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Reel 81.PRIVATE §
Rev. C. Paul to Bishop Crowther.
Lukoja. River Niger. Jan. 14/70
I must first render my hearty thanks to our heavenly Father for having preserved us to see the beginning of the new year, for we begin the year with trials and I hope it will not end the same. Sickness has visited this small town and carried off many children among them is my little daughter Ellen Susan who was sick at the time I wrote you last. The Epidemics is disappearing gradually,
We have heard with regret of the loss of the "Thomas Bazley" on her way to Sierra Leone thereby causing the loss of many lives, but we wait to hear this news confirmed by letter as it is only a flying report. Respecting our work I know you will be always [be- sic] ready to hear how we are getting on; I must inform you that I am trying to translate John's Gospel into Nupe at present. The young man employed to assist me at Remasha, on his return I will resume the work and hope that ere the steamers ascend next season (D.V.) I may be able at least to prepare a rough version of the same.
We are now as it were passing thro' an ordeal for it seems that the great enemy of souols is putting forth his utmost to repel our advanced position, and if possible to have a complete victory over us up to Sunday last the 9th instant Our work in this place was going on encouragingly notwithstanding the difficulties with the people here for the numbers present at Church, class, morning prayer, as also school were encouraging; but the people at Salamaleku's quarters have been called to a very severe trial which is too much for them to bear, we tried all we could to preent the authorities here from molesting tthem and their answers are always such that one might have confidence in them but as soon as we are out of sight, they would do all they can to molest thek; i believe I mentioned in my last letter to you that no sooner had the steamers gone than the authborities caugth more than twenty persons from among Salamaleku's people, besides Mr. William's relatives, and sold t hem into slavery, 10 of them are either enquirers or candidates for baptism; and the simple reason given for doing this was that they were strangers at Lukoja; some had resided at Lukoja for 2 or 3 years being either driven from their homes by war or attracted by the commerce of this place and the better governing of it. Compared with native Governments, and they have been always protected by British Consuls during their stay in this place. Now that the Consulate is abolished the authorities claimed these people as theirs, being now under King Masaba, took and sold them into slavery.
Besides they have despoiled of their farms and on Tuesday last the 11th instant they went and demanded five more persons to be sold, and after these five have been taken, the people finding it too much for them to bear quitted the town and crossed to the other side of the river leaving Salamaleku himself and his household. On Wednesday morning I went to conduct morning prayer as usual at their chapel, and instead of meeting about 25 or 30 persons I only had 2, all the rest have gone.
Thus you see how our work is destroyed at Salamaleku's quarters. These people who have left the town are the foundation of Lukoja, and have been here since Dr. Baikie's time, and they are also the foundation of our work here.
The authorities being Mahommedan care nothing of their conversion and always look upon them as those they ought to sell being Kaffiris, as they call them and ourselves. More than this, we could not visit any of the villages visited last year through the treatment of these people; for whenever any of the neighbouring people come over to Lukoja for trade they stand the risk of being plundered of their merchandize and themselves taken and sold. NOW we have no neighbour on this side of the River; for the villages Odokodo, Khekpere, Abanda &c are all of them now deserted by their inhabitants on account of these people, we have only to do with the handful of emigrants and the few converts from Gbebe and Salameleiku's family. They have also threatened to burn all the Anasara's houses in order to plunder. In . . . . . .
people continue at this rate, Lukoja will be ruined soon such is our present position. At your coming next season (D.V.) you will kindly bring some papers for copying translations.
We have heard nothing of Onitsha Station bt we trust they are all safe.
(signed) C. Paul.
Rev. Thomas C. John to Bishop Crowther. Lokoja. Nov. 15, 1869.
I have just heard that a man is going to Lagos and therefore avail myself of the opportunity of rending you a few hurried lines not being prepared to write you fully as yet. Things are still in the same state as you left them; with the only exception that a short time ago King Massaba sent for Mssr. Ashby, Bright & Dorugu to complain to them of the unfaithfulness, as he said, of the General Trading Managers with regard to an arrangement which Sariki (Magaji) had told him, they had come too viz. of giving him so many guns and kegs of powder as is the practice with the merchants at Brass & Bonny towards the native chiefs. His object in calling them was just to let the local agents know or hear what Sariki related to him as heard from Governor Glover so that they might write and inform their employers of the same. He said it might be that they were not prepared on their last visit to fulfil the engagements but why not give a promise to him which would save him the trouble of [hearing?] it from second hand. I dare say you will hear more of it from Mr. Lewis if Mr. Ashley write him at this time. What I am writing now is private as we have formed ourselves into a body for unity against the lawlessness of the Mahammedan authorities in the camp. Several outrages have been committed by them and are still being committed. which no doubt Masaba himself is ignorant of. On one or two occasions we met & represented the same too Inda Madaki but he apologized greatly for them, as the custom with them is to beg when they have murdered you, so the apology being accepted we could not report the wrongs either to the King, or write officially to you. One of these wrongs, thought (sic) not done yet I fear will soon be viz. with reference to the Igbiras who are residing at Lokoja. It is reported that they are all to be captured and sold and I fear our poor converts among the rest. I am about to admit as many of them into the Mission compound before they are troubled - but oh! what to do if they should come into the yard. I shall however do my best for them. Salam aleiku's people are being thinned every day. Persons who have resided with him for these 2 year have been seized and sold, so report says no stranger can enter the place but must be captured unless someone pays for them. Just the other day Mr. Williams had to pay (32. to redeem that Mary Williams, her mother and brother who had been living with him for these many years. So you see we are only looking what God will yet do. I know and trust he will overrule these things. I forgot to mention that Mr. Paul accompanied Mr.Brigled?? too Bida to see the King; not that he was sent for; but just to represent our party here. They were not long there, only 3 weeks - I sent him a ring, a dash of 4 bags (cloth). He was glad to see him and said you told him all about us and that we had no business with trade. As his message to the agent here did not concern us. True so far, but we the agents are only a handful. His converts are molested who must be included in the number of your people left here - and even you mentioned Salam Aleiku and his people to Inda Madaki as those who ought not to be molested - but every now and then 2 or 3 persons are taken away from him.
As I have said this is private as the king may not have heard of these things lest he should say whey did not we tell him of them.
We are all well at present after the whole of our children have had attacks of measles which laid them down for 2 or 3 weeks - Ada has lost her eldest daughter during the prevalence of the disease.
I hope to write you again when opportunity offers. trusting that you all reached home and well.
(signed) Thomas C. John.
Rev. Thomas C. John to Bishop Crowther. Confluence River Niger. Jan. 25. 1870.
I promised in a former letter to you which I hope you have already received, that I would write you again more fully as soon as opportunity offered. I have this opportunity by a Bunu Eman Cipado who had come up here on speculation some time last year and proceeded to visit his native place and friends intending on his return , if possible to make his future stay at Lokoja but finding on this return the state of things contrary to his expectation he is returning to Lagos. His name is Anthony a Mohammedan by profession - but very well disposed. I therefore undertake by him to fulfil my promise. I believe that I have already informed you that immediately after the last steamer left Lokoja, for seeing what would be the state of things, Mr. R. J. Bright local agent of the J. J. & Co. Factory, suggested that it would be necessary for the Sierra Leone Emigrants including the Mission agents to form ourselves into a sort of Society for the promotion of unity and self-defence against any undue encroachments of the Kings people stationed in the camp, who might take advantage of the withdrawal of the Consul, and the distance of their king under whose ostensible protection we have been left to molest us. A meeting of the mission agents was consequently convened at the Mission House on which occasion I was elected chairman and the proposition being made by Mr. Bright ti was unanimously adopted and carried out. Since then we have continued to hold meetings at the two trading establishments alternately once or twice every month as complaints have been brought against the men of the camp and when the complaints or other matters have been carefully investigated we never failed to send a deputation to Inda Madaki the principal chief of the camp to lodge the said complaints with him who in turn always said some good word of redress after [??] had been committed and what else could we do but accept the redress such as it might be.
Minutes of these transactions are always taken for future reference as the case may be. I am obliged to write again what I had written in the former letter in case it might not reach you, Salam aleiku and his people are put under tribute. The usual oppressive system ofo exacting cowries & plundering so rife in countries or places conquered or unjustly claimed by Mohammedan Kings or Princes. Several times the poor people unused to such heavy burthens (sic) made up their minds to run away from the place and flee into the woods in order to be free and but for our exertions in encouraging them they would long ago have accomplished this object. An oppressive Agele has been stationed among them who is to get his maintenance noleus voleus from them and to extort whatever the cupidity of his superiors demand. His first act in office was the proclaiming to his poor ignorant subjects that a white man being no longer at Lokoja they were consequently under King Massaba's government and that therefore, they were no longer to pray after the white man's fashion, that he himself had book and would teach them how to read and pray as m uch as the anasara teacher. Poor Salamalieku was so far carried away by the insinuation of this poor and wretched being that when Mr. Thomas went to perform the usual morning devotions with him and his people - they refused to attend and stated as a reason that they were told that they no longer belonged to the Anasaras but to the Mohammedans and would no longer attend church, and their children no longer go to school. So soon as I heard this, Mr. Paul, Mr. Thomas & myself awent to Salam aleikus and reason with him on false position he was about to assume. Poor man, he was convinced and freely allowed Mr. Thomas and ourselves to continue our work among himself and his men.
Ada's mother and Inadasi had been all uneasy and were about running away - when I took the precaution to take them as well as William Kpanaki and another Igbira convert to Inda Madaki and show them to him as some of your people who had come from Gbebe as included in the number of those whom the King promised in his letter to you to protect and I am glad to state that Inda Madaki received us then very courteously and promised that he would see to it that nobody troubled them - and true too no one has troubled them up to this date and they are living still at M. Thoms' yard. But John Kpanaki Ada's brother - being much in fear
for his wife - has taken her to her parents and has not nor (sic) means to return to Lokoja just now. In fact Sir, every Igbira unless he is a Mohammedan by profession is hunted as a partridge.
Twice Asem was missed - and but for us he would have been caught and sold. Once he very foolishly said that he belonged to Inda Madaki and would give to him his daughter to wife. This unguarded remark was caught from his lips; and conveyed by some parasites of his to Inda Madaki who at once sent for the girl who had then been living at Mr William's yard but before the captor reached [her] the girl had absconded away and being missing Inda Madaki said Williams must be responsible for her or else Asem her Father must be delivered to him in her stead. This we stoutly met and told Inda Madaki that [she belonged to ??] Anasara and if he sold him - he should be reported to the first man of war that arrives here next season- this frightened him and so he let the matter drop. A House was about to be set fire to by an unknowon party lately - and the owner of the house from mere suspicion said it was Asem. The matter was reported to Inda Madaki and in very foolishly said that one of the Anasaras had attempted to burn down a house and therefore he must be delivered up to him and that he had some medicine to give him - if he was mad - What is the medicine? he was to be sold for cowries to pay his debt for Kola nuts. Here again we showed him the foolishness of such reasoning. For why was not Asem, if it was he, and the owner of the house saw him- why was not Asem caught? but you will be surprised to learn that the owner of the house named Oni (not the woman) living in the premises of Mr. Newland an Anasara, said after Inda Madaki had failed in this second attempt to get Asem that he would burn down all the houses of the Anasaras at Lokoja because the refused to deliver up Asem whom he suspected of attempting to set fire to his house, to his master, and once again Inda Madaki said that he dared not do it. but we not being satisfied with this assurance hired the town crier to publish the report that Onis had threatened to burn down the Anasara's houses and that everyone was to be on his guard. But time would fail me to enumerate such instances of annoyances which have daily been occurring since you left us. I must now enter upon more important point which have respect to our work. We are I am sorry to say entirely shut up at Lokoja without any chances of making visits to the neighbouring villages. Abanda town is broken up the chief having revolted from the yoke of King Masaba and places himself in front of the River not very far from us now and then seizing on the canoes that pass near him. Kpepere a small but important market town is also broken up. The Dakkares having threatened to seize 9 of its inhabitants for 5 selling horses which they had left in their keeping in consequence of which Lokoja and its inhabitants are suffering for want of places to get provisions - these two towns having been formerly places from which they used to get provisions. Inda Madaki has, in the bargain, forbidden any canoes to go to Gbebe either to buy or sell.
Hence all the heathens and natives of the neighbouring villages are afraid to come to Lokoja with anything to sell in the shape of provisions for they are no sooner seen landed at the waterside than they are seized and the owners of them are obliged to abandon their property in order to save themselves. The principal disturber of the peace of this place is said to be Bemi? - the Kings grandson who is contending with Inda Madaki in order to see that this place be destroyed, simply because he wanted the oversight of it, but was denied it. As for himself individually he is but a youth - simple and inexperienced - it is his followers, who are the instigators of the mischiefs which pass in his name. it was he who robbed the W.A. Company's wood openly in the day a few days after the `Thomas Bazley' left Lokoja for the Coast, It was he who seized and sold 25 persons among Salam Aleiku's people - it was he who cut down the unripe corn, and dug up the yams of the rest of these people as well as those of the people redeemed by Government. Inda Madaki could not restrain him from these acts of violence and thought it not his place to report his conduct to his King - the young prince looking down on him as his Grandfather's slave. But somehow or other the King heard of all his wicked doings and sent a threatening message to him but he was quiet only for a time. The same outrages that have been committed at Lokoja were committed at Odokodo by the King slaves who is at the head of the troops there stationed. The chief Asuajuko and his men were so incensed at the conduct of that man that they at once resolved to quit the place, and they would have done so had not some more sensible men among the troops appeased them. But lately these same men instigated by one Osio who had been Amajuko's guest during the disturbances of 1868 - sent to Amajuko to demand his late father's property - and this the good chief could not brook and therefore he and his people have been obliged to abandon their houses and crossed [over the ] river to reside on the beach opposite Gbebe. Thus when we have been fondly hoping that something substantial in the line of our work would be carried out during the year something begun so hopefully last year at that interesting village - this year we are doomed to disappointment - and may it be only for a short time.
Returning to Lokoja, and the Salam aleiku's people I must say that affairs are in a most precarious state. The poor people are oppressed in fact persecuted. Even the Hausa people of the place who have come in daily contact with Christians altho' they are not themselves such as yet - but one observing their peaceable and industrious habits, cannot fail of noticing that they have been much benefited by Christian civilization imperfect as it is here - even those persons share in the rod of oppression and wrong and have frequently remarked that but for us Christians not one of them could have remained in this place. The Salam aleiku people in addition to our teachings and encouragements are no doubt indulging in a fond hope of the return of a Consul or a better state of things
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. . . . . . . cowries are very scarce this year, the state of things as above mentioned has rendered the trade very dull. There are no markets to go and sell or buy anything that........
English cloths - the few pieces of grey baft that I have left are not even asked for - and as I commence repairing houses - I have in accordance to your order been obliged to soon to pen accounts with the agents of the factories in order to get supplies for carrying out what works i may have to do.
These have furnished me with only copper rods at 2/- and 2/6 each and even there the people are unwilling to take except I constrain them seeing that by selling them for ready cowries, they lose much.
A report reached us last month that the `Thomas Bazley' was lost in her trip to Sierra Leone for repairs and about 90 souls perished with her.
The news was very astounding, and we did not believe it, we, however, fear that some serious accident might have happened to some parties at Lagos.
May it not be such as has been reported to us. i am sorry to inform you of the death of Mr. Paul's daughter who suffered severely for more than 3 months before her death. When i had written the preceding portion of this letter and stated the probability Salam aleiku and his people being compelled to run away from Lokoja through oppression - News reached me that one Noje a Yabasi man - in the camp whom Inda Madaki has made Agele for the Salam aleiku people - ostensibly to take care of them as he himself said went and demanded from Salam aleiku five persons whom he said were given to him for a present by their owner at Bassa. This startling falsehood roused theh people's indignation, and they went to Inda Madaki to report the matter to him, Inda Madaki said that Noje was greatly mistaken. But strange to say that after the men left Inda Madaki's place- this same Noji went to them at their own residence and stated that he [??] till those 5 men were delivered to him. Some of them happen to be engaged by Mr. Bright and not seeing them at work went to ascertain the reason they told him what had passed between them and their Agele.
Then Mr. Bright went to Inda Madaki to complain to him of the conduct of this Noje - Ind Madaki said that he would like to see the 5 persons in question so Mr. [Bright] took them over to him with the hope of returning with them in safety - but Inda Madaki took them from him and kept them telling Mr. Bright to go home and when in the evening- Mr. Bright did so - and when he returned in the evening - the old man told him again to call next morning and when he called he would not deliver the men to Mr. Bright. On the previous evening Loothei & Williams called at the Mission House to inform me of the intention of the Kings people to seize in addition to the above 5 men, a young woman who had been living with Mr. Black & who he had left in charge of Williams on his embarkation for England stating also that if we do not immediately check the conduct of these men, they would do worse than that.
Considering the remarks a little, i said in reply that we should see what we could do to that in the morning D.V. but most unfortunately before daybreak the greatest number of salam aleiku's men ran away themselves wives and children together eith such things as they were able to take with them so that at the morning prayer conducted by Mr. Paul -Mr. Thomas being unwell these 3 weeks only 2 persons attended. Salam aleiku the old man himself with his immediate household is the only resident in the whole distric now. But we are still going there - and they being 10 in number are still attending divine and other means of grace. such has been the result of the stationing of Massaba's men at Lokoja and we know not what they may yet do, we only trust in the goodness and mercy of God who will not let his work come to nought. The campmen only come here to wage war with us instead of the Bassas whom they were sent too fight with, and unless they are removed from this place or the Government of this place be changed , security otherwise would be but a sham notwithstanding it is promised by even King himself. For instance on once occasion when the matter was rather too political and did not come within our province Merss Bright and Ashley wrote to complain to the King respecting the dullness of their trade owing to the pressure of his Dakkares at Lokoja. The King merely said in reply, that they would soon be removed from Lokoja dnd when he sent his orders that they should remove further down the river Inda Madaki it is reported said that he would not go because the white men had given him Lokoja to take care of and this is the end of the war so much talked of.
Abbega has left Lokoja and gone to Housa and will not return soon. So Mahamma also. He is detained as his slave by the King at Bidda. Sariki is detained also by him. Collier & Jacob Meheuz are the very conspicuous men left here. Meheux as our Interpreter to Inda Madaki being a Mohammedan and Collier being truthful and bold is very serviceable in any political matter. I must close assuring you that we are not in any fear about the place and our work though I have written so particularly many things i wite which otherwise I would [??] over were it not for the sake of giving you a clear insight into the state of things here as you would be anxious to know how matters stand with us. [??/]]]]]
(signed) Thomas C. John
Niger Mission 1870
Bishop Crowther to E. Hutchinson Esq.
Lokoja River Niger, Sept. 10. 1870
We returned to this place yesterday from our visit to King Masaba at Bidda.
I am thankful to say that matters have taken quite a different turn from what they were when we left Lagos in [danger??] the idea of removing the Lokoja settlement to Egga is entirely given up by the King. Instead of its removal, steps are being taken by him to populate it exclusively as a chief mart at the confluence; sone organized plans for its better rule, then drawn up for him by me at his request, which met his entire approbation. Lieut. Molyneux commander of the expedition whom I accompanied to the war chief of service, had just returned on board, he was requested ny the king to introduce Jacob Meheux Govt. Interpreter as the submanager of Lokoja for the time being, in the absence of a British Resident Consul. Jacob is to report to him without partiality any oppressive acts of his war men at the settlement, and it is his particular requests that [those??] who had deserted it should return to their houses and _____________________________omission___________
among themselves, and Masaba had determined to visit the confluence at the fall of the river in two or three months' time, when we may expect disturbance on the other side of the river for there will be war when he comes down to call them to account for their past conduct. Yet the settlement of Lokoja will [be] free from the plunder of the soldiers as in a check has now being found to such action by the new arrangement of the King. The Pioneer returns to Akassa tomorrow, but I shall wait here for the Victoria, which is pursuing a most successful trade in ivory at Egga. She being alone in the river this year has all ivory trade to herself; when her cargo is exhausted, she will leave tons of ivory behind to the disappointment of the many traders who collected together at Egga with an unusual quantity this year.
Matters were quite satisfactory at Onitsha station; there is peace [??] between the mission agents, peace with the inhabitants and a growing interest in the Christian religion manifested by the King; he requests to have service at his house every afternoon of the Lord's day, which is being done with boldness. The new church had been covered over with bamboo [??] as they had not all the requisites for the galvanized iron sheets brought up for it; this will do for two or three years if no accident happens to it from fire a the burning of the bushes.
A new Mission House has also been completed, much to my own satisfaction for no such comfortable accommodation had ever been put up at Onitsha from the beginning to this time. These few lines will give you an insight into the state of affairs on the Niger till I can send you a regular report on my arrival at Lagos in October.
But I regret to report the death of Mr. O.C. Cole, schoolmaster at Onitsha in April of an abscess on the side, thus our little band has been thinned by the hand of death; from all accounts he died triumphing in redeeming love.
(signed) S.A. Crowther.
Bp Crowther to Revd. H. Venn.
I returned to this place from Egga yesterday in the S.S. King Masaba belonging to the firm of Holland Faguss I left Bida on the 26th Sept. W.H. Simpson Esq. formerly administrator at Lagos, who came up this year as N.B. etc. Government Minister to the Niger was also on board, returning from Bida to the coast. I will wait here for the return of the "Victoria's" second trip from the coast to Egga with cargo, this arranement will give me more time here at Lokoja.
Four trading steamers have come up the Niger this year viz: the "Victoria" West Afr. Co. Limited, the "King Masaba" Holland Jaques &c. the Jaja to W.Ef?? Allen Miller & c and the "Rio Formosa" to Mssr. J. Pinnock. The latter steamer has gone to open a new ivory market in the Binue, the first three are established at Egga. Besides these four steamers the W.A.Co. Ltd have towed a hulk to Egga to remain there all the year-round, this was King Masaba's suggestion last year and I believe the trade will derive much benefit by it, as the news of a ship being there will draw traders to Egga from all directions.
As the supplies of ivory cannot be expected to increase annually in proportion to increasing demand, each steamer can only obtain a certain quantity of the annual supplies, hence attention has been paid to the purchase of shea butter this year beside palm oil more than hitherto, other produce being enquired after.
King Masaba was very much pleased with the visit of Mr. Simpson who spent upwards of five weeks at Bida. The King detained him till all the merchants came together. The enclosed copy of the Kings letter to the Home Government will give you a correct idea of the Kings estimate of Mr. Simpsons this year he will visit Brass River on his return to the coast to see what arrangements can be best made for amicable pacification of the natives of the Delta to insure the safe navigation of the Delta pars of the Niger hereafter. We had a long discussion on board on the subject. If he can carry out the plans now in contemplation, I believe all parties will be benefited by it; but the success of it very much depends upon the merchants on the coast interested in the Delta trade.
I give the above information in confidence as the Government officers do not like their doing to be made known by other persons till they have sent their reports to the Office in London.
The representatives of the three mercantile houses who have established business at Lokoja and Egga have written to Mr. Simpson applying for a resident Consul at Lokoja. The enclosed copy of King Masaba's letter to Earl Granville may suggest some ideas to any of our friends who may desire to support the appointment of such an officer to foster the Niger trade.
The Mission work at Lokoja and Onitsha continues to go on undisturbed for which I am thankful. The two young catechists whom I have brought up are at Onitsha. I send a Scripture reader on a visit to Ossamare to inspect the piece of land promised us for a Mission station, on my return from the upper stations I may be able to decide what can be done for that place. The Atta of Idda is reported to be dead for certain and a new one is being elected; I hope there will be no political disturbance on his accession to the throne as it was at the time of his late predecessor. Igara country wants a better government.
I must close this with my best respects to all our supporters.
(signed) S.A. Crowther.
King Masaba to Earl Granville.
Bida. Sept. 2?
1. It affords me very great satisfaction to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's letter with the valueable presents accompanying it, from your respected Minister Mr. H. Simpson Esqr. accept my sincere thanks for this annual recognition of the interest Her Majesty's Government take in the elevation of these countries on the bank of the River niger and Binue through legitimate commerce.
2. Whatever returns I might have hitherto attempted to make by way of presents they can only be regarded as articles of curiosities rather than of use, being as mere specimens of the produce of this vast country.
3. The Mission of W.H. Simpson Esq. this year is of a peculiarly interesting kind. It gives me ample time to look upon former visits which have connected this country with Great Britain by legitimate efforts to call for the resources of the country.
4. Although I keep no written record of old times, yet having retentive memory, I can safely look back to a period of thirty years, when great efforts were made by Great Britain to carry out laudable intentions when exploration of the Rivers Quorra & Binue or Tshadda was planned out, and the establishment of a Model Farm at their confluence, with a view of opening an extensive trade between England and this country. My elder brother was then alive at Rabba at that time things were dark to us, but now they are plain and clear to me; I can fully enter into the importance of these laudable efforts for our good; these efforts I have been repeatedly told were first ably supported by the late much lamented His Highness the Prince Consort and other noble-minded philanthropists who were much interested in the cause.
5. Since the last nine years but thus, annual visits wee made by Gunboats to keep up the interest of the Niger trade. I have caused Her. B. Majesty's letter to me lamenting the death of the late Dr. Baikie to be re4ad before me in a meeting of audience with Mr. Simpson your Minister. The merchants, and the Bishop of the Niger Territory for their information of her Majesty's good wishes, according to which I have been trying to act since.
6. One great drawback which I have always experienced on these visits is the frequent changes of commissioners, the advantage of the knowledge of the former is lost when a new commissioner had to go through the same ground over without any tangible beneficial results because he could not enter into the real state and wants of the community.
7. Hence I regarded the present visit of Mr. Simpson as of very great importance because it allowed me ample time to deliberate upon the commercial interest of this country. He had been upwards of five weeks detained by m till all the representatives of the three mercantile houses doing business in this river were together when i caused your Lordship's letter to me through him to be read before them.
8. I am fully sensible of the great trust confided in me in your Lokoja's letter, by placing all British subjects trading and residing in my dominion & their properties under my protection. This I promise to do to the extent of my power and influence as far as Idda. Beside, Egga and Lokoja , Rhumasa on the Benue and Idda markets shall be opened too legitimate trade; This I hope to do soon God permit; it would have been greatly facilitated by the residence of British consul at Lokoja, now that Niger trade is improving.
9. But I beg the permission ofo your Lordships to state that greatest drawback to the Niger trade is owing to the hostilities of the independent natives of the Delta, who always are on the lookout to attack steamers passing through their countries for the sake ofo plunder. H. M. S.S. Investigator was attacked some four years ago, other ships have been fired upon on their way up and down the river; early this year, the S.S. "Lord Wilson" belonging to Firm of Holland Jaques &co attempted an earlier accent at the lowest water when in her return, she struck on snag and sank; the crew who escaped; in boats were pursued and fired upon to a considerable distance when some of the crew were wounded. I have a correct information of this fact from one of my subjects who sent down to the coast last year in the S.S. "Myrtle" and was returning in the "Wison" at the time the misfortune took place. The S.S. Jajaa" was fired upon also in her ascent this year.
10. As your Lordship has confided the protection of all British subjects and their property to my care in the upper parts of the river within my influence, I would beg to call the attention of your Lordship to the necessity of effective measures being taken either by treaties or otherwise to the pacification of the natives of the Delta to throw the Delta parts of the Niger open, which can be navigated all the year through by small vessels of light draughts.
11. Should your Lordship persuade H. M. Government to adopt any such measures to meet me half in the opening of the River, I shall consider the efforts made to introduce trade and civilization into this country by able and noble-minded philanthropists thirty years ago, are being fully carried out.
12. In conclusion, I beg to request that if a visit will be made to me next year, the services of W, H,. Simpson Esq who has fo fully known the state of things here be secured with full power to open the river; or those of Capn Glover, to be empowered to carry out the intentions of H. B. Majesty's government.
(signed) Masaba [written in Arabic.] Emir of Nupe.
Lokoja, Nov. 3rd 1871
Bishop Crowther to Rev. L. Nicholson.
Just a few lines by a special messenger to say the "Victoria" and the "Rio Formosa" are both aground on their way down from Egga to Lokoja. The "Rio Formosa" about 15 miles from Egga, and the "Victoria" about 20 miles above Lokoja. Though they both were late at Egga, yet there was plenty of water to come in, but as the river is drying, a little deviation from the channel which is often shifting, as in these cases, will always be dangerous, because they lose water every day instead of gaining to help ships afloat. All hands are will onboard, and the country peaceable where they are aground.
I left Egga on the 1st of October for Lokoja, in the steamship "Masaba", to spend the time at the station here, where I have been since, when the news of the steamers being aground reached me on the 31st. Plans are being devised how to get down to the coast as the steamer must be here till the next season. I think the overland route will be taken to Lagos, as safer than in a boat through the hostile Delta trib, but the time of starting cannot as yet the fixed upon. Mr. J.G. Hughes is the supercargo of the "Rio Formosa" he was quite well by the last account, but the men, the European mate, and Engineer had been sick and were getting round when this unfortunate mishap took place.
After perusal, will you enclose this to Mr. Hutchinson, Salisbury Square for their information? I cannot write to him direct by this opportunity as I have just got notice of it, and the messenger will leave in a short time. With kind regards to Mrs. Nicholson. We are all well.
(signed) S.A. Crowther.
Notes on a Visit to the Niger Mission 1871, Bishop Crowther
My stay of five weeks at Lokoja, after returning from Bida, waiting the arrival of the "Victoria" from her second trip up to Egga, has given me more time to look round, observe, and make arrangements for the future operations of the mission; although some of the surrounding tribes are far from being quite from petty quarrels among themselves, yet Lokoja is at peace with them. the Mission work has been very little interrupted during the last twelve months, during which period baptisms of 47 persons, men, women and children, had taken place at this station, mostly from among the Bunu tribe; one of whom was Salamaleku their chief, he was baptized by the name of Cornelius. A small body of this tribe had taken refuge at Lokoja with the Chief Salamaleiku, when the place was settled by the late Dr. Baikie and held as a Consulate, they being gross heathens and much exposed to ..................
Notes on A visit to the Niger Mission 1871. Bishop Crowther.
The death of the Atta of Idda is now confirmed. A new Atta has been chosen. ?????????????
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the Atta will lose some more portion of his remaining kingdom ere he is properly seated on his throne. One of his own subjects who claimed relationship with some of the old Attas has sworn allegiance to King Massaba who has taken advantage of such a favourable opportunity to promote him as his chief officer over the districts about the confluence; this ambitious and covetous young man who has become a traitor to his own country, possessing canoes, applied to King Masaba for a detachment of troop from the near camp in the interior, whom he would cross over to the Atta's dominions to bring the Basas into subjection, who many years ago had crossed thither for protection from the reach of King Masaba, who had sought to make them tributary. The troops are being conveyed over in small parties but no sign of the Attas opposition to dispute the right of their intrusion into his dominions, and no sooner the Bassas are conquered, Massaba gaining a foothold on that side of the river, the Igara country may prepare to share the same fate. This may be the way after all the Lord will [be] pleased to renew that decayed government, and open the Igara country for easy access of the Gospel.
I have written thus far with pen in hand when a chapter of
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Nov. 1st While in expectation to see the "Victoria" or hear that she is afloat, another event happened at another quarter. A column of black smoke was seen about 11 o'clock a.m. issuing from the direction of Shintaku the town of the young and ambitious chief who was crossing Masaba's troops to the Atta's dominions. The Basas were not indifferent to the preservation of their liberty and independence; they knew what it is to be under a Mohammedan yoke, so they determined to check the evil in the bud; putting aside their petty quarrels and tribal feuds they united as one man to put an immediate stop to a great common evil before the main body of the troops arrived from the interior; today being fixed upon, they attacked the town of Shintaku with a heavy body of archers, and within two hours the town was reduced to ashes, a great many of the troops which had been crossed were killed, wounded, caught, dispersed, and driven into the river, and with all the young ambitious chief perished in the evil of his own creating; he was wounded with many poisoned arrows while escaping into his canoe already deserted by his slaves, to retreat to the other side of the river; he died in the canoe a short time after. As all the escaped had to retreat to Lokoja, we had full news of the disaster. Shintaku is only about 5 miles below Lokoja; it was a pitiful sight to see canoes pulling up towards this place in slow file, by tens or dozens, laden with the dead and wounded and the escaped remnant. Many of the Mallams, great charm makers to insure the success of the battle lost their lives on this occasion, the leader of whom was a celebrated Sheriffe said to be a descendant of the false prophet, whose charms never failed; he fell among the rest. A dense gloom was cast over the brightest horizon of the sanguine expectations of a sure triumph in this well-planned expedition against the Basas. The main body of Masaba's troops delayed their march by observing superstitious lucky and unlucky days before a move was made, thus retarding their progress, the whole affair proved to them a total failure and disastrous defeat.
I have never witnessed such a decisive step taken before by the natives in acting so unitedly as if they were under an able leader and director, especially as the Basas are well known as a people who never agree among themselves; they own no king or superior chief over them, every chief bring master of his own town or village.
Bida, Nove. 28th/71. I have written thus far at Lokoja when we left that place on the 10th inst. by the overland mountain route for Gori on the riverside and thence to Budon and Egga by canoes, and arrived here yesterday the 27th King Masaba is very kind and is making enquiry as to our safe way to the coast through Ilorin. Ibadan, and Abeokuta; in the meantime as the Governor's messengers are returning I send this to Mr. Nicholson by them to give you the earliest information that we are all well and in safety. I must not add more now, as the King may call for the letters next moment.
We need a continued interest in your prayers on behalf of the Niger Mission; the Lord will hear us, for He has commanded us to ask him.
(signed) S.A. Crowther.
Agents of W. African Company to the Earl of Kimberley.
Ibadan, Jan. 24th 1872.
We the undersigned, have the honor to inform your Lordshiip that owing to the grounding of the steamship "Rio Formoso", in Bakinka creek, and the "Victoria" off Magagia Island, near Lokoja, River Niger, in the latter part of October last, we have been compelled (our endeavours to float the vessels having failed) to take the overland route from Bida to Lagos, via Ilorin, Ibadan, and Abeokuta.
The purport of this communications is chiefly to convey to your Lordship an idea of the high esteem in which our most Gracious Queen is held by Massaba, the present Emir of Nupe, as evinced by his unprecedented acts of kindness to us, her Majesty's subjects.
Leaving Lokoja enroute for Bida on the 10th Nov. last, we were met by Massaba's special messenger, who informed us that the King, learning we were hopelessly aground, had sent him to advise us not to attempt the overland journey to Lagos from Lokoja, but
to direct our course to Bida, and there consult with him, the King, as to the wisest measure to take in order to secure for ourselves a safe passage to the coast, in the meantime His Majesty despatched a messenger to Ilorin to glean all information respecting the state of affairs in the Yoruba country through which we should have to pass.
From the day we arrived at Bida, Nov. 27th to that of our departure on the 21st Dec., we received the most marked attention from the King, at times being completely overstocked with presents in the shape of provisions, &c, &c; but it was not until we informed him of our wish to purchase horses that he came out in his true colours. "What," he said, laughing, "do you think I am going to allow you to come into my country and spend your goods in buying horses, after all the kindness your Queen has shown me? No, let me know how many horses you want and I will present you with them." We told him twelve; accordingly, each of our party was furnished with one.
The King over and over again impressing us with the fact that this he did as a proof of his appreciation of the Queen's kindness to him during the last nine years.
We consider it our duty to communicate these facts to your Lordship, and humbly beg that you allude to them in your next communication to the King. We have the honor to subscribe ourselves your Lordship's obedient servants,
(signed) W.R. Renner Agent West African Co. (Ltd)
" William Carpenter Master STeamship "RioFormoso"
" S.A. Crowther. Bishop Niger Territory.
Agents of W.African Company to the Earl of KImberley. Ibadan, Jan. 29th 1872.
On our journey from Bida, River Niger, to Lagos during the months of Nove. Dec. and present months, we had occasion to halt for a short time at a town called Ewo between Obomoso and Ibadan, in the Yoruba country, where we met with a most hearty reception from the chief. During our conversation with him he expressed his high admiration of the British Government at Lagos, and his earnest desire that there should be greater freedom ofo trade and intercourse between the two sections of the country. He referred particularly to a river - the Oshun - which he thought might be made navigable for canoes; this river runs within a few hours' journeys from his town.
He entreated us to do all in our power to influence the Lagos, and if necessary the Imperial Government to assist in the accomplishment of this very desirable object.
we would respectfully submit for your Lordship's consideration that the opening of this River would have the effect of establishing direct communication between Lagos and the most productive portions of the Yoruba country, including the large district towns of Ilorin, Oyo, Ogbomosho, Ewo, and Ibadan. Throughout this country the oil palm and shea butter trees abound, but of .........................
Rev. Thos. C. John to Secretaries. C.M.S. Lokoja. Sept 30 1871.
I beg most respectfully to acknowledge the receipt of your valuable letter dated Sept 9th, 1870 through our Bishop; and also to send you a few lines in reply to the same. I have read over its contents and pondered them well.
I must, in the first place, tender my humble thanks fo the sympathy manifested therein with us in the good work of the Lord. We need very much indeed your prayers, in our difficult work among Mohammedans and Heathens.
The Christian work here is as you know in its infancy; the Sation having been taken up only in 1865. And since that time there have always been disturbances not only hindering its progress, but threatening its extinction, but in spite of this the Lord has not left himself without witness among us but has owned his work, and given us signs of his blessings:- One, and not the lest, is the firmer footing we are every year gaining in this place, in spite of the intention of our adversaries.
The entire heathen people resident in the station, have, since the commencement of the station, declared for the Gospel; have embraced it, and we have been privileged to admit 20 of them into the "Church by baptism during the year. The chief of these converted heathens, who in the midst of Mohammedan persecution stood firm and steadfast on the side of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, has died a short time ago. He died expressing his faith in Christ, and our hope of him is that he has entered into his rest. During his lifetime he was a bright example to his fellow converts of patience and perseverance; and our hope and [??] is that also may persevere in the faith to the end.
Although the Mohammedans do not yet make an open profession of Christianity, yet, they do not altogether refuse to listen to the truth as it is in Jesus. Every now & then they enter our church to hear the word of God, read and explained in their own tongue; and in private visits and conversations, Jesus has been set forth to them. Here, it is more from the fear of man, than anything else, that the Mohammedans do not openly profess Christianity - They make themselves willing slaves of one King, and are afraid of his wrath, should they renounce the religion of his Government for another. A mere change of Government would effect a great deal of change in religious matters.
King Masaba, in whose jurisdiction this station is, takes a great interest in whatever concerns the Anasaras - as Christians in the widest sense of the word, are called here - as regards himself personally, he has not the slightest wish to hurt the Christians either in their persons or their work; but there are always about such men as he is, some who take a contrary view of things: to these then, most, if not all, the evils happening in a mission as this, is, are attributable.
Slave hunting and kidnapping are two crying evils in this Government, against which we need the prayer of the Cchurch and people of God, that the time may soon come when not only oppressive, but even justifiable wars will cease and mankind, especially the Mohammedans in this country, will beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, when agriculture and legitimate commerce will take the place of the catching and selling of human beings. The annual visits of the trading ships have done a great deal of good in this country; then the natives come in contact with civilized persons and a secret influence for good is brought to bear on them, preparing them for future usefulness to themselves and their fellow countrymen.
The official visit of a Special Commissioner to investigate the political state of things has proved a great blessing, both to the King, and the Christian cause. It has effected the liberation of 5 of our heathen converts, who had lately been taken prisoners to the King, through the slanderous representations of some of his creatures - and but for this visit of Her Majesty's Commissioner under God, these converts would no doubt have been heard of no more.
The Bishop is indefatigable in his annual visits, and having obtained the King's high confidence, we hope & trust that his efforts conjointly with those of the special commissioner, would induce the King to adopt more salutary measures with regard to the future better management of affairs in the settlement.
We hope that these circumstances put together maybe all overruled by God and made to work for good.
Trusting that these unworthy lines may meet your acceptance and praying that you may be blessed with a long life.
(signed) Thomas C. John.
Lay Teachers 10??
male 2. female 2. communicants 50.
native Christians 120.
adults. 29; children 18;
scholars Boys.13; girls 13; sexes not specified. 26.