How gladly would they have made any personal sacrifice, rather than thus break their word; for although they had been half starved in his hands, yet they felt themselves indebted to him for having taken them from the Eboe people, and bringing them to the vessel.
He then explained to him how King Boy had saved them from slavery in the Eboe country, and how much they felt indebted to him for it. He endeavoured particularly to impress this on his mind, as he still hoped to bring him round to pay what he had promised.
Here Lander fortunately secured the services of his old tried servant Pascoe, as well as Jowdie, and two natives of the Eboe country, who were likely to be of great service to the expedition, one of them being the son of a chief, and both intelligent, with a slight knowledge of the English language.
The natives go as far as Benin in their canoes, but there is no communication by water with the Camaroons river, which seems to be totally distinct from the Calebar. The canoes of the natives are the same sort as those of the Eboe people. The river is full of crocodiles which are generally about twelve or fourteen feet long, and are very daring in their search of prey.
This circumstance was sufficient to arouse the commercial spirit of the merchants of Glasgow, who, on the return of the Landers with the information of the discovery of the termination of the Niger, proceeded immediately to form a company, having a capital of £10,000, for establishing a commercial intercourse with the chiefs of the interior of Africa, forgetting at the time, that before they could reach the territories of those chiefs, they had in the persons of King Boy, King Jacket, and King Forday, and the king of the Eboe country, a gauntlet to run through, and a kind of quadruple alliance to extinguish, without which all their efforts would be in vain.
Numbers of the natives of Eboe now in London might be brought in support of this assertion: for, in regard to complexion, ideas of beauty are wholly relative. I remember while in Africa to have seen three negro children, who were tawny, and another quite white, who were universally regarded by myself, and the natives in general, as far as related to their complexions, as deformed.
They met with no obstruction from the natives, till they came to Eboe, where an unfortunate quarrel took place, which seems to have arisen from a mere misunderstanding. The discharge of a gun had been agreed upon as the signal from the Alburkah for the Quorra to anchor; which being fired after dark, before the village, alarmed the natives, who opened a brisk discharge of musketry from the banks.
Thus passed their evenings, and thus much of their solitary Eboe friend. In addition to the value of twenty slaves, which the king of Eboe demanded from them, they now heard that King Boy required the value of fifteen casks of palm oil, which is equal to fifteen slaves, for himself, and as payment for the trouble he and his people will have in conducting them to the English vessel.
"Him one Eboe man," he answered, "employed by dem Portugee to cook for and look after dem captain's house. He lib for die, one time now; and 'cause I been good to him, and gib him plenty drink when he thirsty, he tell me to-day one t'ing dat I t'ink de captain be glad to know.
He also informed them that a Spanish schooner and an English brig, the "Thomas," of Liverpool, were lying in the first Brass river. After resting for some time they were conducted to the palace of the dreaded Obie, king of the Eboe country.