Page images
PDF
EPUB

CH A P.

V.

East and
West Indian

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

57. Buť I believe the principal cause why a trade in African produce has never been encouraged, has been the irre

fistible influence of the East and West Indian interests.
interefts op. Those monopolists, unreasonably thought their commerce
portation of would be affected by the introduction of African commodi-
African pro- ties into the markets of Europe. Thus much is certain, that

Mr. Norris, one of the Liverpool delegates for fupporting
the save-trade, and therefore not to be suspected of partiali-
ty to Africa, stated, in his examination before the Privy
Council, that he “once saw a quantity of African pepper
of the quality of that brought from the East Indies. It was
So good, that the East India company objected to it's importa-
tion*." We have before mentioned the formidable oppo-
sition made the West Indians to the establishment of the
colony at Sierra Leona.

58. By such means, has the field of commerce been his
in Africa, for
want of con- therto narrowed or shut up in Africa: and instances fre-

quently occur of valuable commodities rotting on the coast,
for want of a sale, or of the means of conveyance, to a fo-
reign market. I myself saw one hundred bullocks hides
publicly sold at Goree for about five shillings and three
pence sterling; and on another occasion, four bullocks for
about fifteen shillings and nine pence sterling. I could
mention several other striking instances of the same kind.
59. Little as Africa is yet known, I can, from

my own
knowledge, assert several articles to be indigenous in that
continent, which have hitherto been brought to our mar-
kets from the East and West Indies, at an expense far ex-
ceeding the price at which they might be cultivated in, and

Produce rots

!

veyance.

1

* Privy Council's Report, Part. I. Article “ Produce" Mr. Norris and his two colleagues enumerated many other valuable productions.

con

V.

reyed from, Africa. What a strange inversion of natural C H A P.
order, to exile from their native soil, both men and plants;
the one to languish as slaves, and the other as exotics; the one
to perilh prematurely, and the other to fail every third or
fourth year*!

A N IM A L S.

[ocr errors]

60. The cattle, in that part of the country of which we Cattle. treat, are smaller than the generality of European cattle, and not so fat as those of England and Holland; but their meat is juicy and palatable, and they give milk in abundance. Their inferior size appeared to me to be the effect of the careless and unskilful management of the negroes. They must be raised on the coast, as foreign cattle do not thrive there. Even those from the Cape de Verd Islands, being accustomed to an uncommonly dry climate, do not well bear a transition to the continent. The horses are of a Horses. middling size, strong, hardy, and spirited. They are used in great numbers, for riding and carrying burdens, in the country between the Senegal and Gambia, and also on some parts lower down the coast; but there they are not numerous, and in some places there are none. Camels, so admir- Camels. ably adapted, by the Creator, to assist the labours of man in hot climates, are not so generally used by the negroes, as could be wifhed. I have not seen many asses; but Affes. there is an excellent breed at the Cape de Verd Islands, from whence great numbers of them, and also of mules and horned cattle, are exported to the West Indies, for the use of the sugar plantations.

The whole coast is abundant. Hogs, sheep,

&c.

* On the extreme uncertainty of the West Indian crops, see Beskrivelse over. St. Croix af H. Welt-and the Report of the British Privy Council passim.

ly

1.

Game.

[ocr errors]

Fith.

noe.

CHA P. ly stocked with hogs, sheep, goats and all kinds of poultry,
which propagate with astonishing rapidity.-

rapidity.The
woods afford shelter to an endless variety of game.

The most valuable is a species of deer, a very beautiful animal. Of the prodigious shoals, and numerous species of excellent

fish, I could have formed no idea, without having seen them.
Whales. Spermaceti whales, in particular, abound so much, that, in

passing between Goree and the continent, distant about five
miles, I have often been surrounded by them, and have
been under no small apprehensions of their oversetting my ca-

Lower down on the coast, the Portuguese carry on a
considerable fishery of those whales; and I have been in-

formed that the English have lately paid some attention to the
Ambergris. fame object.—That valuable article, ambergris, is found in

such quantities on the coast, that I have more than once
seen the negroes pay their canoes with it. Till lately, the
learned were not certain to which of the three natural king-
doms this substance was to be referred; but they seem now

pretty generally agreed, that it is the excrement of the sper-
Ivory, bees

maceti whale.-Tortoise-shell may be had in any quantity:
and bees wax, ostrich feathers, elephant's teeth, and the still
more valuable teeth of the hippopotamus, or river horse,
found in particular abundance near Cape Mesurado, alrea-
dy form very considerable articles of exportation. I do
not know that we import ivory from any other part of the
world than Africa.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

wax, &c.

[ocr errors]

VEGETABLES.

Vegetables
and fruits.

61. The grass is thick, and grows to a great height. The natives are often obliged to burn it, when dry, to prevent the wild beasts from harbouring near their habitations; but it soon springs up again, and affords very luxuriant palturage

V.

Millet, rice, maize, potatoes, yams, and a great variety of C H A P. other excellent roots and vegetables, are cultivated on the coast with little trouble, and often in a profusion perfectly astonishing to an European. There is also an abundance of the most wholesome and delicious fruits; articles not less prized by the natives, than those just mentioned. Such indeed is the plenty which prevails on that division of the country, of which we are speaking, that all the European fhips are victualled, without the smallest inconvenience to the inhabitants; and if the demand were increased, doubtless the production would keep pace with it.

62. It ought to be observed, that two species of rice are Rice of two produced on that part of the coast, and I believe much far- species. ther down; one which, like that of Carolina, grows in fwamps, and another which loves the dry soil of hills and floping grounds. The husk of this last is reddish; but the grain is beautifully white. Though not quite so productive as the common kind, it bears a much higher price, and is every way preferable, as an article of food, not only to the other species, but to every kind of grain I know *.

63. The sugar-cane grows spontaneously in many places, Wild sugarwith a luxuriance which promises great advantages to those cane. who may hereafter undertake it's cultivation. At present the natives, ignorant of it's value, make no other use of it, than by occafionally regaling themselves with it's juice, of which they partake in common with the hogs, cattle and elephants, which are all extremely fond of it.

64. Several species of cotton are also the spontaneous produce of this excellent soil. One of them is naturally of a nan-

* See Dr. Smeathman's Letters to Mr. Knowles, in the Appendix, also the evidence of Captain Hall, in Minutes of Evidence, 1790, page 523,

keena

[ocr errors]

of several

1

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

C HA P. keen colour, and another parts with the seeds so freely, that
V.

it may be spun almost without any preparation. The na-
Wild cotton tives manufacture it into durable, though narrow, cloth of
fpecies. various degrees of fineness. I have in my possession one

specimen of it, of so fine a quality, and so good a fabric, that
some excellent judges, to whom I shewed it at Manchester,
declared that it would not disgrace their best workmen.
Some cotton, which I gathered in it's wildest state at Dac-
kard, was sent by order of the Right Hon. the Privy Council
of Great Britain, to Mr. Hilton of Manchester, whose report
concerning it is in these words—" The sample of cotton,
from Senegal, is very good and fine, as your lordships will
see by the specimen inclosed, which is fpun after the rate of
one hundred and forty hanks, (each hank 840 yards) twist
cotton yarn to the pound, and it is thought superior in quality
to any of the Brazil cotton, and nearly equal to the East In-
dia*." It is worthy of remark that, cæteris paribus, the cot-
ton of large islands is preferable to that of small islands,
and that the cotton raised on continents is better than that

produced on islands.
Wildindigo 65. Indigo of different kinds also grows wild, and in such

quantities, as to be a very troublesome weed, in the rice
and millet fields. English dyers, who have tried the Afri.
can indigo, affirm that it is superior to any imported from
Carolina, or the West Indian islands, and equal to that of
Guatimalat.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

* Privy Council's Report, Part I. Article " Produce." See also Chap. X. Ar. cicle “ Bourbon."

+ The first considerable exportation of cotton and indigo, from Africa, as far as I have been able to learn, was made by a Frenchman of Goree, while I was there, in 1787.

66. Gums

« PreviousContinue »