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PRINCIPAL BRITISH COLONY ON THE WESTERN
COAST OF AFRICA.
BY WILLIAM WHITAKER SHREEVE,
MERCHANTS' SERVICE IN THE COLONY, ETC. ETC.
AFRICA! “Mysterious are the ways of Providence! How wonderful the contemplation, for
PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR,
SIMMONDS AND CO., COLONIAL MAGAZINE” OFFICE,
6, BARGE-YARD, CITY.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY COLONEL GEORGE MACDONALD,
LATE GOVERNOR OF THE COLONY OF SIERRA LEONE, AND NOW GOVERNOR OF
THE ISLAND OF DOMINICA, IN THE WEST INDIES, ETC., ETC.
Sir-It is with the greatest humility and the sincerest feelings of respect that I presume to dedicate to your Excellency these brief pages on a Colony over which your Excellency so ably presided as Governor in the years 1842-3 and 1844. In taking this liberty, it would ill' become one so humble as myself to eulogise or flatter that just course of policy which gave satisfaction to all, from the first to last; but I feel I should not only be wanting in due respect, but of gratitude, were I for one moment to conceal from your Excellency the deep regret that appeared to pervade the bosom of all, when your Excellency's departure became fully known; yet more, when it was announced that your Excellency had afterwards accepted the government of Dominica, thus precluding the probability of your Excellency's return. Sanguine, I must confess, were the hopes that had been formed of the future welfare and prosperity of that settlement, when were seen such high-minded and unswerving acts of justice in rule infused throughout the acts of the Executive; but, alas ! for its welfare, no sooner had we witnessed the seeds of good government germinate into a living existence, than your Excellency's departure again plunged its affairs into a chaos of difficulties, and retrogression followed in their sad course. Our cherished hopes became destroyed, and a lethargic slumber ran through its vital interests.
Sierra Leone !--a settlement formed for the freedom of manof the African, on his native soil, appears to be ruled over by an evil star, and doomed to an ever fitfulness of change and disaster; for, in tracing its history but a short six years back, we find that gallant officer, Colonel Doherty, relinquishing office at the moment he was steadily and safely promoting its welfare. He, in turn, was succeeded by the African's friend, the late everto-be-lamented Sir John Jeremie, whose useful and praiseworthy career was suddenly cut short by death ere his measures were perfected, and entailed upon the Colony an interregnum, replete with uncertainty and instability of government, a third time; when our hopes were once more brightened by the assumption of office in the person of your Excellency: but so soon, alas ! were they doomed to sink into the gloom of disappointment. Fatal, indeed, to its welfare was it when it ceased to be governed by one whose wisdom and justice in council shone not less brilliant than does those heroic deeds of valour and bravery which will ever remain emblazoned on England's brightest page of martial history, where, on the ever-memorable plains of Waterloo, a Macdonald fought under the living Hero* of a hundred battles, against the world's Disturber,† and victoriously ensured nations' peace. That the reward of the brave may be your portion, and that your Excellency may be yet spared many years to enjoy those laurels gained in near forty years' service to your country, is the fervent
and obliged servant, WILLIAM WHITAKER SHREEVE.
London, October, 1847.
The coast of Africa, though of considerable importance to Europeans for ages past, has of late years become of increased interest by the philanthropy of Great Britain having been so energetically directed towards the civilisation of the natives, and the annihilation of that inhuman traffic of the blood and sinews of our fellow-creatures. This is, indeed, but a just retribution for the wrongs to which she was at one time a party, when the heart-sickening trade of living human flesh, and worse, if possible, of human feelings, was legalised by the Governments of Europe-alas ! not even excepting the Land of Freedom. But although Britain has not only redeemed herself from this foul blot, but enlisted other nations in the cause of Abolition, it is to be lamented that faithless Spain, Portugal, and Brazil, are still as resolutely engaged in the infamous pursuit as before our benevolent exertions were called into action; and that the unlawfulness of its character renders it more profitable, and consequently more persevered in, than when sanctionedbecause the greater the difficulty in obtaining an article for market, the higher the price. Even (now, December 1845,) the captured piratical sharp-sailing vessels come teeming with their human cargoes into the harbour of Sierra Leone, exhibiting scenes equally disgusting as horrible, arising from the cupidity and infamy of the dealers in God's creatures, whose grade in the scale of humanity, being more their fate than fault,