chapter  IX
12 Pages


The first duties of the Administration were administrative, to give peace and security and justice to the whole region, from the Emir upon his throne to the humblest native tilling his little garden-plot2 of crops in the Jungle Forest. The Pax Britannica was enforced by the suppression of tribal wars and of slave-raids, by force of arms if necessary. This was speedily effected, as the

natives were mutually so antagonistic that they would never join forces and form a formidable alliance. In fact so weak was the feeling of kith and kin in British West Africa that it was the Hausas who fought against and took their own city of Kano. In addition, the English forces had all the advantages to be derived from the latest inventions. Rifles and guns and rockets, steamers, the telephone and all that mysterious prestige inherent in Europeans in the eyes of the natives gave the English a comparatively easy conquest, and enabled the Administration to rule over millions of people by means of a handful of officials. The giving of security was not the work of a day. Personal security was sought by laws which decreed that no native could be born into slavery after a certain date,l that slaves could claim their freedom at any time if they cared, but were expected to ransom themselves with their subsequent earnings unless they had been victims of ill-treatment, that buying and selling of slaves were no longer legal. Such measures were designed to abolish domestic slavery step by step and without any social dislocation. Security against the ruling powers was sought by means of equitable rule on the part of the new Administration, working either directly, or through the native rulers indirectly. Security against barbarous practices and the despotic sway of secret societies and of ju-juism was to be attained by the legal condemnation of such practices with heavy penalties for infringement, and by military suppression whenever the law was violently transgressed. Justice finally was aimed, at by the reformation of the native courts where they existed, by the supervision of English judges and by the adaptation of English law and equity to the conditions of British West Africa. This work of adaptation is most difficult, since West African conditions are so different to conditions in England, and since West African conditions are undergoing a rapid evolutio.1. An example of the

difficulty is to be seen in the treatment of the question of land tenure and land alienation which has been marked by much wavering, just on account of the difference in conditions between England and British West Africa and English ignorance of the latter, and also on account of the rapidly changing conditions in British West Africa. Justice in connection with British West African land tenure has been a study of many years, and even now it has not been determined on or enunciated. Despite that it can be said that the administrative basis has been laid for the economic development of West Africa, a consideration of which naturally follows the sketch of administrative activity.