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should rather claim protection from commiseration than be visited with the most appalling oppression.
Africa, like all countries where Christianity has not penetrated, or where it progresses but slowly, is doomed to the darkness of pagan superstition, or of idolatrous rites—or, at best, it substitutes the Koran for the Bible, and, consequently, polygamy, lust, licentiousness, and all the vices “that flesh is heir to," demoralise and enervate not only the natives themselves, but unfortunately too often infect those whose profession and education should protect society from at least a profligate exposure of enormities, the concealment of which would render hypocrisy a virtue.
Wherever we proceed through this fertile land-whether over its stupendous mountains or its fruitful valleys, we find the same cloud enveloping all, whether in the neglect of the cultivation of the soil or of the mind; and it is a melancholy fact, that those who could do much for both, by fertilising the latter, are too deeply impregnated themselves with the curse of gain, not rather to discourage improvement where ignorance secures their advantage.
“ Can such things be,
Mysterious are the ways of Providence! How wonderful the contemplation, for what future purpose is this great division of the earth reserved, so stored by nature with all that is useful to man--so capable of being made more so by man's industry, yet so comparatively inutile from the savageness of its inhabitants, the ferocity and number of its beasts and reptiles, and inhospitable clime, to those not "to the manner born :" for, until some great revolution in nature or some great and gradual human exertion takes place, it must ever prove the “white man’s grave," of which we have many lamentable proofs in the deaths of so many worthy and adventurous spirits who have fallen victims to research and humanity-Park, Peddie, Buchardt, Lander, Lang, Clapperton, Denham, Cooper, Thompson, &c. &c. &c.—all fallen through ferocity, treachery, or climate ; and had they escaped any one of these assailants, it is most probable it would have been only to be overtaken by another. The ill-fated expedition to the Niger in 1841 is further corroboration of this assertion, and truly may it be said that “Africa's shores are paved with the white man's bones, and its grave-yards filled with monuments of lost exertions ;” but as Christians we should and must persevere. To perish in opening a path for millions to walk through from. darkness into light, is as good a work as man can die in ; and the pioneers who have the first and heaviest labour will, no doubt, receive the greatest reward : but what this toil is, none can appreciate but those by whom it has been witnessed. It is a melancholy truth, however, that the hearts of all are not equally devoted to the work : religion in Africa, as well as in other places not quite so hot, is too often a mere trade, and not at all times the worst of worldly speculations.
COLONY AND NEIGHBOURHOOD GENERALLY.
The population of Sierra Leone, from its heterogeneous composition, is sufficient to puzzle minute statistical arrangement. Here are sojourners from every quarter of the world, whilst Africa appears to have contributed a specimen of every nation and tribe, from the north and east of Senegal to the south of Benguela, and the interior to the Desert of Sahara, with sprinklings from recesses still further off, undreamt of in the philosophy of the school-room-unpronounceable and inapproachable holes and corners, except by the sable locaters themselves—kings who eat their enemies to make sure of them, or queens in puris naturalibus-princes decorated with human skulls, which have been earned in as glorious a cause as any military medal-princesses bedaubed with human fat and ochre to captivate their Othellos—and ebony LL.D.s, so learned in the black art, that they believe the white man to be the devil, and a ship a living animal-cum multis aliis, of all shapes, sizes, ages, and denominations, making by the confusion of their languages the Colony a perfect Babel, particularly upon the arrival of a slaver. The inhabitants of Aku, Ebo, Cossos, Calabar, and from the neighbourhood of Benin and Biaffra South, bear the character of being savage and sanguinary, and are eternally at war with the neighbouring nations; nor are their dispositions amended much in a state of freedom, several unfortunate illustrations of which are well authenticated in the Colony.
Some years since an Ebo murdered his employer, a Maroon, whilst in bed : the criminal was tried, condemned, and executed by being burned at the pile, (this happened out of the jurisdiction of our Government,) but the Ebos and Maroons in the Colony became enraged with each other, and had it not been for the prompt measures of the Executive an awful massacre would have ensued, as they even requested the Governor's permission to fight it out in the town. This anecdote is related merely to show that the fear of British power alone keeps them from falling back into their original animosities and bloodshed ; nor is there a doubt that were England to give up the Colony to the natives, but a very short time would elapse before it would become the theatre of slaughter, and that the very liberated party would sell the captured to the identical dealers from whom the victors themselves had been released : their broils and battles might not commence with this intention, but such would be the sequel, making a fine harvest for the Mahommedan, Mandingo, and Timmannee slavers.
The original settlers were from Nova Scotia, who had to endure al] the hardships of colonisation, amongst which was the very trying ordeal of extreme change of climate. There are few, if any, of the first settlers now in the Colony, and not many of their descendants. They are an orderly and respectable class of persons. In habits and manners they most resemble the Europeans, have commodious and well-built chapels and schools, and are extremely industrious. The Maroons colonised here from Jamaica after the Maroon war, and, like the original settlers, are entitled to much respect, many of them filling situations as writers in the public offices.
These two classes are those whom Staff-Surgeon Fergusson, late Governor, so unjustly and illiberally decries in his letter to Mr. Buxton, published in his “Remedy for the Slave Trade," page 368. But as many of my readers may not have read that excellent work, I shall here copy a portion of the letter referred to, viz. :
“Much money, as well as much paternal care and encouragement, were lavished on the infant Colony of Sierra Leone ; but matters were so mismanaged in the outset of the undertaking, especially in the breach of faith with the Nova Scotia settlers, refusing to allot to them the quantities of land for which they had previously stipulated, that distrust and discontent, neglect of agriculture, and inveterate habits of idleness, became general.”
“After a lapse of some years, an accession was made to the Colony of numbers, but by no means of moral strength, in a body of Maroons, who were sent from Jamaica after the Maroon war. They had been for many years the only body of free blacks in the Island of Jamaica. Indolent and averse to agriculture in their native land, their habits were by no means changed by the Transatlantic voyage ; nor have they, in fact, studied to acquire habits of industry until this day. Thus, agriculture and the useful arts received no aid whatever from such elements as the Sierra Leone Company had as yet employed in furtherance of their benevolent designs.”
Here is a rich specimen of slander and utter disregard of truth, and by a black man, a native himself of Jamaica, and countryman of the very persons whom he libels—nay, probably a blood relation to many of them ; his colour and place of birth warrant the supposition, nor is the insinuation offensively intended, as in case he reject the heraldic honours of the Maroon, he is placed in the dilemma of adopting those of the slave, not improbably exported, “when the trade was law," from the very Colony from whence, “as Governor," he maligns his brother blacks and countrymen. This Governor appeared to have forgotten that all the public buildings which do honour to the Colony are the result of their knowledge of the useful arts, and the improvements up to this day are made by their industry, yet it is asserted that “the useful arts have received no aid from them.” He of all men should have been inost aware that the only coloured men capable of holding appointments in the public and mercantile offices are the settlers and Maroons, and that there is scarcely one Liberated African in the Colony so qualified for filling any public situation. Their places of worship and schools refute the charge ; and though they are not much inclined to agriculture, their disinclination does not proceed from indolence, but an ambition for higher pursuits, and through the conviction that were they to have made it an absorbing consideration for maintenance, they would not have reaped the fruit of their labour, and thus they abandoned it, satisfying themselves with the cultivation of a sufficiency for home consumption.
I cannot see why the Doctor, though a deceased Governor, should be allowed to repudiate a justly-respected class of men to whom he might have referred with advantage for lessons on morality, their possession of which he denies in this clause of his libel :--"An accession was made