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prominent of his public acts which merited the severest censure, was the seizure of Mr. Wm. Gabbidon, a coloured British subject, at the Island of Matacong,* in the Soosoo territory, by an armed force, under Lieutenant Mowbray, third West India Regiment, at the dead hour of night, on a charge of piracy; who was dragged to town, and after being imprisoned in Freetown gaol six weeks, was instantly acquitted on the sitting of the Grand Jury: and of another coloured man, one William Ward, t at the factory, called Ki Koukih, in the Mandingo territory, on a charge of murder, who was, after six months' incarceration in gaol, liberated without even the formality of a trial, or a bill being at all preferred against him at the Quarter Sessions. Now, had such unjust acts as these been confined within the jurisdiction of the Colony, indefensible as they might be, they would not have so deeply degraded the British authority in the sight of the native African kings, who look upon us as a superior people and possessed of a good Government. To the individuals they were irreparable injuries, and the Mahomedans, with whom we were at peace, would naturally say, (for they are quite as sensible, if less refined in their notions, of the respect due to them, as are more civilised and enlightened potentates of other spheres,)-Are we not at

* This beautiful island I have already described. The nature of this unfor. tunate proceeding was as follows, the particulars I learned from the accused person when on a two months' visit to his house there; and having been one of the grand jurors before whom the charge was preferred, and hearing the evidence for the prosecution, gave me a more clear insight into the case than many others :The accusing person was one Macaulay, a liberated African of the Aker nation, who, in his own canoe, had been on a trading voyage to the Bagge and Soosoo countries, north-west of the island of Matacong, and on his return to the Colony, called there, it being a sort of a halfway-place, to replenish and recruit. It appeared that, according to native custom, this trader waited upon the proprietors of the island, as a mark of respect, at his house, and on displaying some gold rings, he stated that one or more was lost or taken from him, and, by some means or other, part of the canoe's cargo was placed in the stores of the proprietor, under lock and key. Macaulay, on his arrival at Freetown, went to the police office, and, along with his canoeman, swore that his goods were plundered by the order of William Gabbidon, and obtained a warrant for the apprehension of this young man. The evidence of his witnesses before the grand jury was of so contradictory a nature, and there being a total absence of any cause or incentive to impel him to commit a robbery, the bill was at once ignored, almost unanimously, and the individual liberated. It has, however, frequently occurred to me that it must be somewhat strange, or the accused was wanting in daty to himself in not demanding some reparation for the atrocious attempt to brand his name with infamy by so odious a charge. Had it been my case I should not have been so passive and silent, but probably this course was pursued from a consciousness of the hopelessness of obtaining justice in Sierra Leone during the executive of Governor Fergusson, and especially for an act in which his Excellency was so conspi


† William Ward was an agent for the house of Messrs. Charles Heddle and Co., merchants, at Freetown, stationed at the factory of Ki Koukih. On his return, on one occasion, to the factory from a trading voyage up the River Mallicouri, he found that the stores had been broken open and robbed of some printed goods. Summoning his Kroomen labourers, he stated the loss; all denied any knowledge of it. The head Krooman, then, according to the custom of his nation, procured a wood from the forests, called sassie wood, of which was made a decoction, then causing all of them to drink copiously. Sassie-wood water possesses poisonous properties similar to the distillation of laurel leaves. The effects were these :--Those who vomited

the liquid were declared to be innocent, and he who did not was the thief. The consequence was, most of them discharged the poisonous extract, and one died without doing so. The report of the affair reached the Colony. The Kroomen proved that Ward had compelled them to undergo this proof, and was imprisoned on the charge of wilful murder, as detailed. This strange and superstitious kind of proof of innocence or guilt is generally practised amongst the nations in the interior, without the jurisdiction of the Colony, and even within it is secretly practised, and by the liberated, the settlers, and Maroons, of whom better things might be expected. A case occurred to the writer's own knowledge, in the British Commissioner's office, when he was acting first writer. One of the supernumerary clerks, a Maroon, lost his umbrella from the piazza in the office. The messengers, who were Kroomen, were all assembled below; the professional thief-catcher was sent for; chewing a quantity of pod pepper, he inserted it into a quill tube; then, applying it to his mouth, blew the contents into the eye of each man. If the eye smarted or inflamed, the sentence was, Pepper catch him, he tief umbrella." Need I comment further upon this folly more than that the pepper did certainly make some, if not all their eyes smart. The umbrella was, however, never forthcoming. Where all were guilty, little hopes were there of restitution ; the Maroon paying the professional one dollar. The matter was kept secret from the heads of the office, as they knew there existed a Colonial law punishing such practices ; and it was a favour that I was allowed to gratify my curiosity at the sight, and in doing this I made myself liable to the charge of being an accomplice. At one of my lodgings with a settler's family, also, on my first arrival, I had the misfortune to lose half a doubloon and the contents of my purse one night, which I certainly did not steal from myself; the daughter was suspected of this unsanctioned loan or appropriation. Some time after I learned from a private source that the "


" had been in requisition, and that the evidence was so clear that they considered silence the best course to pursue in the affair.

peace with you? We know your power and your greatness; we have respected your laws, because hitherto we have been led to believe they are founded upon equity and justice; your predecessors have sought to obtain their ends by the power of reason and justice alone, not as you have done, exercise a despotic power because you are strong, and we are weak and defenceless; you invade our territories as a bandit or a marauder would at the dead hour of the night, without first having recourse to the established rules of diplomatic negotiation; and with an armed force you

seize a suspected man; we have treaties with you, yet how, then, do you convince us of their nullity? You place before us your Colony on our father's shores, as a model of freedom for the African; and the elevation of our caste, of justice, of protection from violence, yet you inflict upon us these unendurable wounds, these unjustifiable acts of aggression.

The cutting of a road through the Maroon lands at a place called King Toms, to his own farm, without permission or sanction of the possessors of those lands, thus violating the rights of private property in his official character, without remuneration or recompense for the damage sustained in the act, was another unjustifiable offence.

As for my own grievances I now freely forgive him ; but how I so effectually succeeded in making him at last my enemy, I never could learn-because when he held the respectable but humbler station of staff surgeon, we were upon the the most familiar and friendly terms, and I was frequently the recipient of his successful attendance and advice-unless that his being a proud and accidentally advanced man, he expected a homage, which a recollection of my superior origin did not permit; true I gave him cause to maintain his displeasure by exposing a corrupt and shameful abuse of his delegated authority, but not until his untiring persecution had inflicted deep and incurable wounds; however, when I was about departing he appeared to relent, and proffered services, fearing that my destination was ultimately England: but as he is now no more I shall be silent as to the cause of his fears.

I left for New Orleans 13th December, 1815, without any report at that time being abroad of his intention of quitting the Colony, yet, such are the vicissitudes of life, ere I reached the Gulf of Florida, on my way to England, he was immortal, and “the living dog is now better than the dead lion." That the injuries of the living should be sacrificed by silence to the guilt of the dead, I must again repeat is a moral fallacy“ the evils which men do justly live after them,” if the life protect the living from its effects : but once it has been exposed, let it change place with the poet's version, “be interred with their bones.” So farewell, Fergusson, fare thee well! thou hast the ocean for thy grave, Atlantic's depths conceal thy bones ; but should the waters roll them to my foot (in time to come) upon some distant shore, I'll give them burial, and, kneeling on the turf, pray for thy spirit's peace.

If Sierra Leone is to be retained, surely it deserves the guarded and watchful vigilance of the home minister in the reformation of so many abuses which have crept into its government, and some measures devised to improve its condition in a political as well as a moral and a commercial point of view. The due and impartial distribution of public appointments, without respect to colour or caste, amongst the natives, would have a tendency to raise them from that low, depressed, and degraded position which they inwardly seem to labour under, simply because they are black and not white. The entire remodelling of the judicial system would lead to the conviction of the security of life, right, and property; a general and systematic plan of Government education, the establishment of book societies and reading-rooms under proper management, with a due supply of the cheap and useful publications of the day; the establishment of a public journal, * in which politics and contro


* In the year 1845, a newspaper, edited by Captain J. Benet, and supported by a confined circle of the gentlemen in town, was set on foot called the M. S., with the motto Nemo me impune lacessit." The origin of the rise of the journal was in consequence of a letter, signed “ Colonist," from the pen of Mr. Benet, appearing in the columns of the missionary register, the Watchman, complaining of the neglect on the part of Governor Fergusson in permitting some French agents to make contracts with the chiefs in the River Mallicouri for produce; to the injury of the British merchants of the Colony. When the article appeared it was found so altered and mutilated that the author could scarcely recognise it; some time afterwards it transpired that the editor of the Watchman had, previous to its insertion, sent it to the Governor, from whom it received revision and correction. Captain Benet was so justly displeased at this proceeding on the part of the missionary editor that the M. S. appeared ; it, however, had a short existence, as there was no press, and it had to be written by a copyist, appearing once a fortnight. Several native copyists were first employed when the writer's services were solicited ; but the most unpleasant part of the affair, the remuneration, small as it was, never was wholly given to him, and what was given was at the order of the Commissioner of the Court of Request.

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versial subjects might be wisely avoided, would be of incalculable benefit not only to the Colonists but to the mercantile interests there and at home. A library exists in the Colony, but it is of so exclusive a character that the African cannot partake of the advantages, being confined to the favoured few of the Europeans. The encouragement of agriculture is also well worthy of the attention of Government--establishments for the manufacture of sugar, cotton, indigo, would give encouragement to native industry, and open new sources of wealth and benefit to the revenue and exports of the Colony. All these articles are found to abound and flourish in the Colony, as well as coffee, Indian corn, &c.; the indigo plant infests the very streets and by-roads of the neighbourhood, yet none of these are turned to any useful account whatever ;* whilst the foreign and commercial relations might be improved and extended by the placing of resident British commissioners within the territories of the neighbouring kings and chiefs, thereby widening the sphere of our influence politically, and extending our commerce generally, for the benefit of the Colony itself. A commercial mission, undertaken under the auspices of Government or mercantile enterprise, through the Timmannee, Mandingo, and Soosoo countries, Fanta, Iallou, the great marts of trade, Sego, Sansanding, and Timbuctoo, would unfold new sources of wealth which would more than repay the expense of the undertaking, whilst a clearer geographical knowledge of the interior of this imperfectly known continent would make an addition to British science, adventure, and research.

Having already spoken on this subject so freely, it is unnecessary to dwell further now upon it. The Government cannot be accused

* In the Mandingo territory, a little distant inland, on the opposite side of Sierra Leone river, there is one mile square of ground belonging to the Colonial Government, for which is annually paid out of the Colonial chest a certain amount of money to the King Bey Sherbro as rent or tribute. As far as I could learn it was formerly a location for liberated Africans from the Colony, and from some cause or other abandoned. What is to prevent this portion of ground being employed for some useful purpose as model farms for the cultivation of produce ; if not, wby retain it at an unnecessary and an expensive draft upon the public chest, which it has been for so many years ? And, with the exception of the late Governor, Colonel Macdonald, who despatched two commissioners in 1843 to report upon it, no notice whatever appears to have been taken of its existence.

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