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standing with the people of Abbeokuta, I proposed to pay the Alake a visit.
My proposal has, however been rejected by the Alake and Chiefs for the present, upon the plea that the people of Abbeokuta are too excited against the English for a visit from me to do any good.
It is unfortunate that this attempt of mine to obtain an opportunity of explaining openly to the Egbas the position we hold towards one another should have failed, for every day is widening! the breach between us caused originally by our objecting to, and not assisting them in, their war with Ibadan; and then increased by the idea which designing people have put into their heads, that a Vice-Cousul was only sent to Abbeokuta to be superseded eventually, as at Lagos, by a Governor.
Mr. McCoskry, late Acting Consul, has been acting as Commissioner in the Slave Court since my arrival here, aud in the course of his duty has given free papers to a few slaves who have run away from Abbeokuta.
Probably the Egbas will not believe that British law and justice are the causes of their losing their slaves, for whom, however, redemption money was to be paid, especially as their advisers, some of the British missionaries in Abbeokuta, in the journal they publish, called the "Iwe Irohiu," openly blame this Government for not sending back their runaway slaves; though they cannot be ignorant of the fact, that the fate of the slaves, if returned, would be death or brutal ill-treatment, and afterwards re-sale to some other place, probably Whydah.
"Whether or not the Egbas thiuk Mr. McCoskry acts merely according to his own caprice, and without regard to British law, they are determined to have their revenge of him; and his ageut at Abbeokuta has been threatened on various occasions. One day,a party of 100 armed men entered his factory with intent to rob the place, aud they were only persuaded to depart ou the payment of 14cl., which the Chief said was the value of a runaway slave, whom he considered ought to have been returned to him by this Government. Other people have sent notice to Mr. McCoskrv's agent that they are coming to obtain indemnity for the loss of their slaves; and the Alake and Chiefs, though applied to, say they can do nothing, ind the money had better be paid.
Another Egba has caused to be seized in Abbeokuta some relations of Mr. Davis, Head of the Liberated African Yard in Lagos, because there happens to be a runaway slave of his in that Department.
I have sent a remonstrance to the Alake and Chiefs demanding tho release of Mr. Davis'n relations, and restitution of the money taken from Mr. McCoukry's factory. 1 much ftar, however, that u-v remonstrance will have little effect, for the Alake and Chiefs seem to have no power. The real cause of all the disputes with the Egbas is that there is literally no Government. There is unquestionably a large party devoted to commerce, and desiring peace, but, on the other hand, there is the war party which, though small, does what it likes, there being no head with sufficient power and authority to control them.
These considerations induce a fear that we shall not bring the Egbas to reason by any but coercive means. When Dahomey organizes another expedition against Abbeokuta, they may, perhaps, again seek our friendship; but I rather doubt it, as they say the English are strong on the coast on account of their ships, but can do nothing inland. If they persist in their opposition, stopping their trade from Lagos and Porto Novo would, I am certain, soon bring them to terms, as it is a measure which would be Felt by every member of the community.
I therefore trust that your Lordship will sanction my adopting this course if I should think it necessary. I have, <&c. Earl Russell. HY. STANHOPE FREEMAN.
No. 27.—Consul Freeman to Earl Russell.—(Received October 13.) (Extract.) Lagos, August 10, 1862.
Having only received the inclosed copy of a letter addressed to the Commodore late last night, I have barely time to forward it to your Lordship with a few hasty observations.
I have every reason to believe in the truth of Mr. Euschart's statements, as I was informed some time since from Whydah that the King of Dahomey had sent down to that town to say that as he had heard a great deal of Dutchmen but had never seen one, if there should be one at Whydah he was desired to come up to Abomey.
My letter to King Badahun has never received a reply, which is accounted for by the brutal massacre of the prisoners from Ishagga. No Sierra Leone emigrant but Mr. Doherty having been taken, the 16 men and 16 women mentioned by Mr. Euschart were probably dressed up in European clothes and called Sierra Leone emigrants, to impress the Europeans with the King's little dread of their power.
I cannot help thinking that Mr. Euschart's estimate of the Dnhomian army is much overrated, when it is considered the immense space 50,000 of even the best disciplined troops would cover, and the length of time they would take marching past. Earl Russell. HT. STANHOPE FREEMAN.
(Inclosure.)—Commander Terry to Consul Freeman.
No. 31.—Farl Russell to Consul Freeman.
I Have received your despatch of the 8th of August last, reporting that the Egbas at Abbeokuta have, in one instance, imprisoned some relatives of Mr. Davis, the head of the Liberated African Yard at Lagos; and in another c;!?;? have robbed Mr. McCoskry's agent at Abbeokuta, in retaliation for the refusal of the authorities at Lagos to give up to their owners some slaves who had escaped thither from Abbeokuta; and I have to acquaint you that I approve of your having demanded from the Alake and Chiefs of Abbeokuta the surrender of Mr. Davis's relations, and the restitution of Mr. McCoskry's money.
With regard, however, to your request, that you may be authorized to stop the trade from Lagos and Porto Novo to Abbeokuta in the event, which you anticipate, of the refusal of the Alake and Chief's to accede to your demands, I have to state to you that 1 think it will be advisable to refrain, for the present, from taking any hostile measures, such as you suggest, against the Abbeokutans.
Her Majesty's Government would prefer that time should, if possible, be allowed for the present hostile feeling to subside, which has not unnaturally been engendered on the part of the Abbeokutans by finding that their slaves have a secure refuge in the neighbouring colony of Lagos.
If, however, the Abbeokutans should refuse to release Mr. Davis's relations, and to compensate Mr. McCoskry for his losses, you will warn them that, sooner or later, Her Majesty's Government trill exact reparation for any injuries which may be committed on British subjects; and you will consult with Commodore Wilmot as to any measures, short of actual hostilities, which it may be practicable to adopt with the view to bring the Abbeokutans to reasoa, but you will not carry any such measures into effect without reference to me. I am, &c.
II. S. Freeman, Fsq. ETJSSEXL.
No. 33.—Consul Freeman to Farl RusseM-—(Rec. November 11.) My Loed, Lagos, October 3,1862.
I Hate the honour to report to your Lordship that I htfre received a letter from the Bashorun and Chiefs of Abbeokuta, informing me of the decease of the Alake on the 4th September.
The late Chief possessed so little influence in the country over which he was Sovereign, that I fear there is little chauce of this loss to the Egbas having any influence on their policy.
I have, &c.
Earl Eussell HY. STANHOPE FREEMAN.
AFRICA (bight Op Biafka).
No. 37.— Consul Burton to Earl Eussell.—(Itec. January 10, 1862.) (Extract.) Lagos, November 20, 1861.
I HATE the honour to report that, on the 8th October, Commodore Edmonstoue offered me a passage in Her Majesty's ship Arrogant, which I accepted, for the purpose of finding :i gunboat at Lagos to enable me officially to visit the Oil rivers. We left Fernando Po on the 10th ultimo, arrived at Lagos on the 14th October, and there I was delated a fortnight by a slight attack of the usual seasoning-fever.
Commander Bedingfeld, Senior Naval Officer of the Bights Division, was proposing to visit Abbeokuta, and I availed myself of his kind offer to accompany him. On the 29th ultimo we set out in two gigs, manned by kroomen, the party consisting of Commander Bedingfeld, Dr. Eales of Her Majesty's ship Prometheus, and myself.
Our ascent of the river (76 to 77 miles from Lagos to Abbeokuta) occupied 4 days, and I assisted Commander Bedingfeld in making a sketch-survey of the river.
With respect to the Ogun, or Abbeokuta Biver, it is perennially navigable for flat-bottoined steamers and large boats as far as Tgaon, a village about 26 miles distant from Lagos. Beyond that point, gigs and canoes can make Agbameya, the town-landing-place of Abbeokuta, and even Aro, 6 miles beyond Agbameya, during the greatest part of the year.
Toruba generally appears to be sufficiently provided with watercommunication, forming a great contrast to British India. The lagoons, everywhere subtending the coast, are a natural system of canalization, and the influence of such highways upon cotton exportation cannot fail to be of the utmost importance.
Arrived at Agbayema on the 1st November, we mounted horses, and, accompanied by two gentlemen of the Church Missionary Society, rode over the 8 miles of ground between the landing-place and Ake, the head-quarter village of Abbeokuta, or, as it is locally called, Understone.
During our week's stay at Ake I saw, in company with Commander Bedingfeld and Dr. Eales, the Aluke. or Chief, who cal*
himself King, of Abbeokuta, 4 times. I also embraced every opportunity of making myself acquainted with the position of affairs, now in a somewhat abnormal state, and with the prospects of cottongrowing and the return of peace.
Though expecting to find some exaggeration in the published accounts upon the now popular subject of cotton-growing, I was pleasantly disappointed with Toruba. The country and the climate are both admirably adapted for the shrub, and, as has been remarked, they offer water-carriage till railroads can be opened. Tappa, one of the Cabooceers, or Chiefs, of Epe, has, amongst others, reported his desire to enter into the industry, and only wants an instructor from Europe. His example will be followed by others, if encouraged, and if proper persons (not any chance-comer, with a black face and a glib tongue) are sent out by the Cotton Association, cotton will soon rival the palm-tree as an extinguisher of the Slave Trade.
But at Abbeokuta cotton-growing now labours under the disadvantage of a war. The first export was in 1854, when under the superintendence of the missionaries, a few bales found their way to the coast. The growth, it is reckoned, doubled every year till about September, 1859, when hostilities began. The Cotton Association of Manchester confidently expected for that year 20,000, and received only 3,447, bales.
Still I look forward to better times.
Cotton may be bought at Abbeokuta for 3d. to 4rf. per lb. cleaned, and shipped at Lagos for 4rf. to 4Jrf. It is always worth (id. in the English market. Freightage is at present Id. per lb., as dear as Indian and about double the American; but the steamers have, as it were, a monopoly. On the seaboard, a longer and a better staple, rather resembling the Egyptian than the Indian, can be made to grow. I have visited the cotton-fields from Baroda to Texas, and have rarely seen the various requisite conditions for producing a first-rate article so well combined as in Toruba.
The Egbas, or people of Abbeokuta, are a race of farmers, bred to moderate work, and the population (about 10 Bouis per square mile) makes the country independent of immigration. There is, at present, far too much liberty, or rather licence. The Alake has neither the power nor the state of the smallest Indian Rajah; moreover, as usual in these African semi-Republican tribes," every man," as their own proverb has it, "is King in his own house." This, however, will cease. As individual wealth and importance increase, some man will succeed in making himself King.
The war between Abbeokuta and Ibadan has already lasted 21 months. The nominal cause, advanced by the Abbeokutans, is a patriotic and laudable desire to recover the ancestral soil of which