The Benin Massacre route Day 2
Mr Phillips, Captain Boisragon and Mr Powis leave Captain Searle and Captain Ringer at Degamah because they are on a different mission and going on a military expedition in the Isokpo Country up the New Calabar River.
Mr Phillips, Captain Boisragon and Mr Powis make their way to Bonny, where they see Captain Gallwey, who is at this time Vice-Consul of the district. He is very supportive of the Benin expedition plan and believes that it will be entirely successful in opening up the Benin country to free movement of the Protectorate officials and that Oba Overami will place himself and his country under British H.M. Protectorate rule. Captain Gallwey makes no attempt or suggestion to get Mr. Phillips to reconsider his decision to invade Benin whilst the king and his people are observing their cultural and religious rites. He gives his full backing to the mission.
Secretly though, Captain Boisragon and all the other British officials are hoping that they would be stopped by someone and that they would be turned back from getting to Benin. They hope that the Benin border soldiers would succeed in this when they eventually meet them. However, Mr. Phillips is oblivious to this general feeling and believes that Oba Overami or his soldiers will not dare stop him from entering Benin. He has even had a bet on this with Captain Boisragon.¹
¹ ‘That is, I expected we should be met by a body of Benin soldiers, and told we could get no farther. I had said so about a month previous to this to Phillips, and had bet him the large sum of £1 that we would not reach Benin City. He,
poor old fellow, was most sanguine about our success.’ (Boisragon, 1897, page 63, lines 3 – 8).
1) Bacon R. H, Benin The City of Blood, 1897, pages 16 – 17
2) Benin Expedition of 1897, Benin Massacre, Wikipedia,
3) Boisragon A, The Benin Massacre, 1897, pages 62 - 64