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THE author of the following pages having, in the carlier
part of his life, travelled through most parts of Europe, and observed various modes of civilized fociety, was desirous of contemplating human nature in simpler states; and, from what he had heard and read, he concluded, that Africa presented the most ample field for such observations. Accordingly, in the year 1787, he communicated his design to his sovereign, the late intelligent and enterprising King of Sweden, who not only granted him leave of absence from the office he had the honour to hold under him; but was also graciously pleased to favour with his royal countenance and support, himself and his fellow-travellers, Dr. A. Sparrman, known to the public by his voyages to the Cape of Good Hope, and round the world with the celebrated Cook, and Captain Arrhenius, of the Swedish artillery, a very able and experienced mineralogist.
They travelled by land from Stockholm to Paris, with his majesty's particular recommendation to the court of France, where their views were very cordially promoted. A passage was granted to them in a French ship from Havre de Grace to Africa, and they carried orders to all the
French governors and agents on the coast, to give them every kind of allistance, which accordingly they received wherever they thought proper to land. -Thus the author's opportunities of observation were uncommonly favourable, and he flatters himself he did not let them escape altogether unimproved.
The chief objects of his enquiry and observation in Africa were the character of the natives, and the evils they suffer from the slave-trade, the produce of the country, and above all, how far it seemed capable of improvement and of colonization.
The author, on returning to Europe, in 1788, called on some friends he had left in England eleven years before. Dr. Sparrman, who went first to Paris, shortly afterwards joined him in London; Captain Arrhenius going directly to Sweden. It foon transpiring that they had just returned from Africa, they were summoned before the British Privy Council, in whose interesting report their opinions on the subject of this work stand recorded in these words: “ The question being put to Mr. Wadstrom and to Dr. Sparrman, whether they thought that by any and what encouragement the natives of that country might be induced to cultivate the above articles” (viz. cotton, indigo, the sugar cane, &c.) “ so as to make them objects of commerce? -Mr. Wadstrom gave it as his opinion, that the only encouragement would be by fettling a colony of Europeans there, and though they would proceed by very flow degrees, yet they would gradually reconcile the princes and natives of the country to it; and he added, that he should himself be glad to be one of the first to engage in such an undertaking.”—“ Dr. Sparrman thinks also this might be accomplished by planting colonies among them, and paying them
for their labour. They have at present some sort of industry, which by example might be increased. They would not at once be brought to regular and diurnal labour; but by little and little they might be reconciled to it*."
In 1789, he published a small tract, now out of print, compiled from his journals, and intitled “ Observations on the Slave-trade in a Voyage to the Coast of Guinea.” That trade was then under parliamentary investigation in England; and the author was flattered that his little piece might contribute to it's abolition. At present the colonization of Africa shares the attention of the friends of the same cause. With renewed alacrity, therefore, he again steps forward, agrecable to his promise in the above-mentioned tract, in hopes of promoting that grand design, by proving that the colonization of Africa is not only practicable, but, in a commercial view, highly prudent and adviseable.
The reader has no doubt, by this time, discovered that the person who now addresses him is a zealous friend to the Africans. But it is presumed that his zeal is not inconsistent with fober truth; and that friendship to the Africans is not incompatible with friendship to the Europeans, and to all mankind. The author has ever thought that the mast likely way to promote the civilization of mankind, would be to lead their activity into the cultivation of their country, as the best exercise for their affections, and to diffuse among them a spirit of liberal commerce, to exercise their understanding. Thus, cultivation and commerce established upon right principles, rendering the mind active, would early dispose it for the reception of pure moral instruction: commodities in this case could not fail to become the
* Privy Council's Report, Part I. Art. " Produce."
vehicles of ideas and inventions; the best systems of morality or religion would of consequence foon prevail; and the human species thereby would be ultimately improved and exalted.
Thinking thus, the author, particularly since he trod the fertile soil of Africa, and surveyed her rude, but valuable, natural stores, has often been grieved and astonished that such a country should have been so long overlooked by the industrious nations in Europe. Of this and some other cu, rious circumstances relative to Africa, he will endeavour, in the ensuing tract, to trace the causes. Here he will only alk, in the words of the celebrated Professor Zimmerman of Brunfwick, “ Why have not other mercantile nations long ago opened their eyes, and looked into the benefits that would arise from a better knowledge of Africa? It may
be answered, that, besides the prejudice that so strongly governs the world in general, we must not altogether reproach them. One of the finest and most increasing Dutch colonies is that at the Cape of Good Hope. France has flourishing colonies in the Isles of France and Bourbon. Portugal has feveral important establishments, and Denmark has lately given us a proof of what she intends to do. The day, I hope, is not far distant when Africa will enrich Europe with the most lucrative commerce.” Indulging the same pleafing hope, the author most chearfully joins his efforts with those of the benevolent and enlightened Britons, who are now endeavouring to form colonies in Africa-happy if his personal observations, supported and illustrated by the best authorities, should contribute to remove prejudices, and to prevent dangerous mistakes in those who may hereafter enter upon such undertakings in that quarter of the world.
HEN the maritime nations of Europe first at- Plans of the
first Europetempted to found colonies in the Indies, they had prodigious difficulties to encounter. Few of the ad ill digested.. venturers feem to have been aware of the serious nature of such undertakings, and of the necessity of proceeding on regular and well digested plans. Many of them appear to have embarked with expectations of the speedy acquisition of wealth; but without well knowing where they were to land, and to reap this golden harvest. Even the best informed of them were unapprized of the inconveniences which they were to guard against, and unacquainted with the diseases of hot climates, and the means of prevention and cure; especially with that invaluable medicine, the Peruvian bark. Many of the lower class of fettlers were men of debauched habits, and unaccustomed to the labour of clearing land; and all of them but indifferently provided