26 APRIL 1890, Page 3

If the French Government is not careful, it will suffer

a serious reverse in Dahomey. In its fear of the electors, it is trying to do its work there with inadequate force. The King having beheaded five French captives, a French commandant beheaded five captured Amazons, thus in- creasing the fury of the savage enemy. Accordingly, on the 20th inst. a French reconnoitring force of three hundred men was attacked by the King in person, driven back after two and a half hours' fighting, and pursued for three miles to Porto Novo. The French lost thirty soldiers—Blacks—and twenty auxiliaries, and will find that the latter, without whom they cannot move, have lost heart. The attack must now be renewed in much greater force ; but the Dahomeya.ns are flushed with victory and protected by their forests, and unless a regular expedition is sent out, they may triumph again. The Republican Government is afraid to employ regiments for fear of an attack in the Chamber, where the Deputies, for their seats' sake, must protect the conscripts; and consequently the Colonial Department is sending marines, who always obey orders, but who cannot act efficiently alone, and Blacks from Senegal, who will be defeated. It is by no means im- possible that this unlucky quarrel, in which they are not in the wrong, may seriously impair the popularity of M. de Freycinet's Cabinet.