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CHA P. action of fire, and that the matrix, to which it was united,
was nothing more than the scoria of the metal. However
72. HAVING given fome account of the climate, foil,
and produce of the part of the coast laid down in the map, it seems natural to make a few observations on the comparative salubrity of different places and situations; and to offer to Europeans, who propose to reside in that region, some advice respecting the preservation of health, in a country so very different from that to which they have been accustomed. This appears to me to be a matter of such serious importance, that I mean afterwards to propose the superintendance of it, as a separate department in the direction of every new colony. .
73. “ Men,” says Dr. Lind, “ who exchange their native, plants fimi.
for a distant, climate, may be considered as affected in a by being
manner somewhat analogous to plants removed into a foransplanted. reign soil; where the utmost care and attention are requir
ed to keep them in health, and to inure them to their new
74. During my stay in Africa, I have often observed with C H A P. astonishment, how little the Europeans, both individuals and public bodies, appear to regard the preservation of health. They could not act more absurdly, if they aimed at ruining their constitutions, in order to bring upon the climate a degree of reprobation which, with all it's faults, it really does not deserve. I cannot better express my own sentiments and observations on this head, than in the words of the able and intelligent physician just quoted.
75. " It is not uncommon,” says he, “ in many-trading Africa, if factories, to meet with a few Europeans pent up in a small would be as spot of low, damp ground, so entirely surrounded with healthful as thick woods, that they can scarcely have the benefit of walk- lubrious West ing a few hundred yards, and where there is not so much lands. as an avenue cut through any part of the woods for the admission of wholesome and refreshing breezes. The Europeans have also unfortunately fixed some of their principal settlements on low, inland, unventilated spots, on the foul banks, or near the swampy and oozy mouths of rivers, or on salt marshes, formed by the overflowing of the ocean, where, in
many places, the putrid fish, scattered on the shore by the negroes, emit such noisome effluvia, as prove very injurious to health. Notwithstanding what has been said, I think it will hardly admit of doubt, that if any tract of land in Guinea was as well improved as the island of Barbadoes, and as perfectly freed from trees, underwood, marshes, &c. the air would be rendered equally healthful there, as in that pleasant West Indian Inand *.”
76. As an instance, in support of this position, the doctor Inflance in mentions the Portuguese town of St. Salvadore, which, “not
St. Salva dore.
* Essay on the Diseases, &c. p. 50.
ÇHA P. withstanding it lies 150
the river Congo, or Zaire, and within six degrees of the equator; yet, from it's being situated on a hill, and the neighbouring country being cleared of the natural woods and thickets, it's inhabitants breathe a temperate and pure air, and are in a great measure, exempted from all the plagues of an unhealthy cli
mate *.” Trade pre
77. Thus we see, that the Europeans have their own conduct, more than the climate, to blame for their unhealthiness in Africa. If the intelligent reader ask, why their factories and forts have been so absurdly placed? I can only answer, that the speedy acquisition of gain seems. hitherto to have been the fole object of the European visitors of Africa, who, intending only a temporary residence, have not been very nice as to their accommodation. To trade (as before hinted) every consideration of health and utility has been foolishly sacrificed: and, provided they could place advantageously their factories, for carrying it on, and their forts for protecting it, the salubrity of the situation was regarded as a matter of small moment, and sometimes not regarded at all. So universally has trade been preferred to health, that I believe it would be difficult to name a single fort or factory on the coast, in the settlement of which, the convenience of trade was not the ruling confideration. In establishing so many settlements it could not but happen, that some situations, proper for trade, would also be not unfavourable to health; but that this was at best only a secondary object, is evident from the little pains which have been taken to cut down the woods, drain the marshes,
* Id. p. 51.-I have often heard St. Salvadore mentioned as the most healthful spot on the globe, except the Island of Ceylon.
and cultivate the land, in the vicinity of the forts and facto- C HA P. ries on the coast. But why do I mention the cultivation of land, as if I did not know it to be so perfectly contrary to the views and habits of the European factors, that even the prefervation of their own lives cannot incite them to use such obvious, pleasant and certain means of improving the climate ? 78. When, to the effluvia of marshes, woods, and the Causes of
mortality of flimy beds of rivers, we add bad lodgings, bad cloathing, soldiers and unwholesome, and scanty food, nastiness, both personal and domestic, intoxication with very bad spirits, exposure to damps, rains, and dews, and other similar causes of disease, we can no longer wonder at the mortality of soldiers in garrison, and other whites, on shore. As to seamen, the wonder is not that so many die, but that any survive, the operation of the causes of mortality which are inseparable from the slave-trade. For, besides the evils they suffer in common with soldiers, &c. on shore, but generally in a much greater degree, they, are often, in collecting flaves by boating,” exposed to the weather
the rivers, for days and nights together, as well as to excessive fatigues in wooding and watering. And, as if these hardships were not sufficient to destroy their constitutions, very many of the men are barbarously treated by the slave-captains, who, to account for the enormous mortality which ensues, falsely attribute to the climate a malignity which more properly belongs to their own dispositions. I am the more confident Ships of war, in asserting these facts, as they have been proved, before ed from that the British legislature, by the most respectable evidence, mortality.. Two other important facts are also established by the same evidence, namely, that the wood-vessels which trade, chiefly for produce, to the same parts of the coast, do not lose
C HA P. nearly so many men as the slave-lhips; and that ships of
war make their voyages to that pretendedly fatal shore, with as little mortality as to the West Indian Inands, and with far less than takes place in the East Indies *.
79. It is not pretended, however, that the climate of Africa is perfectly congenial to the constitutions of all European strangers. There, as in other hot countries, new-comers must, in general, expect what is called a seasoning. All I would be understood to attempt, is to vindicate the climate of Africa fom any peculiar malignity, never before experienced in other tropical regions, in the like unimproved
state. Comparative 80. It is the general opinion, that the climates of Senegal falubrity of and Whidah are the worst on the whole western coast of different places. Africa. The neighbourhood of the mouth of the River
Gambia, however, lately much frequented, has been found to be equally unfavourable to health. But the country becomes more salubrious as we advance up that river.' From Elephant's Island to Yanimaroo, the climate is tolerable, and above this last place, it may be pronounced healthful. The climates of Sierra Leona, Cape Verd, Cape Mount, and above all Cape Mesurado, are comparatively salubrious. The Isles de Los, the Isands of Bananas, Cape Verd, Go: ree, and Bulama, one of the Bissao Islands, may be said to enjoy a climate inferior to few or none within the tropics. I was assured by a French physician of Senegal, that the mortality at the Island of Goree does not exceed that of
* See the Privy Council's Report, and Minutes of Evidence before a select Committee of the House of Commons, particularly the Evidences of the Reverend Mr. Clarkson and the Reverend Mr. Newton; also those of the seven following captains in the navy, viz. Sir George Young, and Captains Hall, Smith, Thompfon, Scott, Hills and Wilson,