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IV.

account of the soil

Nunez.

where the black mould is found, the vegetation is luxuriant CH 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 bafaltes, 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 large 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 communicaLions, which were extremely useful to me on my arrival in Africa.

places

IV.

CHA P. places interspersed with marshes and savannahs, which, in

their present ftate, 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 infalubrity; and unfortunately the Europeans have
fixed all, or most of, their habitations near them. Yet in
almost every part of the coaft, far more healthful fituations
might easily have been found; especially on the dry and
elevated banks of the Rio Grande. But, ftrange 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.

W A T E R.

waters.

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

which varies in purity with the nature of the foul through
which it percolates. That which isfues 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 was
ters, that which stagnates in ponds, ditches, and morasfes, is
the most unwholefome.

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 ufe, and the natives often use
them without any preparation whatever. Dr. Lind had
samples of those of the rivers Senegal, Gambia, and Sierra

Leona

1

worm.

Leona sent him sealed up in bottles. Although he found C HA P.

. them all putrid, especially that from the Senegal, he could not discover any animalcules in them, with a good microscope, nor any uncommon contents, by chemical analysis. All of them, after being exposed some time to the open air, became perfectly sweet and good. Hence he concludes that the most effectual way of destroying the ova of animalcules, and of the Guinea worm * (if it be generated, as some Guinea suppose, in water) is first to let the water putrify, and then to pass it through a series of vessels placed under each other, having small holes in their bottoms; so that it may fall from one into another in drops, like a gentle shower—a process which, he assures us, will render it quite pure and wholesomet.

* As the Guinea worm is attended with great trouble and pain, though seldom with fatal consequences, unless when much neglected or mismanaged, I shall add Dr. Lind's description of it-" The less dangerous diseases," says he, “which attack Europeans in Guinea, are ihe dry belly-ach and the Guinea worm. This is a white round, slender worm, often some yards long, lodged in the interstices of the mus. cles, commonly in the legs, feet, or hands. When it attempts to escape through the skin, it occasions a swelling, resembling a boil, attended with great pain, until it's liule black head appears in a small watery bladder, on the head of the boil. When this bladder breaks, the head of the worm is to be secured, by tying it to a small roll of linen, spread with plaister, and part of the worm is, once or twice a day, to be gently drawn forth with care not to break it, and wrapped round this roll, until it be brought away entire; then the ulcer generally heals foon: but if part of the worm breaks off, the part remaining in the flesh can be ejected only, by painful and tedious suppurations in different places. Dr. Rouppe observes that the disease of the Guinea worm is infectious. It

may Jeast be prudent in Europeans, not to lie in the same apartments, and to avoid too free a communication with such negroes as are afflicted with them. The dry bellyach and Guinea worm may be observed at any season of the year, and seldom prove mortal.” Essay, p. 52.-" The dry belly-ach is the same disease here as in the West Indies; but the Guinea worin seems peculiar to Africa, and a few parts of Asia,"

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CH A P.

IV.

To cool and purify water.

53. Even very foul water may be rendered potable, by letting it drain through a wine pipe, or deep tub, half filled with pure fand, with a number of small holes near the bottom, covered on the inside with hair-cloth, or other porous substance, to prevent the sand from being carried through by the water. These methods may be practised, when a large quantity of clear water is wanted; but an ordinary family is very plentifully supplied by a drip-stone, which is one of the most elegant methods of obtaining pure water. If the stone transmit the water too freely, it may

be rendered less porous, by a mixture of water and lime; if too slowly, it's bottom should be thinned, by rubbing it down with another gritty stone. The fand-tub or dripNone, should be placed in the shade, where there is a free current of air; and the water should drop from the height of two or three feet into an unglazed earthen jar, not hard burnt, but fo porous as to allow the water to tranfude pretty freely; and thus the water will be kept constantly cool, by the evaporation from the surface of the jar. be brought to table in small pitchers, of the same

porous The reader will observe, that this mode of keeping water cool depends on the same principle with that of refrigerating liquors, by covering the bottles with wet linen cloths, and placing them in a stream of air. All the above methods of purifying and cooling water are practised in hot countries. But all of them, except that of cooling the water, are unnecessary in many parts of Africa, for all the high grounds that I have seen there contain springs of the purest water.

54. The following simple discovery, for rendering putrid water fit to drink, has been lately made by a Mr. Lowitz. Six ounces of charcoal powder, thrown into five gallons of

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V.

putrid river water, and agitated, is sufficient to purify and C H A P.
render it wholesome and drinkable. But the process is
rendered still more efficacious, if to one drachm of charcoal
be added two drops of strong vitriolic acid, which is suffi-
cient to make four ounces of perfectly foul water sweet
and clear, on being strained through a linen jelly-bag, con-
taining charcoal powder *.

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wood vessels dealin llaves.

55.

S the slave-ships never return directly to Europe, Slave Ships

but proceed to the West Indies with their bring little wretched cargoes, it has never been the interest of their owners to bring home much of the produce of Africa.

56. Those called wood vessels, might be supposed to deal Captains of only in produce. But this has by no means been the case. Besides their frequenting those parts of the coast, where the slave-trade is briskest, most of their commanders traffic in slaves on the coast; that is, buy slaves whom they sell again to the slave-captains. Yet, they have all along brought home some gums and gold, bees wax and ivory in considerable quantities, a great variety of valuable and beautiful woods, for the use of the dyers and cabinet-makers; and of late, some palm-oil for the purposes of the sheep-farmers and wool-combers.

* See the Appendix to the Monthly Review enlarg ed, Vol. 12. p. 606.

F 2

57. But

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