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c H A P.

men, IV.

prove to the

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than ever they have been, or can be, as slaves. Thus, on the wreck of tyranny, let us build altars to humanity, and

negroes that the Europeans, become just from sound policy, and generous from a sense of their true interests, are at last disposed to make some atonement for the irreparable mischiefs their perverted system of commerce has occasioned in Africa.

41. On principles nearly approaching to these, a colony has already been formed at Sierra Leona, and another attempted at the island of Bulama, of both which some account will be given in the following pages.

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THE

42.

'HE climate of Africa, like that of other countries,

varies with the nature of the soil, in it's dryness or moisture, it's elevation or depression, the comparative state of improvement, the height of thermometer, and other circumstances, perhaps, not yet sufficiently investigated. The latitude of a place is by no means a certain criterion of it's climate, as feems to be commonly suppofed *. Even in the midst of the torrid zone, we meet with all possible gradations of heat and cold, almost the only circumstances which enter into the common idea of climate. The lofty summits

* See an excellent discourse on this subject, delivered in the Royal Academy of Sciences at Stockholm, by B. Ferner, counsellor of the king's chancery.

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of

!

CH A P.

IV.

seasons.

of the Andes, in South America, though under the equator,
and the high lands of Camarones, on the coast of Africa,
though within between three and four degrees of it, are co+
vered with everlasting snow.
43. In the temperate zones, the year

is divided into win- Wet and cry ter and summer; for spring and autumn may be considered as transitions from each of these extremes to it's opposite. But, in most parts of the torrid zone, nature has distinguished the seasons into the wet and the dry. The former is, in Guinea, the season of sickness; but during the greater part of the latter, that country is, upon the whole, as healthful as any other whatever.

44. From what I have seen, and been able to collect, the rainy seasons follow the passage of the sun to either tropic, fo as generally to prevail in those places where the sun is vertical. East of Cape Palmas, however, they seldom set in before June, when the sun returns from the northern tropic; but to the westward of that cape, and up the whole country, those feasons generally commence within the month of May, and continue for three or four months. In the beginning of this season, the earth being softened with rain, the negroes till and plant their grounds; and, after the return of dry weather, they gather in their crops; occupations which they feldom abandon, even though allured by the most advantageous commerce. 45.

To give the reader some idea of the quantity of rain, Quantity of which deluges Africa during the wet season, I need only mention that, at Senegal, one hundred and fifteen inches in depth of rain were found to fall in four months; a quantity which exceeds that which falls in most parts of Britain during four years *. Even during the dry season, the dews are * See Lind on the Discases of hot Climates, p. 43.

so

rain.

IV.

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C HA P. so copious as to preserve young and ripening vegetables

from being scorched by the heat. It may indeed be ques-
tioned, whether the rain which falls in some countries, equal
the dews which distil on most parts of the fertile shores of
Africa. But the magnitude and number of the rivers, which
rise and fall, in the wet and dry seasons, are evident proofs
that that continent is abundantly watered. In short, the
notion of the ancients, that the torrid zone was not habit-
able for want of moisture, is perfectly inapplicable to most
parts of the western tropical coast of Africa.

46. The range of the thermometer is but in considerable
in the tropical regions; and, what is still more remarkable,
the barometer remains almost stationary during those sur-
prising transitions from dry to wet, and the contrary. In
Europe, the mercury rises and falls about three inches; in
the torrid

zone,

seldom half an inch. It is even said to be but little affected by the most violent hurricane *. But M. West, in a description of St. Croix, published at Copenhagen last year, says that in a hurricane, or violent storm, which happened there in 1791, the mercury in his barometer rose very considerably t.

Thermometer and Barometer.

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SOIL.

Gambia.

From Cape

47. The soil all along the coast is very unequal. From to the River Cape Blanco down to the River Gambia, it is in general

very sandy; but the sand contains a very large admixture
of broken shells, and is covered, in many places, with a rich
black mould. Even the most barren and unpromising
tracts of this part of the country, except just on the sea shore,
are covered with bushes and grass of a great growth; and

1

* Lind ibid.

+ Bidrag til Beskrivelse over St. Croix, &c.

where

IV.

account of the foil

where the black mould is found, the vegetation is luxuriant c H A P. to a degree unknown in the most fertile parts of Europe, and the trees are of valt dimensions.

48. I have observed that the mountains from Cape Verd Basaltes. to Gambia, are generally composed more or less of regular basaltes, exhibiting evident remains of volcanoes, the eruptions of which add greatly to the fertility of the soil around them. Hence the lower parts of the mountains and high grounds at Cape Emanuel, Goree, Cape Rouge, and other places lower down, are in general very fertile. ,

49. M. Adanson, a celebrated naturalist, who was sent to Adanson's Africa in 1753, at the request of the French Academy of Sciences, observes that the soil from Cape Blanco to the down to Rio Gambia, though by no means bad upon the whole, is not to be compared in fertility with that of the country from that river to Rio Nunez, which is equalled by few soils, and excelled by none, on the face of the globe *. His observations apply, not only to the coast, but to very extensive tracts of of the inland countries, as the reader will perceive by confulting my map, in which I have traced his lines of separation between the more and less fertile tracts; and which are as accurate as the nature of the thing will permit. The evidence given before the Privy Council abundantly confirms the observations of M. Adanson, my fellow travellers and myself, and proves that the farge extent of land, just mentioned, wants nothing but skilful culture to render it more than commonly productive of every tropical article.

50. The coast and the banks of the rivers are in many Rice

Grounds.

* When at Paris in 1787, I had' daily opportunities of conversing with that respectable old philosopher, and obtained from him many interesting communicasons, which were extremely useful to me on my arrival in Africa.

places

IV.

CH A P. places interspersed with marshes and savannahs, which, in

their present state, are unfit for any other crop than that of
rice, which forms a considerable part of the food of the na-
tives. But their fertility in this article does not compensate
for their insalubrity; and unfortunately the Europeans have
fixed all, or most of, their habitations near them. Yet in
almost every part of the coast, far more healthful situations
might easily have been found; especially on the dry and
elevated banks of the Rio Grande. But, strange as it may
appear,

health is, with those men, an object of less consider-
ation, in the choice of a residence, than trade, for which the
situations of their factories are generally well adapted.

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WATER

waters.

Compara 51. Rain-water, I believe, is allowed to be the lightest and
tive qualities
of different simplest of all waters. Next in order, is spring water,

which varies in purity with the nature of the soil through
which it percolates. That which issues from among rocks,
gravel, or chalk is generally accounted the best. Similar
to this, is the water of draw-wells, the quality of which de-
pends much on the strata at or near the bottom, and it gene-
rally improves by exposure to the open air. But of all wa-
ters, that which stagnates in ponds, ditches, and morasses, is
the most unwholesome.

52. The waters at the mouths of the large African rivers,
which glide slowly through a level country, being mixed
with those of the sea and of the marshes which it overflows,
are impregnated with salt, and rendered turbid by various
impurities; yet some of them require but little preparation
to make them fit for common use, and the natives often use
them without any preparation whatever. Dr. Lind had
samples of those of the rivers Senegal, Gambia, and Sierra

Leona

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