
D. R. FletcherThos. Fuller
B. J. DraytonRichd. W. Knight
J. T. GibsonJohn Marshall
C. H. HarmonGiles Elem
S. B. D'LyonT. S. Dent
L. R. HamiltonA. Wood
Benjamin CookJ. W Williams
H. W. MoultonWm. W. Pearce
Ansburn TubmanR. A. Gray
James M. MoultonJas. Adams
N. Jackson, Jun.J. W. Cooper
Jno. E. Moulton

Mount Vaughan, near Harper, Cape Palmas
August 27th, 1859

Gentlemen—Your note of the 23rd inst., requesting me, should my health permit, to appear before the citizens of your county, is before me, and for the sentiments therein expressed I thank you most kindly.

As I have reason to believe that I am now convalescent from my second attack of native fever, should my health continue to improve I shall start on an exploration for the head of Kavalla river on Monday next ensuing, to return on Friday evening.[Pg 262]

Should it be your pleasure, gentlemen, and my health will permit, I will meet you on Monday, the 5th of September, the place and hour to be hereafter named according to circumstances.

I assure you of the pleasure, Gentlemen, with which I have the honor to be,

Your most obedient servant,
M. R. Delany

Gen. Wood; Judge Drayton; Rev. Alex. Crummell; John
Marshall, Esq.; Hon. J. T. Gibson; C. H. Harmon,
Esq.; J. W. Cooper, Esq.; Dr. Fletcher; Giles Elem,
Esq.; Jas. M. Moulton, Esq.; Benjamin Cook, Esq.; S.
B. D'Lyon, M.D., and others, Committee, &c., &c.

Reception Meeting at Palmas

On the evening of the 14th this request was complied with in the Methodist Church at Latrobe, an out-village of Harper, by addressing a crowded assemblage of both sexes and all ages of the most respectable people of the Cape, on the part of whom I was most cordially welcomed by Rev. Alexander Crummell.[Pg 263]



Territory, Climate

Liberia extends from a point north of Grand Cape Mount, about 7 deg. 30 min. north lat., on sea shore, northeasterly to the western extremity of the most southern range of the Kong Mountains, lat. 4 deg. 30 min. The climate is generally salubrious, and quite moderate. But it is frequently somewhat oppressive, though mild and genial, and the high hills and mountain ranges sometimes enervating to strangers or foreigners from temperate climates, in consequence of the "air being freighted with fragrance" from the flowers and aroma of the exuberant, rich, rank growth of vegetable matter, as trees, shrubbery, and other herbage.


The temperature is seldom or never great, the average being 85 deg. Fahr.[5] This, it will be perceived, is but 5 deg. above[Pg 264] summer temperature in the temperate zone of America, according to Fahrenheit's scale.

Comparative Temperature Bees

It is worthy of observation that, by a natural law, we are enabled to compare the temperature in many parts of Africa satisfactorily with that of some other countries. There are parts of India, and also Central and South America, where it is said that bees cannot propagate, in consequence of their inability to build their cells because of the heat, the cera or wax melting in their hive or habitation. While in Africa such is not the case, there being no part known to civilized travelers where bees are not seen ever busy on every blossom, gathering their store, leaving laden with the rich delicacies of the blooming flowers; and Doctor Livingstone not only speaks most frequently of the profusion of honey in the extensive country through which he traveled, but says that, while near the coast in Loango, he encountered many persons laden with "tons of beeswax" carried on their heads exposed to the sun, on their way to the trading posts. And during our stay at Abbeokuta, Mr. Campbell my colleague, had two swarms of bees; the first taken by him when in transitu (swarmed) and hived, which bred a new swarm in the hive at the Mission House where we resided.[Pg 265]

Soil, Stone, Minerals, Productions

The soil is very rich, which, like that of other parts of Africa through which I traveled, rates from a sandy loam to a rich alluvial, resting on strata of granite, limestone, and quartz with a large percentage of mica, profusely incorporated with iron, and doubtless other rich minerals not yet discovered. Palm oil and camwood are abundant, comprising the principal articles of native products for exportation; a good deal of ivory from the interior through the Golah country, but not so much as formerly; palm nuts, which principally go to France; ginger, arrowroot, pepper, coffee, sugar and molasses, to which three latter articles (as well as pepper, ginger and arrowroot,) the industrious citizens of Liberia have, during the last six years, turned their attention.

Domestic Animals, Fowls, Goats, Sheep, Swine, Cattle

The stock consists of fowls of various kinds—as chickens, ducks, common and Muscovy; Guinea fowls in abundance; turkeys, and on one farm—the Gaudilla farm of William Spencer Anderson, Esq., sugar planter, on the St. Paul River—geese. Neither are the cows so small as supposed to be from the general account given of them by travelers. Those which are common to, and natives of this part of Africa, which I shall classify as the Bassa (pronounced Bassaw) cattle, are handsome and well-built, comparing favorably in size (though neither so long-legged nor long-bodied) with the small cattle in the interior counties of Pennsylvania, U.S., where no attention is paid scientifically to the breeding of cattle; though the Liberia or Bassa are[Pg 266] much the heaviest, and handsomely made like the Golah, or Fulatah, hereafter to be described, resembling the Durham cattle of England in form. Also swine, goats, and sheep are plentiful.

Horses, None. Why?

I saw but one horse in Liberia, and that on the Gaudilla farm of Mr. Anderson; and though, as the Liberians themselves informed me, they have been taken there by the Mandingo and Golah traders, they never lived. And why—if they live in other parts of Africa, on the western coast, which they do, even near the Mangrove swamps, as will hereafter be shown—do they not live in Liberia, the civilized settlements of which as yet, except on the St. Paul and at Careysburg, are confined to the coast? There are certainly causes for this, which I will proceed to show.

Horse Feed, Pasturage, Hay

In the first place, horses, like all other animals, must have feed naturally adapted to their sustenance. This consists mainly of grass, herbage, and grains, especially the latter when the animal is domesticated. Secondly, adequate shelter from sun and weather, as in the wild state by instinct they obtain these necessary comforts for themselves.[Pg 267]

No Cultivated Farms—No Shelter for Horses

Up to the time, then, when the Liberians ceased the experiment of keeping horses, they had not commenced in any extensive manner to cultivate farms, consequently did not produce either maize (Indian corn), Guinea corn (an excellent article for horses in Africa, resembling the American broom corn both in the stock, blade, and grain, the latter being larger and browner than those of the broom corn, and more nutritious than oats); peas, nor any other grain upon which those animals are fed, and the great, heavy, rich, rank, pseudo reed-grass of the country was totally unfit for them, there being no grass suited either for pasturage or hay. Again, I was informed by intelligent, respectable Liberians, that to their knowledge there never had been a stable or proper shelter prepared for a horse, but that they had, in one or more instances, known horses to be kept standing in the sun the entire day, and in the open air and weather during the entire night, while their owners had them.

No Horses; Why, and Why Not

It is very evident from this, that horses could not live in Liberia, and since the tsetse fly introduced to the notice of the scientific world recently by Doctor Livingstone the African Explorer, has never been seen nor heard of in this part of the continent, nor any other insect that tormented them, those must have been the prime causes of fatality to these noble and most useful domestic creatures. I have been thus explicit in justice to Liberia, even in opposition to the opinion of some very intelligent and highly qualified gen[Pg 268]tlemen in that country (among whom is my excellent friend, Doctor Roberts, I think,) because I believe that horses can live there as well as in other parts of Africa, when fairly and scientifically inquired into and tested. Proper feed and care, I have no doubt, will verify my opinion; and should I but be instrumental, by calling the attention of my brethren in Liberia to these facts, in causing them successfully to test the matter, it will be but another evidence of the fact, that the black race should take their affairs in their own hands, instead of placing them in the hands of others.

Exploration. Farms, Sugar, Coffee

My explorations in Liberia extended to every civilized settlement in the Republic except Careysburg, and much beyond these limits up the Kavalla River. There is much improvement recently up the St. Paul River, by the opening up of fine, and in some cases, extensive farms of coffee and sugar; also producing rice, ginger, arrowroot, and pepper, many of which have erected upon them handsome and well-constructed dwellings; also sugar mills and machinery for the manufacture of sugar and molasses, which articles manufactured, compare favorably with the best produced in other countries. There has, as yet, been no improvement introduced in the hulling and drying of coffee, there being probably not enough produced to induce the introduction of machinery. I am informed that there have also been commenced several good farms on the Junk River, which district, farther than the settlement at the mouth, I did not visit. The people are willing and anxious for improvement, and on introducing to many of the farmers the utility of cutting off the centre of each young coffee-tree so soon as[Pg 269] it grew above the reach of a man of ordinary height, I had the satisfaction of seeing them immediately commence the execution of the work. The branches of the tree spread, in proportion to the checking of the height; hence, instead of eight feet apart, as some of the farmers have done, the trees should be planted at least twenty feet apart, thus leaving ample space between for the spreading of the branches. The tree should never be permitted to grow too high to admit of the berry being picked from the ground, or at least from a stand which may be stepped upon without climbing.


The schools are generally good, every settlement being amply accommodated with them; and in Monrovia and at Cape Palmas the classics are being rigidly prosecuted.[4]

Churches Missionaries

Churches are many and commodious, of every Christian denomination—except, I believe, the Roman Catholic. The Missionaries seem to be doing a good work, there being many earnest and faithful laborers among them of both sexes, black and white, and many native catechists and teachers, as well as some few preachers.[Pg 270]

Business, Professions, Theology, Medicine, Law

The principal business carried on in Liberia is that of trading in native and foreign produce, the greater part being at the Capital. The greater part of merchants here are Liberians; but there are also three white houses—two German and one American. And along the coast there are a number of native trading-posts, the proprietors of which are white foreigners, with black agents. Many of the Liberian Clergy of all denominations are well educated gentlemen; and the Medical Profession is well represented by highly accomplished Physicians; but of all the professions, the Law is the most poorly represented—there being, as I learnt when there, but one young gentlemen at the bar who had been bred to the profession; and not a Judge on the bench who was learned in the law. This I do not mention in disparagement of the gentlemen who fill those honorable positions of presiding over the legal investigations of their country, as many—indeed, I believe the majority of them—are clergymen, who from necessity have accepted those positions, and fill their own legitimate callings with credit. I sincerely hope that the day is not far distant when Liberia will have her learned counsellors and jurists—dispensing law, disseminating legal opinions, and framing digests as well as other countries, for the benefit of nations.


At Grand Bassa I held a Council with some of the most eminent Liberians, among whom were several members of the National Legislature—the venerable Judge Hanson in[Pg 271] the chair. Several able speeches were made—the objects of my mission and policy approved; and I shall never forget the profound sensation produced at that ever-memorable Council, and one of the most happy hours of my life. When the honored old judge and sage, sanctioning my adventure, declared that, rather than it should fail, he would join it himself, and with emotion rose to his feet; the effect was inexpressible, each person being as motionless as a statue.

Public Affairs, Municipal and Public Improvements

The laws of Liberia seem to be well constructed, and framed to suit the wants of the people, and their public affairs are quite well and creditably conducted. But there is a great deficiency in public improvements, and, as I learned—and facts from actual observation verified until comparatively recent—also in public spirit. There are no public buildings of note, or respectable architectural designs; no harbor improvements, except a lighthouse each on the beautiful summit rock-peaks of Cape Messurado and Cape Palmas—not even a buoy to indicate the shoal; no pier, except a little one at Palmas; nor an attempt at a respectable wharfage for canoes and lighters (the large keels owned by every trading vessel, home and foreign, which touches there.) And, with the exception of a handsome wagon-road, three and a half miles out from Harper, Cape Palmas, beyond Mount Vaughan, there is not a public or municipal road in all Liberia. Neither have I seen a town which has a paved street in it, although the facilities for paving in almost all the towns are very great, owing to the large quantities of stone everywhere to be had.[Pg 272]

The Capital No City

And what is surprising, Monrovia, although the capital, has not a city municipality to give it respectability as such; hence, there is neither mayor nor council (city council I mean) to give character to any public occasion, but His Excellency the President, the Chief Executive of the nation, must always be dragged down from his reserved and elevated position, and made as common as a common policeman to head every little petty affair among the people. The town was once, by the wisdom of some legislators, chartered into a city, and Dr. T. F. M'Gill (ex-governor) chosen mayor, who, by his high intelligence and fitness for the office, had commenced the most useful and commendable improvements; but the wisdom of other legislators, after a year's duration, in consequence of the heavy expenses incurred to "make Monrovia, where big folks lived, a fine place," repealed the act, degrading their Capital to a town. That is the same as declaring that a court shall not have a judge—the nation a President or Executive, or there shall be no head at all; hence, to reduce the judge to the grade of a lawyer, the lawyer to that of the clerk of the court, the President of the nation to that of the county magistrate, and the county magistrate to that of a constable. How much respect would a people be entitled to who would act thus? They must understand that nothing is greater than its head, and the people of a nation cannot rise above the level of the head of their nation any more than the body of the individual in its natural position can be raised above the head. It is just so with a town population. A villager is a villager, a citizen is a citizen, and a metropolitan is a metropolitan—each of which is always expected to have a standing commensurate with his opportunities.[Pg 273]

Self-Reliance, Ways and Means

One word as a suggestion in political economy to the young politician of Liberia: Always bear in mind, that the fundamental principle of every nation is self-reliance, with the ability to create their own ways and means: without this, there is no capacity for self-government. In this short review of public affairs, it is done neither to disparage nor under-rate the gentlemen of Liberia with whom, from the acquaintance I have made with them in the great stride for black nationality, I can make common cause, and hesitate not to regard them, in unison with ourselves, a noble band of brothers.

Executive Munificence

There has been much progress made in the various industrial vocations within a few years past by the munificence of President Benson, aided by the wisdom of the Legislature, through the agency of a national agricultural fair, with liberal premiums on samples exhibited in a spacious receptacle prepared each season for the purpose, in the Public Square in front of the President's mansion, called Palm Palace. Like his predecessor President Roberts, in pressing the claims of his country before the nations of Europe, President Benson has spared no authority which he possessed in developing the agricultural resources of his country. Every man has his forte, and in his turn probably becomes a necessity for the time being, according to his faculty. Consequently my opinion is, that the forte and mission of President Roberts for the time being were the establishment of a Nationality, and that of President Benson the development of its resources, especially the agricultural. Neither of these gen[Pg 274]tlemen, therefore, might be under-rated, as each may have been the instrument which God in his wisdom appointed to a certain work.

Official and Personal Favors

To John Moore, Esq., Government Surveyor; the Hon. B. P. Yates, ex-Vice-President of the Republic; Hon. John Seys, U.S. Agent for Re-captured Africans, and Consular Agent, I am much indebted for acts of kindness in facilitating my Explorations in Liberia. The Hon. Mr. Seys and Mr. Moore, for personally accompanying me up the St. Paul River; and Colonel Yates, for the loan of his fine canvas-covered boat for my use. Also to Dr. Henry J. Roberts, for remedies and medicines for my own use; Dr. Thomas F. M'Gill, for offering to make advances on articles of merchandise which I took out on trade to bear expenses, much beyond the market price; and to those excellent gentlemen, Messrs. Johnson, Turpin, and Dunbar, also for large advances made above market price in cash for my commodity, as well as other favors, especially on the part of Mr. Johnson, who, having for years been a resident in Monrovia, did everything to advance my mission and make my duty an agreeable one.

To the Rev. Alexander Crummell, who accompanied me up the Kavalla, above the Falls, making my task an easy one; to Drs. Fletcher and D'Lyon, who rendered me professional aid, and also to our excellent, faithful, and reliable guide, Spear Mehia is, a native civilized Christian Prince, the son of the old friend of the missionaries, Nmehia, the deceased King of Kavalla, I here make acknowledgments. And I cannot close this section without an acknowledgment that, wherever I went, the people of the country generally[Pg 275] did everything to make me happy—Esquire Wright at Junk, Dr. Smith at Grand Bassa, and the Hon. Mr. Priest at Sinou whose guest I was, all here will receive my thanks for their aid in facilitating my mission.

Settlement and Sites of Towns

I conclude this section by remarking, that Monrovia is one of the handsomest and most eligible sites for a city that I ever saw, and only lacks the population and will of the people to make it a most beautiful place; and how much it is to be regretted that the charter was repealed, and Mayor M'Gill and the City Council cut off in the beginning of the first steps towards a national pride, which was to have a Capital City in reality as well as name.[3] How unsightly to a stranger, as he steps from the boat at the mouth of Stockton Creek, on the Messurado River, is the rude and rugged steep, leading by simple pathways in true native style, from the warehouses up to the town, which, if improved as it might and should be, would be one of the most pleasing as well as attractive approaches to any city in the world. Not even is there a respectable public market-house or market space in town. But wisdom decreed it otherwise, and for the present it must be so. "Wisdom" in this case "hath" not "built her house" neither "hath she hewn out" the stone "pillars" leading from the beach.

Another good site for a city is Edina, on the northeast[Pg 276] side of the St. John River, opposite Buchanan, Grand Bassa, which doubtless in time Buchanan will include. This is also a handsome place, from the gradually rising elevation. Edina is the residence of that great-hearted, good old gentleman, Judge Hanson. Junk, Little Bassa, and Sinou, are also good, but each of these are low, and consequently not so imposing.

Next to Monrovia is Cape Palmas for beauty of location and scenery, and a stranger will more readily be pleased at first sight with Harper than the Capital. A beautiful city will in time occupy the extensive Cape for several miles back, including Mount Vaughan and the country around; and it may be remarked, that this place presents greater evidences of public improvement than any town in Liberia, and the only place in the country which has a regular wagon road with ox-teams running upon it.


The private buildings in Liberia are generally good and substantial, and especially those of Monrovia, built of brick. Many of them are handsome and quite extensive mansions, the warehouses mostly being built of stone. The wooden houses generally are well-built frames, and "weather-boarded," and not, as some romancers and wonder-vendors would have it, being either log, bamboo, or mud huts. To take the settlers generally, there cannot be much fault found with their style of living, except perhaps in some instances, rather a little too much extravagance. Caldwell, Clay-Ashland, and Millsburg on the St. Paul, are pleasant and prospectively promising villages, and deserve a notice in this place. Clay-Ashland is the residence of Judge Moore, to whom I am indebted for personal favors and much useful informa[Pg 277]tion when examining the land over his extensive sugar and coffee farms. And to my excellent friend Dr. Daniel Laing, of the same place, for similar acts of courtesy and kindness, I am much indebted.

Public Meeting

I addressed the citizens in a very long political meeting in the Methodist church, on the evening of my visit there.[Pg 278]


First Symptoms

The first sight and impressions of the coast of Africa are always inspiring, producing the most pleasant emotions. These pleasing sensations continue for several days, more or less, until they gradually merge into feelings of almost intense excitement, not only mentally, but the entire physical system share largely in it, so that it might be termed a hilarity of feeling almost akin to approaching intoxication; or as I imagine, like the sensation produced by the beverage of champagne wine. Never having enjoyed the taste for it, I cannot say from experience.

Second Stage of Symptoms

The first symptoms are succeeded by a relaxity of feelings, in which there is a disposition to stretch, gape, and yawn, with fatigue.[Pg 279]

Third Stage of Symptoms

The second may or may not be succeeded by actual febrile attacks, with nausea, chills, or violent headache; but whether or not such symptoms ensue, there is one most remarkable, as almost (and I think quite) a necessary affection, attendant upon the acclimation at this incipient stage: a feeling of regret that you left your native country for a strange one; an almost frantic desire to see friends and nativity; a despondency and loss of the hope of ever seeing those you love at home again.

These feelings, of course, must be resisted, and regarded as a mere morbid affection of the mind at the time, arising from an approaching disease, which is not necessarily serious, and may soon pass off; which is really the case.

Its Effects

It is generally while laboring under this last-described symptom, that persons send from Africa such despairing accounts of their disappointments and sufferings, with horrible feelings of dread for the worst to come.


When an entire recovery takes place, the love of the country is most ardent and abiding. I have given the symptoms first, to make a proper impression first.[Pg 280]


I have thought it proper to give a section in my Report entirely to the diseases of Liberia, which are the same as those in other parts of Africa, with their complication with diseases carried from America by the settlers.

Native Diseases, Peculiar Character in Liberia

The native diseases are mainly the native fever, which is nothing but the intermittent fever of America, known in different parts as ague, chills and fever, fever and ague, with its varied forms of bilious, intermittent, remittent, continued, and its worst form of inflammatory when it most generally assumes the congestive type of the American Southern States. In this condition, the typhoid symptoms with coma, give unmistakable evidence of the character of the malady. The native fever which is common to all parts of Africa, in Liberia while to my judgment not necessarily fatal (and in by far the greater percentage of cases in the hands of an intelligent, skilful physician, quite manageable), is generally much worse in its character there than in the Yoruba country, where I have been. The symptoms appear to be much more aggravated and the patient to suffer more intensely.


The density and rankness of the vegetable growth, the saturation of the air continually with fragrance, and other miasma, and the malaria from the mangrove swamps, I assign[Pg 281] as the cause of difference in the character of the same disease in different parts of the continent. The habits also of the settlers, have much to do with the character of the disease. A free indulgence in improper food and drink, which doubtless is the case in many instances, are exciting causes to take the malady, and aggravating when suffering under it.


There are several other diseases that might be named, which I reserve for a section on another part of Africa, and confine my remarks simply to the complication of the native with foreign. All scorbutic, scrofulous, or syphilitic persons, where the affection has not been fully suppressed, may become easy victims to the fever in Liberia, or lingering sufferers from ulcers, acute rheumatism, or elephantiasis—a frightful enlargement of the limbs. Ulcerated opthalmia is another horrible type, that disease in such chronically affected persons may assume. But any chronic affection—especially lung, liver, kidney, and rheumatic—when not too deeply seated, may, by favorable acclimation, become eliminated, and the ailing person entirely recover from the disease.

Remedies, Natural and Artificial

The natural remedy for the permanent decrease of the native fever, is the clearing up and cultivation of the land, which will be for some time yet to come, tardy; as emigration to Liberia is very slow, and the natives very unlike those of Yoruba—cultivate little or nothing but rice, cassaba, and yams, and these in comparative small patches, so that there is very little need for clearing off the forest. Neither have they in this part of Africa any large towns of substantial houses,[Pg 282] all of which would necessitate a great deal of clearing; but instead, they consist of small clusters of reed or bamboo huts in a circle, always in the densest of the forest, which can scarcely ever be seen (except they be situated on a high hill) until you are right upon them. The clearing away of the mangrove swamps—which is practicable—will add greatly to the sanitary condition of Liberia; but this also will take time, as it must be the work of a general improvement in the country, brought about by populating and civilizing progress.


The treatment of the native fever must be active and prudential. But the remedies are simple and easily obtained, being such as may be had at any well-kept apothecary's shop. The sulphate of quinia, in moderate doses, three or four times a day, with the usual attention to the febrile changes, gentle aperients, effervescent and acidulous drinks, taking care to prevent acridness in the stomach. In my advice to persons going to Africa, I shall speak more pointedly of the domestic or social customs to be avoided.


I observed that all elevated places, as Monrovia and Freetown, subject to severe visitations of disease, are situated near mangrove swamps; consequently, from the rising of the malaria, they are much more unhealthy than those in low plains, such as Lagos and many other places, above which the miasma generally rises for the most part passing off harmlessly.

I left Cape Palmas, Liberia, on Thursday, 2 P.M. the 15th[Pg 283] of Sept., on the British Royal Mail African steamer, "Armenian," Captain Walker, to whom and his officers, I make acknowledgments for acts of kindness.[Pg 284]


Coasting. Cape Coast Castle, Bight of Benin

Thursday, the 20th of September, about noon, after stopping at Cape-Coast Castle for twelve hours, on the Coast of Benin, the steamer made her moorings in the roadstead, Bight of Benin, Gulf of Guinea, off Lagos. I disembarked, going ashore with the mail-boat managed by natives; from whence, by the politeness of the gentlemanly young clerk (a native gentleman) of Captain Davies', a native merchant, I was taken in a sail-boat, also manned by natives, up the bay, and landed at the British Consulate; whence I was met by Mr. Carew, the native agent of the Rev. J. M. Harden, a most excellent man, Missionary, and conducted to the Baptist Mission House.

After a stay of five weeks, visiting almost everything and place worthy of note, being called upon by many of the most noted persons, among whom were several chiefs, having several interviews with the authorities, and meeting the most active, intelligent, Christian young men, in several of their associated gatherings, I was waited on by the messenger of the king; when after several interchanges of "words" between us, the following instrument of writing was "duly executed, signed, sealed, and delivered," I, and Mr.[Pg 285] Harden being present, and witnessing the measurement of the land, according to the present custom in that place:

Title Deed
Dr. M. R. Delany

Lagos, October 25th, 1859

Know all Men by these Presents:

That I DOCEMO, King of Lagos and the Territories thereunto belonging, have this day granted, assigned, and made over, unto Doctor Martin R. Delany, for his use and the use of his Heirs and Assigns forever, All that Piece of Ground, situated on the South of the Premises and Ground occupied by Fernando, in the field at Okai Po, Po, measuring as follows, Three Hundred and Thirty Feet square.

Witness my Stamp hereunto affixed, and the Day and Year above written.

of Lagos.

British Consulate,
Lagos, October 28th, 1859

I CERTIFY that the Circular Stamp, as above, with King DOCEMO, of Lagos in the centre, is the Official Stamp of Docemo, King of Lagos, and is used by him as his signature to all Letters, Deeds, and Documents.


Edwd. F. Lodder
Acting Consul.

The Deed of Land above, granted to Doctor Martin R. Delany, by King Docemo of Lagos, has this 18th day of[Pg 286] October, 1859, been registered in the Registry Book of the British Consulate, and numbered.

John P. Boyle, Clerk

On the 30th of October, I left Lagos, proceeding via Ogun river, to Abbeokuta, which I reached on Saturday, the 5th of November.

Explorations. Abbeokuta

Here I met for the first time with my colleague and Assistant Commissioner, Mr. Robert Campbell, from whom, at Lagos, I found a letter waiting for my arrival in the hands of Acting Consul, Lieut. Edward F. Lodder, of Her Majesty's war vessel "Brun," which continually lies in the harbor, directly opposite and near to the Consulate. Consul Campbell (since deceased), had paid an official visit to England, and Lieut. Lodder was supplying his place.

Towns from Abbeokuta

From Abbeokuta, population 110,000, we proceeded to Ijaye, population 78,000, reckoned by the white missionaries and officers of the Niger Expedition of Her Majesty's service, who passed through once, at 80,000; Oyo, population, 75,000; Ogbomoso, population 70,000; Illorin, population 120,000; returning back, via Ogbomoso to Oyo: when by arrangement, Mr. Campbell leaving me at Oyo, returned to Abbeokuta by a new route through Isen and Biolorin-Pellu, small places: whence I, a week later, also by another strange route, returned, passing through Iwo, population 75,000; and Ibaddan, population 150,000 an immense city, the estimated[Pg 287] number of inhabitants by the Civil Corps who passed through, being 250,000. It will be seen that I have made a liberal deduction of two-fifths, or 100,000 from this estimate; still, the population is immense and the city extensive, the walls embracing an outline of at least twenty-three miles.

Return to Lagos

From Abbeokuta, the water being very low, it was thought advisable that Mr. Campbell take charge of all our luggage, and proceed by way of the Ogun to Lagos, (he having disposed of his horse at Abbeokuta) whilst I, on horseback, with William Johnson our cook, the only servant we retained—a civilized native—as guide and attendant, proceeded by land, both reaching Lagos three days after, in the same hour of the same day.[Pg 288]


Topography, Climate

The whole face of the country extending through the Aku region or Yoruba, as it is laid down on the large missionary map of Africa, is most beautifully diversified with plains, hills, dales, mountains, and valleys, interlined with numerous streams, some of which are merely temporary or great drains; whilst the greater part are perennial, and more or less irrigating the whole year, supplying well the numerous stocks of cattle and horses with which that country is so well everywhere provided. The climate is most delightful.

First Plateau and Second Plateau, or Table Lands

The first plateau or low land from Lagos, extends about thirty-five or forty miles interiorly, with but occasionally, small rugged or rocky elevations breaking the surface, when it almost abruptly rises into elevated lands, undulating and frequently craggy, broken often by deep declivities of glens and dales.[Pg 289]


The soil of the first plateau, for ten or fifteen miles, is moist and sandy, more or less, gradually incorporating with a dark rich earth, which, extending quite through the second plateau, continually varies in quality, consistence, and color, from a sandy loam and clay-red iron pyrite appearance to a potter's-clay, and rich alluvial color and quality, the whole being exceedingly fertile and productive; as no district through which we traveled was without cultivation more or less, and that always in a high degree, whatever the extent of ground under cultivation or the produce cultivated.

Stone Formation

The stone formation throughout these regions consist of primitive dark-gray granite, quartz, and conglomerates, with, occasionally, strata of felspar and mica, which are found mainly in the beautiful mountain regions (which are detailed extensions of the great mountains of Kong), having in these sections always beautiful gaps or passes of delightful valleys.

Minerals, Iron, Copper, Zinc

The minerals consist of iron in the greatest abundance, which at present is smelted by the natives from the clay, and every town of any note or size has not only its blacksmiths' shops, but the largest all have iron smelting works. At Ijaye there is quite an extensive and interesting establishment of the kind. And, as they manufacture brass, there must be also[Pg 290] zinc and copper found there—indications of the last-named metal being often seen by the color of certain little water surfaces. The stone formation bears the usual indications of aqueous and igneous deposits, but more of the former than the latter.

Productions Timber

The timber is numerous, and for the following classification I am indebted to my learned friend the Rev. Alexander Crummell, Episcopal missionary and Principal of the Mount Vaughn High School at Cape Palmas: Teak, ebony, lignum vitae, mahogany, brimstone, rosewood, walnut, hickory, oak, cedar, unevah, and mangrove.

Medical Productions

Gum Yoruba (the same as gum Arabic), acacia or senna, castor oil, croton oil, rhubarb root, colomba-root, ipecacuanha, quasia, nux-vomica, cubebs, tobacco, and many others.


All the fruits common to the tropics are found in these regions; in fact, so redundant is Africa with these productions, that she combines the whole within herself; that is, there are some fruits found in the tropical parts of Asia, South America, the Asiatic and West India Islands, common or peculiar to one which may not be found in the other, but[Pg 291] all of which, it may safely be said, can be found in Africa. Pineapples the most delicious in flavor and taste conceivable oranges the same, bananas the finest, plantains equally so, mangrove plums (a peculiar but delightful and wholesome fruit, said by the natives to be a febrifuge), guavas, and "soursops," a delightful febrifuge of pure citric acid, without the least acridness, as well as a hundred others which I cannot now name. The papaw or tree-melon also grows very finely here, and is a very useful and wholesome fruit. When green, "stewed and mashed," and well-flavored with the usual culinary spices, it cannot be distinguished from the best green apple-sauce—for which reason it makes excellent pies. When fully ripe, it cannot be told from the finest muskmelon or cantelope.

Agricultural Products

The Agricultural labor of this part of Africa is certainly very great, and merits the attention of every intelligent inquirer; from the simple fact that, so far as it exhibits the industry of the inhabitants, it shows the means which may be depended upon for a development of the commercial resources of the country.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is produced in great abundance, as a staple commodity among themselves, as well as for exportation since the common light for houses consists of palm oil burnt in native manufactured lamps, some constructed of iron and others of earthenware. The oil of the nut is the most general[Pg 292] in use among the natives, both for light and cooking, because it is the richest, being the most unctuous. This use of the nut-oil is certainly an antiquated custom among the people of this region, whilst those contiguous to Liberia have recently learned that the kernels could be put to commercial use, by the discovery or rather practical application by Mr. Herron, of Grand Bassa, Liberia, and subsequent demand by the French traders. The fact that the Yorubas generally produce their charcoal from the hull of the palm nut, is an evidence of the long-continued and abundant use of the latter article for the manufacture of oil. They have regular establishments for the manufacture of the palm oil, with vats and apparatus (simple though they be), places and persons for each process: as bruising the fruit from the nut, boiling, carrying the pulp to a vat, where it is pressed and washed to extract the oil; one to skim it off from the top of the liquid—another to carry off the fiber of the pulp or bruised fruit, which fiber is also appropriated to kindling and other uses. There is no such method of extracting the oil, as the mistaken idea so frequently reported by African traders from Europe and America, that the natives bruise the nut with stones in holes made in the ground, thereby losing a large percentage of the oil. Even among the crudest they know better than this, and many use shallow troughs, made of wood in some parts of Africa, as the Grebo, Golah, and some other peoples on the western coast, adjacent to Liberia.

Palm Trees Cultivated. Camwood. Ivory

All through the Yoruba country the palm tree is cultivated, being regularly trimmed and pruned, and never cut down in clearing a farm, except when from age the tree has ceased[Pg 293] to bear, or is of the male species, when it is cut down for the wine, which is the sap, extracted from the trunk, in a horizontal position, by boring a hole near the top and catching it in a vessel, when it is drunk either before, during, or after fermentation.

Camwood is also very plentiful, but owing to its great weight and the inconvenience at present of transportation, it does not enter extensively into the commerce of these parts, except as dyestuffs in the native markets. Gum elastic or India rubber is plentiful.

Ivory enters largely into commerce, being brought by "middle men" from the distant interior.

Indian Corn or Maize, Peas, Beans, Ginger, Pepper, Arrowroot, &c

Indian corn, the finest in the world (usually white), is here raised in the greatest quantities, we having frequently passed through hundreds of acres in unbroken tracts of cultivated land, which is beginning to enter into foreign commerce; Guinea corn in great abundance—an excellent article for horses, spoken of in another place; also peas, such as are raised for horse and cattle feed in Canada and other parts of America; white beans in great quantities, as well as those of all colors; black-eye peas; horse beans; in fact, all of the pulse vegetables; also ginger, arrowroot, red pepper in pods (the cayenne of commerce), and black pepper, all of which are articles of commerce; indigo; they also produce salt, and pea-nuts.[Pg 294]

Kitchen Vegetables

Yams, cassaba, sweet potatoes, onions, cucumbers, and many other culinary roots and vegetables; and I am certain that beets, parsnips, and carrots, which we did not see under cultivation, could be successfully raised, if desired. Cabbage grows freely in all parts of Africa, if planted in the right season.

Potatoes, None

Whether or not the common potato of America and Europe can be propagated here has not been tested, but such is the excellence of the yam, that served up in the same manner, there is little or no difference between them and potatoes; and I am certain that when well cooked, "mashed" and seasoned, the best judge could not tell them from good potatoes. I mean good yams, because they differ in quality like potatoes.

Manufactories Iron, Brass, Glass

Crockeryware is manufactured very extensively, of almost every conceivable size and kind of vessel, for various purposes. Some of them are quite handsome, and all nearly of the ancient oriental mould. The largest earthen vessels I ever saw are made by these people, some of them being large enough for small cisterns. Iron implements for agricultural and military, as well as other domestic purposes, are made by them in every large city. They make excellent razors, which shave quite well, as also other steel-bladed knives, which prove that they have the art of tempering iron. Brass as well[Pg 295] as glass ornaments and trinkets are made in considerable quantities.


The people are of fine physical structure and anatomical conformation, well and regularly featured; not varying more in this particular from the best specimen of their own race than the Caucasian or Anglo-Saxon from that of theirs. They are very polite—their language abounding in vowels, and consequently euphonious and agreeable—affable, sociable, and tractable, seeking information with readiness, and evincing willingness to be taught. They are shrewd, intelligent, and industrious, with high conceptions of the Supreme Being, only using their images generally as mediators. "So soon," said an intelligent missionary, "as you can convince them that there is a mediator to whom you may talk, but cannot see, just so soon can you make Christians of them"; their idea being that God is too great to be directly approached; therefore there must be a mediator to whom they must talk that they can see, when God will listen and answer if pleased.

How Received by Them

After my arrival at Abbeokuta, not going out for two days, they expecting me through information from Mr. Campbell, the third day the Chief Atambala called upon me, inviting me in turn to call and see him. In a few days after, the king had a popular religious festival in the great public space, where there were assembled many chiefs and elders;[Pg 296] but, on our approach, the old king sent his messenger to escort us to the porch of the piazza upon which he was seated, eagerly grasping me by the hand, bidding me welcome to Abbeokuta and his court; telling me, pointing to Mr. Campbell, that he was acquainted with him, and had heard of me through him.

Native Estimate of Civilized Educated Men

In December, a meeting of the native cotton-traders, chiefs, and others, was held at the residence of the great chief Ogubonna concerning the price of cotton. On the meeting assembling, and finding that we were not present, the chief at once despatched a messenger, requesting our immediate attendance, as "we knew how things ought to be done." On going down, we found a large assemblage waiting, among whom were Messrs. Samuel and Josiah Crowther, H. Robbing, J. C. During, F. Rebeiro, and C. W. Faulkner, civilized native gentlemen; also Mr. J. G. Hughes, an English gentleman. By a motion from myself, seconded by J. Crowther, the chief Ogubonna was chosen chairman, and, upon a motion by Mr. Campbell, seconded by J. G. Hughes, Mr. Robbing was chosen vice-chairman. The meeting went off well, we making many suggestions during the proceedings, which were always received with approbation.

The following from the native minister, being his own writing and composition, will explain itself:

Abbeokuta, Igbore, 23rd Dec., 1857

M. R. Delany, Esq.:

Dear Sir—A meeting of the Wesleyan Missionary Society will be held at the Wesleyan Chapel, on Monday next, the 26th instant, at ten o'clock, a.m., precisely. You[Pg 297] are sincerely and respectfully solicited to be the Chairman on the occasion.

The object of the Meeting is to offer Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the past years' success; and to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit's influence upon the Church, for a further success, &c.

Collection will be made at the close of the above.

Yours respectfully and affectionately,

Edwd. Bickersteth
Wesleyan Minister

P.S. An early answer will be much obliged.

I replied in the affirmative to this kind invitation (the copy of reply is now mislaid), when, at the appointed time, a crowded house was assembled.

Influence of Civilization—Native Demonstration

In a simple and comprehensive address made to them (being interpreted by the minister as I proceeded), such was the effect that it not only produced their unanimous applause, but aroused Mr. During (a native civilized merchant, who had never before spoken in public) to his feet, who approved of what I had said, with such an appeal of native eloquence, that when he ceased, sixty bags of cowries (£54 or $270, estimating them at 18s, or $4.50 a bag; the then current value of cowries) were paid down on the spot, to aid the spread of civilization through the gospel and education. Many, very many were the thanks given me that day by these, my native kinsmen and women. Several other gentlemen, among them Surgeon Samuel Crowther, the Pastor, Mr. Rebeiro, and Mr. Campbell my colleague, also addressed them.[Pg 298]

Official Transactions

Many had been the social, friendly, and official interchanges between us and the king and chiefs during our stay in Abbeokuta, when, on the twenty-seventh, the day after the missionary meeting, the following document was duly executed, with the express understanding that no heterogeneous nor promiscuous "masses" or companies, but select and intelligent people of high moral as well as religious character were to be induced to go out. And I am sure that every good and upright person in that region, whether native or foreign missionary, would exceedingly regret to see a reckless set of religion-spurning, God-defying persons sent there—especially by disinterested white societies in America, which interferingly came forward in a measure which was originated solely by ourselves (and that, too, but a few of us), as our only hope for the regeneration of our race from the curse and corrupting influences of our white American oppressors.


This Treaty, made between His Majesty, Okukenu, Alake; Somoye, Ibashorun; Sokenu, Ogubonna, and Atambala, Chiefs and Balaguns, of Abbeokuta, on the first part; and Martin Robison Delany, and Robert Campbell, of the Niger Valley Exploring Party, Commissioners from the African race, of the United States and the Canadas in America, on the second part, covenants:

Art. 1. That the King and Chiefs on their part, agree to grant and assign unto the said Commissioners, on behalf of the African race in America, the right and privilege of settling in common with the Egba people, on any part of the territory belonging to Abbeokuta, not otherwise occupied.[Pg 299]

Art. 2. That all matters, requiring legal investigation among the settlers, be left to themselves, to be disposed of according to their own custom.

Art. 3. That the Commissioners, on their part, also agree that the settlers shall bring with them, as an equivalent for the privileges above accorded, Intelligence, Education, a Knowledge of the Arts and Sciences, Agriculture, and other Mechanical and Industrial Occupations, which they shall put into immediate operation, by improving the lands, and in other useful vocations.

Art. 4. That the laws of the Egba people shall be strictly respected by the settlers; and, in all matters in which both parties are concerned, an equal number of commissioners, mutually agreed upon, shall be appointed, who shall have power to settle such matters.

As a pledge of our faith, and the sincerity of our hearts, we each of us hereunto affix our hand and seal this Twenty-seventh day of December, Anno Domini, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty-nine.

His Mark, + Okukenu, Alake
His Mark, + Somoye, Ibashorum
His Mark, + Sokenu, Balagun
His Mark, + Ogubonna, Balagun
His Mark, + Atambala, Balagun
His Mark, + Oguseye, Anaba
His Mark, + Ngtabo, Balagun, O.S.O.
His Mark, + Ogudemu, Ageoko
M. R. Delany
ROBERT Campbell

Witness—Samuel Crowther, Jun.
Attest—Samuel Crowther, Sen.

[Pg 300]

Executive Council, and Ratification of the Treaty

On the next evening, the 28th, the king, with the executive council of chiefs and elders, met at the palace in Ake, when the treaty was ratified by an unanimous approval. Such general satisfaction ran through the council, that the great chief, his highness Ogubonna, mounting his horse, then at midnight, hastened to the residence of the Surgeon Crowther, aroused his father the missionary and author, and hastily informed him of the action of the council.

Native Confidence; Hopes in Educated Blacks; Princess Tinuba

On our return from the interior, having previously made the acquaintance of, and had several interviews with, and visits to and from the Princess Tinuba, being a called upon by her, I informed her that during our tour I learned that she had supplied the chief of Ijaye with the means and implements for carrying on the war, which that chief was then waging against Oyo and Ibaddan.

I had previous to that, obtained her fullest confidence as an adviser, a person of integrity, a friend of my race and of Africa. She had previously expressed to a friend of mine, that she had more hope of a regeneration of Africa through me than ever before. She had promised to place the entire management of her extensive business in my hands, as much advantage was taken of her by foreigners. She has attached to her immediate household about sixty persons, and keeps constantly employed about three hundred and sixty persons bringing her in palm-oil and ivory. She had come with a[Pg 301] private retinue of six or seven persons, her secretary, a man and several maid-servants, to counsel and give me a written statement of what she desired me to do. Having conversed for some time, after receiving my admonition concerning the part which I had learned she had taken with Arie of Ijaye, she sat some time after, positively negativing the accusation, when, bidding me farewell, and saying that she would "send me a letter," retired. In the course of the afternoon, her secretary, "Charles B. Jones," a native, came to the house, and presenting his mistress's compliments, with her final adieu, handed me a written paper, from which I take the following extracts, simply to show the general feeling and frankness of these people, as well as the hopes and confidence they have in our going there:

Dr. Martin R. Delaney: Abbeokuta, April 3rd, 1860

Sir—This is to certify you, that it is with a willing mind I come to you for help: and I trust you will do according to your promise.... I return you my sincere gratitude for your kind information gave me while at your house, and can assure you that all what you heard is false respecting my sending guns and powder to Arie, the Chief of Ijaye.... I beg to say, you must not forget to find the Clerk who will stop at Lagos to ship my cargo ... and make agreement with him before you send him here.... I need not say much more about the affairs, as you yourself have known my statements. With hopes that you are well, I am, dear Sir,

Your humble servant, Tinuba

P.S. You must not forget to send the two gauge-rods. I beg you ... Yours, &c.,—Tinuba

Per Charles B. Jones.

[Pg 302]

I have preferred to give these extracts just as they were written, without correcting the composition in any way.

Royal Deference to Black Men

The liberality which is here accorded to the people of Abbeokuta may be also accorded to most other places. The king of Illorin sat in his court exposed to our view, because, he said, we were "his people"; a privilege which he never allowed "a strange white man," who was never permitted to look upon his royal black face publicly. He also sent with us an escort of a horseman and five footmen, with sword and spear, as a guard of honor, sending us cowries to pay the expenses. The king of Oyo paid us distinguished honors through his great Arie Kufu, calling me a relative, and sending the chief to inquire after our health. On my leaving Oyo finally, he sent with me a very large escort, at the head of whom was his commander-in-chief Kufu, as a guard of honor, and three native gentlemen, high in rank, as my special carriers. These gentle men complained to the missioners, Mr. and Mrs. Hinderer at Ibaddan, that I was quite mistaken as to their true social position at home. To this I plead guilty, as they were quite right.

Domestic Animals; Fowls, Chickens, Ducks, Muscovy, Turkeys Swine; Common, Guinea

Chickens (and eggs plentifully) the sweetest and tenderest, ducks and turkeys; also Guinea fowls, as well as the fine Muscovy, are abundant.

The swine consist of two distinct classes; the common,[Pg 303] descended from the wild—a long, lean, gaunt, long-eared, long-nosed, sharp-featured, hungry-looking brute, like the American hog; and the Guinea, a short-legged, heavy-bodied, short-nosed, short-eared, fat-jawed, full-headed, jolly-looking animal, closely resembling the Berkshire of English breeding.

Goats, Sheep

The goats are the most beautiful, shiny, plump, active, saucy creatures, the mutton being most excellent flesh; and the sheep, though hairy instead of woolly, in every other particular are like other sheep, and the mutton frequently equaling English mutton in flavor and sweetness. I suspect the common sheep of this country to be of another genus, as there are some very fine woolly sheep in the interior. We intend testing the woolly sheep when we get settled there.

Cattle—Mandingo and Golah

The cattle are of two classes, and merit particular attention. The windward or Mandingo, a tall, long-horned, beautiful animal, the type of the Herefordshire; and the leeward or Golah, a short-legged, short-horned, heavy-bodied, broad-backed ox, the exact conformation of the splendid English Durham beeves.

Horses; Aku, Bornou

The horses are of two distinct classes, and not only merit much attention here, but must be regarded as among the[Pg 304] most surprising evidences (as well as the cattle and improved breed of swine) of the high degree of intelligence and heathen civilization attained by the people.

Aku, or Yoruba Horse

The Aku or Yoruba, is a small, well-built, generally sprightly animal, equal in size to the largest American-Indian pony. They are great travelers, and very enduring, and when broke to the shafts or traces will be excellent in harness as family hackneys.

Bornou, or Soudan Horse

The Bornou, a noble horse, from twelve to seventeen hands high, finely proportioned and symmetrically beautiful, and the type of the description of the sire of the great first English blood horse, Godolphin, is exceedingly high-spirited, and fleet in the race or chase. These noble animals abound in all this part of Africa; are bred in Bornou, where great attention is paid to the rearing of them, from whence they are taken by the Ishmaelitish traders, in exchange for their commodities, to Arabia; from thence they are sent to Europe as their own production; just as, a few years since, and probably up to the present day, mules were reared in great numbers in Mexico, purchased by Ohio and Kentucky muleteers, who sold them in the eastern and northern States of America, where for years the people supposed and really believed that they were bred in the western States, from whence they were purported to come. The fine Bornou, known as the Arabian horse, is a native of Africa, and raised[Pg 305] in great numbers. Denham and Clapperton, as long ago as thirty-five or forty years, wrote, after visiting that part of Africa, "It is said that Bornou can muster fifteen thousand Shonaas in the field mounted. They are the greatest breeders of cattle in the country, and annually supply Soudan with from two to three thousand horses." These animals are used for riding, and well exercised, as the smallest boys are great riders, every day dashing at fearful speed along the roads and over the plains.

Game; Quadrupeds

Game is also very plentiful. Deer, antelopes, wild hogs, hedge hogs, porcupines, armadillos, squirrels, hares and rabbits, raccoons and opossums, are among the most common quadruped game.

Wild Fowl

Wild turkey, wild ducks of various kinds, wild pigeons, ocpara (a very fine quail, much larger, fatter and plumper than the American pheasant), and the wild Guinea fowl, are among the most common biped game.

Markets, and Domestic Habits of the People

The markets are also worthy of note, and by their regular establishment and arrangement indicate to a certain extent the self-governing element and organized condition of the people. Every town has its regular market-place or general[Pg 306] bazaar, and everything to be had in the town may be found, in more or less quantities, in these market-places. In describing the large cities through which Mr. Campbell my colleague, and I passed, and those through which I passed alone (none of which were under seventy thousand of a population) there were numerous smaller places of various sizes, from very small villages of one hundred to two thousand inhabitants, which were not mentioned in the enumerated towns. Of these market-places I may mention that Illorin has five, the area of the largest comprising about ten acres, and the general market of Abbeokuta comprising more than twelve altogether, whilst that of Ijaye contains fully twenty acres or more, in which, like the markets generally, everything may be obtained. These markets are systematically regulated and orderly arranged, there being parts and places for everything, and "everything in their places," with officially appointed and excellent managing market-masters. The cattle department of the Abbeokuta and Ijaye markets, as well as Illorin are particularly attractive, there being as many as eight hundred sheep at one time in either of the two former, and horses and mules, as well as sheep and goats exhibited in the latter. When approaching the city of Ibaddan, I saw at a brook, where they had been let out of their cages or coops to drink and wash themselves, as many as three thousand pigeons and squabs going to the Ibaddan market.

The following description of the Illorin market, extracted from "Bowen's Central Africa," is truthful as far as it goes, and will give a general idea of markets in the great cities of Africa:

The most attractive object next to the curious old town itself—and it is always old—is the market.... Here the women sit and chat all day, from early morn till nine[Pg 307] o'clock at night, to sell their various merchandise. Some of the sheds however, are occupied by barbers, who shave people's heads and faces; and by leather dressers, who make charms like Jewish phylacteries, and bridle reins, shoes, sandals, &c.; and by dozens and scores of men, who earn an honest living by dressing calabashes, and ornamenting them with various neat engravings.[6] ... The principal market hour, and proper time to see all the wonders, is in the evening.... As the shades of evening deepen, if the weather allow the market to continue and there is no moon, every woman lights her little lamp, and presently the market presents, to the distant observer, the beautiful appearance of innumerable stars.

The commodities sold in market are too tedious to mention, even if all could be remembered. Besides home productions, there are frequently imported articles from the four quarters of the globe. Various kinds of meat, fowls, sheep, goats, dogs, rats, tortoises, eggs, fish, snails, yams, Indian corn, Guinea corn, sweet potatoes, sugar-cane, ground peas, onions, pepper, various vegetables, palm-nuts, oil, tree-butter, seeds, fruits, firewood, cotton in the seeds, spun cotton, domestic cloth, imported cloth, as calico, shirting, velvets, &c., gun-powder, guns, flints, knives, swords, paper, raw silk, Turkey-red thread, needles, ready-made clothing, as trowsers, caps, breeches shirts without sleeves, baskets, brooms, and no one knows what all.

This description was given by Mr. Bowen in his (in many respects) admirable work, published in 1857, after a missionary residence and tour of seven years, from 1850 to the time of writing, among the people of whom he wrote.[Pg 308]

Native Houses and Cities

The houses are built of unburnt clay which hardens in the sun, covered with a beautiful thatch-long, peculiar grass—exhibiting only the walls to the streets, the doors all opening inside of these walls, which are entered by a gate or large doorway; the streets generally irregular and narrow, but frequently agreeably relieved by wider ones, or large, open spaces or parks shaded with trees; all presenting a scene so romantic and antiquated in appearance, that you cannot resist the association with Babylon, Nineveh, Tyre, and Thebais. The buildings are heavy and substantial for their kind, many of which are very extensive. These towns and cities are all entrenched and walled; extending entirely around them; that of Abbeokuta with the new addition being twenty-seven miles, though the population is less by forty thousand than Ibaddan, which embraces about twenty-three miles.

Conjugal and Filial Affection. Activity of Children

Great affection exists between husband and wife, the women being mostly restricted to household work, trading, and gathering in the fields, and aiding in carrying, whilst the men principally do the digging, planting, chopping, and other hard work. The children are also passionately beloved by their parents, sometimes with too much indulgence. They are very active, and every day some of them of all sizes may be seen dashing along a road or over a plain at fearful speed on horseback. They are great vaulters and ankle-springers, and boys may frequently be seen to spring from the ground whirling twice—turning two summersets—before lighting on their feet.[Pg 309]

Population of Monrovia and the State

It may not be out of place here to add, that the population of the capital of Liberia is certainly not above three thousand, though they claim for it five thousand. And what has been said of the lack and seeming paucity of public improvement may be much extenuated when it is considered that the entire population of settlers only number at present some 15,000 souls; the native population being 250,000, or 300,000, as now incorporated.

Canine and Feline

As the enquiry has been frequently made of me as to "whether there are really dogs and cats in Africa," and if so, "whether they are like other dogs and cats"; and since a very intelligent American clergyman said to me that he had read it somewhere as a fact in natural history, that dogs in Africa could not bark; I simply here inform the curious enquirer, that there are dogs and cats plentifully in Africa, which "look like other dogs and cats," and assure them that the dogs bark, eat, and bite, just like "other dogs."


A word about slavery. It is simply preposterous to talk about slavery, as that term is understood, either being legalized or existing in this part of Africa. It is nonsense. The system is a patriarchal one, there being no actual difference, socially, between the slave (called by their protector son or daughter) and the children of the person with whom they live. Such[Pg 310] persons intermarry, and frequently become the heads of state: indeed, generally so, as I do not remember at present a king or chief with whom I became acquainted whose entire members of the household, from the lowest domestic to the highest official, did not sustain this relation to him, they calling him baba or "father," and he treating them as children. And where this is not the case, it either arises from some innovation among them or those exceptional cases of despotism to be found in every country. Indeed, the term "slave" is unknown to them, only as it has been introduced among them by whites from Europe and America. So far from abject slavery, not even the old feudal system, as known to exist until comparatively recent in enlightened and Christian Europe, exists in this part of Africa.

Criminals and prisoners of war are legally sold into slavery among themselves, just as was the custom in almost every civilized country in the world till very lately, when nothing but advanced intelligence and progressive Christianity among the people put a stop to it. There is no place, however, but Illorin, a bona fide Mohammedan kingdom, where we ever witnessed any exhibition of these facts.

How Slaves Are Obtained

Slaves are abducted by marauding, kidnapping, depraved natives, who, like the organized bands and gangs of robbers in Europe and America, go through the country thieving and stealing helpless women and children, and men who may be overpowered by numbers. Whole villages in this way sometimes fall victims to these human monsters, especially when the strong young men are out in the fields at work, the old of both sexes in such cases being put to death, whilst[Pg 311] the young are hurried through some private way down to the slave factories usually kept by Europeans (generally Portuguese and Spaniards) and Americans, on some secluded part of the coast. And in no instances are the parents and relatives known to sell their own children or people into slavery, except, indeed, in cases of base depravity, and except such miserable despots as the kings of Dahomi and Ashantee; neither are the heads of countries known to sell their own people; but like the marauding kidnapper, obtain them by war on others.[Pg 312]



Diseases, Face of the Country, Spring Water

The diseases in this part of Africa are still more simple than those of Liberia; and even the native fever, for known causes, generally is much less severe. In Liberia, and all that part of Africa, the entire country (except the cleared farms in the republic and the limited rice-fields of the natives) is a dense, heavy-wooded, primitive forest, rank with the growth and putrified vegetation of a thousand ages. But the entire Aku country, throughout the second plateau, presents a very different phase. Here, one is struck with the beautiful clear country which continually spreads out in every direction around; and (except the thickets or forests left as defences, ambuscades, and arbors of rest, rugged hilltops, and gullies), there is nothing but recent timber to be found growing on the lands. Timber in Africa is reproduced very speedily; hence may be found in some parts designedly left very heavy timber; but the greatest unbroken forest through which we passed at any one time, of this description, never exceeded, I think, ten miles. All the spring (shallow wells generally) and other living water, as perennial streams, is both good-tasted, and if the constant use of running stream water be a fair test, I would decide as wholesome. There are some[Pg 313] good springs in Africa, and good water doubtless may everywhere be obtained by digging suitable wells.

To Keep Water Cool. Kind of Vessels

Drinking water in the tropics should always be kept in large vessels of crockery ware (usually termed "stone" and "earthen ware") and smaller bottle or decanter-shaped jugs or vessels for table convenience. If earthen or crockery ware cannot be obtained for table use, by all means use glass bottles—the more globular, or balloon-shaped, the better.

Cool Water

To make and keep water cool in any crockery or glass vessel, wrap around it a cloth or any kind, but especially woolen—flannel or blanket being the best—which keep simply wet, and the water in the vessel, by evaporation from the cloth, can be made or kept almost ice cool.

To Keep the Cloth Wet. Apparatus

A most simple method by which the cloth may be kept wet, and evaporation thereby kept up, is to have a large vessel, with the water in for common use, so placed that a small vessel with water can be suspended over it in such a manner that a drip can be kept constantly on the cloth. The cloth being first saturated, it will readily be seen that a very small drip is required to keep up the dampness. The drip may be arranged, where convenient, with a small faucet so as to reg[Pg 314]ulate the drop, or the more primitive method of a little spiggot or sharpened stick put into a hole made in the vessel, so regulated as to keep up a sufficient dripping to keep the cloth of sufficient dampness. Simple as this may appear to the reader, it is an important sanitary measure, besides adding greatly to the immediate comfort of the traveler or resident in those regions.


The atmosphere in this region of the continent is much purer than that of Liberia and the region round about; and, although incorporated with odors, these are pleasant and seem familiar to the sense, and not obnoxious with the rich rank fragrance so sensibly experienced in that country. There is little, comparatively, of the decayed vegetation, which sends up malaria from the surface in Liberia; and the immense fields and plains of grass not under cultivation at the time, are burnt down during the dry season, thereby bringing to bear, though probably unawares to them, a sanitary process throughout that extensive country at least once every year.

Kinds of Disease

Intermittent fever, as described in section vi., page 280 on Liberia, though generally of a mild type, diarrhoea, dysentery (neither of which is difficult to subdue by a little rational treatment), opthalmia, and umbilical hernia, and sometimes, but not frequently, inguinal hernia, are the principal diseases. The opthalmia I suspected as originating from taint, probably[Pg 315] having been primarily carried from the coast, as it was not so frequently met with as to warrant the idea of its being either a contagion or the effects of poisonous sands or winds, as supposed to exist. The hernia is caused by the absence of proper umbilical attention and abdominal support to the child after parturition. Umbilical hernia is fearfully common all through Africa, I having frequently seen persons, especially females, with the hernial tumor as large as their own head, and those of little children fully as large as the head of an infant a month old.

Guinea Worm

A singular disease affects some persons, though I have never seen this upon a native, and believe it to be peculiar to the region round about Liberia. The person whose case I examined had formerly resided in Liberia, where, doubtless, the disease commenced, but for the last three years previously had resided at Ijaye, in the capacity of cook, for the American Baptist Missionaries, Revs. A. D. Phillips and J. R. Stone and lady, and then resided at Abbeokuta. This is a peculiar ulceration of the leg, immediately above the ankle-bone, where they say it usually commences; the edges of the ulcer, and the cuticle quite up to the edge, and all the surrounding parts, having a healthy appearance, as though a portion of the flesh had been recently torn out, leaving the cavity as it then was. The most peculiar feature of this singular disease is a white fiber, which, coming out from the integuments of the muscles of the leg above, hangs suspended in the cavity (ulcer) the lower end loose, and somewhat inclined to coil (and when straightened out, resuming again the serpentine curves, of course from the elasticity with[Pg 316] motion), is supposed to be a worm; hence its name—Guinea worm. The fibre seems in color and texture to be in a normal condition; indeed, there appear to be little or no pathological symptoms about the parts at all, except a slight appearance of vermillion inflammation over the surface of the ulcer, which is more apparent sometimes than others.

What Is Guinea Worm?

I have examined closely this fibre, and from its appearance, color, size, and texture, especially as it is sensibly felt high up in the leg near the tuberosity of the tibia, when pulled by the dangling end, my own impression is that the so-called "Guinea worm" is nothing more than the external saphenus or communis tibiae (nerve) exposed in a peculiar manner, probably by a disease, which, by a curious pathological process, absorbs away the muscular parts, leaving the bare nerve detached at its lower extremity, suspended loose in this unnatural space. I have never seen but this one case of Guinea worm, but had frequent opportunities of examining it; indeed, the patient consulted me concerning it, and by the advice and consent of the very clever native gentleman, Samuel Crowther, Esq., who received his professional education at the Royal College of Surgeons, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, insisted on my taking the case, which I declined, partly for the want of time to do justice to the patient, and aside from courtesy and equity to the surgeon who had the case in hand, mainly because I knew nothing about it—the best reason of all. The patient was an American quadroon, black nearly in complexion, of one-fourth white blood, from North Carolina. This, of course was a black quadroon.

I should add, that the fiber at times entirely disappears[Pg 317] from the cavity (by contraction, of course), when again it is seen suspended as before. This is one reason why it is believed to be a worm, and supposed to creep up and down in the flesh.

Treatment of Diseases—Diarrhoea

The treatment of fever in this part of Africa should be the same as that in Liberia, given on page 280. The best remedy which I have found for diarrhoea is:

℞. Pulv. Rad. Rhei. ʒj.; Syr. Simp. ℥ jv.; Spts.
Terebinth, ʒj.; Tinct. Opii., gtt. x. M. ft.

Pulverized rhubarb, one drachm, (or one-eighth of an ounce); simple syrup, four ounces (or eight large tablespoonfuls); laudanum, ten drops; spirits of turpentine, one spoonful. Mix this well together to take.


For dysentery the recipe is:

℞. Pulv. Rad. Rhei. Pulv. C. Catech. a. a., ʒj.;
Syr. Simp. f. ℥jv.; Spts. Terebinth. Spis.
Ammon. Arromat., a. a. f.ʒj.; Tinct. Opii. gtt. x.M.ft.

Pulverized rhubarb and pulverized gum catechu, each, one-eighth of an ounce; simple syrup, eight large tablespoonfuls; spirits of turpentine and aromatic spirits of ammonia, of each one teaspoonful; laudanum, ten drops. Mix this well together to take. Of this take one teaspoonful (if very bad, a dessert spoonful) every three hours, or four[Pg 318] times a day (always beginning at least one hour before breakfast), till the symptoms cease.

Fever Antidote

During the presence of febrile symptoms, in the absence of all diarrhoea and dysenteric symptoms, even when the person is not complaining, an excellent simple antidote to be taken at discretion, not oftener than once every hour during the day, is:

℞ Syr. Simp., ℥jv.; Spts. Ammon. Arromat. ʒjss. M. ft.

Simple syrup, eight large tablespoonfuls; aromatic spirits of ammonia, one and a-half teaspoonfuls. Mix this well together. Take a teaspoonful of this preparation in a little cold water, or a glass of lemonade if preferred, and the condition of the bowels will admit, as often as thought advisable under the circumstances.

I have thus thought proper to simplify this treatment, that it may be in the reach of every person going to the tropics, as I am certain that there has been a great deficiency in the treatment and discovery of remedies in diseases of that continent especially. These prescriptions, as compounded, are entirely new, originating with the writer, who has only to add that he is in hopes that they prove as advantageous and successful in other hands as they have been in his.


Persons laboring under fever should eat moderately of such food as best agrees with their appetite; but frequently, if[Pg 319] required or desired, that the system may be well supported. When there is diarrhoea or dysentery present, there should be no solid food taken, but the patient or ailing person should be confined strictly to a thin milk porridge of fine Guinea-corn flour, which is always obtainable in Africa, crumbled crackers or soda biscuits, light (leavened) wheat bread if to be had, or well-done rice boiled to a pulp. The soda-biscuit as a porridge with milk rather aggravates the bowels of most persons; therefore, whenever it is found to have this effect, its use should be immediately abandoned. In many instances, where there is either diarrhoea or dysentery present, without other prominent symptoms, I have found the mere use of cooked milk (merely "scalded," as women usually term it—being heated to the boiling point without permitting it to boil), taken as food alone, to be the only remedy required.


The laws of health should be particularly observed in going to Africa. In respect to eating, there need be no material change of food, but each individual observing those nourishments which best agree with him or her. When there is little inclination to eat, eat but little; and when there is none, eat nothing. I am certain that a large percentage of the mortality which occurs may be attributed to too free and too frequent indulgence in eating, as was the case with the Lewis family of five at Clay-Ashland, in Liberia—all of whom died from that cause; as well as others that might be mentioned.[Pg 320]

Coffee, Air, Fruits

So soon as you have taken your bath and put your morning wrapper, even before dressing, you may eat one or more sweet oranges, then take a cup of coffee, creamed and sweetened, or not, to your taste. Make your toilet, and walk out and take the cool air, always taking your umbrella or parasol, because no foreigner, until by a long residence more or less acclimated, can expose himself with impunity to a tropical sun. If preferred coffee should always be taken with cream or milk and sugar, because it is then less irritating to the stomach. One of the symptoms of native fever is said to be nervous irritability of the stomach; hence, all exciting causes to irritation of that part should be avoided as much as possible. Such fruits as best agree with each individual should be most indulged in; indeed, all others for the time should be dispensed with; and when it can be done without any apparent risk to the person, a little fruit of some kind might be taken every day by each new comer. Except oranges, taken as directed above, all fruits should be eaten after, and not before breakfast. The fruits of the country have been described in another place.


Let your habits be strictly temperate, and for human nature's sake, abstain from the erroneous idea that some sort of malt or spirituous drink is necessary. This is not the case; and I am certain that much of the disease and dire mortality charged against Africa, as a "land of pestilence and death," should be charged against the Christian lands which produce and send bad spirits to destroy those who go to Africa. Whenever[Pg 321] wine, brandy, whisky, gin, rum, or pure alcohol are required as a medical remedy, no one will object to its use; but, in all cases in which they are used as a beverage in Africa, I have no hesitation in pronouncing them deleterious to the system. The best British porter and ale may, in convalescence from fever, be used to advantage as a tonic, because of the bitter and farinaceous substances they contain—not otherwise is it beneficial to the system in Africa. Water, lemonade, effervescent drinks—a teaspoonful of super-carbonate of soda, to a glass of lemonade—all may be drunk in common, when thirsty, with pleasure to the drinker as well as profit. Pure ginger-beer is very beneficial.


Bathing should be strictly observed by every person at least once every day. Each family should be provided with a large sponge, or one for each room if not for each person, and free application of water to the entire person, from head to foot, should be made every morning.

Early Rising—Breezes

Every person should rise early in Africa, as the air is then coolest, freshest, and purest; besides the effect upon the senses, the sight and song of the numerous birds to be seen and heard, produce a healthful influence upon the mental and physical system. The land and sea-breezes blow regularly and constantly from half-past three o'clock p.m. till half-past ten o'clock a.m., when there is a cessation of about five hours till half-past three again.[Pg 322]

Never Sultry

The evenings and mornings are always cool and pleasant, never sultry and oppressive with heat, as frequently in temperate climates during summer and autumn. This wise and beneficent arrangement of Divine Providence makes this country beautifully, in fact, delightfully pleasant; and I have no doubt but in a very few years, so soon as scientific black men, her own sons, who alone must be more interested in her development than any other take the matter in hand, and produce works upon the diseases, remedies, treatment, and sanitary measures of Africa, there will be no more contingency in going to Africa than any other known foreign country. I am certain, even now, that the native fever of Africa is not more trying upon the system, when properly treated, than the native fever of Canada, the Western and Southern States and Territories of the United States of America.

Dress, Avoid Getting Wet

Dress should be regulated according to the feeling, with sometimes more and sometimes less clothing. But I think it advisable that adults should wear flannel (thin) next to their person always when first going to Africa. It gradually absorbs the moisture, and retaining a proper degree of heat, thus prevents any sudden change of temperature from affecting the system. Avoid getting wet at first, and should this accidentally happen, take a thoroughly good bath, rub the skin dry, and put on dry clothes, and for two or three hours that day, keep out of the sun; but if at night, go to bed. But when it so happens that you are out from home and[Pg 323] cannot change clothing, continue to exercise until the clothes dry on your person. It is the abstraction of heat from the system by evaporation of water from the clothing, which does the mischief in such cases. I have frequently been wet to saturation in Africa, and nothing ever occurred from it, by pursuing the course here laid down. Always sleep in clean clothes.

Sanitary Measures

I am sure I need inform no one, however ignorant, that all measures of cleanliness of person, places, and things about the residences, contribute largely to health in Africa, as in other countries.

Ventilation of Houses

All dwellings should be freely ventilated during the night as well as day, and it is a great mistake to suppose, as in Liberia (where every settler sleeps with every part of his house closely shut—doors, windows, and all) that it is deletereous to have the house ventilated during the evening, although they go out to night meetings, visit each other in the evening, and frequently sit on their porches and piazzas till a late hour in the night, conversing, without any injurious effects whatever. Dr. Roberts, and I think Dr. McGill and a few other gentlemen, informed me that their sleeping apartments were exceptions to the custom generally in Liberia. This stifling custom to save themselves does not prevail among the natives of Africa anywhere, nor among the foreigners anywhere in the Yoruba country, that I am aware of,[Pg 324] and I am under the impression that it was the result of fear or precaution, not against the night air, but against the imaginary (and sometimes real) creeping things—as insects and reptiles—which might find their way into the houses at night.

Test of Night Air

While in Liberia, I have traversed rivers in an open boat at night, slept beyond the Kavalla Falls in open native houses, and at the residence of Rev. Alexander Crummel, Mount Vaughan, Cape Palmas, I slept every evening while there with both window and door as ventilators. The window was out and the door inside. In Abbeokuta, Ijaye, Oyo, and Ogbomoso, we slept every night with ventilated doors and windows, when we slept at all in a house. But in Illorin we always slept out of doors by preference, and only retired to repose in-doors (which were always open) when it was too cool to sleep out, as our bedding consisted only of a native mat on the ground, and a calico sheet spread over us. And I should here make acknowledgments to my young colleague, Mr. Campbell, for the use of his large Scotch shawl when I was unwell, and indeed almost during our entire travel—it being to me a great accommodation, a comfort and convenience which I did not possess.

Test of Exposure

I have started two and three hours before daybreak, laying on my bed in an open canoe, ascending the Ogun river, at different times during the six days' journey up to[Pg 325] Abbeokuta; Mr. Campbell and myself have frequently slept out in open courts and public market-places, without shed or piazza covering; and when journeying from Oyo to Ibaddan, for three successive evenings I lay in the midst of a wilderness or forest, on a single native mat without covering, the entire night; and many times during our travels we arose at midnight to commence our journey, and neither of us ever experienced any serious inconvenience from it.

Improved Window and Door Ventilation

That houses in Africa may be properly ventilated during the night without annoyance, or, what is equally as bad, if not worse, the continual fear and imagination of the approach of venomous insects, creeping things, and reptiles, the residents should adapt them to the place and circumstances, without that rigid imitation of European and American order of building. Every house should be well ventilated with windows on opposite sides of the rooms, when and wherever this is practicable, and the same may be said of doors. And where the room will not admit of opposite windows, or windows at least on two sides of a room, whether opposite or otherwise, a chimney or ventilating flue should be constructed on the opposite side to the window—which window should always be to the windward, so as to have a continual draught or current of fresh air. Persons, however, should always avoid sitting in a draught, though a free circulation of air should be allowed in each room of every house.

Instead of window-sashes with glass, as in common use, I would suggest that the windows have a sash of four, or but two (if preferred) panels, to each window (two upper and two lower, or one upper and one lower—or one lower and[Pg 326] two upper, which would make a neat and handsome window), each panel or space for panes being neatly constructed with a sieve-work, such as is now used as screens during summer season in the lower part of parlor windows. To prevent too great oxydization or too rapid decay of so delicate a structure as the wire must be, it should be made of brass, copper, or some composition which would not readily corrode. Inside or outside doors of the same material, made to close and open like the Venetian jalousies now in use in civilized countries, would be found very convenient, and add much to the comfort and health of dwellings as a sanitary measure. The frames of the panels or sashes should be constructed of maple, cherry, walnut, or mahogany, according to the means of the builder and elegance of the building—as these articles seasoned are not only more neat and durable, but, from their solidity, are less liable to warp or shrink. This would afford such a beautiful and safe protection to every dwelling against the intrusion of all and every living thing, even the smallest insect—while a full and free circulation of fresh air would be allowed—that a residence in Africa would become attractive and desirable, instead of, as now (from imagination), objectionable.

Sanitary Effects of Ants—Termites, and Drivers

A word about ants in Africa—so much talked of, and so much dreaded—will legitimately be in place here, regarding them as a sanitary means, provided by Divine Providence. The termites, bug-a-bug or white double ant, shaped like two ovals somewhat flattened, joined together by a cylinder[Pg 327] somewhat smaller in the middle, with a head at one end of one of the ovals, is an herbivorous insect, and much abused as the reputed destroyers of books, papers, and all linen or muslin clothing. They feed mainly on such vegetable matter as is most subject to decay—as soft wood, and many other such, when void of vitality—and there is living herbage upon which they feed, and thereby prove a blessing to a country with a superabundance of rank vegetable matter. It is often asserted that they destroy whole buildings, yet I have never seen a person who knew of such a disaster by them, although they may attack and do as much mischief in such cases at times as the wood-worms of America; and, in regard to clothing, though doubtless there have been instances of their attack upon and destruction of clothing, yet I will venture to assert that there is no one piece of clothing attacked and destroyed by these creatures, to ten thousand by the moths which get into the factories and houses in civilized countries, where woolen goods are kept. In all my travels in Africa, I never had anything attacked by the termite; but during my stay of seven months in Great Britain, I had a suit of woolen clothes completely eaten up by moths in Liverpool.


Drivers, as every person already knows, are black ants, whose reputation is as bad for attacking living animals, and even human beings, as the termites' for attacking clothing. This creature, like its white cousin, is also an instrument in the hands of Providence as a sanitary means, and to the reverse of the other is carnivorous, feeding upon all flesh whether fresh or putrified. Like the white, for the purpose of[Pg 328] destroying the superabundance of vegetable, certainly these black ants were designed by Providence to destroy the excess of animal life which in the nature of things would be brought forth, with little or no destruction without them; and although much is said about their attacking persons, I will venture the opinion that there is not one of these attacks a person to every ten thousand musquitoes in America, as it is only by chance, and not by search after it, that drivers attack persons.

How They Travel

They usually go in search of food in narrow rows, say from half an inch to a hand's breadth, as swiftly as a running stream of water, and may in their search enter a house in their course—if nothing attract them around it—when, in such cases, they spread over the floor, walls, and ceiling; and finding no insect or creeping thing to destroy, they gather again on the floor, and leave the premises in the regular order in which they entered. Should they encounter a person when on these excursions, though in bed, does he but lie still and not disturb them, the good-hearted negro insects will even pass over the person without harm or molestation; but, if disturbed, they will retaliate by a sting as readily as a bee when the hive is disturbed, though their sting, so far from being either dangerous or severe, is simply like the severe sting of a musquito. An aged missionary gentleman, of twenty-five years' experience, informed me that an entire myriad (this term is given to a multitude of drivers, as their number can never be less than ten thousand—and I am sure that I have seen as many millions together) passed over him one night in bed, without one stinging him. Indeed, both the[Pg 329] black and white ants are quite harmless as to personal injury, and very beneficial in a sanitary point.

How to Drive Them Out of the Houses

There is much more in the imagination than the reality about these things; and one important fact I must not omit, that, however great the number of drivers, a simple light set in the middle of the floor will clear the room of them in ten minutes. In this case they do not form in column, but go out in hasty confusion, each effecting as quick retreat and safe escape for himself as possible, forming their line of march outside of the house, where they meet from all quarters of their points of escape.

How to Destroy Them

Chloride of sodium or common salt (fine), slightly damped, will entirely destroy the termites; and acetum or vinegar, or acetic acid either, will destroy or chase off the drivers. These means are simple, and within the reach of every person, but, aside from this, both classes or races of these creatures disappear before the approach of civilization. In a word, moths, mice, roaches, and musquitoes are much greater domestic annoyances, and certainly much more destructive in America and Europe than the bug-a-bug or driver is in Africa.[Pg 330]

Their Pugnacious and Martial Character

I cannot endorse the statement from personal knowledge of the desperate hostility which the drivers manifest towards the termites, as given by Dr. Livingstone, who, calling them "black rascals," says "they stand deliberately and watch for the whites, which, on coming out of their holes, they instantly seize, putting them to death." Perhaps the whites were kidnappers, in which case they served the white rascals right. Though I have never seen an encounter, it is nevertheless true, that the blacks do subdue the whites whenever they meet. In fact, they go, as do no other creatures known to natural science, in immense incalculable numbers—and I do not think that I exaggerate if I say that I have more than once seen more than six hogsheads of them traveling together, had they been measured—and along the entire line of march, stationed on each side of the columns, there are warriors or soldiers to guard them, who stand sentry, closely packed side by side with their heads towards the column, which passes on as rapidly as a flowing stream of water. I have traced a column for more than a mile, whose greatest breadth was more than a yard, and the least not less than a foot. It is inconceivable the distance these creatures travel in a short time. Should anything disturb the lines, the soldiers sally out a few feet in pursuit of the cause, quickly returning to their post when meeting no foe. The guards are much larger than the common drivers, being about the length of a barley-corn, and armed with a pair of curved horns, like those of the large American black beetle, called "pinching bug." There are no bed-bugs here.[Pg 331]


One important fact, never referred to by travellers as such, is that the health of large towns in Africa will certainly be improved by the erection of cesspools, whereas now they have none. With the exception of the residences of missionaries and other civilized people, there is no such thing in Africa. Every family, as in civilized countries, should have such conveniences. Our senses are great and good faculties—seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling—God has so created them, and designed them for such purposes; therefore, they should neither be perverted nor marred when this can be avoided. Hence, we should beautify, when required and make pleasing to the sight; modify and make pleasant to the hearing; cleanse and purify to make agreeable to the smelling; improve and make good to the taste; and never violate the feelings whenever any or all of these are at our will or control.

Wild Beasts and Reptiles

A single remark about these. The wild beasts are driven back before the march of civilization, I having seen none, save one leopard; and but four serpents during my entire travels, one three and a half feet long (a water snake); one fourteen inches long; and another ten inches long; the two last being killed by natives—and a tame one around the neck of a charmer at Oyo. During the time I never saw a centipede, and but two tarantulas.[Pg 332]


To deny or overlook the fact, the all-important fact, that the missionary influence had done much good in Africa, would be simply to do injustice, a gross injustice to a good cause.

Protestant Missionaries

The advent of the Protestant Missionaries into Africa, has doubtless been effective of much good, though it may reasonably be expected that many have had their short comings. By Protestant, I mean all other Christian denominations than the Roman Catholic. I would not be regarded either a bigot or partialist so far as the rights of humanity are concerned, but facts are tenable in all cases, and whilst I readily admit that a Protestant monarch granted the first letters-patent to steal Africans from their homes to be enslaved by a Protestant people, and subsequently a bona-fide Protestant nation has been among the most cruel oppressors of the African race, my numerous friends among whom are many Roman Catholics—black as well as white—must bear the test of truth, as I shall apply it in the case of the Missionaries, as my object in visiting my fatherland, was to enquire into and learn every fact, which should have a bearing on this,[Pg 333] the grandest prospect for the regeneration of a people, that ever was presented in the history of the world.

Influence of Roman Catholic Religion in Favor of Slavery

In my entire travels in Africa, either alone or after meeting with Mr. Campbell at Abbeokuta, I have neither seen nor heard of any Roman Catholic Missionaries; but the most surprising and startling fact is, that every slave-trading point on the coast at present (which ports are mainly situated South and East) where the traffic is carried on, are either Roman Catholic trading-ports, or native agencies protected by Roman Catholics; as Canot, formerly at Grand Cape Mount, Pedro Blanco, and Domingo at Wydah in Dahomi. And still more, it is a remarkable and very suggestive reality that at all of those places where the Jesuits or Roman Catholic Missionaries once were stationed, the slave-trade is not only still carried on in its worst form as far as practicable, but slaves are held in Africa by these white foreigners at the old Portuguese settlements along the Southern and Eastern coasts, of Loango and Mozambique for instance; and although some three years have elapsed since the King of Portugal proclaimed, or pretended to proclaim "Liberty to all the people throughout his dominions," yet I will venture an opinion, that not one in every hundred of native Africans thus held in bondage on their own soil, are aware of any such "Proclamation." Dr. Livingstone tells us that he came across many ruins of Roman Catholic Missionary Stations in his travels—especially those in Loando de St. Paul, a city of some eighteen or twenty thousand of a population—all deserted, and the buildings appropriated to other uses, as[Pg 334] store-houses, and the like. Does not this seem as though slavery were the legitimate successor of Roman Catholicism, or slave-traders and holders of the Roman Catholic religion and Missionaries? It certainly has that appearance to me; and a fact still more glaring is, that the only professing Christian government which in the light of the present period of human elevation and national reform, has attempted such a thing, is that of Roman Catholic Spain, (still persisting in holding Cuba for the wealth accruing from African Slaves stolen from their native land) which recently expelled every Protestant Missionary from the African Island of Fernando Po, that they might command it unmolested by Christian influence, as an export mart for the African Slave-Trade. To these facts I call the attention of the Christian world, that no one may murmur when the day of retribution in Africa comes—which come it must—and is fast hastening, when slave-traders must flee.

Influence of Protestant Religion against Slavery, and in Favor of Civilization

Wherever the Protestant Missionaries are found, or have been, there are visible evidences of a purer and higher civilization, by the high estimate set upon the Christian religion by the natives, the deference paid to the missionaries themselves, and the idea which generally obtains among them, that all missionaries are opposed to slavery, and the faith they have in the moral integrity of these militant ambassadors of the Living God. Wherever there are missionaries, there are schools both Sabbath and secular, and the arts and sciences, and manners and customs, more or less of civilized life, are imparted. I have not as yet visited a missionary station in any[Pg 335] part of Africa, where there were not some, and frequently many natives, both adult and children, who could speak, read, and write English, as well as read their own language; as all of them, whether Episcopalian, Wesleyan, Baptist, or Presbyterian, in the Yoruba country, have Crowther's editions of religious and secular books in the schools and churches, and all have native agents, interpreters, teachers (assistants) and catechists or readers in the mission. These facts prove indisputably great progress; and I here take much pleasure in recording them in testimony of those faithful laborers in that distant vineyard of our heavenly Father in my fatherland. Both male and female missionaries, all seemed much devoted to their work, and anxiously desirous of doing more. Indeed, the very fact of there being as many native missionaries as there are now to be found holding responsible positions, as elders, deacons, preachers, and priests, among whom there are many finely educated, and several of them authors of works, not only in their own but the English language, as Revs. Crowther, King, Taylor, and Samuel Crowther, Esq., surgeon, all show that there is an advancement for these people beyond the point to which missionary duty can carry them.

Kindness of Missionaries and Personal Acknowledgments

I am indebted to the Missionaries generally, wherever met with, whether in Liberia or Central Africa, for their uniform kindness and hospitality, among whom may be named: Rev. J. M. Harden and excellent wife, (a refined highly educated native Ibo lady at Lagos), Revs. H. Townsend, C. H. Gollmer, J. King, E. Bickersteth and ladies in Abbeokuta; A.[Pg 336] D. Phillips, J. A. Stone and lady, Ijaye; T. A. Reid, and Mr. Mekin, Oyo; and Rev. D. Hinderer and lady; Ibaddan. I am indebted to the Baptist Missionaries for the use of their Mission House and furniture during our residence at Abbeokuta: Rev. John Roberts and lady, Miss Killpatrick, Reverend Bishop Burns and lady, Rev. Mr. Tyler, Rev. Mr. Gipson, Rev. Edward W. Blyden and others, Rev. Mr. Hoffman and lady, and Rev. Mr. Messenger and lady, all of Liberia, I am indebted for marks of personal kindness and attention when indisposed among them, and my kind friends, the Reverend Alexander Crumell and lady, whose guest I was during several weeks near the Cape, and who spared no pains to render my stay not only a comfortable, but a desirable one.

Hints to Those to Whom They Apply

I would suggest for the benefit of missionaries in general, and those to whom it applies in particular, that there are other measures and ways by which civilization may be imparted than preaching and praying—temporal as well as spiritual means. If all persons who settle among the natives would, as far as it is in their power and comes within their province induce, by making it a rule of their house or family, every native servant to sit on a stool or chair; eat at a table instead of on the ground; eat with a knife and fork (or begin with a spoon) instead of with their fingers; eat in the house instead of going out in the yard, garden, or somewhere else under a tree or shed; and sleep on a bed, instead of on a bare mat on the ground; and have them to wear some sort of a garment to cover the entire person above the knees, should it be but a single shirt or chemise, instead of a[Pg 337] loose native cloth thrown around them, to be dropped at pleasure, at any moment exposing the entire upper part of the person—or as in Liberia, where that part of the person is entirely uncovered—I am certain that it would go far toward impressing them with some of the habits of civilized life, as being adapted to them as well as the "white man," whom they so faithfully serve with a will. I know that some may say, this is difficult to do. It certainly could not have been with those who never tried it. Let each henceforth resolve for himself like the son of Nun, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Changing Names

I would also suggest that I cannot see the utility of the custom on the part of Missionaries in changing the names of native children, and even adults, so soon as they go into their families to live, as though their own were not good enough for them. These native names are generally much more significant, and euphonious than the Saxon, Gaelic, or Celtic. Thus, Adenigi means, "Crowns have their shadow." This was the name of a servant boy of ours, whose father was a native cotton trader, it is to be hoped that this custom among Missionaries and other Christian settlers, of changing the names of the natives, will be stopped, thereby relieving them of the impression, that to embrace the Christian faith, implies a loss of name, and so far loss of identity.[Pg 338]



What Missionary Labor Has Done

From the foregoing, it is very evident that missionary duty has reached its ultimatum. By this, I mean that the native has received all that the missionary was sent to teach, and is now really ready for more than he can or may receive. He sees and knows that the white man, who first carried him the Gospel, which he has learned to a great extent to believe a reality, is of an entirely different race to himself; and has learned to look upon everything which he has, knows and does, which has not yet been imparted to him (especially when he is told by the missionaries, which frequently must be the case, to relieve themselves of the endless teasing enquiries which persons in their position are subject to concerning all and every temporal and secular matter, law, government, commerce, military, and other matters foreign to the teachings of the gospel; that these things he is not sent to teach, but simply the gospel) as peculiarly adapted and belonging to the white man. Of course, there are exceptions to this. Hence, having reached what he conceives to be the maximum of the black man's or African's attainments, there must be a re-action in some direction, and if not progressive it will be retrogressive.[Pg 339]

How It Was Done

The missionary has informed him that the white man's country is great. He builds and resides in great houses; lives in great towns and cities, with great churches and palaver-houses (public and legislative halls); rides in great carriages; manufactures great and beautiful things; has great ships, which go to sea, to all parts of the world, instead of little canoes such as he has paddling up and down the rivers and on the coast; that the wisdom, power, strength, courage, and wealth of the white man and his country are as much greater than him and his, as the big ships are larger and stronger than the little frail canoes; all of which he is made sensible of, either by the exhibition of pictures or the reality.

The Result, If Not Timely Aided by Legitimate Means

He at once comes to a stand. "Of what use is the white man's religion and 'book knowledge' to me, since it does not give me the knowledge and wisdom nor the wealth and power of the white man, as all these things belong only to him? Our young men and women learn their book, and talk on paper (write), and talk to God like white man (worship), but God no hear 'em like He hear white man! Dis religion no use to black man." And so the African reasonably reasons when he sees that despite his having yielded up old-established customs, the laws of his fathers, and almost his entire social authority, and the rule of his household to the care and guardianship of the missionary, for the sake of acquiring his knowledge and power—when, after having learned all that his children can, he is doomed to see them[Pg 340] sink right back into their old habits, the country continue in the same condition, without the beautiful improvements of the white man—and if a change take place at all, he is doomed to witness what he never expected to see and dies regretting—himself and people entangled in the meshes of the government of a people foreign in kith, kin, and sympathy, when he and his are entirely shoved aside and compelled to take subordinate and inferior positions, if not, indeed, reduced to menialism and bondage. I am justified in asserting that this state of things has brought missionary efforts to their maximum and native progress to a pause.

Missionary Aid, Christianity and Law or Government Must Harmonize, to Be Effective of Good

Religion has done its work, and now requires temporal and secular aid to give it another impulse. The improved arts of civilized life must now be brought to bear, and go hand in hand in aid of the missionary efforts which are purely religious in character and teaching. I would not have the standard of religion lowered a single stratum of the common breeze of heaven. No, let it rather be raised, if, indeed, higher it can be. Christianity certainly is the most advanced civilization that man ever attained to, and wherever propagated in its purity, to be effective, law and government must be brought in harmony with it—otherwise it becomes corrupted, and a corresponding degeneracy ensues, placing its votaries even in a worse condition than the primitive. This was exemplified by the Author of our faith, who, so soon as he began to teach, commenced by admonishing the people to a modification of their laws—or rather himself to con[Pg 341]demn them. But it is very evident that the social must keep pace with the religious, and the political with the social relations of society, to carry out the great measures of the higher civilization.

Like Seeks Like

Of what avail, then, is advanced intelligence to the African without improved social relations—acquirements and refinement without an opportunity of a practical application of them—society in which they are appreciated? It requires not the most astute reformer and political philosopher to see.

Natives Desire Higher Social Relations

The native sees at once that all the higher social relations are the legitimate result and requirements of a higher intelligence, and naturally enough expects, that when he has attained it, to enjoy the same privileges and blessings. But how sadly mistaken—what dire disappointment!

Native Doubts Respecting the Eventual Good Effects of Missionary Labor

The habits, manners, and customs of his people, and the social relations all around him are the same; improvements of towns, cities, roads, and methods of travel are the same; implements of husbandry and industry are the same; the methods of conveyance and price of produce (with com[Pg 342]parative trifling variation) are the same. All seem dark and gloomy for the future, and he has his doubts and fears as to whether or not he has committed a fatal error in leaving his native social relations for those of foreigners whom he cannot hope to emulate, and who, he thinks, will not assimilate themselves to him.

The Proper Element as Progressive Missionary Agencies

It is clear, then, that essential to the success of civilization, is the establishment of all those social relations and organizations, without which enlightened communities cannot exist. To be successful, these must be carried out by proper agencies, and these agencies must be a new element introduced into their midst, possessing all the attainments, socially and politically, morally and religiously, adequate to so important an end. This element must be homogenous in all the natural characteristics, claims, sentiments, and sympathies the descendants of Africa being the only element that can effect it. To this end, then, a part of the most enlightened of that race in America design to carry out these most desirable measures by the establishment of social and industrial settlements among them, in order at once to introduce, in an effective manner, all the well-regulated pursuits of civilized life.

Precaution against Error in the First Steps

That no mis-step be taken and fatal error committed at the commencement, we have determined that the persons to compose this new element to be introduced into Africa,[Pg 343] shall be well and most carefully selected in regard to moral integrity, intelligence, acquired attainments, fitness, adaptation, and as far as practicable, religious sentiments and professions. We are serious in this; and so far as we are concerned as an individual, it shall be restricted to the letter, and we will most strenuously oppose and set our face against any attempt from any quarter to infringe upon this arrangement and design. Africa is our fatherland and we its legitimate descendants, and we will never agree nor consent to see this the first voluntary step that has ever been taken for her regeneration by her own descendants—blasted by a disinterested or renegade set, whose only object might be in the one case to get rid of a portion of the colored population, and in the other, make money, though it be done upon the destruction of every hope entertained and measure introduced for the accomplishment of this great and prospectively glorious undertaking. We cannot and will not permit or agree that the result of years of labor and anxiety shall be blasted at one reckless blow, by those who have never spent a day in the cause of our race, or know nothing about our wants and requirements. The descendants of Africa in North America will doubtless, by the census of 1860, reach five millions; those of Africa may number two hundred millions. I have outgrown, long since, the boundaries of North America, and with them have also outgrown the boundaries of their claims. I, therefore, cannot consent to sacrifice the prospects of two hundred millions, that a fraction of five millions may be benefitted, especially since the measures adopted for the many must necessarily benefit the few.[Pg 344]

National Character Essential to the Successful Regeneration of Africa

Africa, to become regenerated, must have a national character, and her position among the existing nations of the earth will depend mainly upon the high standard she may gain compared with them in all her relations, morally, religiously, socially, politically, and commercially.

I have determined to leave to my children the inheritance of a country, the possession of territorial domain, the blessings of a national education, and the indisputable right of self-government; that they may not succeed to the servility and degradation bequeathed to us by our fathers. If we have not been born to fortunes, we should impart the seeds which shall germinate and give birth to fortunes for them.[Pg 345]



First Steps in Political Economy

As the first great national step in political economy, the selection and security of a location to direct and command commerce legitimately carried on, as an export and import metropolis, is essentially necessary. The facilities for a metropolis should be adequate—a rich, fertile, and productive country surrounding it, with some great staple (which the world requires as a commodity) of exportation. A convenient harbor as an outlet and inlet, and natural facilities for improvement, are among the necessary requirements for such a location.

The Basis of a Great Nation—National Wealth

The basis of great nationality depends upon three elementary principles: first, territory; second, population; third, a great staple production either natural or artificial, or both, as a permanent source of wealth; and Africa comprises these to an almost unlimited extent. The continent is five thousand miles from Cape Bon (north) to the Cape of Good Hope (south), and four thousand at its greatest breadth, from Cape[Pg 346] Guardifui (east) to Cape de Verde (west), with an average breadth of two thousand five hundred miles, any three thousand of which within the tropics north and south, including the entire longitude, will produce the staple cotton, also sugar cane, coffee, rice, and all the tropical staples, with two hundred millions of natives as an industrial element to work this immense domain. The world is challenged to produce the semblance of a parallel to this. It has no rival in fact.

Advantageous Location

Lagos, at the mouth of the Ogun river in the Bight of Benin, Gulf of Guinea, 6 deg. 31 min. west coast of Africa, 120 miles north-west of the Nun (one of the mouths of the great river Niger) is the place of our location. This was once the greatest slave-trading post on the west coast of Africa, and in possession of the Portuguese—the slavers entering Ako Bay, at the mouth of the Ogun river, lying quite inland, covered behind the island till a favorable opportunity ensued to escape with their cargoes of human beings for America. Wydah, the great slave-port of Dahomi, is but 70 or 80 miles west of Lagos. This city is most favorably located at the mouth of a river which during eight months in the year is a great thoroughfare for native produce, which is now brought down and carried up by native canoes and boats, and quite navigable up to Aro the port of Abbeokuta, a distance of eighty or a hundred miles, for light-draught steamers, such as at no distant day we shall have there. Ako Bay is an arm of the gulf, extending quite inland for three and a half miles, where it spreads out into a great sea, extending north ten to fifteen miles, taking a curve east and south, passing on in a narrow strip for two or three hundred[Pg 347] miles, till it joins the Niger at the mouth of the Nun. It is the real harbor of Lagos, and navigable for light-draught vessels, as the Baltimore clippers and all other such slavers, formerly put into it; and Her Majesty's war-steamer Medusa has been in, and H. M.'s cruiser Brun lies continually in the bay opposite the Consulate.


This is the great outlet of the rich valley of the Niger by land, and the only point of the ocean upon which the intelligent and advanced Yorubas are settled. The commerce of this part is very great, being now estimated at ten million pounds sterling. Besides all the rich products, as enumerated in another section, palm oil[7] and ivory are among the great staple products of this rich country. But as every nation, to be potent must have some great source of wealth—which if not natural must be artificial—so Africa has that without which the workshops of Great Britain would become deserted, and the general commerce of the world materially reduced; and Lagos must not only become the outlet and point at which all this commodity must centre, but the great metropolis of this quarter of the world.

Trade of Lagos

The trade of this port now amounts to more than two millions of pounds sterling, or ten millions of dollars, there having been at times as many as sixty vessels in the roadstead.[Pg 348]

The merchants and business men of Lagos are principally native black gentlemen, there being but ten white houses in the place—English, German, French, Portuguese, and Sardinian—and all of the clerks are native blacks.

Harbor Improvements

Buoys in the roadstead, lighthouses (two) and wharf improvements at the city in the bay, with steam-tugs or tenders to tow vessels over the Ogun bar-mouth or inlet, are all that we require to make Lagos a desirable seaport, with one of the safest harbors in the world for light-draught vessels.

The fish in these waters are very fine, and Ako is one of the finest natural oyster bays in the world. The shell-fish are generally of good size, frequently large, and finely flavored.

Religious and Philanthropic means

As a religious means, such a position must most largely contribute, by not only giving security to the Missionary cause, but by the actual infusion of a religious social element permanently among the natives of the country; and as a philanthropic, by a permanent check to the slave-trade, and also by its reflex influence on American slavery—not only thus far cutting off the supply, but, also by superseding slavery in the growth and supply of those articles which comprise its great staple and source of wealth—thereby tendering slave labor unprofitable and worthless, as the succeeding section will show.[Pg 349]

Stopping the Slave Trade

As to the possibility of putting a stop to the slave-trade, I have only to say, that we do not leave America and go to Africa to be passive spectators of such a policy as traffic in the flesh and blood of our kindred, nor any other species of the human race—more we might say—that we will not live there and permit it. "Self-preservation is the first law of nature," and we go to Africa to be self-sustaining; otherwise we have no business there, or anywhere else, in my opinion. We will bide our time; but the Slave-trade shall not continue!

Means of Doing It

Another important point of attention: that is, the slave-trade ceases in Africa, wherever enlightened Christian civilization gains an influence. And as to the strength and power necessary, we have only to add, that Liberia, with a coast frontier of seven hundred miles, and a sparse population, which at the present only numbers fifteen thousand settlers, has been effective in putting a stop to that infamous traffic along her entire coast. And I here record with pleasure, and state what I know to be the fact, and but simple justice to as noble-hearted antagonists to slavery as live, that the Liberians are uncompromising in their opposition to oppression and the enslavement of their race, or any other part of the human family. I speak of them as a nation or people and ignore entirely their Iscariots, if any there be. What they have accomplished with less means, we, by the help of Providence, may reasonably expect to effect with more—what they did with little, we may do with much. And I speak with confidence when I assert, that if we in this new position but do[Pg 350] and act as we are fondly looked to and expected—as I most fondly hope and pray God that, by a prudent, discretionate and well-directed course, dependant upon Him, we may, nay, I am certain we will do—I am sure that there is nothing that may be required to aid in the prosecution and accomplishment of this important and long-desired end, that may not be obtained from the greatest and most potent Christian people and nation that ever graced the world. There is no aid that might be wanted, which may not be obtained through a responsible, just, and equitable negotiation.

Subsidizing the King of Dahomi

There is some talk by Christians and philanthropists in Great Britain of subsidizing the King of Dahomi. I hope for the sake of humanity, our race, and the cause of progressive civilization, this most injurious measure of compensation for wrong, never will be resorted to nor attempted.

To make such an offering just at a time when we are about to establish a policy of self-regeneration in Africa, which may, by example and precept, effectually check forever the nefarious system, and reform the character of these people, would be to offer inducements to that monster to continue, and a license to other petty chiefs to commence the traffic in human beings, to get a reward of subsidy.[Pg 351]



Natural Elements to Produce Cotton

Cotton grows profusely in all this part of Africa, and is not only produced naturally, but extensively cultivated throughout the Yoruba country. The soil, climate, and the people are the three natural elements combined to produce this indispensible commodity, and with these three natural agencies, no other part of the world can compete.

Africans the Only Reliable Producers

In India there is a difficulty and great expense and outlay of capital required to obtain it. In Australia it is an experiment; and though it may eventually be obtained, it must also involve an immense outlay of capital, and a long time before an adequate supply can be had, as it must be admitted, however reluctantly by those desirous it should be otherwise, that the African, as has been justly said by a Manchester merchant, has in all ages, in all parts of the world, been sought to raise cotton wherever it has been produced.[Pg 352]

Serious Contingencies and Uncertainty in American Cotton Supply

In America there are several serious contingencies which must always render a supply of cotton from that quarter problematical and doubtful, and always expensive and subject to sudden, unexpected and unjust advances in prices. In the first place, the land is purchased at large prices; secondly, the people to work it; thirdly, the expense of supporting the people, with the contingencies of sickness and death; fourthly, the uncertainty of climate and contingencies of frost, and a backward season and consequent late or unmatured crop; fifthly, insubordination on the part of the slaves, which is not improbable at any time; sixthly, suspension of friendly relations between the United States and Great Britain; and lastly, a rupture between the American States themselves, which I think no one will be disposed now to consider impossible. All, or any of these circumstances combined, render it impossible for America to compete with Africa in the growth and sale of cotton, for the following reasons:

Superior Advantages of Africa over All Other Countries in the Production of Cotton

Firstly, landed tenure in Africa is free, the occupant selecting as much as he can cultivate, holding it so long as he uses it, but cannot convey it to another; secondly, the people all being free, can be hired at a price less than the interest of the capital invested in land and people to work it—they finding their own food, which is the custom of the country; thirdly, there are no contingencies of frost or irregular weather to[Pg 353] mar or blight the crop; and fourthly, we have two regular crops a year, or rather one continuous crop, as while the trees are full of pods of ripe cotton, they are at the same time blooming with fresh flowers. And African cotton is planted only every seven years, whilst the American is replanted every season. Lastly, the average product per acre on the best Mississippi and Louisiana cotton plantations in America, is three hundred and fifty pounds; the average per acre in Africa, a hundred per cent more, or seven hundred pounds. As the African soil produces two crops a year to one in America, then we in Africa produce fourteen hundred pounds to three hundred and fifty in America; the cost of labor a hand being one dollar or four shillings a day to produce it; whilst in Africa at present it is nine hundred per cent less, being only ten cents or five pence a day for adult labor. At this price the native lives better on the abundance of produce in the country, and has more money left at the end of a week than the European or free American laborer at one dollar a day.

Cotton, as before stated, is the great commodity of the world, entering intimately into, being incorporated with almost every kind of fabric of wearing apparel. All kinds of woollen goods—cloths, flannels, alpacas, merinoes, and even silks, linen, nankin, ginghams, calicoes, muslins, cordages, ship-sails, carpeting, hats, hose, gloves, threads, waddings, paddings, tickings, every description of book and newspaper, writing paper, candle wicks, and what not, all depend upon the article cotton.[Pg 354]

Importance of the African Race in the Social and Political Relations of the World

By this it will be seen and admitted that the African occupies a much more important place in the social and political element of the world than that which has heretofore been assigned him—holding the balance of commercial power, the source of the wealth of nations in his hands. This is indisputably true—undeniable, that cotton cannot be produced without negro labor and skill in raising it.

The African Race Sustains Great Britain

Great Britain alone has directly engaged in the manufacture of pure fabrics from the raw material, five millions of persons; two-thirds more of the population depend upon this commodity indirectly for a livelihood. The population (I include in this calculation Ireland) being estimated at 30,000,000, we have then 25,000,000 of people, or five-sixths of the population of this great nation, depending upon the article cotton alone for subsistence, and the black man is the producer of the raw material, and the source from whence it comes. What an important fact to impart to the heretofore despised and under-rated negro race, to say nothing of all the other great nations of Europe, as France, for instance, with her extensive manufactures of muslin delaines—which simply mean cotton and wool—more or less engaged in the manufacture and consumption of cotton.[Pg 355]

The Negro Race Sustains the Whites—Able to Sustain Themselves

If the negro race—as slaves—can produce cotton as an exotic in foreign climes to enrich white men who oppress them, they can, they must, they will, they shall, produce it as an indigene in their own-loved native Africa to enrich themselves, and regenerate their race; if a faithful reliance upon the beneficence and promise of God, and an humble submission to his will, as the feeble instruments in his hands through which the work is commenced, shall be available to this end.

Home Trade

The Liberians must as a policy as much as possible patronise home manufactured, and home produced articles. Instead of using foreign, they should prefer their own sugar, molasses, and coffee, which is equal to that produced in any other country, and if not, it is the only way to encourage the farmers and manufacturers to improve them. The coffee of Liberia, is equal to any in the world, and I have drunk some of the native article, superior in strength and flavor to Java or Mocca, and I rather solicit competition in judgment of the article of coffee. And singular as it may appear, they are even supplied from abroad with spices and condiments, although their own country as also all Africa, is prolific in the production of all other articles, as allspice, ginger, pepper black and red, mustard and everything else.[Pg 356]

Coast Trade

They must also turn their attention to supplying the Coast settlements with sugar and molasses, and everything else of their own production which may be in demand. Lagos and the Missionary stations in the interior, now consume much of these articles, the greater part of which—sugar and molasses—are imported from England and America. This trade they might secure in a short time without successful competition, because many of the Liberia merchants now own vessels, and the firm of Johnson, Turpin and Dunbar, own a fine little coasting steamer, and soon they will be able to undersell the foreigners; whilst at present their trade of these articles in America is a mere favor through the benevolence of some good hearted gentlemen, personal friends of theirs, who receive and dispose of them—sugar and molasses—at a price much above the market value, to encourage them. This can only last while these friends continue, when it must then cease. To succeed as a state or nation, we must become self-reliant, and thereby able to create our own ways and means; and a trade created in Africa by civilized Africans, would be a national rock of "everlasting ages."

Domestic Trade, Corn Meal, Guinea Corn and Yam Flour

The domestic trade among the natives in the interior of our part of Africa—Yoruba—is very great. Corn meal, Guinea corn flour very fine, and a fine flour made of yams is plentiful in every market, and cooked food can always be had in great abundance from the women at refreshment stands kept[Pg 357] in every town and along the highway every few miles when traveling.


Molasses candy or "taffy," is carried about and sold by young girls, made from the syrup of sugar cane, which does not differ in appearance and flavor from that of civilized countries.


Hard and soft soap are for sale in every market for domestic uses, made from lye by percolation or dripping of water through ashes in large earthen vessels or "hoppers."

Coloring and Dying. Making Indigo

Coloring and dying is carried on very generally, every woman seeming to understand it as almost a domestic necessity; also the manufacturing of indigo, the favorite and most common color of the country. Red comes next to this which is mostly obtained of camwood, another domestic employment of the women. Yellow is the next favorite color. Hence, blue, red, and yellow may be designated as the colors of Yoruba or Central Africa.[Pg 358]

Weaving and Cloth Manufacturing; Leather

The manufactory of cotton cloth is carried on quite extensively among them; and in a ride of an hour through the city of Illorin we counted one hundred and fifty-seven looms in operation in several different establishments. Beautiful and excellent leather is also manufactured, from which is made sandals, shoes, boots, bridles, saddles, harness-caparisons for horses, and other ornaments and uses. They all wear clothes of their own manufacture. The inhabitants of Abbeokuta are called Egbas, and those of all the other parts of Yoruba are called Yorubas—all speaking the Egba language.

A Fixed Policy for the Blacks, as a Fundamental Necessity

Our policy must be—and I hazard nothing in promulging it; nay, without this design and feeling, there would be a great deficiency of self-respect, pride of race, and love of country, and we might never expect to challenge the respect of nations—Africa for the African race and black men to rule them. By black men I mean, men of African descent who claim an identity with the race.

Internal Medium of Communication. Navigable Rivers

So contrary to old geographical notions, Africa abounds with handsome navigable rivers, which during six or eight months in the year, would carry steamers suitably built. Of such are the Gallinos, St. Paul, Junk, and Kavalla of Liberia;[Pg 359] the Ogun, Ossa, the great Niger and others of and contiguous to Yoruba; the Gambia, Senegambia, Orange, Zambisi and others of other parts. The Kavalla is a beautiful stream which for one hundred miles is scarcely inferior to the Hudson of New York, in any particular; and all of them equal the rivers of the Southern States of America generally which pour out by steamers the rich wealth of the planting States into the Mississippi. With such prospects as these; with such a people as the Yorubas and other of the best type, as a constituent industrial, social, and political element upon which to establish a national edifice, what is there to prevent success? Nothing in the world.

Native Government

The Governments in this part are generally Patriarchial, the Kings being elective from ancient Royal families by the Council of Elders, which consists of men chosen for life by the people, for their age, wisdom, experience, and service among them. They are a deliberative body, and all cases of great importance; of state, life and death, must be brought before them. The King as well as either of themselves, is subject to trial and punishment for misdemeanor in office, before the Council of Elders.

Lagos is the place of the family residence of that excellent gentleman, Aji, or the Rev. Samuel Crowther, the native Missionary; and also his son-in-law Rev. T. B. Macaulay, who has an excellent school, assisted by his wife an educated native lady.

"Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God."—Ps. lxviii. 31. With the fullest reliance upon this blessed promise, I humbly go for[Pg 360]ward in—I may repeat—the grandest prospect for the regeneration of a people that ever was presented in the history of the world. The disease has long since been known; we have found and shall apply the remedy. I am indebted to Rev. H. H. Garnet, an eminent black clergyman and scholar, for the construction, that "soon," in the Scriptural passage quoted, "has reference to the period ensuing from the time of beginning." With faith in the promise, and hope from this version, surely there is nothing to doubt or fear.[Pg 361]



Departure from Africa and Arrival in England

Mr. Campbell and myself left Lagos on the 10th of April, per the British Royal Mail steam-ship Athenian, commander Lowrie, arriving in Liverpool May 12th, and in London on the 16th, having spent four days in the former place.

First Meeting

On Thursday, the 17th, by a note of invitation, we met a number of noblemen and gentlemen, interested in the progress of African Regeneration, in the parlour of Dr. Hodgkin, F.R.G.S., among whom were the Lord Alfred S. Churchill, Chairman; Right Hon. Lord Calthorpe; Hon. Mr. Ashley, brother of the Earl of Shaftesbury; Colonel Walker; Charles Buxton, Esq., M.P.; Rev. J. Baldwin Brown, A.B.; Rev. Samuel Minton, M.A.; Dr. Hodgkin, and others. By request of the noble chairman, I made a statement of our Mission to Africa, imparting to the first of their knowledge, our true position as independent of all other societies and organizations then in existence. Mr. Campbell also made some remarks.[Pg 362]

Origin of the African Aid Society

Many subsequent meetings were held in various places, private and public, several of which were presided over by the Lord Alfred S. Churchill and Rt. Hon. Lord Calthorpe, at which I and Mr. Campbell both spoke; when in June an invitation was received by each of us from the "Committee of the National Club," to attend a "Company," on "Wednesday evening, June 27th, 1860, when information will be given on the Condition and Prospects of the African Race." The invitation (being the same as sent to all other persons) went on to state that, "Among others, Dr. Delany, of Canada West, and R. Campbell Esq., of Philadelphia, gentlemen of color, lately returned from an exploring tour in Central Africa, will take part in the proceedings."

This was the first great effective move in aid of our cause, though all other previous meetings were preliminary to it. At this, as at previous meetings, a full and thorough statement was made of our mission, several gentlemen taking part in the discussion.

Subsequently the following note was received—Mr. Campbell receiving a similar one—with the accompanying circular, referred to as the "enclosed paper":—

African Aid Society, 7, Adams Street, Strand, W.C.,

July 14th, 1860

Dear Sir—The Provisional Committee of the above-named Society will feel obliged if you will kindly attend a meeting to be held at the Caledonian Hotel, Robert Street, Adelphi Terrace, on Thursday next, July 19th, to consider the enclosed paper, and to decide on a further course of action. Lord Alfred Churchill, M.P., will take the chair at half-past two o'clock.[Pg 363]

I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully,

Dr. Delany. William Cardwell, Hon. Sec.

At a meeting held at 7, Adams Street, on July 6th, 1860 (arising out of the proceedings of a soiree, which took place at the National Club, on the 27th of the previous month, when the subject of the "Condition and Prospects of the African Race" was discussed) present, Lord Alfred Churchill, M.P. in the chair; Lord Calthorpe; Sir C. E. Eardley, Bart; Joseph Ferguson, Esq., late M.P. for Carlisle; Rev. Mesac Thomas, Secretary of the Colonial Church and School Society; Rev. J. Davis; Rev. Samuel Minton, Minister of Percy Chapel; J. Lyons Macleod, Esq., late H. B. M.'s Consul at Mozambique; Rev. J. Baldwin Brown, Claylands Chapel; and Rev. W Cardall, the following resolutions were unanimously passed:—

I. That it is desirable to form a Society, to be designated the 'African Aid Society.' II. That the noblemen now present be a Provisional Committee of such Society, with power to add to their number; and that Lord Alfred Churchill, M.P., be requested to be Chairman. III. That Sir C. E. Eardley, Bart., J. Lyons Macleod, Esq., the Rev. S. Minton, and the Rev. J. Baldwin Brown, be a Sub-Committee to prepare a draft statement of the proposed objects of the Society, and rules for its government.

At a subsequent meeting of the Committee, on a report of the Sub-Committee, the statement of objects and rules was adopted, which is given above.[Pg 364]

What Black Men Want

The contents of this paper had been fully and fairly discussed at a previous meeting to which myself and colleague were honored with an invitation, when I then and there, fully, openly, and candidly stated to the noblemen and gentlemen present what was desired and what we did not; that we desired to be dealt with as men, and not children. That we did not desire gratuities as such in the apportioning of their benevolence—nothing eleemosynary but means loaned to our people upon their personal obligations, to be paid in produce or otherwise. That we did not approve of restriction as to where such persons went (so that it was to some country where the population was mainly colored, as that was our policy) letting each choose and decide for himself, that which was best for him.

Primary Objects of the African Aid Society

To these sentiments the noblemen and gentlemen all cordially and heartily agreed, establishing their society, as we understand it, expressly to aid the voluntary emigration of colored people from America in general, and our movement as originated by colored people in particular. Indeed I here now say, as I did then and there, that I would give nothing for it, were it not a self-reliant project originating with ourselves. The following completes the doings of the gentlemen in London. I should have remarked, that at many of these meetings, especially that at White Hall on the 27th day of June, and that of the 19th July, and the preliminary ones above referred to, the respected president of our Council, Wm. Howard Day, Esq., M.A., was present. For some of the important preliminary meetings, he and Rev. D'Arcy Irvine kindly made arrangements.[Pg 365]





*The Right Hon. Lord Calthorpe.

The Rt. Rev. the Bishop of Sierra Leone.


*The Lord Alfred Churchill, m.p., f.r.g.s., Chairman of the Executive Committee

Ashley, Hon. Wm., St. James's Palace.

Bagnall, Thomas, Esq., j.p., Great Barr, near Birmingham

Brown, Rev. J. Baldwin, b.a., 150, Albany Street.

Dunlop, Hy., Esq., Craigton, Glasgow.

*Eardley, Sir C. E., Bart., f.r.g.s., Bedwell Park.

Ferguson, Joseph, Esq., late p.m. for Carlisle.

*Seymour, H. Danby, Esq., m.p., f.r.g.s.

Bullock, Edward, Esq., Handsworth, near Birmingham

*Cardall, Rev. Wm., m.a., Sec., of the Evangelical Alliance.

Clegg, Thomas, Esq., Manchester.

*Davis, Rev. James, Sec. of the Evangelical Alliance.

Shaw, Dr. Norton, Sec. of the Royal Geographical Society.

Snopp, Rev. C. B., Perry Bar, near Birmingham.[Pg 366]

Fowler, R. N., Esq., f.r.g.s., 50, Cornhill.

La Trobe, C. J., Esq., f.r.g.s., late Governor of Victoria.

La Trobe, Rev. P., Sec. of the Moravian Missions.

Lecke, Rear Admiral Sir H. J., k.c.b., m.p.

*M'Arthur, Wm., Esq., Brixton-rise

Macleod, J. Lyons, Esq., f.r.g.s. late h.b.m.'s Consul at Mozambique Society.

*Minton, Rev. Samuel, m.a., Minister of Percy Chapel

Richardson, Jonathan, Esq., m.p.

Sykes. Col. W.H. r.i'., Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society.

*Thomas, Rev. Mesac, m.a., Sec. of the Colonial Church and School Society.

Thompson, Geo., Esq., Drixton.

Tidman, Rev. Dr., Sec. Of the London Missionary Society.

Trestrail, Rev. Fred., Sec. of the Baptist Missionary Society.

Wingfield, R. W., Esq., j.p., Birmingham.

William Cardall and J. Lyons Macleod, Hon. Secretaries

Those marked thus (*) constitute the Executive Committee.


I. That the name of the Society be the "African Aid Society."

II. That its chief objects shall be to develop the material resources of Africa, Madagascar, and the adjacent Islands; and[Pg 367] to promote the Christian civilization of the African races; as by these means the Society believes that the annihilation of the Slave Trade will ultimately be accomplished.

III. That for the attainment of these objects it will strive to employ the following and other suitable means:—

1. Encourage the production of cotton, silk, indigo, sugar, palm oil, &c., by the introduction of skilled labor, African or European, into those parts of the earth which are inhabited by the African race.

2. Assist, by loans or otherwise, Africans willing to emigrate from Canada and other parts to our West Indian Colonies, Liberia, Natal, and Africa generally, or to any countries that may offer a suitable field of labor.

3. Form Industrial Missions in harmony, where practicable, with the agency already established for the extension of Christianity in Africa.

4. Supply (as occasion may require) suitable Mechanical and Agricultural Implements for the use of the same.

5. Procure samples of every kind of native produce, for the purpose of submitting the same to the mercantile and manufacturing communities of this country, with a view to the promotion of legitimate commerce.

6. Encourage and assist exploring expeditions into the interior of Africa and Madagascar.

IV. That Subscribers of not less than Half a Guinea annually be Members of this Society, during the continuance of their subscriptions; that the subscriptions be payable in advance, and be considered due at the commencement of each year; that Donors of Ten Guineas and Collectors of Twenty Guineas be Life Members.[Pg 368]

V. That the management of the Society be vested in a Patron, Vice-Patrons, President, Vice-Presidents, and a Council consisting of not less than Twenty Members.

VI. That a general Meeting of the Members of the Society be held in London in the spring of each year, when the financial statement shall be presented, and the Council elected for the year ensuing, who shall appoint an Executive Committee to conduct the business of the Society.

VII. That the Honorary and Corresponding Members may be nominated by the Council.

VIII. That any funded property of the Society be invested in the names of three Trustees, to be chosen by the Council, and that all orders for payments on account of the Society be signed by two Members of the Executive Committee and the Secretary.

IX. That the accounts of the Society be audited annually by a professional auditor, to be chosen by the General Meeting.

X. That the Council shall have power to appoint such officers and assistants as they shall deem necessary for the efficient conduct of the affairs of the Society, subject to the approval of the next Annual Meeting.

XI. That the Council shall have power to convene Special General Meetings of the Members of the Society when necessary.

XII. That no alteration shall be effected in the con[Pg 369]stitution of the Society, except at the Annual Meeting, or at a Special General Meeting convened for the purpose on the requisition of Twenty Members.

In furtherance of the objects of this Society, the Executive Committee, with the generous aid of friends to this movement, have already assisted Dr. Delany and Professor Campbell (two colored gentlemen from America) with funds to enable them to continue their labors and to lay before the colored people of America the reports of the Pioneer Exploration Expedition into Abbeokuta, in West Africa, from which they have lately returned.

A correspondence has already been opened with Jamaica, Lagos in West Africa, Natal, the United States of America, and "The Fugitive-Aid Society"—which for the last ten years has been receiving and instructing fugitive Africans in agricultural and other pursuits on the Elgin settlement—at Buxton, Canada West.

The assistance of all friends to Christianity, Freedom, and lawful Commerce, as opposed to the Slave Trade and Slavery, is earnestly solicited.

"Cotton Is KING! In America"
"Cotton Is BREAD! In England"

The free colored people of America are said to be looking forward to their ultimate removal from the United States, and are anxiously seeking for locations suitable for their final settlement in Africa or other intertropical regions; where they may obtain that freedom which is the inherent right of man, and by their industry acquire adequate independence.

The African Aid Society has been formed to assist this[Pg 370] movement, and to annihilate the slave trade, by encouraging the development of the resources of those countries inhabited by the African races generally, as well as to cause African free labor to supersede African slavery and degradation.

In Canada West no less than 45,000 colored persons, flying from slavery, have now taken refuge; willing to meet the rigors of the climate, so that they are assured of personal freedom under the aegis of the British flag. From the enactments lately made in some States of the Union, for the purpose of compelling all the free people of color either to leave the country or to be again reduced to a state of slavery, a considerable addition will, no doubt, shortly be made to the number of those who have already found their way to Canada; while, from physical causes, Canada can be looked upon by the colored only as a "City of Refuge."

Great Britain has for half a century been employing physical force for the suppression of the slave trade, which after the expenditure of upwards of forty millions sterling, and the noble sacrifice of the lives of some of the best and bravest of her sons, still exists. It is but just to state that the exportation of slaves from Africa has been reduced from 150,000 to 50,000 per annum, by the persevering effort of those who are opposed to a traffic disgraceful to Christianity.

Is the ultimate object of those who are opposed to this traffic its suppression or its annihilation? The annihilation of the slave trade and slavery in Africa was unquestionably the aim of the philanthropists who originated this great movement.

The experience of half a century has proved that physical force cannot destroy the traffic while there is a demand for slave labor. Diplomacy must be baffled in its well-intentioned efforts to oppose this traffic while the profits for carrying each slave from the continent of Africa to the island of Cuba amount to the enormous return of fourteen hundred percent.[Pg 371]

It is a well-attested fact, that the same quality of cotton may be obtained from Africa for twenty millions of money for which Great Britain pays the slaveholders in America thirty millions per annum. If cotton can be sold in the Liverpool market at anything less than 4¾d. per lb., the slaveholders in America will cease to grow what, under altered circumstances, would be unprofitable. Cotton of middling quality (which is in the greatest demand) may be obtained in West and Eastern Africa at 4d. per lb.; and, already, cotton from Western Africa (Liberia) has been sent to Liverpool, there re-shipped, and sold at Boston, in the United States, at a less cost than cotton of a similar quality could be supplied from the Southern States of the Union.

The Executive Committee feel assured that the peaceful means adopted by this society for the Christian civilization of the African races require only the advocacy of Christian Ministers and the Press generally to be responded to by the people of Great Britain.

The horrors of the slave trade, as perpetrated on the continent of Africa and during the middle passage, can only be put an end to by the establishment of a lawful and a lucrative, a powerful and a permanent, trade between this country and Africa; which will have the effect of destroying the slave trade, spreading the Gospel of Christ, and civilizing the African races. For this purpose the support of the mercantile class is earnestly solicited for a movement which—commenced by the colored people of America flying from oppression—bids fair to open new cotton fields for the supply of British industry, and new markets for our commerce, realizing the sublime promise of Scripture, "Cast thy bread upon the waters, and after many days it shall return unto thee."

Alarmists point to the sparks in the cotton fields of America, while thoughtful men reflect that the commercial[Pg 372] prosperity of this great country hangs upon a thread of cotton, which a blight of the plant, an insurrection among the slaves, an untimely frost, or an increased demand in the Northern States of the Union, might destroy; bringing to Lancashire first, and then to the whole kingdom, a return of the Irish famine of 1847, which reduced the population of that portion of the kingdom from eight to six millions.

The Southern States of the American Union are following the example of the infatuated Louis the Fourteenth of France. As he drove into exile thousands of his subjects engaged in manufactures and trade, who sought refuge in England and laid the foundation of our manufacturing supremacy, so are the Slave States now driving from their confines thousands of freed colored men. Where are the exiles to go? The Free States are too crowded, and Canada too cold for them. Can we not offer them an asylum in Jamaica and other colonies? They are the cream, the best of their race; for it is by long-continued industry and economy that they have been enabled to purchase their freedom, and joyfully will they seize the hand of deliverance which Great Britain holds out to them. We only want additional labor; give us that, and we shall very soon cultivate our own cotton.—Slavery Doomed.

Fugitive-Aid Society in Canada

At a meeting held in the Town Hall, Manchester, on the 8th of August inst., the following remarks were made by Thomas Clegg, Esq., who presided on the occasion.

The Chairman said that they held but one opinion as to the horrors and evils of slavery; and he thought that most of[Pg 373] them believed that one of the great benefits which would result from Africans trained in Canada being sent to Africa, would be that they could there, for the advantage of themselves and their country, grow cotton, sugar, and fifty other articles, which we much needed. During his first year's operations in getting cotton from Africa, all his efforts only purchased 235 lbs.; but in 1858, he got 219,615 lbs.; and he saw from one of the London papers of the previous day, that not less than 3,447 bales, or 417,087 lbs., were received from the West Coast during 1860. This rapid increase, in the early history of the movement, showed that Africa was the place that could grow cotton, and that Africans were the men who ought to grow it. (Hear, hear.) There was no part of Africa, of which he had heard, where cotton did not grow wild; there was no part of the world, except India, perhaps, in which cotton was cultivated, where it was not sought to obtain Africans as cultivators. Wild African cotton was worth from 1½d. to 2¼d. a pound more than the wild produce of India; cultivated cotton from the West Coast was worth, on an average, as much as New Orleans possibly could be. (Hear, hear.) He would undertake that good African cotton could be laid down free in Liverpool at 4¼d. per pound; that it should be equal to New Orleans; and at this moment such cotton was worth probably 6¼d. per pound. (Hear, hear.) He looked upon this question as affecting not only the success of missions, but as affecting also the eternal welfare of the Africans and the temporal welfare of our people.

Heathen and Slave-Trade Horrors

At Lagos, communication between the town and the shipping had been suspended for ten days, in consequence[Pg 374] of the high surf at the entrance of the river and along the beach, and great difficulty was experienced in getting off the mails. The war in the interior, between the chiefs of Ibadan and Ijaye, continued with unabated fury; the former district is said to contain 100,000 inhabitants, and the latter 50,000. Abbeokuta had taken side with Ijaye, but at the last battle, which took place on the 5th of June, his people are reported to have suffered severely. The King of Dahomey was about to make an immense sacrifice of human life to the memory of the late King, his father. The West African Herald, of the 13th ult., referring to this intention, says: His Majesty Badahung, King of Dahomey, is about to make the 'Grand Custom' in honor of the late King Gezo. Determined to surpass all former monarchs in the magnitude of the ceremonies to be performed on this occasion, Badahung has made the most extensive preparations for the celebration of the Grand Custom. A great pit has been dug which is to contain human blood enough to float a canoe. Two thousand persons will be sacrificed on this occasion. The expedition to Abbeokuta is postponed, but the King has sent his army to make some excursions at the expense of some weaker tribes, and has succeeded in capturing many unfortunate creatures. The young people among these prisoners will be sold into slavery, and the old persons will be killed at the Grand Custom. Would to God this might meet the eyes of some of those philanthropic Englishmen who have some feeling for Africa! Oh! for some man of eloquence and influence to point out to the people of England the comparative uselessness of their expensive squadron out here, and the enormous benefits that must result to this country, and ultimately to England herself, morally and materially, if she would extend her establishments on this coast! Take away two-thirds of your squadron, and spend one-half its[Pg 375] cost in creating more stations on shore, and greatly strengthening your old stations.—The Times, August 13, 1860.

The following extract from the Times, August 11, 1860, shows that noble hearts across the Atlantic are ready to respond to our call:—

A Noble Lady—Miss Cornelia Barbour, a daughter of the Hon. James Barbour, of Virginia, formerly Governor of that State, and a Member of President J. Q. Adams' Cabinet, has resolved to emancipate her numerous slaves, and locate them in a Free State, where they can enjoy liberty and (if they will) acquire property.—New York Tribune.

Contributions to the Funds of this Society may be paid to the Chairman, the Hon. Secretary, or to the Society's account at the London and Westminster Bank, I, St. James's square. P.O. Orders to be made payable to the Honorary Secretaries at Charing-cross.August, 1860.

The subjoined paper has been issued by the African Aid Society, London, England, which I give for the benefit of those desirous of going out under its auspices, as it will be seen that the Society is determined on guarding well against aiding such persons as are objectionable to us, and likely to be detrimental to our scheme:



1. Are you desirous to leave —— and go to the Land of your Forefathers. 2. Name. 3. Age. 4. Married or Single. 5. What Children (state ages:) Boys ——, aged years; —— Girls ——, aged years. 6. How many of these will you take with you? 7. Of what church are you a member? 8. How long have you been so? 9. Can[Pg 376] you read and write? 10. Will you strive to spread the truths of the Gospel among the natives? 11. What work are you now doing? 12. What other work can you do well? 13. Have you worked on a plantation? 14. What did you do there? 15. Will you, in the event of the African Aid Society sending you and your family to Africa, repay to it the sum of —— Dollars, as part of the cost of your passage and settlement there, —— as soon as possible, that the same money may assist others to go there also?

N.B.—It is expected that persons desiring to settle in Africa, under the auspices of this society, should obtain Certificates from their Minister, and if possible from their Employer, or other competent person, as to their respectability, habits, and character. These certificates should be attached to this paper.

I have every confidence in the sincerity of the Christian gentlemen who compose the African Aid Society, and for the information of those who are unacquainted with the names of those noblemen and gentlemen, would state that the Lord Alfred Churchill is the learned Oriental traveler and Christian philanthropist, brother to His Grace the Duke of Marlborough and son-in-law of Right Hon. Lord Calthorpe; Right Hon. Lord Calthorpe is the great Christian nobleman who does so much for Churches in Great Britain, and member of Her Majesty's Privy Council; Sir Culling Eardley Eardley is the great promoter of the Evangelical Alliance; George Thompson, Esq., is the distinguished traveler and faithful friend of the slave, known in America as a Garrisonian Abolitionist; and J. Lyons Macleod, Esq., the indefatigable British Consul who so praiseworthily exerted himself, and brought the whole of his official power to bear against the slave-trade on the Mozambique Channel. There are other gentlemen of great distinc[Pg 377]tion, whose positions are not explained in the council list, and a want of knowledge prevents my explaining.

Before leaving England for Scotland, I received while at Brighton, the following letter, which indicates somewhat the importance of our project, and shows, in a measure, the superiority of the people in our part of Africa, and what may be expected of them compared with some in other parts; and how the Portuguese influence has ruined them. I may add, that the writer, Mr. Clarence, is a gentleman of respectability, brother-in-law to Edmund Fry, Esq., the distinguished Secretary of the London Peace Society. Mr. Clarence has resided in that part of Africa for twenty-five years, and was then on a visit to his relatives:

Dr. Delaney: Brighton, August 28, 1860

My Dear Sir—I am sorry that I am obliged to leave Brighton before you deliver your lectures, and as we may not meet again, I thought I would write you a few lines just to revive the subject that was passing our minds yesterday. I cannot but think, if it were practicable for a few thousands, or even hundreds, of your West Coast men to come round to the East Coast, that is, to Port Natal, an immense amount of good would be derived therefrom; not only in assisting to abolish the barbarous customs of our natives in showing them that labor is honorable for man, but that the English population would appreciate their services and that they would be able to get good wages. What we want is constant and reliable laborers; not those who come by fits and starts, just to work for a month and then be off. They must select their masters, and then make an engagement for twelve months; or it might be after a month on approval. Good laborers could get fifteen shillings per month, and as their services increased in value they would get twenty shillings, and their allowance of food, which is always abundant.[Pg 378]

I have thought that some might work their passage down to the Cape of Good Hope in some of Her Majesty's Men-of-War, and from there they might work their passage in some of the coasting vessels that are continually plying backwards and forwards. My farm is only five miles from the Port. Should any ever come from your representations, direct them to me, and should I not require them myself I will give them such information as may lead them to find good masters. I have always said that Natal is the key to the civilization of South Africa; but, however, there are sometimes two keys to a door, and yours on the West, though a little north of the Line, may be the other; and, by God's blessing, I trust that the nations of the East and West may, before long, meet in Central Africa, not in hostile array, as African nations always have done, but in the bonds of Christian fellowship. Wishing you every success in your enterprize.

Believe me, dear Sir, yours most sincerely,

Ralph Clarence

Note—Mr. Clarence is requesting to be sent some of our industrious natives from Western Africa, as he informed me that those in the East think it disreputable to work. The term "master" is simply English; it means employer. The "fifteen" and "twenty" referred to, means shillings sterling.

[Pg 379]



Commercial Relations

I have only to add, as a finality of my doings and mission in Great Britain, that in Scotland I fully succeeded in establishing commercial relations for traffic in all kinds of native African produce, especially cotton, which businesses are to be done directly and immediately between us and them, without the intervention or agencies of any society or association whatever. The only agencies in the case are to be the producers, sellers, and buyers—the Scottish house dealing with us as men, and not children. These arrangements are made to facilitate, and give us the assurance of the best encouragement to prosecute vigorously commercial enterprises—especially, as before stated, the cotton culture—the great source of wealth to any people and all civilized nations.

Business Integrity

The British people have the fullest confidence in our integrity to carry out these enterprises successfully, and now only await our advent there, and commencement to do anything necessary we may desire, or that the circumstances justify. Each individual is regarded as a man in these new rela[Pg 380]tions, and, as such, expected to make his own contracts according to business custom, discharging in like manner his individual obligations. It must here be expressly understood that there are to be nothing but business relations between us, their entire confidence and dependence being in the self-reliant, independent transactions of black men themselves. We are expected, and will be looked for, to create our own ways and means among ourselves as other men do.

Public Endorsement

As an earnest of the estimate set upon our adventure, I subjoin the names of a number of the leading commercial British journals—the two first being English, and all the others Scottish, in the midst of manufacturing districts, and all speaking favorably of the project:

The Leeds Mercury, the Newcastle Daily Chronicle, the Glasgow Herald, the Glasgow Examiner, the Scottish Guardian, the North British Daily Mail, the Glasgow Morning Journal, the Mercantile Advertiser, and others. (For absence of these notices, see author's prefatory note.)

From the Daily Chronicle

Newcastle-on-Tyne, Monday, September 17th, 1860

Danger and Safety.— ... The cotton of the United States affords employment to upwards of three millions of people in England, and a famine of cotton would be far worse than a famine of bread; the deficiency of the latter could be supplied; but the destruction of the cotton crop in America would be an evil of unparalleled magnitude, and against which we have no present pro[Pg 381]tection.... From the district of Lagos on the Gold coast, near the kingdom of Dahomey, there comes amongst us Dr. Delany with promises of a deeply interesting exposition of the prospects of Africa, and the probabilities of the civilization and elevation of the black races. He is a bona fide descendant of one of the elite families of Central Africa, a highly educated gentleman, whose presence at the International Statistical Congress was noticed by Lord Brougham, and whose remarks in the sanitary section of the Congress upon epidemics were characterized by a great knowledge of the topic combined with genuine modesty. He is a physician of African blood, educated in America, who has revisited the lands of his ancestry, and proposes a most reasonable and feasible plan to destroy the slave trade, by creating a cordon, or fringe of native civilization, through which the kidnappers could not penetrate from without, and through which no slaves could be transported from within. Dr. Delany is one of the Commissioners sent out by the convention of the colored people of Canada and the United States. He has recently returned from the Yoruba country, adjoining the territory of the King of Dahomey, and desires to elicit a favorable consideration for the African Aid Society. His explorations have been productive of the most promising results, his fellow blacks having everywhere received him with distinguished honors. His anecdotes are interesting, and his lectures are illustrated by specimens of native produce and manufactures highly curious. Of his lectures at Brighton and other places we have read lengthy reports, which represent the influence these addresses have produced, and which speak in eulogistic terms of Dr. Delany's matter and manner. The subject is one of vast importance to England, and we trust that we may witness ere long a proper appreciation of it.[Pg 382]

From the Glasgow Herald

All this betokens a considerable degree of intelligence. The towns had their market-places; in one of these, that of Ijaye Dr. Delany saw many thousands of persons assembled, and carrying on a busy traffic. What a field might thus, in the course of time, be opened for European commerce.

From the Leeds Mercury (England)

Published by E. Baines, Esq., M.P., and Sons, December 8th, 1860

Elevation Of The Colored Race, And Opening Out Of The Resources Of Africa.—An important movement for opening out the resources of a vast portion of the continent of Africa has been made by some of the most intelligent colored people of the United States and Canada. Having formed a society with this object in view, among others, Dr. Delany and Professor Campbell were commissioned to go out and explore a considerable portion of Western Africa, near to the mouths of the Niger, and not far from the equator. A report of this expedition is in progress by Dr. Delany, who is himself so fully convinced of the advantages which the rich resources of that part of Africa offer, that he has concluded to remove his family there immediately. A meeting of the Leeds Anti-Slavery Committee was held on Wednesday night, Wm. Scholefield, Esq., in the chair, when valuable information was communicated by Dr. Delany and William Howard Day, Esq., M.A., from Canada, who is connected with this movement.[Pg 383] The following summary of their remarks will be found of deep interest:—

Wm. Howard Day, M.A., having been called upon, pointed out the necessity for an active anti-slavery organization in this country, as was so well expressed by the Chairman, to keep the heart of the English people warm upon the subject of human bondage.... By the production of cotton slavery began to be a power. So that as the cotton interest increased the testimony of the Church decreased. Cotton now is three-fifths of the production of the South. So that the Hon. Amasa Walker, formerly Republican Secretary of State for the State of Massachusetts, at the meeting held in London, August 1, 1859, and presided over by Lord Brougham, really expressed the whole truth when he said—"While cotton is fourteen cents per pound slavery will never end." Now we propose to break the back of this monopoly in America by raising in Africa—in the African's own home—as well as in the West Indies, cotton of the same quality as the American, and at a cheaper rate. It had been demonstrated by Mr. Clegg, of Manchester, that cotton of superior quality could be laid down at Liverpool cheaper from Africa than America. We have sent my friend, Dr. Delany, to see what Africa is, and he will tell you the results—so very favorable—of his exploration. Then we feel that we have in Canada the colored men to pioneer the way—men reared among the cotton of the United States, and who have found an asylum among us. The bone and sinew is in Africa—we wish to give it direction. We wish thereby to save to England millions of pounds by the difference in price between the two cottons; we wish to ward off the blow to England which must be felt by four millions of people interested in the article to be produced if an untimely frost or an insurrection should take place—and, above all, to lift up Africa by means of her own children. After speaking of the[Pg 384] organization among the colored people, which sent out Dr. Delany and of which Mr. Day is president, he said one of the means to secure these ends was the establishment of a press upon a proper footing in Canada among the fugitive slaves; and to collect for that is now his especial work. It would aid powerfully, it was hoped, in another way. Already American prejudice has rolled in upon the borders of Canada—so that schoolhouse doors are closed in the faces of colored children, and colored men denied a place upon juries merely because of their color. It was with difficulty that last year even in Canada they were able to secure the freedom of a kidnapped little boy who was being dragged through the province to be sold in the slave-mart of St. Louis. In view of all these points, hastily presented, he asked the good will and active aid of all the friends of liberty.

Dr. M. R. Delany, whose name has become so celebrated in connection with the Statistical Congress, was invited to state what he had contemplated in going to Africa, and if he would kindly do so, what he had discovered there. Dr. Delany first dwelt upon the expectation which had been raised in his mind when a young man, and in the minds of the colored people of the United States, by the beginning of the anti-slavery work there by William Lloyd Garrison and his coadjutors. They had found, however, that all the anti-slavery people were not of the stamp of Mr. Garrison, who, he was proud to say, believed in giving to colored men just the same rights and privileges as to others, and that Mr. Garrison's idea had not, by the professed friends of the black man, been reduced to practice. And finding that self-reliance was the best dependence, he and others had struck out a path for themselves. After speaking of the convention of colored people, which he and others called in 1854, to consider this subject of self-help, and of the general organization which began then, and in which Mr. Day succeeded him[Pg 385] as president, he said he went to Africa to find a locality suitable for a select emigration of colored people; if possible, a large cotton-growing region, and with a situation accessible by civilization. All this he had found, with, in addition, a well-disposed and industrious people. The facts which Dr. Delany grouped together as to the climate and soil; as to productions and trade; as to the readiness of the people to take hold of these higher ideas; and as to the anxiety of the people to have him and his party return, were new and thrilling. An interesting conversation ensued on the points brought forward, and the following minute, moved by Mr. Wilson Armistead, and seconded by the Rev. Dr. Brewer, was unanimously passed:—

That the thanks of this meeting be tendered to Dr. Delany and Wm. Howard Day, Esq., for the valuable information received from them, with an ardent desire that their plans for the elevation of their race may be crowned with success, and it is the opinion of this meeting that they be made materially to hasten the extinction of the slave-trade and slavery.

Character of Commercial Relations

The commercial relations entered into in Scotland are with the first business men in the United Kingdom, among whom are Henry Dunlop, Esq., Ex-Lord Provost of Glasgow, one of the largest proprietors in Scotland; Andrew Stevenson, Esq., one of the greatest cotton dealers; and Messrs. Crum, Graham & Co., 111 Virginia Place, Glasgow, one of the heaviest firms in that part of the old world, which is the house with which I have negotiated for an immediate, active and practical prosecution of our enterprise, and whose agency in Europe for any or all of our produce, may be fully relied on.[Pg 386] I speak from personal acquaintance with these extensively-known, high-standing gentlemen.

Reliable Arrangements

One of the most important parts of such an adventure as this, is to have reliable Foreign Agencies, and these have been fully secured; as whilst these gentlemen, as should all business men, deal with us only on business terms, yet they have entered into the matter as much as Christians and philanthropists, to see truth and right prevail whereby humanity may be elevated, as for anything else; because they are already wealthy, and had they been seeking after wealth, they certainly could and would have sought some more certainly immediate means.

I left Scotland December 3rd, and sailed from Liverpool the 13th via Londonderry, arriving at Portland the 25th, the epoch of the Christian Era, and in Chatham the 29th.[Pg 387]



Caution against Danger

The best time for going to Africa is during "the rainy season," which commences about the middle or last of April, ending near or about the first of November. By going during this period, it will be observed that you have no sudden transition from cold to heat, as would be the case did you leave in cold weather for that country. But the most favorable time to avoid the heavy surf at Lagos, is from the first of October to the first of April, when the surges in the roadstead are comparatively small and not imminently dangerous. And I here advise and caution all persons intending to land there, not to venture over the heavy-rolling surf of the bar in one of those native canoes.

Safety in Landing

Yet persons can land with safety at any season of the year; but for this there must be a proper boat. Any person going there at present ought not to land if the surf is high, without Captain Davies' large sail-boat, which is as safe as a tug, and rides the sea like a swan. Send him word to send his largest[Pg 388] boat at the best hour for landing. The Captain is a native merchant, and most obliging gentleman.

A Tender

So soon as we get a Tender (called in America, steam-tug and tow-boat), which will be one of the first things done so soon as we get to Lagos, landing will be as safe at any and all times there as in the harbor at New York or Liverpool. For the information of many intelligent persons who are not aware of it, I would state that a pilot or tender has to take vessels into both of these great seaports on account of shoal water.[9]

Rainy Season

The rainy season usually thought by foreigners to be "wet, muddy, and disagreeable weather," so far from this, is the most agreeable season of the year. Instead of steady rains for several days incessantly, as is common during "rainy weather" in the temperate zones, there is seldom or never rain during a whole day. But every day to a certainty during this season it rains, sometimes by showers at intervals, and sometimes a heavy rain for one, two, or three hours at a time—but seldom so long as three hours—when it clears up beautifully, leaving an almost cloudless sky. The rains usually come up very suddenly, and as quickly cease when done.[Pg 389]

Drizzling Rain, Sudden Showers

There is seldom or never such a thing in this part of Africa as a "drizzling" or mizzling rain, all suddenly coming on and as suddenly passing off; and should one be out and see indications of an approaching rain, they must hurry to a near shelter, so suddenly does the shower come on.


Tornadoes are sudden gusts or violent storms of wind and rain, which are more or less feared, but which may always be known from other storms on their approach, by the blackness of the clouds above, with the segment of a circle of lighter cloud just beneath the dark, and above the horizon.


The entire wet season may be justly termed the summer instead of "winter," as the old writers have it; and it is observable that at the commencement of Spring in the temperate zones (March) vegetation starts forth in Africa with renewed vigor.


Winter is during the dry season, and not the "wet," for the above reason; and it is also worthy of remark, that during autumn in the temperate zone (from October to the last of November) the foliage in Africa begins to fade and fall from the trees in large quantities.[Pg 390]


It is during this season that the harmattans prevail, (from two to three weeks in December) which consist of a dry cold and not a "dry hot" wind as we have been taught; when furniture and wooden-ware dries and cracks for want of moisture, and the thermometer frequently rates as low as 54 deg. Fahr. in the evening and early in the morning; when blankets on the bed will not be out of place, and an evening and morning fire may add to your comfort.[Pg 391]



Native Mariners

It may not be generally known as a fact, which is of no little importance in the industrial economy of Africa, that vessels of every class, of all foreign nations, are manned and managed by native Africans, so soon as they enter African waters.

The Krumen are the watermen or marines generally of Africa, going in companies of greater or less numbers, with one in the lead called "headman," who, hiring all the others, makes contracts with a vessel, which is met outside of the roadsteads or harbors, to supply a certain number of men to manage it during her coasting voyage. They usually bring with them the recommendations of all the commanders whose vessels they have managed on the coast. These are generally carried in the hat to prevent getting wet, and sometimes in calabashes, stopped up like a bottle, or in a tin can or case, (when such can be obtained,) suspended by a string like a great square medal around the neck.

So expert have these people become in marine affairs, that, with the exception of navigation, a vessel at sea might be managed entirely by many of those companies of Krumen. Everything that is to be done as the common work of seamen, is done by them during their engagement[Pg 392] on the coasting vessels. The agility with which they scale the shrouds and rigging, mounting frequently to the very pinnacle of the main-mast head, or going out to the extreme end of the yard arms, is truly surprising. In these feats, they are far more dextrous than the white civilians.

The Fever—Stages Of

In cases of real intermittent fever—fever and ague or chills and fever—there are usually three distinct stages when the attack comes on—on what is usually termed fever day: the cold or shivering stage, the hot or burning stage, succeeded by the sweating.

Cold Stage

So soon as there are symptoms of a chill, a cup of quite hot ginger or cinnamon tea—not too strong—may be taken, the person keeping out of the sun, and, if inclined, going to bed and covering warmly. He should always undress, putting on a night-shirt or gown, for the convenience of changing when required. A hot cup of tea, of any kind, is better than nothing, when neither cinnamon nor ginger is convenient.

Kneading or Friction-Bath. Hot Stage

During the hot stage, the person must be kept as cool as possible, and when the fever is at its height—and, indeed, it is well to commence long before this—the entire person, from head to foot, should be continually bathed by a free application of cold water, used plentifully and frequently changed during the application, with a large sponge, napkin, or cloth of some kind.[Pg 393]


An excellent addition to the water is the juice of limes or lemons, and less of the first (lime) than the last is required, because of the superior strength of the one to the other.


Soda may also be used in the bath as an adjuvant to the water—not with the lime juice, of course, because they would effervesce or disagree. When lime or lemon juice is used, care should be taken, in the use of it, that it be not too strong: say, use two lemons, or one and a half limes if large, to a pail of water—as it will produce irritation on all of the tender parts of the person, and even over the general surface. A lime bath once or twice a week, in the absence of all fever, is said to be an excellent hygeian or prophylactic treatment. But, by all means, don't neglect the cold water application during the hot stage.

Sweating Stage

So soon as the sweating commences, the patient must have sufficient covering to prevent taking cold, which is then very readily done, in consequence of the general relaxation of the system and open state of the pores. When the sweating ceases, the shirt or gown must be immediately taken off, the entire person sponged off in clear lukewarm or air-cold water, fresh clean clothes put on, the sheets and wet bed-clothes removed by clean ones supplying their places; and in no case must a person ever be permitted to keep on the same clothes after the sweating stage, as the virus or fever-poison is expelled through the medium of the[Pg 394] sweat and pores, and consequently absorbed by the clothing. The clothes should be changed every day, whether there be perspiration or not.

All the stages

Either of these symptoms is to be treated as advised, independently of the other in the order of arrangement.


Persons should be careful not to sleep in sweaty clothes, especially those in which they have traveled; and they should be cautious not to sleep in the same clothes worn on any day, as before but slightly alluded to. Clean, unsoiled night-clothes should be put on every evening, and those which may be worn again should be well aired and sunned during the day.

Colonization—an Error in Philanthropy

The Colonization Society has committed a great error in its philanthropic arrangements of providing for six months' passiveness after going to Africa. The provisions, for those who require them, I do not object to, but the passiveness is fatally injurious.

Activity Conducive to Health

Instead of going to Africa and quietly sitting down in utter idleness, in anticipation waiting in anxious expectation for the[Pg 395] fever to come—in which cases the person becomes much more susceptible—did they go directly about some active employment, to keep both mind and body properly exercised, I am certain that there would not be one-fourth of the mortality that there is even now, which is comparatively little.

Evidences of the Fact

This will account for the reason that, among the numerous travelers and explorers who visit such countries, there is so much less, nay, so seldom any mortality from disease, compared with the missionaries, whose lives are rather easy and inactive, except the really energetic ones, who generally are they who survive. And I have the testimony of my friends Professor Crummell of Liberia College, late of Mount Vaughn High School, a most industrious, persevering gentleman, and W. Spencer Anderson, Esq., the largest sugar and coffee grower in Liberia, also a most energetic industrious gentleman—who corroborate my opinion on this important subject. Indeed, the people generally seem to have been long conscious of this fact, since among them they have an adage: "The more work, the less fever." But no one should infer that it meant that they should exercise without regard to care and judgment, with all the precautions and observations on health laid down in the preceding pages. I return of course, to Africa, with my family.[Pg 396]


[1] Mr. Shadd was elected Vice-President in the place of Mr. Bailey, who left the Province for New Caledonia.

[2] On the 16th day of June, lat. 35 deg. 35 min., long. 38 deg. 39 min., a very large school (the largest Captain Locke said that he had ever seen or read of), probably five hundred, of sperm whales made their appearance in the segment of a circle to windward and leeward of the vessel about noon, continuing in sight, blowing and spouting, filling the air with spray for a long time, to our amusement and delight. The captain said, though an old whaler, he had never known of sperm whales in that latitude before; and from the immense number, and as they were frequently seen as we approached Africa many times on different days afterwards, that he thought a new whaling point had been discovered. Other whales were also seen frequently in these latitudes—lazy, shy, "old bulls," which floated with their huge backs and part of their heads out of water, so as to expose their eyes, when they would suddenly disappear and as quickly appear again; but the great quantity of squid spawn, the peculiar mollusca upon which the sperm whale feeds, made it ominous, according to the opinion of Captain Locke, that a great new sperm whale fishery had been discovered, the spawn being seen during several days' sail before and after observing the great school.

Note.—I should not close this part of my report without stating that, during the year 1858, Mr. Myers wrote to the Royal Geographical Society, London; Thomas Clegg, Esq., Manchester; Dr. Livingstone, and perhaps others, all over my name as secretary and himself chairman. The letters referred to were written (without my knowledge) by a son of Mr. Myers; and I only mention the fact here because I am unwilling to claim the honor of the authorship of correspondence carried on through a lad of sixteen years of age.

[3] This day, August 2, 1861, while revising this Report, the thermometer Fahr. stands in the most favorable shade in the town of Chatham, Kent county, C. W., 96 deg. (98 is the general test of this day) and in the sun 113—being one degree above fever heat. A fact to which my attention was called by an intelligent Liberian—and which science may hereafter account for—that the nearer the approach to the equator, the more moderate is the heat. Has the sun the same effect upon the general bulk of the earth that it has upon particular locations—the greater the elevation the cooler—or is it because of the superior velocity of this part, that a current is kept up by its passage through the atmosphere surrounding it? It is a settled fact that the earth is "elevated at the equator and depressed at the poles," and hills are cool, while valleys and plains are hot, because of their peculiar property of attracting and reflecting heat.

[4] The "Liberia College" has been fully established since my visit there, by the erection of a fine stone edifice, and the choice of the Hon. Ex-President Joseph Jenkins Roberts, President and Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law; Rev. Alexander Crummell, A.B., Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy and English Literature; Rev. Edward Welmot Blydon, Professor of Greek and Latin Languages and Literature. This is a grand stride in the march of African Regeneration and Negro Nationality.

[5] I am happy to learn by advices recently received from Liberia, that Monrovia has again been created and organized a City Municipality, ex-Judge James Mayor; and I should have named in connection with the public spirit of Liberia, three newspapers—the Liberia Herald, Star of Liberia, and Christian Advocate—the last, a religious journal, under the auspices of that excellent Christian gentleman, Bishop Burns the Methodist Missionary-Bishop of Liberia.

[6] Lagos is an exception to this, the market commencing early in the day, and closing at night.

[7] Nine-tenths of all the Palm Oil of commerce goes from this point.

[8] Now 8 Adolphi Terrace, Strand.

[9] I have received information from London, that an iron steam Tender has already been sent out to Lagos by an English house.


Norm R. Allen Jr.

Molefi Kete Asante

Toyin Falola

[Pg 397]



Martin R. Delany


Toyin Falola


an imprint of Prometheus Books
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