« PreviousContinue »
C HA P. ed it in my journal : and yet he soon after ordered the pil
lage to be executed.
22. On this occasion it happened that only one captive was taken. This was a handsome young negress, who, notwithstanding her tears, was forthwith carried on board a fhip then lying off Joal. As she belonged, however, to one of those families who, by the laws of the country, are exempted from slavery, this action shocked the people so much that a commotion ensued. The king having, by this time, come to his senses, and seeing the danger, entreated the pur. chaser to return the girl. The Frenchman, though surrounded by a great multitude of negroes, and though our party, including Dr. Sparrman, Captain Arrhenius, and myself, consisted but of five white men, was so madly obstinate as to refuse his request. I fay madly, for in all the conjunctures of my life, I never was so alarmed for the safe. ty of it. After much entreaty, however, he restored the young woman to her disconfolate relations, the king pro. mising him two slaves in exchange, whom he expected to
seize on a future expedition. Proofs of the
23. The opposers of the colonization of Africa would
indolent: but I have in my possession the means of proving
tried to excite in them any innocent artificial wants; nor in. C H A P. deed any other wants than those of brandy, baubles, trade. guns, powder and ball, to intoxicate or amuse their chiefs, and to afford them the means of laying waste their country.
24. Even the least improved tribes make their own fishing tackle, canoes and implements of agriculture. I forgot to mention salt and soap, and dying among the manufactures of those I visited, and who are by no means exempted from the evils of the slave-trade. If, even while that traffic disa turbs their peace, and endangers their persons, they have made such a progress, what may we not expect if that grievous obstacle were removed, and their ingenuity directed into a proper channel ? 25.
The slave-trade difurbs their agriculture still more than their manufactures; for men will not be fond of planting who have not a moral certainty of reaping. Yet, even without enjoying that certainty, they raise grain, fruits, and roots, not only fufficient for their own consumption, but even to supply the demands of the European shipping, often to a considerable extent. In some islands and parts of the coast, where there is no slave-trade, they have made great progress in agriculture. At the island of Fernando Po, in particular, they have such quantities of provisions, as to spare a sufficiency for all the shipping at Calabar, Del, Rey, and Camerones. In some places, they bring their produce to the coast on their heads, and return home loaded with European goods. Others go in armed bodies even a month's journey inland, with articles for trade. In some places, they wood and water the ships, and hire themselves to the Europeans to work for low wages, both in boats and
ihore. In short, their industry is in general proportioned
CHA P. to their comparative civilization, to their own wants, to the
demand for their labour, to their desire for European goods,
26. Refined nations form systems, and rise to generals:
27. Of their labour in concert, I shall give one example, of which I have been a spectator. The trees on the coast I visited, being generally bent in their growth by the sea-breeze, and wanting solidity, are unfit for canoes. A tree of the proper dimensions is therefore chosen, perhaps fourteen or fifteen miles up the country, which being cut into the requisite length, but not hollowed, left it should be rent by accident, or by the heat of the sun, the people of the nearest village draw it to the next, and thus successively from village to village, till it reach the coast, where it is formed into a ca
* See the evidence of Sir George Young, Captain Dalrymple, Captain Wilson, Captain Hall, Mr. Ellison, &c. in Minutes of Evidence before the House of Com
noe. For this severe labour the villagers look for no other C HA P. reward than a feast and merry-making, which they enjoy in the true style of rural simplicity.
28. The same happy mixture of united labour and festivity takes place at building their houses; also in cultivating, planting or sowing their fields, belonging to the same village, and in reaping the crop, which is considered as the common property of the inhabitants. Such a practice in Europe would generate endless disputes; but among this fimple people, is the best bond of good neighbourhood. Such indeed is the amiable fimplicity of manners which reigns in the villages remote from the Nave-trade, that European visitors are ready to imagine themselves carried into a new world, governed by the purest maxims of patriarchal innocence.
29. But though few of them unite their strength, except on these, and a few similar, occasions, and most of them turn their hands to different occupations, we are not thence to conclude unfavourably of their intellects, any more than of the intellects of those European peasants, (in Sweden, Norway, Scotland, &c.) whose practices are similar. On the 'contrary, Lord Kaimes has observed, I think with much truth, that such peasants are generally more intelligent than artificers, to whom the division of labour, in manufacturing countries, has assigned one, fimple operation. A peasant, who makes and repairs his ploughs, harrows, and harness, his household furniture, and even his cloaths,has an ampler scope for his understanding, and really becomes a more intelligent being than he who spends his whole life in forging horseshoes, making nails, or burnishing buttons. Such a being, confined for life to a few simple motions, may be said, in fome degree, to lose the use of all his powers, but that of
CHA P. the muscles which perform those motions. His intellect
lies dormant, for it's use is superseded by a mere animal ha-
30. I am unwilling to refine too much; but as the situation of the Africans approaches much nearer to that of intelligent peasants than that of stupid mechanics, I am inclined to think that their intellects may have been improved by being so variously exercised; for the natural way of improving the human intellect, is to afford it an ample field of action; and the sure way to cramp and contract it, is to keep it incessantly plodding in one dull pursuit. Certain it is, that though, on the whole, passion is more predominant in the African character than reason; yet their intellects are so far from being of an inferior order, that one finds it difficult to account for their acuteness, which so far transcends their apparent means of improvement.
Will and un- 31.
O one will deny that the will and the understanding
are the leading faculties of the human mind. The will is actuated by love for, or affečtions to, some objects in
* See Lord Kaimes's Sketches of the History of Man.