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tending the maintenance of these forts soon exceeded the profits of all the trade now transacted through the agency of the factors;— they were, however, a source of petty patronage, and not hastily to be rejected: the several governments therefore continued to be placed in the hands of needy adventurers, whose management corresponded with what was naturally to be expected, and exhibited an odious course of corruption and imbecility. Expense, instead of being lessened as the occasion lessened, increased year by year, till the profusion became too remarkable to be longer suffered with impunity. The African committee in 1820 was at length annihilated; the forts were reduced from eight to four; and, under the general controul of the Board of Trade, were subjected to the immediate orders of the commander in chief at Sierra Leone. This reform, so far as it goes, is advantageous; the expense will be at once lessened, and the trade no doubt will be equally well protected in the opinion of some, the trade would be as well conducted without the forts as with them. We would, however, have them by all means retained; they are favourable points, at least some of them, for establishments of a different description; and it is always easier, in things of this kind, to convert than to create.
Some time before the extinction of the African committee,which, it is known, consisted of nine members, merchants of the three principal British ports,-it was considered desirable to send an embassy to the chief of the Ashantees,-a tribe of ferocious savages, situated on the rear of the Gold Coast settlements, and, if possible, conciliate his good-will and friendship. Under the direction of their secretary, Mr. Cock, a gentleman of high respectability, and apparently the only efficient person of the committee, the arrangements were made, and the embassy dispatched in 1817. In this embassy, Mr. Bowdich held a subaltern appointment, and in the vigour of his mettle usurped the quality and office of his superior. On his return to England, he published a defence of his conduct, and an agreeable but highly coloured account of the progress of the undertaking. The objects of this mission had been, generally, to promote the intercourse of Cape Coast Castle (the principal of the British forts) with the interior, by means of a resident at Coumassie, the capital of Ashantee. The partial success of this embassy was very short-lived; the Ashantees went to war; Coumassie was in a manner abandoned; the new resident, Mr. Hutchinson, returned to Cape Coast; and things reverted to their original state without further diplomatic communication. afterwards, some of the king's agents were treated with great insolence by the natives of Cape Coast Town and Commanda, (plices in the neighbourhood of our forts,) which the king chose to consider as under the dominion of those forts, and demanded satisfaction of
the governors for the insult. This was refused, on the ground of the novelty of the demand. The necessity, however, of some arrangement of this matter being made, concurring with the wishes of the African committee, to renew their attempts to effect a further intercourse with Coumassie, they determined to send another embassy; and Mr. Dupuis, a person of great experience in African affairs, was appointed consul and chief of this second mission. Mr. Hutton was named a sort of charge d'affaires, to step into Mr. Dupuis' shoes, in case of accident to that gentleman. Three or four other persons, factors and writers of Cape Coast, constituted the cortege of this imposing embassy; and furnished with a set of presents-some of them most injudiciously selected-the party proceeded. They were, however, conveyed and escorted by an assemblage of between three and four hundred Ashantees, granted them as a guard of honour by the king's nephew, who had just before arrived, with a considerable force, in the vicinity of Cape Coast, to arrange the point of satisfaction. The distance to Coumassie is about 140 miles: the journey was completed, and the party admitted to a first audience in about three weeks from the day of their departure from the fort; they were received with abundance of preparation and display; the crooms, or villages, (collections of mud buildings,) were emptied of their contents, and the natives driven together, to add to the rude solemnity and barbarous splendour of the court; caboceers, pynims and warriors, the king and his nobles, all gold and silk, feathers and bonesno wonder Mr. Bowdich's head had turned a little at the bewildering spectacle. At different interviews, the ambassador stated his proposals, which (independently of the matter of satisfaction, which the king insisted on being entirely separated from the business of the embassy,) consisted chiefly of a request for an English resident at Coumassie, which was acceded to with great readiness; and a permission to establish a school and factory at Paintrey, a croom in the line-road there is none-to Coumassie, 19 miles from the coast, enforced by the usual persuasive of a monthly allowance of an ounce or two of gold, and the assurance of the utility of such an establishment to the Ashantee traders. But this proposal was rejected without ceremony or debate-his sable majesty suspecting no good could be intended, nor any advantage be gained, by admitting strangers into the heart of his dominions. The party were therefore dismissed, with the main objects of their mission unaccomplished: the king of Ashantee sent with them some of the chiefs of his court, to be conveyed with a return of presents to the king of England; but owing to some misunderstanding between the head of the embassy and the governor of Cape Coast, or some mal-arrangement, a passage was refused them by sir George Collier;
and they returned disappointed to Coumassie, to make their own report. Thus the objects of the embassy, important or otherwise, appear to have been defeated, chiefly through the want,-no uncommon occurrence, of a little vulgar wisdom and official union. The probable effect of this repulse will by and by be an invasion of the fort by the Ashantees, and the whole of the establishment will be swept away by a torrent of ruthless barbarians.
The author's account of this embassy is preceded by a hasty sketch of his voyage from England to Goree; his journey with Major Peddie to Senegal, with whom he engaged to act as secretary in the expedition then preparing for the interior, at a great and absurd expense*, and froin whom he separated on a pecuniary dispute; and his voyage from Senegal to Cape Coast, including a slender description of the settlements of different European powers, and brief accounts of two or three native kingdoms, between Goree and Cape Coast. To complete his review of the line of coast eastward as far as the Gaboon, and of the small islands which lie parallel to the coast, at the distance of two or three days sail, he gives, we presume, his recollections, having been long in the African service, made several voyages, and visited most of these places at different periods.
So much for the general contents of Mr. Hutton's book, and the state of affairs on the Gold Coast. We may now turn to what will be more peculiarly interesting to the readers of this journal,—the civilization of Africa. Mr. Hutton's intercourse with this devoted country has been frequent and familiar; and his opportunities of forming an opinion on the best mode of promoting the designs of humanity not inconsiderable. The sentiments expressed in his book are of a humane and manly cast: the long observance of the negro form has not seduced him to look with scorn on human degradation, nor to regard the means of amelioration with an ignorant and thoughtless contempt. He has not carelessly meditated on the measures that are most likely to contribute to this desirable object: the hints of such a man therefore are not to be lightly regarded. He has not drawn up any distinct and detailed plan; but collectively his suggestions amount to this-That colonies should be planted in certain positions, some of the most favourable of which are pointed out, and among them some of the present factories—after the manner, we suppose, of the Sierra Leone establishments; and that two of the islands, Fernando Po and Annabona, be taken possession of as depôts for a naval force; the former particularly, the harbours of which are excellent. The colonies are to operate by example, encouragement, and instruction; the naval
Not less than 50,000/. H.
force to be employed in cruising along these latitudes-the chief seat of the slave trade-and capturing the vessels concerned in that traffic. These suggestions are of the same cast as those of Robertson and McQueen; but the more those who are personally acquainted with these countries concur, the more attention do they naturally demand. At present, the scheme is unquestionably no very practicable one; so many people of different nations are interested in the trade, and so little reliance, we fear, is to be placed on the governments of these nations. With the Portuguese and Spaniards we have a right to remonstrate sharply, and to insist on the fulfilment of their bargains; not less than a million was prospectively paid to them by this country, as an indemnity for the loss to be sustained in withdrawing their capital from this profitable and humane pursuit. With these nations too, and the Dutch, there exists a right of mutual search, which is however continually defeated by the inefficacy of the arrangements which regulate this right, but which surely might easily be made more efficient. With France and America the concession of mutual search might be urged with more persevering seriousness. The greatest opposition is to be looked for from France. According to sir George Collier, the French are by far the greatest traders both in eastern and western Africa, and the most protected by their own Government. The right of search, it is evident, must first be mutually conceded by every power, or no hope of final success can be entertained. With this concession, we might effect the utter extinction of the trade. It would be idle to wait for co-operation. It is obvious, that nothing short of a force capable of scouring the African seas will do ;—we have the means, and ought to employ it. The hazard must exceed all chance of profit, before the trader will be deterred from the pursuit of it. Prohibitory laws are useless, unless they can be enforced; appeals to humanity-reliance on the better feelings of men, where the very principle of humanity is renounced, are mockeries. Expense is not, ought not, to be regarded, where such expense would be efficient; nor is the cost to be contemplated as interminable: two or three years actively employed, would smother all hope of success, and the trade be abandoned in despair as a luckless and unprofitable speculation; their capital would be turned into other channels; the countries now cultivated by slaves, no longer depending on fresh importations, would cherish their present gangs (when shall we be warranted in using a more decorous expression?); their emancipation might gradually proceed; and sugar, coffee, cotton and tobacco, like other boons of the earth, be at last produced by free, hired, and independent labourers.
So far as the African chiefs are excited to war and plunder by the
the hope of profit from the captives, the total ruin of the trade would go directly to further the civilization of the country, by removing the temptation to war. But it has always been affirmed by the interested parties, that profit was not a cause of these wars; but that there were other causes, operating in the breast of Africans with the steadiness of laws of nature,-revenge, retaliation, the desire of heaping victims for the celebration of funerals.
"His majesty the king of Ashantee," says Mr. Hutton, "expressed a desire to have the slave trade re-established; and on being told it was impossible, as the king and parliament of England would never consent to such an inhuman traffic, he expressed his regret, and said that the embassy would have given him more pleasure, if the slave trade were again permitted. In reply to an observation that one great objection to the slave trade originated from a belief, that it encouraged the different chiefs to go to war for the purpose of making prisoners to sell to the slave dealers, the king denied that such was the fact, observing, as a proof to the contrary, that since the abolition there had been constant fighting." 260.
But while he renounces profit as the cause of war, he wishes for the re-establishment of the trade; and for what conceivable purpose but that of gain? Though multitudes of these captives, through the obstacles which the sale encounters, do become victims, yet it is notorious, that the trade is still carried on to a very great extent; and it may well be believed, that profit would outweigh the pride of sepulchral splendour, that the king would more readily sell the rest of his captives than sacrifice them. Besides, a tax on slaves purchased for the coast still forms a material branch of his revenue. 330.
Effect the destruction of the trade,-and if America and the different European powers would concur, or were only sincere in their professions, that might be accomplished by vigour and activity in a comparatively short time;-and the way would be open for African civilization. Then let the attention of the British Government be turned to the establishment of colonies: these must be of a respectable character: all that the Africans have hitherto seen of the English has been little calculated to elevate their opinion of our character, or win their affection, whatever respect they may entertain for our power. Till within these few years, we have ourselves been the most active in the traffic, which we now profess to abhor. To the injured and unenlightened African the very change of sentiment must be suspicious ;-gain has hitherto been obviously our sole object, and he will naturally think that to be our sole object still. He will think that we have only changed the means, and that our purpose remains unalterably the same,-to be effected by conquest, instead of kidnapping and trafficking. Many of our countrymen are still, it is very probable, engaged under other flags,