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which all of them should be bound to follow. Things having been thus settled, Mr. Sharp began to take down the names of all such as were willing to embark in the expedition, in order that he might know how large a vessel he was to provide; and in the interim he allowed every individual a weekly allowance out of his own pocket: but their number increasing daily, he found he had undertaken a task to which his own purse, consistently with his other engagements, was inadequate. He applied therefore without hesitation to His Majesty's Ministers, and these, knowing that the poor people in question had become a public nuisance, very willingly assisted him. They promised him transports to convey them to the destined spot. They ordered also to the persons going out a small weekly allowance from the Treasury, in addition to what Mr. Sharp gave them, to support them till they should embark. While the transports were getting ready, Mr. Smeathman was taken ill of a fever, and died in three days. This unhappily retarded the sailing of the expedition for several weeks; for a proper successor to Mr. Smeathman was to be found. At length Mr. Irwin was appointed agentconductor; and, all things having been now prepared, the little fleet, consisting of the Belisarius, Atlantic and Vernon, transports, sailed on the 22d of February 1787, from the Thames, under convoy of His Majesty's sloop of war Nautilus, Capt. Thomson, with about 400 black people on board to found a free colony at Sierra Leone. Soon after they had left the Downs bad weather commenced, which dispersed all the vessels. They were collected however in Plymouth Sound on the 19th of March. Some of the settlers having gone on board in a diseased state, and others having drunk up their whole allowance of rum at once, which should have lasted them the whole day; and all of them being too much crowded between decks, and particularly during such a succession of stormy weather, a mortality took place, which carried off more than fifty of them before they reached Plymouth. Twentyfour were discharged there for mutinous behaviour, and twenty-two ran away. The remainder, accompanied by a few recruits of the same colour and description, left the Sound on the 8th of April. A further mortality was experienced on the passage, and a still greater after they had reached the promised land; for the vessels having been delayed so long in consequence of the death of Mr. Smeathman, the settlers did not arrive till the rains had set in,—the very season which it had been a most important object with Mr. Sharp to avoid.
On their arrival at Sierra Leone Captain Thomson made a treaty with the native chiefs, of whom he purchased twenty miles square of land, for their use, lying along the banks of the river. He then fixed upon an eligible spot for their town, and assisted them, as
far as he could, in raising their huts. Their number at this time had been reduced to 276. Unable to do more for them, he took his departure, and left them to their fate.
Being now left to themselves, it may be proper to take a short view of the government which Mr. Sharp had given them, and under which they were to live. In the first place they were to be prohibited, this being a fundamental law of the settlement, from holding any kind of property in the persons of men as slaves, and from selling either man, woman, or child. No monopoly was to be allowed in land, but a division was to be made of it according to a plan proposed; and a reservation made for public services in each township, &c. The managers of the expedition were to have no absolute authority as established governors or judges over the people, but were to be considered only as overseers of the Society's property, and paid accordingly. The defence, legislation, public justice, government, and subordination of the settlement were to be kept up by following as a pattern the ancient AngloSaxon government of frank-pledge, in tythings and hundreds, and by an annual election to offices by the people. Under this form of government all public works, such as entrenchments, fortifications, canals, highways, sewers, &c. were to be performed by a rotation of service, in which the value of attendance was to be estimated, that defaulters might bear their share of the burthen: and watch and ward, or military service, was to be defrayed in the same manner; by which means no debt would be incurred for the defence of the state, and rich funds might be obtained for the credit of a public exchequer, without any perceivable burthen to the community, by a general agreement to punish by fines or mulcts in due proportion to the wealth and possession of the delinquents; increasing these by repetition for all offences, except murder, rape, and unnatural crimes, which by the laws of God were unpardonable by any community. The trials for offences were to be conducted under juries, and the legal process in all courts to be carried on in the king's name. The settlers also were bound, though they appointed their own civil officers internally, not to refuse to admit a governor or lieutenant of the king's appointment, with limited authority from the regal power, according to the constitution of England, whenever the Privy Council should think proper to send one.
Under this government, then, the settlers were to live. They began to act upon it as soon as they were landed. They chose Richard Weaver to be their chief in command, and others to the station of captains over tens and hundreds. They had marked out the streets of their town, and also above three hundred and sixty town lots of land, by the 12th of June 1787. The next object was
to clear the land. It appears that their system of government was quite efficient for their situation, and that most probably they would have done well, had things turned out favourably in other respects: but unhappily they had not arrived at Sierra Leone, on account of the delay of the expedition in England and the subsequent storms which separated the vessels, as has been before observed, till after the rains had set in. This was a calamity for which no provision could be made and no remedy could be found. Not having got up their huts in time, they had no sufficient shelter from the weather. Sickness ensued: Mr. Irwin, the agent-conductor, soon died. Mr. Gesau, the town-major, and Mr. Riccards, the gardener, followed him. Mr. Fraser, the chaplain, would have shared the same fate, had he not retired to the English factory at Bence Island. In this appalling state of things it was discovered that the seeds of the vegetables, which they had sown for their future support, had all failed. Their provisions too, which they had brought from England, were lessening every day, and they had no money to replace them by purchasing either riceor poultry of the natives. In addition to this, the slave-merchants had succeeded in setting some of the natives against them. King Tom had seized two of them, and actually sold them, and threatened to sell more. The prospect became now so terrific, that many of them left the colony. Some of them having been invited by the agents of the slave-factories in the neighbourhood to come. into their employ, embraced the offer rather than submit to the hazard of starvation and massacre. Others escaped in vessels, not even excepting slave vessels, which touched at the spot; so that by the end of the rainy season not more than a hundred and thirty remained in one body.
Mr. Sharp received the disastrous account, now mentioned, by means of letters written to him by Weaver, Elliot, Reid, and others; so that he had no doubt of the facts. It struck him that the total breaking up of the colony was a probable event, and that all the public and private expense, which had been bestowed upon it, was in danger of being lost, together with the tract of land itself, and all the opportunities of good on which he had so ardently counted. His impression was, that he ought to send out a small vessel immediately with a few other settlers, and provisions for their relief. But a difficulty of no ordinary magnitude occurred, viz. who was to find the funds for such a purpose: he was already suffering under the pecuniary weight of the first expedition. Just at this time Mr. Whitbread, a gentleman well known at that period for his munificent charities, sent him one hundred guineas for the use of the poor settlers at Sierra Leone. It would be difficult to describe the effect which this kind present had upon Mr. Sharp's spirits.
spirits. It turned the scale: he no longer wavered. He no longer remembered his burthen, and regardless of future expense he char tered the brig Myro, of 160 tons, Captain Taylor, to sail to Sierra Leone. He provided clothes, arms, bedding, tools, implements, and provisions for fifty new settlers: he put also on board sprucebeer and live swine to kill upon the passage; and, to obviate any future difficulties with respect to live provisions in the colony, he engaged Captain Taylor to touch at the Cape de Verd and take in fowls, pigs, goats, sheep, and a few bullocks. Towards this latter expense Government had given him from the Treasury 2001. The two expeditions had now cost him 1735l. 18s. 8d. At length fifty settlers came on board, but, several leaving the ship afterwards, thirty-nine only remained to perform the voyage. With these the Myro set sail on the 6th of June 1788. Captain Taylor, however, did not perform that important part of his contract which engaged him to call at the Cape de Verd, but proceeded direct to Sierra Leone, where he arrived after having lost thirteen persons on the voyage. Small, however, as the number of recruits was, the articles sent out proved a great and most welcome relief, for which the settlers testified their gratitude to Mr. Sharp. There were at this time not many of them on the original spot: some had left it and gone among the natives. The desertion had been so great, that at one period only forty of them remained together. They who remained had made some little progress in clearing the land, but they had not built permanent houses, nor church, nor court. house, nor prison. On the arrival of the Myro, the news of which was immediately spread through the country, the dispersed settlers returned. Some of the settlers had died; but, taking in the survivors and the few recruits who were landed, one hundred and thirty were once more collected on the old spot. To these Captain Taylor delivered a letter from Mr. Sharp, which was addressed "To the worthy Inhabitants of the Province of Freedom on the Mountains of Sierra Leone;" and which contained advice for their future guidance. One of the first things which Captain Taylor did, was to repurchase the land which had been paid for by Captain Thomson of the Nautilus. This was considered prudent, because some of the chiefs had refused to sign the former deed of purchase; and as these, therefore, considered themselves to have still a claim upon the land, it was thought better to repurchase it than to leave any person of this description dissatisfied. A deed was accordingly prepared, and signed by all the chiefs. This produced something like amity, or a friendly disposition on the part of the natives, towards the settlers; and the latter having been supplied with provisions and implements of husbandry, and also with articles both of convenience and even comfort, affairs began to
wear a new aspect in the colony. In fact, the sending out the brig Myro was the salvation of it.
Mr. Sharp began now to enjoy the hope that his labours would be ultimately crowned with success; but many months had not elapsed after the return of the Myro to England, when he was informed by subsequent dispatches of new disasters. Two slavetraders having committed acts of violence on two different occasions, the settlers had seized them, tried them, and fined them. The first result of this was, that six of the settlers were kidnapped and taken off into slavery. The second was a combination on the part of the slave-traders to cut off the colony itself. This, however, was a very difficult task, so long as the members of it kept together in one body. The plan, therefore, was to detach by degrees the cleverest men from among them. Accordingly the agents of some of the slave-factories in the neighbourhood offered to employ them at high salaries; and the consequence was, that the three principal persons among them, Tacitus, Estwick, and Collins, men who had been but just sent out in the brig Myro, accepted these wages of iniquity, and entered into the slave-trade. This news affected Mr. Sharp most deeply: he deplored their ingratitude, he deplored their want of principle. It was, however, some consolation to him to find that the rest of the settlers condemned the conduct of their deluded brethren, and that they promised to keep together. They seemed to think that they should be able to keep their ground, if he could gratify their wishes in two. particulars. In the first place, hundreds of their letters to Mr. Sharp, which had been sent by the slave-vessels to England, had been purposely withheld from him, and they had scarcely any way of writing to him but by such vessels. They wished, therefore, that some small packet might be established between London and Sierra Leone, by means of which there might be a regular and safe communication between them. In the second place, they wished to have a small sloop, which they said they had plenty of seamen to man, by means of which they might go up and down the rivers, and furnish themselves with provisions, and open a trade in those productions of the country, which were articles of lawful commerce. This intelligence could not fail of securing the attention of Mr. Sharp. He saw in it something like a commercial spirit rising up among them, which might be highly advantageous to themselves, and something like a fixed determination to continue in the place.
After having given the subject due consideration, he waited upon several merchants of his own acquaintance in London, to try to engage them to enter into a trading connexion with the settlers. He applied also to Government to give him a small sloop out of