Lander's Travels eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,054 pages of information about Lander's Travels.

Not deeming it safe, according to the advice of the sultan of Zeg Zeg, to pursue his homeward way by the route of Funda, he chose the Youriba road; and, after serious delays, he reached Badagry on the 21st November 1827; but here he was nearly losing his life, owing to the vindictive jealousy of the Portuguese slave-merchants, who denounced him to the king as a spy sent by the English government.  The consequence was, that it was resolved by the chief men to subject him to the ordeal of drinking a fetish.  “If you come to do bad,” they said, “it will kill you; but if not, it cannot hurt you.”  There was no alternative or escape.  Poor Lander swallowed the contents of the bowl, and then walked hastily out of the hut through the armed men who surrounded it, to his own lodgings, where he lost no time in getting rid of the fetish drink by a powerful emetic.  He afterwards learned, that it almost always proved fatal.  When the king and his chiefs found, after five days, that Lander survived, they changed their minds, and became extremely kind, concluding that he was under the special protection of God.  The Portuguese, however, he had reason to believe, would have taken the first opportunity to assassinate him.  His life at this place was in continual danger, until, fortunately, Captain Laing, of the brig Maria of London, of which Fullerton was the chief mate, and afterwards commander, hearing that there was a white man about sixty miles up the country, who was in a most deplorable condition, and suspecting that he might be one of the travellers sent out on the expedition to explore the interior of Africa, despatched a messenger with instructions to bring him away.  The parties who held him were, however, not disposed to part with him without a ransom, the amount of which was fixed at nearly L70, which was paid by Captain Laing in broadcloths, gunpowder, and other articles, and which was subsequently refunded by the African Society.  Lander arrived in England on the 30th April 1828, on which occasion we were introduced to him by the late Captain Fullerton, from whose papers the following history of Lander’s second journey is compiled.


The journeys of Denham and Clapperton made a great accession to our knowledge of interior Africa, they having completed a diagonal section from Tripoli to the gulf of Benin; they explored numerous kingdoms, either altogether unknown, or indicated only by the most imperfect rumour.  New mountains, lakes, and rivers had been discovered and delineated, yet the course of the Niger remained wrapt in mystery nearly as deep as ever.  Its stream had been traced very little lower than Boussa, which Park had reached, and where his career was brought to so fatal a termination.  The unhappy issue of Clapperton’s last attempt chilled for a time the zeal for African discovery; but that high spirit of adventure which animates Britons was soon found acting powerfully in a quarter, where

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Lander's Travels from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.