Journal Volume 5 2006
Log for 1860 (continued/6)
Extract from ‘Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile’ by John Hanning Speake, page 20:
On the 27th April, Captain Grant and I embarked the new steam frigate Forte, commanded by Captain Turnour, at Portsmouth; and after a long voyage, touching at Madeira and Rio de Janeiro, we arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on the 4th July. Here Sir George Grey, the governor of the colony, who took a warm and enlightened interest in the cause of the expedition, invited both Grant and myself to reside at his house. Sir George had been an old explorer himself - was once wounded by natives in Australia, much in the same manner as I had been in the Somali country - and with a spirit of sympathy he called me his son and said he hoped I would succeed. Then thinking how best he could serve me, he induced the Cape parliament to advance to the expedition a sum of £300, for the purpose of buying baggage - mules; and induced Lieut-General Wynyard, the Commander in Chief to detach 10 volunteers from the Cape Mounted Rifles to accompany me. When this addition was made to my force, of twelve mules and ten Hottentots, the Admiral of the station placed the screw steam corvette ’Brisk’ at my disposal and we sailed for Zanzibar on the 16th of July, under the Captain A.F. de Horsey - the Admiral himself accompanying us, on one of his annual inspections to visit the East coast of Africa and the Mauritius. In five days more we touched East London and thence proceeded north, made a short stay at Delgoa Bay, where I first became acquainted with the Zulu people, a naked set of natives, whose national costume principally consists in having the hair trussed up like a hoop on the top of the head and an appendage like a thimble, to which they attach a mysterious importance. They wear additional ornaments, charms etc., of birds claws, hoofs and horns of wild animals tied on with strings and sometimes an article like a kilt made of loose strips of skins of vermin strung close together. Next day we went on to Europa, a small island of coralline, covered with salsolaceous shrubs and tenanted only by sea birds, owls, finches, rats and turtles. Of the last, we succeeded in turning three the average weight of each being 360lbs and we took large numbers of their eggs.
We then went to Mozambique and visited the Portuguese Governor, John Travers de Almeida, who showed considerable interest in the prospects of the expedition.
Leaving Mozambique on the 9th of August, bound for Johanna, we came the next day at 11.30 a.m., in sight of a slaver, ship rigged bearing on us in full sail, but so distant from us that her mast tops were only just visible. As quick as ourselves, she saw who we were and tried to escape by retreating. This manoeuvre left no doubt what she was and the Brisk all full of excitement gave chase at full speed and in four hours more we drew abreast of her. A great commotion ensued on board the slaver. The sea-pirates threw overboard their colours, bags and numerous boxes, but would not heave to, although repeatedly challenged, until a gun was fired across her bows. Our boats were then lowered and in a few minutes more the prize was taken, by her crew being exchanged for some of our men and we learnt all about her from accurate reports furnished by Mr. Frere, the Cape Slave Commissioner. Cleared from Savannah as ’The Sunny South’ professing to be destined for Hong Kong, she changed her name to the ’Manuela’ and came slave hunting in these regions. The slaver’s crew consisted of a Captain, doctor and several sailors, mostly Spaniards. The vessel was well stored with provisions and medicines, but there was scarcely enough room in her though she was said to be only half freighted for the 544 creatures they were transporting. The next morning as we entered Pamoni harbour an intricate approach to the rich little island hill Johanna, the slaver as she followed us stranded and for a while caused considerable alarm to everyone but her late Captain. He thought his luck very bad, after escaping so often, to be taken thus. For his vessels power of sailing were so good, had she had the wind in her favour, the Brisk even with the assistance of steam, could not have come up with her. On going on board her, I found the slaves mostly to be Wahiyow. A few of them were old women, but all the rest were children. They had been captured during war in their own country and sold to Arabs, who brought them to the coast and kept them half starved until the slaver arrived.
On the 15th the ’Manuela’ was sent to Mauritius and we after passing the Camoro Islands, arrived in Zanzibar.
Extract from Bartons and Speakes a novel by William Harrison, published in 1984, W.H. Allen. Harrison’s sources were - The Royal Geographical Society, Peter Hanning Speake and Isabel Burton:
Again a ship bearing Speake toward Africa was taking the long way around. Instead of travelling to India, this time he was going to South America, and he forgot how much he detested the idea of a sea voyage. Grant practised photography, water colouring, nautical observation and read books on botany. Whenever possible Grant studied the stars with Captain Turnour in the evenings.
Two South African Dignitaries, Sir George Grey, Governor of the Cape Colony and Admiral Sir Henry Keppel, Commander of the British forces at the Cape, were also aboard the Forte.
On the 4th of July 1860 Speake’s ship sailed into Simons Bay at the Cape. So they were in Africa again. Grant began gathering specimens of the flora, pressing leaves and blooms under glass.
Sir George informed them that they were being supplied with another ship the ’Brisk’, a slave hunting corvette, at the docks the ships band in bright red coats played a medley of marching time.