[Illustration: SKETCH OF THE WINDWARD COAST OF AFRICA]
WINDWARD COAST OF AFRICA.
Remarks from the Period of my Embarkation at St. Helens, to my arrival at Sierra Leone—Sketches of the Land discovered in the Passage—its Bearings and Distance—with Observations upon the Bay and Entrance of Sierra Leone River, &c.
Previous to my arrival and landing in the river Sierra Leone, on the 6th of April, 1805, I shall notice my passage, and display the sketches I have taken of the land we fell in with, its bearings and distance, for the observation of the mariner, which from position and prominence to the Atlantic, claim his most serious attention in running down the coast of Africa to-windward.
On the 9th March, 1805, I sailed from St. Helens in the ship Thames, commanded by James Welsh, in company with a fleet of ships bound to the East Indies, under convoy of his Majesty’s ship Indostan. We had a favourable run down Channel; but, after making to the westward of Scilly, a heavy gale of wind separated the Thames from the convoy, which we never afterwards regained, and were therefore obliged, at all hazards, to proceed for our destination upon the coast of Africa.
Nothing interesting occurred during a prosperous and quick passage, until the high land of Sierra Leone appeared in view on the evening of the 5th of April. We came to an anchor outside the Capes, and weighed the next morning, steering our course for the river.
The space between Leopard’s Island, situated to the north, and Cape Sierra Leone to the south, forms the entrance into the river Sierra Leone; being in latitude 8 deg. 30” N. and in 13 deg. 43” W. long. and is computed about seven geographical leagues distant. The river empties itself immediately into the ocean; and its level banks to the north are covered with impervious forests, while those to the south exhibit the romantic scenery of an extended chain of lofty mountains and hills, clothed and ornamented with foliage of the most luxuriant nature, exciting the highest admiration in those who are susceptible of the impressions which the sublime works of the creation never fail to inspire.
Upon entering the bay, the eye is attracted by an extensive river, circumscribed by the foregoing outline, and exhibiting upon its banks an assemblage of the productions of nature, vegetating in their native purity. This view is animated by the prospect of the colony of Sierra Leone, and the masts of vessels and craft which commerce, and a safe anchorage, encourage to assemble before it, and by numerous natives paddling with great dexterity in their canoes.
[Illustration: PALMA bearing S. by W. distant about 8 leagues from A Published Aug 1 1807 by G & W Nicol]
As I shall have occasion to speak hereafter of the importance of this bay in a commercial and agricultural point of view, I shall not at present enter into farther details; but only suggest that I consider it as a position from whence active enterprize may perform its operations throughout an extensive district, and derive the most important advantages.