Niger Mission CA3/ O4  BP. Samuel A. Crowther.   Letters & Papers 1876 -78.

 

 

                                                            Gamautu, May 31st  1875. four a. m.

 

Dear Slatt,

            Your messenger arrived at 1 a.m. this day and is to leave again at midnight. We are in a sad state here, these savages threatening to kill Osborne & myself if we are not ransomed by another day. I have sent you two letters before, but they tell me that the Kiama people. For God's sake come to our relief, for there is no saying how far these savages will carry out their threats. many thanks for the brandy & biscuits and candles, they have quite revived us. Hoping to see you down on receipt of this, I remain, yours truly in trouble

                                    Richard Cliff

            [and below this was the following:]

           

                        Midnight

 

            Dear Statt,

            Hearing that your messenger is still here, I take this opportunity to let you know the state of affairs. The king & chiefs, have just ended a palaver about killing us -Osborne & myself. We are to be killed in two days if not ransomed, according to the wish of juju. Your messenger has just come in & says he is going away now. Hoping to see you today, as I am afraid it will be all up with us tomorrow. The launch is sunk just below Stirling Island. Look out and don't run foul of her as she is laying almost in the channel - I remain yours truly in trouble .  Richard Cliff.

 

 

            Captain Statt, taking the faithful messenger on board who was an intelligent old man belonging to the village of Agbo? to act as interpreter, steamed back seventeen miles, & anchored off Gamautu. He found that the successful pirates gave the black crew of the launch nothing to eat, so he took them on board & fed them. He found, also, that all the two white men had received during their long detention was only eight miserable plantains as he sent them by the interpreter hot meals from his own table. The negotiations for ransom lasted two days. The chiefs & natives assembled in council demanded and got from the steamer each day before the palaver began three demijohns of rum, containing twelve gallons, with which they wetted their whistles. then they shouted, foamed, excitedly argued as is customary with African savages. They demanded £400 in rum & goods as the price to liberate the white men. Captain Statt offered £200, but that amount was indignantly refused; however on the second afternoon it was accepted. One half had to be landed on the beach before one white man was handed over. On landing the remaining half, the other white man was set at liberty and she was coming off by the boat in which he handed, when the Gamautuans demanded the boat. However he got on board the "Sultan of Socatoo" in safety. The goods paid for our two countrymen consisted of matchets (rough cutlasses), cloth, & run in demijohns. They took the largest payment in rum. The invoice price of the lot was £206 7sh 3d. Captain Statt hauled his vessel a little further into the stream, and at day break he opened fire on the town with four-six-pounders, & each white man handed a Winchester rifle. The demijohns were in rows where they were landed. The rifle practiced?? at them was good. They were all smashed, and any savage trying to save one got properly patted. The pirates made a great orgy during the night, then drunken shouts of joy being heard on board the steamer; but they awoke to receive just & immediate punishment. At 1 pm. the village being destroyed, the "Sultan of Socatoo" proceeded on her voyage.

 

 

 

                                                                             

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Notices of the Kengas

 

            I should have given you a few explanations of the two Kengas lately sent from Brass Mission:-

            The office of the larger Kenga was, to protect the house & household from all misfortunes: to prevent sickness and death from entering and destroying the family: to prevent thieves and robbers from breaking in and rob property: therefore it was posted at the outside entrance of the house as a watchgod.

            The office of the smaller Kenga was to watch over the interest of trade on the waters: to prevent capsizing of canoes and other losses; to prevent invasion of the enemies &co. Therefore it was posted as a watch god at the landing place on the bank of the creek.

            The bodies being partly white and black gave the images a hideous and supernatural appearance, which inspires one with dread. The white rings round the eyes, are preventive against the effect of evil eyes and witchcraft: therefore whenever the natives are going to a place where they suspect hatred, envy, or malice against them, or where they might be maliciously injured, they invariably make circles of chalk round their eye, as proofs against all such intentions; and sometimes their whole body is whitewashed with chalk, and at other times besmeared red with camwood ointment mixed with palm oil.

            The small calabash vial tied to the neck of the larger image is supposed to contain medicines of invulnerable nature, against the charms of opponents as antidote.

            The cowries and feathers steeped in medicines as antidote, add to their ferocity. Their weapons of war, offensive or defensive are swords and spears.

                        Lagos Jan. 19. 1876. S.A. Crowther.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                               ARABIC BIBLES

 

            Well bound and gilt mounted Arabic Bibles one to replace Umoru's which he sent to the Sultan of Sokoto, the other I will hold in reserve for any other Potentates who may express a desire to possess himself with a copy. The same printed edition as was last sent

 

                        S.A. Crowther; Jan. 14th 1876.

                        Address the Parchel

                        Bp Crowther

                        C.M.S.

                        Niger - Bonny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                Lagos May 3rrd 1876.

 

 

Revd. H. Wright.

 

            Revd. & Dear Sir,

            I arrived at this place in safety from Bonny on the 26th all, and having an opportunity to visit Mr. Hinderer at Leke on the 29th by the Governor's visit to that place in one of the Colonial steamers the "Eko" I asked for a passage which he very kindly granted. We arrived at Leke on the 30th and met Mr. Hinderer in his new comfortable house which was so far finished as to be habitable. He was very much still troubled with the asthma, otherwise I would have said, well: the house is comfortable and healthy, facing the sea as all the mercantile houses and the Government's are: and has the benefit of salubrious sea breezes which set in a great part of the day and night generally. Mr. Hinderer told me that fever was very seldom suffered from at Leke. I could only spend from Sunday noon to Monday noon with him, during which time I heard from him particulars of facilities and difficulties connected with establishing a mission in the Ondo country: these must be expected in every new mission; but through persevering labour and patient waiting, the Lord's time, difficulties will gradually disappear and the mission be permanently established

            I spent a much longer time at the Bight [????] than I had expected, so that I could not spare time to see beyond Leke, as I must prepare for the Niger annual visit [???] I hope to look more into the Ondo Mission about December next D.V.

            You expressed a wish that Yimaha may be occupied as a Mission station as a step in advance among the Hausas: We had this in mind since the last two years or more; but the importance of first occupying Kippo Hill near Eggan was greater than Yimaha, which is not an Hausa country at all, but a small conquered town by the Foulahs, the people are Igbiras, the same tribe as those at Gbebe at the confluence Funda or Panda and Koton Karife in the triangle land between the Kwara and Tshadda Rivers. Yimaha is not more than 35 miles from Lokoja, but a market town on the Tshadda branch, whereas Kippo Hill, near Eggan in Nupe is about 80 miles from Lokoja and is on the direct route of the Hausa Ivory traders from the east and northeast. Caffe, Zaria, and  Yacuba are large and populous cities several days journey eastward of Eggan but on the track of the ivory traders.

            tHESE PLACES WERE COnquered by the Foulahs, which have been settled upon by the Housas in large numbers, being seats of Emirs from the Sultan of Sokoto or Gondu as Bida is in Nupe. These places can be visited either from Kippo or Yimaha. However, the occupation of Yimaha will be a step in advance on the Tshadda branch, by a steamer, which brings one within three or four days journey inland to some of these cities.-

            The greatest difficulties in occupying Yimaha on the Tshadda Branch are facilities to move on the river and protection. The lawless and piratical Igbiras, Bassas and Igaras are in the constant habit of plundering defenceless canoes on their passage to and from Lokoja to Yimaha; the persons seized must be ransomed at a high price or else be sold into slavery. If the persons be such as can not be sold into slavery, they are detained to be ransomed at an enormous sum or threatened to be killed. I experienced this with my son Dandeson in 1867; since which time I have desisted from travelling in open boat or canoe among such lawless tribes.

            To work the Niger Mission to advantage, a moderate size steamer must be at the command of the agents independently when wanted, both for facilities and protection when not thus wanted, it can be hired out to others to work and pay its own expenses. This is the opinion of many experienced persons with whom I have spoken on the subject.

            Promising Hausa speaking youths and adults for further education at Lagos will be watched for.

            Attention will be paid to the plan suggested in writing the Ibo and English in parallel lines for experiment.

            I will carefully look over the list of Arabic books mentioned in the second Report of the Sub- Committee and let you know what we may want.

            Some 12 months ago, Revd. J. White who has been labouring at Otta some 18 years or upwards, expressed a desire to be relieved from that place to some new stations in the interior: but as he had collected materials for the brick church at that place, I encourage him to persevere???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                        Lagos.May 30th 1876.

Edwd Hutchinsoon Esqr.

 

My dear Sir,

 

            Since my last advice of the 17th inst, I have drawn on you an account of the Niger Mission the following Bills, of Exchange bearing dates>

 

May 22nd 1876.          No.25 in favour of Mr. Patience Thomas 25pds. 0. 0

"   26th          26                         Rebecca Carr                 20.   0   0

    27                   27                 James Thomas                            50.   0   0

    28                   28                 Ebenezer J. Ellis             20    0   0

            Enclosed is a copy of two letters from Mr. Paul of Lokoja for your information, dated Jan 17/76 & Feb. 24th 1876, the latest news fro the Upper Niger. Things were going on well when he wrote except the ravages of the King's soldiers on the rebellious villages along the river; the villagers being caught or driven away and the villages burnt down, [omission]

if the country either by land or in canoes in the river, is not safe.

            You will note in Mr. Paul's letter the caution we have practised in bringing the gospel before the Mohammedans, without assault, but faithfully. - You will also note the frequent occurrence of fire near our grass roof houses and churches; however, I am thankful to say we have been mercifully preserved from the destructive element. - I have purchased boards at Lagos to meet the wants of the Churches and houses at the Upper Stations; as well cowries for immediate use till the Goods which are now being taken up are sold slowly for cowries. Such a precaution as this saves the mission from wants and needless expensive purchases, as cowries can not be bought in the upper Niger without nearly doubling the Lagos value.

            As Mr. John has left for England, I have arranged to remove Mr. P.J. Williams of Akassa and take him up with me to take care of Lokoja, so that Mr. Paul may be at liberty to take charge of Kippo Hill station at once, without waiting? the return of Mr. John from England next year.

            Akassa being a place of less importance, I have arranged to leave the keeping of the station in charge of the uncle of James Brown Walker. Afre, the Assistant School Teacher, as watchman, while Afre will keep the small school and prayer with the people who may attend. Angawari the uncle, and Afre the nephew are both converts, of the Akassa people. I sincerely wish there were more like them. The Revd Thos Johnson, of Brass, being only about ten miles pull across the creek to Akassa, will have the oversight of the station, till I can place another Catechist there.

            The house is being removed from the encroaching sea into a safe distant spot far back, will not be molested for a long time. It is a convenient halting stage for the mission agents going to, or returning from the Upper Stations,

 

                        With kind regards, I remain My dear sir, Yours very truly.  S.A. Crowther.

 

 

 

Kippo Hill Station, Opposite Eggan, Niger. May 25th 1876.

 

 

            Right Revd & Dear Sir

            I seize the opportunity to write as the bearer Mr. Blair the old soldier promised to reach Lagos about the end of June, when I believe you will about leaving Lagos for the Niger.

 

            You will see from the above that I am now at Kippo Hill, showing at once that the house work at Lokoja is finished. My second letter to you which unfortunately had been detained at Eggan from want of messengers would no doubt have caused you some anxiety about the house at Lokoja, but by some perseverance, and with God's assistance, every thing was made right; the last corrugated iron sheet was nailed on the 23rd dof March that I was able to occupy it by the beginning of April, and the other house is occupied by Mr. Reffell and young Thomas. I was glad to have the house finished before any more heavy rains, for there had been some difficulties to overcome, such as the want of boards as those bought were insufficient for the laths by one-half, besides the want of nails for the lath.

            Observing  the threatening heavy rains, I was obliged to ask for the assistance of the W.A.Co's carpenter whose services I had for eight days and the roofs were covered and the third day after we had a heavy shower of rain.

            I was gald to have the house covered before I left or this place as I had discovered that I could not have safely left the work to other hands; and the nails could never have been sufficient. I followed your advice about the nails giving them out by fifties at a time.

            The sheets remain 100 and 16 redgings?? but the W.A. Co have borrowed 50 of the sheets; the nails for the sheets are all finished and so the other nails [??]

            The Industrial house being in a rickety state I have had it taken down and a new roof put up, besides building a kitchen and digging a well, much needed on account of the frequent fire.

            Cotton was just coming in when I left that Mr. Grading has succeeded in buying a good quantity he has been asking for supplies that I gave him an order on the W.A. Co for supplies. The head which form the greater portion of his supplies from the store, are unsaleable. Having given instructions to the other agents on the 5th instant as to how the station is to be managed during my absence, I left on the following day Saturday the 6th instant for Eggan in a canoe, taking with me Mr. Davies the carpenter. Our journey was not undertaken without some risk as a few hours before we reached a village called Kerege, some pirates caught two Nupe canoes with about forty persons in them who were brutally treated, but through God's mercy we passed safely to Muye. We were well received by Nda Sade. I found him perfectly acquainted with everything connected with the piracy which justifies the great suspicions cast on him. he having treated me kindly I gave him some small presents.

            Proceeding on, we arrived at Eggan on the 18th instant and after a delay of about 2 hours; proceeded to Kippo and landed at our wharf which Davies the Bricklayer made and for which he deserves great praise. My arrival here was only a few hours in time to prevent greater blunders for the rooms and parlours were to have been 34 feet wide which is the whole width of the building and then to add 10 feet on both sides for the verandah which would have made our house a complete square house of 60 feet. This I set to correct at once without delay; that alteration is made and the house is having its proper dimensions. There are no proper [?illegible?] roof so I went with the carpenters and labourers to show them where good sticks are and this we shall commence next week, one of the carpenters will go with labourers every day.

            The female labourers have been too many by far more than the work requires, so I have reduced the number by two-thirds, the remaining one-third to bring as much clay and water required for our present work.

            I cannot promise that the house will be finished before the expedition reaches up this way, as the alteration has somewhat delayed the work, and should it not finish before the expedition, I shall be obliged to put up a small temporary house for immediate use. The palm [grafoish???] have been bought by Mr. Bishop from the King one hundred in all, many of them are small splits but I believe they would answer their work.

            Our accounts this year with the W.A. Co. I fear would be unusually heavy and it has stood too uppermost in my breast that I have been thinking to suggest to you that some saleeable cloths be sent to Lokoja by the first trip of any of the steamers that some cowries be collected and retained. The enclosed list would show you the articles that would fetch cowries immediately and what are their prices here for the past two years. Even if the things be got from Onitsha they would be of advantage up here.

            The small sums from the Missionary Leaves?? association through Mr. Malahir for redeeming children I would ask you kindly to bring one plain grey cotton so that I may be able to return the sum 5 bags  1 head to the store for a little boy redeemed from slavery. Amount for the purpose with you is £4.17. 8.

            Mr. Grading has just written me to say that he is in want of canvas cloths to bale cotton; those in hand are very few. I see that there is plenty of cotton at Eggan but no buyers. The price is about the same price as it is at Lokoja.

            We have no nails here to do work, besides we want a set of tools for the station, as also hinges locks &c for the new building. I will ask you kindly to buy me 12 yards black flannel serge on my account, and Mr. Henry Davies our carpenter asks for one round and one half-round rasps?? [racks??] on his accounts.

            The only important news in the country is that the war between Abaje and Akaia is at an end, both have been reconciled to each other. Mr. bishop has told me that there are some 150 corrugated sheets of the Company remaining, that they might be transferred to you if Mr. Josiah does not require them for other work; but there are no nails and hedgings.

 

                        With regards to you & family

                                    I remain Rt. Rev. & Dear Sir Yours very truly

                                                signed C. Paul.

 

 

 N.B. Please send Mr. Holloways letters to him for me. Some putty is needed for the large house at Lokoja. C.P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                    Onitsha. oct 19 1876.

Edwd. Hutchinson Esq.

 

My dear Sir,

            Since my letter of the 7th of August detailing the proceedings of Sir Commodore Hewitt in opening the passage at the Delta to Onitsha I have not written about anything of importance, excepting my note of the 9th inst. I am thankful now to state that we have visited all the places in the Upper parts of the River, regulated the working of the Mission for the year, and left the stations in a more orderly state than I met them.

            The annual Reports of the mission will be sent in a separate sheet; in this letter I wish to bring before the Parent Committee the actual requirements of the mission for their early considerations, to take steps, in order to [for] its more effectual working and extension. In this respect the letter must be regarded as supplement to my former letters to you and to Mr. Wright, stating the want of facilities in moving for the working of the mission. This must not be regarded as of very little importance.

            The kind and ready permission given to Mr. Ashcroft to accompany me up the Niger this year was not only opportune, but more providential; this year was one of peculiar difficulties to the working of the mission, which time could not have been better selected to move them even if it had been attempted. W. Ashcroft being an eyewitness to everything, will speak for himself in his report, his own opinion of the more urgent wants of the mission from personal observation and experience.

            Aug. 14 After the Commodores' return from Onitsha to the Coast take advantage of the Steam Launch Anasi going to Lokoja and Egan, Mr. Ashcroft & self took passage in her, with Messrs Phillips & Spencer returning to Asaba the [???????????????????]

 

 

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or Sego: in this state of agony he expressed himself many times that he would not waver from it; but for the indefatigable attention of Mr. Ashcroft, who not only regularly administer physic for his relief, but kept up with him undressed several nights to prevent his taking an overdose of laudanum which he thought would relieve him ...? he would have injured himself. On the seventh day after leaving Onitsha, Capt Watson was well enough to resume his place on the bridge to take his steamer along side the landing stage at Egan.

            While thankful that Mr. Ashcroft has been made instrumental in God's hand to restore Capt. Watson to his wonted health. I was somewhat anxious for his own, by overexertion and loss of sleep but he was mercifully preserved.

            But to proceed with the voyage. On the 8 Sept we arrived at Lokoja at 9 a.m.. landed the mission agents and packaged for this place; in the evening returned on board as the Victoria was to leave for Egan early the next morning. Having taken Mr. Paul and family and Mr & Mrs. Joseph on board for Kippo Hill station, on the 9th the Victoria started early as usual and on the 11th we hauled alongside the jetty at 6 p.m. The 12th was spent in landing packages from the steamer to the Factory.

            Sept. 13th. As the steam launch Okaba was going to Wunagi with salt, Mr. Ashcroft and myself took passage in her on a visit  to Bida to see King Umoru; arrived at Wunangi at 7 a.m. on the morning of the 15th. Messages having been recieved of our  arrival at Wunangi, Mr. Josiah and messengers from the King soon came on horseback to meet us at noon, and we arrived at Bida that afternoon and rode dried to the palace; we were invited into the receiving hall where we met the King as usual reclining on the cushion on his matted seat, and was very glad to see us. He more than usual welcomed and congratulated us on our safe arrival up from the dangers of war and the hostilities of the natives of the Delta. I introduced Mr. Ashcroft as one of the sons of the Great Society who sent us to this country to teach our own people; that he was sent by the Secretaries and Directors of that Society to see how we were getting on and was to ascertain the feelings of the kings and chief about our mission.

            Having gone through the custom of receiving strangers, he ordered that we should be conducted to our lodging; soon after, he sent us ample supplies of livestock, rice, palm oilk & honey, enough to feed twenty people for the time we stayed at Bida,  besides large bason of cooked meal sent by this and four every day, to our lodging for our use.

            Sept. 16.  Visited the King and presented him with the following articles; 2 well bound gilt Arabic printed Bible from the Church Missionary Society, one for himself to replace that which he was obliged to send to his master the Sultan of Gondou, last year, the other as present to the Sultan of Sokoto, if he was anxious to possess himself of one.

            King Umoru was very thankful that his loss was replaced, and moreover as the probability of losing it a second time was obviated by the provision made, by another copy to anticipate the wishes of the Sultan of Sokoto who is an elder brother to that of Gondu. In addition to this, I presented him with ten white bottles and ten goblets with covers and four pieces of printed calico, in all about  £5 to be distributed among his children. To these Mr. Ashcroft added a few length of remnants of coloured cotton velvets, some Chinese printed cotton feuts, and two bottles of mixed lozenges for his children. The bottles of lozenges of various colour attracted his attention very much, one of which he opened at once and commenced distributing its content among his chiefs and courtiers present. He exclaimed "the white man's country abounds with varieties of good things"

            I related to him the circumstances of the attempt of the tribes at the Delta to stop the navigation of the Niger to trading steamers, and the kind attention of the Commodore to keep the passage open; that it was his pact? and duty to take care of the merchants and all English subjects residing in the country under his rule from being molested by any of his people. He could not express his gratitude enough in word for the promptness with which the Commodore came to our aid.

            Tomorrow being Sunday, I told the King that we could not return to Egan that day, but would go on friendly visits to his chiefs, and also that I wished to shew my friend Mr. Ashcroft the old palace of late King Masaba, which he expressed was agreeable to his wishes, and promised to provide us with horses and guides to lead us about, and that we should see him before starting.

            Sept. 17th. We made ready at a convenient time for the visit, I had nothing with me but a few yards of red and white printed twill to give away as presents, this I divided into two equal lengths for two chiefs; Mr. Ashcroft made each up by adding two short lengths of remnants of coloured cotton velvets suitable for making caps; having made ready, we started for the house of the prime minister, whose title was formerly Galadima the King's counsellor, but now Ndaze, the father of the town or Prime Minister. To him I presented one of the divided piece of twill cloth: from his place we proceeded to the King, who received and seated us, having ordered the horses. He perceiving a small bundle in the hand of Mr. Ashcrofts servant he quietly asked me if we intended giving anything to the chiefs, to which I answered in the affirmative, he expressed a wish, if I had no objection to see what they were, to which I consented, and called the lad to fetch the parcel which I untied and showed him what was intended for the one and what for the other; on seeing them without expressing an opinion  he privately ordered four pieces of cotton printed calico to be brought from his store, and added a piece each to the presents intended for the two chiefs, and put a piece by for each of the other two chiefs for whom we made no provision, & said, "These are from my private purchases; say nothing to anybody I know you have nothing to give, but I like to keep my chiefs interested in your establishment, therefore I support you in this way."

            I was greatly surprized at this, as I have never witnessed any of our Kings or chiefs in this country, to take out of his own store to make a deficiency in the presents of stranger  in order to keep up the interest of the Chiefs in their work; more surprising still knowing the work of these strangers, Christianity, to be in opposition to his own religion, Islamism.

            This may appear strange but is nevertheless the fact. "The King's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as rivers of water, he turneth it whithersoever he will."  We proceeded on our visit, first to speaker, the heir  apparent to the throne of Nupe, who received us after the usual custom; he is a man of very few words, perhaps because we were strangers; we made our presents to which the King had privately contributed as was mentioned above. In return Shiaba most generously presented us with 5 bags of cowries equal in value to 5 -- nearly twice the value of our presents to him. Leaving him we proceeded to Lupon, late King Masaba's eldest son, not because he was next in rank but his house being on the same side over the swampy valley with Shiaba, the King had arranged that we proceed to him before returning to the palace side, that we might not cross the swampy valley several times over for the sake of etiquette. After seeing Lupon, who made us return presents of a fine ram, 10 fowls and 2 mats, after a short conversation with him through an interpreter, I asked him to show us into the late King's his father's palace, to which he readily consented and gave us a messenger to the keeper to let us in. I wished Mr. Ashcroft to see everything we had time to spare for, while here, as he must have heard something of late King Masaba and his palace. The huge buildings of sunburnt brick walls, whose mud ceilings are supported with massive pillars about six feet in diameter were very much deserted, they being occupied now only by some females, kept there as in a harem under the charge of late King Masaba's head eunuch, who was absent from home at the time of our visit on official business to the palace of King Umoru. Leaving this place, we returned to the palace according to the instruction

of the king, from which place he started us afresh to visit two remaining chiefs, Pontu and Makun, whose houses were at no great distance from the palace.

            By them we were respectfully received, they also made us return presents, Pontu, of 2 bags of cowries and Makun of 1 bag of cowries and 2 mats; having completed these rounds of visits, we returned to the palace; the King expressed satisfaction that we had taken the trouble to do what he thought was good for us to do. As he had undertaken to manage for us, he took a bag of cowries out of the 8 presented to us, and distributed them in proportion among the guides, interpreters and carriers, as their share of remuneration, and ordered the rest 7 bags and other presents to be conveyed to our lodging; thus literally speaking, we returned to our lodging richer than when we went out; because the presents given us in return for ours, were by far greater than what we had given them. The livestock became very useful for our meals; the splendid ram from Lupon was to be taken to Sierra Leone by Mr. Ashcroft as curiosity; the cowries became useful in paying travelling expenses, from Bida to Egan; and the remainder were divided and used for procuring curiosities for friends at home.

            Having intimated to the King our intention to leave Bida early tomorrow Monday for Egan we returned home for the day

            Monday Sept. 18. We had intended to leave early, but the King asked  & urged us to wait till the afternoon because he desired to collect a few presents to friends in England, and that he and his chiefs would escort us to the gate of the town walls. I tried to dissuade him from troubling himself to undertake the formality of escort on account of us, for that was becoming Government Officials, but he would not be dissuaded; so I had to yield.

            About 2. o'clock p.m. he sent for us to the palace; having showed us the presents he had selected for friends in England; he asked advice to be directed, to whom he might send those intended for Government. I suggested that they would be better applied at this time if given to Sir Commodore Hewitt who has taken such a lively interest in the welfare of the country that he lost not a moment in answering the application made to him to open the river passage which was closed to commerce by the hostile tribes of the Delta. He was very thankful for this advice, and begged to ask me to be bearer of the presents to the Commodore as a small token of appreciation from him of his unhesitating efforts, to keep the river passage open to commerce and free communication with the coast. He would have gone to her aid , but unable to do so for want of means.

            To the Managing Director of the W.A. C. ltd, to Mr Ashcroft, and to myself he made a present of a tobe and a good country made cloth, each; this being done, he bade us make ready for our journey. About 3 p.m. though threatening to rain, yet he summoned his chiefs to the palace, all mounted, to accompany him in doing us honour by escorting us to the gate of the town walls; there were between forty and fifty horses on this occasion and a large number of foot attendants and followers. As it was till threatening to rain, the King halted under a large shady wild fig tree, spread his rugs on the ground and took his seat, and we on a red blanket by ourselves, all the chiefs sitting before him according to their ranks. It being the afternoon prayer time, he begged us to excuse him till they had performed their devotion, which we did quietly sitting and looking on, the King led the prayer. This being done, he had a farewell conversation with us, a repeated assurance of his friendship; after which he requested us to take leave of each of his chiefs according to their ranks which we did, expressing to each other good wishes, and then mounted, they returned home and we proceeded on our journey; and before sunset we arrived at Wunangi ferry in safety, the threatening rain was blown toward another direction, so we escaped it, here we passed the night. i was glad Mr. Ashcroft was with me to witness those unlooked for marks of respect shown to us, well known to be Christian Missionaries, from whom they can expect but very little earthly goods.

            At one of our visits, we met King Umoru examining several copies of Arabic manuscripts in his possession, there were about 25 books in all, three of which were copies of the Koran in Arabic, of which an old copy, he informed me, was used by his great grandfather Mallam Dendo, which he values very much and kept sacred. Among the books, I saw two printed copies of the Koran in Arabic, on which was printed in English "Niger Expedition 1841" but none of our late gifts of books was seem among them. But before taking leave of Bida, I must remark that the interest which King Umoru took in us during our four days visit to Bida is worthy of notice. His appreciation of the two Arabic bibles, from the CMS, one to replace his deprivation last year, and the other to the Sultan of Sokoto, who might not have a copy was earnest. His satisfaction with the Revd. C. Pauls' removal to, and occupation of Kipo Hill Station, was sincere; his generosity in adding from his private store, to our small presents intended for his chiefs, that they might be better appreciated by them, they not having the same amount of knowledge of us as he did, for we had not much to give away, not being merchants, was a rare act of a large mind, scarcely met with among our kings and chiefs in this part of the country.

            Lastly, the additional presents which he made to each of us, of a valuable tobe and good country made cloth, and his escorting us to the gate of the town walls  in person, attended by his principal chiefs and officers, were such marks of respect shown to us Christian missionaries by a Mohammedan Potentate, which ought not to be overlooked.

            Is not the hand of the God of Missions in these things?

            Sept. 19th The next morning we left Wunangi in an old rotten leaky native canoe, the best which could be got for us, to take us to Egan, paddled by two men who appeared to have been the laziest they could have selected for

 

 

 

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 Commodore Sir W.N.R. H.H. Hewett &c. &c.   Bonny Oct. 26. 1876.

            Dear sir,

            I beg to forward you a case, containing some curiosities as presents from King Umoru of nupe; Upper Niger, as a small token of his high appreciation of your prompt attention to the application to keep open the River Niger, for unmolested navigation to merchant steamers trading in the Upper Countries.

            King Umoru expressed himself, how ready he would  have been to go to your aid if he could have been able to do so, but could not, and begs your unabated interest in the welfare and improoement of the country, by keeping the River open to commerce, to draw forth the vast resources of the country.

            The curiosities from King Umoru, I add a few as per list enclosed for which I beg your kind acceptance -- This native at the Delta were very quiet at our return from the country on the 23rd instant.

            Accept my sincere thanks for your kind invitation of me to, and grant of passage aboard on board the S. Ship the "Sultan of Sokoto" at her ascent in July and August last.

 

                        I remain Dear Sir,

 

                                                our most obt. humble servant. S.A. Crowther.

 

 

                     PRESENTS OF CURIOSITIES TO COMMODORE SIR W N R HEWETT

                                                   FROM KING UMORU OF NUPE

 

1 Morrish saddle and cloth

5 Hausa oval mats

1 Country cloth

2 Tobes

 

From Bishop Crowther

 

1 bras and copper  made at Bida from Brass and Copper rods imported for trade by the merchants.

2 calabashes, or gourd used as basons.

1 sword, made at Bida

1 battle axe made at Lokoja

1 quiver of arrows (poisoned) but have been washed by soaking in the water  - still care should be taken that some peices, and a box

1 Basket made by the Ibo, on the bank of Onitsha.

4 Leather necklace use by the Igaras.

 

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