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Α Ρ Ρ Ε Ν DI X,
Containing explanatory Notes, Quotations and Original Documents; some of which,
had the Author obtained them sooner, would have been, with more Propriety, inserted in the Body of the Work.
Substance of two Letters addressed to Dr. Knowles, of London, on the Productions
and Colonization of Africa.
By DR. HENRY SMEATHMAN. See $ 62,
posterity it may perhaps appear extraordinary, that the Europeans
should for near 200 years, have carried on a brisk trade with Africa for little else but slaves. A short reflection on the situation of Africa must certainly countenance this opinion. It lies in climates, which in the other continents produce the richest materials of commerce: and it's productions are actually similar. The principal are gold, ivory, dying wood, gums, honey, wax, ambergrease, &c. and probably there are few of the riches of the eastern or western hemispheres which may not be found in this middle region.
622. This is not mere conjecture. I have, by observations made in a 4 years Produces residence, a moral certainty, that on a proper plan, a molt lucrative, safe and ho. nourable traffic may be carried on to that quarter, from Europe. The Grain Coast, from it's fertility in rice, would, if a proper vent was opened, in a few years produce of that commodity alone, and the finest in the world, an immense quantity. And nothing is wanted but encouragement, to procure great quantities of cotton, as fine as the E. Indian, and tobacco as the Brazilian; also sugar and a species of indigo infinitely superior to that of the west, and various drugs, some peculiar to Africa, others the usual result of industry in those climates. Among the former we may reckon various gums, spices, and woods; and of the latter the spirit of sweet potatoes, wild grapes, &c. from which I have made excellent brandy, various kinds of flax and
APPENDIX. kemp, &c. To these may be added palm oil, equal to olive oil, for food and
other purposes; and of which an infinite quantity may be got merely by collecting the fruits or nuts, and boiling them. The coast abounds with fish and turtle, and would be an excellent situation for a whale fishery. But an enumeration of it's
various productions would be tedious. Tendency of 623. My plan would tend to emancipate and to civilize every year, fome thou. the Doctor's plan.
sands of slaves, to dry up one great source of that diabolical commerce: and if not
624. I conceived this project in Africa, where an industrious cultivation of the foil, with various excursions, made me well acquainted with the genius, customs, agriculture, trade and arts of the natives. My stay in the W. Indies was with a view to inform myself of tropical cultivation, previous to my return to Africa. I accomplished my intention, and have since, by studying various branches of philosophy and useful arts, qualified myself till further.
625. By the enclosed letter you will fee, I had, previous to your speaking to me on the slave-trade, begun to seek out a method of executing my plan. Mr. Wilding is my particular friend, and though engaged in the slave-trade, is in other respects a man of great sense, honour and candor. But I should be glad to have no connection with any concerned in the Slave-trade, and therefore, if no gentleman, in your truly respectable society, will take it up, I have been advised to make overtures to a foreign power.-I am, &c.
626. Not to take up much of your time in foreseeing and answering little objections, I shall only observe, that solicitations for employment on the coast of Africa are indeed extraordinary; since those who have concerns there, find it difficult to prevail on persons of abilities to reside in Africa, at any rate. And yet I am desir. ous to reside there, on a plan in which I must meet more difficulties, and hardships,
and state of
and receive less emolument, than on one to which I am strongly recommended, Appendix. wherein I should have every kind of support, and handsome commissions.
627. The part of the coast I would recommend for this plan, possesses every ad- Produce. vantage. Large, fertile and unoccupied tracts of land, adapted to all tropical productions, but now covered with endless forests of the finest gums, seeds and spices, and an endless variety of plants, and animals of known and unknown value. Among the former are gum copal, malaguetta pepper, cotton, capsicum, tobacco, sugar canes, an aromatic seed called monkey pepper, offriches, elephants, buffaloes, antelopes and monkies, Ethiopian hogs, &c. Some of those lands are mountainous, but the greater part are flat and sandy within 10 or 15 miles of the sea; but the soil, from the frequent successions of vegetables, is very rich, and improves the farther we go inland. They are all watered with prolific rivers and refreshing brooks, hav. ing numerous fine creeks and ports, profusely stored with turtle and fish.
628. The country is governed by a kind of elective kings, who have a power Government fimilar to our mayors, and not much greater, though farther extended. It is but thin- the laves. ly inhabited, and is mostly subdivided into little independent states, rather headed than governed by chieftains. These states are seldom founded either in wisdom or justice. They have no law but custom, and no policy but to preserve their independ
Wealth is the most common means of becoming a chief; for as the children do not inherit the power or riches of their fathers, it is very rare that power con. tinues in the same family for generations: and, while the wretched descendants of kings and chieftains cultivate the soil of cruel masters in the W. Indies, the descendants of their slaves rule the land in Africa. The subjects of many black chieftains have been mostly enslaved in the inland or neighbouring countries, by purchase, fraud or violence. After having been domesticated for a few years, they gain a kind of freedom, infomuch that the chief dares not sell them, without first conviting them of some real or imaginary crime, which he finds no difficult matter : yet he must be cautious, since these people, having only a precarious liberty, make a point of combining against steps that may affect their common safety. They find their principal protection in the customs of the country, bad as they are; hence they scrupulously support them; and as fast as slaves are domelicated, take care to acquaint them with their interest, which, among other things, is not to aggrandize their master over much: hence a chief gains no internal, and very little relative power, by encreasing his people, neither does he add much to his wealth, whatever he may to his reputation. Exclusive of what redounds from riches, the chiefs obtain their power surreptitiously, seldom exert it for the advantage of their subjects, and govern rather by force and chicanery, than by justice and equity. They have rarely any view but to grati. fy their own appetites, and often by abusing power, sacrifice the liberties, and some. times the lives, of individuals to their own bad paflions. Hence it is evident their
APPENDIX, government is neither calculated to promote the happiness, nor the increase of the
community. White traders 629. A white trader who can get 2 or 300 people about him, becomes virtually become chiets,
a Chief in Africa. Embaflies have been sent to them, and they have often entered into the political disputes of the inhabitants. As these traders are generally illiter. ate, diffolute seamen, as ignorant and improvident as the black themselves, they seldom or never make a proper use of the power granted them by the courtesy of the country; and calculate only for a little more than to acquire luxuries, and a fortune to fubfift on, or rather, perhaps, to dissipate, at home. It is then very obvious, that by a regular Code of Laws, a well concerted plan of agriculture, manufactures and commerce, and with little more money than would buy a cargo of Daves, a free commonwealth might be founded, which would be a sanctuary for
the opprefled people of colour, and gradually abolish the trade in the human Free society species. In short, if a community of 2 or 300 persons were to be associated on might easily such principles as constitute the prosperity of civilized nations, such are the
fertility of the soil, the value of its products, and the advantages of such an establishment, that it must, with the blessing of the Almighty, increase with a ra. pidity beyond all example; and in all probability extend it's saving influence in 30 or 40 years, wider than even American Independence. The sources of this increase would be numerous: there is no state in the country, which gives not a certain protection to the unfortunate; and there are all over the country little communi. ties, besides individuals, who have not been regularly emancipated. These people live in continual fear of their former masters, who often revive their claims, and continually squeeze out of them the chief produce of their little industry, and often make palavers *, and sell them or their children. A free state conducted with prudence, and exerting but a little regular industry in agriculture and commerce, would be enabled to redeem great numbers of slaves yearly.
630. The laws being at first settled, every number gained to the community would be an addition to the internal, as well as relative, strength of the state; and there is the greateft probability that it would, in the natural course of things, very soon civilize the country, and gradually absorb all the petty tyrannies, and change them into subordinate free states, by offering advantages to all ranks too inviting to be resisted, The Code of Laws for such a community ought to be short and simple, and the police strict, but not sanguinary.
631. Success will depend, in a great measure, on the goodness of a plan of pub. lic education, which I hold, to be the best adapted to form valuable citizens, to
* Palaver means a quarrel, dispute, oration, amusing speech, &c.-Here it means actions at law. These are generally carried on to all appearance equitably; but in some of these cases they resemble tribunals of foxes trying geefe.
make men as happy as the nature of things will admit, and consequently to make APPENDIX. prosperous and happy societies. 632. Rice is the staple of the country, which they cultivate with most care. But Cultivation
and trade. they also cultivate cassava, yams, sweet potatoes, a little Indian and Guinea corn, and a grain as small as mustard, called pine, plantanes, some kinds of beans, peas and greens. Their trade at present is in llaves, ivory, camwood, rice, palm oil, filh, venison, fowls, goats, and other provisions. Their manufactures are cotton cloths, which they rarely sell, matting and basket-work. They make also their own wood-knives, hoes, and other little implements of husbandry, fishing lines, sinal! nets, &c. In their labours, however, they meet little advantage from being in society: the same man who weaves in the morning, forges in the afternoon ; at one time makes a basket, at another thatches his house; to-day he works at his plantation, and to-morrrow traverses the woods or the waters for animal food; or, takes his canoe, and with his young men rows and fails by the help of a rice-mat, 10 or 15 leagues, to buy of the nearest ship or factory, 4 or 5 pounds worth of European necessaries and luxuries.. A pot or kettle, two or three pewter basons, cargo knives (18d. the dozen at Birmingham,) a gun, powder, shot, flints, a filt hat, a shirt, a ruffled cap, filh-hooks, needles and thread, coarse woollen, linen and cotton cloths, silk handkerchiefs, tobacco (though it grows round his door,) rum, brandy, &c. induce his voyage. He often gets drunk as soon as he gets on board, and sells not only his own goods, but those he had on commission from his neighbours, for rum, tobacco and gun-powder.
633. They seldom unite their strength and their skill, but in making a plantation They unite for the town, in rowing a canoe, and in building a house, in drawing an alligator or not their exer
tions. a shark on shore, and in poisoning a piece of water to draw the fish. Their strength is in general exhausted upon solitary and trivial exertions, and two-thirds of the product of their little industry is often, through a pernicious custom, or a disinclina. tion to combine their powers at a critical moment, abandoned to the birds and beasts, or left to rot for want of stores and casks, of mechanic powers to clear it, or of Europeans to purchase it. Not knowing the use of wheels in spinning, they make lines and nets between the finger and thumb, or by rolling on their thighs. Hence perhaps it is they never have a seine of any tolerable size, though they often allift the seamen in drawing those of European ships; neither do they unite to make a weir in the sea, by which they might easily procure a constant supply of fish. They even hunt the elephant in folitude, just as they set a snare or a fish-pot.
634. From this improvidence, they are never blessed with any great superabandance, and sometimes not finding articles sufficient to barter with the Europeans for indispensible necessaries, they sell some friendless servant. And, as a slave will buy more necessaries than they want, they get more rum, which is apt to produce such a rage for it, as to induce them to sell another and another. Hence the country is so thinly inhabited, that we rarely find a town containing 2 or 300 inhabitants,