Return to Bance Island.—General Observations on the Commerce, Religion, Customs, and Character of the Natives upon the Windward Coast.—An Account of the requisite Merchandize for Trade, the best Mode of introducing natural Commerce and Civilization into Africa, &c.
The morning after my last arrival at Miffare I returned to Bance Island; before I leave it, it may not perhaps be considered as inexpedient at this stage of my narrative, to submit to my readers an account of the present state of commerce upon the Windward Coast of Africa, the merchandize used therein, a general outline of the religion, customs, and character of its natives, and the system I conceive eligible, and consistent with the claims of humanity, by which their intellectual powers may be improved, and their enslaved state ameliorated; while our commercial ascendency may be preserved with this region of the earth, and our enemies excluded from those important advantages, which it only requires intelligence and enterprise to unfold.
In accomplishing this important part of my duty I beg leave to state, that my reflections are the result of much deliberation upon the subject, derived from manifold sources of information, and that I am the zealous advocate of the radical abolition of the slavery of the human kind. The motives by which I am actuated are, a philanthropic feeling for my species, Christian principles, humanity, and justice: however I may differ, in the means I shall propose, from many truly benevolent characters, yet I trust that they will do me the justice to consider that my intentions are congenial with theirs in the cause of humanity.
I shall confine myself to a digested summary of actual observations on the trade, laws, customs, and manners of the people I have had occasion to visit; nor shall I attempt to enter into a minute detail on subjects already ably delineated to British merchants, and with which they are intimately conversant; but I shall treat of those branches of commerce which have been hitherto confined to local knowledge, and not generally known; submitting to the superior powers of the legislature, the incalculable advantages to be derived by their interference to promote the agricultural and commercial establishments upon the maritime districts of Africa, as the only appropriate measure to attain a facility of intercourse with the interior, and to enlarge the circle of civilised society.
If my endeavours tend to increase the commerce of my country, and eventually to emancipate the African, my design will be accomplished, and my fondest hopes will be gratified.
In pursuance of my plan, I shall first detail the present number of slaves, and dead cargo, annually exported, upon an average, from the Windward Coast of Africa, &c. from the information acquired from the traders of most intelligence in respective rivers, and from my own observation.