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Diary Extracts: Landscape

Extract 1: Sierra Leone
Extract 2: Appolonia, Gold Coast
Extract 3: River Congo

(All extracts taken from GB 0240 FA/67/3)


Extract 1: Sierra Leone

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Transcription

 

[p 24]

HMS Buffalo

12 May 1858
At Sierra Leone

Employed as yesterday. Walked out to the village named “Kissy”
- about four miles from Sierra Leone. The road to this village
is exceedingly pretty. At this time, both sides were lined with cocoa nut,
Orange, and, Mango, trees (loaded with fruit,) intermixed with
Banana plants drooping under large bunches of ripe
fruit. Negro huts occur at short intervals along the road
and several handsome country houses are to be seen
at a little distance off the road. There are apparently only
two or three European residents in the village.
6.P.M. HMS “Childers” saluted Spanish Commodore – Do returned salute

[p 24]

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Extract 2: Appolonia, Gold Coast

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Transcription

 

[p 35]

HMS Buffalo - Appolonia

18 July 1858
Appolonia

I endeavoured to get off to the Ship, but, the surf had now become
so fearful that the King and canoemen declared it would be
quite impossible to pass through it. Such a succession of
surfs as now presented themselves I have never before seen.
The outer ones, before breaking, looked like a high green wall
with a front as smooth and as level as glass and when
they toppled over and fell they produced a noise which
might have been heard at least a mile off.
Spent the remainder of the day in the Kings house and
visiting the different quarters of the town of Appolonia.
The town or village is built close to the beach and
is entirely composed of Bamboos – the houses of the
King and a few of the principal persons being plastered
with mud and whitewashed. The streets or passages through
it are about four feet wide lined on each side by a fence
of Bamboos placed closely side by side. Here and there
in this fence are to be seen small Bamboo doors
about three feet high by two feet wide which lead to
an enclosure which contains either four or five huts
or the house &c of an important negro. The Fort of
Appolonia has been long since abandoned and is now
a complete ruin. During the time a detachment was
lodged in the fort the natives were very difficult to manage
being constantly inclined to treachery and bloodshed.
The natives, at present, trade with the different ships that
touch at the place, exchanging ivory, palm oil, and, Gold
dust for cutlery, cottons &c, &c. They know the value
of Gold dust, full well, and it is said that they
are in the habit of buying brass filings from some
of the merchants on the coast which they mix pretty
freely with the pure metal, so that purchasers are
always obliged to be on the alert for this fraud.
Visited the “Grand Palaver” in the Kings court yard and had
an opportunity of seeing about three hundred Kings and
chiefs assembled dressed grotesquely – one wearing a
beaver or silk hat without any other dress beyond a piece
of Calico around the loins, another merely the latter, another
a jacket reaching to his middle, another wrapped in a
large Calico scarf, and so on, in fact no two persons were
dressed alike. Slept at the house of the King’s son,
the King’s house being crowded by the offers of “the palaver

[p 35]

 

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Extract 3: River Congo

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Transcription

 

[p 47]

HMS Buffalo

16 October 1858
River Congo

...Visited the native village at Sharks Point; it consists
of about thirty miserable huts built of bamboos and
thatched with palm leaves. Besides the huts there are a
few little fences about four feet high by six feet long
which they make use of as a protection against the wind
during the night, and during the day they have a little
fire lighted to leeward of it which they cook their
fish &c. At first sight one is struck with the impression
that human beings could not be reduced to such a degraded
scale as they appear at the River Congo: the women, in general
have a much worse appearance than the men: their conduct
and manners bear the character of grass and brutal sensuality
If they are a specimen of their “benighted” country people
I doubt whether civilization will ever make great progress
amongst them. The women are almost entirely naked
as regards any kind of clothing, but are actually laden
with brass and iron rings on the arms and legs as
ornaments...

[p 47]

 

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