THE AUTHOR’S APOLOGY TO THE READER.
ONE lives but to learn.
Whatever may have been the political result of the
late expedition on the Gold Coast, its military aim was altogether
defeated by the passive submission of the Ashantis.
I am not too proud to take a cue from our late
foes. Therefore, in offering these notes to the public, I would at once
disarm any intending critics by giving in to everything they may urge
The book does not purport to be a full and
detailed history of the operations,—my position with the native levy, at
a usual distance of several days’ march from the central direction of
affairs, precludes the accuracy and personal knowledge necessary for
such a task, and I should hope that there will be many historians far
better qualified, who will produce the necessary history.
sketch—for it shall be nothing more—will
merely be a rough diary of the campaign from my point of view. I have
one object, and one only, in writing. That object is, to escape the
further importunity of my friends.
every side I am badgered—and
I suppose that most of the other members of the expedition have been
"Oh, you have come back? Now I do hope you are
writing a book about it. You are wasting your opportunities if you
These importunities have reached a climax. I will
take the plunge. I will shut myself up for four days, and will overhaul
I only beg of the reader not to judge me harshly,
but to picture me entering on the fray with a faltering pen, dragged on
by overzealous friends, and bolstered up with the kind assistance of the
Journal of the Royal United Service Institute, the Daily Graphic,
the Daily Chronicle, and the Graphic, whose editors have
generously allowed me to draw upon them for material.
That my tale should not be entirely futile, I
shall endeavour to make it point a moral, and to save the reader the
trouble of wading through its tedious pages. I will here at once say
that the moral may be summed up thus.
A smile and a stick will carry you through any
difficulty in the world, more especially if you act upon the old West
Coast motto, "Softly, softly, catchee monkey."
This axiom would not have been offered did it not
hold good equally in the lesser as in the larger developments of the
campaign. The expedition itself, well-disposed, yet determined, was at
once a smile and a stick. By quietly taking possession of Ashanti, it
has practically acquired the vast Hinterland beyond it has softly caught
the monkey. And the principle is being carried out in all quarters of
the world. In Siam, in Venezuela, and up the Nile, England goes softly,
softly, catching her monkey.
And what is a sound principle for an empire is a
safe one for an individual.
S. S. B-P.