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the Bay of Conception, on the southern side of the island, as both the anchorage and soil were there most promising. Here they found some huts, with natives of both sexes, to whom they distributed looking-glasses, knives, and other trifles. The next day they erected a cross, hoisted the Spanish flag, prepared to pitch their tents, and build a temporary hospital; but the natives had disappeared. A severe sickness soon spread through the garrison, so that one half of them had died in the course of five months, and the remainder were incapable of carrying on the works. They sent a schooner to St. Thomas's to bring them assistance in men and provisions, but she was found in so defective a state as to be unable to return. In the mean time the poor remainder of the Spaniards—for they had been reduced to fifty-five —mutinied against the commander. They said it never could have been the intention of the king of Spain that they should remain on the island until this miserable remnant should also perish. They therefore took the opportunity of a Spanish ship from the Canaries to embark, one and all, and to abandon an island which had been so fatal to their companions. Of 547 men, who originally embarked, 67 only returned to Spain.—The cause of this mortality was not entirely owing to want of provisions and medicines, but partly also to the bad choice of a situation on the island, being to leeward, and to the uncleared state of the country. Since this abandonment of Fernando Po, neither Spaniards nor Portugueze have made any attempts to occupy it. The Spanish commander complains that the Portugueze practised a fraud upon his government; denies, in short, that this nation ever had had any connection with Fernando Po, or even landed upon it. The Count of Argelejos, the commander of the expedition, in his remonstrance against this fraudulent transaction, thus reasons:
'For the lawful transfer of a dominion, one of two titles is indispensable, either a right of property, or actual possession. No person can pretend to deliver over as his own that which belongs to another. Under these suppositions we ask, how could the crown of Portugal lawfully give to the crown of Spain the island of Fernando Po without having either property in it or possession of it? It was only seen in the reign of Alphonso V. by a gentleman of the name of Fernando Po, and without further conquest, either temporal or spiritual, this nation asserts its claim of direct sovereignty. How easy would it be for many needy wretches, now struggling with poverty, to make conquests in this manner, if whatever they see with their eyes they could claim as their property! The commissioner, therefore, who was named by the court of Portugal in 1778, ought rather to have invited the Spaniards to undertake the conquest of the island of Fernando Po, either by force of arms or by fraud and cunning, than pretend to make a delivery and solemn
cession cession of an island in the name of his king, when that king could neither deliver nor cede that which was not his own.'—MS. Account, Src. This reasoning is quite conclusive, and the document in question establishes two facts: first, that Spain, finding herself grossly imposed on, renounced all claim on the island, and broke off the treaty; and secondly, that Portugal had no claim to the island, by right of discovery or of possession.
On the northern part of the coast of Africa, by the personal exertions of the late General Turner—exertions which his generous zeal pushed beyond the bearing even of a remarkably robust and vigorous frame—a blow has been struck against the slave traffic, which, if followed up by an equal degree of energy on the part of his successor in the government of Sierra Leone, cannot fail to be attended with the happiest results. The general ascended the rivers on which the slaves are usually embarked, protected and re-assured the honest trader and the industrious natives, but pursued with fire and sword those unfeeling wretches whose trade is to encourage rapine and murder among the innocent inhabitants as far as their influence can reach into the interior.
'The best information,' says the general, 'which I can collect, warrants my rating the number annually exported at not less than 15,000, all of whom will in future be employed in cultivating the soil, preparing and collecting articles of export, and improving their own condition; nor will the kings or head-men of these or the surrounding nations have, in future, any interest in carrying on those cruel and desolating wars which depopulated whole districts.'
He states that, in consequence of the treaty he had concluded with the neighbouring districts, the chiefs of the country embracing the two rivers Pongos and Nunez,' so celebrated for their slaving transactions,' had sent to him their voluntary offer to abolish for ever the slave-trade, (and others have since done the same,) on condition of receiving in return the protection of Great Britain, and the benefit of a free trade with our settlements; and he thus concludes his dispatch to Lord Bathurst:— 'Our name and influence are spreading with incredible rapidity throughout this part of Africa, and I have little doubt but I shall have the honour ere long to announce to your lordship the total abolition of the slavetrade for a thousand miles round me, and a tenfold increase to the trade of this colony.'
General Turner, we are bound to mention, partook of none of those gloomy ideas to which the unhealthiness and the mortality on the coast of Africa had, for some years ere his death took place, given prevalence—and which have not, to say the least of the matter, been weakened by the circumstances of this gallant and ... .devoted devoted officer's own subsequent fate. He, down to the last, speaks in sanguine terms of the rapid improvement of Sierra Leone, both in regard to its internal management, and the security and extension of its trade; and in these views he is supported by the testimony of the Commissioners, who state that the agriculture of the colony has improved and increased, and that its produce is now fully sufficient to support its augmented population. 'The people,' says General Turner, 'by being thrown more upon their own resources, are becoming industrious and orderly, respectful to their employers,submissive and obedient to the laws;' and he adds, what is most important, that the name and character of the colony are spreading rapidly, and that the rulers of distant nations are eagerly seeking our friendship and alliance, and openly soliciting a trade with us. Indeed we hesitate not to say, that, once establish a commercial intercourse of this kind, encourage it even at a loss for a time, and wage unrelenting war with every slave-dealer on the banks of the rivers—and the civilization of Africa is ensured; but so long as the slave-trade is permitted to exist, we are equally certain that rapine and murder, barbarism and desolation, will continue to mark its footsteps.
It is to Africa herself, we must repeat, and to the slave-trade, that the chief attention of the rational philanthropist ought at present to be directed. These are the primary objects which ought to engage the zeal that is not without knowledge.
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