THE DOWNFALL OF PREMPEH
A DIARY OF LIFE WITH THE NATIVE LEVY IN ASHANTI 1895-96


By Major R. S. S. Baden-Powell
13th Hussars, Commanding The Native Levy.

With A Chapter on "The Political And Commercial Position of Ashanti"
By Sir George Baden-Powell, K.C.M.G., M.P.

London Methuen & Co. 1896

Seizure of the Palace at Kumassi

 

DEDICATED
(Without His Permission)
To Chief Andoh of Elmina.
My Guide, Adviser And Friend.


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 against me.

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.

My 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.

On every side I am badgered—and I suppose that most of the other members of the expedition have been similarly badgered—with the remark:

"Oh, you have come back? Now I do hope you are writing a book about it. You are wasting your opportunities if you don't."

These importunities have reached a climax. I will take the plunge. I will shut myself up for four days, and will overhaul my diary.

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.

R. S. S. B-P.


 

Asantehene Prempeh I
King Prempeh I
of the Asante

 

CONTENTS.

    The Authors Apology to the Reader.
    Sketch Map of the March to Kumassi
I.   Reasons For The Ashanti Expedition of 1895-96.
II.   Preliminaries To The Expedition
III.   Local Preparations.
IV.    At Cape Coast Castle (with a note on the British Royal Family).
V.   The Levy Starts
VI.   In the Bush
VII.   Pioneer Work
VIII.   The Scouts
IX.   The Bekwai Column
X.   Forward Movements
XI.   In Kumassi
XII.   Preparing the "Coup"
XIII.  

The Downfall

XIV.   After Events
XV.   The Coastward March
XVI.   Homeward Bound
XVII.   The Formation of the Native Levy
    Sir George Baden-Powell, "Policy And Wealth In Ashanti, 1895"
     

Map of Ghana (formerly Gold Coast) showing the principal locations of the Ashanti Campaign of 1895-96. (300k)

Background of the Ashanti Campaign of 1895-96 and Subsequent Events.
From: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, 1910.

Major R. S. S. Baden-Powell.
The Downfall of Prempeh, 1895-96.
Chapter I. Reasons For The Ashanti Expedition of 1895-96 .
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter V: Soldiering
"With a Native Levy in Ashanti"
Eileen K. Wade,
The Piper of Pax: The Life Story of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, 1924
Chapter VIII. Ashanti.
The Baden-Powell Library. A Selection of excerpts from the works of Lord Baden-Powell and works relating to his life and career.
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