34. Accra to the Osse River

September 25, 2011

How do you find work in Africa?  If you are a 28 year-old American with logging experience, you call around to the biggest Mahogany cutters in Lagos and get hired on to oversee a lonely outpost deep in the bush.

Google maps is letting me upload again.  The green path down the west coast of Africa shows the previous chapter.  This chapter shows in orange.  Hayes’ trip into an isolated logging station north of Sapele shows in pink for the next chapter.  The map won’t show in an email; you’ll need to click the title to go to the web page to see it.

Click here to download chapters 1-34 on Google Earth.  

Here and There Synopsis:

34.1 Ashore at Lagos

December 31, 1906

Hayes first set foot on African soil at Lagos, in what is now Nigeria, on the last day of 1906, at first believing the “terrific row” going on was the “usual procedure in Africa” –no, just the celebration of the New Year.

He writes one last epilogue on the “aristocratic prisoner” who Hayes now terms “our swell headed prisoner”: At Lagos Hayes finds him handcuffed to a rail outside a saloon with the old coasters bating him unmercifully. He had stolen 1,500 pounds from his employers “and had been to Sierra Leone having a wonderful time.”

Because his purse is light, Hayes chooses not to put up the best hotel, instead, “I took an inferior one run by Negroes.” A bad choice: the food is not good.

As to the business of landing a job in Lagos? “On the ship coming down was the head forester for Nigeria, and I approached him for an introduction to the mahogany shippers of this province. He was very courteous about it, and promised to do what he could.” All the old coasters on board the Mandingo scoffed at Hayes’ chances of finding employment, but taking encouragement from a Bible verse, “The Lord shall be thy confidence and keep thy foot from being taken,” (Hayes’ quote) he plans to call on all the largest producers the very next day.

January 3,1907

On New Year’s Day, Hayes came to the offices of A. Miller Bro. and Co., one of the largest and best paying traders in Africa, and “Strangely, Miller’s were looking for me.” The head forester, to whom Hayes had spoken on the Mandingo, told Miller’s about a young American with forestry experience, “and they wanted just such a man.” Miller’s hired him on the spot chiding him for not taking a room in the best hotel. “As I will be going up country soon, I can stick my present place until that time.”

With a little time to look around the town while provisioning, Hayes sees that Lagos is a low-lying island, “with so-called creeks a mile or more in width surrounding it on every side.” He predicts that, with a little improvement, Lagos will be one of the great harbors of West Africa. For now, he sees many great canoes hauling palm nuts, oil, coal, and rubber to the trading “factories” for export. He estimates the population of Lagos to be 50,000, “Not more than a few hundred of these are whites, chiefly British, but a sprinkling of French, Germans, and others from Europe.” Also living in Lagos, though of lower status than the Europeans, are Syrian traders who “live with the Negroes and on the same scale,” at least to begin with. The Syrians are sharp traders who have “about ousted the French traders” in French Territory. Hayes cannot help but notice the Syrian women are beautiful, loaded with bangles, and that “no one seems to molest them.”

At Lagos, Hayes meets locals accustomed to Europeans. “The Portuguese were the pioneers, more than 400 years ago. Then the slavers and now the booze merchants, worst of all.” Hard to imagine that trade in alcohol could be worse for Africa than slavery, but Hayes presses his assertion. One has to wonder where he got his statistic, but he claims “spirits form 67% of the imports into West Coast colonies.” He says the Elder-Dempster line brings most of it but also the German Woermann liners, the French Chargeur Reunis and several others – importing booze and exporting chiefly palm products. Elder-Dempster alone has 96 ships (British sailors tell Hayes that a line with 100 ships must build a battleship for the British navy, so Elder-Dempster spun off a subsidiary) whose tonnage ranges from 5,000 to 9,000 tons each with a regular run to the West Coast carrying intoxicants. “It is a bad outlook for the African people, for all drink,” from the oldest men and women to the smallest children.

January 6, 1907

European employees of lesser trading companies envy Hayes’ 100 pound yearly salary. “But Americans get better pay than Europeans.”

On his last day before heading up country, Hayes takes a moment to record his impressions of the missionary work underway at Lagos. “I find most of the missionary work hereabout is financed by the trading companies, for it is the policy of these merchants to keep in the good graces of the dispensers of salvation.” He surmises two reasons for this: “For one thing, the traders want to keep the missionaries silent on the liquor question.” And somewhat more laudably, “most of the societies doing missionary work in West Africa have industrial work, also educate many of their converts, teaching them to read and write and enabling them to become clerks on the beaches where the trade is carried on.” The companies then hire many of the mission-trained clerks whose language skills are invaluable to trade. “As the black can always speak his native tongue and perhaps several other dialects common to West Africa, he can deal with his fellow countrymen more successfully than can a newly arrived white man.”

But Hayes is to be a timber man not a trader. And he’s already made it clear: no booze, either in trade or as a customer. “It makes me appear a queer one among these coasters, but I should care. I have never handled the stuff and never will.”

Last time Hayes visited his family in Hico, Texas, his parochial “old gang” wouldn’t believe his tales of flying fish – now traipsing around the mangrove swamp he’s come upon thousands of walking fish!

Walking Fish, Mangrove Swamp

“Not more than six or eight inches in length, they run about freely on the mud among the mangroves, using their four under-fins as legs easily. Their eyes are large compared to the size of the fish, and they can turn their heads and stare one in the face.” Hayes is certain the walking fish are evolving to live on land.

January 10,1907

Except for two Englishmen, and now Hayes, a lone American, the hundreds of Europeans working for Miller’s along the African coast are all Scots. “The Englishmen are razzed unmercifully.” On the night of Hayes’ departure to the logging site up country, the Scots held a big party with haggis, oatmeal, Old Scotch whiskies, and, when the party mellowed, maudlin patriotic songs with barbs tossed at the two Englishmen. When pressed by the Scots to name some Scottish hero or battle known in the US, Hayes could only dredge up Flodden and Culloden (both disastrous losses for the Scots to the British). “The Caledonians glared while the two Englishmen went into spasms of mirth, and I innocently remarked that I thought these were Scotch battles too.”

34.2 An Endless Maze of Winding Channels

January 10,1907

The straight-line distance from Lagos to Siluko measures about 120 miles, but Hayes says he’ll travel 250 miles by launch through “such an endless maze of these broad, winding channels I wonder how the black pilot ever finds his way.” At long intervals the launch pulls onto “some bit of firm land,” and the crew unloads cases of booze for the locals.

(When tracing the map, I was happy to see that waterways connect Lagos and Siluko. My path is, of course only a guess, as are my locations for the villages about which Hayes writes.)

The only other white traveler on the launch with Hayes is a “phlegmatic District commissioner” covered in heat rash and pickled in alcohol. “A human tank, one might call him. All the old sourdoughs in Alaska would be abashed in the presence of this connoisseur of booze.” In Alaska, Hayes used to chide Martin for his foolhardy stunts; now in the unfamiliar geography of Africa, it’s Hayes who needs a caution. After Hayes dove into the wide lagoon, the District Commissioner, warned him of crocodiles: “Said he had seen one raise its head as I plunged into the water.”

Every few miles up river a new district begins, and with it a new language. “The Englishman, with that adaptability that has given him his world wide empire, has pieced together a new medium of communication that has spread the length of this coast from Dakar to the mouth of the Congo, perhaps beyond.” Everyone, European or African gets along with about 300 words of English, “with additions of native jabber as needed.” Hayes cites a few examples: “Chop lib!” means ‘food is served’; “Small beef” is any food insect or animal smaller than a squirrel; “Large beef” denotes larger animals. All the business of the coast proceeds in this Pidgin English, “for few white men trouble to learn even the larger languages such as Yoruba, Jekri, Beni, Dahoman, Ashanti, and so on.”

34.3 West African Rain Forest

January 13, 1907

From an unnamed stop deep in the rain forest, Hayes relates a malicious anecdote about pretensions ruptured: At one small riverside villages the District Commissioner receives effusive greetings from, “A native administrator, one ‘Mr. McCoy,”… Clad in immaculate whites, a western hat a la cowboy, puttees and well shined boots with a flowing four-in-hand gracing his neck, he strutted among the naked blacks and aired his English, which was correct.” Mr. McCoy had been rowed out in a small canoe and stood hanging onto the side of the launch while chatting with the District Commissioner. As the two crafts slowly drifted apart, “Mr. McCoy had to either break in two pieces or else let go at one end.” He chose to release the launch and went head first into the muck. It was the first time Hayes heard the District Commissioner laugh, though he tried to hide it by shouting for another drink.

Hayes is of course captivated by the unfamiliar wildlife: Gorgeous butterflies, parrots and one bird specialized with “toes of vast length” to walk on the water lilies “that spread their cupped leaves over large areas.”

African Jacana Actophilornis

“It is a never ending thrill to watch what appears round the next bend, and I enjoy it from morning to night, when we tie up til next day’s journey.”

Quite often evidence of Ju-Ju appears round the next bend. “At intervals we see tied goats and fowls by the waterside, or bolts of cloth and bunches of bananas, or any sort of food or material wealth the simple natives possess. They take their religion seriously.” The British are mostly tolerant of local religious practices, “unless it be some of the more terrifying sacrifices where human life is endangered.”

34.4 Siluko

January 15, 1907

Siluko is a “pretty post” with fertile ground growing an abundance of foodstuffs. A dense population, mainly Jerkis and Yorubas, inhabits the region; “Most are Ju-Ju but there are many Mohammedans.” The latter wear white Jibbehs and turbans and heed the call to prayer five times daily.

Sudanese Jebbeh c. 1909

The European influence at Siluko centers on Miller’s, the Scotch trading station called a “factory,” and a German firm “between whom is the keenest competition.” Agents of the rival companies visit and exchange pleasantries – all the while plotting to swindle the other whenever opportunity affords. “This is called business, anything that can be put over without going to jail.”

For Europeans in Africa, it seems to Hayes that either the hospital or the morgue are more likely destinations than jail. “All the country is unhealthy to the European. The dread blackwater fever, common malaria, dengue fever, guinea worm, jiggers, dysentery, and so many more I have not yet learned the names of are rife. One must be careful of everything.” Boil the drinking water. Watch the sun. Take your quinine. “And always (Hayes’ underscoring) the protective mosquito net that shields … from the tiny insects carrying malaria.”

January 17,1907

While waiting for J.F. Herald, head of forestry for Miller’s, Hayes reports “wandering about in the bush” accompanied by the junior partner at Millers’ Siluko factory named White. Their wandering includes a bit of deplorable disrespect: Hayes writes in light-hearted terms about knowingly defiling a mosque: “White and I have been to church. Not that we are getting especially good, but more from a spirit of curiosity than anything else. It was at the Moslem mosque, where all Unbelievers are forbidden entry. Fortunately none observed us, else the mosque would be defiled and would necessitate endless cleansing to make fit for worship again.”

A commotion at the front of the mosque regarding the discovery of a young convert who “had neglected circumcision,” allowed Hayes and White to sneak in the back door of the mosque. While the Moslem elders out front immediately attended to the young man’s oversight, Hayes and White, “browsed round the place, seeing little except dirt and vessels wherein the faithful bathe five times daily.” The two didn’t stay inside long; “we hurried, trying to make the circumcision as well as investigating the sacred mosque.” They avoided detection inside the mosque and exited in time to witness the circumcision – Hayes gives a full paragraph description of the operation.

Now Herald has arrived breathing fire. “All seem afraid of him, so great is his reputation as a bogey man spread abroad.” Hayes has heard that Herald, an intolerant Catholic, once tangled so forcefully with a muezzin “calling the faithful to prayer” in Benin, local colonial authorities called out the military to save Herald’s life. Hayes and Herald are to depart for the Osse River, “two days short journey,” the next morning.

34.5 Osse River

January 20,1907

On the thirty-mile hike to the Osse River, Herald strikes an easy pace while assessing Hayes’ skills. “He seems satisfied concerning my ability to get about the forest and to handle timber.” The two crossed clear flowing streams in the evergreen forest; where swamps intervened, “the husky blacks carried us over the morass.” Herald is, like all Brits – at least according to Hayes – a stickler for form and caste.

And now follows a passage so contradictory to the entry written just three days previously, that one wonders if Hayes re-reading his diary in old age didn’t laugh aloud at his own self-contradiction.

Hayes describes Herald as having a sense of humor – “though this is somewhat dulled.” Herald tries to persuade Hayes “to raid the Ju-Ju at the waterside.” Quoting Herald: “The crocs will only get those fowls and goats tied there. We can depend on those being the best they have, they always give the best to the bloody Ju-Ju.” Herald brags about eating eggs at the village he previously visited. “An ancient crone brought each evening two eggs as an offering to her Deity, whoever that was. She was flattered on finding her tribute taken each morning, and continued to bring the eggs as before.”

Hayes’ reply? The man who three days previously defiled a mosque writes in his diary: “if I expect another to respect my beliefs I too must respect theirs.”

Catholicism, Ju-Ju, Islam aside, the business at Miller’s camp on the Osse River is cutting mahogany.

African Mahogany

On the one hand, Hayes applauds the conservation methods Miller’s practices: “We are not permitted to cut anything less than twelve feet in circumference ten feet above the ground. This to conserve the forest, a wise provision. Three new mahogany trees must be planted for every one cut.” On the other hand, he deplores the antiquated and wasteful logging practices. “So crude are the handling methods the forest cannot be worked more than two-and-a-half miles from water, the logs being hauled by men [!] “ Herald wants to know all about modern methods of logging in the Northwestern United States. “I advocate crosscut saws, jackscrews, and a wheeled truck to bring logs from greater distances. The men are right enough but need instruction.” Hayes sets about filing saws, “rip saws of all things.” [Rip saws are designed to cut parallel not cross grain.] “Who would have devised such tools in a bush?”

33. London to Accra

September 18, 2011

No long gaps signifying dull times in Hayes’ diary now:  he’s sailing South bouncing from town to town along the coast of West Africa.  Everything is new, exotic, and exciting.  Along with the tingle of anticipation we get a running firsthand commentary on styles of European Colonialism.

I’m still blocked from uploading maps on mapquest, so no little map again this week.

Click here to download chapters 1-33 on Google Earth.  

Here and There Synopsis:

33.1 Bound for Lagos!

December 5, 1906

People familiar with the African coast told Hayes someone in Lagos would most likely offer work – so at Liverpool he paid second-class passage on the Mandingo to Lagos. “No European is allowed to go third else I would.” After all the hardships he’s experienced to date (perhaps because of them), one reads Hayes’ fear of this gamble to win Africa: “Naturally I am fearful of consequences, for I have not the fare back, and may not get a job. But one must take chances; he may not obtain a place there unless he does.”

Hayes’ companions the Mandingo include missionaries to the dark continent, traders to their stations, miners headed for the Gold Coast, railway builders to Nigeria and Sierra Leone, and sightseers going as far as the Canary Islands. Some are “old coasters who tell horrifying tales of cannibals, the Ju-ju and the boundless bush. From these fables I gather much that is true.”

Nice to read Hayes write his excitement even with its tinge of apprehension: “I am really going to see Africa at last. It thrills me, tho I am in a quandary what to do. Something always turns up, there is no need to worry. Providence takes care of the details, it is up to me to go.”

33.2 Santa Cruz De Tenerife

December 11, 1906

Six days out of Liverpool and still more than one hundred miles from Tenerife, Hayes and the other passengers spot Pico De Teide rising more than 12,000 feet above the warm waters of the Canary Islands.

Pico De Teide, Tenerife

“The island appears to be sun burned, dry and one wonders how the many villages so full of people find a livelihood on the almost barren slopes of the rugged hills.” As the Mandingo drops anchor at Santa Cruz De Tenerife, “multitudes of hawkers” swarm to the ship in “lighters” with fruit, post cards, silken garments, salacious books, and directions to the bordellos for those so inclined. “There are Indian merchants also, these with every intriguing toy and novelty known in the East to temp the passengers to purchase something for the trip. Many do, but wonder after why they bought such foolish things to take to Africa.”

Santa Cruz De Tenerife has “all the gorgeous coloring peculiar to Spanish towns.” Once ashore, “one finds dirty, cobble-paved streets that wind about courts and in unguessed ways,” traversed by barefoot men and women, staring but courteous to the tourists. Hayes sees that concrete dams block several arroyos upcountry; with the volcanic soils here, “Water means everything.” Further evidence of the volcanic history marks the shoreline: “…great cliffs of lava rise perpendicularly from the sea in many places.”

Los Gigantes, Tenerife

33.3 Dakar, West Africa

December 16, 1906

Hayes’ first sighted the African continent on December 15, 1906, “as we approached the barren sandy coast somewhere about the mouth of the Senegal River, which falls into the sea at St. Louis.” Greeting his ship, the Mandingo, were, “myriads of porpoises leaping about the ship and over the sea far and near. I never saw so many before.” The heat has forced the Europeans into white clothing and pith helmets. “The British affect one styled much different to the coal-scuttle French type.”

Arriving at Dakar, Hayes sees French dredging equipment and a former “convict station” at Goree Island at the mouth of the harbor with no mention of the slave trading history there. The native boys who dive for coins tossed from the ship at Dakar are less discriminating than those at Tenerife who would dive only for silver.

Hayes’ diary is something of a first hand analysis of comparative styles of European colonialism. At Dakar, the capital of Senegal, a French colony, he records that many Senegalese hold positions of “authority and responsibility, for there is no color line among the French.” Many “half castes” are sent here to the Catholic schools. “It is nothing for a Frenchman to marry a Negress, and Negroes have access to all public places equally with whites.”

In 1906, peanuts were the main export from Senegal. But Hayes can see that Dakar’s strategic location will soon make it an important coaling stop and trading station for “hides, and minerals, and cotton and many other commodities.”

33.4 French Influence at Konakry

December 20, 1906

On its way to Freetown, the Mandingo stopped in at Konakry (Conakry on the current map) “where a railway runs up country somewhere into the low ranges that form the sources of the great Niger.” Hayes says that the Iles De Los immediately offshore from Konakry serve as French convict stations like those at New Calcedonia and Cayenne – but this one is to be discontinued. “The French, loving beauty, have planted many palms at Konakry, and the surrounding islands offshore are well clothed with trees and grass.” The rip tides at Konakry prevent the Mandingo from docking; she can only anchor in shallow water nearby.

33.5 British Influence at Freetown

December 20,1906

As at Konakry, Freetown has no pier, so lighters carry both passengers and freight to shore. “A considerable mountain lies behind the town of 35,000 people.” Once ashore Hayes immediately reports on the “super abundance” of luscious fruit: “Mangoes, paipais, bananas, coconuts, oranges, limes, lemons, guavas, breadfruit and many other varieties are exhibited in the open market.” Good-natured women do the trading, calling out to all – especially the Europeans. The African men and women both “seem to thrive under the rule of the Briton and proudly call themselves British if asked their nationality.” All speak English fluently.

Despite the friendly greeting and the abundance of good food Hayes is acutely aware that, “It is not a health resort. Few places on the West African coast are. The sinister name of “White Man’s Grave” (Hayes’ quote) applies to Freetown quite as well as to the places farther down the coast, and many Europeans are buried here.” He knows that Europeans have little resistance to African diseases.

33.6 Monrovia

December 22, 1906

As Hayes travels into Africa, his descriptions employ the racist assumptions and language of his time. It remains my choice to edit around his most overt expressions of those assumptions. Nevertheless, he was traveling in, and commenting on, the European colonial empire. Thus, the content, if not the precise language, of those assumptions unavoidably enter this account in order to remain faithful to his descriptions.

At Monrovia, the “capital of Liberia, Negro republic of West Africa,” no harbor greets the Mandingo, only a shallow river mouth and a whaleboat. “So the passengers bound to that place got a bit of a wetting down.” In addition to the passengers bound for Monrovia, some small amount of cargo went ashore but not before all “was carefully checked, and papers signed with due ceremony,” by “officers of the republic … dressed in all their regalia,” who “took themselves quite seriously.”

Hayes has great respect for the British style of managing an empire: “The British officers are well accustomed to dealing with these people, and know how to act under such circumstances. It is why they have built such a vast empire, for no other people has the patience…”

As the Mandingo sails beyond Monrovia, Hayes hears tales told by “old coasters,” of “cannibals and Ju-Ju men” inhabiting the low hills he sees inland beyond the well-forested shore. He muses that perhaps their stories are true, “but most are given to exaggeration for the benefit of the newcomers to the Coast.“ He sees an occasional village, “with white painted trading stations – factories, they are termed in West Coast English.”

Hayes also hears the voices of Africans as in the following extended reply to the assumptions of European superiority.

“It is interesting to listen to the Kroo boys. The lingua franca of the entire Coaast is pidgin English. Some of the British, teasing a small Kroo, were baffled by his ready return to their quips.

‘What do you black people know?’ [A European] queried. ‘You have no books, no mills to make cloth, no cooking pots other than earthen ware, no houses worth living in and no boats that can go far to sea. Just bushmen, that’s all your are!’

‘Oh, das alri’,’ returned the Kroo easily. ‘S’pose white man want dem ting, wot he do? All time he say wheah book? Wheah book? Black man, he no wantum book, he know all dem ting!’”

33.7 Grand Bassam

December 24, 1906

Before arriving at Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast, the Mandingo stops at several places including “Half Jack” and Grand Lahou. “Every stopping place has been like the other, a long sand beach fronting on a low foreshore, with heavy rollers from deep Atlantic beating on the sands.” No place has docking facilities, so passengers and goods are ferried ashore by “naked giants who paddle the whale boats through the raging surf to the side of the ship.” Even when the boats don’t capsize on the way back to shore, all passengers are well drenched before reaching the sand. Passengers in boats that do capsize are pulled from the sea and dragged ashore. “A ceaseless chant can always be heard as these splendid boatmen propel their craft to or from the shore, and this does not cease even when they are overturned.”

At Freetown a number of educated Africans boarded the Mandingo. “None of the Coasters will have a second look at them.” The Africans sit at separate tables for meals, served by white stewards, bawling at the “humble stewards”: “What sort of ship is this? No serviette, no service, worse than savages!” (Hayes quoting “a bronze negro who seems to be the leader of the African colony.”)

Of course, “the old coasters boil under their collars and with little more provocation would riot.” Hayes reflects on the practice of the “South of my own country [where] the blacks are segregated, the only reasonable way the race question can be intelligently solved.”

Segregated or not, Hayes does admire the locals’ skill with boats. Men and boys from Grand Bassam fish from tiny canoes “as adept on the surface of the water as the fish that swim below. From earliest childhood they are playing in the surf, and before they are grown are perfect boatmen.”

33.8 Sekondi

December 26, 1906

All the miners on board leave the Mandingo at Sekondi headed for the rich gold fields up country – departing the ship still hung over from their Christmas celebration: “Both first and second class vied with one another to see who could put away the most booze, and from a neutral view point I should say it was a draw.”

Local peddlers board the ship hawking “ beautiful objects they have fashioned from pure gold, for many are artisans equal to jewelers in Europe. Butterflies, scarab beetles, fish and wild animals are all imitated and well executed by these gold smiths.”

But forget the gold; of greatest interest to the old coasters remaining on board are the antics and revelations concerning the leader of the Africans who was so offensive to the white stewards. Turns out he is an escaped criminal under escort of “a uniformed soldier (black) on board all the way from Freetown.” At Axim the escapee had bribed a ship’s fireman for a hiding place in the coal bunkers from which he hoped to sneak ashore. The old coasters hooted as he was discovered and “dragged along the decks by the mate.” But the man is undeterred; “he is in the salon again tonight, brazen as ever.”

33.9 Cape Coast Castle

December 29,1906

As the Mandingo dallies down the coast stopping at port after port, no passengers are permitted ashore; so Hayes has yet to set foot on African soil. He speculates that a dense population inland accounts for so many small towns along the seacoast. “Every one of them is a delight to the eye.”

At Cape Coast Castle, the infamous slave fortress, with its door-of-no-return, still stands (as it does to this day).

Cape Coast Castle

Hayes also saw, “the old barracoons where slaves were held until ready to ship to the Americas, perhaps hundreds of years ago.”

Slave Baracoon

Hayes makes two comments about the slave trade. First: “The Negroes themselves sold the slaves, kidnapping their countrymen from the hinterland and selling them to dealers at these coast ports, where they were held until a load was ready.” And second: “If only someone had been thoughtful enough to keep a diary in those days!”

That’s all about the slave trade. Continuing in the same paragraph he notes, “the boatmen seem even larger as we proceed down the coast” and adds his usual lament that “Most of our cargo is spirits. Gin, rum in great hogsheads, case liquor for the whites and for the blacks. Surely there are not enough people to drink it all.”

33.10 Accra

December 29, 1906

While still on board the Mandingo anchored at Accra, Hayes writes the last chapter of the “aristocratic prisoner” who tried to escape at Sekondi. At Accra he tried it again. Just as his soldier/guard and all aboard had given up searching for him, “a whaleboat ranged alongside, occupied by Kroomen only. They had with them the escaped prisoner. Naked as the day he was born, he had slipped out of his clothes and over the side right under the nose of the soldier.” Because the shore was too far, he swam to the boat promising the boatmen any sum they named to row him ashore. “The only fly in the ointment was he had no money, no nothing, with him. So they returned him to the ship where he was gladly received.”

Hayes describes Accra as “one of the oldest towns on the coast. Also the largest and the capital of the Gold Coast colony.” Cocoa, palm oil, palm nuts, mahogany, and other topical products all ship in quantity from Accra. “Surely West Africa is a rich country, but oh so deadly to the European. This largely because of the free use of liquor.”