CHAPTER XI
BRITISH, DUTCH AND FANTE, 1863-74

THE campaign of 1863 and 1864 had been such a failure from the British point of view that both Downing Street and the Fante began to give up hope that British rule could ever give the coast proper protection against the Ashanti. Trade was almost at a standstill; the Ashanti were boasting with reason that 'the bush was stronger than the cannon'; the British and the Ashanti were still at war, and there seemed no prospect of reaching any compromise on the questions over which the war had started.

In October 1864 the British Government appointed Colonel Ord, R.E., to visit the four West African colonies.1 He was instructed to investigate the efficiency of the colonial Governments and the state of their finances, to consider the possibility of closer co-operation between the four colonies and of improving their sea communications, and to consider also the influence of the colonial governments on the African peoples, and their future relationships.2

On Colonel Ord's return a Select Committee of the House of Commons was set up to consider his report. He had recommended that the settlements should be maintained and that they should be federated under a Governor-in-chief, who should be stationed at Sierra Leone. With steamship communication it would be possible, as it had not been formerly, for the Governor-in-chief to maintain close enough control over his lieutenants to make such a centralized system workable.

The Select Committee, after considering Colonel Ord's report and hearing evidence from him and from other people concerned, recommended to the Government that Colonel Ord's scheme of federation should be adopted; that it was "not possible to withdraw the British Government, wholly or immediately, from any settlements or engagements on the West African Coast"; but that "all farther extension of territory or assumption of Government,

____________________
1
The island of Lagos had been ceded to Britain in August 1861 and made an independent colony.
2
Colonel Ord was Governor of Bermuda, and had formerly been in the Gold Coast service, and so was an experienced administrator. His instructions are given in Crooks, 366-8.

-232-

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