« ElőzőTovább »
one of the cleanest that ever was brought to the colony. The men were bound together in twos, by irons riveted round the ancles. On their arrival these chains were removed, and they appeared much gratified. The countenances of all seemed lighted up with satisfaction at the prospect of being put on shore, towards which they often turned to gaze, with an expression of wonder and impatience. I went on board to visit the wounded. About one half of the boys were circumcised. I could not ascertain that they be. longed to a separate tribe, although their general appearance seemed to me slightly different from the rest.-pp. 104, 105.
Pending the necessary inquiries, the slaves remained on board ; but bread was quickly supplied to them, and next day they were all landed, and placed in the African slave yard :
A large canoe was employed for this purpose, which, after several trips, brought the whole on shore in the course of two hours, taking in from fifty to eighty at a time, the men first, then the women, and lastly the children. These were singing on board the schooner, in anticipation of the boats return, and continued their song all the way on shore, laughing and clapping their hands. But the men and women, after they reached the yard, when the momentary gratification of setting foot on land once more had passed away, looked sullen and dissatisfied, but not dejected. It struck me that on landing they expected to be allowed to go wherever they pleased, and were consequently disappointed and angry when they found themselves still under control. It was impossible to gather from their looks whether any of them were keenly alive to the miseries of the situation from which they had just been released, or whether they were capable of appreciating the advantages of emancipation. I may mention, as an instance of their extreme mental debasement, that the women who were nursing, usually had both breasts occupied, the one with their own offspring, the other suckling one of the numerous abominably filthy monkeys on board the schooner. Among the whole there was scarcely sufficient covering for the nakedness of half a dozen persons. But all of them, particularly the boys and girls, on meeting the numerous persons who had, like myself, gone to witness their landing, evinced by their actions, a natural and unaffected sense of modesty. -pp. 106, 107.
On the 20th of the same month, a French sloop called the Virginie, was brought into harbour ; the circumstances attending the history of this cargo are calculated to rivet our deepest attention. When examined, she was found to be freighted with ninety-two slaves. The vessel, it seems, was fitted out at Nantz about twelve months previously, and about the end of the February before sailed from the Plantain Islands with her cargo of slaves, amongst which were several of the liberated Africans, who had already resided at Sierra Leone. The remainder of the tragedy we shall give in our author's words :
When she sailed, her crew consisted of eight persons, but besides these she had eleven passengers: the master and ten of the company of a French
vessel, stranded on the coast. Her destination was Guadaloupe; and while making the best of her way to that port, about eight days ago, the slaves rose, took possession of the vessel, and killed the captain and crew, with the exception of the cabin-boy, who was dreadfully wounded in the scuffle. The passengers escaped, after some severe wounds, up the rigging, where they remained some time under great apprehension, but at length ventured down, on being assured by the slaves, who were now intoxicated with joy at the success of their exploit, that, if they would promise to take the vessel into Sierra Leone, no harm should be done them. When they came down, however, they were stripped, put in irons below, treated with great severity, and compelled alternately to steer the vessel, with many threats, that if they should not see land by a certain day, the whole should be massacred. Fortunately for them, they made the land on the day named. The captain, by his cruel and inhuman conduct-flogging some of the slaves daily, and striking them on all occasions with whatever weapon was near him—was the cause of hostile attack, the success of which was owing to the women, who, from the incommodious size of the vessel, had been placed in the apartment containing the arms, which they managed to convey unperceived to the men, who rushed upon deck weil prepared, and soon overwhelmed their weak and unprincipled opponents ; but not without one or two of their own number killed, and several very severely wounded, which served to exasperate them still more. Those of the French crew who were not killed in the rencontre, were deliberately and exultingly massacred, with all the horrible barbarity of which savages, smarting under recent injuries, are capable, and were afterwards thrown overboard. When the vessel appeared off this port, our boarding officer was confidently and joyfully received by the slaves as a deliverer. One of those who had been formerly liberated at Sierra Leone, and who spoke a little broken English, explained the occurrence, and stated that he had been recaptured while carrying some rice in his canoe to the Sherboro for sale. and the remaining Frenchmen confirmed his account. The slaves on their arrival exhibited a most ludicrous and grotesque appearance. They were all armed with something or other. One was standing sentinel over the man at the helm, with a drawn sword ; his only article of dress a hat, the crown of which he had knocked out, and placed on his head, with the rim uppermost. Every part of the vessel had been ransacked for articles to dress and adorn their persons. Some of them were decked with fancy striped shirts and two or three waistcoats, without inexpressibles, with a sword buckled round the middle. Some had on dress coats, without any covering either for their heads or their “ hinder ends ;” and others had only a waistcoat, with two or three silver watches dangling round their necks. Their prisoners, in irons below, filthy, pitiful-looking objects, were in their shirts only, dabbled with blood, as were the sails and deck of the vessel. Even after she had anchored, the Frenchmen did not consider themselves safe until an English officer and a party of men were sent on board to take charge of her. As soon as she was reported to the Governor, measures were immediately taken to have the slaves landed in the morning.-pp. 107–110.
Such statements as these cannot surely be made in a Christian country without rousing every dormant feeling of its inhabitants, and
VOL. II. (1833) NO. I.
the grand sciences Island anen to the Drya
of und to ine too, whichith all the the course
impelling them to raise their voices, and, if necessary, their congre gated arms, to extirpate a hideous system which is capable of producing such abominations.
Shortly after the above events, the Dryad, with her two tenders, sailed for Prince's Island and Fernando Po. The description of the grand scenery which presented itself in the course of this voy. age, is wrought by Mr. Leonard with all the power of a poet. The incidents and adventures, too, which varied the employment of their time, will be found to increase very considerably the attraction of this portion of the volume.
When the Dryad arrived at Fernando Po, she found the Black Joke refitting, after a desperate struggle, which, some days before, she was engaged in with a Spanish slave vessel. It is unnecessary to say that the Spanish ship was taken, and that the wretched slaves were landed on the island. Here, again, was repeated that scene of horror in the ship, which Mr. Leonard has already described as occurring on a former occasion. After the vessel was secured, the living slaves were found sitting on the heads and bodies of the dead and the dying. The crew, pitying them, brought water to quench their thirst. The poor Africans thought that they would still be compelled to put up with their usual pittance of half a pint a-day; but when told that they might take as much as they wished, they rushed in a body to the water, and eagerly sought to dip their parched tongues in it. The water was contained in a tub; and, in a few minutes after they had liberty to use it, their heads were literally wedged in it. Some drops of the water which fell on the deck, were lapped up with frightful avidity. Jugs were handed round to them; and, in the madness of their still unabated thirst, they bit the vessels, and broke them with their teeth to fragments.
We have thus dwelt on the horrors of the slave trade, in the hope that the terrible picture may not be overlooked by those whose solemn duty it is to leave no stone unturned until those horrors are completely suppressed. That a most criminal degree of apathy exists amongst the agents of the humane law which seeks the suppression of the slave trade, is but too abundantly proved. Let us only think how, by our backwardness in urging foreign powers to join us in the noble task of suppression, we have contributed directly to aggravate the barbarity with which this brutal traffic is carried on. According to the present system, there is just enough, on the one hand, to make the slave-master cautious under what circumstances he freights his vessel with slaves ; whilst, on the other, there are sufficient facilities to warrant him in continuing the traffic: the consequence is, that, to compensate for the casual losses which British vigilance and British valour may occasionally produce to him, he is under the necessity of using contrivances which greatly tend to increase the misery of the poor slaves. The miscreants engaged in this nefarious traffic, observes Mr. Leonard,
are now in the habit of cramming into their vessels twice the number of unhappy wretches they were wont to do : so that the profits, being so enormous, the success of one cargo, crammed in this way, will be more than an indemnity for all the losses by capture.
An account of the new British settlement in Fernando Po, forms one of the most interesting chapters in the work. In this account, Mr. Leonard speaks of the productions and the animals of the island, as also of the aborigines ; but the climate, unfortunately, is nearly as insalubrious as that of Sierra Leone. The island of Ano. bona was the next place to which the Dryad paid a visit. The natives cameout to meet them, bringing with them the various articles of produce belonging to the island. These islanders, like all the. inhabitants of the coast of Africa, have no regard for money; there is nothing which they look for more greedily in exchange for their commodities than old clothes : and of these shirts, trowsers, and handkerchiefs, were most in demand. The party paid a visit to the king of Anobona, and were received with all the honours that his sable majesty was able to pay them. The dignity of king is elective; and the choice takes place every year. This state of things may account for the republican feelings which Mr. Leonard tells us is quite manifest amongst these islanders. The king, who went by the familiar title of King Tom Standey, dined on board with the Commodore ; and was found by our author one day, as he returned from an excursion into the island, sitting at the table, and amusing every body by his
Ease and assurance, his unscrupulous demands for whatever was within his reach, and by several unkingly and disgusting solecisms in his manners : such as indecorously blowing his nose in the tail of his coat, during dinner, and wiping it with his sleeve, from the shoulder to the wrist; eructating vociferously; cramming the whole extremity of a fowl into his mouth at a time, and, after crunching the bones between his teeth, ejecting them into his hand, and depositing them on the chair, between his legs! He seemed to be very fond of salt, swallowing, at intervals, whole spoonsful of it out of the saltcellars. Some gin was put on the table during dinner, thinking he might perhaps prefer it, for its potency, to wine. He was asked which he would have, and very coolly and modestly replied, by a few imperfect Anglo-Portuguese words, and by signs, not to be mistaken, that he, “ Poo fella, never mind," he would take some of the gin now, and that, as his belly was full, he would " bag” the wine and the remaining viands, and « make festa" on shore. This was beyond the utmost idea we had formed of his covetousness, liberal as it had been. But it was impossible to keep our gravity, when, so far from thinking there was any chance of a refusal, he immediately followed this expression of his modest and courteous intentions, by letting the Commodore know, that, as he had no such sideboard furniture, he would also take with him the decanters and glasses ! He was shown, in the cabin, a large print of his present Majesty, which he admired very much, and addressed as if it had been our good King in propria persona, introducing himself to the print in the following words : " Me King Tom Standey, King Anobona. You ver good King, my fader
Me, poo fella, never mind.” And observing, with much surprise, his own sable countenance reficcted in the glass, as if it were behind the print, he suddenly exclaimed, “ Ah, King Tom ! you there! Me see you; me savey you ver well, King Tom Standey, King Anobona.” At last he took his departure, pretty well“ stuffed,” as he called it; and, considering the quantity he had drank, but very slightly fuddled. But, before taking leave of us, the Commodore, besides a musket, gunpowder, and many other articles, gave him a mirror, in which he continued to gaze at his own ebony visage, with unceasing and unsatisfied astonishment, all the way on shore. Like the rest of his subjects, he caught at every thing he could get; but had no notion, or took care, at least, not to show any, of the value of the articles he had received, or a just sense of the attention he had met with. Some of us, observing this grasping, ungrateful, and unceremonious disposition, endeavoured to make him sensible of the value of what he had received, as he was going away, and told him that he ought to “ dash” the Commodore with something in return for so many favours. After some hesitation, he said he would send some fowls and pigs to our philanthropic chief, as a present. About an hour afterwards, a canoe came alongside, with a single fowl, and a message, saying, that the rest and the pigs had “ run in bush :" that is, made their escape into the woods, and were not to be found! This was, of course, a mere excuse: but we could not help laughing at its court-like ingenuity.-pp. 197—199.
We cannot follow our author through the remainder of his voyage, although we might, by noticing many parts of that portion of the narrative, add considerably to the testimony which we have already collected from his pages, as to the necessity of some energetic and speedy measures for the effectual suppression of the slave trade. But we feel that enough has been stated, even in our brief sum-. mary, to call upon the nation, and more especially the government, to consider, without delay, what means should be taken to put a stop to the horrors of the slave trade. Mr. Leonard has done himself great credit by the boldness of his remonstrances, and the spirit with which he has determined to expose the truth.
Art. IV. 1.- Tours in Upper India, and in parts of the Himalaya
Mountains ; with Accounts of the Courts of the Native Princes, &c. By Major ARCHER, late Aid-de-Camp to Lord Combermere. În 2 vols. 8vo. London: Bentley. *1833. 2.- The Government of India. By Major-Gen. Sir John Mal
colm, G.C.B. &c. 1 large vol. 8vo. London : Murray. 1833. EVERY contribution to our literature which augments the stock of our knowledge of Indian character and habits, should be hailed by the British public, particularly at the present period, with encouz