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now before the society. In all, there were some seventy species of birds, some of which were of considerable rarity, and one or two probably new to science; also eight species of frogs, one of which presenting considerable external resemblance, in the flattened form of the head and the long filaments about the mouth, to certain Siluroid fishes, Dr. Gray had described as a new genus, Silurana, naming the species S. tropicalis. This last-named creature was found in abundance in a pond near Mr. Walker's house, and afforded a good illustration of the novelties which may be found among the most common objects of a district. There were also several species of snakes and other reptiles, a few crustaceans, and insects. The more interesting and characteristic specimens in the collection were pointed out to the meeting, and a detailed list promised for the Society's Transactions. In addition to the specimens collected by himself, Mr. Walker had brought home some rare fish from the Bossumprah river, some two hundred miles distant from Lagos, collected and presented, with six species of birds, by Mr. H. T. Ussher, deputy-assistant-commissary-general. Among the latter was a sun bird, allied to Nectarinia Eboensis, but distinct, and a specimen of the West African Pitta, Pitta Angolensis. Among the fish were examples of Malapterurus, or electric fish; the genera Sarcodaces, Labeo, NOTOPTERUS, Eutropius, Heterobranchus, and other Siluroids, and several species of Mormyride, all most valuable accessions to the museum. In conclusion, Mr. Moore stated that Mr. Walker had it in contemplation to explore the interior of equatorial Africa, and, as he was present, would doubtless favour the society with his views on that subject.
Mr. R. B. N. Walker then addressed the meeting as follows :—If anything that I may have obtained has proved new and interesting, I am very much pleased to find that such is the case; but I think that Mr. Moore is entitled to quite as much credit as myself, if not more, as it was solely through my always bearing in mind the hints which he gave me that I succeeded in collecting the few specimens you now see. Mr. Moore took pains to impress upon me that I could not possibly do better than secure everything, whether common or otherwise, and I certainly acted up to his precept in the most complete manner. The result, however, shows that what is nominally the most common is not necessarily the least interesting. I only regret that my opportunities were so few, and that the country I have lately returned from was so barren a field; but I hope at some future period to be able to accomplish something more worthy of your notice. With regard to the skeleton of the gorilla which has been alluded to, and which is, I believe, the largest specimen of the kind ever yet brought to Europe, Mr. Moore has told you how it passed from my hands into his; and I am sure that I experienced great pleasure in being able to gratify Mr. Moore personally, and also to supply to the Liverpool Museum an object that was wanted, and which has been so well appreciated. I regret that the skeleton is imperfect, but I do not despair of being able to recover some of the missing parts should I return to Gaboon, as I anticipate doing before long, when I shall have more leisure to devote to making a collection than I have yet had. As to the other matter which has been alluded to, my desire to return to the Gaboon, with a view of exploring those little-known regions lying within seven or eight degrees on either side of the equator, I may
observe that this idea is by no means new to me, as so long ago as 1859 or 1860 I asked leave of my
then employers to make an attempt to traverse the continent from west to east, and made all my preparations to start on the journey; but those gentlemen, considering that such an attempt was incompatible with the object for which they had sent me out, refused me the necessary permission to absent myself from their business. I was therefore compelled to relinquish my project, and I have not since had an opportunity of putting it into execution. Two or three months since, however, the same idea recurred to my mind, and after some deliberation I determined to submit a proposal to the Royal Geographical Society, and ask the assistance of the council towards putting my design into practice. I therefore addressed a letter to the council a few days since, and after an interview, at which I explained my views, the society agreed to furnish me with the necessary instruments, and make me a grant of £100 towards paying the expenses of an expedition into the interior. The Anthropological Society also voted a sum to be applied to the purchase of articles for their museum. The sum I have named is, of course, not in itself by any means adequate for the purpose; but should I meet with such further support and assistance as would lead me to hope that I should be able to carry out the undertaking in an efficient and successful manner, I am fully prepared to start next month for Gaboon; and as the dry season, which is the proper time for commencing the journey, is fast approaching, I ought not to be later. I am induced to hope that though not myself a native of Liverpool or the neighbourhood, yet having been for many years connected with the town, and having already done what little I could to add to the collection in the Public Museum, and being desirous of doing far more, I may meet with such countenance and support as may enable me to put into execution the plan I have contemplated, and which is, I am sure, one that merits attention, as the part of the interior of Africa which I propose to visit is so little known, and offers a new and most interesting field for the explorer. I am desirous of starting next month if possible, and should in all probability be accompanied by a friend, who is desirous of taking part in the expedition, and who, being an excellent draughtsman, would be a desirable companion in such a journey; but I am prepared, if needful, to start alone, as I do not anticipate any great difficulty in the undertaking, the natives, so far as they are known, being by no means hostile, and the climate, to which I am well accustomed, being by no means so dangerous as is generally supposed; for contrary to the usually received idea, that part of Africa lying almost immediately upon the equator is the most healthy of any part of Western tropical Africa; at least, so far as my experience goes, I have found it to be so. I am already acquainted with many of the tribes inhabiting the country,
speak some of the languages, which knowledge would, of course, be of great service to me in my intended expedition. I should have stated that the main object of this undertaking would be to discover the position of a lake, lately reported by Van Heuglin to exist far to the westward of any of the lakes already known. I first heard of this lake myself some five or six years since, from the Fans, and believe it to be situated near the equator, and some six or seven hundred miles to the eastward of Gaboon. Should I be fortunate enough to meet with this lake, and determine its position, I should feel amply rewarded; though if I retained my health I should not make this my goal, but proceed as far east as practicable, unless I discovered, as I should expect to do, some large river taking its rise at this lake, in which case I should endeavour to follow its course to the sea. In conclusion, Mr. President, I desire to return my thanks to Mr. Moore for the
kind manner in which he has spoken of me; and I also beg to express to you and to the society my great gratification at the kind and cordial reception which has been accorded to
me this evening.
In reply to the President's question concerning the habitat of the gorilla, Mr. Walker said, -I am of opinion that the gorilla exists in the Dahomey country and in Yoruba, and, in fact, in nearly all the country between Dahomey and the Congo. I believe that Bowditch was the first person in modern times to record the existance of this great ape, which he mentioned, I think, nearly fifty years ago under the name by which it is known in Gaboon-Ngina or Ingina. It was certainly known to the American missionaries in Gaboon in 1844 or 1845. The gorilla is by no means so rare as Du Chaillu has represented. It is common enough in Gaboon and in the Camma country, being sometimes found within three or four miles of the sea. One, the remains of which in spirit I brought to England in 1862, and presented to the British Museum, could not have been shot at a greater distance from the Gaboon river than ten miles, as it was shot at four p.m., and was brought to my factory at one a.m., having been brought across the river, there seven miles wide, as well as transported some distance by land, and weighing probably not less than 200lbs. It is not likely that the natives could or would have carried it any great distance in the time stated, nine hours. I am convinced that the gorilla exists near Lagos, from remains which I saw, and from noises which I heard, when travelling on the rivers near that place.
At the conclusion of Mr. Walker's address, the President, Dr. Collingwood, and Mr. Duckworth made some remarks upon the desirability of the expedition; and a voluntary subscription was commenced. It was further announced that Mr. Henry Duckworth, F.R.G.S., 5, Cook Street, would take charge of any subscriptions for this purpose.