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CHA P. him every idea of liberality seemed to have departed from
w Gorce: for (2.) After this inauspicious event, we were very
uncivilly treated by the agents of the Senegal company, who would neither grant us a vessel to proceed along the coast, nor furnish us, as they were ordered, with those goods which they well knew were absolutely necessary, for our proposed journey into the interior parts. (3.) A French corvette which arrived at Goree, brought the disagreeable news, that hostilities had commenced between Great Britain and France. Though this report afterwards proved to be groundless, it greatly increased the difficulties in our arrangements with M. Blanchau, the new governor. (4.) The general war, which the most powerful negro nations were provoked, by the oppressive monopoly exercised by the Senegal company, to declare against the French, rendered it impossible for us to penetrate to the interior, through the extensive maritime territories of those justly irritated princes *.
616. Controled by these irresistible causes, we were obliged to return to Europe, and to content ourselves with those observations on the adjacent coast, and that intelligence respecting remoter parts, which our opportunities enabled us to make and to collect; and which, though not fo extensive as we wished, afforded my fellow travellers no mean specimens of the natural treasures of Africa, and fully convinced me of
* The late Senegal company of France, had contrived to obtain perhaps the molt extensive privileges ever enjoyed, by any similar establishment. Every article from which a mercantile profit could be squeezed, not excepting the natural curiofities of the country, fell under their gripe. As an instance, I may mention that I could not get a parrot, without it's passing through the hands of the company's agents. In short, such was their unconscionable rapacity, as not only to rouse the vengeance of the negro nations, but also to excite the silent but deep felt reseni. ment of the mulattoes of Goree and Senegal, whose very existence depended on their cominerce with the neighbouring continent.
the practicability of establishing European colonies, on several C H A P. parts of that coast.
617. Of all the places we visited, Cape Verd appeared to me the most eligible situation for a new colony*. The natural advantages of this promontory, are indeed so numerous, that nothing but the general inattention to Africa, which has c. Verd, &c. so long prevailed in Europe, can account for the neglect of colonization. such a situation. (See § 2 et seq.) Being nearly surrounded by the sea, and abounding with bold elevations, and rich vallies, watered with excellent springs, it is undoubtedly as healthful, fertile and defensible, as any part of that coast, within a convenient distance from Europe. Besides an easy intercourse with Europe, this Cape has an advantage altogether peculiar to itself, in the vicinity of the cleanly, airy and healthful town of Goree, where the colonists might be well accommodated, till they could erect houses on the adjacent continent, and from the same town the colony might derive occasional assistance, during the delicate period of it's infancy. But political considerations forbade me to cherish any hope of forming a colony at Cape Verd. The French had twice purchased that whole peninsula, from King Damel, for that express purpose t. The last bargain was made by
* I might have observed, in the text, that Joal, Portudal, Cape Rouge, and one or two other places which I visited, are all more or less proper for colonies. But it may be necessary to add, that the whole country adjacent to Fort Louis, in the river Senegal, is so unfavourable to health, as to be an unpleasant, not to say an unfafe, habitation for Europeans. See 80, 97.
+ The necessity of sometimes re-purchasing the same tract of land from the negro princes, may arise, (1.) from their simple idea of property, which appears to de. pend intirely on immediate occupancy. If the purchaser do not relide on the land, and cultivate it, they conclude that, having no use for it, he has given it up, and
CHA P. for support in this, than in my native, country, where the
absurd war with Russia was absorbing the attention, the treasure, and the blood of a nation then suffering under the influence of ruinous councils *. Nor were my hopes ill founded, though they have hitherto been deferred; for my applications to the British Ministry, were so effectually supported by persons of the first respectability, that, in 1789, a vessel was ordered to be equipped, for an expedition to discover the most proper situations for colonies, on the Western coast of Africa.
620. The command of this vessel was, undoubtedly with great propriety; conferred on Captain Roberts of the
* I am sorry to observe, that I myself have, in more than one instance, been made the dupe of such councils. In particular, in the year 1774, I was sent to Sollingen in Westphalia, by order of the late King of Sweden, to engage sword. cutlers to come over to that country. M. Sandels, counsellor of the board of mines, who was at the head of this political, or rather warlike,manæuvre, hinted to me, in confidence, that the King even then, (viz. so early as 1774,) meditated an attack on Ruflia, and was determined to have swords made in Sweden, without the knowledge or assistance of any other European power. Young and inexperienced in court machinations, I was prevailed on to undertake this business, without being well apprized of the hazard to which I exposed myself. For, after engaging some cutlers, I found that a flavish law in that place, prohibited those poor creatures from endeavouring to better their condition, by emigrating to other countries. I was therefore arrested, and confined for several weeks in the citadel of Dusseldorf. But this did not make me abandon my object, in which I at last succeeded so well, that I brought over with me 27 persons, who were eftablished at Eskilstuna in Sweden, where their destructive manufacture is now carried on, in as great perfection as at Sollingen, an acquisition to my country, which I now blush to have been the instrument of introducing; and, for which I have nothing but the inexperienec of youth, and mistaken notions of patriotism and honour, to offer in excuse. When engaging therefore with Guftavus III. in the African expedition, I ought to have recollected how little reason I had to depend on the philanthropy of a monarch invested with unlimited power, and beset, as he was, on all fides, by wicked and interested courtiers,
снА Р. Royal Navy, whose nautical education under the great
XI. Cook, whom he accompanied in his voyages round the world, eminently qualified him for such an undertaking. I had the daily satisfaction of seeing the equipment proceed, under the able inspection of Capt. Roberts, when a mercan- Disappointed tile dispute about a paltry cargo of skins, purchased by a ened war with
Spain ; British ship on a barbarous coast, claimed (forsooth) by Spain, had nearly ended in a war between the two nations. Ridiculous as was the cause of this contest, it’s consequences to my scheme were serious; for the ship having been equipped, Capt. Roberts waited a considerable time for orders; and, after all, I had the mortification to see him commanded to proceed on a secret expedition, which I had every reason to believe, was connected with this Nootka Sound business. (see $ 324.) From the year 1790, to the commencement of the present war, ,
peace of Europe was too precarious for me to hope for attention to any application on this subject; and the destroying sword must be sheathed, before I can rationally think of renewing them*. Thus has this undertaking been four several times interrupted by preparation for,
* When in Africa, I was much ftruck with the inclination I cvery where observed among the negroes, to spin and weave cotton; and was often surprized at their perseverance under all the disadvantages which attend imperfect machinery. I brought home, however, one of their simple looms, and several specimens of their cloth, of different qualities, some of which are even elegant enough, to have convinced every English manufacturer, who has seen them, that the fabricators want nothing but instruction and encouragement, to make them excellent artizans. As I had hopes of returning one day to Africa, I thought I could not better employ that time, during which I was obliged to wait for the final determination of the British Government, than in endeavouring to obtain a competent knowledge of the cotton manufacture. Accordingly, I entered into that business at Manchester; and, I trust, the knowledge of it I there acquired, has qualified me, in one respect, to contribute to give the natives of Africa, that instruction, which has hitherto been denied them by civilized nations.
CH A P. or the actual ravages of war, that scourge of the human spe
cies, that invariable disturber of every enterprize, calculated to advance their moral improvement, or their social hap
piness. yet not hope
621. Yet I do not think these discouragements, should make me despair of the ultimate fuccess of the proposed plan; though it must be confessed that, in any preceding century, such a plan would probably have been regarded as an instance of enthusiasm, approaching to insanity. But the cruel reign of prejudice, especially respecting the war-system, appears to be drawing fast to a period, and mankind are apparently advancing to a new and exalted degree of improvement. Those great, yet simple truths, which craft and ignorance have hitherto concealed, begin to be unveiled by a light, which, though occasionally intercepted by lowering clouds, seems destined to display Social Harmony, in all her lovely proportions, to the admiring and obedient nations.