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The original documents relating to Mr. Mungo Park’s last mission into Africa having been entrusted to the Directors of the African Institution by the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, with liberty to publish them, in case they should deem it expedient; the Directors now avail themselves of this permission, by publishing the papers for the benefit of Mr. Park’s family.
These documents, together with other papers furnished by Mr. Park’s connections and friends, which also form a part of the present publication, consist of the following particulars:
1. The original Journal of the expedition, officially transmitted by Mr. Park to the Secretary of State; containing several of Mr. Park’s drawings and sketches, illustrative of particular descriptions, which are copied in this publication.
2. The Journal, as translated from the Arabic language, in which it was originally composed, of Isaaco, a native African, commissioned in the year 1810, by the Governor of Senegal, to go in search of Mr. Park and ascertain his fate; which Journal was likewise officially transmitted to the Secretary of State.
3. A Memoir delivered by Mr. Park at the Colonial Office in the year 1804, relative to the plan and objects of the intended expedition into Africa; together with the Official Instructions which he received for his guidance; and two letters addressed by him to the Secretary of State, one, written shortly after his arrival at the Coast of Africa, and the other, at the time of transmitting his Journal, previously to his final embarkation on the Niger.
4. Several private letters of Mr. Park, principally written during the time he was engaged in this mission; which, together with the documents included under the last mentioned head, have been incorporated into the Account of Mr. Park’s Life, which is prefixed to the Journal.
It has before been stated, that the official papers are published under the authority of the Directors of the African Institution. It may be proper to add, that the individual, who has undertaken to prepare this work for the press, is alone responsible for the publication of the private letters, and for whatever else is contained in this volume, besides the official documents.
Of the papers before enumerated, the most important, and the only one which calls for any particular observation, is Mr. Park’s own Journal; respecting which, it may be necessary to apprize the reader that it was written without the slightest view to publication, being intended only (as he informed the Secretary of State, by his letter of the 17th of November, 1805) “to recall to his own recollection other particulars illustrative of the manners and customs of the natives, which would have swelled the communication to a most unreasonable size.” The work, therefore, which is now submitted to the public, can be considered in no other light than as the mere outline of a much more extended and detailed narrative, which it was the author’s intention to prepare for the press after his return to England.
A work, thus imperfect, and which the unfortunate fate of its author has prevented from being brought to a completion, is entitled to peculiar indulgence; and if those allowances are made, which candour and justice require, the editor confidently hopes, that Mr. Park’s Journal will not disappoint the public expectation. It will be found to contain several interesting particulars concerning Africa, not hitherto known, and to illustrate and confirm, in various material respects, some of the most important discoveries communicated in Mr. Park’s former Travels. It bears strong internal marks of truth and fidelity; and, perhaps, the very nakedness and simplicity of its descriptions and its minute details of petty circumstances, may be thought by some readers to convey a more accurate and distinct conception of the process of an African journey, and of the difficulties with which such expeditions are attended, than a more elaborate and polished narrative.
With a view of rendering the present publication more complete, and of gratifying in a certain degree that reasonable curiosity, which will naturally be felt by many readers of this Journal and the former Travels, it has been thought advisable to add a biographical Memoir of the Author. But as the events of Mr. Park’s life, with the exception of those contained in the works just alluded to, are few and unimportant, the editor has been induced, in the course of this undertaking, to deviate occasionally into other topics, more or less connected with the principal subject; in the discussion of which he has inadvertently exceeded the limits which he had originally assigned to himself. This circumstance has added considerably to the length of the Memoir and its Appendix; for which, he would willingly believe, that the interest belonging to the topics themselves, will be deemed a sufficient apology.
In preparing this Memoir, the editor naturally applied for information to Mr. Park’s family, and was much gratified by discovering, that some materials, with a view to a similar undertaking, had been collected by a brother-inlaw of Mr. Park, Mr. Archibald Buchanan of Glasgow; who, on being made acquainted with the editor’s intention, immediately and with the greatest candour, transmitted to him the whole of his papers.
These materials have been of great use in preparing the Memoir; in which the editor has likewise been assisted by much useful information which he has received from another brother-inlaw of Mr. Park, Mr. James Dickson, whose name will occur in the course of the ensuing Memoir; and also from Mr. Park’s two brothers, Mr. Adam Park of Gravesend, and Mr. Alexander Park of Selkirk, the latter of whom is unfortunately since dead.
The editor is likewise greatly indebted to Major Rennell and to Zachary Macaulay, Esq. for several interesting particulars concerning Mr. Park; and to the latter in particular, for much valuable information relative to the trade of this country with Africa, which will be found in the Appendix to the Memoir.
But his acknowledgments are due, in an especial manner, to Sir Joseph Banks; who has not only favoured the editor with the fullest communication of his correspondence with Mr. Park, and of his papers relating to this subject, but has in every other respect assisted and promoted the present undertaking with a kindness and liberality, proportioned to his sincere and constant friendship for Mr. Park, and to his uniform zeal for whatever he considers to be in any degree connected with useful knowledge and scientific discovery.
It remains only to say a few words respecting the Map, which is prefixed to this publication. The readers of Mr. Park’s former Travels are already apprized, that the map which accompanied that work, was constructed by Major Rennell, whose interesting Geographical Memoir in illustration of Mr. Park’s first journey, was also annexed to the quarto edition. It would have been highly gratifying to the editor of this work, and most satisfactory to the public, if the same valuable assistance could have been obtained on the present occasion. But unfortunately, Major Rennell’s other engagements rendered this wholly impracticable. He had the kindness, however, to furnish the editor with some notes which he had taken, and with a construction of part of Mr. Park’s route in 1805, which he had traced out from the Journal now published, when it was formerly submitted to his inspection.
These papers together with Mr. Park’s Journal, were placed in the hands of a respectable artist, employed by the publisher to construct the map intended to illustrate the present work; at whose request the following statement respecting certain difficulties which have occurred in its construction, is subjoined.
“In compiling the map of Mr. Park’s route in 1805, much difficulty has arisen from the bearings of places not being mentioned in the Journal; and also in consequence of there being occasionally great differences between the latitudes and longitudes of places according to the astronomical observations, and the distances computed according to the journies. Considerable pains have been taken to reconcile these differences; but the general result has been, that it was found necessary in adhering to the astronomical observations, to carry Mr. Park’s former route in 1796 farther north, and to place it in a higher latitude than that in which it appears in Major Rennell’s map annexed to the former volume of Travels.”
London, March 1, 1815.
Mungo Park was born on the 10th of September 1771, at Fowlshiels, a farm occupied by his father, under the duke of Buccleugh, on the banks of the Yarrow not far from the town of Selkirk. His father, who bore the same name, was a respectable yeoman of Ettrick Forest. His mother, who is still living, is the daughter of the late Mr. John Hislop, of Tennis, a few miles higher up on the same river. The subject of this Memoir was the seventh child, and third son of the family, which consisted of thirteen children, eight of whom attained to years of maturity.
Prior to the time of Mungo Park’s birth, the father had for many years practised farming with assiduity and success on the estate at Fowlshiels, where he died in 1792, after a long and exemplary life, at the age of seventy-seven.
Among other estimable qualities which distinguished the father’s character, was a constant and unremitting attention to the education of his children; a species of merit, which is indeed of common occurrence among the Scottish farmers and peasantry, but which appears to have been exemplary and remarkable in the present instance. His family being numerous, he did not content himself with personally superintending every part of their education; but, though far from being in affluent circumstances, engaged a private teacher to reside in his house and assist in their early instruction.
It is most satisfactory to add, that these paternal cares were followed by the happiest results, and received their appropriate reward. Mr. Park had the gratification of seeing the greater part of his children respectably settled during his life, and of witnessing their success and prosperity.
After having received the first rudiments of education in his father’s family, Mungo Park was in due time removed to the Grammar School at Selkirk, where he remained a considerable number of years. He had shewn a great love of reading from his childhood, and was indefatigable in his application at school, where he was much distinguished and always at the head of his class. Even at that early age, he was remarked for being silent, studious and thoughtful: but some sparks of latent ambition occasionally broke forth: and indications might even then be discovered of that ardent and adventurous turn of mind, which distinguished him in after life, and which often lies concealed under a cold and reserved exterior.
It was the original intention of Park’s father to educate him for the Scottish church, for which he appeared to be well fitted by his studious habits and the serious turn of his mind; but, his son having made choice of the medical profession, he was readily induced to acquiesce. In consequence of this determination, Mungo Park was bound apprentice at the age of fifteen to Mr. Thomas Anderson, a respectable surgeon in Selkirk, with whom he resided three years; continuing, at the same time, to pursue his classical studies and to attend occasionally at the grammar school. In the year 1789, he quitted Mr. Anderson, and removed to the University of Edinburgh, where he pursued the course which is common to medical students, and attended the usual Lectures during three successive sessions.
Nothing particular is recorded of his academical life. He appears, however, to have applied to the studies connected with the science of medicine with his accustomed ardour and assiduity, and to have been distinguished among his fellow-students. During his summer vacations he paid great attention to botanical pursuits, for which he seems always to have had a great predilection; and a tour which he made, about this time to the Highlands, in company with his brother-inlaw, Mr. James Dickson, a distinguished Botanist, contributed greatly to his improvement in this science.
After having completed his studies at Edinburgh, Park removed to London in search of some medical employment. In this pursuit he was much assisted by his relation Mr. Dickson, to whom he had before been indebted in his botanical studies. By his means Park was now introduced to Sir Joseph Banks; whose interest or recommendation shortly afterwards procured for him the appointment of Assistant Surgeon to the Worcester East Indiaman.
From this period Park was honoured with the patronage, and indeed with the constant friendship, of Sir Joseph Banks, from which he derived many important advantages, and which had a material influence on the subsequent events of his life. For this highly valuable friendship he was originally indebted to a connection which had subsisted for many years between Sir Joseph and Mr. Dickson: and it may not therefore be improper, to describe shortly the origin and nature of this connection; which, besides its immediate influence on Park’s fortunes, was attended with several characteristic circumstances highly honourable to the parties concerned, and in themselves not uninteresting.
Mr. Dickson was born of humble parents, and came early in life, from Scotland, his native country, to London. For some time he worked as a gardener in the grounds of a considerable nurseryman at Hammersmith, where he was occasionally seen by Sir Joseph Banks, who took notice of him as an intelligent young man. Quitting this situation he lived for some years as gardener in several considerable families: after which he established himself in London as a seedsman; and has ever since followed that business with unremitting diligence and success. Having an ardent passion for botany, which he had always cultivated according to the best of his means and opportunities; he lost no time in presenting himself to Sir Joseph Banks, who received him with great kindness, encouraged him in his pursuits, and gave him access to his valuable library. He thus obtained the free use of one of the most complete collections on Botany and Natural History, which has perhaps, ever yet been formed; and which, through the liberality of its possessor, has contributed in a greater degree to the accommodation of scientific men, and the general advancement of science than many public establishments. Such leisure hours as Mr. Dickson could command from his business, he devoted to an assiduous attendance in this library or to the perusal of scientific books obtained from thence. In process of time he acquired great knowledge and became eminent among the English Botanists; and is now known in Europe among the proficients in that science as one of its most successful cultivators, and the author of some distinguished Works. At an advanced period of life he is still active in business, and continues to pursue his botanical studies with unabated ardour and assiduity.
[Footnote: Mr. Dickson is a Fellow of the Linnæan Society, of which he was one of the original founders: and also Fellow and Vice President of the Horticultural Society. Several communications from him, appear in different volumes of the Linnæan Transactions; but he is principally known among Botanists by a work entitled, “Fasciculi Quatuor Plantarum, Cryptogamicarum Britanniæ.” Lond. 1785–93; in which he has described upwards of four hundred plants not before noticed. He has the merit of having directed the attention of the Botanists of this country to one of the most abstruse and difficult parts of that science; to the advancement of which he has himself, very greatly contributed.]
Such an instance of successful industry united with a taste for intellectual pursuits, deserves to be recorded; not only on account of its relation to the subject of this narrative, but because, it illustrates in a very striking and pleasing manner, the advantages of education in the lower classes of life. The attention of the Scottish farmers and peasantry to the early instruction of their children has been already remarked, and is strongly exemplified in the history of Mr. Park’s family. The diffusion of knowledge among the natives of that part of the kingdom, and their general intelligence, must be admitted by every unprejudiced observer; nor is there any country in which the effects of education are so conspicuous in promoting industry and good conduct, and in producing useful and respectable men of the inferior and middle classes, admirably fitted for all the important offices of common life. [Footnote: See Appendix, No. I.]
In consequence of the appointment which Mungo Park had obtained as surgeon in the East India Company’s service, by the interest of Sir Joseph Banks, he sailed for the East Indies in the Worcester in the month of February, 1792; and having made a voyage to Bencoolen, in the island of Sumatra, returned to England in the following year. Nothing material occurred during this voyage: but he availed himself of all the opportunities which it afforded to obtain information in his favourite scientific pursuits, and appears to have made many observations, and collected many specimens, in Botany and Natural History. Several of these were the subjects of a communication made by him to the Linnæan Society, which was afterwards published in their printed Transactions.
[Footnote: In the Third Volume of the Linnæan Transactions, p. 83, is a paper by Park, read Nov. 4,1794, containing descriptions of eight new fishes from Sumatra; which he represents to be the fruit of his leisure hours during his stay on that coast.]
It does not sufficiently appear, whether Mr. Park, after his return from the East Indies, came to any final resolution with regard to his continuing as a surgeon in the Company’s service. But whatever might be his intention in this respect, new prospects now opened upon him, and a scene of action far more congenial to his taste and feelings, was presented to his ambition.
Some years prior to this period, a few distinguished individuals, induced by a very liberal spirit of curiosity, had formed themselves into an Association for promoting discoveries in the Interior of Africa, and were now prosecuting their researches with great activity and success. In the course of a few years they had investigated, and placed in a clearer point of view than had hitherto been done by geographers, some of the leading facts relative to the Northern part of that Continent; the characteristic differences of the principal tribes, their commercial relations, the routes of the great caravans, the general diffusion of the Mahomedan religion, and the consequent prevalence of the Arabic language throughout a considerable part of that vast continent. [Footnote: See Vol. I. of the Proceedings of African Association. London, 1810.] With the assistance of their distinguished Associate, Major Rennell, they were now proceeding to trace the principal geographical outlines of Northern Africa; and were endeavouring to ascertain the course of the great inland river Joliba or Niger, and to obtain some authentic information concerning Tombuctoo, a principal city of the interior and one of the great marts of African commerce.
In the course of these enquiries, the Association, since their first establishment in 1788, had employed several persons, well qualified for such undertakings, upon missions into various parts of the African Continent. Several of these were known to have perished, either as victims of the climate, or in contests with the natives; [Footnote: The persons who had been sent out prior to this period, were Mr. Ledyard, Mr. Lucas, Major Houghton, and Mr. Horneman: subsequently to which, several others have been employed; viz. Mr. Nichols, Mr. Bourcard, &c.] and intelligence had lately been received of the death of Major Houghton, who had been sent out to explore the course of the Niger, and to penetrate, if possible, to Tombuctoo and Houssa. The Association appear to have found considerable difficulty in supplying Major Houghton’s place; and had made known their readiness to give a liberal compensation to any person, competently qualified, who might be willing to proceed on this important and arduous mission.
The attention of Park was naturally drawn to this subject, in consequence of his connection with Sir Joseph Banks, who had received him with great kindness and cordiality on his return from the East Indies, and with whom he was now in habits of frequent intercourse. Sir Joseph Banks was one of the most active and leading members of the African Association, and with his accustomed zeal for the promotion of scientific discovery, was earnest in his endeavours to find out a proper person to undertake the mission in search of the Niger. There was nothing in Park’s previous studies which had particularly led him towards geographical pursuits; but he had a general passion for travelling; he was in the full vigour of life; his constitution had been in some degree inured to hot climates; he saw the opportunities which a new country would afford of indulging his taste for Natural History: nor was he insensible to the distinction which was likely to result from any great discoveries in African geography. These considerations determined him. Having fully informed himself as to what was expected by the Association, he eagerly offered himself for the service; and after some previous enquiry into his qualifications, the offer was readily accepted.
Between the time of Park’s return from India in 1793, and his departure to Africa, an interval elapsed of about two years. During the whole of this period (with the exception of a short visit to Scotland in 1794), he appears to have resided in London or its neighbourhood; being engaged partly in his favourite studies, or in literary or scientific society; but principally in acquiring the knowledge and making the preparations, which were requisite for his great undertaking.
Having received his final instructions from the African Association, he set sail from Portsmouth on the 22d of May, 1795, on board the Endeavour, an African trader, bound for the Gambia, where he arrived on the 21st of the following month. It is not the intention of this narrative to follow him through the details of this journey, a full account of which was afterwards published by Park, and is familiar to every reader. But it may be useful to mention the material dates and some of the principal transactions.
Having landed on the 21st of June at Jillifree, a small town near the mouth of the River Gambia; he proceeded shortly afterwards to Pisania, a British factory about 200 miles up the same river, where he arrived on the 5th of July, and was most hospitably received by Dr. Laidley, a gentleman who had resided many years at that settlement. He remained at Dr. Laidley’s house for several months, in order to learn the Mandingo language, which is in general use throughout that part of Africa, and also to collect information concerning the countries he intended to visit. During two of these months he was confined by a severe fever, caught by imprudently exposing himself during the rainy season.
He left Pisania on the 2d of December, 1795, directing his course easterly, with a view of proceeding to the River Joliba, or Niger. But in consequence of a war between two sovereigns in the Interior, he was obliged, after he had made some progress, to take a northerly direction towards the territory of the Moors. He arrived at Jarra, the frontier town of that country, on the 18th of February, 1796. Pursuing his journey from thence, he was taken and detained as a prisoner, by Ali, the chieftain or king of that territory, on the 7th of March; and after a long captivity and a series of unexampled hardships, escaped at last with great difficulty early in the month of July.
The period was now approaching when he was to receive some compensation for so many sufferings. After wandering in great misery for about three weeks through the African Wilderness, he arrived at Sego, the capital of Bambarra, a city which is said to contain thirty thousand inhabitants. He was gratified at the same time by the first sight of the Niger, the great object of his journey; and ascertained the extraordinary fact, that its course is from West to East.
After a short stay at Sego (where he did not find it safe to remain), Park proceeded down the river to Silla, a large town distant about seventy or eighty miles, on the banks of the Niger. He was now reduced to the greatest distress, and being convinced by painful experience, that the obstacles to his further progress were insurmountable, he reluctantly abandoned his design of proceeding eastwards; and came to the resolution of going back to Sego, and endeavouring to effect his return to the Gambia by a different route from that by which he had advanced into Africa.
On the 3d of August, 1796, he left Silla, and pursuing the course of the Niger, arrived at Bammakoo, the frontier of Bambarra, about the 23d of the same month. Here he quitted the Niger, which ceases to be navigable at this place; and travelling for several weeks through a mountainous and difficult country, reached Kamalia, in the territory of Manding, on the 16th of September. He performed the latter part of this journey on foot, having been obliged to leave his horse, now worn out with fatigue and unable to proceed farther.
Having encountered all the horrors of the rainy season, and being worn down by fatigue, his health had, at different times, been seriously affected. But, soon after his arrival at Kamalia, he fell into a severe and dangerous fit of sickness, by which he was closely confined for upwards of a month. His life was preserved by the hospitality and benevolence of Karfa Taura, a Negro, who received him into his house, and whose family attended him with the kindest solicitude. The same excellent person, at the time of Park’s last Mission into Africa, hearing that a white man was travelling through the country, whom he imagined to be Park, took a journey of six days to meet him; and joining the caravan at Bambakoo, was highly gratified by the sight of his friend. [Footnote: See Journal, p. 137.]
There being still a space of five hundred miles to be traversed (the greater part of it through a desert) before Park could reach any friendly country on the Gambia, he had no other resource but to wait with patience for the first caravan of slaves that might travel the same track. No such opportunity occurred till the latter end of April, 1797; when a coffle, or caravan, set out from Kamalia under the direction of Karfa Taura, in whose house he had continued during his long residence of more than seven months at that place.
The coffle began its progress westwards on the 17th of April, and on the 4th of June reached the banks of the Gambia, after a journey of great labour and difficulty, which afforded Park the most painful opportunities of witnessing the miseries endured by a caravan of slaves in their transportation from the interior to the coast. On the 10th of the same month Park arrived at Pisania, from whence he had set out eighteen months before; and was received by Dr. Laidley (to use his own expression) as one risen from the grave. On the 15th of June he embarked in a slave ship bound to America, which was driven by stress of weather to the West Indies; and got with great difficulty, and under circumstances of considerable danger, into the Island of Antigua. He sailed from thence on the 24th of November, and after a short, but tempestuous passage, arrived at Falmouth on the 22d of the following month, having been absent from England two years and seven months.
Immediately on his landing he hastened to London, anxious in the greatest degree about his family and friends, of whom he had heard nothing for two years. He arrived in London before day-light on the morning of Christmas day, 1797; and it being too early an hour to go to his brother-inlaw, Mr. Dickson, he wandered for some time about the streets in that quarter of the town where his house was. Finding one of the entrances into the gardens of the British Museum accidentally open, he went in and walked about there for some time. It happened that Mr. Dickson, who had the care of those gardens, went there early that morning upon some trifling business. What must have been his emotions on beholding at that extraordinary time and place, the vision, as it must at first have appeared, of his long-lost friend, the object of so many anxious reflexions, and whom he had long numbered with the dead!
Park’s arrival was hailed with a sort of triumph by his friends of the African Association, and in some degree, by the public at large. The nature and objects of his mission, his long absence, and his unexpected return, excited a very general interest; which was afterwards kept up by the reports which prevailed respecting the discoveries he had made. The Association, with that liberality which characterised every part of their proceedings, gave him full permission to publish his Travels for his own benefit; and it was speedily announced, that a complete narrative of the journey would be prepared by Park himself, and given to the public. But in the mean time, in order to gratify, in a certain degree, the curiosity which prevailed, an Abstract, of the Travels, prepared from Park’s own minutes, was drawn up by Mr. Bryan Edwards, secretary of the African Association, and was printed and distributed for the private use of the subscribers. [Footnote: Proceedings of African Association. Vol. I. p. 327.] This Abstract, which was written with perspicuity and elegance, formed the principal ground-work of the Book of Travels which was subsequently published.
To the Abstract or Narrative, thus circulated, was annexed an important Memoir by Major Rennell, consisting of geographical illustrations of Park’s Journey, which afterwards, by that gentleman’s permission, formed a valuable appendage to the quarto edition of the Travels.
After his return from Africa, Park remained for a considerable time stationary in London, and was diligently employed in arranging the materials for his intended publication. He had frequent occasion, also, to communicate on the subject of his discoveries with the members of the African Association, especially with Major Rennell and Mr. Edwards, whilst they were engaged in preparing the two Memoirs before alluded to. With Mr. Edwards, in particular, he seems to have lived on terms of great friendship, and to have occasionally paid him visits at his country residence near Southampton.
It was nearly about this time (the Spring of the year 1798) that Government, having it in contemplation to procure a complete survey of New Holland, made some application to Park, with a view of employing him upon that service. The particulars of this transaction are not known to Park’s family, nor is it now material to enquire; since the proposal, whatever it might be, was declined. It was afterwards repeated, and again declined, during the following year.
In June, 1798, he visited his mother, who still resided at Fowlshiels, and his other relations in Scotland, and remained with them the whole of the summer and autumn. During all this time he was assiduously employed in compiling and arranging the Account of his Travels. His materials for this work are stated to have consisted of short notes or memoranda, written on separate pieces of paper, forming an imperfect journal of his proceedings. Where these were wanting, he supplied the deficiency from his memory.
[Footnote: Enquiry has been made for the notes here alluded to, with a view to the elucidation of several points connected with this narrative, but without success; it being stated by Mr. Dickson, that a number of loose papers were left at his house by Park, and remained there for some time; but being considered of no use, were mislaid or destroyed; and that none of them are now to be found.]
His family represent him dating this period as leading the life of a severe student, employed on his papers during the whole of the mornings, and allowing himself little or no recreation, except a solitary evening walk on the banks of the Yarrow. Occasionally, however, he would indulge himself in longer excursions among the wild and romantic scenery of that neighbourhood, to which he was fondly and almost enthusiastically attached.
[Footnote: The situation of Fowlshiels on the banks of the Yarrow is said to be picturesque and striking. It is in the immediate vicinity of Bow-hill, a beautiful summer-residence of the Duke of Buccleugh; and at no great distance from the ruins of Newark Castle, and other scenes celebrated in the Lay of the Last Minstrel]
He quitted Fowlshiels, with great regret towards the latter end of 1798, when it was necessary for him to return to London, to prepare for his intended publication. He carried back with him a great mass of papers, the produce of his summer’s labour; and after his return to London, bestowed considerable pains in the correction and retrenchment of his manuscript before it was sent to the press. It was finally published in the Spring of the year 1799.
The applause with which this work was received, and the permanent reputation which it has obtained, are well known. Two impressions were rapidly sold off; several other editions have since been called for; and it continues even at the present time to be a popular and standard book. This distinguished success has been owing, not only to the interesting nature of its subject, but in a certain degree also to the merits of the work as a composition; to the clearness of the descriptions, the natural and easy flow of the narration, and the general elegance of the style.
But the essential merit of this book, and that which has conferred a lasting distinction on the name of its author, consists in the authentic and important information which it contains. Considered in this point of view, it must unquestionably be regarded as the greatest accession to the general stock of geographical knowledge, which was ever yet made by any single traveller. The claim of Park to this distinction will be apparent from a short view of his principal discoveries.
Among the great variety of facts concerning the Interior of Africa not before known, or at least not ascertained, which the labours of Park have placed beyond all doubt, the most interesting unquestionably are, those which relate to the existence of the great inland river, the Niger, as a distinct and separate stream, and its course from West to East; affording a remarkable confirmation of what had been stated concerning this river by Herodotus and the ancient writers; but which was afterwards controverted by the geographers of the middle ages, who asserted (what, independently of direct evidence, seemed more probable) that the course of the river was from East to West. This latter opinion had accordingly been followed by the greater part of the moderns; with the exception indeed of some of the most distinguished geographers of later times, particularly, D’Anville and Major Rennell, who had called in question the doctrine then prevalent, and given strong reasons for adhering to the ancient opinion. This however at the time of Park’s journey, could be considered in no other light than as a reasonable conjecture, till the fact was ascertained by the unexceptionable testimony of an eye-witness. [Footnote: See Appendix, No. II.]
Another important circumstance respecting the Niger, previously unknown, but which was fully established by Park, is the vast magnitude of that stream; an extraordinary fact, considering its situation and inland course, and which has led, as will hereafter be seen, to several interesting conjectures respecting the course and the termination of that river.
In addition to these discoveries relative to the physical state of Africa, others were made by Park scarcely less important; in what may be termed its moral geography; namely, the kind and amiable dispositions of the Negro inhabitants of the Interior, as contrasted with the intolerance and brutal ferocity of the Moors; the existence of great and populous cities in the heart of Africa; and the higher state of improvement and superior civilization of the inhabitants of the interior, on a comparison with the inhabitants of the countries adjoining to the coast.
To this it may be added, that the work in question contains many interesting details not before known, concerning the face of the country, its soil and productions, as well as the condition of the inhabitants; their principal occupations, and their manners and habits of life; and the anecdotes which are interspersed, illustrative of the character and disposition of the Negro inhabitants at a distance from the coast, and beyond the influence of the Slave Trade, are in the highest degree interesting and affecting. [Footnote: See especially the following passages in Park’s Travels, p. 82, 197, 336.]
The difficulties and dangers endured by the author in traversing this unknown continent; and the rare union of prudence, temper and perseverance, with the greatest ardour and enterprise, which distinguished his conduct in the most trying situations, give an additional value to Park’s narrative. In this important, but difficult, part of his work be appears to have been peculiarly successful. His natural and unaffected manner of describing exertions and sufferings which almost surpass the fictions of romance, carries a feeling and conviction of truth to the mind of every reader, and excites deeper and more powerful emotions than have often been produced, even by works of imagination.
It is painful, after bestowing this well-merited praise, to be under the necessity of adverting to two circumstances unfavourable to Park’s memory, connected with the history of this publication. These are, 1st. an opinion which has prevailed, that Park was a supporter of the cause of Slavery, and an enemy to the Abolition of the African Slave Trade; and 2dly. a report, equally current, that the Travels, of which he was the professed author, were composed not by Park himself, but in a very considerable degree, by Mr. Bryan Edwards. — Topics, thus personal and invidious, the writer of this Memoir would naturally wish to decline; but they are too intimately connected with the principal occurrences of Park’s life to admit of being passed over without particular enquiry and examination. For this purpose, it will be necessary to trace, more distinctly than has hitherto been done, the connection between Park and Mr. Bryan Edwards; which was a principal cause of the reports above alluded to.
Mr. Edwards was an intelligent and respectable man, of no inconsiderable literary attainments, and known as the author of the History of the British Colonies in the West Indies. Being possessed of property in Jamaica, he resided there many years as a planter; during which time he was an eloquent and leading member of the House of Assembly, or Provincial Legislature of that island. Some time about the year 1794, when the question of the Slave Trade had for several years engaged the attention of the British parliament and public, he quitted the West Indies and came to England, where he fixed his residence for the remainder of his life. He shortly afterwards obtained a seat in the House of Commons, where he established a character as a man of business, and came forward on every occasion as the advocate of the planters, and the supporter of what are called the West India interests. In all debates upon questions connected with the Slave Trade he took an active part; and during the whole of his parliamentary career was a leading and systematic opponent of the Abolition.
As secretary of the African Association, Mr. Edwards had constant intercourse and communication with Park from the time when the latter first arrived from Africa; and must immediately have seen the advantage to be gained for the Slave Trade by a skilful use of the influence which this situation gave him. His first object must naturally have been, to gain the services of Park in the direct support of the Slave Trade; or, if this should be found impracticable, he might at least hope to secure his neutrality, and prevent him from joining the ranks of his opponents. It is not meant to be insinuated that Mr. Edwards exerted any influence which was manifestly undue and improper, or that he was disposed to go greater lengths than any other man of a warm and sanguine temper, in support of a cause in which he was deeply embarked, and of the importance of which he felt the strongest conviction. The sentiments and conduct here imputed to him, arose naturally out of the situation in which he was placed; and he probably did no more than would have been done under similar circumstances, by any partizan of the Abolition, equally able and zealous.
A previous knowledge of these particulars is necessary for enabling the reader to form a judgment upon the two points connected with the publication of Park’s Travels, which were before alluded to. With respect to the first of these questions, namely, that relative to Park’s sentiments on the subject of the Abolition, the writer of this narrative, in consequence of information he has obtained from some of Park’s nearest relations, is enabled to state with great confidence, that Park uniformly expressed a great abhorrence of Slavery and the Slave Trade, whenever these subjects occurred in conversation. But the same persons farther represent, that he considered the Abolition of the Slave Trade as a measure of state policy; for which reason he thought it would be improper for him, in any work he might give to the public, to interpose his private opinion relative to a question of such importance, and which was then under the consideration of the Legislature.
Whatever may be thought of the correctness of this opinion, it is necessary to observe that the rule which he thus prescribed for his own conduct, was not strictly adhered to; or rather, that the system of neutrality which he professed, had, in a certain degree, the effect of a declaration of opinion. From the time of the publication of Park’s Travels, his name was constantly mentioned in the list of persons conversant with Africa, who were not friendly to the Abolition; and his authority was always appealed to with some triumph by the advocates of the Slave Trade: and this, apparently, with good reason. For, although the author avowedly abstained from giving an explicit opinion as to the effects of that traffic, yet the general tone of his work appeared to leave no doubt with regard to his real sentiments; and indeed the silence of so intelligent a traveller relative to a subject which must necessarily have engaged so much of his attention, was in itself a sufficient proof, of a bias existing in the mind of the writer, unfavourable to the Abolition. For to what other cause could it be attributed, that the Slave Trade was never once mentioned in Park’s book as having the smallest share in promoting the barbarism and internal disorders of the African Continent? Or, that in his pathetic description of the miseries endured by the caravan of slaves which the author accompanied from Kamalia to the Gambia (a journey of five hundred miles), not the slightest allusion was made to the obvious and immediate cause of these sufferings, the demand for slaves on the coast? — It must further be recollected, that the Slave Trade, at the time when Park wrote, had engaged universal attention, and was become the subject of much controversy and public discussion; yet this topic, of so much interest and importance, occurs only once in the course of these Travels; and is then hastily dismissed with a slight and unmeaning observation.
[Footnote: The passage here particularly alluded to, is so extraordinary, and affords such an illustration of the influence under which this work was composed, that it deserves to be transcribed. After a description of the state of slavery in Africa, which the author represents as a sort of necessary evil, deeply rooted in the habits and manners of that country (but without in the least alluding to the great aggravation of the evil arising from the European Slave Trade), the author concludes his remarks as follows: “Such are the general outlines of that system of slavery which prevails in Africa; and it is evident, from its nature and extent, that it is a system of no modern date. It probably had its origin in the remote ages of antiquity, before the Mahomedans explored a passage across the Desert. How far it is maintained and supported by the Slave Traffic which, for two hundred years, the nations of Europe have carried on with the natives of the coast, it is neither within my province, nor in my power, to explain. If my sentiments should be required concerning the effect which a discontinuance of that commerce would produce on the manners of the natives, I should have no hesitation in observing, that in the present unenlightened state of their minds, my opinion is, the effect would neither be so extensive nor beneficial as many wise and worthy persons fondly expect.” (Park’s Travels, p. 297.)
On reading this passage, it is impossible not to be struck both with the opinion itself and the manner in which it is expressed. The proposition, literally taken, is a mere truism, undeniably just, but of no practical value or importance. For, who doubts that the probable good effects of the Abolition may have been overrated by men of warm and sanguine benevolence? Or, who would assert, that such exaggerations ought to have any weight in argument, except as inducements to greater caution and deliberation? — But, the evident intention of the passage is, to convey a meaning beyond what “meets the ear”; to produce an impression on the reader, independent of any proofs or principles by which his opinion ought to be governed; and to insinuate, what it is not thought proper to assert, that the zeal manifested in favour of the Abolition originated solely in ignorance and enthusiasm.]
It is a remarkable circumstance, that while the supposed opinions of Park have always been appealed to by the advocates of the Slave Trade, his facts have as constantly been relied on by their opponents; and that in the various discussions which have taken place upon that subject since this work has appeared, the principal illustrations of the arguments in favour of the Abolition, have always been derived from the statements contained in Park’s Travels. This circumstance deserves particular attention, considering the evident bias under which the work was composed; and affords a strong presumption of the truth and fidelity of the narrative.
[Footnote: For an enumeration of the various facts contained in Park’s Travels, which are relied on as favourable to the cause of the Abolition, accompanied by the proper references, see A concise statement of the question regarding the Abolition of the Slave Trade. 3d Ed. 1804, p. 99–106. A work, containing the most complete summary of the arguments upon this great subject, which has yet appeared.]
The fair result of the foregoing enquiry, relative to Park’s opinions with regard to the Abolition, appears to be shortly this; that he was at no time the friend or deliberate advocate of the Slave Trade; but that, his respect and deference for Mr. Edwards led him, in a certain degree, to sacrifice his own opinions and feelings upon that subject; and that he became, perhaps almost unconsciously, the supporter of a cause of which he disapproved. That he should have been under any temptation to suppress or soften any important opinion, or to deviate in any respect from that ingenuousness and good faith which naturally belonged to his character, is a circumstance which cannot be sufficiently lamented. But if there are any who feel disposed to pass a very severe censure upon Park’s conduct, let his situation at the time when he was preparing his Travels for the press, be fairly considered. He was then a young man, inexperienced in literary composition, and in a great measure dependent, as to the prospects of his future life, upon the success of his intended publication. His friend and adviser, Mr. Edwards, was a man of letters and of the world, who held a distinguished place in society, and was, besides, a leading member of the African Association, to which Park owed every thing, and with which his fate and fortunes were still intimately connected. It is difficult to estimate the degree of authority which a person possessing these advantages, and of a strong and decisive character, must necessarily have had over the mind of a young man in the situation which has now been described. Suggestions coming from such a quarter, must have been almost equivalent to commands; and instead of animadverting very severely on the extent of Park’s compliances, we ought perhaps rather to be surprised, that more was not yielded to an influence which must have been nearly unlimited.
Before we dismiss this subject, it may be proper to add, that some time subsequent to the publication of his Travels, Park appeared to be fully sensible that the manner in which he had treated the question of the Slave Trade, was liable to some objections; and evidence now exists, that upon some occasions when his authority had been appealed to as being favourable to that system, he expressed his regret that an improper stress had been laid upon certain passages in his Travels, and that a meaning had been attributed to them, which it was not intended that they should bear.
It remains to be enquired, whether there is any just foundation for the opinion which has prevailed with regard to the degree of assistance given by Mr. Edwards in the actual composition of Park’s work; as to which very few remarks will be necessary. The intimate connection of Mr. Edwards with Park, the interest which he took in the success of his publication, and the influence which he appears to have exerted with respect to its contents, make it quite evident, that he must have seen, and been consulted upon, every part of the work; and there can be no question but that he, at least, revised and corrected the whole manuscript before it was sent to the press. It was avowed by Park himself, that as occasion offered, he had incorporated into different parts of his work, by permission of Mr. Edwards, the whole of the narrative prepared by the latter for the use of the Association. [Footnote: Park’s Travels. Preface, p. ix.] A person accustomed to literary composition, and confident of his own powers, would hardly have chosen to avail himself of this assistance; which would be attended only with a slight saving of labour, and might probably have the unpleasant effect of a mixture of different styles. No such disadvantage, it maybe observed, has in fact resulted from the course pursued in the present instance. No inequalities are apparent in Park’s narrative; nor are the passages which have been inserted from Mr. Edwards’s Memoir, to be distinguished from the rest of the work. The style is throughout uniform, and bears all the marks of a practised pen. Generally speaking indeed, it is more simple, and consequently more pleasing, than that of Mr. Edwards’s avowed compositions. But, notwithstanding its general merits, it is altogether perhaps too much laboured; and in particular passages, betrays too much of the art of a professed writer.
[Footnote: It would be easy, but invidious, to produce passages from Park’s work more or less marked with some of the characteristics of Mr. Edwards’s style, and, in particular, with that tendency to ambitious ornament, which is so conspicuous in many parts of the History of the West Indies. — The following extract from Park’s chapter on the state of Slavery in Africa, may be sufficient. “In a country divided into a thousand petty states, mostly independent, and jealous of each other, where every freeman is accustomed to arms, and fond of military achievements; where the youth who has practised the bow and spear from his infancy, longs for nothing so much as an opportunity to display his valour, it is natural to imagine, that wars frequently originate from very frivolous provocation. When one nation is more powerful than another, a pretext is seldom wanting for commencing hostilities. Thus, the war between Kajaaga and Kasson was occasioned by the detention of a fugitive slave:— that between Bambarra and Kaarta by the loss of a few cattle. Other cases of the same nature perpetually occur, in which the folly or mad ambition of their princes and the zeal of their religious enthusiasts give full employment for the scythe of desolation.” (Park’s Travels, p. 290.) — On reading this passage, and the chapter from which it is taken, it may deserve to be remarked, (with reference to former observations as to the bias under which Park’s work was written) that in enumerating the causes of the wars which desolate Africa, the Slave Trade is never once mentioned.]
From these observations, combined with the several facts before stated, it seems clearly to follow, that Mr. Edwards had a large share in Park’s work; and, without attempting to ascertain in what degree he assisted in the composition, it may safely be affirmed that the assistance afforded was considerable and important. [Footnote: See Appendix, No. III.]
It would be a subject of sincere regret to the author of this biographical sketch, if he thought that this opinion (which he does not feel himself at liberty to suppress,) was likely to detract in any material degree from Park’s well-earned reputation. But he is satisfied that there is no just cause for such an apprehension. It is unquestionably most desirable, that the adventures and discoveries of distinguished travellers should be given to the public, as far as circumstances will permit, in the language of the parties themselves; and there is no judicious reader, who would not decidedly prefer the simple, but authentic, narrative of an eye-witness, to any account of the same transactions from a different hand, however superior in literary merit. But the custom of employing professional writers upon similar occasions, has become so frequent, that the resorting to such assistance in any particular instance can no longer be considered as a just subject of animadversion; and, in forming our judgment upon books of voyages and travels (in which this practice is most common), we must in general rest satisfied, if we can obtain a reasonable assurance, that the compiler has made a correct and proper use of his materials. That this duty has been faithfully and conscientiously performed in the case of Park’s Travels, there is not the slightest reason to doubt. The authenticity of the work is apparent, not only, as has been already stated, from the internal evidence of many parts of the narrative, but from the known character of Park, as well as of Mr. Edwards, his associate; who (there is every reason to believe) was a man of honour and veracity, and incapable of concealing or wilfully misrepresenting any important fact or circumstance.
It must further be recollected, that the essential merit of works of this description, consists in the authenticity and importance of the information they contain; compared with which, the beauties of style and composition are only of secondary and very inferior importance. The literary character of Park forms a small part of his general reputation. This must always rest upon grounds altogether independent of the merits of his work as a composition; and whatever may be hereafter thought of his claims to distinction as a writer, his fame as a geographical discoverer, an explorer of unknown countries, and a man of courage and capacity in the most arduous and trying situations, must ever remain undiminished.
After the publication of his Travels, Park began to think of settling himself in life. During his last residence in Scotland in the Summer and Autumn of 1798, he had formed a matrimonial engagement with the eldest daughter of Mr. Anderson of Selkirk, with whom he had served his apprenticeship. He returned therefore to Scotland in the Summer of 1799, and was married on the 2d of August in that year. This union, which connected him still more closely with a family with which he had long lived in friendship, contributed in a high degree to his future comfort and happiness.
For more than two years after his marriage, he resided with his mother and one of his brothers, who lived together and carried on the farm at Fowlshiels. The reason of his continuing there so long a time does not very distinctly appear, nor is any thing particular related as to the manner in which he employed himself during this period. The profits of his publication, and the liberal compensation which he had received from the African Association for the services rendered to them, had placed him, for the present, in easy circumstances: and he remained for a long time altogether doubtful and unsettled as to his future plan of life. During part of the year 1799 he appears to have been engaged in a negotiation with government (which finally proved unsuccessful) relative to some public appointment in the colony of New South Wales. At another time he had partly determined to look out for a farm; and at last came, somewhat reluctantly, to the determination of practising his profession, to which he was perhaps at no time much attached, and which was now become more irksome from disuse.
The uncertainty in the state of his affairs during this period was much encreased by the hope, which he constantly entertained, of being sent out on another expedition, either by the African Association or by Government. This clearly appears from a letter which he wrote to Sir Joseph Banks, dated 31st of July, 1800; in which, he alludes to the late capture of Goree, which he considers as introductory to opening a communication with the Interior of Africa; and after entering into some details relative to that subject, he proceeds as follows: “If such are the views of Government, I hope that my exertions in some station or other, may be of use to my country. I have not as yet found any situation in which I could practise to advantage as a surgeon; and unless some of my friends interest themselves in my behalf, I must wait patiently, until the cloud which hangs over my future prospects is dispelled.”
An opportunity for medical practice, which was thought sufficiently promising, having offered itself at Peebles, he went to reside at that town in the month of October, 1801, and betook himself in good earnest to the exercise of his profession. Within no great length of time he acquired a good share of the business of the place and its neighbourhood: but this being very limited, his profits were at no time considerable. He was however very fully employed; for he was greatly distinguished by the kindness which he shewed towards the poor, and by that disinterested attention to the lower classes, which is one of the great virtues of the medical profession.
Under these circumstances, it cannot be thought surprising that he was dissatisfied with his situation, and looked anxiously forward to some other establishment. His former habits of life had indeed in a great measure disqualified him for his present humble occupations. The situation of a country practitioner in Scotland, attended with great anxiety and bodily fatigue, and leading to no distinction or much personal advantage, was little calculated to gratify a man, whose mind was full of ambitious views, and of adventurous and romantic undertakings. His journies to visit distant patients — his long and solitary rides over “cold and lonely heaths” and “gloomy hills assailed by the wintry tempest,” seem to have produced in him feelings of disgust and impatience, which he had perhaps rarely experienced in the deserts of Africa. His strong sense of the irksomeness of this way of life broke out from him upon many occasions; especially, when previously to his undertaking his second African mission, one of his nearest relations expostulated with him on the imprudence of again exposing himself to dangers which he had so very narrowly escaped, and perhaps even to new and still greater ones; he calmly replied, that a few inglorious winters of country practice at Peebles was a risk as great, and would tend as effectually to shorten life, as the journey which he was about to undertake.
It might have been expected, that a person who had been so much accustomed to literary and scientific society, and who had lately been in some degree admitted into the fashionable circles of the metropolis, in which he had become an object of much interest and attention, would have felt great repugnance to the solitude and obscurity of a small market town. But this does not appear to have been the case. General society, for which indeed he was not particularly suited, was not much to his taste; and during every period of his life, he always looked forward to a state of complete retirement and seclusion in the country, as the object and end of all his labours. He had great enjoyment however in his own domestic circle, and in the society of select friends; and his residence at Peebles was, in this respect, highly fortunate for him, since it was the occasion of his becoming acquainted with two distinguished residents in that neighbourhood; Colonel John Murray of Kringaltie, a very respectable old officer, then retired from the service, and Dr. Adam Ferguson; with both of whom he became intimate, and passed much of his time. The latter of these, then residing at Hallyards in Tweedsdale, is the well-known author of the Essay on Civil Society, and History of the Roman Republic, and was formerly Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh; where, during many years, he was one of that distinguished literary circle, of which Hume, Smith, Black, and Robertson, were the principal ornaments. At the venerable age of ninety-one, he is still living, the last survivor of that illustrious society.
The friendship of a man thus interesting and distinguished, was highly honourable to Park, who was duly sensible of its value. Nor was this instance singular. The papers transmitted by his family speak of other testimonies of respect, which, subsequently to Park’s return to Scotland in 1799, he received from various distinguished individuals of his own country; and they mention, in particular, that he was very highly gratified by some personal attentions which he received about this time from Mr. Dugald Stewart.
In the midst of these occupations Park’s thoughts were still turned upon Africa. Soon after the signature of the Preliminary Articles of Peace with France, in October, 1801, he received a letter from Sir Joseph Banks, acquainting him, “that in consequence of the Peace, the Association would certainly revive their project of sending a mission to Africa; in order to penetrate to, and navigate, the Niger; and he added, that in case Government should enter into the plan, Park would certainly be recommended as the person proper to be employed for carrying it into execution.” But the business remained for a considerable time in suspense; nor did any specific proposal follow this communication till the autumn of the year 1803; when he received a letter addressed to him from the Office of the Colonial Secretary of State, desiring his attendance without delay. On his arrival in London he had an interview with the present Earl of Buckinghamshire, then Lord Hobart, and Secretary of State for the Colonial department, who acquainted him with the nature of an expedition to Africa, which was about to take place, and in which it was proposed, that Park should bear a principal part. To this offer he declined giving an immediate answer, requesting a short time to deliberate and consult with his friends. He returned home for this purpose about ten days afterwards.
On his return to Scotland he formally consulted a few of his friends; but, in his own mind, the point was already decided. From the time of his interview with Lord Hobart, his determination was in fact taken. His imagination had been indulging itself for some years past upon the visions of discoveries which he was destined to make in the Interior of Africa; and the object of his ambition was now within his grasp. He hastily announced to Lord Hobart his acceptance of the proposal; employed a few days in settling his affairs and taking leave of his friends; and left Scotland in December, 1803, with the confident expectation of embarking in a very short time for the coast of Africa. But many delays were yet to take place previously to his final departure.
The principal details of the intended expedition had been fully considered, and in a great measure arranged, in the Colonial department, before the application was made to Park; and he had therefore flattered himself that the business was in a state of considerable forwardness. But on his arrival in London, he was much disappointed to find that the sailing of the expedition had been postponed; and it was not till after two months that his departure was finally appointed for the end of February, 1804. But, unfortunately, when this period arrived, the apprehension of important political changes, which eventually took place by the resignation of Mr. Addington a short time afterwards, caused some embarrassment in the measures and proceedings of the Administration. After all was ready at Portsmouth for the embarkation, and part of the troops destined for the service were actually on board, the expedition was suddenly countermanded; and the question, whether it should finally proceed to Africa or not, was reserved for the decision of Lord Camden, who shortly afterwards succeeded to Lord Hobart in the Colonial department.
In consequence of this change, Park was informed at the Colonial Office, that the expedition could not possibly sail before September; and it was suggested to him by some person in authority, that he might employ the interval with great advantage in improving himself in the practice of taking astronomical observations, and in acquiring some knowledge of the Arabic language. He was at the same time informed, that any reasonable expence which he might incur in acquiring this instruction would be reimbursed to him by Government. In consequence of this intimation, he engaged a native of Mogadore, named Sidi Omback Boubi, then residing in London, who had served as the interpreter of Elphi Bey, (the ambassador of the Mamelukes from Cairo) to accompany him to Scotland, for the purpose of instructing him in Arabic. They immediately left London together, and arrived early in March at Peebles; where Park continued to reside together with his African instructor, till about the middle of May. He then finally quitted his house at Peebles, and took his family to the farm at Fowlshiels, where he quietly waited the expected summons of the Secretary of State. During all this time he employed himself with great diligence in acquiring a familiar use of astronomical instruments, and in the study of the Arabic language, in which he became a tolerable proficient.
Early in September he received a letter from the Under Secretary of State for the Colonial department, desiring him to set off without delay for London, and to present himself on his arrival at the Colonial Office. He accordingly lost no time in settling his affairs; and taking an affectionate leave of his family, wife, and children, quitted Fowlshiels, and arrived in London towards the latter end of September, 1804.
In the course of Park’s communications with the Colonial Office, Lord Camden had intimated a desire to be furnished with a written statement of Park’s opinions, both as to the plan of the expedition, and the particular objects towards which he conceived that his attention ought to be chiefly directed during the intended journey. In compliance with this request, he had, during his leisure in the country, drawn up a Memoir upon these subjects, which he presented at the Colonial Office within a few days after his arrival in London. As this paper formed the ground work of the official instructions which were afterwards given to Park, and is in other respects interesting and important, it is here inserted at length.
“A particular account — 1st. of the objects to which Mr. Park’s attention will be chiefly directed in his journey to the Interior of Africa: 2dly. of the means necessary for accomplishing that journey; and 3dly. of the manner in which he proposes to carry the plans of Government into execution.
“The objects which Mr. Park would constantly keep in view are, the extension of British Commerce, and the enlargement of our Geographical Knowledge.
“In directing his enquiries with respect to commerce, he would propose to himself the following subjects as worthy of particular investigation.
“1st. The route by which merchandize could be most easily transported to the Niger. This would be accomplished by attending to the nature of the country, whether wooded or open; having water or not, being abundant in provisions, or otherwise, and whether capable of furnishing the necessary beasts of burden.
“2dly. The safety or danger of that route. This, by considering the general character of the natives, their government, &c.; the jealousies that European merchants would be likely to excite, and the guard that would be necessary for the protection of the caravan.
“3dly. The return of merchandize. This by making out lists of such articles as are produced in each district, and of such as are imported from the neighbouring kingdoms.
“4thly. The value of merchandize. This could only be done by comparing the articles with each other; with gold as a standard, and with European articles in exchange.
“5thly. Profits of trade. This could be ascertained by bartering one African article for another; an European article for an African, or an African or European article for gold.
“6thly. The extent to which such a commerce might be carried. This, by a careful and cautious comparison of the above, connected with habits of industry in the natives.
“Mr. Park would likewise turn his attention to the general fertility of the country, whether any part of it might be useful to Britain for colonization, and whether any objects of Natural History, with which the natives are at present unacquainted, might be useful to Britain as a commercial nation.
“Mr. Park would propose to himself the following subjects in conducting his geographical researches.
“1st. To ascertain the correct latitude and longitude of the different places he visits in going to the Niger.
“2dly. To ascertain, if possible, the termination of that river.
“3dly. To make as accurate a survey of the river as his situation and circumstances will admit of.
“4thly. To give a description of the different kingdoms on or near the hanks of the river, with an account of the manners and customs of the inhabitants.
“Means necessary for accomplishing the journey.
30 European soldiers.
6 European carpenters.
15 or 20 Goree Negroes, most of them artificers.
50 Asses, to be purchased at St. Jago
6 Horses or mules, to be purchased at St. Jago.
“Articles of dress, &c. for the soldiers and Negros, exclusive of their common clothing.
1 Musquito veil.
1 Hat with a broad brim.
2 Flannel under vests with sleeves.
2 Pair of Mosquito trowsers.
1 Pair of long leather gaiters.
1 Additional pair of shoes.
1 Great coat for sleeping, similar to what is worn by the cavalry.
Knapsack and canteen for travelling.
“Arms and Ammunition.
6 Rifle pieces.
8 or ten blunderbusses.
1 Gun and bayonet.
1 Pair of pistols, and belt.
1 Cartridge box and belt.
Small shot of different sizes.
“Articles necessary for equipping the asses.
“100 Strong sacking bags.
50 Canvass saddles.
Girths, buckles, halters.
6 Saddles and bridles for horses.
“Articles necessary for building and rigging two boats on the Niger of the following dimensions, viz.
“40 Feet keel — 8 feet beam, to draw 2–1/2 feet water.
Carpenters tools, including hatchets and long saws.
Iron work and nails.
Pitch and oakum.
Cordage rigging, and sails.
2 Boat compasses.
2 Spying-glasses for day or night.
2 Small union flags.
6 Dark lanterns.
2 Tons of Carolina rice.
Medicines and instruments.
“List of Merchandize for purchasing provisions and making the necessary presents to the Kings of Woolli, Bondou, Kajaaga, Fooladoo, Bambarra, and the Kings of the Interior.
“Best blue India bafts, 150 yards
White ditto, 50 yards
Scarlet cloth, 200 yards
Blue ditto, 30 yards
Green ditto, 20 yards
Yellow ditto, 10 yards
Scarlet Salisbury flannel, red night caps, &c.
Mock coral, £50
White garnets, £50
Black points, £50
Small black beads, £50
5 Double-barrelled guns.
5 Pairs of ditto pistols.
5 Swords with belts.
“A brief account of the manner in which Mr. Park proposes to carry the plans of Government into execution.
“Mr. Park would touch at St. Jago, in order to purchase the asses and mules, and a sufficient quantity of corn to maintain them during the voyage to Goree and up the Gambia. At Goree he proposes receiving on board the soldiers and Negroes formerly mentioned, and would then proceed to Fattatenda, five hundred miles up the Gambia; where, having first obtained permission from the King of Woolli, he would disembark with the troops, asses, &c. After having allowed time for refreshment, and the necessary arrangements being made, he would then proceed on his journey to the Niger. The route he intends pursuing would lead him through the kingdoms of Bondou, Kajaaga, Fooladoo, and Bambarra.
“In conducting an expedition of this nature through such an extent of country, Mr. Park is sensible that difficulties will unavoidably occur; but he will be careful to use conciliatory measures on every occasion. He will state to the native princes the good understanding that has always subsisted between them and the English, and will invariably declare that his present journey is undertaken solely for the extension of commerce and promotion of their mutual interests.
“On his arrival at the Niger his attention will be first directed to gain the friendship of the King of Bambarra. For this purpose he will send one of the Bambarra Dooties forward to Sego with a small present. This man will inform Mansong of our arrival in his kingdom, and that it is our intention to come down to Sego with presents to him, as soon as he has given us permission, and we have provided the necessary means of conveying ourselves thither.
“In the mean time we must use every possible exertion to construct the two boats before mentioned with the utmost possible despatch. When the boats are completed, and every thing is ready for embarking, Mr. Park would dispose of the beasts of burthen; giving some away in presents, and with the others purchasing provisions. If the King of Bambarra’s answer is favourable, he would proceed immediately to Sego, and having delivered the presents, solicit Mansong’s protection as far as Jinnie. Here Mr. Park’s personal knowledge of the course of the Niger ends.
“Proceeding farther, Mr. Park proposes to survey the lake Dibbie, coasting along its southern shore. He would then proceed down the river by Jimbala and Kabra (the port of Tombuctoo), through the kingdoms of Houssa, Nyffe, and Kashna, &c. to the kingdom of Wangara, being a direct distance of about one thousand four hundred miles from the place of embarkation.
“If the river should unfortunately end here, Mr. Park would feel his situation extremely critical; he would however be guided by his distance from the coast, by the character of the surrounding nations, and by the existing circumstances of his situation.
“To return by the Niger to the westward he apprehends would be impossible; to proceed to the northward equally so; and to travel through Abyssinia extremely dangerous. The only remaining route that holds out any hopes of success, is that towards the Bight of Guinea. If the river should take a southerly direction, Mr. Park would consider it as his duty to follow it to its termination; and if it should happily prove to be the river Congo, would there embark with the troops and Negroes on board a slave vessel, and return to England from St. Helena, or by way of the West Indies.
“The following considerations have induced Mr. Park to think that the Congo will be found to be the termination of the Niger.
“1st. The total ignorance of all the inhabitants of North Africa respecting the termination of that river. If the Niger ended any where in North Africa, it is difficult to conceive how the inhabitants should be so totally ignorant of it; and why they should so generally describe it as running to the Nile, to the end of the world, and in fact to a country with which they are unacquainted.
“2dly. In Mr. Horneman’s Journal the Niger is described as flowing eastwards into Bornou, where it takes the name of Zad. The breadth of the Zad was given him for one mile, and he was told that it flowed towards the Egyptian Nile, through the land of the Heathens. [Footnote: Proceedings of African Association. Vol. II. p. 201.] The course here given is directly towards the Congo. Zad is the name of the Congo at its mouth, and it is the name of the Congo for at least six hundred and fifty miles inland.
“3dly. The river of Dar Kulla mentioned by Mr. Browne [Footnote: Browne’s Travels. 2d edit. 4to. p. 354.] is generally supposed to be the Niger; or at least to have a communication with that river. Now this is exactly the course the Niger ought to take in order to join the Congo.
“4thly. The quantity of water discharged into the Atlantic by the Congo cannot be accounted for on any other known principle, but that it is the termination of the Niger. If the Congo derived its waters entirely from the south side of the mountains which are supposed to form the Belt of Africa, one would naturally suppose that when the rains were confined to the north side of the mountains, the Congo, like the other rivers of Africa, would be greatly diminished in size; and that its waters would become pure. On the contrary, the waters of the Congo are at all seasons thick and muddy. The breadth of the river when at its lowest is one mile, its depth is fifty fathoms, and its velocity six miles per hour.
“5thly. The annual flood of the Congo commences before any rains have fallen south of the equator, and agree correctly with the floods of the Niger, calculating the water to have flowed from Bambarra at the rate of three miles per hour.
“Mr. Park is of opinion, that when your Lordship shall have duly weighed the above reasons, you will be induced to conclude that his hopes of returning by the Congo are not altogether fanciful; and that his expedition, though attended with extreme danger, promises to be productive of the utmost advantage to Great Britain.
“Considered in a commercial point of view, it is second only to the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope; and in a geographical point of view, it is certainly the greatest discovery that remains to be made in this world.
“(Signed) MUNGO PARK.”
The circumstance most deserving of attention in this Memoir, is the opinion expressed respecting the course and termination of the Niger; a geographical question of great difficulty and importance. In a treatise written by Major Rennell expressly on the discoveries of Park, that distinguished geographer, on comparing the various accounts of the progress of the Niger beyond Houssa, had given a distinct opinion that its waters had no communication either with the river Nile or the Sea; but were spread out into a great lake in Wangara and Ghana, and were evaporated by the heat of the sun. [Footnote: Proceedings of African Association, vol. i. p. 533.] Park’s attention had of course been much directed to the same subject; and he had omitted no opportunity of collecting information which might throw light on this obscure and difficult question. During his residence in Scotland he had become acquainted with a Mr. George Maxwell, formerly an African trader, who had a great knowledge of the whole western coast of Africa, especially south of the equator, and had published a chart of the river Congo. Before Mr. Maxwell had heard any particulars of the Niger, many circumstances had induced him to conjecture that the source of the Congo lay considerably inland, and very far to the north. The publication of Park’s Travels confirmed him in his opinion, and led him to conclude that the Congo and the Niger were one and the same stream. Mr. Maxwell’s reasonings appear to have produced a great impression upon Park, who adopted his sentiments relative to the termination of the Niger in their utmost extent, and persevered in that opinion to the end of his life.
The sources of great rivers have often been the object of popular and even of scientific curiosity; but it is peculiar to the Niger to be interesting on account of its termination. Those who recollect the emotions which Park describes himself to have experienced during his former journey, on the first view of that mighty river, [Footnote: “While we were riding together, and I was anxiously looking around for the river, one of the Negroes called out, Geo affilli (see the water); and looking forwards, I saw with infinite pleasure, the great object of my mission, the long sought for, majestic Niger, glittering to the morning sun, as broad as the Thames at Westminster, and flowing slowly to the eastward. I hastened to the brink and having drank of the water, lifted up my fervent thanks in prayer to the great Ruler of all things for having thus far crowned my endeavours with success.” Park’s Travels, p. 194.] will be enabled to form some idea of the enthusiasm on this subject which he intimates at the close of the foregoing Memoir, and which was now become his ruling passion. Nor can we be surprised that the question, respecting the termination of the Niger, associated as it was, with so many personal feelings, had such entire possession of Park’s mind; since the subject itself, considered as a matter of geographical enquiry, is one of the most interesting that can easily be conceived. The idea of a great river, rising in the western mountains of Africa and flowing towards the centre of that vast continent; whose course in that direction is ascertained for a considerable distance, beyond which information is silent, and speculation is left at large to indulge in the wildest conjectures — has something of the unbounded and mysterious, which powerfully attracts curiosity and takes a strong hold of the imagination. [Footnote: See Appendix, No. IV.]
A short time after Park had delivered his Memoir at the Colonial Office, he had an audience of Lord Camden, who expressed his general approbation of its contents and acquainted him with the plan of the expedition, so far as it was then determined upon. The amount of the compensation which he was to receive for this service, was likewise agreed upon and settled about the same time, with a commendable liberality on the part of Government, and entirely to Park’s satisfaction; and it was also very properly stipulated that, in the event either of his dying before the completion of the service, or of his not being heard of within a given period after his setting out on the journey, a certain sum should be paid by Government as a provision for his wife and family.
But before all the details of the plan were finally determined upon, Park was desired by Lord Camden, to consult Major Rennell, and obtain his opinion both with regard to the scheme and objects of the expedition, and Park’s own sentiments relative to the Niger, as stated in his Memoir. For this purpose he went to Brighthelmston, where Major Rennell then was, and remained with him several days; during which time, the subjects proposed by Lord Camden were repeatedly discussed between them. With respect to the supposition relative to the termination of the Niger, Major Rennell was unconvinced by Park’s reasonings, and declared his adherence to the opinion he had formerly expressed with regard to the course of that river. As to the plan of the intended expedition, he was so much struck with the difficulties and dangers likely to attend its execution, that he earnestly dissuaded Park from engaging in so hazardous an enterprize. His arguments, urged with all the warmth and sincerity of friendship, appear to have made a great impression upon Park; and he took leave of Major Rennell with an apparent determination to relinquish the undertaking. But this conviction was little more than momentary, and ceased almost as soon as the influence and authority from which it proceeded were withdrawn. On Park’s return to London, his enthusiasm revived; and all doubts and difficulties were at an end.
The doubts expressed by Major Rennell were of course, communicated by Park to the Secretary of State; but, as he accompanied the communication with his own answers and remarks, the objections were not deemed of sufficient weight to produce any material change in the intended arrangements.
It must be observed however with regard to the opinions both of Major Rennell and other intelligent persons among Park’s friends, who disapproved of the expedition, that their objections appear for the most part to have been too general and indiscriminate; proceeding perhaps too much upon vague and indefinite ideas of the dangers which experience had shewn to be incidental to such a journey, and being therefore equally conclusive against any new attempt to explore the interior of Africa. To these objections it may be sufficient to oppose the authority of Sir Joseph Banks, who was of course much consulted by Park, and also by the Secretary of State; and whose opinion on this subject appears to have been equally temperate and judicious. Without in the least extenuating the dangers of the intended expedition, which he regarded as one of the most hazardous ever undertaken, he still thought that the dangers were not greater than might reasonably be encountered for the sake of very important objects; justly observing that it was only from similar risks of human life that great geographical discoveries were in general to be expected. The correctness of his opinion was sufficiently shewn by the event; since it will hereafter appear that the failure of the undertaking was owing rather to accidental circumstances than to any defect in the original plan of the expedition itself.
After due consideration, it was at length finally determined that the expedition should consist of Park himself, his brother in law Mr. Alexander Anderson, who was to be next to Park in authority, and Mr. George Scott, who was to act as a draftsman; together with a few boat builders and artificers. They were not to be accompanied by any troops from England; but were to be joined at Goree by a certain number of soldiers of the African corps stationed in that garrison, who might be disposed to volunteer for the service.
Mr. Anderson and Mr. Scott, the associates of Park in this expedition, were intelligent and excellent young men; the former a surgeon of several years’ experience, the latter an artist of very promising talents. They were both of them friends and fellow countrymen of Park (being natives of the county of Selkirk), and inspired by him with a great ardour for the undertaking in which they were about to engage.
The expedition being thus limited as to its nature and objects, and nothing more being necessary than to procure a proper assortment of stores and commercial articles, and provide the means of conveying the party with their small cargo to the coast of Africa; it was to be expected that the mission might be sent out immediately, or with very little delay. This indeed was an object of great importance, considering the advanced time of the year; it being obvious that if the expedition should be detained for any considerable time, it might have the effect of postponing the journey into the interior to the period of the rainy season, and thus perhaps, of rendering the whole plan abortive. Fully aware of this danger, Park was anxious and earnest in his endeavours to obtain the necessary orders from the several public departments. But, partly from unforeseen circumstances, and partly from official forms and the pressure of business deemed of greater importance, he was destined to experience a long succession of delays; which, though certainly unintentional, and perhaps in some degree unavoidable, were ultimately productive of very unfortunate results. Nor was it till after waiting two months, (a period of great uneasiness and mortification) that he received his official instructions: after which nearly another month elapsed before he could set sail from England.
The instructions given to Park were communicated to him in a Letter addressed to him by the Secretary of State, in the following terms.
Downing-street, 2d January, 1805.
“It being judged expedient that a small expedition should be sent into the interior of Africa, with a view to discover and ascertain whether any, and what commercial intercourse can be opened therein for the mutual benefit of the natives and of His Majesty’s subjects, I am commanded by the King to acquaint you, that on account of the knowledge you have acquired of the nations of Africa, and from the indefatigable exertions and perseverance you displayed in your travels among them, His Majesty has selected you for conducting this undertaking.
“For better enabling you to execute this service His Majesty has granted you the brevet commission of a captain in Africa, and has also granted a similar commission of lieutenant to Mr. Alexander Anderson, whom you have recommended as a proper person to accompany you. Mr. Scott has also been selected to attend you as draftsman. You are hereby empowered to enlist with you for this expedition any number you think proper of the garrison at Goree, not exceeding forty-five, which the commandant of that Island will be ordered to place under your command, giving them such bounties or encouragement, as may be necessary to induce them cheerfully to join with you on the expedition.
“And you are hereby authorised to engage by purchase or otherwise, such a number of black artificers at Goree as you shall judge necessary for the objects you have in view.
“You are to be conveyed to Goree in a transport convoyed by His Majesty’s sloop Eugenie, which will be directed to proceed with you in the first instance to St. Jago, in order that you may there purchase fifty asses for carrying your baggage.
“When you shall have prepared whatever may be necessary for securing the objects of the expedition at Goree, you are to proceed up the river Gambia; and thence crossing over to the Senegal to march by such route as you shall find most eligible, to the banks of the Niger.
“The great object of your journey will be to pursue the course of this river to the utmost possible distance to which it can be traced; to establish communication and intercourse with the different nations on the banks; to obtain all the local knowledge in your power respecting them; and to ascertain the various points stated in the Memoir which you delivered to me on the 4th of October last.
“And you will be then at liberty to pursue your route homewards by any line you shall think most secure, either by taking a new direction through the Interior towards the Atlantic, or by marching upon Cairo by taking the route leading to Tripoli.
“You are hereby empowered to draw for any sum that you may be in want of, not exceeding £5000. upon the Lords of His Majesty’s Treasury, or upon such mercantile banking-house in London as you may fix upon.
“I am, &c.
“To Mungo Park, Esq. &c. &c. &c.”
The preparations for the expedition being now entirely completed, Park, together with Mr. Anderson and Mr. Scott, proceeded to Portsmouth, where they were joined by four or five artificers, from the dock-yards appointed for the service; and after waiting some time for a wind, they at last set sail in the Crescent transport, on the 30th of January, 1805, and arrived at Port Praya Bay in the Cape Verd Islands about the 8th of March. The transactions of Park from the time of his embarkation in England to his departure from Kayee on the Gambia for the Interior of Africa (a period of about seven weeks) will be best described by the following letters, and extracts selected from his correspondence.
To Mr. Dickson
Port Praya Bay, St. Jago, March 13, 1805.
“We have had a very tedious passage to this place, having been pestered with contrary winds, strong gales, and French privateers. We have all of us kept our health remarkably well, considering the very great change of climate. Mr. Anderson has the rheumatism in his knee, but is getting better. Mr. Scott is off this morning for the Interior of the Island, to take sketches; and as soon as I have finished this letter I am going on shore to finish my purchase of asses. I bought all the corn, &c. last night, and twenty-four asses, and I shall purchase thirty-two more to day; so you see we shall not be detained here. We shall have taken in all the water today, and the first division of the asses will come on board tomorrow. We expect to sail for Goree on Saturday or Sunday.
“I have been so much employed that I have had no time as yet to look after plants; indeed this seems a very unfavourable season of the year for natural history, the whole country being quite dry and withered. I have collected some observations on the present state of the Cape Verd Islands, which I will send home by the sloop of war.
“If Sir Joseph enquires after me, tell him that I am going on as well as I could wish; and if I have as little trouble at Goree as I am likely to have here, I hope to be able to date a letter from the Niger by the 4th of June.”
To Mrs. Park.
Goree, 4th April, 1805.
“I have just now learnt that an American ship sails from this place for England in a few days; and I readily embrace the opportunity of sending a letter to my dearest wife. We have all of us kept our health very well ever since our departure from England. Alexander had a touch of the rheumatism at St. Jago, but is now quite recovered; he danced several country dances at the ball last night. George Scott is also in good health and spirits. I wrote to you from St. Jago, which letter I hope you received. We left that place on the 21st of March, and arrived here with the asses on the 28th. Almost every soldier in the Garrison, volunteered to go with me; and with the Governor’s assistance I have chosen a guard of the best men in the place. So lightly do the people here think of the danger attending the undertaking, that I have been under the necessity of refusing several military and naval officers who volunteered to accompany me. We shall sail for Gambia on Friday or Saturday. I am happy to learn that Karfa, my old friend, is at present at Jonkakonda; and I am in hopes we shall be able to hire him to go with us.
“We have as yet been extremely fortunate, and have got our business both at St. Jago and this place finished with great success: and I have hopes, almost to certainty, that Providence will so dispose the tempers and passions of the inhabitants of this quarter of the world, that we shall be enabled to slide through much more smoothly than you expect.
“I need not tell you how often I think about you; your own feelings will enable you to judge of that. The hopes of spending the remainder of my life with my wife and children will make every thing seem easy; and you may be sure I will not rashly risk my life, when I know that your happiness, and the welfare of my young ones depend so much upon it. I hope my Mother does not torment herself with unnecessary fears about me. I sometimes fancy how you and she will be meeting misfortune half way, and placing me in many distressing situations. I have as yet experienced nothing but success, and I hope that six months more will end the whole as I wish.”
“P.S. We have taken a ride this morning about twelve miles into the country. Alexander is much pleased with it; the heat is moderate, and the country healthy at present.”
To Edward Cooke, Esq. Under Secretary of State for the Colonial Department.
Jillifree, River Gambia, April 9th, 1805.
“It is with great pleasure that I embrace this opportunity of sending you a general account of our proceedings since leaving England.
“We had a very tedious passage to the Cape Verd Islands, being detained by storms and contrary winds in the Bay of Biscay, so that we did not reach St. Jago till the 8th of March. I immediately set about purchasing the asses, corn, hay, &c. and succeeded so well that on the 18th I had embarked forty-four asses with plenty of corn and hay. The master of the transport declared that he could not receive any more consistently with the safety of the vessel. We sailed for Goree on the 21st. While we were getting under way, six English ships of the line, one of them a three decker, came into the Bay. They did not hail us; one of them had an Admiral’s blue flag at the mizen.
“We made the coast of Africa on the 25th, and anchored in Goree roads on the morning of the 28th. I immediately went on shore, and having delivered the dispatches to Major Lloyd, consulted with him respecting the proper encouragement to be offered to the troops. We agreed that nothing would be so great an inducement as double pay during the journey, and a discharge on their return. A Garrison order to this effect was accordingly made out; and in the course of a few days almost every soldier in the Garrison had volunteered his services. Lieutenant Martyn of the Royal Artillery Corps having likewise volunteered, I thought it would be of consequence to have an officer who was acquainted with the men, and who could assist me in choosing such as were best able to stand fatigue. I therefore accepted his services on the conditions mentioned in Lord Camden’s letter. Captain Shortland, of the Squirrel Frigate, has allowed two of his best seamen to go with me as volunteers in order to assist in rigging and navigating our Nigritian Men of War. I have given them the same encouragement as the soldiers, and have had the four carpenters whom I brought from England attested, in order to put the whole under the same discipline and regulations.
“On the morning of the 6th of April we embarked the soldiers, in number thirty-five men. They jumped into the boats in the highest spirits, and bade adieu to Goree with repeated huzzas. I believe that every man in the Garrison would have embarked with great cheerfulness; but no inducement could prevail on a single Negro to accompany me. I must therefore trust to the Gambia for interpreters, and I expect to be able to hire or purchase three or four in going up the river. I will send a particular account of all money matters by the return of the Transport.”
To Sir Joseph Banks.
Kayee, River Gambia, April 26th, 1805.
“My Dear Friend,
“I know that you will be pleased to hear that I am in good health, and going forwards with as much success as I could reasonably expect. In my letter to Lord Camden, I have given a short statement of my transactions since I left England, which I have requested his Lordship to shew to you. By that you will see that I have had but little time to attend to objects of natural history; but lest you should think that I have neglected this pursuit entirely, I have sent a few specimens in a trunk, which I hope will come safe; the most remarkable are,
“1st. The Fang jani, or self-burning tree of Gambia. This grows plentifully on the banks of the Gambia betwixt Yanimaroo and Kayee, and no where else. It is certainly burnt by some internal process, of which I am ignorant. Few of the natives have seen it actually burning; but every person who has sailed up the Gambia will allow that these bushes are burnt in places where no human being could set them on fire, and where the grass around them was not burnt. I have sent you a burnt stump, two tops, and a fruit.
“2d. The Kino, (so called by the natives), a branch and fruit of the original gum kino tree and a paper of the real gum; none of this gum is at present exported from Gambia, though it might be collected in some quantity.
“3d. The Tribo, a root with which the natives dye their leather of a yellow colour. It is not in flower at this season. [Footnote: See Appendix, No. V.]
“The wars which at present prevail in Bondou and Kasson, have prevented the merchants from bringing down the Shea butter; otherwise I would have sent you a pot of it. I have sent you as a specimen of African manufactures, a Mandingo cloth dyed from the leaves of the indigo, half a dozen small pots, and some Lefa’s or calabash covers. I regret that I have not been able to procure any Bondou Frankincense. — Give my compliments to Major Rennell, and tell him that I hope to be able to correct my former errors. The course of the Gambia is certainly not so long as is laid down in the charts. The watch goes so correctly that I will measure Africa by feet and inches.
“In case any unfavourable reports should be raised respecting the termination of our journey, I request that you will endeavour as much as you can to prevent them from finding their way into the newspapers, or by any other manner reaching the ears of my dear wife and mother.”
To Mrs. Park.
Kayee, River Gambia, April 26, 1805.
“I have been busy these three days in making preparations for our journey, and I feel rather uneasy when I think that I can receive no letters from you till I return to England; but you may depend on this, that I will avail myself of every opportunity of writing to you, though from the very nature of the undertaking these opportunities will be but few. We set off for the Interior tomorrow morning; and I assure you, that whatever the issue of the present journey may be, every thing looks favourable. We have been successful thus far, beyond my highest expectations.
“The natives instead of being frightened at us, look on us as their best friends, and the kings have not only granted us protection, but sent people to go before us. The soldiers are in the highest spirits; and as many of them (like me) have left a wife and family in England, they are happy to embrace this opportunity of returning. They never think about difficulties; and I am confident, if there was occasion for it, that they would defeat any number of Negroes that might come against us; but of this we have not the most distant expectation. The King of Kataba (the most powerful King in Gambia) visited us on board the Crescent on the 20th and 21st; he has furnished us with a messenger to conduct us safely to the King of Woolli.
“I expect to have an opportunity of writing to you from Konkodoo or Bammakoo, by some of the slave traders; but as they travel very slowly, I may probably have returned to the coast before any of my letters have reached Goree; at any rate, you need not be surprised if you should not hear from me for some months; nay, so uncertain is the communication between Africa and England, that perhaps the next news you may hear, may be my arrival in the latter, which I still think will be in the month of December. If we have to go round by the West Indies, it will take us two months more; but as Government has given me an unlimited credit, if a vessel is coming direct, I shall of course take a passage in her. I have enjoyed excellent health, and have great hopes to bring this expedition to a happy conclusion. In five weeks from the date of this letter the worst part of the journey will be over. Kiss all my dear children for me, and let them know that their father loves them.”
In a letter to Mr. Dickson dated Kayee, April 26th, 1805, the day before his embarkation, Park writes as follows;
“Every thing, at present, looks as favourable as I could wish, and if all things go well, this day six weeks I expect to drink all your healths in the water of the Niger. The soldiers are in good health and spirits. They are the most dashing men I ever saw; and if they preserve their health, we may keep ourselves perfectly secure from any hostile attempt on the part of the natives. I have little doubt but that I shall be able with presents and fair words to pass through the country to the Niger; and if once we are fairly afloat, the day is won. — Give my kind regards to Sir Joseph and Mr. Greville; and if they should think that I have paid too little attention to natural objects, you may mention that I had forty men and forty-two asses to look after, besides the constant trouble of packing and weighing bundles, palavering with the Negroes, and laying plans for our future success. I never was so busy in my life.”
On reading this correspondence it is impossible not to be struck with the satisfaction expressed by Park, and the confidence with which he appears to have looked forward to a favourable termination of his journey. Yet in reality nothing could be much less promising than his actual situation and prospects at the time of writing these letters.
The detachment of the Royal African Corps, which was to escort the expedition, consisted of a Lieutenant and thirty-five privates. It was not to be expected that troops of a very superior quality could be furnished from a regiment which had been serving for any considerable time at a tropical station, such as Goree. But there is too much reason to believe that the men selected on the present occasion, notwithstanding the favourable opinion of them expressed by Park, and although they were the best that the Garrison could supply, were below the ordinary standard even of troops of this description; and that they were extremely deficient both in constitutional strength and vigour, and in those habits of sobriety, steadiness and good discipline which such a service peculiarly required.
But besides the indifferent quality of the troops, there was another and more serious cause of alarm, from the unfavourable period at which, owing to a series of unforeseen delays, Park found himself obliged to enter on this expedition. This he was about to do, not actually during the rainy season; but with a great probability of being overtaken by it in the course of his journey; and with a positive certainty of encountering in the mean time, not only the great tropical heats, but also the tornadoes, or hurricanes, which always precede and follow the rainy season. These hurricanes, of which no idea can be formed from the experience of our temperate climates, occur more frequently, and with greater violence as the rainy period approaches; and are attended with considerable inconvenience, and occasionally with danger, to caravans travelling at that season.
Whatever might be the opinion of Park as to the quality of his troops, of which he appears to have formed a very erroneous estimate, he must at least have been fully aware of the disadvantage arising from the near approach of the great tropical rains. But his situation was critical; and he had only a choice of difficulties. He might either attempt (what he might perhaps consider as being just possible) to reach the Niger before the rainy season should be completely set in; or he might postpone his journey till the return of the proper season for travelling, which would be in November or December following. The event has shewn that he would have acted more wisely in deferring the expedition. But the motives which might lead him to a contrary determination, were obvious and powerful; and will be found, on the whole, sufficient for the justification of his conduct. He must naturally have considered that the postponement of the expedition for seven months, besides being in the greatest degree irksome both to himself and the companions of his journey, would occasion a great additional expense, and disappoint the expectations of Government; and he might perhaps entertain doubts, since the case was not provided for by his official instructions, whether he should altogether escape censure, if he should postpone his journey for so long a period, under any circumstances much short of a positive and undoubted necessity.
In this difficult situation, he adopted that alternative which was most congenial to his character and feelings; and having once formed this resolution, he adhered to it with tranquillity and firmness; dismissing from his own mind all doubts and apprehensions, or at least effectually concealing them, from the companions of his journey, and from his friends and correspondents in England.
For the particulars of this second expedition, the reader must be referred to the Journal now published, which commences from this period. But in order to give a general view of the extent of Park’s labours, it may be useful on this, as on the former occasion, to note the more important dates, and some of the principal circumstances of the journey.
The persons composing the expedition, being assembled at Kayee, a small town on the Gambia a little below Pisania, Park engaged a Mandingo priest, named Isaaco, who was also a travelling merchant and much accustomed to long inland journies, to serve as the guide to his caravan. On the 27th of April 1805, he took his departure from Kayee, and arrived in two days at Pisania, from whence he had set out for the interior of Africa nearly ten years before. Some of the practical difficulties of the march were apparent during this short journey: and he found it necessary to stop at Pisania six days (a delay which must have been highly inconvenient), to purchase additional beasts of burden, and make other arrangements for the expedition.
He quitted Kayee on the 4th of May, and arrived on the 11th at Madina, the capital of the kingdom of Woolli. The effects of the season had already become apparent; two of the soldiers having fallen ill of the dysentery on the 8th. On the 15th he arrived on the banks of the Gambia; and about this time lost one of his soldiers, by an epilepsy.
On the 26th, the caravan experienced a singular accident (almost unintelligible to an European) from the attack of a large swarm of bees; in consequence of which, besides that many of the people were most severely stung, seven of their beasts of burden perished or were lost; and owing to an accidental fire which was kindled in the confusion, the whole baggage was near being burnt. For half an hour it seemed as if the bees had put an end to the expedition.
[Footnote: A similar accident from an attack of bees, though much less serious than the present, was witnessed by Park in his journey with the caravan of slaves from Kamalia to the Gambia, and is described in his Travels, p. 331.]
On the 28th of May, Park arrived at Badoo, where he mentions having had an opportunity of sending two letters to England by way of the Gambia. These letters were addressed to Sir Joseph Banks and Mrs. Park; and are as follows.
To Sir Joseph Banks.
Badoo, near Tambacunda, May 28th, 1805.
“A Slatee is going from this place in a few hours for the Gambia, and I have hired him to stop his asses till I write a few lines. We have had as prosperous an expedition thus far, as I could have expected; a short abridgement of our journey will serve to shew where we are.
[Here follow the names of the places where the caravan rested each night; the particulars of which are fully detailed in the Journal.]
“We are going this evening to Tambacunda. You must not imagine, my dear friend, from this hasty sketch that I have neglected astronomical observations; I have observed the latitude every two or three days, and have observed three eclipses of Jupiter’s Satellites, which settle the longitude, by the help of the watch, to the nearest mile. I saw plenty of Shea trees yesterday for the first time since my return to Africa, the fruit being not yet ripe. The course of the Gambia is laid down on my chart too much to the south; I have ascertained nearly its whole course. I find that my former journeys on foot were underrated; some of them surprise myself, when I trace the same road on horseback. Sibikillin is 36’ East of where it is laid down on the chart. I propose sending an abridged account of my day’s transactions from Baniserile, to Lord Camden; but I request that nothing may be published till I return to England. A short time will decide the matter.
“I expect to reach the Niger on the 27th of June. You must excuse this hasty scrawl, as it is only meant to let you know that I am still alive and going forward in my journey. Please to let Mrs. Dickson know that I am well.”
To Mrs. Park,
Badoo, 29th May, 1805.
“I am happy to inform you that we are half through our journey without the smallest accident or unpleasant circumstance. We all of us keep our health, and are on the most friendly terms with the natives. I have seen many of my old acquaintances, and am every where well received. By the 27th of June we expect to have finished all our travels by land; and when we have once got afloat on the river, we shall conclude that we are embarking for England. I have never had the smallest sickness; and Alexander is quite free from all his stomach complaints.
“The bearer of this to the Gambia is waiting with his asses for a few minutes only; you will therefore inform all friends that we are well and going on prosperously. I see no reason to think that our stay in the Interior will be longer than I first mentioned.
“We carry our own victuals with us, and live very well; in fact we have only had a pleasant journey, and yet this is what we thought would be the worst part of it.
“I will indulge the hope that my wife, children, and all friends are well. I am in great hopes of finishing this journey with credit in a few months; and then with what joy shall I turn my face towards home! The Slatee is impatient for the letter; and I have only time to subscribe myself, &c.”
Notwithstanding these letters, it is evident from Park’s Journal that his situation was now very critical. The tornadoes had begun to be frequent; and a few days afterwards it became quite apparent that the rainy season was seriously setting in, before the journey to the Niger was more than half completed. The effect produced on the health of the soldiers by a violent rain on the 10th of June, was almost instantaneous; twelve of them at once were dangerously ill, and from this time the great mortality commenced, which was ultimately fatal to the expedition.
At Shrondo, in the kingdom of Dentila, where the caravan shortly afterwards arrived, there are considerable gold mines; and the journal contains a minute and interesting description both of the manner of collecting the metal, and of the country in which it is found.
After quitting Shrondo, Park mentions that on the 12th of June, in consequence of a very sudden tornado, they were forced to carry their bundles into the huts of the natives, being the first time that the caravan had entered a town since leaving the Gambia. Considering the climate and season, this slight circumstance is alone a sufficient proof of the hardships which must have been sustained by Europeans during such a journey.
At Dindikoo beyond Shrondo, Park was much struck with the beauty and magnificence of that mountainous tract of country, as well as with the degree in which it was cultivated and the comparatively happy condition of the inhabitants. Proceeding a little farther, he quitted the track he had hitherto followed, by which he had formerly returned from Kamalia to the Gambia; and directed his course towards the north-east, with a view probably of avoiding the Jallonka Wilderness. But the difficulties of travelling were now become extreme; partly from the nature of the country, but principally from the increasing prevalence of the disease produced by the continued rains.
On the 4th of July he was near losing Isaaco, his guide; who in crossing a river was twice attacked by a crocodile, and saved himself by extraordinary presence of mind, though not without some very severe wounds. This accident detained the caravan several days, and added to the numerous delays which had so unfortunately impeded the expedition.
Several of the soldiers had died during the course of the journey; and on the 6th of July the whole number of persons composing the caravan (except one) were either actually sick, or in a state of great debility. Yet he still had considerable difficulties to encounter, in traversing a country, where he was obliged to be constantly on the watch against the depredations of the inhabitants, and occasionally, the attacks of wild beasts. Under such circumstances it is not wonderful that the few soldiers, not disabled by sickness, fell back; and it was with great difficulty that any of them could be prevailed on to continue their march. After a series of dangers and sufferings, such as have been experienced by few travellers, he at length reached the Niger (at Bambakoo, where the river begins to be navigable) on the 19th of August 1805.
This was more than seven weeks beyond the time, upon which he had calculated when he quitted the Gambia; and the effects of this protracted march, which had carried him far into the rainy season, were unfortunately but too apparent. Of the Europeans who composed the expedition, consisting of about forty at the time of quitting the Gambia, there were now only eleven survivors. Of these the principal persons, besides Park, namely Mr. Anderson, Mr. Scott, and Lieutenant Martyn, were all more or less affected by the disease; the two former very seriously, and Mr. Scott, in particular, to so great a degree that he had been obliged to remain behind, and died shortly afterwards without reaching the Niger.
It was fortunate that Park’s health had hitherto been very slightly affected, since the whole burden of the expedition evidently rested upon him. He not only directed all the great movements of the caravan, but superintended its minutest details, and was foremost on all occasions requiring physical strength and great personal exertions. In these arduous services both of body and mind, Mr. Anderson and his other associates, who might have been expected to share in his labours, were incapable of rendering him any useful assistance; and by their continued ill health, contributed in no small degree to the anxiety and embarrassments attending the expedition.
Being thus arrived at the Niger, he embarked upon that river on the 21st of August, and the following day reached Marraboo; from whence he shortly afterwards dispatched Isaaco to Sego, the capital of Bambarra, to negociate with Mansong the sovereign, for a free passage through his dominions and for such other facilities as might enable him to prosecute his journey into the interior. He remained at Marraboo, waiting Isaaco’s return; and in the mean time was seized with the dysentery, which had been fatal to so many of his followers; but saved himself by a bold and vigorous course of medicine, which, aided by the great strength of his constitution, restored him to health very speedily.
After much negociation and many difficulties with Mansong’s ministers, he was at first permitted to go to Samee in the neighbourhood of Sego, and afterwards to Sansanding; in order to build a vessel and make preparations for his voyage down the Niger. In this negociation, which is fully detailed in the Journal, Park appears to much advantage. His speech to Mansong’s messengers, explaining the purpose and objects of his expedition into Africa, is distinguished by great propriety and good sense; and affords a very favourable specimen of his talents for such transactions. [Footnote: Journal, p. 151.]
It may be recollected that when Park arrived at Sego during his former journey, Mansong sent him a present of five thousand cowries, but refused to admit him into his presence, and gave directions that he should immediately depart from that city. [Footnote: Park’s Travels, p. 199.] This conduct in a sovereign apparently tolerant and liberal, was very reasonably attributed by Park to an apprehension on the part of Mansong, that he should be unable to protect him against the inveterate malice of his Moorish subjects. There is every reason to think that Mansong, on the present occasion, was actuated by similar feelings; since he neither saw Park, nor expressed any desire to see him; and his whole conduct, both during the negociation and afterwards, indicated great coldness and reserve. It appears also that many rumours unfavourable to the mission were industriously circulated; and that great jealousies, stimulated both by religious bigotry and the apprehension of commercial rivalship, were excited against Park among the Moorish inhabitants of Sego and Sansanding.
The anxiety and suspense produced in Park’s mind by these rumours, were in some degree removed by the arrival of Bookari, the singing man or bard of Mansong, with six canoes, being commissioned to attend him to the neighbourhood of Sego. Under this escort, he embarked at Marraboo on the 13th of September; and notwithstanding the unsatisfactory state of his affairs, his mind was sufficiently at ease to receive great delight from this short voyage down the Niger. “Nothing,” he says, “can be more beautiful than the views of this immense river; sometimes as smooth as a mirror; at other times ruffled by a gentle breeze; but at all times wafting us along at the rate of six or seven miles an hour.” [Footnote: Journal, p. 148] After the indifference shewn towards him by Mansong, he thought it not prudent to visit Sego; but went on to Sansanding, a place a little eastwards of Sego on the banks of the Niger, containing about ten thousand inhabitants. Here Park remained the greater part of two months, and traded to a considerable extent; and as this was the first African town distant from the coast, at which he had an opportunity of residing, he had the means of obtaining much information; which if it could be communicated to the public, would probably form an important addition to our knowledge of the internal state of Africa.
Fortunately the information thus acquired has not been entirely lost to the world; a few particulars, the fruit of his active and intelligent curiosity, still remain. The view which Park has given of the trade and population of Sansanding, must be considered as the most original and valuable part of his Journal. The information which he has collected concerning prices, is new in its kind, and in several points of view, highly curious and important. But there are other circumstances, which must strike every intelligent reader as being more peculiarly interesting and instructive; the existence of regular markets; the division of labour, appearing from the establishment of distinct branches of trade; the variety of articles exposed to sale; and the great extent of commercial transactions. These facts imply that industry is protected, and property in a certain degree secure; and fully confirm Park’s former statements with regard to the comparative civilization and improvement of the interior of Africa.
One of Park’s principal objects at Sansanding was to provide a proper vessel for his farther navigation down the Niger; and it was with great difficulty that he procured two indifferent and decayed canoes; from which by the labour of his own hands, with some assistance from one of the surviving soldiers, he constructed a flat-bottomed vessel, to which he gave the magnificent title of His Majesty’s schooner the Joliba.
Previously to this time, Park had received intelligence of the death of Mr. Scott, whom he had been obliged to leave at Koomikoomi, on his march towards the Niger; and now whilst he was employed in building his vessel, he had to lament the loss of his friend Mr. Anderson, who died on the 28th of October, after a lingering illness of four months. He speaks of this severe blow in his Journal very shortly, but in a strain of natural eloquence, flowing evidently from the heart, “No event,” he says, “during the journey, ever threw the smallest gloom over his mind till he laid Mr. Anderson in the grave; he then felt himself as if left a second time lonely and friendless amidst the wilds of Africa.” [Footnote: Journal, p. 163.]
Fancy can hardly picture a situation more perilous than that of Park at this time, nor an enterprise more utterly hopeless than that which he was now to undertake. Of the Europeans who had accompanied him from the Gambia, Lieutenant Martyn and three soldiers (one of them in a state of mental derangement) were all who now survived. He was about to embark on a vast and unknown river, which might possibly terminate in some great lake or inland sea, at an immense distance from the coast; but which he hoped and believed would conduct him to the shores of the Atlantic, after a course of considerably more than three thousand miles, through the midst of savage nations, and probably also after a long succession of rapids, lakes, and cataracts. This voyage, one of the most formidable ever attempted, was to be undertaken in a crazy and ill appointed vessel, manned by a few Negroes and four Europeans!
On the 16th of November the schooner being completed, and every preparation made for the voyage, Park put the finishing hand to his Journal; and in the course of the succeeding days previous to the embarkation, which appears to have taken place on the 19th, he wrote letters to his father-inlaw, Mr. Anderson, Sir Joseph Banks, Lord Camden, and Mrs. Park. Those addressed to the three latter, being the most interesting, are here inserted at length, and cannot be read without considerable interest. They all of them bear strong traces of that deliberate courage without effort or ostentation, which distinguished his whole conduct; and his letter to Lord Camden breathes a generous spirit of self-devotion, highly expressive of the character and feelings of the writer.
To Sir Joseph Banks.
Sansanding, November 16, 1805.
“MY DEAR FRIEND,
“I should be wanting in gratitude, if I did not avail myself of every opportunity of informing you how I have succeeded in this enterprise. I have sent an account of each day’s proceeding to Lord Camden, and have requested his Lordship to send it to you for your perusal.
“With respect to my future views, it is my intention to keep the middle of the river, and make the best use I can of winds and currents till I reach the termination of this mysterious stream. I have hired a guide to go with me to Kashna; he is a native of Kasson, but one of the greatest travellers in this part of Africa, having visited Miniana, Kong, Baedoo, Gotto, and Cape Corse Castle to the South, and Tombuctoo, Houssa, Nyffe, Kashna, and Bornou towards the East. He says that the Niger, after it passes Kashna, runs directly to the right hand, or the South; he never heard of any person who had seen its termination; and is certain that it does not end any where in the vicinity of Kashna or Bornou, having resided some time in both these kingdoms.
“He says our voyage to Kashna will occupy two months; that we touch on the Moors no where but at Tombuctoo; the north bank of the river in all other places being inhabited by a race of people resembling the Moors in colour, called Surka, Mahinga, and Tuarick, according to the different kingdoms they inhabit. I have as yet had only two conversations with my guide, and they were chiefly occupied in adjusting money matters; but I have no doubt that I shall find him a very useful fellow traveller.
“I have purchased some fresh Shea nuts, which I intend taking with me to the West Indies, as we shall probably have to go there on our way home. I expect that we shall reach the sea in three months from this; and if we are lucky enough to find a vessel, we shall lose no time on the coast. But at all events you will probably hear from me; as I mean to write from Kashna by my guide, and endeavour to hire some of the merchants to carry a letter to the north from that place. With best wishes for your health and prosperity I am, &c.”
“P. S. Have the goodness to remember me most kindly to my friend Major Rennell.”
To the Earl Camden, One of His Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State, &c. &c. &c.
On board of H. M. Schooner Joliba, at anchor off Sansanding, November 17, 1805.
“I have herewith sent you an account of each day’s proceedings since we left Kayee. Many of the incidents related are in themselves extremely trifling; but are intended to recall to my recollection (if it pleases God to restore me again to my dear native land) other particulars illustrative of the manners and customs of the natives, which would have swelled this bulky communication to a most unreasonable size.
“Your Lordship will recollect that I always spoke of the rainy season with horror, as being extremely fatal to Europeans; and our journey from the Gambia to the Niger will furnish a melancholy proof of it.
“We had no contest whatever with the natives, nor was any one of us killed by wild animals or any other accidents; and yet I am sorry to say that of forty-four Europeans who left the Gambia in perfect health, five only are at present alive, viz. three soldiers (one deranged in his mind) Lieutenant Martyn, and myself.
“From this account I am afraid that your Lordship will be apt to consider matters as in a very hopeless state; but I assure you I am far from desponding. With the assistance of one of the soldiers I have changed a large canoe into a tolerably good schooner, on board of which I this day hoisted the British flag, and shall set sail to the east with the fixed resolution to discover the termination of the Niger or perish in the attempt. I have heard nothing that I can depend on respecting the remote course of this mighty stream; but I am more and more inclined to think that it can end no where but in the sea.
“My dear friend Mr. Anderson and likewise Mr. Scott are both dead; but though all the Europeans who are with me should die, and though I were myself half dead, I would still persevere; and if I could not succeed in the object of my journey, I would at last die on the Niger.
“If I succeed in the object of my journey, I expect to be in England in the month of May or June by way of the West Indies.
“I request that your Lordship will have the goodness to permit my friend Sir Joseph Banks to peruse the abridged account of my proceedings, and that it may be preserved, in case I should lose my papers.
“I have the honour to be, &c.”
To Mrs. Park.
Sansanding, 19th November, 1805.
“It grieves me to the heart to write any thing that may give you uneasiness; but such is the will of him who doeth all things well! Your brother Alexander, my dear friend, is no more! He died of the fever at Sansanding, on the morning of the 28th of October; for particulars I must refer you to your father.
“I am afraid that, impressed with a woman’s fears and the anxieties of a wife, you may be led to consider my situation as a great deal worse than it really is. It is true, my dear friends, Mr. Anderson and George Scott, have both bid adieu to the things of this world; and the greater part of the soldiers have died on the march during the rainy season; but you may believe me, I am in good health. The rains are completely over, and the healthy season has commenced, so that there is no danger of sickness; and I have still a sufficient force to protect me from any insult in sailing down the river, to the sea.
“We have already embarked all our things, and shall sail the moment I have finished this letter. I do not intend to stop or land any where, till we reach the coast: which I suppose will be some time in the end of January. We shall then embark in the first vessel for England. If we have to go round by the West Indies, the voyage will occupy three months longer; so that we expect to be in England on the first of May. The reason of our delay since we left the coast was the rainy season, which came on us during the journey; and almost all the soldiers became affected with the fever.
“I think it not unlikely but I shall be in England before you receive this — You may be sure that I feel happy at turning my face towards home. We this morning have done with all intercourse with the natives; and the sails are now hoisting for our departure for the coast.”
Here all authentic information concerning Park unfortunately terminates. His letters and Journal were brought by Isaaco to the Gambia, and transmitted from thence to England. For some time nothing farther was heard of the expedition; but in the course of the year 1806 unfavourable accounts were brought by the native traders from the interior of Africa to the British settlements on the coast; and it was currently reported, but upon no distinct authority, that Park and his companions were killed. These rumours increasing, and no intelligence of Park being received, Lieutenant Colonel Maxwell, then Governor of Senegal (at present Governor of Sierra Leone), obtained permission from Government to send a proper person to ascertain the truth of the reports; and he was fortunate enough to engage Isaaco, Park’s guide, to go upon this mission.
Isaaco left Senegal in January 1810, and was absent about twenty months. He returned on the 1st of September 1811, with a full confirmation of the reports concerning Park’s death. As the result of his enquiries into this subject, he delivered to the Governor a Journal of his whole proceedings kept by himself in the Arabic language, including another Journal which he had received from Amadi Fatouma, the guide who had accompanied Park from Sansanding down the Niger. A translation of this singular document was made at Senegal by the directions of Colonel Maxwell, and transmitted by him to the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department.
On the subject of this Journal, so far as it immediately relates to Park’s death, very few remarks will be necessary. Being originally written by a native African, and translated by some person who probably had but a moderate knowledge of the Arabian dialect in which it is composed, it is far from being always clear or even intelligible; and in the state in which it now appears, it is open to much observation. Neither indeed can it be considered in itself as a document of a very authentic or satisfactory description. But the account which it gives of Park’s death appears on the whole to be probable and consistent; and is so far corroborated by other circumstances as to leave no reasonable doubt with regard to the fact.
[Footnote: The genuine travelling Journal of a native African Merchant may in some respects be considered as interesting, simply from the circumstance of its singularity. But it must be acknowledged that for the mere purpose of gratifying curiosity very few specimens of Isaaco would have been sufficient. The sole reason for publishing such a document at full length, is the circumstance of its containing the only direct evidence of Park’s death. In every other point of view it is wholly destitute of interest, and cannot even be read through, without a strong effort; being inconceivably tedious, and having all the dry minuteness of a log book, without its valuable precision. There is great confusion as to places and times; and it is possible only in a very few cases, to identify the former by reference to the names of places given by Park. Incidents the most trifling are related exactly in the same tone and manner as those of the greatest importance. The account of Park’s death is given with more details, and the story is not ill told. But some of the facts are very questionable; and the circumstance of Park and Lieutenant Martyn leaping hand in hand with the soldiers into the river, is much too theatrical to be literally true. — What is most incredible, is the description of the place where the event happened, which is stated to be an opening in a rock “in the form of a door,” forming the only passage for the water; a fact so strange, that (if it were worth while to conjecture) one might suspect an error in the translation.]
It is true that the proof of Park’s death according to this Journal, depends entirely upon the statement of Amadi Fatouma; but the nature of the case admits of no other direct evidence; and some regard must be had to the opinion of Isaaco, considered by Colonel Maxwell as a person entitled to a certain degree of credit, who, after full investigation, was satisfied as to the truth of Amadi’s account. It may be observed also, as a circumstance which gives additional weight to Isaaco’s judgment, that being well acquainted with the anxiety of his employers respecting Park’s safety, he must naturally have been desirous of discovering reasons for believing that he was still in existence; and was therefore unlikely to admit the fact of his death upon any ground, short of his own positive conviction.
But the principal and decisive circumstance in this case, is the length of time which has elapsed without any intelligence being heard of Park, since his departure from Sansanding in November 1805. This can only be accounted for, by supposing either that he is actually dead or detained in Africa as a captive; and when we consider the nature of the enterprise in which he was engaged, his personal character, and the resistance he was likely to make in case of any hostile attack, we must acknowledge that of the two suppositions, the former is by far the most probable.
To this it may be added, that since the time of the original reports respecting Park’s death in 1806, no circumstance has occurred to bring that fact into doubt; if we except a few transient rumours relative to white men stated to be in remote parts of the interior of Africa, which have led some persons to suppose that Park may be still in existence. Several surmises of this kind (for they are entitled to no higher appellation) have from time to time been circulated, and have found their way into newspapers and public journals; although the slightest enquiry would have shewn that they were entitled to no credit or attention. They would commonly be found to originate from loose and indistinct communications received from some of the settlements on the African coast, to which very slight and insignificant circumstances might originally have given occasion. A Moor or an Asiatic, the colour of whose skin differs by a few shades from that of the native Africans, would be described by them as a stranger or white man. The hearsay accounts of the appearance of such a person in the interior of Africa would afford ample materials for credulity and exaggeration; and might easily give rise to reports and assertions the most unfounded and extravagant.
Upon the whole there seems to be no reasonable ground of doubt with regard to the fact either of Park’s death or of its having happened in the manner described in Isaaco’s Journal. The first of these may be considered as morally certain, the latter as highly probable. But the exact time when this event took place and the circumstances attending it, are left in great obscurity; partly from a general want of distinctness and precision in the narrative; but principally because the particulars related, depend altogether upon the unsupported testimony of a slave, (represented as the only survivor of those who were with Park at the time of his death,) from whom the information was obtained at an interval of three months after the transaction. It is obvious that no reliance can be placed on a narrative resting upon such authority; and we must be content to remain in ignorance of the precise circumstances of Park’s melancholy fate. But that he was attacked by the natives on his voyage from Sansanding eastwards, that he was overpowered by numbers, and that he perished on his passage down the Niger, cannot reasonably be doubted.
The leading parts of Mungo Park’s character must have been anticipated by the reader in the principal events and transactions of his life. Of his enterprising spirit, his indefatigable vigilance and activity, his calm fortitude and unshaken perseverance, he has left permanent memorials in the narrative of his former travels and in the Journal and Correspondence now published. In these respects few travellers have equalled, none certainly ever surpassed him. Nor were the qualities of his understanding less valuable or conspicuous. He was distinguished by a correctness of judgment, seldom found united with an ardent and adventurous turn of mind, and generally deemed incompatible with it. His talents certainly were not brilliant, but solid and useful, such as were peculiarly suited to a traveller and geographical discoverer. Hence, in his accounts of new and unknown countries, he is consistent and rational; he is betrayed into no exaggeration, nor does he exhibit any traces of credulity or enthusiasm. His attention was directed exclusively to facts; and except in his opinion relative to the termination of the Niger (which he supported by very plausible arguments) he rarely indulged in conjecture, much less in hypothesis or speculation.
Among the characteristic qualities of Park which were so apparent in his former travels, none certainly were more valuable or contributed more to his success than his admirable prudence, calmness and temper; but it has been doubted whether these merits were equally conspicuous during his second expedition. The parts of his conduct which have given occasion to this remark, are, his setting out from the Gambia almost at the eve of the rainy season, and his voyage down the Niger under circumstances so apparently desperate. On the motives by which he may have been influenced as to the former of these measures, something has been said in the course of the foregoing narrative. [Footnote: See p. lxvi.] With regard to his determination in the latter instance, justice must allow that his situation was one of extreme difficulty, and admitted probably of no alternative. In both cases our knowledge of the facts is much too imperfect to enable us to form a correct opinion as to the propriety of his conduct, much less to justify us in condemning him unheard.
In all the relations of private life, he appears to have been highly exemplary; and his conduct as a son, a husband, and a father merited every praise. To the more gentle and amiable parts of his character the most certain of all testimonies may be found in the warm attachment of his friends, and in the fond and affectionate recollections of every branch of his family.
There are some moral defects very difficult to be avoided by those persons, who from a situation comparatively obscure, rise to sudden distinction and celebrity. From these failings Park was happily exempt. He was a stranger to all vanity and affectation; and notwithstanding his great popularity and success, appears to have lost no portion of the genuine simplicity of his character and manners. This simplicity originated perhaps in a considerable degree from a certain coldness and reserve, which, as was before remarked, rendered him very indifferent, and perhaps somewhat averse, to mixed or general society. It was probably owing to the same cause that his conversation, for a man who had seen so much, had nothing remarkable, and was rarely striking or animated. Hence, although his appearance was interesting and prepossessing, he was apt to disappoint the expectations of strangers; and those persons who estimated his general talents from his powers of conversation, formed an erroneous and inadequate opinion of his merits.
In his person he was tall, being about six feet high, and perfectly well proportioned. His countenance and whole appearance were highly interesting; and his frame active and robust, fitted for great exertions and the endurance of great hardships. His constitution had suffered considerably from the effects of his first journey into Africa, but seems afterwards to have been restored to its original vigour, of which his last expedition afforded the most ample proofs.
Park’s family consisted of three sons and one daughter, all of whom, together with Mrs. Park their mother, are now living. He also left a mother, four brothers (of whom one is lately dead), and three sisters.
In the death of Mungo Park we have to lament not only the loss of the most distinguished traveller of modern times, but the failure of an expedition, honourable to Great Britain and highly interesting to humanity and science. For a time this unfortunate event has had the effect of damping the ardour of geographical enquiry, and of discouraging all ideas of farther endeavours to explore the interior of Africa. But we may hope that the publication of Park’s Journal will revive the attention of enlightened men to this subject; and that the prospect of future discoveries in that quarter of the globe will not be hastily abandoned.
It has been seen that Park’s failure was entirely owing to the improper season at which his journey was undertaken, and that this circumstance was occasioned by a series of unforeseen delays arising from a great variety of causes. A slight difference in some of those accidents which retarded his progress to the Niger, might obviously have had a most material influence on the ultimate success of the expedition. Thus, for example, if he could have sailed for Africa immediately after receiving his official instructions, if his passage had been quicker, if fewer causes of delay had occurred on the coast and afterwards during the journey, and finally, if the rainy season, which is subject to some slight variations, had commenced a little later; — he might perhaps have been able to reach the banks of the Niger in good order, and with a loss comparatively small; and in that case might have proceeded on his journey eastwards at the conclusion of the rainy season with some prospect of success. But the safe arrival of Park’s expedition at the Niger, which was only just possible in the actual circumstances of the case, would have been morally certain provided he had sailed from England (as he ought to have done) before the month of October, and had been ready to take his departure from the Gambia towards the interior at the end of November; from which time there is always an uninterrupted continuance of fine and healthy weather during a period of five months.
Hence we may safely conclude that, supposing all reasonable precautions to be taken, an expedition similar to that of Park, may penetrate to the Niger and along the banks of that river as far as the eastern frontier of Bambarra, in good order and with very little loss; and this most important fact is justly considered by Park himself as being fully established by his own disastrous expedition. [Footnote: Journal, p. 140.]
In what degree it is practicable to penetrate beyond Bambarra yet remains to be ascertained; since it cannot be said that this question is determined, or even materially affected, by what took place in Park’s expedition. No general inference upon this subject can be fairly deduced from an extreme case, such as Park’s evidently was; nor does it follow, because a small party consisting of four Europeans and a few Negroes, was attacked and overpowered, that an expedition well appointed and properly organized, would experience a similar fate. It may be observed also that, ill provided as Park was with the means of defence, he was able to proceed in safety beyond Tombuctoo, where the Moors are most numerous, and would in a short time have reached a country beyond the Moorish territory, where the danger would probably have been much diminished. [Footnote: See letter to Sir Joseph Banks (ante p. lxxviii) in which Park says “that, according to the information of the guide, they should touch on the Moors no where but at Tombuctoo.”] Neither is it altogether certain that his death was not one of those accidents, to which such enterprises are peculiarly liable, but from which no general conclusion can be drawn.
[Footnote: Such, for example, as Captain Cooke’s death, which certainly affords no argument against voyages of discovery. It may be observed that the statement in the note annexed to Amadi Fatouma’s Journal (see p. 213) gives some countenance to the supposition mentioned in the text. From this note it appears that certain presents which Amadi had delivered from Park to one of the chiefs of Haoussa for the use of the king, were with-held from the latter in consequence of the chief’s being informed that Park would not return; and that the king’s resentment, occasioned by his receiving no presents, was the cause of Park’s death. — It may be proper on this occasion to apprize the reader that the notes to Isaaco’s Journal (except in one instance, p. 181) are all of them printed from the manuscript of the translation, and appear to be parts of the original document transmitted from Africa. They seem to have been inserted by the translator; and in several cases, apparently, were added from information which he received from Isaaco.]
It will appear, upon a due consideration of these circumstances, that reasonable and sufficient inducements still exist for attempting farther discoveries in Africa; and that nothing really unfavourable to such undertakings can with propriety be inferred from Park’s late failure; but on the contrary, that the events of that mission furnish additional grounds of encouragement and new prospects of success. The proper mode also of conducting such discoveries in future, may now be considered as ascertained. Before Park’s late Journey, the important question whether an expedition of this kind should be accompanied by a military escort, was involved in some difficulty. Apprehensions might then be entertained lest the appearance of an armed force passing through the country might alarm the jealousy of the natives, and produce hostile combinations, by which any small body of European troops would sooner or later be overpowered. It might also have been doubted, and with great appearance of reason, whether it would be practicable on such a march to obtain proper supplies of provisions. The history of Park’s expedition appears to furnish a clear and satisfactory solution of both these difficulties; and experience having shewn that large tracts of the African continent may be traversed in safety by the aid even of a small and ill organized force under circumstances the most unfavourable, the question as to the expediency of a military escort may now be said to be determined.
The sufferings of Park during his former journey, and the melancholy fate of Major Houghton, Mr. Horneman, and other travellers distinguished by their enterprise and ability, demonstrate the utter hopelessness of such undertakings, when attempted by solitary and unprotected individuals. Even if the two schemes of discovery were equally practicable, the military plan (supposing always that the force employed is strictly limited to the purposes of security and protection) would on several accounts be entitled to a decided preference; inasmuch as it affords more ample means of observation and enquiry, as it is calculated to inspire the Africans with a greater respect for the European character, and as it may be rendered far more efficacious for the purposes of friendly and commercial intercourse.
[Footnote: If the practice of sending out single individuals on journies of discovery into Africa is still to be continued, it would be better perhaps to employ Mahometan travellers, who might accompany some of the great caravans. The dangers, to which European adventurers are always exposed, from the ferocity and intolerance of the Moors, would thus in a considerable degree be avoided. There is reason to believe that individuals sufficiently intelligent for an expedition of this kind, and whose constitutions would also be well suited to the climate of Africa, might be found without much difficulty among the Mahometan inhabitants of Hindostan. If a fair judgment can be formed of this class of the British subjects from the Travels of Abu Taleb (the genuine and highly interesting production of a native Mahometan of the East Indies), a very favourable opinion must be entertained of their intelligence and general information.]
The scheme of an expedition into the interior of Africa, formed upon these principles, has lately been proposed from high authority, which holds out a considerable prospect of success. From the quarter in which the suggestion has originated, a reasonable hope may be entertained that this plan, of which the following is a short outline, will ultimately be carried into effect.
[Footnote: The particulars of the projected expedition here alluded to, which are given in the text, are extracted from a very interesting communication lately made to the African Institution by Major General Gordon, Quarter Master General of the British Forces.]
In the Royal African corps now serving at Sierra Leone there are three companies of black men, enlisted from the slaves obtained from the numerous slave trading vessels which have at different times been condemned as prize upon that coast. Among these there are several natives of Tombuctoo, Haoussa, Bornou and other countries even more distant; some of them having been brought from parts of Africa so remote as to have been two, three and four moons upon their journey to the coast. Most of them have acquired sufficient knowledge of the English language to express themselves so as to be understood, although they retain their native languages, which they still speak with fluency.
These men, having been trained and disciplined with great care, are become excellent soldiers, and are spoken of by the Governor of Sierra Leone in the highest terms of approbation for their obedience, steadiness and general good conduct. They are of course inured to the climate, are accustomed to hardships and fatigues, and capable of the greatest exertions. They are at the same time courageous and high spirited, feeling a pride and elevation from the advantages which they enjoy, and the comparative rank to which they have attained; and they are warmly attached to the British Government.
It is proposed that a proper and well selected detachment of these troops should form the basis of the intended expedition; and that, besides the person having the immediate command, one or two other leading persons should be appointed, each properly qualified to assist in the direction and management of the principal concerns, and (in case of emergency) to undertake the sole charge of the expedition. The number of the troops employed would of course be regulated by a due regard to the probable means of subsistence; but it is proposed that they should be sufficiently numerous to enable the leaders, in cases where it might be expedient, to separate with small detachments, taking distinct lines of march as local circumstances and other occasions might require.
[Footnote: The writer is well aware that, in some of the opinions which he has expressed with regard to the black troops of Sierra Leone, he can hardly expect the concurrence of several excellent individuals, among the best friends of the African cause, who are known to be averse to the employment of Negroes in the military service; and he is ready to admit that the practice which has prevailed of enlisting captured Africans is liable to some abuse. Let such abuses be anxiously guarded against by all the means which legislative wisdom can devise; let every charge of misconduct in this respect be rigorously investigated; and if it should appear to be well founded, let it be pursued with the utmost strictness and severity. But let not occasional abuses be urged as valid arguments against the practice itself, if it should be ascertained to be, on the whole, beneficial to the Africans. It has been stated by enlightened and benevolent persons, who have witnessed the state of slavery in the West Indies (and the assertion has every appearance of probability) that the embodying and employment of black troops has had the happiest effect in elevating and improving the Negro character, and in giving a greater degree of importance to that oppressed race. In the instance of Sierra Leone, to which these observations more immediately relate, compare the situation of a captured Negro, when rescued from the horrors of a slave vessel with that of the same man a short time afterwards, when serving as a British soldier! The ordinary condition of human life has nothing similar to this change; it is a transition from the most abject misery to ease, comfort, and comparative dignity. — Add to this, the extreme difficulty (which every unprejudiced enquirer must admit) attending the management and disposal of great numbers of these captured Negroes in a small colony like Sierra Leone; and the utter impossibility, considering their savage ignorance and total want of habits of industry, of providing all of them, or even any tolerable number, with agricultural establishments.]
The principal objects of this expedition would be similar in all respects to those of Park’s last journey — to ascertain the course and termination of the Niger, to acquire a geographical knowledge of the countries through which it flows; and to procure all possible information relative to the condition of the inhabitants, their commercial relations and their general state of improvement. With a view to the attainment of these objects of practical and scientific enquiry, the leader of the expedition would be enjoined in the most strict and positive terms by his official instructions, to avoid all acts of aggression towards the natives, and (except in cases of absolute self-defence) to abstain from every species of violence. He would be farther directed to use his utmost endeavours to establish a friendly intercourse and communication with the inhabitants; and for this purpose to employ the most intelligent of the black troops, in all cases in which it might be practicable, as interpreters of the expedition and messengers of peace and conciliation.
By the plan which has thus shortly been described, every disadvantage which attended Park’s mission, would be avoided, and all its defects supplied; and there seems to be every reasonable assurance that an expedition, formed and conducted upon such principles (with a due attention to the proper season for travelling), would be attended with ultimate success.
It would be difficult to anticipate the full extent of those beneficial consequences which may ultimately be expected from the successful result of such an expedition. We may perhaps be justified in expecting that the intercourse, thus formed with the interior of Africa, will eventually open new communications of trade, and possibly create new markets; that a certain portion of that vast commerce, which is now carried on with Tombuctoo from Morocco and the shores of the Mediterranean, may be diverted to the western coast; and that great quantities of European goods, now conveyed through other channels, may be transported into the centre of Africa through the new route of the Niger.
But without speculating too confidently upon commercial revolutions of the nature here alluded to, which are for the most part very slow and gradual, and seldom effected without much difficulty; we may safely conclude that any rational and well concerted expedition to the interior of Africa must be of great efficacy in promoting and extending the legitimate and beneficial commerce with different parts of that vast continent, which has been rapidly advancing since the Abolition of the slave trade. [Footnote: See Appendix, No. VI.] We may also reasonably expect that such enterprises, judiciously conducted, will have important effects upon the civilization and general improvement of Africa, by exciting industry and diffusing useful knowledge among the natives; and that some portion of these advantages may, in due time, be extended to those remote and sequestered countries, which are at present excluded from all intercourse with Europe, and abandoned to hopeless ignorance and barbarism. Let us hope that the honour of passing those barriers, which have hitherto separated Africa from the civilized world, is reserved for the courage and perseverance of that nation, by whose enlightened and disinterested exertions so much has been effected in modern times, for the advancement of geographical knowledge. The voyages of discovery which have been undertaken by the command of His present Majesty, unstained by the guilt of conquest, and directed exclusively towards objects of humanity and science, have conferred a lasting distinction on the British name and character. The attempt to explore the interior of Africa, dictated by the same generous views, is in no respect less interesting, nor does it promise less important results, even than those great undertakings; and it will be peculiarly worthy of an age and nation, rendered for ever memorable in the annals of mankind by the Abolition of the African slave trade.
There is no part of Europe, in which education has been a subject of more general attention or produced more important effects than in Scotland. During little more than a century, a system of public instruction established in that country, has not only had the most beneficial influence upon industry and private morals, but has been the principal cause of one of the most remarkable changes of national character that has ever yet taken place during so short a period. At a time when the public attention in this country is so laudably directed towards providing means of instruction for the poor, a few remarks on the effects of a system of general education in Scotland may not be thought unseasonable. The following facts and observations relative to this important subject are principally extracted from the interesting Life of Burns, the poet, written by the late amiable and excellent Doctor Currie.
The system of education in Scotland, though closely connected with its ecclesiastical establishment, owes its first legal existence to a statute passed in the year 1646 by the Parliament of that Kingdom for establishing schools in every parish, at the expense of the landholders, for the express purpose of teaching the poor. On the Restoration in 1660 this excellent statute was repealed; and nothing further was done or attempted for the instruction of the people during the reigns of Charles and James, which were chiefly occupied in religious persecution. But in the year 1696, some years after the Revolution, the statute of 1646 was re-enacted nearly in the same terms, and continues to be the law of Scotland at the present time. Connected with this legislative provision are many acts passed by the General Assemblies of the church of Scotland, which are binding as to matters of ecclesiastical jurisdiction; and the whole together forms a code of regulations, which is eminently distinguished for the reasonableness and practical good sense of its particular provisions, and which experience has shewn to be perfectly effectual for the important purpose intended. So much convinced indeed are the lower classes in Scotland of the benefits attending this system, that, where the parishes are large, they often form subscriptions and establish private schools of their own, in addition to the parochial seminaries.
In the year 1698, about the time when this system was established, Fletcher of Saltoun, in one of his Discourses concerning the affairs of Scotland, describes the lower classes of that kingdom as being in a state of the most abject poverty and savage ignorance; and subsisting partly by mere beggary, but chiefly by violence and rapine, “without any regard or subjection either to the laws of the land or to those of God and nature.” Some of the instances given by this writer of the disorder and violence of that period may remind us of the effects produced by a similar state of things during our own times, upon the Irish peasantry in the disturbed parts of that unhappy country. “In years of plenty,” says Fletcher, “many thousands of them meet together in the mountains, where they feast and riot for many days, and at country weddings, markets, burials, and other public occasions, they are to be seen, both men and women, perpetually drunk, cursing, blaspheming, and fighting together.” [Footnote: Political Works of Andrew Fletcher, 8vo: London 1737, p. 144.] Such was the state of Scotland at the time when the present system of education was established.
It is justly stated by Dr. Currie that, at the present day, there is perhaps no country in Europe, in which, in proportion to its population, so small a number of crimes fall under the chastisement of the criminal law, as in Scotland; and he adds, upon undoubted authority, that on an average of thirty years preceding the year, 1797, the executions in that division of the Island did not amount to six annually, and that more felons have been convicted and sentenced to transportation at one quarter sessions for the town of Manchester only, than the average number of persons sentenced to a similar punishment during a whole year by all the Judges of Scotland. [Footnote: Works of Robert Burns, Liverpool 1800. vol. 1. p. 353, 8vo.]
But the influence of education in Scotland has not been merely negative or confined to the diminution of criminal offences; it has produced in a very eminent degree those habits of industry and frugality, upon which all civilization and improvement ultimately depend. In no age or country have these excellent qualities, the cardinal virtues of the lower orders of society, been more prevalent than among the peasantry and common people of Scotland during modern times: in none have the instances been more frequent of individuals who, by a course of meritorious exertions, have raised themselves from an inferior condition of life to ease and competence, and sometimes to riches and distinction.
It is impossible to conceive any situation more happy and respectable than that of the parent of a well educated family (such as was the father of the subject of this memoir, and such as there are now many others among the farmers and peasantry of Scotland) enjoying the just reward of his paternal cares in the prosperity and success of his children; each of whom he sees engaged in some beneficial pursuit, each bettering his condition in life, and each advanced somewhat in the scale of society above the situation in which he was born. It is this visible progress and continual improvement in the circumstances and condition of families, so frequent in the class here particularly alluded to, which produces the greatest portion of happiness of which any community is capable; which stimulates to intelligent activity, and useful, persevering exertions; and which keeps alive and invigorates that orderly, quiet ambition, which is the foundation of all private and public prosperity, and the great civilizing principle of individuals and nations.
It is true that there are several other circumstances, besides the system of public education in Scotland, which have assisted in producing that extraordinary change of national character which has given occasion to the present remarks. But of the various causes which have contributed to this change, education is by far the most important, and that, without which indeed all the rest would have been comparatively of no avail. It is to early instruction, most unquestionably, that we must attribute that general intelligence, and those habits of thoughtfulness, deliberation, and foresight, which usually distinguish the common people of Scotland, where-ever they may be found, and whatever may be their employments and situations; which ensure their success in life under favourable circumstances; and in adverse fortune serve as a protection against absolute indigence, and secure to them a certain station above the lowest condition of life.
The truth of this remark will be apparent from a few practical instances, drawn from the experience of common life, of that general superiority which is here attributed to the lower classes of the Scotch, as the effect of their superior industry and intelligence — 1. Every one has remarked the great number of professional gardeners from that country, many of whom have been common labourers, and who if they had been no better educated than most English labourers, must always have remained in that situation. Of this numerous class Mr. Dickson, Park’s brother-in law, is a remarkable and most distinguished example. — 2. Scotland supplies a considerable number of stewards, confidential clerks, book-keepers, &c. from a class of society, which in most other countries furnishes only domestic servants. The British Colonies, and especially the West Indies, are chiefly provided with clerks, overseers of plantations, &c. from this source. — 3. The prodigious number of non-commissioned officers in the army, who are natives of Scotland, having been raised from the ranks in consequence of their knowledge of reading and writing, and general good conduct, is also very remarkable. — The recollection of most readers will probably supply them with other examples; but there are two instances, somewhat out of the course of ordinary experience, which deserve to be particularly mentioned.
In the year 1803, Mr. Matthew Martin, a gentleman distinguished for his active benevolence, having been for some time engaged, under the sanction of Government, in a laborious enquiry concerning the “State of Mendicity in the Metropolis,” was desired to make a Report upon that subject for the information of Government. From the statement which Mr. Martin prepared on that occasion and laid before the Secretary of State, it appeared that the number of Scotch beggars in London was remarkably small, especially in proportion to the Irish beggars, with whom it was most natural to compare them. Of 2000 beggars, whose cases were investigated by Mr. Martin, the following is a summary.
Belonging to parishes home 570
distant parishes 336
The second of the two cases is of a still more uncommon nature. — In the course of the expedition against Egypt in 1807, the advanced guard of Major General Fraser’s army having taken possession of Rosetta and occupied a position at El Hamed a few miles from that town, was surprised by a strong corps of Turkish troops, and after an obstinate conflict and the loss of many lives, compelled to surrender. According to the Turkish custom, the prisoners taken were sold as slaves, and dispersed over the whole country; some of them being sent as far as Upper Egypt. Great exertions were naturally made by the British government to redeem those unfortunate persons from captivity; and this was happily effected as to all the prisoners, except a few who could not be traced, by the assistance of Signor Petrucci, the Swedish consul at Alexandria.
From the authentic documents relating to this transaction, it appears that the ransoms paid for the redemption of the captives differed very considerably; the prices varying from between twenty and thirty pounds to more than one hundred pounds sterling for each man. But it is observable, on comparing the different rates, that the highest ransoms were paid for those, who must be considered, from their names, to have been natives of Scotland; and who, it may be presumed, were more valuable than the rest from being more orderly and intelligent. It could not have been easily anticipated that a soldier, brought up in a Scotch parish school, was likely, when enslaved by the Turks and a captive in Egypt, to derive much advantage from his education. Yet it is probable from this circumstance that the intelligence and habits of good conduct, which he acquired from early instruction, might recommend him to his master, and as domestic slavery admits of many mitigations, might procure him kinder and better treatment.
Major Rennell, in his Geographical Illustrations of Park’s travels, has done ample justice to the knowledge and judgment, so eminently displayed by D’Anville in the investigation of several important points relative to the geography of North Africa, which have been elucidated by this writer from very imperfect materials with extraordinary sagacity and success. In the 26th volume of the Memoirs of the Academy of Inscriptions, there are two very important Dissertations by this distinguished Geographer; the first, On the sources of the Nile; and the second, Concerning the rivers of the interior of Africa, with reference to the opinions of the ancient and modern writers who have treated on that subject. The latter is the most immediately connected with the particular questions alluded to in the text; and it is remarkable that the principal opinions, or rather conjectures, of D’Anville (of which the opinion relating to the course of the Niger is the most important), although deduced from very uncertain and discordant sources of information, have been confirmed in a great degree by the discoveries of modern travellers, especially by those of Park. It appears that D’Anville was well acquainted with the existence of Tombuctoo, and had even ascertained the situation of that city, as well as the general course of the Niger with a considerable degree of precision. He had also formed a plan for sending a person, properly qualified, on an expedition from the French settlement of St. Joseph on the river Senegal, to Tombuctoo; but owing to some circumstance which he does not explain, the scheme did not take effect. As the Dissertation here alluded to may not be in the hands of every reader, the passage relating to this subject may be worth transcribing. — After mentioning Ghana as the principal Mahometan city of Nigritia, spoken of by Edrisi, he says that many of the Fatimites, who escaped from the power of the Califs, took refuge in the interior of Africa, where they formed various states. He then proceeds as follows:
“Tombut ou Tombouctou, est actuellement entre les villes de la Nigritie, celle dont on parle davantage. On ne doit point être surpris qu’Edrisi n’en fasse pas mention. Outre qu’elle se peut juger hors des limites de ce qui lui a été connu, Léon d’Afrique nous apprend que la fondation de Tombut par un prince de Barbarie, appellé Mensa–Suléiman, est de l’an 610 de l’Hégire, qui repond à l’an 1213 de l’ère Chrétienne, ce qui est postérieur à la géographie d’Edrisi, composée vers le milieu du douzième siècle. La situation de cette ville n’est pas précisément sur le Niger; mais elle y a son port, nommé Cabra, à quelques milles de distance. Comme aucune des nations commerçantes de l’Europe n’a pénétré aussi avant dans les terres, en cette partie d’Afrique, que la nation Françoise, par ses établissemens sur le Sénéga, elle est plus à portée qu’une autre d’acquérir quelque connoissance de cet intérieur. J’ai appris, d’une personne qui avoit commandé plusieurs années au fort Saint–Joseph en Galam, lequel se peut estimer distant en droite ligne de l’entrée du Sénéga d’environ cent trent lieues françoises; que les Bambaras, qui du fond du pays amènent des esclaves noirs, comptent quarante huit journées depuis Tombut jusqu’au fort Saint–Joseph, et que la mesure commune de la journée s’évalue à environ cinq lieues, d’où il résulte autour de deux cens quarante lieues. Le moyen d’en savoir davantage seroit, que quelque personne habituée au climat, comme il y en a dans le haut du Sénéga, accompagnée d’interprètes, et qu’une instruction préalable auroit mise au fait d’une partie des choses dont il seroit à propos de s’informer, fît le voyage de Tombut. Un évènement a empêché l’exécution d’un projet, auquel j’avois très-volontiers pris part dans cette vûe.”
Mém. de l’Acad. des Inscriptions, Tom. xxvi. p. 72.
The above passage was written by D’Anville about the year 1754; and it is not a little extraordinary that during the sixty years that have since elapsed, a period so much distinguished for geographical discovery, Tombuctoo should never have been visited by any European traveller: and that one of the greatest marts of African commerce, which is annually resorted to by caravans from various parts of that continent, should remain at this time entirely unknown to the civilized world.
In speaking of Tombuctoo as being still entirely unknown, the writer is aware that a particular description of that city has been given in an Account of the Empire of Morocco published in the year 1809 by Mr. James Grey Jackson, who resided in that part of Africa during many years. But Mr. Jackson derived his whole knowledge of Tombuctoo from the accounts of native traders; upon whose unsupported testimony very little reliance can be placed; especially as to matters of detail, or such facts as require to be stated with any degree of exactness. Considering that Mr. Jackson’s information was obtained from this source, the very minuteness and apparent precision of his account, are circumstances highly unfavourable to its authenticity.
With reference to the internal geography of Africa, the writer may take this opportunity of observing, that next to the African Association, to whom we are indebted for almost all the authentic information which we possess upon this subject, [Footnote: The valuable discoveries of the late Mr. Browne (whose death must be lamented as a public loss) form an exception to this general remark; but perhaps the only exception.] considerable praise is due to the Sierra Leone Company; under whose auspices, during the time they were in possession of that colony, several important journies into the interior were judiciously undertaken and successfully executed. Among these may be mentioned an expedition in 1794 by Mr. Watt and Mr. Winterbottom (being a land journey of near five hundred miles, in going and returning by different routes) to Laby and Teembo, both of them considerable towns, and the latter the capital of the Foulah country. Tombuctoo appeared, from the enquiries made by the travellers, to be well known at both those places; and the communication with that city from Laby, though it was spoken of as a journey of four moons, was represented to be open, and they were furnished with many particulars of the route. Shortly afterwards, in consequence perhaps of this information, a project was formed at Sierra Leone of sending out a mission to Tombuctoo; but Mr. Watt, who was to have undertaken the journey, died; and the invasion of the colony by the French in September 1794, together with the destruction which followed, seems to have put a stop to expeditions of this nature.
The editor has been favoured by Mr. Macaulay, late Secretary of the Sierra Leone Company and formerly Governor of the Colony, with a sight of the Journals of the expedition to Teembo as well as of some other missions from Sierra Leone of inferior importance. They do great credit to the writers (especially the Journal to Teembo) and contain many valuable and interesting particulars; several of which have been given to the public in the Reports of the Sierra Leone Company, and in Dr. Winterbottom’s judicious account of the native Africans in the neighbourhood of that colony. But there is still room for a compilation or selection from these Journals, which, if well executed, would be an instructive and interesting publication.
Soon after Mr. Edwards’s death several letters passed between Park and Sir William Young, now Governor of Tobago, upon a subject immediately connected with the question, considered in the memoir, relative to the assistance afforded by Mr. Edwards in preparing Park’s travels for the press. Copies of these letters having been transmitted to the editor by Park’s family, he thinks it right on the present occasion to lay them before the public; remarking at the same time that, after due consideration of their contents, he continues to be of the opinion which he has expressed in the text.
The occasion of this correspondence appears to have been as follows. Mr. Edwards was engaged, at the time of his death, in preparing for the press an enlarged and corrected edition of his History of the West Indies; but as he did not live to complete it, his friend Sir William Young superintended the publication of the work, and added a short preface; in which, speaking of Mr. Edwards’s literary merits, he mentioned “the judicious compilation and elegant recital of the travels of Mungo Park”. This produced a letter of expostulation from Park to Sir William Young, of which either no copy was kept, or it has been since lost or mislaid; but the nature of its contents will be seen from the sequel of the correspondence.
Sir William Young to Mr. Park.
59 Harley-street, November 9th, 1803.
“The day before yesterday I received your letter dated so far back as August 25th. It appears to have been put into the London post, addressed to my clerk’s lodgings, only last week, and reached me in the country November the 7th. I am thus particular as to dates, as I could not bear the imputation of having so long neglected the due acknowledgment of a letter from one whom I so highly esteem and respect. In regard to the question you state, I understood from the late Mr. Edwards, that he assisted in the general arrangement of the materials you supplied, as Dr. Hawkesworth did, in the case of a voyage by the great navigator Captain Cooke; and that the previous Account or Summary of your Travels delivered into the African Association was written by him; to which your fuller Account of your Travels in detail was subsequent. The word “author,” I believe, does not occur in the passage you refer to; and if the words “compilation and recital” seem to bear any application beyond the prospectus before adverted to, or in any way to trench on your just pretensions as a writer, I truly lament the inaccuracy, and will take the most immediate means of rectifying the error, which circumstances may place within my reach; either by present correction or on a new edition of the work. My situation as Secretary of the African Association furnishes me with documents from which I have learned so highly to appreciate your character and to entertain so grateful a sense of your public services, that it would be painful in me, in the smallest degree to have stated any thing that might be so construed as to affect your just literary pretensions; although it is difficult to add to the just and high reputation you held independently, from the fortitude, discretion, and resource so eminently shewn in your distinguished and successful enterprise.”
Mr. Park to Sir William Young.
Fowlshiels, 14th May, 1804.
“I perceive by your letter, that you meant the words ‘compilation’ and ‘recital,’ to refer entirely to the Abridgment of my Travels, which was written for the perusal of the gentlemen of the African Association, by Mr. Edwards, their Secretary.
“A printed copy of this Abridgment was delivered to each of the gentlemen at their annual meeting, but I believe it was never publicly sold. The greater number of readers are therefore but slightly acquainted with it; and to such, the words above-mentioned will naturally convey a very different meaning. Having thus explained myself to you, I hope you will see the propriety of correcting the passage above-mentioned as soon as possible. I must therefore request you will permit me to insert your letter in any of the periodical publications, or favour me with a correction of the passage, as you may think proper.”
Extract from a letter of Sir William Young to Mr. Park
May 25, 1804.
“The letter which I wrote on the subject of the publication of your travels in Africa, is perfectly at your service to make any use of, which you may think proper. No measure can be more satisfactory and agreeable to myself, than that which may most fully render justice to your high and well earned reputation in every point of view.”
The question regarding the termination of the Niger is one of the most doubtful and obscure in modern geography, and in the present defective state of our information with regard to the interior of Africa, seems hardly to admit of a clear and satisfactory solution. Of the difficulties with which the subject is attended, some judgment may be formed from the various and even opposite opinions which have been maintained relative to the course of the Niger, since Park’s discoveries have ascertained that it flows from west to east. As the enquiry is somewhat curious, a summary view of these different opinions, and of the principal arguments by which they are supported, may not be uninteresting to the readers of Park’s life. To investigate the question with the accuracy and minuteness which it deserves, would not only very far exceed the limits of a note, but would require much more information upon this subject than the editor possesses, united with some previous habits of geographical disquisition.
I. According to the oldest of these opinions, and that which is supported by the greatest authorities (being the opinion not only of some of the principal Geographers of antiquity, but of D’Anville and Rennell among the moderns), it is supposed, that the Niger has an inland termination somewhere in the eastern part of Africa, probably in Wangara or Ghana: and that it is partly discharged into inland lakes, which have no communication with the sea, and partly spread over a wide extent of level country, and lost in sands or evaporated by the heat of the sun.
[Footnote: Proceedings of the African Association, vol. i. p. 535.]
The principal ground of this supposition is, the opinion of some of the best informed writers of antiquity on the geography of Africa, and a sort of general persuasion prevalent among the ancients to the same effect; circumstances, it must be acknowledged, of considerable weight in determining this question: since there is good reason to believe, that the knowledge of the ancients concerning the interior of Africa was much more extensive and accurate than that of the moderns. It is justly observed by Dr. Robertson, that the geographical discoveries of the ancients were made chiefly by land, those of the moderns by sea; the progress of conquest having led to the former, that of commerce to the latter. (Hist. Of America, vol. ii. p. 3l6, 8vo.) Besides which, there are several distinct and peculiar causes which have essentially contributed to our present ignorance respecting the interior of Africa; namely, the great prevalence of the slave trade, which has confined the attention of European adventurers exclusively to the coast; the small temptation which the continent of Africa held out, during the continuance of that trade, to internal commerce; and the almost impenetrable barrier raised up against Europeans in modern times, by the savage intolerance of the Moors.
The ancient opinion, respecting the termination of the Niger which has just been alluded to, receives a certain degree of confirmation from the best and most authentic accounts concerning that part of Africa, in which the Niger is supposed to disappear. This is represented by various concurrent testimonies to be a great tract of alluvial country, having several permanent lakes, and being annually overflowed for three months during the rainy season.
Against the hypothesis of an inland termination of the Niger, several objections have been urged, which are well deserving of attention. They are principally founded on a consideration of the vast magnitude which the Niger must have attained after a course of more than 1600 geographical miles, and the difficulty of conceiving so prodigious a stream to be discharged into lakes, and evaporated even by an African sun. To account for such a phenomenon, a great inland sea, bearing some resemblance to the Caspian or the Aral, appears to be necessary. But, besides that the existence of so vast a body of water without any outlet into the ocean, is in itself an improbable circumstance, and not to be lightly admitted; such a sea, if it really existed, could hardly have remained a secret to the ancients, and entirely unknown at the present day.
It may just be observed, that D’Anville, following Ptolemy and other writers whom he considers as the best informed on the internal geography of Africa, is satisfied that there are two considerable rivers, the Niger and the Gir; both of which are said to terminate in the same quarter of Africa, and precisely in the same manner. The Gir, totally unknown at the present day, is familiarly mentioned by Claudian, who, however, it may be recollected, was a native of Africa:—
‘Gir, ditissimus amnis
‘Aethiopum, simili mentitus gurgite Nilum.’
Carm. 21. v. 252.
In some MSS. it is notissimus amnis; but the other reading is more probable.
‘Girrhaeus, qui vasta colit sub rupibus antra,
‘Qui ramos ebeni, qui dentes vellit eburnos.’
Carm. 47. v. 20.
II. The second opinion respecting the Niger is, that it terminates in the Nile. In other words, this hypothesis identifies the Niger with the great western branch of the Nile, called the White River, which D’Anville traces from a source very far SS.W. to its junction with the Nile near Sennaar. He likewise accurately distinguishes this stream from the eastern branch, which is much shorter and of inferior magnitude, and which takes its rise in the mountains of Abyssinia. This opinion is maintained by Mr. Horneman, Mr. Grey Jackson, and several other modern travellers; and it is slightly sanctioned by Strabo and Pliny, who speak of the sources of the Nile as being reported by some to be in the farther parts of Mauritania. But it may be affirmed with great confidence, that of all the hypotheses respecting the termination of the Niger, that which supposes it to be a branch of the Nile, is the most unfounded, and the least consistent with acknowledged facts. It is indeed rather a loose popular conjecture, than an opinion deduced from probable reasoning; since nothing appears to be alleged in its support, except the mere circumstance of the course of the river being in a direction towards the Nile; and a few vague notions of some of the African natives with regard to this subject, which are unworthy of the smallest attention.
Mr. Jackson, indeed, in his Travels (p. 310), states it to be a fact universally known among the rich African traders, that the Niger and the Nile are one and the same river, by means of which there is a practicable communication between Tombuctoo and Grand Cairo. Between these two cities caravans are continually passing, and a large trade is carried on; but Mr. Jackson observes, that the expense of land-carriage by means of camels is more moderate than that by water, and that the journey also is more agreeable! He gives an account of the voyage to Cairo down the Niger, having actually been performed in the year 1780 by a party of seventeen negroes, the particulars of which expedition, he says that he received from ‘a very intelligent man who has an establishment at Tombuctoo.’ These negroes proceeded down the Niger from Jinnie, on a commercial speculation, and reached Cairo after a voyage of fourteen months. They returned by the caravan, and arrived at Jinnie, after an absence of more than three years. Some of the facts which they reported are not a little extraordinary:— viz. that in several places they found the Nile so shallow, in consequence of channels cut for irrigating the lands, that they could not proceed in their boat, and were obliged to transport it some distance over-land; that they saw between Tombuctoo and Cairo twelve hundred cities and towns, adorned with mosques and towers, &c. It is needless to comment upon such hearsay statements, received from an African traveller or merchant more than twenty years after the transaction is said to have happened; nor would any allusion have been made to them in this place, if Mr. Jackson’s book had not been much commended by distinguished critics, and quoted as an authority respecting the interior of Africa by several geographical writers.
[Footnote: Edinburgh Review, vol. xiv. p. 306.]
The principal, and apparently decisive, objection against this supposed junction of the Niger and the Nile, is grounded upon a comparison of the great difference of level between the beds of the two rivers. From the authentic information we possess by means of Mr. Browne, respecting the countries west of the Nile, it is now clear, that if this junction takes place at all, it must be in the upper part of the Nile, before that river has quitted the higher regions of Africa, from whence it has still 1000 geographical miles to run before it reaches the sea, passing in its way through several cataracts. But it is utterly incredible that the Niger, which, in order to reach this part of the Nile, must have run at the least 2300 miles, should not in so long a course have descended to a level considerably lower than that which is here described. This objection is urged with great force by Major Rennell, who justly considers it as being entirely decisive of the question; but he has added several other arguments, which those who take an interest in this question, will do well to consult.
[Footnote: Proceedings of the African Association, vol. i. p. 537; and vol. ii. p. 268, 280.]
III. The supposition, mentioned in the text (p. lxviii), that the Niger terminates in the River Congo, or, as it is sometimes called, the Zaire, is entirely a recent conjecture, adopted by Park in consequence of the information and suggestions of Mr. Maxwell, an experienced African trader, who appears from his letters to have been a man of observation and intelligence. The principal arguments in support of the opinion are shortly and clearly given in the memoir addressed by Park to Lord Camden; but the subject will receive additional elucidation from Mr. Maxwell’s own statement, and especially from his striking description of the river Congo, the vast magnitude of which is little known, and has not sufficiently attracted the attention of geographical writers. The following passage is extracted from a letter, dated Prior’s Lynn, near Longtown, July 20, 1804, addressed by Mr. Maxwell to William Keir, of Milnholm, Esq., a friend of Park, to whom the letter was communicated by Mr. Maxwell’s desire.
“Before ever the Niger came to be the topic of conversation, it struck me, that the Congo drew its source far to the northward, from the floods commencing long before any rains take place south of the equator; since it begins to swell perceptibly about the latter end of October, and no heavy rains set in before December: and about the end of January the river must be supposed at its highest. At no time, however, can the rains to the southward of the Line be compared with those in the Bight of Guinea, where ships are obliged to have a house erected over them during these months.
“But, whether the Congo be the outlet of the Niger or not, it certainly offers the best opening for exploring the interior of Africa of any scheme that has ever yet been attempted; and the ease and safety with which it might be conducted, needs no comment. However, if the Niger has a sensible outlet, I have no doubt of its proving the Congo, knowing all the rivers between Cape Palmas and Cape Lopes to be inadequate to the purpose; nor need the immense course of such a river surprise us, when we know that the river St. Lawrence, contemptible in size when compared with the Congo, encompasses the whole of North America, issuing through a chain of lakes. But instead of seven or eight lakes, the Congo may be supposed to pass through seventeen or eighteen; which will solve any difficulty as to the floods of the Niger not immediately affecting the Congo. I believe that our information of the Niger losing itself in the Desert rests wholly upon the authority of the Romans, a people whose pursuits never led them to trace the course of rivers with a view to traffic or civilization. If we may credit the accounts of travellers in crossing the deserts, we find that, where-ever they get water for refreshment, there are invariably verdure and palm trees; and these spots in the desert of Lybia were termed by the ancients Oases, or Islands. Now, if such small springs could produce such permanent effects, we may reasonably suppose, that the immense stream of the Niger increased to three times the size from where Mr. Park left it, would long before this have made the desert as green as any water meadow and found its way gradually to the ocean, or inundated the whole country.”
“I can with much truth say this of the river Congo, that by comparing it with other rivers, according to the best writers, it must rank as the third or fourth in magnitude. Considering the force of the current it produces in the sea, carrying out floating islands sixty or seventy leagues from the coast, the Amazon or Plata only can cope with it. Many traders, whom I met with at Embomma, (a settlement on the banks of the Congo distant thirty leagues from its mouth,) had come one month’s journey down the river, which, reckoned at twenty miles each day (and they count them by the moon, Gonda), would make six hundred miles; and they spoke of it as equally large where they came from, and that it went by the name of Enzaddi, as it does among all the natives upon the coast. Should the shallow water, as laid down opposite Saenda, detract from the assumed size of the Congo, let it be remembered, that the river there is spread out ten miles in width, the middle channel of which has never been accurately sounded. It has long been my opinion that Leyland’s or Molyneux Island at Embomma (either of which might be rendered as impregnable as Gibraltar at a very small expense) would be a choice station for establishing an extensive commerce with the interior of Africa. Indeed, if the idea of the Congo being the outlet of the Niger prove so upon trial, we may consider it as an opening designed by providence for exploring those vast regions, and civilizing the rude inhabitants.”
[Footnote: A chart of the Congo by Mr. Maxwell was published many years since by Laurie and Whittle, Fleet street.]
Besides this account given by Mr. Maxwell, there are other testimonies to the magnitude of the Congo, shewing it to be a river of the first class, and larger probably than the Nile. In a journal (which the editor has seen) of an intelligent and respectable naval officer, Captain Scobell, who visited the coast of Africa in the year 1813, in H.M. sloop of war the Thais, the Congo is described as “an immense river from which issues a continued stream at the rate of four or five knots in the dry, and six or seven in the rainy season.” In a subsequent passage he says, “In crossing this stream, I met several floating islands, or broken masses from the banks of that noble river, which, with the trees still erect, and the whole wafting to the motion of the sea, rushed far into the ocean, and formed a novel prospect even to persons accustomed to the phenomena of the waters.” He adds, that there are soundings to the distance of from thirty or forty miles from the coast, arising probably from the vast quantity of alluvial matter brought down by the force of the stream.
Other accounts state, that the waters of the Congo may be distinguished at sea more than thirty leagues from the coast, and that the water is fresh at the distance of thirty miles.
[Footnote: Lopez, Merulla, and Dapper, referred to in Phillips’s Voyages, vol. iii. p. 236.]
These, perhaps, are exaggerations; but they may be received, in confirmation of the preceding testimonies, as sufficient proofs of a general opinion among navigators with regard to the size and force of this prodigious river. It is mentioned by Major Rennell in his very interesting account of the Ganges, that the sea in the bay of Bengal ceases to be affected by the waters of that river, and recovers its transparency, only at the distance of about twenty leagues from the coast. (Phil. Transactions, vol. lxxi.) But the Ganges being obstructed by its Delta, and passing through eight channels into the sea, is probably much less rapid and impetuous than the Congo.
To this it must be added, that all the accounts concur in representing, that the stream of the Congo is of a more uniform height, and subject to much less variation from the dry and rainy seasons, than any tropical river which is known; and that on a comparison with such rivers, it may be considered to be in a perpetual state of flood. The average rising of the Ganges in the rainy season is stated by Major Rennell to be 31 feet, being about the same with that of the Nile; whereas, the difference between the highest point of the Congo about February, and the lowest in September, is only about nine feet; and the river, at the latter period, has all the appearance to a stranger of being in full flood.
[Footnote: MS. Letter of Mr. Maxwell to Mr. Park, Oct. 12, 1804.]
It is this remarkable peculiarity, which distinguishes the Congo from other great rivers of a similar description, and which leads to important conclusions with regard to its origin and course.
In support, then, of the hypothesis which identifies the Congo with the Niger, the following arguments, deduced from the preceding facts and observations, may be alleged:— 1. The great magnitude of the Congo. 2. The probability that this river is derived from very remote sources, perhaps considerably north of the equator. 3. The fact, that there exists a great river north of the equator, (the Niger,) of which the termination is unknown, and which may, perhaps, form the principal branch of the Congo. These, in truth, are the only grounds upon which the present supposition can be fairly said to rest. Arguments founded upon etymological conjectures, supposed resemblances of names, or affinity of languages, &c. &c., are, for the most part, too arbitrary and fanciful, and liable to too much uncertainty to be entitled to any place in disquisitions of this nature. The same remark is applicable to the narratives and descriptions given by native travellers and merchants, and, in general, to all African evidence whatever, except when supported by collateral proof from other less exceptionable sources.
Such being the evidence in favour of the hypothesis respecting the Congo, the objections against this theory must be admitted to be weighty and formidable. The principal of these are, 1. That it supposes the course of the Niger to lie through the vast chain of the Kong Mountains (anciently Montes Lunæ), the great central belt of Africa. Of the existence of these mountains there appears to be no doubt; and from their situation in the midst of a great continent, they may reasonably be supposed to be of vast size and extent; in which case it is difficult to understand, how the Niger could penetrate this barrier, and force a passage southwards. 2. The course of the Niger, estimated from its source in the mountains of Senegal (supposing it to be the same river with the Congo, and to flow by Wangara and Cashna through the centre of Africa into the Atlantic), would be considerably more than 4000 miles. But the course of the Amazon, the greatest river in the old or new world with which we are acquainted, is only about 3500 miles; and, although the existence of a river considerably greater than any yet known, may be within the limits of physical possibility; yet, so improbable a supposition ought not to be adopted upon slight or conjectural reasoning, or upon any thing much short of distinct and positive proof. To give such a vast extension to the Congo upon the grounds stated by Mr. Maxwell, might justly be considered as one of those exaggerations, to which, according to a remark of D’Anville, geographical writers upon Africa have always been remarkably prone, ‘en abusant, pour ainsi dire, du vaste carrière que l’intérieur de l’Afrique y laissoit prendre.’ (Mém. de l’Academie des Inscriptions, Tom. xxvi p. 61.)
[Footnote: The following scale (taken from Major Rennell’s Memoir of a Map of Hindostan, p. 337,) shewing the proportional length of some of the most considerable rivers already known, may be useful to the reader on the present occasion.
It must be observed, however, that the magnitude of a river depends much less upon the length of its course than upon the number of auxiliary streams which fall into it. It is this latter circumstance, which occasions the vast size of the Ganges, compared, for example, with the Nile; although the course of the latter is so much longer. Rivers not fed by auxiliary streams, may even become smaller in consequence of the length of their course. The editor is indebted for these observations to Major Rennell.]
Before the editor finally dismisses the subject of the Congo, he may be allowed to express a hope that this distinguished river, which hitherto has been only known as one of the greatest marts of the Slave Trade, may at length be rendered conducive to objects of civilization and science; and that some use will now be made of this great inlet into Africa, for the purpose of exploring a part of that continent which as yet is entirely unknown; or, at least, of obtaining more complete and authentic information relative to the Congo itself, which must unquestionably be considered as a very curious and interesting subject of enquiry. Such an enterprise, according to the opinion of Mr. Maxwell, would not be attended with much difficulty. In a letter to Mr. Park, dated Oct. 12, 1804, alluding to the subject of the Congo, he speaks of an intention which he had formed some time prior to Park’s discoveries, of exploring that river. His scheme was to carry out with him from England six supernumerary boats, well adapted for rowing and sailing; each being of such a size as to be easily carried by thirty people, and transported across several cataracts, with which the course of the river is known to be impeded. On his arrival at the coast, he meant to hire about thirty or forty black rowers, and to sail up the Congo with proper arms, provisions, and merchandize, in the month of May (the dry season south of the equator) calculating upon an absence from the coast of about ten weeks. Mr. Maxwell considered this scheme as perfectly practicable, and likely to be attended with no very great expense; but he was prevented from executing his intention by the war of 1793, which made it inconvenient and unsafe for him to encumber the deck of his vessel with supernumerary boats.
IV. The fourth and last opinion respecting the termination of the Niger, is that of a German geographer, M. Reichard, which was published in the ‘Ephemerides Géographiques,’ at Weimar, in August, 1808, and is referred to in a respectable French work, entitled, ‘Précis de la Géographie Universelle, par M. Malte-brun.’ The fourth volume of this work, which appeared at Paris in the year 1813, (p. 635) represents M. Reichard’s hypothesis to be, that the Niger, after reaching Wangara, takes a direction towards the south, and being joined by other rivers from that part of Africa, makes a great turn from thence towards the south-west, and pursues its course till it approaches the north eastern extremity of the gulph of Guinea, when it divides and discharges itself by different channels into the Atlantic; after having formed a great Delta, of which the Rio del Rey constitutes the eastern, and the Rio Formoso, or Benin River, the western branch.
Without entering into the details of M. Reichard’s reasoning in support of this hypothesis, which is often somewhat hazardous and uncertain, it may be sufficient for the present purpose to observe, that his principal argument is founded on a consideration of the peculiar character belonging to the tract of country situated between the two rivers, which consists of a vast tract of low, level land, projecting considerably into the sea, and intersected by an infinity of small branches from the principal rivers. In these and other respects, it appears to bear a considerable resemblance, according to the best descriptions of that coast which we possess, to the Deltas at the mouths of the Nile, the Ganges, and such other great rivers, as by depositing large quantities of alluvial matter previous to their discharge into the sea, form gradual additions to the coast. For it may be proper in this place to remark, that the formation of Deltas, even by rivers of the first magnitude, is by no means universal; some of the greatest that are known being without them. Of this the Amazon, Plata, and Oronoko are mentioned by Major Rennell as distinguished instances; to which may now be added, the Congo. The difference appears to be owing to the depth of the sea at the mouth of the rivers, and perhaps to other circumstances, which are not quite understood.
[Footnote: See Reunell’s Geogr. System of Herodotus, 4to. p. 483.]
Both of the two rivers, enclosing the great alluvial tract which has been described (the Rio del Rey and the Formoso), are stated to be of considerable size, being each of them seven or eight miles broad at the mouth; and the supposed Delta, estimated by the line of coast, is much larger than that of the Ganges: consequently, the two streams, if united, must form a river of prodigious magnitude. But neither of the rivers has ever yet been explored; nor has the interior of the country, to any distance from the coast, been accurately described by any European traveller. Hence, the question whether the two rivers are ever really united, and whether the tract in question is a complete Delta or not, still remains to be ascertained. With regard also to the course, or even the existence, of the great river to which this Delta is said to belong, and which M. Reichard supposes to come from the northeast of Africa, there is no tradition nor any vestige among travellers or geographical writers; the whole is purely conjectural. But the supposition, so far at least as relates to the alluvial origin of the tract in question and the junction of the two rivers, has great appearance of probability.
On comparing Mr. Maxwell’s hypothesis respecting the Niger with that of M. Reichard, which we are now considering, the latter may be said to have gained something in point of probability, by diminishing the distance which the Niger has to flow in order to reach the Atlantic. But the length of its course, even when thus reduced, is still a considerable difficulty, and a great incumbrance on the hypothesis. The objection arising from the Niger’s being conceived to penetrate the Kong Mountains, seems to be nearly of equal weight in both cases, on the supposition that this vast chain of mountains is of the extent generally imagined; which there appears to be no reason to doubt.
It may be mentioned as an objection to both of these hypotheses, that no traces whatever of the Mahometan doctrines or institutions are now to be found on either of the coasts where the Niger is supposed to terminate. In no part of the world has the spirit of enterprise and proselytism, which properly belongs to the Mahometan character, been more strikingly displayed than in the extensive regions of North Africa. Its effects are every where conspicuous, not only in the religious belief of the greater part of the inhabitants; but even where Mahometism is not actually established, in their manners, and customs, and in the predominance of the Arabic language, which is almost every where grafted upon the native African dialects. These circumstances, however, are peculiar to North Africa; nothing of a similar kind having been remarked on the coast of Guinea, and still less on that of Congo and Angola. Mr. Maxwell also states in a letter to Mr. Park, that he had made enquiries of a great number of negroes who had come down the Congo from great distances; but that he could never hear of any Mahometan priests having visited the countries on the banks of that river. Supposing the Niger really to flow through the centre of Africa, and to discharge itself any where into the Atlantic, it is reasonable to believe that some of the Mahometan colonists must long since have established themselves on the banks of that river, and penetrated to the shores of the ocean.
The botanical specimens, mentioned in Park’s letter, arrived safe in England, and were received by Sir Joseph Banks, by whose kind information the editor is enabled to add the following particulars concerning them.
1. Fang Jani, or self-burning tree. The specimens received under this name, were branches of a species of Pandanus, which, for want of the parts of fructification, could not be ascertained. The shoots and bases of the leaves were black and withered, resembling in appearance leaves and branches that had been subjected to the action of fire. The leaves, however, above their bases, were green, although dry. On a closer examination, those parts which appeared like charcoal, were found to differ entirely from that substance, as they would not give a black colour to paper when rubbed upon it. Besides, it was wholly incredible that the young shoots and bases of the leaves should break out into a blaze, while the tops of the leaves, far less succulent than the young shoots, remained quite free from fire, not being even singed in the smallest degree.
On a more careful examination, the black colour appeared to be occasioned by a disease in the plant, of the nature of the mildew or rust of corn, arising from a parasitic fungus, probably of the nature of the Puccinia of Europe; the species of which could not be ascertained on account of the advanced state of growth of the specimen. This explanation accords very ill with the declarations of the negroes, who affirm, that they have often seen fires in the woods, occasioned by the spontaneous burning of these shrubs; but it is mentioned in Mr. Park’s letter, ‘that few of the natives had seen it actually burning.’
2. Kino. The origin of this drug, long ago admitted into the Pharmacopoeias of Europe, was unknown, till Mr. Park sent a specimen of the plant from which the negroes collect it, which proves to be a species of Pterocarpus not yet described by any botanical writer.
3. Tribo. As no part of the plant was sent except the root, nothing can be said concerning its species. It appeared to be a moderately good dye, but had no marked superiority over those already known, sufficient to induce Sir Joseph Banks to cause experiments to be made with it. Indeed, the quantity was not sufficient for any experiments, except on a very confined scale.
The following particulars, tending to shew the increase which has taken place in the commerce between Great Britain and Africa since the Abolition of the Slave Trade, have been communicated to the editor by an intelligent friend, who has great knowledge and experience in the African trade, and upon whose accuracy and means of information he has the most perfect reliance.
It appeared from Custom-house returns, officially laid before Parliament, that the average annual value of all imports from Africa into Great Britain for twenty years prior to 1787, fell short of £72,000; and even this small sum included the imports, not only from the whole Western coast of Africa between Cape Negro in latitude 16 deg South and the straits of Gibraltar, but also from some parts bordering on the Mediterranean. The average annual value of these imports, during the last five years of that period, viz. 1783, 4, 5, 6 and 7, appears, from the same official returns, to have been about £90,500. If from this amount be deducted the value of the articles appearing to have been imported from Morocco and other adjoining countries, there will be left somewhat less than £70,000 for the value of all our imports from the Western Coast of Africa; that is, from the country lying between Cape Blanco, latitude 21 deg north, and Cape Negro, latitude 16 deg south, being an extent of 4500 miles of coast. The average annual exports from Great Britain to the Western coast of Africa during the same period (exclusive of the exports connected with the Slave Trade) may be estimated at a sum not materially exceeding £50,000.
The compiler of the present statement possesses no documents or means of information, which enable him to shew what was the extent of the commerce of Great Britain with Africa (unconnected with the Slave Trade) during the period from 1788 to 1807, the year in which the Slave Trade was abolished; but there is good reason to believe that it had not materially increased within that time.
It might be impracticable at present, from the loss of the Custom-house books, to obtain any authentic account of exports and imports during the last seven years. But this defect of official information is in some degree supplied by an authentic statement, made out on a particular occasion by a Committee of the African Company, from accounts with which they were furnished from the Custom-house, through the intervention of Government. The object of the Company in obtaining these accounts was to procure authentic data relative to some public measure which was in agitation, connected with the African trade. The following statement was extracted from the books of the Company.
Imports from Africa into Great Britain.
[Sidenote: exclusive of gold dust, which is not subject to any custom-house entry]
Exports from Great Britain to Africa.
The great difference between the value of the exports and imports in this case was accounted for by an experienced officer of the African Company by supposing that a large proportion (from one third to a half) of the goods exported, was captured by the enemy. If this be the true explanation, the account must have been balanced by the exports of gold dust, and the bills of exchange drawn from the British settlements on the African coast. Another supposition (and perhaps a more probable one) is that a considerable part of the exports found their way into the hands of the contraband slave traders, and was employed in carrying on their illegal speculations.
But, even if we consider the imports alone, the increase in the commerce of Africa during the before mentioned period is altogether astonishing; so much so, as almost to induce a suspicion that there is some fallacy in the statement, although there does not appear to be any specific ground for questioning its correctness. For if to the amount of the imports as above stated, we add the value of the gold dust imported, we shall find that this additional commerce nearly fills up the chasm occasioned by the Abolition of the slave trade, extensively as that trade was carried on by this country.
But considering this statement only as a general proof of a great increase of the African trade, (without attempting to assign the proportion of increase) let us take another view of the same subject.
The Gold Coast is about 250 miles in extent, little more than a twentieth part of the whole coast extending from Cape Blanco to Cape Negro. Previously to the Abolition of the slave trade, the imports into Great Britain from this space of coast used to consist of
|about 20 tons of ivory valued at||£7500|
|and about 1000 ounces of gold dust||4000|
Since the Abolition of the slave trade the imports from this tract of coast have greatly increased; and it may be stated upon the undoubted authority of intelligent persons, perfectly acquainted with the facts, that the importations have amounted, during the last five or six years, to the annual value of from £120,000. to £180,000. The annual import of gold alone is stated to be about 30,000 ounces.
Thus it appears that the importation from the Gold Coast alone, (a space of 250 miles) into Great Britain since the Abolition of the slave trade, has been double the amount of the importation from the whole slave coast of Africa (an extent of 4500 miles) prior to that event.
A farther example may be taken from the colony of Sierra Leone, where a custom house was first established in May 1812; from whence accounts have been furnished of the imports and exports into and from that colony during the two years ending in May 1814. — The amount of the imports during that period, on which duties were actually paid, was £105,080. 15_s. 3_d. being the alleged prime cost of the goods, even without the cost of packages. In order to obtain the invoice price of the goods, one third at least must be added to the prime cost for necessary charges. The amount will then be about £140,000., or, on an average, £70,000. annually.
The exports from Sierra Leone during the same period have amounted to £91,539. 17_s. 6_d. being on an average £45,000. annually. The remainder of imports may be accounted for by the bills of exchange drawn upon this country for the expenses of the civil establishment and commissariat. Hence it appears that from the single river of Sierra Leone the imports into Great Britain were nearly, and the exports to the same river fully, equal to the imports and exports (exclusive of the slave trade) of the whole extent of the Western Coast of Africa prior to the Abolition.
The facts here stated relative to the extent of our innocent and legitimate commerce with the western coast of Africa, must be considered as highly interesting and important; both as shewing how extremely small that commerce was prior to the Abolition of the slave trade, and how much it has increased during the very few years which have since elapsed. This increase has certainly been much more considerable than there was any good reason for expecting, under the actual circumstances of the case.
If we were told of a country, whose staple article of export trade consisted of its own inhabitants, its men, women and children, who were procured (as must necessarily happen in the case of large and continued exports) by treachery and violence — where the whole population was either living in continual apprehension of captivity and eternal banishment from their native soil, or employed contriving the means of inflicting those evils upon others — we should at once conclude that the very insecurity of person and property, which such a state of society implied, would of itself extinguish all the motives to regular industry, and limit the culture of the soil very nearly to what was required for supplying the immediate wants of nature.
Such in fact were the circumstances of Africa prior to the year 1808; at which time the slave trade carried on by Great Britain, and the United States of North America having been abolished by those respective governments, and the slave trade of France and Holland being virtually abolished by the war, a considerable mitigation of the prevailing evils took place. A farther improvement was effected about three years afterwards, by means of the article in the treaty of amity with Portugal, which bound Portuguese subjects to confine their trading in slaves to places in Africa actually under the possession of that Government. By this arrangement the whole coast of Africa from Cape Blanco to the eastern extremity of the Gold Coast (with the exception of the Portuguese settlement of Bissao) were in a considerable degree liberated from the operation of the slave trade.
The Spaniards indeed claimed a right of trading within those limits; but it was a right which, in its exercise, did not prove so prejudicial as might have been expected. The slave trade carried on under the Spanish flag, has been found in most instances not to be a bona fide Spanish trade, but a British or American slave trade in disguise; and latterly the Portuguese, being excluded by treaty from the whole to the windward coast except Bissao, have begun to avail themselves of the same disguise. Many slave vessels under these circumstances, bearing the Spanish flag, have been captured by the British cruizers: and the condemnations which have taken place, have tended greatly to abridge the extent of this trade. Still however the course of improvement in this part of Africa, has been extremely retarded by the right which Portugal has hitherto retained of carrying on the slave trade from Bissao, and by the trade carried on either by real Spanish ships or by counterfeit Spaniards so well disguised as to escape detection.
Besides the trade thus carried on, cargoes of slaves have frequently been smuggled by English and American traders, availing themselves of the facilities which the creeks and rivers of Africa afford for such transactions, and taking their chance of escaping the cruizers on the coast. A contraband trade of this kind appears to have been carried on to some extent; by means of which various cargoes of slaves have been transported to the Brazils and the Island of Cuba.
These facts are mentioned for the purpose of shewing that considerable obstacles to improvement, arising from the partial continuance of the slave trade, are still experienced, even in that part of Africa which has enjoyed the greatest privileges and exemptions. Under such circumstances it would be most unreasonable to look for that progress in the arts of agriculture and peace-commerce which we should have been entitled to expect, in case the suppression of the slave trade had been complete and universal.
But even under much more favourable circumstances than we have reason at present to expect, it would by no means follow that the mere removal of that great obstacle to regular industry and commerce, would in any very short space of time produce considerable or extensive improvements. The ignorance, the profligacy, the improvidence and the various other moral evils, which necessarily accompany the slave trade, will, it is to be feared, long survive the extinction of that traffic which produced and fostered them. The whole history of mankind shews that the progress of civilization is always extremely slow during its earliest stages; and that the first steps in the career of improvement are constantly the most painful and difficult. Hence, we may be justified in drawing the most favourable conclusions from the comparatively great increase which has already taken place in the commerce of Africa during a very short period, in consequence of a partial removal of those evils, which previously had almost excluded the very possibility of improvement.
The following African Words occurring frequently in the course of the ensuing Journal, it is thought proper to prefix an explanation of them.
Bentang, a sort of stage erected in every town, answering the purpose of a town hall.
Slatees, free black merchants, often traders in slaves.
Caffle, a caravan of slaves or of people travelling with any kind of merchandize.
Dooty, the chief magistrate of a town or province.
Palaver, A court of justice, or public meeting; some times a parly or negociation.
Bar, nominal money; a single bar is equal in value to about two shillings sterling.
Kowries, small shells which pass for money in the Interior of Africa.
Barraloolo, a fowling — piece.
Arrangoes, a large kind of bead.
Baft, blue cloth of East Indian manufacture, much used in the African Trade.
Pagne, a kind of cloth, also much used in the same trade.
Departure from Kayee — Arrival at Pisania — Preparations there, and departure into the Interior — Samee — Payment to Mumbo Jumbo — Reach Jindey; process of dying cottons at that place — Departure from Jindey — Cross the Wallia Creek — Kootakunda — Madina — Tabajang — Kingdom of Jamberoo — Visit from the King’s son — Tatticonda — Visit from the son of the former King of Woolli — Reach Madina, the capital of Woolli — Audience of the King; his unfriendly conduct — Presents made to him and his courtiers — Barraconda — Bambakoo — Kanipe; inhospitable conduct of its inhabitants — Kussai — Nitta — trees; restrictions relating to them — Enter the Simbani Woods; precautions thereon, and sacrifice and prayers for success — Banks of the Gambia — Crocodiles and hippopotami — Reach Faraba–Loss of one of the soldiers — Rivers Neaulico and Nerico — Astronomical observations.
April 27th, 1805. — At ten o’clock in the morning took our departure from Kayee. The Crescent, the Washington and Mr. Ainsley’s vessel did us the honour to fire a salute at our departure. The day proved remarkably hot; and some of the asses being unaccustomed to carry loads, made our march very fatiguing and troublesome. Three of them stuck fast in a muddy rice field about two miles east of Kayee; and while we were employed in getting them out, our guide and the people in front had gone on so far, that we lost sight of them. In a short time we overtook about a dozen soldiers and their asses, who had likewise fallen behind, and being afraid of losing their way, had halted till we came up. We in the rear took the road to Jonkakonda, which place we reached at one o’clock; but not finding Lieutenant Martyn nor any of the men who were in front, concluded they had gone by New Jermy, &c., therefore hired a guide and continued our march. Halted a few minutes under a large tree at the village of Lamain–Cotto, to allow the soldiers to cool themselves; and then proceeded towards Lamain, at which place we arrived at four o’clock. The people were extremely fatigued, having travelled all day under a vertical sun, and without a breath of wind. Lieutenant Martyn and the rest of our party arrived at half past five, having taken the road by New Jermy.
On our arrival at Lamain we unloaded the asses under a large Bentang tree on the east side of the town. The Slatee (or master of that district of the kingdom of Kataba, called Lamain) came to pay his respects to me, and requested that I would order the bundles and asses to be removed to some other tree; assuring me that if we slept under it, we should all be dead before morning. I was for some time at a loss to comprehend his meaning; when he took me by the hand, and leading me to one of the large notches in the root of the tree, shewed me three spear-heads which appeared to have been tinged with blood, lying with their points amongst bone-ashes, and surrounded with a rope half burnt. I now ordered the bundles to be removed to another tree, presented the Slatee with a keg of liquor, and received in return a small bullock. Here we were forced to purchase water, the wells of the town being nearly dry. Slept very comfortably under the tree, and at day-break,
April 28th, set out for Pisania. We passed two small Foulah towns and the village of Collin, and reached the banks of the Gambia at half past eleven o’clock. Halted and gave our cattle water and grass: we likewise cooked our dinners, and rested till three o’clock, when we set forward and arrived at Pisania at sun-set. Here we were accommodated at Mr. Ainsley’s house; and as his schooner had not yet arrived with our baggage, I purchased some corn for our cattle, and spoke for a bullock for the soldiers.
April 29th. — Went and paid my respects to Seniora Camilla, who was much surprised to see me again attempting a journey into the interior of the country.
[Footnote: See Park’s Travels, p. 31, 357.]
April 30th. — Mr. Ainsley’s schooner arrived, and we immediately began to land the baggage and rice.
April 31st. — Gave out the ass saddles to be stuffed with grass, and set about weighing the bundles. Found that after all reductions, our asses could not possibly carry our baggage. Purchased five more with Mr. Ainsley’s assistance.
May 1st. — Tying up the bundles and marking them.
May 2d. — Purchased three asses, and a bullock for the people.
May 3d. — Finished packing the loads, and got every thing ready for our journey.
May 4th. — Left Pisania at half past nine o’clock. The mode of marching was adjusted as follows. The asses and loads being all marked and numbered with red paint, a certain number of each was allotted to each of the six messes, into which the soldiers were divided; and the asses were further subdivided amongst the individuals of each mess, so that every man could tell at first sight the ass and load which belonged to him. The asses were also numbered with large figures, to prevent the natives from stealing them, as they could neither wash nor clip it off without being discovered. Mr. George Scott and one of Isaaco’s people generally went in front, Lieutenant Martyn in the centre, and Mr. Anderson and myself in the rear. We were forced to leave at Pisania about five cwt. of rice, not having a sufficient number of asses to carry it. We were escorted till we passed Tendicunda by Mr. Ainsley, and the good old Seniora Camilla, and most of the respectable natives in the vicinity. Our march was most fatiguing. Many of the asses being rather overloaded, lay down on the road; others kicked off their bundles; so that, after using every exertion to get forward, we with difficulty reached Samee, a distance of about eight miles. We unloaded our asses under a large Tabba tree at some distance from the town, and in the evening I went with Isaaco to pay my respects to the Slatee of Samee.
The Slatee of Samee, as well as the Slatees of Lamain and Kutijar, is subject to the King of Kataba; but their subjection is not easily defined. If a slave runs away from one to another, he cannot be reclaimed unless the other chooses to give him up. The Slatee was very drunk, and when I told him that I was come to pay my respects to him and would give him one jug of rum, he told me he would not allow me to pass unless I gave him ten jugs; and after a good deal of insignificant palaver, I was obliged to give him two jugs.
May 5th. — Paid six bars of amber to the Mumbo Jumbo boys, and set out for Jindey early in the morning. Found this day’s travelling very difficult; many of the asses refused to go on; and we were forced to put their loads on the horses. We reached Jindey about noon. Purchased a bullock, and halted the 6th; fearing, if we attempted to proceed, we should be forced to leave some of our loads in the woods.
[Footnote: For a description of Mumbo Jumbo, see Park’s Travels, p. 39.]
At Jindey they dye very fine blues with the indigo leaves. I readily embraced the opportunity, during our halt, to make myself acquainted with the process, which I saw in all its different stages.
Mode of dying Cotton of a fine blue colour with the leaves of the Indigo Plant.
A large quantity of wood-ashes is collected (the woods preferred for the purpose are the mimosa nitta, and mimosa pulverulenta,) and put into an unglazed earthen vessel which has a hole in its bottom; over which is put some straw. Upon these ashes water is poured, which, filtrating through the hole in the bottom of the vessel, carries with it the potass contained in the ashes, and forms a very strong lye of the colour of strong beer: this lye they call sai-gee, ash-water.
Another pot is filled not quite quarter full of the leaves of the indigo plant, either fresh or dried in the sun (those used at this time were dried), and as much of the sai-gee poured on it as will fill the pot about half full. It is allowed to remain in this state for four days, during which it is stirred once or twice each day.
The pot is then filled nearly full of sai-gee and stirred frequently for four days more, during which it ferments and throws up a copper-coloured scum. It is then allowed to remain at rest for one day, and on the tenth day from the commencement of the process the cloth is put into it. No mordant whatever is used; the cloth is simply wetted with cold water, and wrung hard before it is put into the pot, where it is allowed to remain about two hours. It is then taken out and exposed to the sun, by laying it (without spreading it) over a stick, till the liquor ceases to drop from it. After this it is washed in cold water, and is often beat with a flat stick to clear away any leaves or dirt which may adhere to it. The cloth being again wrung hard, is returned into the pot; and this dipping is repeated four times every day for the first four days; at the end of which period it has in common acquired a blue colour equal to the finest India baft.
The Negro women, who practise dying, have generally twelve or fourteen indigo jars, so that one of them is always ready for dipping. If the process misgives, which it very seldom does with women who practise it extensively, it generally happens during the second four days or the fermenting period. The indigo is then said to be dead, and the whole is thrown out.
In Kajaaga and Kasson they spread the cloth in the sun, and dry it after every dip: they then beat it with a stick, so as to make the indigo leaves fly off it like dust. Both practices have for their object the clearing of the cloth, so as to admit the indigo equally to all parts of it. The process abridged is,
Four days indigo and a small quantity of sai-gee.
Four days fermenting in a large quantity of sai-gee.
One day at rest.
Four days dipping the cloth, four dips per day.
Thirteen in all.
To return to the narrative. Lamina Foffono, one of my fellow travellers in my former journey from Mandingo to Gambia, hearing that I was come to Jindey, came from Wallia to see me. He told me that Karfa was in health, but had not received the musket I sent him by Captain Brand.
At five o’clock had a strong puff of wind from the south-east, which raised the dust and had exactly the appearance of a tornado.
May 7th. — Left Jindey, but so much were our asses fatigued, that I was obliged to hire three more, and four drivers to assist in getting forward the baggage. One of the St. Jago asses fell down convulsed when the load was put upon him; and a Mandingo ass, No. 11, refused to carry his load. I was under the necessity of sending him back to Jindey, and hiring another in his place.
We travelled on the north side of the Wallia Creek till noon, when we crossed it near Kootakunda. Swam the asses over; and the soldiers, with the assistance of the Negroes, waded over with the bundles on their heads. Halted on the south side of the creek, and cooked our dinners.
At four o’clock set forwards, passed Kootakunda, and called at the village of Madina to pay my respects to Slatee Bree. Gave him a note on Mr. Ainsley for one jug of liquor. Halted at Tabajang, a village almost deserted; having been plundered in the course of the season by the King of Jamberoo, in conjunction with the King of Woolli. Our guide’s mother lives here; and as I found that we could not possibly proceed in our present state, I determined either to purchase more asses, or abandon some of the rice.
May 8th. — Purchased two asses for ten bars of amber and ten of coral each. Covered the India bafts with skins, to prevent them from being damaged by the rain. Two of the soldiers afflicted with the dysentery.
May 9th. — The King of Jamberoo’s son came to pay his respects to me. Jamberoo lies along the north side of the Wallia Creek, and extends a long way to the northward. The people are Jaloffs, but most of them speak Mandingo. Presented him with some amber. Bought five asses and covered all the gunpowder with skins, except what was for our use on the road.
May 10th. — Having paid all the people who had assisted in driving the asses, I found that the expense was greater than any benefit we were likely to derive from them. I therefore trusted the asses this day entirely to the soldiers. We left Tabajang at sun-rise, and made a short and easy march to Tatticonda, where the son of my friend, the former King of Woolli, came to meet me. From him I could easily learn that our journey was viewed with great jealousy by the Slatees and Sierra–Woollis residing about Madina.
May 11th. — About noon arrived at Madina, the capital of the kingdom of Woolli. We unloaded our asses under a tree without the gates of the town, and waited till five o’clock before we could have an audience from his majesty. I took to the King a pair of silver mounted pistols, ten dollars, ten bars of amber, ten of coral. But, when he had looked at the present with great indifference for some time, he told me that he could not accept it; alleging, as an excuse for his avarice, that I had given a much handsomer present to the King of Kataba. It was in vain that I assured him of the contrary; he positively refused to accept it, and I was under the necessity of adding fifteen dollars, ten bars coral, ten amber, before his majesty would accept it. After all, he begged me to give him a blanket to wrap himself in during the rains, which I readily sent him.
The other presents must all be proportionally great, and the sum of the whole presents at Woolli is as follows:
|To the King,|
|A pair of pistols.||Bars.|
|To Montamba the King’s own son,|
|To Slatee Deena,|
|To Sadoo, Jatta’s son,|
|To Samboo, Jatta’s second son,|
|To Whulliri, the Prime Minister,|
|To Dama, Whulliri’s younger brother,|
|To Soliman, the King’s chief slave, Bars.|
|To Dimba Serra,|
|To different people,|
|To the King,||70|
|Total 140 bars.|
[Footnote: There is some mistake here; what Mr. Park calls 71, appears to be no more than 67; and even according to him, the total ought to be 141. The true amount is 67+70=137.]
May 12th. — Had all the asses loaded by day-break, and at sun-rise, having obtained the King’s permission, we departed from Woolli. Shortly after, we passed the town of Barraconda, where I stopped a few minutes to pay my respects to Jemaffoo Mamadoo, a very eminent Slatee.
[Footnote: Mentioned in Park’s Travels, p. 31.]
We reached the village of Bambakoo at half past ten o’clock. Bought two asses, and likewise a bullock for the soldiers.
May 13th. — Departed from Bambakoo at sun-rise, and reached Kanipe, an irregular built village, about ten o’clock. The people of the village had heard that we were under the necessity of purchasing water at Madina; and to make sure of a similar market, the women had drawn all the water from the wells, and were standing in crowds, drawing up the water as fast as it collected. It was in vain that the soldiers attempted to come in for their share: the camp kettles were by no means so well adapted for drawing water as the women’s calabashes. The soldiers therefore returned without water, having the laugh very much against them.
I received information that there was a pool of water about two miles south of the town; and in order to make the women desist, I mounted a man on each of the horses, and sent them away to the pool, to bring as much water as would boil our rice, and in the afternoon sent all the asses to be watered at the same place. In the evening some of the soldiers made another attempt to procure water from the large well near the town, and succeeded by the following stratagem. One of them having dropped his canteen into the well, as if by accident, his companions fastened a rope round him, and lowered him down to the bottom of the well, where he stood and filled all the camp kettles, to the great mortification of the women, who had been labouring and carrying water for the last twenty-four hours, in hopes of having their necks and heads decked with small amber and beads by the sale of it. Bought two goats for the soldiers.
May 14th. — Halted at Kussai, about four miles east of Kanipe. This is the same village as Seesekunda, but the inhabitants have changed its name. Here one of the soldiers, having collected some of the fruit of the Nitta trees, was eating them, when the chief man of the village came out in a great rage, and attempted to take them from him; but finding that impracticable, he drew his knife, and told us to put on our loads, and get away from the village. Finding that we only laughed at him, he became more quiet; and when I told him that we were unacquainted with so strange a restriction, but should be careful not to eat any of them in future; he said that the thing itself was not of great importance, if it had not been done in sight of the women. For, says he, this place has been frequently visited with famine from want of rain, and in these distressing times the fruit of the Nitta is all we have to trust to, and it may then be opened without harm; but in order to prevent the women and children from wasting this supply, a toong is put upon the Nittas, until famine makes its appearance. The word toong is used to express any thing sealed up by magic.
Bought two asses. As we entered the Simbani woods from this town, Isaaco was very apprehensive that we might be attacked by some of the Bondou people, there being at this time a hot war between two brothers about the succession: and as the report had spread that a coffle of white men were going to the interior, every person immediately concluded that we were loaded with the richest merchandize to purchase slaves; and that whichever of the parties should gain possession of our wealth, he would likewise gain the ascendency over his opponent. On this account, gave orders to the men not to fire at any deer or game they might see in the woods; that every man must have his piece loaded and primed, and that the report of a musket, but more particularly of three or four, should be the signal to leave every thing and run towards the place.
May 15th. — Departed from Kussai. At the entrance of the woods, Isaaco laid a black ram across the road and cut its throat, having first said a long prayer over it. This he considered as very essential towards our success. The flesh of the animal was given to the slaves at Kussai, that they might pray in their hearts for our success.
The first five miles of our route was through a woody country; we then reached a level plain nearly destitute of wood. On this plain we observed some hundreds of a species of antelope of a dark colour with a white mouth; they are called by the natives Da qui, and are nearly as large as a bullock. At half past ten o’clock we arrived on the banks of the Gambia, and halted during the heat of the day under a large tree called Teelee Corra, the same under which I formerly stopped in my return from the interior.
[Footnote: Probably the tree mentioned in Park’s Travels, p. 854.]
The Gambia here is about 100 yards across, and, contrary to what I expected, has a regular tide, rising four inches by the shore. It was low water this day at one o’clock. The river swarms with crocodiles. I counted at one time thirteen of them ranged along shore, and three hippopotami. The latter feed only during the night, and seldom leave the water during the day; they walk on the bottom of the river, and seldom shew more of themselves above water than their heads.
At half past three o’clock in the afternoon, we again set forward, and about a mile to the eastward ascended a hill, where we had a most enchanting prospect of the country to the westward; in point of distance it is the richest I ever saw. The course of the Gambia was easily distinguished by a range of dark green trees, which grew on its banks. The course from Teelee Corra is represented in the following sketch.
A mile and a half east of Prospect hill, is another on the north side of the road, from the top of which we had a charming view to the south. The course of the river is from the E.S.E.; no hills on the south side of it, the whole country being quite level. About ten miles E.S.E.; the river passes near an elevated table land, which looks, like an old fortification. At sun-set reached a watering place called Faraba, but found no water.
While we were unloading the asses, John Walters, one of the soldiers, fell down in an epileptic fit, and expired in about an hour after. The Negroes belonging to our guide set about digging a well, having first lighted a fire to keep off the bees, which were swarming about the place in search of water. In a little time they found water in sufficient quantity to cook our suppers, and even supply the horses and asses in the course of the night.
Being apprehensive of an attack from the Bondou people, placed double sentries, and made every man sleep with his loaded musket under his head. Latitude by mer. alt. of the moon, 14° 38’ 46” N.
About three o’clock buried John Walters, and in remembrance of him wish this place to be called Walters’s Well.
May 16th. — Departed from the well as soon as day dawned, and reached the Neaulico at half past eight o’clock. This stream is nearly dry at this season, and only affords water in certain hollow places which abound in fish. Saw Isaaco’s Negroes take several with their hands, and with wisps of grass used as a net to frighten the fish into a narrow space. One of the fish was a new genus.
Saw in the bed of the river some Negroes roasting a great quantity of flesh on temporary wooden stages erected for the purpose, as represented in the following sketch.
This half roasting and smoaking makes the meat keep much longer than it would do without it. The flesh was part of a Da qui which they found on the road; a lion had killed it during the night, and eat one leg of it.
At four o’clock P.M. departed from the Neaulico. At five, passed the ruins of Mangelli, where I formerly slept, and at six o’clock halted for the night at Manjalli Tabba Cotta, the ruins of a village so called. The wood during this day’s march is in general small, and the road is much interrupted with dry bamboos. Plenty of water at the resting place. After dark took out the telescope in order to observe an immersion of Jupiter’s first satellite —
|The satellite immerged by watch||14||10||35|
|Rate + from London||0||5||48|
|Too slow by eclipse at Kayee||0||0||5|
|Mean time by watch||14||16||28|
|Time by Nautical Almanack||14||16||51|
|Mean time at Greenwich||14||12||53|
|Watch too fast||0||3||35|
Longitude by three sets of sights taken next morning in order to find the apparent time at the place 13° 9’ 45” W.
It is difficult to account for such a difference in the rate of going of the watch in the course of one month; but the excessive heat and the motion of riding may perhaps have contributed to it; for I think my observation of the immersion was correct.
May 17th. — Left Manjalli Tabba Cotta, and after a fatiguing march of twelve miles, reached Bray, a watering place. Endeavoured to take the meridional altitude of the sun, by the back observation with Troughton’s pocket sextant; and after carefully examining his rise and fall, with the intervals betwixt each observation, I was convinced that it can be done with great accuracy, requiring only a steady hand and proper attention. This was a great relief to me; I had been plagued watching the passage of the fixed stars, and often fell asleep when they were in the meridian.
We left Bray at three o’clock, P.M. and carried with us as much water as we possibly could, intending to rest at Nillindingcorro till the moon rose; but there being no water, our guide continued our march to the river Nerico, which we reached at eight o’clock, all the people and asses very much fatigued. Face of the country during this day an open and level plain with bushes and Cibi trees, making the prospect rich, though not grand. Saw plenty of lions’ excrement in the wood: they deposit it only in certain places, and like the cats, claw up the ground in order to cover it.
May 18th. — People employed all the morning in transporting the baggage and asses across the river; and as both men and asses were very much fatigued, I thought it best to halt on the east side of the river till the afternoon, as it would afford the soldiers an opportunity of washing their clothes.
|Observed Mer. Alt. Sun||168||35||0|
|Correct for refraction and parallax||4|
The breadth of the stream of the river Nerico is about sixty feet, the depth of water four feet, its velocity is two miles an hour. The heat of the stream at two o’clock 94° Fahrenheit.
Arrival at Jallacotta — Maheena — Tambico — Bady; hostile conduct of the Faranba, or Chief, and its consequences — Reach Jeningalla — Iron-furnaces. — Mansafara — Attacked by wolves — Enter the Tenda Wilderness — Ruins and Plain of Doofroo — Attacked by a swarm of bees — Astronomical Observations — Arrival at Sibikillin — Shea trees — Badoo; presents made to the King — Tambacunda — Ba Deema River — Tabba Gee — Mambari — Julifunda; unfriendly conduct of its Chief; and presents sent to him and the King — Visit from the latter — Reach Eercella — Baniserile — Celebrate His Majesty’s birthday — Mode of fluxing iron — Madina — Falema river — Satadoo — Sickness and death of the Carpenter — Arrival at Shrondo; commencement of the rainy season; and alarming sickness amongst the soldiers — Gold mines; process for procuring the gold — Dindikoo; gold pits — Cultivation — Arrival at Fankia.
May 18th. — We left the Nerico about half past three o’clock, and arrived at Jallacotta, the first town of Tenda, at sun-set. From this place to Simbuni in Bondou, is two days travel.
May 19th. — Halted at Jallacotta in order to purchase corn and recruit the asses. Bought plenty of onions, which made our rice eat much better. Town’s people fishing in the woods, where the pools being nearly dry, the fish are easily taken.
May 20. — Left Jallacotta, and about two miles to the east, passed the village of Maheena, close to which are the ruins of another village of the same name. It would appear from the number of ruins, that the population of Tenda is much diminished. We reached Tendico or Tambico, about eight o’clock: we could not procure a bullock, the inhabitants having very few cattle. This village belongs to Jallacotta; and the Farbana of Jallacotta is subject to the King of Woolli. About half a mile from Tambico is a pretty large town called Bady, the chief of which takes the title of Faranba, and is in a manner independent. He exacts very high duties from the coffles, to the extent of ten bars of gunpowder for each ass-load.
We sent a messenger from Tambico to inform the Faranba of our arrival, and he sent his son in the evening with twenty-six men armed with musquets, and a great crowd of people, to receive what we had to give him. Sent him ten bars of amber by our guide; but as he refused to take it, went myself with five bars of coral, which he likewise refused. Indeed I could easily perceive from the number of armed men, and the haughty manner in which they conducted themselves, that there was little prospect of settling matters in an amicable manner. I therefore tore a leaf from my pocket-book, and had written a note to Lieutenant Martyn to have the soldiers in readiness; when Mr. Anderson, hearing such a hubbub in the village, came to see what was the matter. I explained my doubts to him, and desired that the soldiers might have on their pouches and bayonets, and be ready for action at a moment’s notice. I desired Isaaco to inform him that we had as yet found no difficulty in our journey; we had readily obtained the permission of the kings of Kataba and Woolli to pass through their kingdoms, and that if he would not allow us to pass, we had then only to return to Jallacotta, and endeavour to find another road; and with this (after a good many angry words had passed between the Faranba’s people and our guide) the palaver ended.
Matters were in this state, Faranba’s son had gone over to Bady with the amber and coral, and we were preparing to return to Jallacotta early next morning, when about half past six o’clock some of Faranba’s people seized our guide’s horse, as the boy was watering it at the well, and carried it away. Isaaco went over to Bady to enquire the reason of this conduct; but instead of satisfying him on this point, they seized him, took his double barrelled gun and sword from him, tied him to a tree and flogged him; and having put his boy in irons, sent some people back to Tambico for another horse belonging to an old man that was travelling with us to Dentila. I now told two of Isaaco’s Negroes, that if they would go with me into the village, and point out the Faranba’s people (it being quite dark) who had come to take the old man’s horse, I would make the soldiers seize them, and retain them as hostages for Isaaco. They went and told this to the two chief men in the village, but they would not permit it. They were able, they said, to defend their own rights, and would not allow the horse to be taken: so after an immense hubbub and wrangling, the business at last came to blows, and the Faranba’s people were fairly kicked out of the village.
I was now a little puzzled how to act; Isaaco’s wife and child sat crying with us under the tree, his Negroes were very much dejected, and seemed to consider the matter as quite hopeless. We could have gone in the night and burnt the town. By this we should have killed a great many innocent people, and most probably should not have recovered our guide. I therefore thought it most advisable (having consulted with Mr. Anderson and Lieutenant Martyn) to wait till morning; and then, if they persisted in detaining our guide, to attack them in open day; a measure which would be more decisive, and more likely to be attended with success than any night skirmishes. We accordingly placed double sentries during the night, and made every man sleep with his loaded musquet at hand. We likewise sent two people back to Jallacotta, to inform the Dooty of the treatment we had received from Faranba, though at one of the towns belonging to the King of Woolli.
May 21st. — Early in the morning our guide was liberated, and sent back to us; and about ten o’clock a number of Faranba’s people came and told me that Faranba did not wish to quarrel with me, but could not think of allowing a coffle to pass without paying the customary tribute; but as I had refused to do that the evening before, if I would now carry over to Bady such articles as I meant to give him, every thing would be amicably settled. I told them that, after the treatment my guide had experienced, they could not expect that I would go to Bady alone; that if I went I would take twenty or thirty of my people with me. This seemed not so agreeable; and it was at last determined that the horse, &c. should be brought half way between the two villages, and delivered on receipt of the goods. I accordingly paid at different times goods to the amount of one hundred and six bars, being not quite one-third of what a coffle of Negroes would have paid. Faranba’s people still kept our guide’s gun and sword; alleging, that they were sent away in the night to Bisra, a town in the neighbourhood, but would be sent after us as soon as the person returned who had gone in quest of them. We accordingly departed from Tambico about three o’clock, and halted for the night at Jeningalla near Bufra, or Kabatenda, where I formerly slept; my former landlord brought me a large calabash of milk.
|Mer. Alt. Tambico||166||56||0|
May 22d. — Halted at Jeningalla to purchase corn for our asses. Went and saw some iron-furnaces; they are smaller at the top than those of Manding, thus:
The distance being very great between this place and the next water, we resolved to travel it by moonlight, and accordingly we left Jeningalla.
May 23d, at two o’clock in the morning, and at eight o’clock reached Nealo Koba. At the same place where I formerly crossed, the river is not flowing, but stands in pools, some of which are deep and swarming with fish. Oysters large, but of a greenish colour; did not eat any of them. About two o’clock resumed our journey, and at sun-set reached a small Foula village; all very much fatigued, having travelled twenty-eight miles.
May 24th. — Halted at Mansafara, which is only four miles east of the Foula village. This consists of three towns, quite contiguous to each other; and near them is a large pool of water. From this town to the village of Nittakorra on the north bank of the Gambia is only eight miles due south. Bought corn for the asses in crossing the Samakara woods, and a bullock for the people. Much lightning to the south-east, and thunder. Got all the bundles covered with grass, &c. During the night the wolves killed one of our best asses within twenty yards of the place where Mr. Anderson and I slept.
May 25th. — Left Mansafara, and entered the Tenda or Samakara wilderness. About four miles to the east passed the ruins of Koba, where I formerly slept. The town was destroyed by the Bondou people about two years ago, and the Bentang tree burnt down. At ten passed a stream like the Neaulico, running to the Gambia; and shortly after came in sight of the first range of hills, running from S. S. W. to N. N. E., we came near them; and at half past eleven halted at Sooteetabba, a watering place within a mile of the hills.
[Footnote: Called Koba Tenda in Park’s Travels, p. 353.]
|Obser. Merid. Alt.||164||45||0|
|Diff. par. and ref.||0||0||7|
Departing from Sooteetabba as soon as the heat of the day was over, we crossed the first range of hills. Mr. Anderson and I ascended the top of one of the hills, which from the amazing fine prospect all round, I have named Panorama Hill; it has a sugar-loaf looking top, with a number of wolf-holes in it. The route across the hill, though very difficult for the asses, was extremely beautiful. In the evening we descended into a romantic valley, where we found plenty of water, being one of the remote branches of Nealo Koba. There was plenty of fish in the pools; but they were too deep to catch them with the hands. Close to the stream are the ruins of the village of Doofroo, destroyed by the Dentila people some time ago. This is considered as an excellent place for shooting elephants; we saw the fresh dung and feet marks of many of them near the stream. Watched for an eclipse of Jupiter’s first satellite, but the planet became clouded.
May 26th. — At day-break ascended from the plain of Doofroo, and travelled over a rugged country, till ten o’clock, when we met a coffle (at a watering place called Sootinimma) bound for Gambia to redeem a person who had been caught for a debt, and was to be sold for a slave, if not ransomed in a few months. There being no water here, we did not halt; but continued our march, two of the soldiers being unable to keep up. The main body of the coffle still kept going on, and at half past twelve reached Bee Creek; from whence we sent back an ass and two Negroes to bring up the two fatigued soldiers.
We had no sooner unloaded the asses at the Creek, than some of Isaaco’s people, being in search of honey, unfortunately disturbed a large swarm of bees near where the coffle had halted. The bees came out in immense numbers, and attacked men and beasts at the same time. Luckily most of the asses were loose, and gallopped up the valley; but the horses and people were very much stung, and obliged to scamper in all directions. The fire which had been kindled for cooking being deserted, spread, and set fire to the bamboos; and our baggage had like to have been burnt. In fact, for half an hour the bees seemed to have completely put an end to our journey.
In the evening, when the bees became less troublesome, and we could venture to collect our cattle, we found that many of them were very much stung and swelled about the head. Three asses were missing; one died in the evening, and one next morning, and we were forced to leave one at Sibikillin; in all six: besides which, our guide lost his horse, and many of the people were very much stung about the face and hands.
During the night got the telescope ready in order to set the watch to Greenwich time by observing an emersion of the second satellite of Jupiter. Mr. Anderson took the time, and I was seated at the telescope half an hour before it happened, in order to be sure of observing it. The satellite emerged by
|Watch too fast||0||2||46|
|Emersion by Nautical Almanack||11||49||51|
|Mean time at Greenwich||11||46||30|
Observations of the sun taken with artificial horizon and the watch the same evening, to determine the apparent time.
Observed the meridian altitude of the sun within a mile of Bee Creek the same day;
Longitude 43 min. 56 sec. of time, or 10 59' West.
May 27th. — Early in the morning we set forwards, and after travelling four miles arrived at Sibikillin. Here the water which supplies the town, is collected in a deep rocky hollow. There are plenty of fish in the pool, but the natives will not eat any of them, nor allow them to be taken, imagining that the water would immediately dry up. Cautioned the soldiers against catching any of them. At night one of the town’s-people found our guide’s horse in the woods, and brought it to the town. Gave him fifteen bars of amber, and a Barraloolo, &c.
[Footnote: Shea, or vegetable Butter-tree. See Park’s Travels, p. 203, 352.]
May 28th. — At day-break set forwards, and about three miles east of Sibikillin descended into a valley, where I saw the first Shea trees, some of them loaded with fruit, but not ripe. About eleven o’clock arrived at Badoo, a small town consisting of about three hundred huts. A little north of this is another town, called likewise Badoo; but they distinguish them by the names of Sansanding and Sansanba. The Slatee or governor of each of these towns exacts customs to a great amount from all coffles, and if refused, they join together and plunder them. Judging it best to settle matters amicably, if possible, I gave him during the day the following articles; viz.
|To Amar, the king’s younger brother,||Bars.|
|Amber No. 2.||10|
|To the King of Sansanding,|
|To the King of Sansanba,|
|To different people, Grandees||20|
[Footnote: Here is a mistake of Mr. Park. The total is really 98.]
|Bought a bullock for||12|
|And a sheep for||5|
May 29th. — In the forenoon had an opportunity of sending two letters home to England, viâ Gambia.
In the evening left Badoo, and went to Tambacunda, about four miles east of Badoo. The river Gambia is only four miles distant, South of Badoo. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Scott went up a hill near the town, and had a fine view of it. The course is from the South–East, till it reaches the hills near Badoo; it then turns towards the South. It is called Ba Deema, or the river which is always a river, i.e. it never dries. The distance between Badoo and Laby in Foota Jalla is five days travel.
Purchased two asses.
May 30th. — Left Tambacunda, and entered the woods. Travelled very expeditiously till eleven o’clock, when we reached a watering place called Fatifing, where we found some green dirty water, so bad that nothing but necessity would have made us drink it. Halted here till half past two o’clock, when we again set forward and reached Tabba Gee just at dark: found no water. During the afternoon the country to the South hilly and beautiful. A little before we reached the halting place some drops of rain fell.
May 31st. — Left Tabba Gee at day break, and a few miles to the east passed a round lump of quartz, called by the natives Ta Kooro, or the traveller’s stone; all travellers lift up this stone and turn it round. The stone is worn quite smooth, and the iron rock on which it rests is worn hollow by this constant motion. Halted during the heat of the day at Mambari, where there is a small village built this season; the former one having been destroyed by war many years ago. Passed in the course of the forenoon two streams running towards Gambia.
|Obser. Mer. Alt.||162||43||0|
Muianta, a hill resembling a castle, bearing by compass S. by E. is distant sixteen miles; Sambankalla bearing S., the hills of Foota Jalla bearing by compass SW. by W. SW. and SW. by S. — The town of Laby is immediately beyond those hills, which are three days travel from this place. The river Gambia comes down the opening SSW. between Muianta and the hills of Foota Jalla. The latter have nearly the appearance of Madeira when seen from the sea, but the hills are not so sharp-pointed as those of Madeira.
In the afternoon again set forwards, and four miles to the East passed the dry bed of a torrent course towards Gambia; road rocky; plenty of white quartz in detached lumps and small pieces. Travelled till quite dark, when we were forced to halt for the night at a place where there was no water; and of course we all slept supperless.
June 1st. — At day break set forwards, and at ten o’clock arrived at Julifunda, a considerable town founded by people who formerly received goods in advance from the European traders on the Gambia, Rio Nunez, and Kajaaga; the road to Bambara from these places frequently leading through this place when the other routes were stopped by war. These people, who trade on credit, are called Juli in distinction from the Slatee who trades with his own capital. Julifunda was formerly inhabited entirely by Soninkees; but the King of Foota Jalla made war on them, and obliged them, as a condition of peace, to embrace the Mahomedan religion. The town contains, I suppose, about two thousand people, including the suburbs.
In the evening sent our guide to the chief man, who is termed Mansa Kussan, and is reckoned one of the most avaricious chiefs in the whole of the road. Sent him some amber and scarlet as a present, and told him that I intended to remain one day at Julifunda in order to purchase rice.
June 2d. — Bought some corn and two ass loads of rice; presented Mansa Kussan with some amber, coral, and scarlet, with which he appeared to be perfectly satisfied, and sent a bullock in return; he even prayed for my safety, and told me that he would do his utmost to get us forwards. Bought an ass for twenty bars of amber. At four o’clock put on the loads and departed for Baniserile.
The whole of the asses were gone, and only Mr. Anderson and myself remained, having sent our guide to inform Mansa Kussan of our departure. Our guide returned, and told us that Mansa Kussan had said that, unless I gave him ten bars of all the different sorts of merchandise, he would not allow us to pass farther up the country; and if we attempted to pass without his consent, he would do his utmost to plunder us in the woods.
Recalled the people and asses, and endeavoured to settle matters in a friendly manner. Suspecting that he would not have used such language unless he had received assurances from some other towns that they would join him in attacking us, sent him some more scarlet and amber by our guide; being unwilling to go singly into the town, having received information that it was the intention of the king to detain me, with a view to make me pay handsomely for my release.
Mansa Kussan seized the money which I paid for the ass in the seller’s hands, and what evinced his hostile intentions still more, he seized the ass till such time as the palaver should be settled. I shall here give a list of the different articles of trade paid by me at different times, to Mansa Kussan at Julifunda.
|Sent at first,||Bars.|
|Amber No. 1.||10|
|To Kussan’s brothers|
|Took with me when I went to pay my respects to him,|
|Sent after the asses turned back,|
|Sent on the morning of the 3d of June,|
|A pair of pistols||20|
[Footnote 1: Here too there is some mistake in Park’s MS. the true total being 191.]
|Observed Mer. Alt.||162||11||0|
June 3d — Having sent him the last present mentioned in the above list, I concluded, and was assured by the king’s brothers, that no further demands would be made; but was much surprised when our guide and the king’s brothers told me on their return that I must send ten bars of gunpowder and ten of flints. Here I determined to put an end to the business; and told the king’s brothers that I considered myself as having paid the king very well for passing through his territory; that I would neither give him a single charge of gunpowder nor a flint; and if he refused to allow me to pass, I would go without his permission; and if his people attempted to obstruct us we would do our utmost to defend ourselves. The king’s brothers and some of the old Bushreens insisted on my sending the gunpowder or some other goods of equal value; but I assured them that Europeans would much rather run the risque of being plundered in a hostile manner than have their goods (which were brought to purchase provisions) extorted from them by such exorbitant demands. After going backwards and forwards to the king, his Majesty was pleased to say he was satisfied; and what surprised me, said that he was coming to pay us a friendly visit in the afternoon. He accordingly paid us a visit, attended by a parcel of parasites and singing women. Offered me a few Cola nuts, which I desired our guide to take and eat; he likewise told me that I should have a guide to Baniserile.
June 4th. — Early in the morning departed, and having passed the village Eercella, remarkable for a grove of large Sitta trees, about one o’clock arrived at Baniserile, and halted under a tree near the wells. This being His Majesty’s birth day, pitched one of the tents, purchased a bullock and a calf for the soldiers: in the afternoon had them drawn up, and fired; and made it as much a day of festivity as our circumstances would permit; and though we were under the necessity of drinking His Majesty’s health in water from our canteens, yet few of his subjects wished more earnestly for the continuance of his life and the prosperity of his reign.
Baniserile is a Mahometan town; the chief man, Fodi Braheima, is one of the most friendly men I have met with. I gave him a copy of the New Testament in Arabic, with which he seemed very much pleased.
June 5th. — Employed in purchasing rice, having received information that there was a great scarcity of that article to the eastwards. Bought the rice both here and at Julifunda with small amber No. 5; and I found that though a scarcity existed almost to famine, I could purchase a pound of clean rice for one bead of amber, value 2d. sterling.
Purchased three ass loads, and on the 6th purchased two ass loads more, making in all 750lb. of rice. This day one of our guide’s people went away to purchase slaves at Laby in Foota Jalla, distant three long days travel. The people here assured me it was only three days travel from Badoo to Laby. Had a squall with thunder and rain during the night. As the loads were put into the tent, they were not wetted, but one of our carpenters, (old James,) who had been sick of the dysentery ever since we crossed the Nerico, and was recovering, became greatly worse. Observed mer. alt. of 0 161 8’ latitude 13 35’.
Dentila is famous for its iron; the flux used for smelting the iron is the ashes of the bark of the Kino tree. These ashes are as white as flour: they are not used in dying blue, and must therefore have something peculiar in them. I tasted them: they did not appear to me to have so much alkali as the mimosa ashes, but had an austere taste. The people told me, if I eat them, I would certainly die.
June 7th. — Departed early in the morning, and as the carpenter before mentioned was very weak, appointed two soldiers to stay by him, and assist him in mounting, and to drive his ass. Four miles east of Baniserile came to the brow of a hill, from which we had an extensive prospect eastwards. A square looking hill, supposed to be the hill near Dindikoo, in Konkodoo, bore by compass due East.
[Illustration: Untitled cut]
Shortly after crossed the bed of a stream running towards the Faleme river, called Samakoo on account of the vast herds of elephants which wash themselves in it during the rains.
Saw their foot marks very frequently, and fresh dung. Heard a lion roar not far from us. This day the asses travelled very ill on account of their having eaten fresh grass, as we supposed.
Obliged to load the horses, and at noon halted at a large pool of water in the bed of the Samakoo, called Jananga.
From the time of our crossing the Samakoo to our halting place, we travelled without any road; our guide being apprehensive that as there existed a war a little to the south, and the people were in arms; they might attempt to cut off some of the fatigued asses in our rear.
In the afternoon resumed our march, and travelled without any road over a wild and rocky country. Obliged to leave two of the asses on the road, and load all the horses. We did not reach the watering place till quite dark, and were obliged to fire muskets frequently to prevent us from straying from each other.
June 8th. — Early in the morning resumed our march, and about two miles to the east came to the brow of a hill, from whence we could distinguish the course of the Faleme river by the range of dark green trees which grew on its borders. The carpenter unable to sit upright, and frequently threw himself from the ass, wishing to be left to die. Made two of the soldiers carry him by force and hold him on the ass. At noon reached Madina, and halted by the side of the Faleme river; which at this season is a little discoloured by the rain, but not sensibly swelled. The general course of this river as pointed out by the natives is from the south-east quarter; the distance to its source is six ordinary days travel. The bed of the river here is rocky, except at the crossing place, where it is a mixture of sand and gravel. The river abounds in fish, some of them very large: we saw several plunge and leap that appeared to be so large as to weigh 60 or 70 lb. The velocity of the stream is about four knots per hour.
In the afternoon got all the bundles carried over, and up the opposite bank, which very much fatigued the soldiers. When every thing was carried over, I found the carpenter still more weakly and apparently dying. I therefore thought it best to leave him at Madina till the morning following. Went to the village, and hired a hut for him for six bars of amber, and gave the Dooty four bars, desiring him to make some of his people assist the soldier (whom I left to take care of the sick person) in burying him, if he died during the night. In the evening went to Satadoo, which is only one mile east of the river. As there was great appearance of rain, put all the baggage into one, and slept on the top of the bundles, leaving the other tent for the soldiers. We had a heavy tornado with much thunder and lightning.
June 9th. — In the morning the soldier, who had been left to take care of the sick man, returned; and informed us that he died at eight o’clock the preceding evening; and that with the assistance of the Negroes he had buried him in the place where the people of the village bury their dead. Purchased corn for the asses, and a large bullock for the people; likewise one ass.
Went into the town in the evening, and presented the Dooty with six bars, requesting a guide to Shrondo, which he readily granted. Satadoo is walled round, and contains about three hundred huts: it was formerly much larger. Observed mer. alt. sun 160° 6’; observed mer. alt. Jupiter 116 36’.
Five of the soldiers, who did not go into the tent, but staid under the tree during the rain, complained much of headache and uneasiness at stomach.
June 10th. The soldiers still sickly. Left Satadoo at sun-rise: several of our canteens stolen during the night. This forenoon we travelled for more than two miles over white quartz, large lumps of which were lying all round; no other stone to be seen. Carried forwards a large skinful of water, being uncertain whether we should find any on the road. At eleven o’clock reached the bed of a stream flowing to the left, called Billalla, where we found some muddy water.
Resumed our journey at half past three o’clock, and travelled over a hard rocky soil towards the mountains; many of the asses very much fatigued. The front of the coffle reached Shrondo at sunset; but being in the rear I had to mount one of the sick men on my horse, and assist in driving the fatigued asses: so that I did not reach the halting place till eight o’clock, and was forced to leave four asses in the woods. Shrondo is but a small town. We halted as usual under a tree at a little distance; and before we could pitch one of the tents, we were overtaken by a very heavy tornado, which wet us all completely. In attempting to fasten up one of the tents to a branch of the tree, had my hat blown away, and lost. The ground all round was covered with water about three inches deep. We had another tornado about two o’clock in the morning. The tornado which took place on our arrival, had an instant effect on the health of the soldiers, and proved to us, to be the beginning of sorrow. I had proudly flattered myself that we should reach the Niger with a very moderate loss; we had had two men sick of the dysentery; one of them recovered completely on the march, and the other would doubtless have recovered, had he not been wet by the rain at Baniserile. But now the rain had set in, and I trembled to think that we were only halfway through our journey. The rain had not commenced three minutes before many of the soldiers were affected with vomiting; others fell asleep, and seemed as if half intoxicated. I felt a strong inclination to sleep during the storm; and as soon as it was over I fell asleep on the wet ground, although I used every exertion to keep myself awake. The soldiers likewise fell asleep on the wet bundles.
June 11th. — Twelve of the soldiers sick. Went and waited on the Dooty, and presented him with five bars of amber, and two of beads, requesting his permission to go and look at the gold mines, which I understood were in the vicinity. Having obtained his permission, I hired a woman to go with me, and agreed to pay her a bar of amber if she would shew me a grain of gold. We travelled about half a mile west of the town, when we came to a small meadow spot of about four or five acres extent, in which were several holes dug resembling wells. They were in general about ten or twelve feet deep; towards the middle of the meadow spot the holes were deepest, and shallower towards the sides. Their number was about thirty, besides many old ones which had sunk down. Near the mouths of these pits were several other shallow pits, lined with clay, and full of rain water: between the mine pits and these wash pits laid several heaps of sandy gravel. On the top of each was a stone; some of the stones white, others red, others black, &c. These serve to distinguish each person’s property. I could see nothing peculiar in this gravel; some silicious pebbles as large as a pigeon’s egg, pieces of white and reddish quartz, iron stone, and killow, and a soft friable yellow stone, which crumbled to pieces by the fingers, were the chief minerals that I could distinguish. Besides the above there was a great portion of sand, and a yellow earth resembling till.
The woman took about half a pound of gravel with one hand from the heap, which I suppose belonged to her; and having put it into a large calabash, threw a little water on it with a small calabash; which two calabashes are all that are necessary for washing gold. The quantity of water was only sufficient to cover the sand about one inch. She then crumbled the sand to pieces, and mixt it with the water; this she did not in a rotatory manner, but by pulling her hands towards herself, as shewn in the following sketch.
She then threw out all the large pebbles, looking on the ground where she threw them, for fear of throwing out a piece of gold. Having done this, she gave the sand and water a rotatory motion, so as to make a part of the sand and water fly over the brim of the calabash. While she did this with her right hand, with her left she threw out of the centre of the vortex a portion of sand and water at every revolution. She then put in a little fresh water, and as the quantity of sand was now much diminished, she held the calabash in an oblique direction, and made the sand move slowly round on the line AB, while she constantly agitated it with a quick motion in the direction CD.
I now observed a quantity of black matter, resembling gunpowder, which she told me was gold rust; and before she had moved the sand one quarter round the calabash, she pointed to a yellow speck, and said, sanoo affilli, see the gold. On looking attentively I saw a portion of pure gold, and took it out. It would have weighed about one grain. The whole of the washing, from the first putting in of the sand till she shewed me the gold, did not exceed the space of two minutes. I now desired her to take a larger portion. She put in, as nearly as I could guess, about two pounds; and having washed it in the same manner, and nearly in the same time, found no fewer than twenty-three particles; some of them were very small. In both cases I observed that the quantity of sanoo mira, or gold rust, was at least forty times greater than the quantity of gold. She assured me that they sometimes found pieces of gold as large as her fist. I could not ascertain the quantity of gold washed here in one year; but I believe it must be considerable, though they wash only during the beginning and end of the rains. Gold is sold here, and all along our route, by the minkalli: six teelee kissi (a sort of bean, the fruit of a large tree) make one minkalli: the weight of six teelee kissi is exactly [dram] & [scruple]. In Kaarta they use a small bean called jabee kissi, twenty-four of which make one minkalli; a jabee kissi weighs exactly four grains. In Kasson, twelve small tamarind stones make one minkalli, which I believe is the heaviest minkalli in this part of Africa. If gold is purchased with amber, one bead of No. 4 will, in almost all cases, purchase one teelee kissi: but it can be purchased with more advantage with beads or scarlet, and still more so with gunpowder. I did not purchase any; but our guide bought a considerable quantity, and I was present at all his bargain-making.
Went in the afternoon to see a brother of Karfa Taura’s; he had a very large collection of Arabic books, and I made him quite happy by adding an Arabic New Testament to the number.
June 12th. — Left Shrondo early in the morning; the sick being unable to walk, I gave them all the horses and spare asses. Travelled slowly along the bottom of the Konkodoo mountains, which are very steep precipices of rock, from eighty to two or three hundred feet high. We reached Dindikoo at noon; at which time it came on a tornado so rapidly, that we were forced to carry our bundles into the huts of the natives; this being the first time the coffle had entered a town since leaving Gambia. As soon as the rain was over, went with Mr. Anderson to see the gold pits which are near this town. The pits are dug exactly in the same manner as at Shrondo; a section of the pit would have this appearance.
The notches in the side of the pit serve as a ladder to descend by. The gravel here is very coarse; some round stones larger than a man’s head, and a vast number larger than one’s fist were lying round the mouths of the pits, which were near twenty in number. Near the pits is a stream of water, and as the banks had been scraped away to wash for gold, I could distinguish a stratum of earth and large stones about ten feet thick, and under this a stratum of two feet of ferruginous pebbles about the size of a pigeon’s egg, and a yellow and rusty-coloured sand and earth; under this a stratum of tough white clay. The rusty-coloured sand is that in which the gold is found. Saw plenty of the gold rust.
When I returned from the gold pits, I went with Mr. Scott to go to the top of the hill, which is close to the town. The hill was very steep and rocky. The rocks (like all the hills in Konkodoo) are a coarse reddish granite, composed of red feldspar, white quartz, and black shorl; but it differs from any granite I have seen, in having round smooth pebbles, many of them as large as a cannon shot. These pebbles, when broken, are granite, but of a paler colour and closer texture. The day was cool; but after fatiguing ourselves and resting six times, we found that we were only about half way to the top. We were surprised to find the hill cultivated to the very summits; and though the people of Dindikoo were but preparing their fields, the corn on the hill was six inches high. The villages on these mountains are romantic beyond anything I ever saw. They are built in the most delightful glens of the mountains; they have plenty of water and grass at all seasons; they have cattle enough for their own use, and their superfluous grain purchases all their luxuries; and while the thunder rolls in awful grandeur over their heads, they can look from their tremendous precipices over all that wild and woody plain which extends from the Faleme to the Black River. This plain is in extent, from North to South, about forty miles: the range of hills to the South seem to run in the same direction as those of Konkodoo, viz. from East to West. There are no lions on the hills, though they are very numerous in the plain. In the evening Lieutenant Martyn fell sick of the fever.
June 13th. — Early in the morning departed from Dindikoo. The sick occupied all the horses and spare asses; and as the number of drivers was thus diminished, we had very hard work to get on. Ten of the loaded asses and drivers went a different road. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Scott being with them, fired their muskets as soon as they observed that the guide was leading them in a road where were no asses’ foot marks. Answered them; and sent the serjeant to their assistance. In half an hour they came up, having gone about three miles too much to the right. Reached a village almost deserted about one o’clock, and found the coffle halted by a stream to the east of it. Very uneasy about our situation: half of the people being either sick of the fever or unable to use great exertion, and fatigued in driving the asses. Found, to my great mortification, that the ass which carried the telescope and several other things, was not come up. Mr. Anderson, the serjeant, and our guide rode back about five miles in search of it; but returned at half past three o’clock, without being able to find it. Presented the Dooty of the village with five bars of amber; requesting him, if he heard of it, to send it forward, and I would reward him for it. Put on the loads; and part of the coffle had departed, when one of the Dooty’s sons came and told us that he had seen the ass, and brought it to the village. Went to the village, and paid the person who found it twenty bars, and the Dooty ten bars. Mounted the load on my horse, and drove it before me. I did not reach Fankia till seven o’clock; having to walk slow, in order to coax on three sick soldiers who had fallen behind, and were for lying down under every tree they passed. Fankia is a small village, four miles North West from Binlingalla. Here we departed from my former route, and did not touch on it again till we reached the Niger.
Departure from Fankia — Tambaura mountains, and difficulties in ascending the Pass — Toombin — Great embarrassments on the road — Serimanna — Fajemmia — Astronomical observations — Increase of the sick — Nealakalla — Ba Lee River — Boontoonkooran — Dooggikotta — Falifing — Losses on the road — Gimbia; inhospitable treatment — Sullo — Face of the country — Secoba — Kronkromo — Passage of the Ba Fing — Mode of smelting and working gold — Fatal accident in crossing the Ba Fing — Hippopotami — Deaths and losses on the route — Increase of sickness — Reach Viandry — Koeena — Danger from young lions — Koombandi — Great embarrassments on the road — Fonilla — Ba Woolima River; difficulties in crossing it — Isaaco seized by a crocodile — Boolinkoonbo — Distressing situation of the whole of the party — Reach Serrababoo — Saboseera.
June 14th. — I halted at Fankia, in order to give the sick a little rest, knowing there was a steep hill to ascend near this place. Found myself very sick, having been feverish all night.
|Observed mer. alt. Sun,||159||39||0|
Bought corn for the asses, and plenty of fowls for the sick.
June 15th. — Left Fankia: men still very sickly, and some of them slightly delirious. About a mile N.E. of this village is the passage in the Tambaura mountains, called Toombinjeena. The ascent is very steep and rocky: the perpendicular of the steepest place would not much exceed three hundred feet. The asses being heavily loaded, in order to spare as many as possible for the sick, we had much difficulty in getting our loads up this steep. The number of asses exceeding the drivers, presented a dreadful scene of confusion in this rocky staircase; loaded asses tumbling over the rocks, sick soldiers unable to walk, black fellows stealing; in fact it certainly was uphill work with us at this place. Having got up all the loads and asses, set forwards; and about two miles from the steep came to the delightful village of Toombin. On collecting our loads, found that the natives had stolen from us seven pistols, two great coats and one knapsack, besides other small articles. Sent back the horses for two sick soldiers, who were unable to ride on the horses, and were left at the steep. Pitched the tent, and secured the baggage from the rain.
[Footnote: See Park’s Travels, p. 257]
June 16th. — Left Toombin. Just as the people and asses were gone, the good old schoolmaster whom I mentioned in my former travels came up. He had heard the night before that I was with the party, and had travelled all night to come and see me. As the loads were gone on, I told him I wished him to go forward with me to the place where we should halt; that I might reward him in some degree for his former kindness. Recovered three of the pistols which had been stolen, and one great coat. Set forwards. About a mile to the east of the village found Hinton, one of the sick who rode Mr. Anderson’s horse, lying under a tree, and the horse grazing at a little distance. Some of the natives had stolen the pistols from the holsters, and robbed my coat case, which was fastened behind the saddle, of a string of coral, all the amber and beads it contained, and one barraloolo. Luckily they did not fancy my pocket sextant, and artificial horizon, which were in the same place. Put the sick man on the horse and drove it before me; and after holding him on and using every exertion to keep him on the saddle, I found that I was unable to carry him on, and having fatigued myself very much with carrying him forwards about six miles, I was forced to leave him.
About a mile after I left Hinton, I came to two others lying in the shade of a tree. Mounted one on Mr. Anderson’s horse, and the other on my own, and drove them before me. Reached the village of Serimanna about half past twelve o’clock: sent back a horse in the cool of the evening for Hinton, and brought him to the village, being obliged to tie him on the horse.
Gave the schoolmaster five bars of scarlet, one barraloolo, ten bars of beads, fourteen of amber, and two dollars, which made him completely happy. I likewise gave him an Arabic New Testament, which he promised to read with attention.
June 17th. — Finding that Hinton was worse, and Sparks delirious, left them to the care of the Dooty of the village; having given him amber and beads sufficient to purchase victuals for them if they lived, and to bury them if they died. If they recovered, he engaged to join them to the first coffle travelling to Gambia. From Serimanna in two hours we reached Fajemmia: this is only a small village, but fortified with a high wall. The chief, from whom the village has its name, formerly resided at Faramba, to the East of this; but has lately retired here, leaving his people and slaves at Faramba. Fajemmia is the most powerful chief of Konkodoo, and holds under his subjection all the country from Toombin to the Ba Fing.
The customs paid by travellers being always in proportion to the power and mischievous disposition of the chiefs; those paid at Fajemmia are of course very high.
I paid as follows:
|a soldier’s musket, a pair of handsome pistols, a handsome sword, a great coat, and one hundred gun flints.|
Very happy to get so well over the palaver; for he insisted long on having the customs, or four bottles of gunpowder for each ass, which would have distressed us very much; and we could have made but a feeble resistance, being so very sickly. Observed an emersion of Jupiter’s first satellite.
June 17th, time by the watch 13° 6’ 15”.
June 18th, altitudes for the time with artificial horizon.
Longitude not yet calculated.
|June 18th.--Obser. mer. alt. Sun,||159||49||0|
Our palaver with Fajemmia was not finished till the morning of the 19th. During the 18th, 19th, and 20th I was very sick; and though in general I was able to sit up part of the day, yet I was very weak, and unable to attend to the marketing of corn, milk, and fowls. Mr. Anderson therefore bought these articles, and attended to the cattle, &c. Lieutenant Martyn, the sergeant, corporal, and half the soldiers sick of the fever. Boiled a camp kettle full of strong decoction of cinchona every day since leaving Dindikoo. Purchased three asses, and hired our guide’s people to drive four of our asses in addition to the two they already drove, making altogether six asses, for one hundred and twenty bars.
On the 18th, Mr. Anderson and one of the soldiers went back to Serimanna to see the two men left there, and ascertain if they could possibly be carried forward. Returned on the 19th, and reported that they were both alive, but not in a state to be moved, and were themselves anxious to remain where they were, as it afforded them the only chance of recovery.
June 20th. — When we had loaded the asses, found one of the soldiers (old Rowe) unable to ride. Paid ten bars of amber, and measured eighteen days rice for him to one of the best men in the village, who, I have no doubt, will take care of him. Shortly after leaving Fajemmia, it began to thunder, and by the time we had travelled four miles we experienced a smart tornado, which wetted many of the loads, and made the road very muddy and slippery. We reached a village nearly deserted, called Nealakalla, about noon. Here we found that the ass which carried the spare clothing was not come up; and as many of the men were very ill situated, particularly with respect to shoes, I thought it best to send back two of the men a few miles to see if they could find it. Felt rather uneasy about the men, as they did not return at sun-set. Fired several muskets, but heard no answer. The village of Nealakalla is close to the Ba Lee or Honey river, which we found discoloured, but not sensibly swelled. Saw two crocodiles, and an incredible number of large fish.
June 21st. — As the two men had not yet arrived, sent forward the coffle to cross the river: desired Mr. Scott to fire a musket when they had all crossed. Mr. Anderson and myself agreed to stop at Nealakalla till noon, in hopes of hearing something concerning the two men. They arrived about eleven o’clock, having found the ass and load so near Fajemmia, that they had gone there and slept in the same hut with old Rowe, who, they told us, was recovering and very well pleased with his situation. Set forwards; and about a mile to the N.E. of the village crossed the river at a place where its course is interrupted by a bed of whinstone rock, which forms the stream into a number of small cataracts. The people had to carry over all the loads on their heads, and we found them cooking on the East bank of the river, and nearly ready to set forwards. Mr. Anderson and I stepped across the river from rock to rock without wetting our feet.
As soon as the men had finished their breakfast we set forwards, and about two miles East came to a narrow and deep creek, in which was a stream of muddy water. Crossed this with so much difficulty, that some were for calling it Vinegar Creek. About four o’clock passed the village of Boontoonkooran, delightfully situated at the bottom of a steep and rocky hill. Two miles East of this we halted for the night at the village of Dooggikotta; where the cultivation is very extensive, and we had much difficulty in keeping our cattle off the corn. A tornado during the night.
June 22d. — Halted till near ten o’clock, as there was great appearance of rain. William Roberts, one of the carpenters who had been sick since leaving Fajemmia, declared that he was unable to proceed, and signed a note that he was left by his own consent. Passed a small village about four miles to the East, and travelled on the ascent near a river course almost the whole day. We had a fine view of Kullallie, a high detached and square rocky hill, which we had seen ever since we left Fajemmia. This hill is quite inaccessible on all sides, and level and green on the top. The natives affirm that there is a lake of water on its summit, and they frequently go round the bottom of the precipices, during the rainy season, and pick up large turtles, which have tumbled over the precipice and killed themselves. Saw many very picturesque and rocky hills during the march, and in the evening halted at the village of Falifing, which is situated on the summit of the ascent which separates the Ba lee from the Ba fing. Lost one ass, and 80lbs. of balls on the march.
June 23d. — Early in the morning resumed our journey; and after travelling two hours on a level plain, bounded with high rocky precipices on our right and left, we descended slowly towards the East, and shortly came to the village of Gimbia, or Kimbia. I chanced to be in the rear, bringing on some asses which had thrown their loads; and when I came up I found all about the village wearing a hostile appearance, the men running from the corn grounds and putting on their quivers, &c. The cause of this tumult was, as usual, the love of money. The villagers had heard that the white men were to pass; that they were very sickly, and unable to make any resistance, or to defend the immense wealth in their possession. Accordingly when part of the coffle had passed the village, the people sallied out; and, under pretence that the coffle should not pass till the Dooty pleased, insisted on turning back the asses. One of them seized the serjeant’s horse by the bridle to lead it into the village; but when the serjeant cocked his pistol and presented it, he dropped the bridle; others drove away the asses with their loads, and every thing seemed going into confusion. The soldiers with great coolness loaded their pieces with ball, and fixed their bayonets: on seeing this the villagers hesitated, and the soldiers drove the asses across the bed of a torrent; and then returned, leaving a sufficient number to guard the asses.
The natives collected themselves under a tree by the gate of the village, where I found the Dooty and Isaaco at very high words. On enquiring the cause of the tumult, Isaaco informed me that the villagers had attempted to take the loads from the asses. I turned to the Dooty, and asked him who were the persons that had dared to make such an attempt. He pointed to about thirty people armed with bows; on which I fell a laughing, and asked him if he really thought that such people could fight; adding, if he had a mind to make the experiment, they need only go up and attempt to take off one of the loads. They seemed by this time to be fully satisfied that they had made a vain attempt; and the Dooty desired me to tell the men to go forward with the asses. As I did not know but perhaps some of the sick might be under the necessity of returning this way, I thought it adviseable to part on friendly terms; and therefore gave the Dooty four bars of amber, and told him that we did not come to make war; but if any person made war on us, we would defend ourselves to the last.
Set forwards, and half a mile to the East descended into a rocky valley: many of the asses fell in going down the steep. About noon reached Sullo, an unwalled village at the bottom of a rocky hill. Shortly after we halted Lieutenant Martyn’s horse died. This was a God send to the people of Sullo, who cut him up as if he had been a bullock, and had almost come to blows about the division of him; so much is horse-flesh esteemed at this place. Numbers of large monkies on the rocks over the town.
June 24th. — Left Sullo, and travelled through a country beautiful beyond imagination, with all the possible diversities of rock, sometimes towering up like ruined castles, spires, pyramids, &c. We passed one place so like a ruined Gothic abbey, that we halted a little, before we could satisfy ourselves that the niches, windows, ruined staircase, &c. were all natural rock. A faithful description of this place would certainly be deemed a fiction.
Passed a hill composed of one homogeneous mass of solid rock (red granite) without a detached stone or blade of grass; never saw such a hill in my life. In the course of the march saw several villages romantically situated in the crescents formed by the rocky precipices; the medium height of these precipices is from one hundred to five or six hundred feet perpendicular. The whole country between the Ba fing and Ba lee is rugged and grand beyond any thing I have seen.
We reached Secoba at noon. The Dooty of this town is Fajemmia’s younger brother. Presented him with goods to the amount of 50 bars; he was so much pleased that he said he would go with us till we had crossed the Ba fing, and see that the canoe people did not impose on us.
|Obser. Mer. Alt. of Jupiter||°||'||"|
June 25th. — Halted at Secoba, in order to refresh the sick; bought plenty of fowls and milk for them.
June 26th. — Departed from Secoba, accompanied by the Dooty and several people. Hired three of the Dooty’s friends, as guides to Kandy, in that district of Fooladoo called Gangaran. About seven miles East of Secoba came to the village of Konkromo, where we pitched our tents by the river side. The day was too far spent before we had agreed with the canoe people, and, as we could not possibly carry all the loads over, thought it best to wait till next morning. As I thought it probable that we should have an opportunity of observing an eclipse of Jupiter’s first satellite, I took the following altitudes for the time.
Observed the emersion of the first satellite of Jupiter.
|Time by Nautical Almanack||9||24||53|
|Mean time at Greenwich||9||27||8|
|Watch too slow||0||0||48|
Longitude 32 m. 24 sec. or 8° 6’ W.
June 27th. — Early in the morning paid the canoe people 50 bars to carry over all our baggage and cattle, and likewise presented the Dooty of Secoba with some beads.
Four canoes sufficient to carry only an ass load and an half at a time, were provided for this purpose. Sent over Mr. Anderson and six men with their arms to receive the loads from the canoes and carry them into the tents. The asses were made to swim over, one on each side of the canoe, two boys sitting in the canoe and holding them by the ears.
At this place I had an opportunity of seeing their mode of smelting gold. Isaaco had purchased some gold in coming through Konkodoo, and here he had it made into a large ring. The smith made a crucible of common red clay and dried it in the sun: into this he put the gold, without any flux or mixture whatever; he then put charcoal under and over it, and blowing the fire with the common double bellows of the country, soon produced such a heat as to bring the gold into a state of fusion. He then made a small furrow in the ground, into which he poured the melted gold; when it was cold he took it up, and heating it again, soon hammered it into a square bar. Then heating it again, he twisted it by means of two pairs of pincers into a sort of screw; and lengthening out the ends, turned them up so as to form a massy and precious ring.
When the baggage and cattle were all transported over, I sent over the men, and embarked myself in the last canoe; but as one of the soldiers in the other canoe had gone out to purchase something, I made the canoe in which I was shove off, telling the men to come off the moment the man returned. I found it difficult to sit in the canoe so as to balance it, though it contained only three people besides the rower. We had just landed on the East bank, when we observed the canoe, in which were the three soldiers, pushing off from the opposite bank. It shortly after overset, and though the natives from the shore swam in to their assistance, yet J. Cartwright was unfortunately drowned. The natives dived and recovered two of the muskets, and Cartwright’s body; they put the body in the canoe and brought it over. I used the means recommended by the Humane Society, but in vain. We buried him in the evening on the bank of the river.
The Ba fing is here a large river quite navigable; it is swelled at this time about two feet, and flows at the rate of three knots per hour. The people here are all thieves: they attempted to steal several of our loads, and we detected one carrying away the bundle in which was all our medicines. We could not sleep with the noise of the hippopotami, which came close to the bank and kept snorting and blowing all night. The night being clear, observed the emersion of Jupiter’s second satellite; it emerged
|Time by Nautical Almanack||11||24||40|
|Mean time at Greenwich||11||26||33|
|Watch too slow||0||0||38|
June 28th. — Purchased an ass for four minkallis of gold, and a horse for 45 bars. Set forwards about seven o’clock. After travelling four miles, the ass I had purchased lay down, and I found it impossible to raise him. Took off the load and left him. At ten o’clock came close to the bottom of a high rocky hill, which rises like an immense castle from the level plain: it is called Sankaree: and on enquiring about a large heap of stones near the foot of the precipice, I was told that the town of Madina, which was in the vicinity, was some years ago stormed by the Kaartans, and that the greater part of the inhabitants fled towards this hill. Some however were killed on the road, and these stones were collected over the grave of one of them. He said there were five more such near the hill, and that every person in passing, if he belongs to the same family or contong, thinks himself bound to throw a stone on the heap to perpetuate the memory of their friend. These heaps are precisely what in Scotland are called Cairns. This hill is accessible only by one very narrow and difficult path. They assured me that there was abundance of water on the summit at all seasons, and that the huts built by the Madina people were still standing on the summit, though out of repair.
At eleven o’clock crossed a stream, like a mill stream, running North. We halted on the East side of it; found that one of the asses with a load of beads had not come up. The soldier who drove it (Bloore), without acquainting any person, returned to look for it. Shortly after the ass and load were found in the woods. Sent the serjeant after Bloore on one of the horses; he rode back as far as Sankaree without seeing him, and concluded he had lost the path. He found one of the sick (Walter) who had wandered from the track (for there was no road); and had laid himself down among the bushes till some of the natives discovered him. Paid the natives ten bars of amber, and desired them to look for Bloore.
In the afternoon collected the asses for marching. Had great difficulty in finding the horses, one of which (the serjeant’s), after all our search could not be found. As it was in vain to wait for Bloore, put on the loads and departed. It is to be observed that there is no path-way in these woods, and we found much difficulty in keeping together: fired muskets frequently to give intimation of our line of march. After travelling about four miles, Shaddy Walter, the sick man before mentioned, became so exhausted that he could not sit on the ass. He was fastened on it, and held upright; he became more and more faint, and shortly after died. He was brought forwards to a place where the front of the coffle had halted, to allow the rear to come up. Here when the coffle had set forwards, two of the soldiers with their bayonets, and myself with my sword, dug his grave in the wild desert; and a few branches were the only laurels which covered the tomb of the brave.
We did not come up to the coffle till they had halted for the night near a pool of water shaded with ground palm-trees. Here I was informed that two of the soldiers were not come up; one (Baron) was seen about a mile from the halting place; the other (Hill) was supposed to be three or four miles behind. Fired two muskets every quarter of an hour; one to call their attention, and the other about half a minute after to give the direction. At half past seven Hill came up, being directed entirely by the sound of the muskets. At eleven o’clock saw some lights in the woods, and heard people holla: in a little time five people came, bringing with them Bloore, the man who had gone in quest of the ass. He had gone back as far as the Black River, crossed it and made signs to the people about the ass and the load. As they did not rightly understand him, they thought that some party had fallen on the coffle, and that this soldier had run away. They therefore came with him to see if they could come in for their share, or at least receive some reward for coming along with the man. Paid them ten bars of amber, and desired them to look for Baron, and I would give them ten bars more if they found him.
June 29th. — At day-break fired muskets for Baron; and as it was evident he must have wandered from the track made by the asses, and it was in vain to look for him in so extensive a wilderness, at half past six o’clock loaded the asses and set out. Two more of the soldiers affected with the fever. Route in the morning rocky. Traveled twelve miles without halting, in order to reach a watering place. About two miles before we came to the watering place, Bloore, the soldier who had come up during the night, sat down under the shade of a tree; and when I desired him to proceed, he said he was rather fatigued, and when he had cooled himself, he would follow. I assured him that the halting place was only a very little way off, and advised him by all means not to fall asleep. We halted on an elevated table land: the water was only rain collected in the hollow places of the rock. At half past four o’clock, as Bloore had not come up, I sent the Sergeant on one of the horses to bring him forward; he returned at sun-set, having seen nothing of him, and having rode several miles past the place. I suspected that the serjeant might have rode past him asleep under the tree; I therefore got three volunteers to go with me, and look for him. It was now quite dark. We collected a large bundle of dry grassland taking out a handful at a time, kept up a constant light, in order to frighten the lions which are very numerous in these woods. When we reached the tree under which he lay down, we made a fire. Saw the place where he had pressed down the grass, and the marks of his feet: went to the west along the pathway, and examined for the marks of his feet, thinking he might possibly have mistaken the direction. Found none: fired several muskets. Hollowed, and set fire to the grass. Returned to the tree and examined all round; saw no blood nor the foot marks of any wild beasts. Fired six muskets more. As any further search was likely to be fruitless, (for we did not dare to walk far from the track for fear of losing ourselves) we returned to the tents. One of Isaaco’s people shot an antelope in the evening, which more than supplied us all with meat. Much troubled in the night with wolves.
June 30th. — Early in the morning set forwards, and descended from the table land into a more fertile plain. Vast numbers of monkies on the rocks. Reached Kandy after a march of ten miles, all very much fatigued. This is but a small town; the large town having been taken and burnt by Daisy’s son about two years ago, and all the people carried away. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Scott sick of the lever.
July 1st. — Covered a load of beads with the skin of the antelope. One of the bundles containing all our small seed beads stolen during the night; made all the search I could, but in vain: I could not recover it. As we were short of rice, and none could be purchased here, determined to push on as quick as possible; but the men were so very sickly, that I judged it imprudent to trust the baggage and asses without proper drivers. Employed in dividing the asses amongst the healthy men.
July 2d. — Set forwards. Two more of the soldiers sick of the fever. When we had travelled about three miles, one of the soldiers (Roger M’Millan) became so delirious, that it was found impossible to carry him forwards. Left him at a village called Sanjeekotta. I regretted much being under the necessity of leaving in the hour of sickness and distress, a man who had grown old in the service of his country. He had been thirty-one years a soldier, twelve times a corporal, nine times a serjeant; but an unfortunate attachment to the bottle always returned him into the ranks.
We reached Koeena about three o’clock, all very much fatigued. I felt myself very sickly, having lifted up and reloaded a great many asses on the road. The village of Koeena is walled round, and it is surrounded on three sides with rocky precipices. Had a severe tornado at seven o’clock, which put out the watch-fire and made us all crowd into the tents. When the violence of the squall was over, we heard a particular sort of roaring or growling, not unlike the noise of a wild boar; there seemed to be more than one of them, and they went all round our cattle. Fired two muskets to make them keep at a distance; but as they still kept prowling round us, we collected a bunch of withered grass, and went with Lieutenant Martyn in search of the animals, suspecting them to be wild boars. We got near one of them, and fired several shots into the bush, and one at him as he went off among the long grass. When we returned to the tents, I learned by enquiring of the natives that the animals we had been in search of were not boars, but young lions; and they assured me that unless we kept a very good look out they would probably kill some of our cattle during the night. About midnight these young lions attempted to seize one of the asses, which so much alarmed the rest that they broke their ropes, and came at full gallop in amongst the tent ropes. Two of the lions followed them, and came so close to us that the sentry cut at one of them with his sword, but did not dare to fire for fear of killing the asses. Neglected to wind up the watch.
July 3d. — Departed from Koeena, and halted during the heat of the day at Koombandi, distant six miles. Here the guides that I had hired from Kandy, were to return; and I had agreed with them to carry back M’Millan’s knapsack, and some amber and beads to purchase provisions for him; but three people came up to us with two asses for sale, and they informed me that they left Sanjeekotta early in the morning; that the soldier who was left there, had died during the night, and the natives had buried him in a corn field near the town. Purchased the asses in order to carry forwards the sick.
About three o’clock left Koombandi. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Scott were so sick, that they wished to remain here for the night; with much entreating, persuaded them to mount their horses and go on. Three miles east of the village, William Alston, one of the seamen whom I received from His Majesty’s ship Squirrel, became so faint that he fell from his ass, and allowed the ass to run away. Set him on my horse, but found he could not sit without holding him. Replaced him on the ass, but he still tumbled off: put him again on the horse, and made one man keep him upright, while I led the horse. But as he made no exertion to keep himself erect, it was impossible to hold him on the horse, and after repeated tumbles he begged to be left in the woods till morning. I left a loaded pistol with him, and put some cartridges into the crown of his hat. At sun-set reached Fonilla, a small walled village on the banks of the Wonda, which is here called Ba Woolima (Red river), and towards its source it has the name of Ba qui (White river), the middle part of its course being called Wonda. It had swelled two feet perpendicular by the rains which had fallen to the southward, and was very muddy; but cannot even in its present state be reckoned a large river.
July 4th — Agreed with the canoe people to carry over our baggage and cattle for sixty bars. There being but one canoe, it was near noon before all the bundles were carried over. The transporting of the asses was very difficult. The river being shallow and rocky; whenever their feet touched the bottom they generally stood still. Our guide, Isaaco, was very active in pushing the asses into the water, and shoving along the canoe; but as he was afraid that we could not have them all carried over in the course of the day he attempted to drive six of the asses across the river farther down where the water was shallower. When he had reached the middle of the river a crocodile rose close to him, and instantly seizing him by the left thigh, pulled him under water. With wonderful presence of mind he felt the head of the animal, and thrust his finger into its eye; on which it quitted its hold, and Isaaco attempted to reach the further shore, calling out for a knife. But the crocodile returned and seized him by the other thigh, and again pulled him under water; he had recourse to the same expedient, and thrust his fingers into its eyes with such violence that it again quitted him; and when it rose, flounced about on the surface of the water as if stupid, and then swam down the middle of the river. Isaaco proceeded to the other side, bleeding very much. As soon as the canoe returned I went over, and found him very much lacerated. The wound on the left thigh was four inches in length: that on the right not quite so large, but very deep; besides several single teeth wounds on his back. Drew the lips of the wounds together with slips of adhesive plaister secured with a roller; and as we were not far from a village, he thought it best for him to go forwards before his wounds had become very painful. He accordingly rode forwards to the village of Boolinkoomboo on one of our horses. Found myself very sick, and unable to stand erect without feeling a tendency to faint; the people so sickly that it was with some difficulty we got the loads put into the tents, though it threatened rain. To my great astonishment, Ashton, the sailor whom I had left in the woods the evening before, came up quite naked, having been stripped of his clothes by three of the natives during the night. Found his fever much abated.
[Footnote: The name is thus written in Mr. Park’s MS.; but it seems to be a mistake for Alston, v. ante p. 87.]
July 5th. — With great difficulty got the asses loaded, but had not a sufficient number of spare asses for the sick. Set one of them on my horse, and walked, feeling a remission of the fever, though still very giddy and unwell. We soon reached Boolinkoomboo, it being only two miles from the landing place. This village is sometimes called Moiaharra: it does not contain above one hundred people. On collecting the asses, found that three were missing, besides a sickly one, which was too weak to cross the river, and was eaten by the people of Fonilla. All this diminished our means of carrying forward the sick.
I now found my situation very perplexing. To go forward without Isaaco to Keminoom, I knew would involve us in difficulties; as Keminoom’s sons are reckoned the greatest thieves and blackguards on the whole route. To stop till Isaaco recovered (an event which seemed very doubtful), would throw us into the violence of the rains. There was no other person that I could trust; and, what was worst of all, we had only two days rice, and a great scarcity prevailed in the country. I determined to wait three days, to see how Isaaco’s wounds looked, and in the mean time sent two of his people away to Serracorra with an ass and three strings of No. 5. amber to purchase rice.
July 6th. — All the people either sick, or in a state of great debility, except one. Bought all the milk I could find, and boiled a camp kettle full of strong decoction of barks every day.
July 7th. — Dressed Isaaco’s wounds: they looked remarkably well.
July 8th. — Waiting very anxiously for the return of Isaaco’s people with the rice, being now on very short allowance.
July 9th. — In the afternoon Isaaco’s people returned, bringing with them l23 lbs. of clean rice; Isaaco’s wounds looking well, and beginning to discharge good pus. Latitude by uncertain obs. mer. alt. of the sun 13 11’.
July 10th. — Departed from Boolinkoomboo, and eight miles N.E. passed the village of Serrababoo; close to which is a stream called Kinyaco, about knee deep, running to the N.W. It was very difficult to cross, on account of the fissures in the rocks which form its bed. Several of the asses fell, and their loads were of course wet. From this we travelled due North, over a ridge of rocks, which formed the only passage across a chain of hills. When we had crossed this, we travelled six miles on a rocky and almost impassable road, and a little before sun-set, to our great joy, reached Sabooseera (Dooty Matta). This is a scattered unwalled village. Latitude by mer. alt. of moon 13° 50’.
Arrival at Keminoom, or Manniakorro, on the Ba lee river. — Visit to the Chief. — Depredations upon the coffle by the inhabitants — Continued attacks from banditti as far as the Ba Woolima river — Difficulties in passing it — temporary bridge made by the natives. — Astronomical observations — Arrival at Mareena; inhospitable conduct of his inhabitants — Bangassi; interview with the King — Continued sickness, and deaths among the soldiers. — Arrival at Nummasoolo — Obliged to leave five of the sick behind — reach Surtaboo — Sobee — Affray between Isaaco and two soldiers — Balanding — Balandoo — More of the soldiers fall behind — Koolihori — Greatly annoyed by wolves.
July 11th. — From Sabooseera, or Mallaboo, we travelled towards the West and North West till noon, when we arrived at Keminoom, or Maniakorro. This is a walled town fortified in the strongest manner I have yet seen in Africa; a section of the walls and ditch would have nearly the following appearance,
Pitched our tents under a tree near the Ba lee, which runs here with great velocity, and breaks into small cataracts.
July 12th. — Went in the morning with Isaaco and waited on Keminoom, or Mansa Numma, as he is commonly called. I took with me
|Amber, No. 2||25|
|Ditto, No. 4||15|
|Balls and flints||2|
|A soldier’s musket,|
|pair of handsome pistols silver mounted.|
He sent them all back, and I was forced to put a silver mounted gun on it before he would accept of it; and likewise
|To Eerujama, the King’s brother,|
|Amber, No. 2||10|
|To his son,|
|To the King’s people||10|
|To eight Finnis for singing some nonsense||8|
Observed mer. alt. of the sun 163 24’; latitude 14 0’
In the evening had such of the soldiers as were most healthy dressed in their red coats; and at Numma’s request went with them to the town, where they went through some movements, and fired.
July 13th. — Very desirous to be gone, as we found the people thieves to a man; in fact we have never yet been at a place where so much theft and impudence prevails. This can only be accounted for, by considering that Mansa Numma is the reputed father of more than thirty children; and as they all consider themselves as far above the common people, they treat every person with contempt, and even steal in the most open manner. By the side of the river are a great number of human bones (more than thirty skulls.) On enquiring the reason, I was informed that Mansa Numma always inflicted capital punishments himself, and that the bones I saw were those of criminals. I had reason to regret, that capital punishments seldom or never extend to the real or reputed descendants of the King.
July 14th. — As soon as day dawned, struck the tents and loaded the asses. The townspeople gathered round us in crowds. They had stolen during our stay here four great coats, a large bundle of beads, a musket, a pair of pistols, and several other things. Before we had advanced a musket shot from the town (though we had one of the King’s sons on horseback as a protector), one of the townspeople carried away a bag from one of the asses, containing some things belonging to one of the soldiers. The King’s son, Lieutenant Martyn, and myself rode after him, and were lucky enough to come up with him, and recover the bag; but before we could rejoin the coffle, another had run off with a musket that was fastened on one of the loads.
We proceeded in this manner in a constant state of alarm; and I had great reason to fear that the impudence of the people would provoke some of the soldiers to run, them through with their bayonets. About two miles from Maniakorro, as we were ascending a rocky part of the road, several of the asses fell with their loads. I rode a little from the path to see if a more easy ascent could not be found; and as I was holding my musket carelessly in my hand, and looking round, two of Numma’s sons came up to me; one of them requested me to give him some snuff. Suspecting no ill treatment from two people, whom I had often seen with the King, and at our tents, I turned round to assure him that I never took snuff; at this instant the other (called Woosaba) coming up behind me, snatched the musket from my hand, and ran off with it. I instantly sprung from the saddle and followed him with my sword, calling to Mr. Anderson to ride back, and tell some of the people to look after my horse. Mr. Anderson got within musket shot of him, but seeing it was Numma’s son, had some doubts about shooting him, and called to me if he should fire. Luckily I did not hear him, or I might possibly have recovered my musket, at the risk of a long palaver, and perhaps the loss of half our baggage. The thief accordingly made his escape amongst the rocks, and when I returned to my horse, I found the other of the royal descendants had stolen my great coat.
I went and informed the King’s son, whom we had hired as a guide, of what had happened; and requested to know how I should act if any of the people should steal from the baggage. He assured me that after what had happened, I should be justified in shooting the first that attempted to steal from the loads. Made such of the soldiers as were near me load their muskets and be ready. The sky became cloudy, and by the time that we had advanced about five miles from the town, we experienced a very heavy tornado. During the rain another of Numma’s sons snatched up and run off with one of the soldiers muskets and a pair of pistols, which he had laid down while he was reloading his ass.
We halted amongst the rocks and put off the loads, all very wet. Turned the asses to feed, and cooked some rice, although it rained very heavily. One of the negro boys gave the alarm that three people were driving away our asses. I followed with some of our people: the thieves made their escape amongst the rocks, but without carrying away any of the asses, though they had untied the feet of three and fastened a fourth to a bush. Collected the asses and began to load. Whilst we were loading one of the asses strayed a little from the rest, about two hundred yards, and to my astonishment a man came from amongst the rocks, took off the load, and began to cut it open with his knife. Before any person could come at him, he left the load and run up the rocks. Mr. Scott and one of the soldiers fired at him, but did not hit him. Went on. Road very rocky. Told the soldiers to shoot the first that took any thing from the baggage. Found some of the asses and loads lying at the difficult places in the road, and often two loads with only one half-sick soldier to guard them. Kept in the rear, as I perceived they had a mind to take some of the loads and asses. I saw the thieves peeping over the rocks, and making signs to their comrades, who seemed very desirous of assisting us in putting on our loads. Put one of the loads on my horse, and another on Mr. Anderson’s, and luckily cleared the difficult passes of the rocks by sun set, without losing any thing, though surrounded by at least a dozen experienced thieves. When we reached the bottom of the rocky pass, we went on with more ease, and came up to the rest of the party about eight o’clock. They had stopped for the night in the woods, and so were all our clothes; [Footnote: It is thus in Mr. Park’s MS. There seems to be some omission.] and in fact we passed a very uncomfortable night amongst the wet grass, and exposed to a very heavy dew.
July 15th. — Early in the morning proceeded, and went on very slowly in the rear, by which means we were separated from the front. Horses loaded as usual. When we reached the cultivated land, which surrounds the village of Ganamboo, we came up to one of the soldiers, who informed us, that a man habited as a slave had come from amongst the bushes, and instantly seized on his musket and knapsack, which were fastened on the top of his load. The soldier struggled with him for his musket, and wrested it from him; on which the thief let go the knapsack, and attempted to make off; but when he heard the soldier cock his piece, expecting to be instantly shot, he threw himself down on the road and roared out in the most pitiable manner. The soldier took a steady aim at him, but unfortunately his musket flashed in the pan, and the slave started up and ran in amongst the bushes.
Ganamboo is only a small walled village: it is situated about ten miles East half North from Maniakorro.
July 10th. — Left Ganamboo, but the soldiers and asses were so much fatigued, that we were forced to stop at Ballandoo (Dooty Mari Umfa) during the night. We had the most tremendous storm of thunder and lightning I ever saw. I was so confident that the tent would be struck by the lightning, that I went to some distance to avoid the explosion of our gunpowder.
July 17th. — Left Ballandoo at eight o’clock, and reached Seransang about noon. All horses loaded; mine fell down under his load, and I was forced to sit by him till an ass was sent from the halting place. Seransang is a scattered but populous town, and the land is cleared round it for a great distance. One of our best asses stolen during the night.
July 18th. — Departed from Seransang, having shifted the loads so as to have the horses free, in order to prevent theft. We had not travelled much above a mile, when two suspicious people came up. One of them walked slowly in the rear; and the other passed on, seemingly in great haste. I desired Mr. Anderson to watch the one in the rear, whilst I rode on at such a distance as just to keep sight of the other. The road making a turn, he was concealed from me by the bushes, and took advantage of this opportunity to carry away a great coat from a load which was driven by one of the sick men. I fortunately got a view of him as he was running off among the bushes, and galloping in a direction so as to get before him, quickly came so near him that he leaped into some very thick bushes. When I rode round, he went out at the side opposite to me; and in this manner I hunted him amongst the bushes for some time, but never losing sight of him. At last he run past a spreading tree, and jumping back, stood close to the trunk of it. I thought I should certainly lose him if I did not avail myself of the present opportunity. I accordingly fired, and dropping my musket on the pummel of the saddle, drew out one of the pistols, and told him if he offered to move, I would instantly shoot him dead. “Do not kill me, white man,” he exclaimed, “I cannot run from you, you have broke my leg.” I now observed the blood streaming down his leg; and when he pulled up his cloth, I saw that the ball had passed through his leg about two inches below the knee joint. He climbed a little way up the tree, which was of easy ascent; always exclaiming in a pitiable tone of voice, “do not kill me.” Several of the people belonging to the coffle, on hearing the shot fired, came running; and amongst others the guide appointed us by Keminoom, who insisted that I should instantly shoot the thief dead; otherwise he said I did not fulfil the orders of his master, who had directed me to shoot every person that stole from me. I had great difficulty in preventing him from killing him, and was happy to recover the great coat, and leave the thief bleeding amongst the branches of the tree.
We proceeded without further molestation till about three o’clock in the afternoon, when it came on a tornado. During the rain one of the sick had fallen a little behind, and four people seizing him, stripped off his jacket. He followed them at a distance; and when they came up to Mr. Anderson and myself, he called out to us to shoot one of them, as they had taken his jacket. I had my pocket handkerchief on the lock of my gun to keep the priming dry. When they observed me remove it, one of them pulled out the jacket from under his cloak, and laid it on one of the asses. Mr. Anderson followed them on horseback, and I kept as near him as I could on foot, my horse being loaded. After following them about three miles, they struck into the woods; and suspecting that they had a mind to return and steal some of the loads from the fatigued asses in the rear, I returned with Mr. Scott, and found that one of the soldiers had lost his knapsack, and another his jacket. But from their description, the robbers were not the same as had formerly passed.
Continued in the rear. When we came within a mile of the town of Nummaboo, the road passes near some high rocks. The asses being a little way before us, two of the robbers first seen came from amongst the rocks, and were going towards the asses; but when they observed us coming up, they attempted to slide off unobserved among the rocky. When I called to one of them to stop and tell me what they were looking after, they came near us; but as they had nothing of ours in their possession, we could not stop them, and they accordingly passed to the westward. Mr. Scott and I went and examined that part of the rocks where we observed them come out, and were lucky enough to find a soldier’s coat, a camp kettle, and a number of other articles, which had probably been their share of the booty; for I learned on my arrival at the town, that the ass which carried the muskets belonging to the sick, had been stopped by four people near these rocks, and six muskets, a pair of pistols, and a knapsack taken away. To complete the business, J. Bowden, one of the sick, did not come up; and we had little doubt but that he had been stripped and murdered by these very people in the woods. We likewise had a very good ass stolen during the night.
July 19th. — Having purchased an ass in lieu of the one stolen, we left Nummaboo, which is a walled village, and proceeded onwards. Had two tornadoes; the last, about eleven o’clock, wetted us much, and made the road slippery. Two asses unable to go on. Put their loads on the horses, and left them. Mr. Scott’s horse unable to walk: left it to our guide. At noon came to the ruins of a town. Found two more of the asses unable to carry their loads. Hired people to carry on the loads, and a boy to drive the asses. Past the ruins of another town at half past twelve, where I found two of the sick, who had laid themselves down under a tree, and refused to rise, (they were afterwards stripped by the Negroes, and came naked to our tents next morning). Shortly after this, came to an ass lying on the road unable to proceed with its load. Put part of the load on my horse, which was already heavily loaded. Took a knapsack on my back. The soldier carried the remainder and drove the ass before him.
We arrived on the banks of the Ba Woolima at half past one o’clock. This river is but narrow, not being more than fifty or sixty feet over; but was so swelled with the rains as to be twenty feet deep at the place where we proposed to cross it. Our first attempt was to fell a tree close to the river, that by its fall would reach across the stream and form a bridge: but after cutting down four, they all fell in such a manner as to be of no use; for though the tops of one reached the rocks on the farther shore when it fell, yet the violence of the current swept it away. In this manner we fatigued ourselves till sunset, when we gave up the attempt.
Observed the following emersion of Jupiter’s satellites.
|Third satellite emerged by Watch||9||25||18|
|Watch too slow||1||55|
|First satellite emerged by Watch||9||36||10|
|Watch too slow||2||34|
July 20th. — Altitudes taken for the time.
|Obser. Mer. Alt.||166||4||0|
The passage of the river being the great desideratum, I proposed a raft to be hauled from side to side with ropes; whilst the Mandingoes were decidedly of opinion that nothing would answer our purpose but a bridge, which they said they would complete by two o’clock. I set to work with the carpenters to make a raft; but when the logs were cut into lengths, we could not muster healthy people enough to carry them to the water side. We were forced to give up the attempt and trust entirely to the Negro bridge, which was constructed in the following manner. A straight pole was cut to sound the depth of the river, and notches made on it to shew the depth at different distances from the shore. Two straight trees were now cut, and their tops fastened strongly together with slips of bark. These were launched across the stream with the assistance of two people, and a rope on the further side; the roots of the trees were firmly fastened with ropes to the roots of the trees on each side of the river. Along the upper side of these trees they planted a range of upright forked sticks, cut correctly to the lengths on the sounding pole. These upright forks supported two other trees tied as the first, but which were not, like the first, permitted to sink into the water, but were kept about a foot above the surface by means of the forks. Another range of forks was placed a little farther up the stream, which likewise supported two trees fastened as the above; the whole was completed with cross sticks. The two trees first laid over, which were permitted to sink in the water, served to prevent the stream from running away with the forks whose roots sloped down the stream; whilst the weight of the current pressed on and kept firm the roots of such as were placed up the stream. A section of the bridge would have the following appearance.
[Illustration: A. Trees first laid across. B. First range of forks. C. Trees supported by first range. D. Second range of forks. E. Trees supported by ditto. F. Cross sticks for walking on.
If the river was dried up, the structure would have somewhat of this appearance.]
Our people being all so sickly, I hired the Negroes to carry over all the baggage, and swim over the asses. Our baggage was laid on the rocks on the East side of the river; but such was our sickly state that we were unable to carry it up the bank. Francis Beedle, one of the soldiers, was evidently dying of the fever; and having in vain attempted, with the assistance of one of his messmates, to carry him over, I was forced to leave him on the West bank; thinking it very probable that he would die in the course of the night.
July 21st. — Hired Isaaco’s people to carry the bundles up the bank, and assist in loading all the asses. One of the soldiers crossed the bridge, and found Beedle expiring. Did not stop to bury him, the sun being high; but set out immediately. Country woody, but level. About half past ten o’clock came to Mr. Scott lying by the side of the path, so very sick that he could not walk. Shortly after Mr. Martyn laid down in the same state. My horse being loaded, and myself, as usual, walking on foot and driving an ass, I could give them no assistance. I came in sight of the town of Mareena a little before twelve; and at the same time was happy to see two of Isaaco’s people coming back with two asses to take the loads off the horses in the rear. Sent them back for Mr. Scott and Mr. Martyn, and proceeded to the town. Some of the people, who had crossed the river with us, had informed the people of Mareena of the treatment we had experienced in passing from Maniakorro to the Ba Woolima, which district is called Kissi; and withal had told the people that our coffle was a Dummulafong, a thing sent to be eaten, or in English fair game for every body. The inhabitants of Mareena were resolved to come in for their share; they accordingly stole five of our asses during the night; but felt themselves much disappointed next morning,
July 22d, — when they understood, that instead of proceeding to Bangassi, we proposed to send forward a messenger to inform the king of the bad treatment we had experienced. Three of them returned the asses they had stolen, but the other two would not. About noon we loaded all the horses and asses; and I hired two young men to carry forwards two trunks, the load of one of the asses which was stolen. Bangassi is only six miles distant from Mareena. It is a large town, fortified in the same manner as Maniakorro; but is four or five times as large. Pitched our tents under a tree to the East of the town.
July 23d. — Received a present from Serenummo, the King, of a fine bullock and two very large calabashes of sweet milk; he likewise sent the two asses which the people of Mareena had stolen. Took from our baggage the following articles, and went with Isaaco to the King.
|To the King, amber No. 2||30|
|Ditto. No. 4||20|
|Balls and flints||2|
|Mr. Anderson’s musket.|
|To the King’s son, amber No. 4||5|
|To the person who assisted in settling the palaver, amber||10|
|To the good people in the town||10|
|To Isaaco’s landlord for a goat||10|
The town is large and populous, and is better fortified than even Maniakorro. We found Serenummo seated in a sort of shade, surrounded by only a few friends; orders having been given not to allow any person to enter it. He enquired if I was the white man who had formerly passed through the country, and what could induce me to come back again; with a number of such questions. To all which I gave the best answers I could; and then told him that I did not come to purchase slaves or gold; I did not come to take any man’s trade from him or any man’s money; I did not come to make money, but to spend it; and for the truth of these assertions I could appeal to every person who knew me or had travelled with me. I farther added, it was my intention at present to travel peaceably through his kingdom into Bambarra; and that as a mark of my regard for his name and character, I had brought a few articles which my guide would present to him. Here Isaaco spread out on the floor the articles before mentioned. The King looked at them with that sort of indifference which an African always affects towards things he has not before seen. However much he may admire them, he must never appear in the least surprised. He told me I should have permission to pass; and he would make his son take care of us till we arrived at Sego; but it would be some days before he was ready. I told him I was anxious to be in Bambarra, as I found my people very sickly; and if he would appoint me a guide, I would esteem it a favour. In fact I knew before, that this son proposed going to Sego with the annual tribute, which amounts to three hundred minkallis of gold or thereabouts; but I knew that the gold was not yet all collected, and that part of it would probably be bought with the merchandize I had given him.
July 25th. — Bought two asses for fifty-six bars of amber. During our stay at this town we were plentifully supplied with milk on moderate terms. I always purchased two camp kettles full every morning for the men, in hopes of recruiting them before we set forwards for the Niger; but they still continue sick and spiritless. Corporal Powal is dangerously ill of the fever, and M’Inelli is affected with the dysentery to such a degree, that I have no hopes of his recovery. He was removed yesterday to the shade of a tree at a small distance from the tents; and not being brought near in the evening, he was very near being torn to pieces by the wolves. They were smelling at his feet when he awakened, and then set up such a horrid howl, that poor M’Inelli, sick as he was, started up and came to the tents before the sentry could reach the place where he had slept.
July 26th. — Corporal Powal died during the night. Buried him this morning; two dollars and a half in his pocket, for which I am accountable. Overhauled the ass-saddles, and adjusted the loads, proposing to leave this tomorrow morning early.
|Observed mer. alt. Sun||168||26||0|
July 27th. — The morning being rainy, we did not depart from Bangassi till about nine o’clock. Left here M’Inelli. Paid the Dooty ten bars of amber to purchase provision for him and give him lodging. Shortly after leaving the town, three of the soldiers laid down under a tree, and refused to proceed; their names Frair, Thomson, and Hercules. About a quarter of a mile farther, James Trott, one of the carpenters brought from Portsmouth, refused to go on, being sick of the fever. I drove on his ass, and desired him to return to Bangassi. Found myself very sick and faint, having to drive my horse loaded with rice, and an ass with the pit saws. Came to an eminence, from which I had a view of some very distant mountains to the East half South. The certainty that the Niger washes the Southern base of these mountains made me forget my fever; and I thought of nothing all the way but how to climb over their blue summits.
Reached Nummasoolo at two o’clock. This has formerly been a large town; but being destroyed by war some years ago, nearly three-fourths of the town are in ruins. Before we had time to pitch the tent properly, the rain came down on us, and wetted us all completely, both men and bundles. This was a very serious affair to us, many of our articles of merchandize being perishable. Slept very uncomfortably in wet clothes on the wet ground. Troubled in the night with a lion; he came so near that the sentry fired at him, but it was so dark that it was impossible to take a good aim. All the asses pulled up the pins to which they were fastened, and run together as near the men as they could. As the sick soldiers before mentioned did not come up before sun-set, I concluded they had all returned to Bangassi; and the Dooty’s son coming up on horseback, informed me that they had really returned to his father’s house, and wished to know what I meant to do respecting them. I told him that I wished my people to be taken proper care of, and gave him ten bars of amber for his care in coming to inform me of them. I likewise put into his possession three strings of amber of forty bars each, and told him how to dispose of them for the use of the sick. I likewise told him that, if any of them should recover, if he would send a proper person forward with them to Bambakoo, I would give him an Indian baft, or ten bars of scarlet, which he preferred. At the same time I wrote the following note to the men.
“I am sorry to learn that you have returned to Bangassi. I have sent in charge of the bearer of this three complete strings of amber; one of which will procure rice for forty days; the second will purchase milk or fowls for the same time; and the third will buy provisions for you on the road till you arrive at the Niger.
July 28th. — Rained all day. Remained in the tent at Nummasoolo.
July 29. — Divided the men’s clothes who were left behind amongst the other men; many of them being in great want of clothes, and the nights being now cold and damp. Found five dollars in J. Trott’s knapsack, for which I am accountable. Spread out the rice to dry; found it hot and much damaged. Some people arrived from the East, who informed us that a stream on the road, which is usually dry, was so much swelled by the rain that no ass could cross it. Halted here during the day to dry the different articles.
July 30th. — Departed from Nummasoolo. Was under the necessity of leaving here William Allen sick. Paid the Dooty for him as usual. I regretted much leaving this man; he had naturally a cheerful disposition; and he used often to beguile the watches of the night with the songs of our dear native land.
About five miles East of Nummasoolo passed the stream before mentioned, flowing to the S.E. The water had subsided, and was only about eighteen inches deep, but flowed very rapidly. Many asses fell, and had their loads wetted. It likewise rained two hours on the march. Crossed a ridge of hills through an opening. Road tolerably good except in two places. We descended on the East side, and reached Surtaboo, a small ruined village, about two o’clock. Here I learnt that the front of the coffle had gone on to a village about four miles further; but the asses in the rear being all very much fatigued, and lying down with their loads frequently, I judged it prudent to halt till some fresh asses should be sent to my assistance.
We had not halted here above an hour, when three of Isaaco’s people and two asses came back; and with their help we arrived at Sobee at seven o’clock. On the road we passed the last of the St. Jago asses, the whole forty having either died or been abandoned on the road at different places. We were all very wet, for it rained almost the whole way; and all very hungry, having tasted nothing since the preceding evening. The town of Sobee has changed its situation three times. It was taken about ten years ago by Daisy, King of Kaarta, with thirteen horsemen and some of his slaves on foot. They carried off five hundred slaves, two hundred of which were women. Such as escaped rebuilt the town about a mile to the East of its former situation; but when it had acquired some degree of prosperity, it was destroyed by Mansong, King of Bambarra. The present town is built nearer the foot of the hills; part of it is walled, which serves as a sort of citadel. There is plenty of corn and rice here on moderate terms; but they have not yet had time to recruit their herds of cattle.
July 31st. — Rained hard all the morning, and flying showers all day. Halted at Sobee. During the night one of the town’s-people attempted to steal one of the soldier’s pieces, some of which were standing against a tree close to the tent. Lieutenant Martyn was sleeping under the tree; and hearing somebody moving the muskets, he no sooner observed that it was a Negro, than he snatched one of the muskets and fired at the thief as he was running off with one of the muskets. Whether the ball touched him or not we could not learn; but the thief dropped the musket, and we found it with the pouch and bayonet in the morning.
August 1st. — Early this morning purchased an ass for a pistol, a baft, and a Mandingo cloth. We set out at seven o’clock. Immediately on the East of the town came to another stream flowing towards the S.S.W. It was so deep, that the whole of the bundles had to be carried over on men’s heads. During this, being surrounded by thieves on all sides, Isaaco unfortunately struck two of the soldiers; which action had nearly cost him his life, one of the soldiers attempting to stab him with his bayonet, when Mr. Anderson prevented him; and as I reproved Isaaco for his conduct in the sharpest manner, he went off in a pet with his people, leaving us to find our way across the river in the best manner we could. I hired four people to carry over the loads; and stood myself as sentry over the thieves. In this manner the whole of the baggage was carried over with much less loss than we had sustained at any other river. The asses were swam over, and the whole only cost one string of No. 5; but I had to pay fifty stones to the Dooty’s son for asses going on the corn. As soon as all was over we loaded the asses and set forwards. At sunset we reached Balanding. We had only time to pitch our tent, when the rain came on; indeed we had no time for cooking our victuals, for though all the soldiers cooked, yet the rain came on before our kettle was ready; and Messrs. Anderson, Scott, Martyn, and myself, all slept without having tasted any thing during the day.
August 2d. — Rainy. Halted at Balanding.
August 3d. — Sun rose E. 3°S. Departed from Balanding, and halted at Balandoo, a walled village about four miles to the East by South. Bought two sheep for one barraloolo.
August 4th. — Departed from Balandoo. About a mile to the East saw the hill of Sobee bearing N.W. by compass. About this place Lawrence Cahill, one of the soldiers, who had complained of sickness for some days, fell behind; and I hired a person to drive his ass, telling him to come on at his leisure. At eleven o’clock crossed a stream running S.E. which gave us great trouble, the banks being very steep and slippery. Crossed the same stream again at half past twelve, running E. by N. In the course of this day’s march four of the soldiers were unable to attend to their asses. Mr. Scott, being very sick, rode my horse; and I drove one of the asses. So very much weakened were the men, that when their loads fell off, they could not lift them on again. I assisted in loading thirteen asses in the course of the march. We reached Koolihori at three o’clock. This town is partly walled; but the greater part of the huts are without the walls. As soon as the tents were pitched, the rain commenced, and continued all night. We had not time to cook, and the rain prevented the watch fire from burning; owing to which one of our asses was killed by the wolves. It was only sixteen feet distant from a bush under which one of the men was sleeping.
August 5th. — Morning hazy. Halted, resolving to travel at two o’clock, and sleep in the woods, the Ba Woolli being too far to reach in one march. Bought some ripe maize of this year’s growth.
|Obser. mer. alt. Sun--||172||45||0|
The whole route from Bangassi is marked with ruined towns and villages; some of them are rebuilt, but by far the greater number are still in ruins. We saw scarcely any cattle on the route, and the avidity of the people of Koolihori for animal food, or perhaps their own peculiar taste, made them eat what the wolves had left of our ass. The wolves had eat only the bowels and heart, &c. so that the people had the four quarters and head. The day having clouded up for rain, resolved to halt here for the night. In the course of the afternoon Lawrence Cahill came up; but William Hall, who had gone into a ruined hut near the road, and who did not appear to be very sick, did not arrive. Suspected that he might be killed by the wolves in the hut during the night. At sun-set had all the asses properly tied near the tents; and watched myself with the sentries all night, as the wolves kept constantly howling round us.
Departure from Koolihori — Ganifarra — Scarcity of provisions — Distressing situation of the Author from deaths and sickness of the party — Escapes from three lions — Intricate route to Koomikoomi — Dombila — Visit from Karfa Taura — View of the Niger — Reduced state of the party — Bambakoo — Losses from wolves — Bosradoo; embark on the Niger; incidents in the voyage to Marraboo — Isaaco sent to Sego with presents for Mansong — Message from Mansong — Course to Koolikorro — Deena — Yamina — Samee — Return of Isaaco; account of his interview with Mansong — Messengers sent by Mansong, and enquiries respecting the Author’s journey — Quit Samee — Excessive heat — Reach Sansanding — Account of that city and its trade — Death of Mr. Anderson — Preparations for continuing the voyage eastward — Information collected respecting various districts.
August 6th. — Having hired two more ass drivers at one bar and their victuals per day, we left Koolihori early in the morning, and travelled with considerable dispatch till three o’clock; at which time we reached Ganifarra, a small beggarly village. In the course of this march L. Cakill and J. Bird, two of the soldiers, and William Cox, one of the seamen, fell behind, and laid down. As soon as the front of the coffle had reached Ganifarra, it came on a very heavy rain. Being in the rear I was completely drenched; and two of the asses carrying four trunks, in which were the gun stocks, pistols, looking glasses, &c. fell down in a stream of water near the town, and all the contents were completely wet. I could purchase nothing here, not so much as a fowl. Served out a short allowance of rice, being very short of that article.
August 7th. — During the night, some person had stolen one of our best asses; and as the load must be left if we could not recover it, Isaaco’s people having traced the foot marks to a considerable distance, agreed to go in search of it. Isaaco gave them the strictest orders, if they came up to the thief in the woods to shoot him; and, if not, to follow him to a town and demand the ass from the Dooty; if he refused to give it up, to return as soon as possible.
Spent the day in drying such things as were wet; cleaned and greased with Shea butter all the ornamented pistols, ten pair. Dried the looking glasses, which were quite spoiled. In the afternoon sent two of the natives away with goods to a neighbouring town to purchase rice and corn. At sun-set Bird came up, but had seen nothing of Cox nor Cahill.
August 8th. — People not yet returned. Opened the trunk which contained the double barrelled gun stocks; cleaned and greased them. About noon people returned with the rice and corn, but not quite sufficient for one day. Nearly at the same time Isaaco’s people came up with the ass; they had traced his foot-marks past Koolihori, and found him at Balandoo. Did not see the thief, but learned his name; which Isaaco promised to write to his friend at Bangassi, to inform Serinummo of him. In the afternoon agreed with the Dooty for thirty five bars to carry every thing over. Rained heavily all the evening.
August 9th. — Michael May, a soldier, having died during the night, buried him at day break. Had all the loads taken to the crossing place by eight o’clock. The Ba Woolli is nearly of the same size as the one we formerly crossed of that name; it appeared to be exceedingly deep, and flowed at the rate of four or five miles per hour. There is a very good canoe here, which can carry over four ass loads at once. As it threatened rain, sent over three men with one of the tents, and pitched it on the East side about half a mile from the river; the ground near the bank being marshy. Hired people to carry down the bundles, and put them into the canoe; and others to receive them on the other side, and carry them up the bank; so that the soldiers had nothing to move, being all weak and sickly.
By one o’clock all the baggage was over; but we found some difficulty in transporting the asses; the rapidity of the stream swept the canoe and the first six past the landing place; and they went so far down the river, that I really thought the asses must be drowned; which would have been an irreparable loss in our situation. However, by the exertions of the Negroes, who swam in with ropes to the canoe, the asses were landed on the other side; where they stood by the water’s edge until the Negroes with their corn hoes made a path for them up the steep bank. To prevent such an accident, we took the ropes from several of our loads, and fastened them together, so as to reach across the river; with this we hauled over the loaded canoe, and the Negroes paddled it back when empty. In this manner all the asses and horses were swam over without any loss.
When the bundles were all carried up to the tent, we found that we had not more rice than was barely sufficient for the present day; and as no more could be purchased, we had no alternative, but to march early in the morning for Bambarra; the distance by all accounts would not exceed fourteen or fifteen miles.
August 10th. — William Ashton declared that he was unable to travel; but as there was no place to leave him at, I advised him to make an exertion and come on, though slowly, till he should reach a place where he could have food. At eight o’clock set forwards; and travelled very expeditiously without halting till four in the afternoon, at which time the front of the coffle reached Dababoo, a village of Bambarra. Being in the rear, I found many of the men very much fatigued with the length of the journey and the heat of the day. At half past four I arrived with the ass I drove at a stream flowing to the Westwards.
Here I found many of the soldiers sitting, and Mr. Anderson lying under a bush, apparently dying. Took him on my back, and carried him across the stream, which came up to my middle. Carried over the load of the ass which I drove, got over the ass, Mr. Anderson’s horse, &c. Found myself much fatigued, having crossed the stream sixteen times. Left here four soldiers with their asses, being unable to carry over their loads. Having loaded my ass and put Mr. Anderson on his horse, we went on to the village; but was sorry to find that no rice could be had, and I was only able to buy one solitary fowl.
August 11th. — Bought a small bullock of the Moorish breed for one barraloolo; and having purchased some corn, had it cleaned and dressed for the people instead of rice. This morning hired Isaaco’s people to go back, and bring up the loads of the soldiers who had halted by the side of the stream. In the course of the day all the loads arrived; but was sorry to find that in the course of the last two marches we had lost four men, viz. Cox, Cahill, Bird, and Ashton. Mr. Anderson still in a very dangerous way, being unable to walk or sit upright. Mr. Scott much recovered. I found that I must here leave one load, one of the horses being quite finished. Left the seine nets in charge of the Dooty, till I should send for them.
August 12th. — Rained all the morning. About eleven o’clock, the sky being clear, loaded the asses. None of the Europeans being able to lift a load, Isaaco made the Negroes load the whole. Saddled Mr. Anderson’s horse; and having put a sick soldier on mine, took Mr. Anderson’s horse by the bridle, that he might have no trouble but sitting upright on the saddle. We had not gone far before I found one of the asses with a load of gunpowder, the driver (Dickinson) being unable to proceed (I never heard of him afterwards); and shortly after the sick man dismounted from my horse, and laid down by a small pool of water, refusing to rise. Drove the ass and horse on before me. Passed a number of sick. At half past twelve o’clock Mr. Anderson declared he could ride no farther. Took him down and laid him in the shade of a bush, and sat down beside him. At half past two o’clock he made another attempt to proceed; but had not rode above an hundred yards before I had to take him down from the saddle, and lay him again in the shade. I now gave up all thoughts of being able to carry him forwards till the cool of the evening; and having turned the horses and ass to feed, I sat down to watch the pulsations of my dying friend. At four o’clock four of the sick came up; three of them agreed to take charge of the ass with the gunpowder; and I put a fourth, who had a sore leg, on my horse, telling him if he saw Mr. Scott on the road to give him the horse.
At half past five o’clock, there being a fine breeze from the South West; Mr. Anderson agreed to make another attempt, and having again placed him on the saddle, I led the horse on pretty smartly in hopes of reaching Koomikoomi before dark. We had not proceeded above a mile, before we heard on our left a noise very much like the barking of a large mastiff, but ending in a hiss like the fuf [Footnote: Thus is Mr. Park’s MS] of a cat. I thought it must be some large monkey; and was observing to Mr. Anderson “what a bouncing fellow that must be,” when we heard another bark nearer to us, and presently a third still nearer, accompanied with a growl. I now suspected that some wild animal meant to attack us, but could not conjecture of what species it was likely to be. We had not proceeded an hundred yards farther, when coming to an opening in the bushes, I was not a little surprised to see three lions coming towards us. They were not so red as the lion I formerly saw in Barnbarra, [Footnote: Park’s Travels, p. 208] but of a dusky colour, like the colour of an ass. They were very large, and came bounding over the long grass, not one after another, but all abreast of each other. I was afraid, if I allowed them to come too near us, and my piece should miss fire, that we should be all devoured by them. I therefore let go the bridle, and walked forwards to meet them. As soon as they were within a long shot of me, I fired at the centre one. I do not think I hit him; but they all stopt, looked at each other, and then bounded away a few paces, when one of them stopt, and looked back at me. I was too busy in loading my piece to observe their motions as they went away, and was very happy to see the last of them march slowly off amongst the bushes. We had not proceeded above half a mile farther, when we heard another bark and growl close to us amongst the bushes. This was doubtless one of the lions before seen, and I was afraid they would follow us till dark, when they would have too many opportunities of springing on us unawares. I therefore got Mr. Anderson’s call, and made as loud a whistling and noise as possible. We heard no more of them.
Just at dark we descended into a valley where was a small stream of water; but the ascent on the opposite side was through a species of broken ground, which I have never seen any where but in Africa. It is of the following nature. A stratum of stiff yellow clay fourteen or twenty feet thick, (which, unless when it rains, is as hard as rock) is washed by the annual rains into fissures of a depth equal to the thickness of the stratum. There is no vegetation on these places, except on the summit or original level. Amongst these horrid gullies I unfortunately lost sight of the footmarks of the asses which had gone before; and finding no way to get out, led the horse up a very steep place in order to gain the original level, hoping there to find the foot path. But unluckily the ground was all broken as far as I could see; and after travelling some little way, we came to a gulley which we could not cross; and finding no possibility of moving without the danger of being killed by falling into some of these ravines, or over some precipice, I thought it advisable to halt till the morning. On this rugged summit we fell in with Jonas Watkins, one of the sick; and with his assistance I lighted a fire. Wrapped Mr. Anderson in his cloak, and laid him down beside it. Watched all night to keep the fire burning, and prevent our being surprised by the lions, which we knew were at no great distance. About two o’clock in the morning two more of the sick joined us. Mr. Anderson slept well during the night, and as soon as day dawned,
August 13th, — having found the footmarks of the asses, and having with difficulty even in day light traced our way through this labyrinth, we found Mr. Scott and three more of the sick. They too had lost their way, and had slept about half a mile to the East of us. We reached Koomikoomi at ten o’clock. This is an unwalled village, but surrounded with extensive corn fields.
August 13th. — Halted; rested at Koomikoomi
August 14th. — Jonas Watkins died this morning; buried him. Halted here to day to see which way Mr. Anderson’s fever was likely to terminate; and in the mean time sent two loaded asses forward to Doombila, the asses to return in the evening and carry loads tomorrow morning.
|Obser. Mer. Alt.||177||7||0|
[Footnote *: Mr. Park took a wrong day’s declination, i.e. the 15th instead of the 14th. It should be,
It is a common observation of the Negroes, that when the Indian corn is in blossom the rain stops for eleven days. The stopping of the rain evidently depends on the sun approaching the zenith of the place; the sun by this day’s observation being only seventy-one miles North of us: and it is a wonderful institution of providence, that at this time the maize here is all in full blossom; and on passing through the fields, one is like to be blinded with the pollen of the male flowers.
August 15th. — Having slung a cloak like a hammock under a straight stick, had Mr. Anderson put into it, and carried on two men’s heads: two more following to relieve them. Mr. Scott complained this morning of sickness and head ach. Made one of the soldiers saddle Mr. Anderson’s horse for him; and having seen him mount, and given him his canteen with water, I rode forwards to look after four Negroes whom I had hired to carry loads on their heads; but being strangers, I was apprehensive they might run away with them. Found every thing going on well; and we travelled with such expedition, that we reached Doombila in four hours and a half, though the distance cannot be less than sixteen or eighteen miles, nearly South. It rained hard all the afternoon, and it was not till dark that all the sick soldiers came up. Only three of the soldiers were able to drive their asses to day.
When I entered the town I was happy to meet Karfa Taura, [Footnote: Park’s Travels, p. 253.] the worthy Negro mentioned in my former travels; he heard a report at Boori (where he now resides) that a coffle of white people were passing through Fooladoo for Bambarra; and that they were conducted by a person of the name of Park, who spoke Mandingo. He heard this report in the evening; and in the morning he left his house, determined if possible to meet me at Bambakoo, a distance of six days travel. He came to Bambakoo with three of his slaves to assist me in going forward to Sego, but when he found I had not come up, he came forwards to meet me. He instantly recognised me, and you may judge of the pleasure I felt on seeing my old benefactor.
At four o’clock, as Mr. Scott had not come up, and the people in the rear had not seen him lately, I sent one of Isaaco’s people back on my horse as far as the next village, suspecting that he might have halted there when the rain came on. The man returned after dark, having been nearly at Koomikoomi without seeing or hearing any thing of Mr. Scott. We all concluded that he had returned to Koomikoomi.
August 17th — Halted at Doombila in order to dry the baggage, and in hopes of Mr. Scott coming up. Told the four Negroes, who carried Mr. Anderson, and who returned to Koomikoomi this morning, to make every possible enquiry concerning Mr. Scott; and if he was able to ride, I would pay them handsomely for coming with him. If he had returned to Koomikoomi, I desired them to assure the Dooty that I would pay for every expence he might incur, and pay for a guide to conduct him to Marraboo. Received from the Dooty of Doombila a small bullock and a sheep. Paid him a barraloolo, five bars of amber, and fifty gun flints.
August 18th. — Hearing no account of Mr. Scott, concluded he was still at Koomikoomi, but unable to travel. At seven o’clock left Doombila, and as the asses were now very weak, it was not long before I had to dismount and put a load on my horse. Only one of the soldiers able to drive an ass. Road very bad; did not reach Toniba till sun set, being a distance of eighteen or twenty miles S.E. by S. Mr. Anderson’s bearers halted with him at a village on the road, where there was some good beer. As soon as we had pitched the tent, it began to rain, and rained all night; the soldiers run all into the village. I passed a very disagreeable night, having to keep our asses from eating the people’s corn, which caused me to keep walking about almost the whole night.
In case it should escape my memory, I take this opportunity of observing, that the standard law of Africa runs thus: If an ass should break a single stem of corn, the proprietor of the corn has a right to seize the ass; and if the owner of the ass will not satisfy him for the damage he thinks he has sustained, he can retain the ass. He cannot sell or work him, but he can kill him; and as the Bambarrans esteem ass-flesh as a great luxury, this part of the law is often put in force.
August 19th. — Mr. Anderson’s bearers having brought him forward early in the morning, we immediately loaded the asses, and departed from Toniba (Sergeant McKeal appears to be slightly delirious). We kept ascending the mountains to the South of Toniba till three o’clock, at which time having gained the summit of the ridge which separates the Niger from the remote branches of the Senegal, I went on a little before; and coming to the brow of the hill, I once more saw the Niger rolling its immense stream along the plain!
After the fatiguing march which we had experienced, the sight of this river was no doubt pleasant, as it promised an end to, or to be at least an alleviation of our toils. But when I reflected that three-fourths of the soldiers had died on their march, and that in addition to our weakly state we had no carpenters to build the boats, in which we proposed to prosecute our discoveries; the prospect appeared somewhat gloomy. It however afforded me peculiar pleasure, when I reflected that in conducting a party of Europeans, with immense baggage, through an extent of more than five hundred miles, I had always been able to preserve the most friendly terms with the natives. In fact, this journey plainly demonstrates, 1st. that with common prudence any quantity of merchandize may be transported from the Gambia to the Niger, without danger of being robbed by the natives: 2dly, that if this journey be performed in the dry season, one may calculate on losing not more than three or at most four men out of fifty.
But to return to the Niger. The river was much swelled by the rains, but did not appear to overflow its banks. It certainly is larger even here than either the Senegal or the Gambia. We descended with difficulty down the steep side of the hill towards Bambakoo, which place we reached at half past six o’clock, and pitched our tents under a tree near the town. Of thirty-four soldiers and four carpenters, who left the Gambia, only six soldiers and one carpenter reached the Niger.
During the night the wolves carried away two large cloth bundles from the tent door to a considerable distance; where they eat off the skins with which they were covered, and left them.
August 20th — Received a bullock from the Dooty as a present. It was in the afternoon, and we fastened it to the tree close to the tent, where all the asses were tied. As soon as it was dark the wolves tore its bowels out, though within ten yards of the tent door where we were all sitting. The wolves here are the largest and most ferocious we have yet seen.
August 21st. — Dried a bundle of beads, the strings of which were all rotten with the rain. Opened a leather bag which contained about thirty pounds of gunpowder for present use. Found it all wet and damaged. Spread it out in the sun; resolved to make something of it. Spoke for a canoe to carry down the baggage to Marraboo, the river being navigable over the rapids at this season. In the course of our march from Toniba to Bambakoo, we lost Sergeant McKeil, Purvey, and Samuel Hill.
August 22nd. — Early in the morning had all the bundles put on the asses, and carried to the place of embarkation, which is a village called Bossradoo, about a mile and a half East of Bambakoo. It rained hard all the forenoon. The canoes could not carry any of the soldiers, or any person except two to look after the goods. I resolved to go down with Mr. Anderson, leaving Mr. Martyn to come down with the men by land. They rode on the asses.
We embarked at ten minutes past three o’clock. The current, which is nearly five knots per hour, set us along without the trouble of rowing any more than was necessary to keep the canoe in the proper course. The river is full an English mile over, and at the rapids it is spread out to nearly twice that breadth. The rapids seem to be formed by the river passing through a ridge of hills in a South Easterly direction: they are very numerous, and correspond with the jetting angles of the hills. There are three principal ones, where the water breaks with considerable noise in the middle of the river; but the canoe men easily avoided them by paddling down one of the branches near the shore. Even in this manner the velocity was such as to make me sigh.
We passed two of the principal rapids, and three smaller ones, in the course of the afternoon. We saw on one of the islands, in the middle of the river, a large elephant; it was of a red clay colour with black legs. I was very unwell of the dysentery; otherwise I would have had a shot at him, for he was quite near us. We saw three hippopotami close to another of these islands. The canoe men were afraid they might follow us and overset the canoes. The report of a musket will in all cases frighten them away. They blow up the water exactly like a whale. As we were gliding along shore, one of the canoe men speared a fine turtle, of the same species as the one I formerly saw, and made a drawing of in Gambia. At sun set we rowed to the shore, landed on some flat rocks, and set about cooking the turtle and rice for our supper; but before this aldermanic repast was half dressed, the rain came on us, and continued with great violence all night.
August 23d. — At day break embarked again, very wet and sleepy. Passed the third rapid, and arrived at Marraboo at nine o’clock. Our guide soon found a large passage hut in which to deposit our baggage, for one stone of small amber per load. We carried the whole of it up in a few minutes. In the evening Mr. Martyn arrived, and all the people, except two, who came up next day.
August 24th. — Received from the Dooty a small black bullock in a present, which our guide would not allow us to kill, it being of a jet black colour. The Dooty’s name is Sokee; and so superstitious was he, that all the time we remained at Marraboo he kept himself in his hut, conceiving that if he saw a white man, he would never prosper after.
August 25th — Paid Isaaco goods to the full value of two prime slaves, according to agreement. I likewise gave him several articles; and I told him, that when the palaver was adjusted at Sego, he should then have all the asses and horses for his trouble.
August 26th. — Took out such things as I meant to give to Mansong, viz.
A handsome silver plated tureen.
+Two double barrelled guns, silver mounted.
Two pair of pistols mounted in the same manner.
A sabre with Morocco scabbard.
Thirty-two yards scarlet broad cloth.
Twelve ditto blue.
Twelve ditto yellow.
Twelve ditto light green.
+Half a load of gunpowder, or two kegs and a half.
To Mansong’s eldest son Da.
+A double barrelled gun, silver mounted.
A pair of pistols, ditto.
A sabre, ditto.
I wished to put a stop to the malicious reports of the Moors and Mahomedans at Sego as soon as possible. I therefore resolved to send Isaaco forward to Sego with all the articles beforementioned, except those marked thus [Symbol: +], which I desired him to say to Modibinne would be given as soon as I heard accounts that Mansong would befriend us. This Modibinne is Mansong’s prime minister; he is a Mahomedan, but not intolerant in his principles. Isaaco accordingly departed on the 28th with his wife and all his goods. Ever since my arrival at Marraboo I had been subject to attacks of the dysentery; and as I found that my strength was failing very fast, I resolved to charge myself with mercury. I accordingly took calomel till it affected my mouth to such a degree, that I could not speak or sleep for six days. The salivation put an immediate stop to the dysentery, which had proved fatal to so many of the soldiers. On the 2d of September, I observed the
|Mer. alt. of the Sun--||169||54||0|
As soon as I recovered, I set about exchanging some amber and coral for cowries, which are the current money of Bambarra.
|Coral No. 4 each stone||60|
|Amber No. 5||60|
|Blue agates per string||100|
With these three articles I bought about twenty thousand cowries. It is curious that in counting the cowries, they call eighty a hundred; whilst in all other things they calculate by the common hundred. Sixty is called a Manding hundred.
On the 6th Thomas Dyer (a private) died of the fever. I had to pay one thousand shells to Dooty Sokee, before he would allow me to bury him; alleging that if the ground was not bought where he was buried, it would never grow good corn after.
There is no wood proper for boat building in this neighbourhood; the best wood is near Kankaree, on a large navigable branch of the Niger; and almost all the Bambarra canoes come from thence; many of them are mahogany.
The travellers from Sego brought us every day some unfavourable news or other. At one time it was reported, and believed all over Marraboo, that Mansong had killed Isaaco with his own hand, and would do the same with all the whites who should come into Bambarra. Our fears were at length dispelled by the arrival of Bookari, Mansong’s singing man, on the 8th, with six canoes. He told us he came by Mansong’s orders to convey us and our baggage to Sego. That Mansong thought highly of the presents which Isaaco had brought, and wished us to be brought to Sego before he received them from Isaaco. We accordingly put our baggage in order; but it was not till the 12th that the singing man and his Somonies (canoe people) could be prevailed on to leave the Dooty Sokee’s good beef, and beer. We embarked, and left Marraboo at ten minutes past three o’clock.
|3.10||E. 1/2 N.||The North extreme of the South hills.||E.|
|Little hump on South hills.||E.S.E.|
|Cubic hill on North side.||E. by N.||Distant 12 or 14 miles.|
|0 25||E. by N.|
|0 30||E. N. E.|
|0 45||E. 1/2 S.|
|0 45||E. by N. 1/2 W.|
|5 00||N. E.||Cubic hill.||N.||Distant 1/4 of a mile.|
|0 10||Halted for the night at Koolikorro|
September 13th. — Bookari sent four of the Somonies over to a town on the opposite side of the river, to put in requisition a canoe for carrying part of our baggage. The people refused to give the canoe, and sent the Somonies back without it. Bookari immediately went with all the Somonies (38); and having cut the owner of the canoe across the forehead with his sword, and broke his brother’s head with a canoe paddle, he seized one of his sons, and brought him away as a slave along with the canoe. He however set the boy at liberty, his father paying two thousand shells for his release.
We left Koolikorro at thirty-five minutes past eleven. I will not trouble your Lordship with transcribing the courses and compass bearings from this to Sansanding. The latitude of the places will give a sufficient idea of the course of the river; and I hope to give a tolerable correct chart of all its turnings and widings, when I return to Great Britain.
|Observed mer. alt. Sun.--||80||45||0|
The horizon was an oblique view across the river. Distance of the land seven miles; height of the eye sixteen inches above the surface of the water.
We travelled very pleasantly all day; in fact nothing can be more beautiful than the views of this immense river; sometimes as smooth as a mirror, at other times ruffled with a gentle breeze, but at all times sweeping us along at the rate of six or seven miles per hour. We halted for the night at Deena, a Somoni village on the south side. Had a tornado in the night, which wetted our baggage much. Most of us slept in the canoes to prevent theft.
September 14th. — Departed from Deena early in the morning, and arrived at Yamina at forty-five minutes past four o’clock. Halted here the 15th, in order to purchase cowries.
|Observ. alt. Sun--||79||63||0|
On the 16th left Yamina, and in the evening reached Samee, where we landed our baggage; and Bookari went forward to Sego to inform Mansong of our arrival.
September 17th. —
|Obser. mer. alt. Sun--||78||47||0|
September 18th. — No accounts from Sego.
September 19th. — About two o’clock in the morning, Isaaco arrived in a canoe from Sego, with all the articles I had sent to Mansong. Mansong had never yet seen any of them; and when he heard that I was arrived at Samee, he desired Modibinne to inform Isaaco that he had best take the articles up to Samee; and he would send a person to receive them from my own hand. Isaaco informed me that Mansong, at all the interviews he had with him, uniformly declared that he would allow us to pass; but whenever Isaaco mentioned us particularly, or related any incident that had happened on the journey, Mansong immediately began to make squares and triangles in the sand before him with his finger, and continued to do so, so long as Isaaco spoke about us. Isaaco said, that he thought Mansong was rather afraid of us; particularly as he never once expressed a wish to see us, but rather the contrary.
September 22d. — In the evening, Modibinne and four more of Mansong’s friends arrived in a canoe. They sent for me, and Modibinne told me, that they were come by Mansong’s orders to hear, from my own mouth, what had brought me into Bambarra. He said I might think on it during the night, and they would visit me in the morning; he said Mansong had sent me a bullock, which he shewed me: it was very fat, and milk white.
September 23d. — As soon as we had breakfasted, Modibinne and the four grandees came to visit us. When they had seated themselves, and the usual compliments passed, Modibinne desired me to acquaint them with the motives which had induced me to come into their country. I spoke to them in the Bambarra language as follows. “I am the white man who nine years ago came into Bambarra. I then came to Sego, and requested Mansong’s permission to pass to the Eastwards; he not only permitted me to pass, but presented me with five thousand cowries to purchase provisions on the road; [Footnote: Park’s Travels, p. 199.] for you all know that the Moors had robbed me of my goods. This generous conduct of Mansong towards me, has made his name much respected in the land of the white people. The King of that country has sent me again into Bambarra; and if Mansong is inclined to protect me, and you who are here sitting, wish to befriend me, I will inform you of the real object of my coming into your country.”
(Here Modibinne desired me to speak on, as they were all my friends), “You all know that the white people are a trading people; and that all the articles of value, which the Moors and the people of Jinnie bring to Sego, are made by us. If you speak of a good gun, who made it? the white people. If you speak of a good pistol or sword, or piece of scarlet or baft, or beads or gunpowder, who made them? the white people. We sell them to the Moors; the Moors bring them to Tombuctoo, where they sell them at a higher rate. The people of Tombuctoo sell them to the people of Jinnie at a still higher price; and the people of Jinnie sell them to you. Now the King of the white people wishes to find out a way by which we may bring our own merchandize to you, and sell every thing at a much cheaper rate than you now have them. For this purpose, if Mansong will permit me to pass, I propose sailing down the Joliba to the place where it mixes with the salt water; and if I find no rocks or danger in the way, the white men’s small vessels will come up and trade at Sego, if Mansong wishes it. What I have now spoken, I hope and trust you will not mention to any person, except Mansong and his son; for if the Moors should hear of it, I shall certainly be murdered before I reach the salt water.”
Modibinne answered, “We have heard what you have spoken. Your journey is a good one, and may God prosper you in it; Mansong will protect you. We will carry your words to Mansong this afternoon; and tomorrow we will bring you his answer.” I made Isaaco shew them the different things, which I had allotted for Mansong and his son. They were delighted with the tureen, the double-barrelled guns, and in fact every thing was far superior to any thing of the kind they had ever before seen.
When I had laid out every thing for Mansong and his son, I then made each of the grandees, and Modibinne, a present of scarlet cloth. Modibinne now said that they had seen what I laid out for Mansong and his son, and that the present was great, and worthy of Mansong; but, added he, Mansong has heard so many reports concerning your baggage, that he wishes us to examine it. “Such of the bundles as are covered with skin, we will not open; you will tell us what is in them, and that will be sufficient.” I told them that I had nothing but what was necessary for purchasing provisions; and that it would please me much if they could dispense with opening the bundles. They however persisted; and I ordered the bundles to be brought out, taking care, with the assistance of the soldiers, to secrete all the good amber and coral.
When all the loads were inspected, I asked Modibinne what he thought of my baggage? If he had seen any more silver tureens, or double barrelled guns? He said he had seen nothing that was bad, and nothing but what was necessary for purchasing provisions; that he would report the same to Mansong. They accordingly went away to Sego; but without taking Mansong’s present, till they had heard his answer.
September 24th. — Seed and Barber (soldiers) died during the night; one of the fever, the other of the dysentery. Paid the Somonies twenty stones of amber for burying them.
September 25th. — Modibinne and the same people returned with Mansong’s answer, a literal translation of which I give as follows. “Mansong says he will protect you; that a road is open for you every where, as far as his hand (power) extends. If you wish to go to the East, no man shall harm you from Sego till you pass Tombuctoo. If you wish to go to the West, you may travel through Fooladoo and Manding, through Kasson and Bondou; the name of Mansong’s stranger will be a sufficient protection for you. If you wish to build your boats at Samee or Sego, at Sansanding or Jinnie, name the town, and Mansong will convey you thither.” He concluded by observing, that Mansong wished me to sell him four of the blunderbusses, three swords, a fiddle (violin) which belonged to Mr. Scott, and some Birmingham bead necklaces, which pleased above every thing; that he had sent us a bullock, and his son another, with a fine sheep. I told Modibinne that Mansong’s friendship was of more value to me than the articles he had mentioned, and that I would be happy if Mansong would accept them from me as a farther proof of my esteem.
I made choice of Sansanding for fitting out our canoe, because Mansong had never said he wished to see me, and because I could live quieter and freer from begging than at Sego. I therefore sent down the bullocks by land to Sansanding.
September 26th. We departed from Samee. The canoes were not covered with mats; and there being no wind, the sun became insufferably hot. I felt myself affected with a violent head-ach, which encreased to such a degree as to make me almost delirious. I never felt so hot a day; there was sensible heat sufficient to have roasted a sirloin; but the thermometer was in a bundle in the other canoe, so that I could not ascertain the actual heat. We passed down a small stream to the north of Sego Korro, and halted opposite to Segosee Korro, near the sand hills, where I formerly waited for a passage. We waited here about an hour for Isaaco, who had gone to Segosee Korro to inform Mansong of our passing. When Isaaco returned, he made a sort of shade over our canoe with four sticks and a couple of cloaks; and in the evening I found myself more collected and less feverish. At sun-set we rowed towards the north bank, where there are some flat rocks, on which passengers by water often sleep. We found the place occupied by a number of people. I counted between thirty and forty fires; we therefore passed on a little to the Eastwards, and slept on a sand bank covered with verdure.
September 27th. — At day-break we again proceeded, and in stretching over to gain the middle of the river, we passed a Somoni fishing village on an island; the huts occupied the whole of the dry ground, and it appeared, even when close to it, like a floating village. We reached Sansanding at ten o’clock. Such crowds of people came to the shore to see us, that we could not land our baggage till the people were beaten away with sticks, by Koontie Mamadie’s orders, on whose premises we were accommodated with a large hut for sitting in, having another hut opening into it, in which we deposited our baggage.
October 2d. — Marshall and W. Garland (privates) died; one of the fever, the other of the dysentery. During the night the wolves carried away Garland, the door of the hut where he died being left open. Buried Marshall on the morning following, in a corn field near the church.
October 4th. — Mansong sent down two broken gunlocks, and a large pewter plate with a hole in the bottom of it, for me to repair; and it was with much difficulty that I could persuade the messenger that none of us knew any thing about such occupations.
October 6th. — Da, Mansong’s eldest son, sent one canoe as a present, and requested me to sell him a bunderbuss, and three swords, with some blue and yellow broad cloth. Sent him three swords, and ten spans of yellow cloth; received in return six thousand cowries.
Sansanding contains, according to Koontie Mamadie’s account, eleven thousand inhabitants. It has no public buildings, except the mosques, two of which, though built of mud, are by no means inelegant. The market place is a large square, and the different articles of merchandize are exposed for sale on stalls covered with mats, to shade them from the sun. The market is crowded with people from morning to night: some of the stalls contain nothing but beads; others indigo in balls; others wood-ashes in balls; others Houssa and Jinnie cloth. I observed one stall with nothing but antimony in small bits; another with sulphur, and a third with copper and silver rings and bracelets. In the houses fronting the square is sold, scarlet, amber, silks from Morocco, and tobacco, which looks like Levant tobacco, and comes by way of Tombuctoo. Adjoining this is the salt market, part of which occupies one corner of the square. A slab of salt is sold commonly for eight thousand cowries; a large butcher’s stall, or shade, is in the centre of the square, and as good and fat meat sold every day as any in England. The beer market is at a little distance, under two large trees; and there are often exposed for sale from eighty to one hundred calabashes of beer, each containing about two gallons. Near the beer market is the place where red and yellow leather is sold.
Besides these market-places, there is a very large space, which is appropriated for the great market every Tuesday. On this day astonishing crowds of people come from the country to purchase articles in wholesale, and retail them in the different villages, &c. There are commonly from sixteen to twenty large fat Moorish bullocks killed on the market morning.
October 8th. — As Mansong had delayed much longer in sending the canoes he promised, than I expected, I thought it best to be provided with a sufficient quantity of shells to purchase two; particularly when I reflected that the river would subside in the course of a few days, having sunk this morning about four inches by the shore. I therefore opened shop in great style, and exhibited a choice assortment of European articles to be sold in wholesale or retail. I had of course a great run, which I suppose drew on me the envy of my brother merchants; for the Jinnie people, the Moors, and the merchants here joined with those of the same description at Sego, and (in presence of Modibinne, from whose mouth I had it) offered to give Mansong a quantity of merchandize of greater value than all the presents I had made him, if he would seize our baggage, and either kill us, or send us back again out of Bambarra. They alleged, that my object was to kill Mansong and his sons by means of charms, that the white people might come and seize on the country. Mansong, much to his honour, rejected the proposal, though it was seconded by two-thirds of the people of Sego, and almost all Sansanding.
From the 8th to the 16th nothing of consequence occurred, I found my shop every day more and more crowded with customers; and such was my run of business, that I was sometimes forced to employ three tellers at once to count my cash. I turned one market day twenty-five thousand seven hundred and fifty-six pieces of money (cowries.)
The second day after my arrival at Marraboo, as no accounts whatever had arrived concerning Mr. Scott, I sent a messenger to Koomikoomi, desiring him to bring Mr. Scott, or some account of him. He returned in four days, and told us that Mr. Scott was dead, and that the natives had stolen the pistols out of the holsters; but he had brought the horse to Bambakoo.
When Modibinne enquired of Isaaco what sort of a return of presents would be most agreeable to me, Isaaco (being instructed before) said he believed two large canoes, and Modibinne assured me, that the canoes would be sent down to Sansanding immediately on our arrival there.
In order to give a just idea of the trade and profits on different articles sold at Sansanding, I have annexed a list of European and African articles, with their respective values in cowries, the great medium of exchange and the general currency of Bambarra.
|EUROPEAN ARTICLES.||Value in Cowries.|
|A musket||6 to 7000|
|A cutlass||1500 to 2000|
|Gunpowder, one bottle||3000|
|Amber No. 1.||1000|
|Ditto No. 2.||800|
|Ditto No. 3.||400|
|Amber No. 4.||160|
|Ditto No. 5.||80|
|Ditto No. 6.||60|
|Coral No. 4. each stone||60|
|Black points, per bead||20|
|Red garnets, per string||40|
|White ditto, per string||40|
|Blue agates, per string||100|
|Round rock coral, per bead||5|
|Long ditto, per bead||5|
|Short arrangoes, per bead||40|
|Gold beads, per bead||10|
|An Indian baft||20,000|
|A barraloolo, or five-bar piece||8,000|
|Scarlet cloth 10 spans||20,000|
|If sold to the Karankeas in retail||30,000|
|Light yellow cloth nearly the same as scarlet;|
|blue not so high|
|Paper per sheet||40|
|A dollar||from 6 to 12,000|
|Or from 1£. 5s. to 2£. 10s|
|A minkalli of gold (12s. 6d. sterling)||3000|
|Four minkallies are equal to £3. 3s.||Value in Cowries.|
|Ivory, the very largest teeth, each||10,000|
|The medium size||7,000|
|The smaller||3 or 4000|
|Indigo leaves beat and dried in lumps larger than ones fist, each||40|
|A prime slave, (male)||40,000|
|A ditto, (female)||from 80 to 100,000|
|A horse from two to ten prime male slaves|
|A cow (fat)||15,000|
|A sheep||3 to 5,000|
|A fowl||250 to 300|
|As much excellent fat beef as will be sufficient for seven men one day||620|
|As much good beer as the same number can drink in one day||300|
October 16th. — Modibinne and Jower arrived, and told me that they had brought a canoe from Mansong. I went to see it, and objected to one half of it, which was quite rotten. They sent up to Sego for another half; but when it arrived, it would not fit the one already sent. I was therefore forced to send Isaaco again to Sego; and as Mansong had requested me by Modibinne to sell him any spare arms I might have, I sent two blunderbusses, two fowling pieces, two pair of pistols, and five unserviceable muskets; requesting in return that Mansong would either send a proper canoe, or permit me to purchase one that I might proceed on my journey. Isaaco returned on the 20th with a large canoe; but half of it was very much decayed and patched, I therefore set about joining the best half to the half formerly sent; and with the assistance of Abraham Bolton (private) took out all the rotten pieces; and repaired all the holes, and sewed places; and with eighteen days hard labour, changed the Bambarra canoe into His Majesty’s schooner Joliba; the length forty feet, breadth six feet; being flat bottomed, draws only one foot water when loaded.
October 28th. — At a quarter past five o’clock in the morning my dear friend Mr. Alexander Anderson died after a sickness of four months. I feel much inclined to speak of his merits; but as his worth was known only to a few friends, I will rather cherish his memory in silence, and imitate his cool and steady conduct, than weary my friends with a panegyric in which they cannot be supposed to join. I shall only observe that no event which took place during the journey, ever threw the smallest gloom over my mind, till I laid Mr. Anderson in the grave. I then felt myself, as if left a second time lonely and friendless amidst the wilds of Africa.
November 14th. — The schooner is now nearly ready for our departure; I only wait for Isaaco’s return from Sego, that I may give him this paper in charge.
November 15th. — Isaaco returned; and told us that Mansong was anxious that I should depart as soon as possible, before the Moors to the East had intimation of my coming. Bought bullock hides to form an awning to secure us from the spears and arrows of the Surka or Soorka and Mahinga who inhabit the North bank of the river betwixt Jinnie and Tombuctoo.
November 16. — All ready and we sail tomorrow morning, or evening. I will therefore conclude this long epistle with some miscellaneous information.
|Variation of the compass.|
|West of the Faleme river||14 11 West.|
|At Badoo, near Sibikillin||14 56|
|Near the Bafing||16 30|
|At Marraboo on the Niger||16 36|
|At Yamina||17 11|
|At Sansanding||17 40|
In case any one should be inclined to doubt the accuracy of the latitudes taken by the back observation with Troughton’s pocket sextant; I think it proper to mention that I have observed at Sansanding alternately with the horizon of the river, and the back observation in water and the artificial horizon; and never found them to vary more than four minutes, but generally much nearer.
A fac-simile sketch of the course of the Niger, made by an old Somonie, who had been seven times at Tombuctoo, and is now going the eighth.
Ba Nimma rises in the Kong mountains South of Marraboo; it passes one day’s journey South of Sego; and having received a branch from Miniana, empties itself into the lake Dibbie. It is not quite half so large as the Niger. I have not the least doubt of the truth of this, having heard it from so many people. We shall not see Jinnie in going to Tombuctoo.
Route from Sego to Miniana.
From Sego in one day,
Deena, across the Ba Nimma in canoes, and halt on the south side; thence in one day,
In all seven days.
The inhabitants of Miniana eat their enemies, and strangers, if they die in the country. They eat the flesh of horses; but such is their veneration for the cow that she is never killed; when she dies, they eat the flesh. Miniana is hilly; all the grains are cultivated the same as in Bambarra.
Route from Sego to Badoo.
From Sego in one day.
N. goi, [Footnote: Thus written in Park’s MS.]
Guandoo on the banks of the Badingfing, a small river from Miniana.
Teng: gera, a great Juli town; a Juli is called in Baedoo, Kirko Bimba;
Jondoo; Juli town,
N. Kannoo, Juli town.
The whole of the foregoing places are in Bambarra.
Totti, a town in Baedoo.
Baedoo, the capital.
The Julis are people who understand the language of Baedoo and Miniana, and are employed as interpreters and brokers by the salt merchants. One month’s travel South of Baedoo through the kingdom of Gotto, will bring the traveller to the country of the Christians, who have their houses on the banks of the Ba Sea feena; this water they represent as being imcomparably larger than the lake Dibbie, and that the water sometimes flows one way, sometimes another. There are no Shea trees in Kong or Gotto, and very few in Baedoo.
Sierra Leone, 10th December, 1811.
“With reference to my letter of the 8th of March 1810, communicating having engaged a person to go in search, and ascertain the fate of the late Mr. Mungo Park; I have the honour to communicate to Your Lordship, that this person returned to Senegal on the 1st of September; but I am concerned to state that his information confirms the various reports of Mr. Park’s death.
“I have enclosed a copy of the Journal of the person whom I sent, which was kept in Arabic, and has been translated into English by a person resident in Senegal.
“Isaaco has been paid the promised reward, which I hope will be approved by your Lordship.
“I have the honour to be,
“Your Lordship’s most obedient
To the Right Honourable The Earl of Liverpool.
I, Isaaco, left Senegal on Sunday, the 22d day of the moon Tabasky; [Footnote: Seventh of January, 1810.] in the afternoon we came to an anchor at the foot of the bar. We passed the bar next morning, and had like to have lost ourselves; we got on board the George. Weighed anchor in the night of the 23d, from the roads, and anchored at Goree the 24th at about 4 P.M. [Footnote: These times of the day are not very exact, being regulated by the Mahometan times of prayer.] On my arrival there, I found some of my effects had been stolen; I signified to the commandant of Goree my intention to postpone my voyage, until my stolen goods were found. The commandant sent me back on board the George, and ordered the vessel to return to Senegal, that I might make there my complaint to Governor Maxwell. We were nine days at sea with heavy weather, and could not fetch; we were obliged to return to Goree on the tenth day.
The commandant next day (Friday) after my arrival, sent a courier to Senegal to the Governor, with the account of my goods being stolen; and on the Friday following the courier brought me my effects. [Footnote: These goods had been stolen in the lighter outside of the bar.] The same day in the afternoon, I left Goree in the George, and arrived in Gambia, the night after at Yoummy. We left Yoummy on the Sunday following, and arrived on Monday at Jilifrey. We left Jilifrey the same day; passed Tancrowaly, in the night, and on Tuesday came opposite a forest. Passed this spot, and came to anchor at Baling. From Baling came to an anchor opposite a forest at four P.M. We got under weigh in the night and came to in the morning. Departed after breakfast, and came to at noon. Departed immediately after, and came to after sunset. Passed Caour in the night, and came to anchor at four A.M. (Thursday). Weighed in the evening and came to Yanimmarou at noon. We left Yanimmarou in the morning of Friday, and came to Mongha. Left the Mongha the same day at sunset, and came to Mariancounda late in the evening, and Robert Ainsley being there, I landed and presented to him the Governor’s letter; making in all eight days from Goree to my arrival at Mariancounda.
Robert Ainsley kept me five days with him. He gave me, by the Governor’s desire, one horse, one ass, and twenty bars of beads. I left Robert Ainsley on Wednesday morning, and went to the village of the king of Cataba to pay my respects. I had previously sent the same day, my baggage and people, to Giammalocoto. On my arrival before Cataba, I gave him one musket, and one string of amber No. 4. which he distributed to his attendants. In the evening of the same day, I took leave of the king, and arrived at Giammalocoto, after sunset, where I met my people and effects. I left Giammalocoto, on Friday morning, and slept at Tandacounda. I departed next morning (Saturday) and slept at Guenda. On Sunday crossed a rivulet and slept under a tamarind tree close to the village of Sandougoumanna. I sent to Sallatigua-koura, king of that country, five bars of tobacco (ten heads). I went and slept at Woullimanna. I gave to Mansancoije, the chief, two bars of scarlet cloth and two bars of tobacco, and to his son, one bar of scarlet cloth. I also gave to my landlord three bars of tobacco. Departed next day early; stopped at Carropa at noon, and went to Coussage, where we slept. I there found my family, who had been driven away by the Bambarra army. I staid at Coussage two days and gave Maitafodey, chief of the village, three bottles of powder. [Footnote: One bottle of powder passes for five bars.] We left Coussage in the evening, with all my family; arrived at Montogou in the morning, where my family resided before the Bambarra army entered this country. I here found my mother. I staid at Montogou about one month and a half, or forty-six days.
Having disposed of such of my property as I could not carry with me, I left Montogou at about nine A.M. with my family and people, stopped at Moundoundon, having crossed three rivulets; slept there. Mamadou, the chief, killed me a sheep: I gave him one bottle of powder. We departed in the morning, stopped at Couchiar at noon, under a bark-tree, where we passed the rest of the day. We filled our leather bags with water and departed about four P.M. We travelled all night and came to Saabie at three A.M. This village is inhabited by Marabous (priests). We stayed there two days. I found there a relation of one of my wives. I gave him one bottle of powder and three pagnes (a piece of cloth the natives make use of in their dresses). We left Saabie in the morning, stopped at noon at Joumajaoury, and arrived at Tallimangoly. I there met a relation who killed a sheep. I gave him three grains of amber. We slept there. Next morning we departed, and arrived at midnight at Baniscrilla, where I found the King of Bondou with the Bambarra army. I went to pay my respects to him, and gave him ten bottles of powder, thirteen grains of amber No. 1, two grains of coral No. 1, and one handsome tin box. To his first valet one pagne, worth one piece of baft; to his goldsmith four pagnes; to the Chief of the village two bottles of powder. (Ten bars.) Slept there two nights; departed early, so did the army on their way to Gambia. We stopped at noon at Cambaya, being very hungry: we departed in the evening; and slept on the road. At about eight A.M. on the next day, we passed Gnary and Sangnongagy; received at this last village some peas without stopping. We stopped at noon at Dougay. Next morning early we departed, and stopped at noon at Daacada; in the evening we stopped and slept at Bougoldanda. Next day we stopped at noon at Saamcolo. Some singers of the village paid me a visit; I gave them a few trinkets. I had here a grand palaver (dispute) about one of my dogs, who had, as was said, bit a man; with great difficulty I prevented the animal from being killed.
Departed next day early; arrived at noon at Soumbourdaga, and slept there. Next morning at nine A.M. arrived at Debbou; my friend Saloumou gave me two sheep; I gave him two bottles of powder. Saloumou told me he would keep me company to Sego if I pleased; I readily agreed, and gave him ten pagnes to give to his wife to support her until his return. Next morning, Saloumou being ready, we departed from Debbou: we crossed the Faleme, and stopped on the other side at a village also called Debbou. I bought there two sheep and some corn; we staid there three days, and had our corn converted into kouskous. We departed from Debbou early on Monday, the first day of Raky Gamon, [Footnote: May 4, 1810.] and arrived at noon at the village of Diggichoucoumee, the residence of the King of Bondou: we stayed there four days and killed two sheep. I gave to Almami Sega two bottles of powder; bought one sheep. Departed early and went to Sabcouria, where we slept; it is the last village of Bondou to the northward.
Left Sabcouria early, and passed Gouloumbo: we slept on the road. Next morning at nine A. M. we stopt at Dramana, in sight of Saint Joseph, the Fort of Galam; we staid there five days. I was forced to stay there so long, on account of a palaver I had with the family of one of my wives, who opposed her going on the voyage with me: I was divorced, and she had to give me what she had received at our marriage, which is the law among us Mahomedans. I received one bullock and four sheep. I gave the Chief Euchoumana fourteen bars in amber and powder; to the people one bottle and a half of powder, and two bars of amber; to the Chief of Galam two bottles of powder and twenty flints.
We departed early; crossed Choligota [Footnote: The Ch must be pronounced through the throat.] and Taning_ch_olee, two rivulets, and arrived at noon at Moussala; slept there. We were well treated by the Chief. I gave him two flints and thirty loads of powder. Departed very early, and arrived at Tambouncana on the Senegal River. I there saw a Moor who had a very fine mare, which I bought with the goods which were returned to me in my palaver at Dramana. The King of Bambarra built there a large fort. We departed, and arrived at noon at Samicouta; we then went to Gui_ch_alel, where we slept at the house of Amady face, Chief of the village. We stopt there the next day, owing to one of my slaves running away, whom I got back again. Early in the morning we crossed the Senegal River at Settoucoule, on the Moors’ side. I bought one sheep; slept there, and was well treated.
Departed early; stopt at nine A.M. at Coulou, and slept there; we found there only the women, the men had followed the Bambarra army. Departed early, crossed Cholibinne and arrived at Challimancounna, where I staid two days. Ourigiague, the Chief, received me well, and killed a bullock. I gave him one bottle of powder. We departed long before day-break, crossed Fallaou, stopt at day-break at the Lake of Douro to take water; we went on, and arrived at nine A.M. at Medina. I was obliged to stay there twelve days, to wait the return of one of my fellow travellers; not hearing any thing of him, I sent a man after him, because I had lent him my mare and a musket. The man brought me back my mare and musket. I was there well treated by the Chief and village people, who gave me five sheep. I gave them in return one bottle of powder, and one and a half bars. I bought a sheep. This completed the three moons from my departure from Montogou.
We departed early, and crossed Kirgout, a river full of hippopotami and alligators. At noon arrived at Cougnacary, formerly the metropolis of the kingdom of Casso, but now occupied by Bambarras. Received one sheep, and gave one bottle of powder and five flints. We slept there, and next day early went round and crossed the river Kirgout again. At nine A.M. passed Maretoumane; farther on, passed a large rock called Tap-pa. Arrived at noon at Camatingue, after crossing five rivers; we staid there two days; received a bullock and a sheep from the Seracoolies residing in Casso. I gave to Nare–Moussa, the Chief, half a bottle of powder, and ten grains of amber. One of my slaves was there redeemed, and I received another in exchange. I met there the King of Bambarra’s messenger; I gave him half a bottle of powder. We departed early, crossed Garry between two rocks; arrived at noon at Lambatara; slept there. We were all the way surrounded by mountains and rocks. We started early, after taking water for our provisions, and had to ascend high mountains. About noon we arrived at the top of one of them; a part of my people went forward. When on the very top of the hill, they were surrounded and attacked by such a quantity of bees, that my people and beasts of burden were scattered; [Footnote: The bees in those parts of the country are very numerous, especially on the tops of the mountains. A similar accident from the attack of bees is mentioned by Park in his Journal, p. 37. See also Vol. I. p. 331.] when they were a little appeased, we went after our beasts, who had thrown away every thing they had on their backs. I found one of my asses dead, being stifled by the bees getting into its nostrils, and one of my men almost dead by their stings. I had to give him something to bring him to life, and that with a great deal of pains. We slept at the foot of that mountain, under a monkey-bread tree.
Departed early; at nine A.M. we met on the road one of the King of Bambarra’s messengers, who was sent after me; we stopped and sat under a tree together; he told me he was sent by his master, to let me know if he met me at Cougnacary, he was ordered to procure me plenty of provisions, and keep me there to rest myself; but as he had met me on the road, and a long way past Cougnacary, he would lead me to the first village, would get me some provisions, and that I might stay there to rest myself; to which I agreed. We passed Goundouguédé and arrived at four P.M. at Jyggiting Yalla; on my arrival I told the messenger my intention of sending somebody to the King, to let him know of my being in his dominions, and near him. I then sent Saloumon my friend to Giocha, where the King resided. I told him on his arrival at Giocha, to go to Sabila, the chief of all the King’s slaves, and a confident of his, to give him thirteen grains of amber No. 1, one pair of scissars, one snuff-box, and one looking-glass; and tell him I sent him those things as a present, and let him know of my arrival. After this man’s departure, I sent another messenger, and desired him to go to Giocha, to endeavour to see my old friend Allasana–Bociara, one of the King of Sego’s messengers, who were sent as ambassadors, and tell him that I send him this grain of amber, and that piece [Footnote: One round half dollar.] of silver, as a mark of my being near him, and not to leave Giocha before he saw me. I had learnt his arrival there by a caravan of slaves I met on the road.
After I had sent these two messengers unknown to one another, the King’s messenger came in the evening, and told me he was going away, but should give orders to the first village he should come to, to receive me well and give me provisions and all assistance; and that I should wait there for further orders. I then slept there: in the course of the night, the Chief of the village where I was ordered to go and stop for further orders, sent a messenger to his son here, where I was, desiring him to stop me here. Next morning his son came to me, and said it was useless for me to go any farther; that his father had sent to him and desired he would furnish me with whatever I wanted and keep me here. I told him, if I staid where I was, I should die with all my family, of hunger and thirst; and that I would go on where I was ordered, unless I was stopped by force. I immediately got every thing ready and departed.
At noon, we arrived at Maribougou, where I was ordered to stop. Foula Massa, the Chief, sent me to his brother to take up lodgings. When I came to his brother’s house I was refused lodgings; I then went under a large monkey-bread tree and made halt there. The Chief came and told me to stay here; I said I could not, as water was very scarce, and my company very numerous. He immediately gave orders that no one in the village should draw water, so that I might not want, and that I should have no excuse. I took that opportunity to give drink to all my people and cattle, and filled my skins. Being ready to depart from thence, the two men I had sent to Giocha from Jyggiting Yalla, arrived; one told me he had seen Sabila, and delivered my message and present to him; that Sabila said, he perceived I wanted to be his friend, to which he had no objection; the other messenger told me, that the King of Sego’s ambassador said I might be assured he would not leave Giocha before he saw me, according to my desire.
I had in my caravan a merchant I met at Dramana; he came from Senegal, and had some friends in this village, who sent to tell him to take away his goods from mine and put them aside, as I was in great danger of being plundered, and his goods would be lost to him if found amongst mine; to which he objected; which gave me a proof of his good intentions, and of his friendship to me. I was then convinced something unpleasant was planning against me. I therefore forced this merchant to take away his goods from mine; as it would be unjust he should suffer on my account. I then placed myself and people against the tree, well armed. I had two double-barrelled guns and a musket in good order, and well loaded; and waited for what should happen.
While I was in this state of defence, a messenger from the King came to me, the same man I had met first, who told me, that as I was complaining of want of water, he would conduct me to another village. We accordingly departed, and arrived at Wassaba; when there, the messenger shewed me a house where I was to take up my lodging, and have my things in safety. He then wanted to separate my people from me and scatter them in the village, so as to have a better chance to plunder me; to which I strongly objected. I went with my people, baggage, &c. into the middle of the yard of the house appointed for my lodging, and staid there.
The Chief of the village came to me, and desired I should give him my people to go and fetch me a bullock: the King’s messenger took him aside and spoke a little while to him: he came again and told me he could not give me now the bullock, as his cattle were too far off among the King’s herd. When the messenger saw me settle in the yard, and disposed to spend the evening there, he left me and went away.
When I was sure of his departure, I sent another man to Giocha, and ordered him to go to Madiguijou Marabou, who would introduce him to Sabila; and when there, to give Sabila seven grains of amber, and tell him to go and let the King know, that wherever I went, I met some of his people who stopped me from one place to another; and my intention was positively to go to him, and to beg Sabila to obtain my request. My courier came back the next day, and told me that Sabila said, the King, his master’s pleasure was, that I should stay where I was, and come to see him (the King) on the next day, with which I complied.
Next day the King sent a messenger to me with orders to lead me to him. I left my family and baggage, taking three horsemen of my people with me and four footmen, and departed with the messenger. I had, previous to that, sent a man before me with five grains of the largest amber No. 1. with orders to wait at Giocha for me. We arrived at the back of the village at three P.M. on Tuesday; the man I had sent before me, was there waiting for me; he told me softly that where I was going we were betrayed; and not to let the King know of my going to Sego, as our lives depended upon it. I told him, that he well knew, I was sent by the Governor of Senegal to Sego; and to Sego I must go, unless I was prevented by death or force. I then entered the village and went straight to the King’s door, followed by his messenger, I there alighted; the messenger made me wait at the door, and went in to take the King’s orders. He came back immediately and told me the King was sleeping; the guard took possession of my people and me, and lodged us in the guard-room with them. It was then about sunset, and not a single soul of my friends and acquaintances or relations came to see me. I then began to think seriously what was to be done. A griot [Footnote: Ballad singer and dancer.] woman was the only person who came to comfort me in my distress.
This woman on leaving me went immediately to the ambassadors of Sego (which I afterwards learnt), and said to them, “Oh me, oh me, my back is broke.” [Footnote: An expression of sorrow among the cassonkes.] The ambassadors asked her the reason; she said, “Because Isaaco our friend is here, and they are going to kill him.” Sabila being a very powerful man, and not hearing from him, I sent my boy to Madiguijou; and begged he would introduce the boy to Sabila, and when there, to give him the five grains of amber. Not being well guarded, I sent another man to my landlord where I always resided when I passed in this village, with my compliments, and my surprise at not seeing him since my arrival. He sent me word that he was happy to hear of my being so near him and in good health, and that nobody had given him any notice of my arrival: which last words I attributed to his being afraid to meddle with me while in the King’s hands. I sent in the night the merchant who was advised to draw his goods from mine at Maribougou, to the Sego ambassadors; and informed them of my being here.
Seeing the guards’ carelessness, I went (still in the night) to my landlord, who had still some influence near the king, and gave him one of my wives necklaces, nine grains of amber, and seven grains of coral. From thence I went to Madiguijou, and told him I was sent on a mission to the King of Sego, with some papers; in order to facilitate me on my voyage in search of a white man gone in the interior of this country long ago. I went from there to Sabila and told him the same thing. Afterwards I went back to the guard-house, and laid myself down to sleep; while the guards were amusing themselves in dancing, singing, and drinking. My slumber being disturbed by my uneasy mind, I awoke and found all the guards gone.
I went to take the air, and returned again to sleep, but could not. I heard the feet of several horsemen in the street, going, I presumed, to Sabila’s house. Early in the morning I sent another message to the ambassadors, to let them know how critically I was situated; that I heard they were going away to Sego without me; and my uneasiness at not hearing a word from them. They sent to ask me why I did not follow this time the same road I had followed on my other voyage. I sent back the man to let them know as the two kingdoms were at peace, I thought it secure and safe to travel through this part; that Mungo Park had promised King Mansong a present; and Mungo Park not returning, the Governor of Senegal had entrusted this same present to me for Mansong, and that I was now the bearer of it. However, since they were determined to go without me, they might do so, and whether I should be released or die; they should hear it soon enough at Sego. They sent to Tiguing–Coroba [Footnote: Vulgarly Tiguing-coro.] (the King) a message saying; We have heard that Isaaco our friend is at Giocha, bearer of a present to Dacha (King of Sego) which Mr. Park had promised to Mansong (Dacha’s father); that Mr. Park not returning in time to his country, his friends had appointed Isaaco to be the bearer of that present, which is with him now, and is destined for Sego, to the King our master. In case Isaaco wishes to go back, we beg you will not let him do so; but if he wishes to go on, on his mission to Sego, we also beg and hope you will give him all assistance, and some trusty persons to conduct him to Sego.
[Footnote: This equivocal invitation was given to the King, who well knew that the King of Sego was more powerful than him; and if he should injure Isaaco in any manner, he would be driven from his dominions.]
Then came Massatan Wague, a Marabou, who told me what I have above related, and how I had been arrested with an intention to destroy me, and take what I had; that Sibila had been the means of my escaping such danger, and had saved my life; to which story I gave little credit, knowing well the reason why they shewed me such mercy; but I thanked God alone for my preservation. Massatan Wague advised me to give the King’s only son something. I went to that prince, and gave him half a piece of white baft, and two grains of amber No. 1. I went back to the guard-house, where I passed the following night.
Next morning my landlord went to the King to beg (as every thing was settled and appeared favourable on my side) that he might take me to his lodging; to which the King consented. He immediately came and took me away to his house with my people. I went with my land-lord (Tong–Manchong) and my people to the King: on arriving, after the usual salutations, I presented him with a fine tin box. The King addressed Sabila, and said with a nod, “Here is the business.” Sabila said, “This man is our old friend, and is a good man.” My landlord said the same. The King turned to me and said, “No; here is your box and keep it; what else you have brought in my country I shall keep; you may return to the place you first started from, and travel on your mission by the same road you travelled first, with the white men; but your goods, and every thing else you have with you, I shall keep. I know what you have is destined to the King of Sego.” I said, “I might, it is true, have traveiled by other roads, and you would never have heard of me; but in my way, I heard you lived in peace and friendship with the King of Sego; I therefore thought I might with security travel through your country.” He stopped me, saying, “What I have said to you is enough.”
I left the house with part of his slaves. I went to my lodging, and immediately completed the amount of sixty bars in powder, amber, &c. I took the horse Robert Ainsley had bought for me, three ducks, and the tin box he refused. I gathered all these things, and went with my landlord and offered them as presents to the King, which he accepted: in his presence I gave Sabila one bottle of powder; to the King’s singer one snuff-box. The King, on seeing these presents, (the only thing to cool his anger) told me he would lend me somebody who would conduct me straight to Sego. I said, “I could not go so soon; because if I did, whoever would see me would think I deserted from him; and I therefore thought proper to stay where I was and rest myself awhile.” The King said to Sabila, “You see Isaaco appears to be a courageous man; if he had been of a weak-spirited mind, he would have run away, and left his things in my hands.” I went home, and spent the rest of the day and the night.
In the morning I departed with my people to Wassaba, to fetch my family and things; I staid there two days; but being uneasy in my mind, and being afraid of something planning against me, and as I had good reason to think so by the few words I heard at different times, I went back to Giocha, presented myself to the King; and told him that before I left his dominions, I had thought proper to come and swear fidelity and friendship to him; and that whenever I should go backwards or forwards from Senegal to Sego, I should always pass through his country and see him; but that I should wish also at the same time that he would swear to protect and treat me well, and be my friend; even should he be at war with the King of Sego. He sent for Chiaman, the eldest son of the royal family, who swore the same to me in his and the King’s name. I likewise swore before them what I related above. After swearing, Chiaman told me to give him a handsome gun or a coussabi (shirt) by way of cementing our oaths. I told him, I had none at present fit to present to him, but gave him my word, that if I should go back to the white men’s country, on my return I would bring him one of those two objects.
I staid in the village until the next morning. I had in the mean while wrote a prayer (Grisgris) or amulet, to a man who gave me a bullock, which I carried to Wassaba; I slept there. Next morning I had the bullock killed. The next day Iaque, Chiaman’s brother, sent me word to wait there for him. I immediately sent my family and things by another road, and waited for Iaque. He came and presented me with an ass loaded with kouskous to help me in my travels. I gave him half a piece of fine white baft, five bottles of powder, two looking-glasses, and two snuff-boxes. He then left me, and I went the same day to Giocha, to take leave of the King, and beg he would let me have the promised conductor (between Wassaba and Giocha there being seven rivulets to cross.) He gave me a man named Mourocouro, who went on foot. He then shook hands with me, saying, “Isaaco, I bear you no malice now; but did so once, because you conducted white men to Sego; and never passed here to let me have something from them, whilst every body else shared their generosity.” I took my leave of him and went to Chicouray, Chiaman’s village, where I met my family and things safe. I staid there two days. Chaiman killed me a bullock, and I gave him one pagne, worth two pieces of bafts, one bottle of powder, twenty flints, and one bar of scarlet cloth.
We started in the evening and arrived at Chicouray. [Footnote: These two last villages bear the same name.] Sambabile (Chiaman’s other brother) gave me some corn and a sheep. I gave him a blue pagne, a striped ditto, one bottle of powder, twenty flints, and one bar of scarlet cloth; which pagnes I got by the sale of three slaves I was obliged to sell to help me in my expenses. I staid there two days; in the morning I started, and arrived at noon at Jyallacoro; where resided Madifoutane, the King’s son, to whom I had given half a piece of fine cotton and two grains of amber; he gave me some corn. Madimarian, a Marabou, killed me a bullock; I give him one bottle of powder.
Next morning I started from thence, passed three villages, and arrived at three P.M. at Cobla. I received cooked victuals from the village; I gave two flints. We departed next morning early, and arrived at noon at Amadifalouma bougou, the last village belonging to King Tiguing-coro, it being on Wednesday, and six moons [Footnote: July 2, 1810.] after my departure from Senegal. I bought there an ass.
Having before me a large forest to cross, and uncertain of the right road, I hired four men to conduct me. I departed next morning, and crossed a small river near the village. We entered the forest at noon, and came to a large muddy pond, where the hogs could not pass safely; our guides shewed us a better road, where we crossed easily. At two P.M. we stopped where had been formerly a village. We found in our way after sun-set, a large land turtle, which we killed; and passed the night there. Departed early; at ten A.M. passed Sarina, formerly a village; stopped awhile. The four men I had charged to go as guides, wished to go back; they were afraid to go on further. I was much disappointed at such behaviour, and got angry with them, and said I would sooner go back than be left in such a forest. They shewed me a road, and told me to follow it straight along, and to be careful not to turn either to the right or left, and that I should soon find a village inhabited. I gave them half a bottle of powder and ten flints, and let them go, as I could not do otherwise.
I went on, and found the road the King of Sego’s army had taken nine years ago. [Footnote: When at war with Tiguing-coro.] Farther on we met a small pond; being very thirsty, we spent there the best part of the day; a little farther we found a large pond, where we made a halt, and past the night under a tree. Departed early; arrived at noon at the lakes of Chinchare and Tirinn. These lakes are never dry; and the King’s army always stops at them to take water. After dinner we started, and at five P.M. arrived at another lake. We went on, and came to the village of Giangounte after sun-set; where we stopped five days, on account of one of my people being sick; received the first night a few provisions; next day they killed me a bullock. Here I thanked God for my escape.
On the third day the King’s people came; the village gave them a bullock and a sheep, which I killed myself; they gave me a quarter of each for my share. This village is surrounded by a mud wall, is well fortified, and I presume is well secured against any attack. One of the hogs being very large and fat, I could not carry it any farther, but with great difficulty: I told the Chief of the village to take charge of the hog, and have it conveyed to the King his master; to which he objected, being afraid to take charge of an unknown animal, and the additional responsibility of taking charge of it for his master. I told him I found it impossible for me to carry it any farther; I should therefore leave it with him, and he might do with it as he pleased. That the village belonged to his master, so did the hog, and I was sure he would take good care of it.
We departed early and arrived at noon at Fabougou. After dinner we went to Giongoey, where we arrived after sun-set; we staid there two days. Early in the morning we departed, and at ten A.M. arrived at the lake Sonne; stopped a little under a tree; crossed the lake; stopped awhile at Tonneguela; arrived and stopped at Gommingtora, where we spent the night; received a sheep. Departed early, and at ten A. M. arrived at Wattere. Departed in the evening and came to a large open field, very dangerous for travellers, on account of the Moors passing there very often. We therefore travelled during the day and all the night.
At three A.M. came to Toucha. On my way from Gommingtora here, I saw a tree grown on the top of the dried stump of another large tree; the wood of the above tree is employed in the composition of our gunpowder. There is also near the tree a large and high rock, forming a pyramid, and a large stone on the top of its head. On my arrival at Toucha, I missed a chest which my nephew carried, and which contained some looking glasses, beads, my fine coussabi, and my wife’s bracelets, which were given me by Governor Maxwell. I asked the boy what was become of it; he said, that being fatigued on the way, he had given the chest to a man who had followed our caravan from Giocha. I suspected the man had stolen it, by not seeing him with us. I left my family and things there, and went immediately with some of the King’s people to Wattera in search of the thief. I had the Chief of Toucha’s son and the son of the Chief of Wattera with me. From Wattera we went to Tagoubou, where we found the thief, who had broken the chest and taken away the things; he had on my coussabi, had sold some things, and had in hand the remainder, looking after a slave to purchase. We seized him. The Chief of Tagoubou begged me not to hurt him in his village, but to carry him to Dinghang. Arrived at Dinghang. Maineoro, the Chief, told me, since I caught the thief, I might take him away, and do as I thought proper with him.
We went and slept at Togouboo, and next morning went to Wattera. Departed in the evening and arrived at night at Toucha, and joined my family. On our way the thief shewed me where he had destroyed the chest. I found the boards useless, and left them. I left Toucha early next morning, and at nine A.M. arrived at Douabougou. The Chief wished me to stay, but I refused, and he gave me a sheep. Farther on we passed Dilla-faa Courna and Bonabougou, where we staid awhile, and went to see Magnacoro at sunset: (these villages are all surrounded by Ronn-trees; [Footnote: A species of palm tree. (I do not know the particular name.)]) the thief carrying all the way the remaining hog. On my way there, one of my people staid on the road, having a sore leg. I was well treated at Magnacoro and slept there; the man with the sore leg came next day. I staid two days. There is in this village a fine Doualli tree, the first I had seen on my way from Senegal; this tree is most beautiful, always green and in blossom, but bearing no fruit whatever. On the back of the village there is a foundery for casting iron; at a little distance on the river there is a cataract, not quite so high as the Feloups. I took guides to shew me the right road. Departed early; at noon arrived at Soubacarra, passed Tacoutalla; crossed there a small rivulet; farther on crossed another, and stopped at Sirecaime, a village situated between two mountains, where we slept. Next morning received ten moulles [Footnote: A small measure made out of a calabash.] of corn and departed.
At noon arrived at Camecon; received there from Fiong, the Chief, a sheep, some milk, and corn. In the afternoon departed, and passed Sidong. At sun-set arrived at Sannanba, where we slept. I found here my sister and one of my wives I had left in my voyage with Mr. Park, and where they waited for my return. I asked them what they heard concerning Mr. Park. They assured me that they had seen Alhagi Biraim, who told them that Mr. Park was dead; and that he saw the canoe in which he died in the country of Haoussa; to which country, he, Alhagi, had been, and to the place where Mr. Park died. Yamme Marabou gave me bullock; so did Moulina one; Guiniba one; and Facoro, the Chief, also one and some corn. Two sheep were given to me by Alhagi; one by Fatuna-bougou; one by Amadibinne-doucara, and three by Dimba Soumares. We staid there eight days.
On the ninth day the hog I had left behind was brought here. I received one ass from Mouline: I gave to Amadibinne one musket and five yards of white cotton; to Yamme half a bottle of powder; to my sister ten dollars and one muslin pagne; to the Chief one bottle of powder and twenty flints. I released here the thief, who all the way had carried the hog; I released him, because I was certain, that, if once in the King’s power, he would be put to death. Four days after the hog came, being the thirteenth day of my stay at Sannamba (Saturday), and the seventh moon of my voyage.
I departed early, and ordered the hog to be brought along by the same people; passed Baromba, took water at a large fountain; passed Bancoumalla. After passing a large lake, stopped and slept at Sirberra, at the house of Babamerine, who killed a sheep: received from Manchia the Chief, one sheep; I gave them twenty loads of powder and ten flints. Departed in the night, and arrived at two in the morning at Counnow. There is but one well for the whole village, and three beautiful large Doualli trees are round it. Found there the King’s army.
There is on the east of the village an enormous large tree, inhabited by a great number of bats; another such tree is on the west side of the village, likewise full of bats; but what is most extraordinary, the bats of the east constantly go at night to the west, and return to the east at the approach of day; those of the west never go to the east. The bats are all of the same kind. The natives say that their lawful king lies on the west. [Footnote: Tiguing-coro, the descendant of the lawful Kings of Sego.] The army departed about three, and I about day-light; we met on the road the rear guard on its way to join the army. At four P.M. arrived at Gargnie, a large village, where we slept. There is but one door to enter it, and two large trees on each side of the door; the village is situated in the front of a beautiful large lake, which supplies them with water. We met there a caravan from Cancare; received from them a few collas. Departed early, and at ten A.M. arrived at Dedougou, where we slept. The people of Gargnie had brought here the hog and gone back; and the people of this village being all out in their fields, I was obliged to wait until next morning, so as to have the hog carried; received three fowls; I gave three loads of powder. Next morning I required four hands to carry the hog (which imposition I laid on every village I came to) and departed. Passed Issicora and five deserted villages; at four P. M. arrived at Yaminna, and stayed there three days, at the house of Boya Modiba, who killed me a sheep. I gave him two bars of scarlet cloth. A woman who had been redeemed at Montogou, and who had followed my caravan, found here her husband, who gave me a sheep and a hundred collas.
Departed early and arrived at noon at Yaminna, [Footnote: Bearing the same name as the last place.] on the river Joliba (Niger). I wanted to cross the river immediately, but the rain prevented me; at four P.M. embarked in a canoe, and went on till about ten P.M. Arrived at Mognongo, on the other side of the river, having passed nine villages. The river here is very wide. Departed again, and arrived at noon at Samman; lodged with Guinguina, where we formerly lodged with Mr. Park, and where we lost three white men by sickness. At four P.M. departed, and arrived at sun-set at Sego-coro, on the opposite side of Samman, having passed four villages; lodged with Sego Somma.
This village was formerly the residence of the kings; and to this day, when the King wishes to go to war, he always goes there to have his gris-gris (amulets) made, and to prepare himself. When they take a king, a prince, or a man of high rank, whether a stranger, or of the country, they confine him until the fasting moon is come. He is brought in that moon to this village, and laid down in a house appropriated for this purpose only. His throat is then cut across. When the blood has completely stained the ground, the body is carried into the open field, and left a prey to the wild beasts. There is not a fasting moon, but that one or more are butchered in the house, and for the space of eight days after these executions, no man, whatever he may be, is allowed to pass by that house (called Kognoba) without pulling off his shoes or cap.
Departed early, passed Segobougou, Segocoura, and Douabougou, and arrived about eight A.M. at Sego-chicoro, the residence of Dacha King of the Bambarras, on Monday 11th of the moon. [Footnote: August 26, 1810.] This town was built by Dacha’s grandfather, [Footnote: Mansong’s father, named Wolloo.] who rebelled against the lawful king; being chosen leader at the head of his party, drove the king from his dominions, who retired to the west, [Footnote: He is obliged to gather another army and go himself at the head of it, to revenge the first, should it be destroyed.] and was proclaimed king himself. Being a great warrior, he maintained himself on the usurped throne, and left it to his posterity, who enjoy it peaceably now.
I lodged with Guiawe, a man attached to the King. Next morning the King hearing of my arrival, sent to tell me he was going to Douabougou, and wished I would go and see him there. He had got on his horse and was proceeding, when a heavy shower of rain came on; he dismounted and went back to his house. After the rain, he ordered me to come to him, and bring him the hogs in the manner I had tied them for travelling. On my entrance in the first yard I found a guard of forty men, young, strong, and without beards. On entering another yard I met another guard, well armed and very numerous, lying in the shade. A little farther on I found the king sitting; there were four broad swords stuck in the ground, on each side and behind him, which had been given to him by Mr. Park. He had on his military coat, which he is obliged to wear when he sends out an army, and cannot leave off until the army returns. He commonly wears dresses of white or blue cotor, or silk, with a great many gris-gris, covered with plates of gold or silver, sewed about his dresses. I sat down on one side of him, and my landlord on the other side. After the usual salutations, I laid before him the drum, the two blunderbusses, the bed, the two hogs, the scarlet cloth, &c. and one dog. [Footnote: The other got away on leaving Mariancounda, and was lost.] I said to him: “Maxwell, Governor of Senegal, salutes you, and sends his compliments to you; here is the present which Manchong (or Mansong) your father asked of Mr. Park, and which he promised to send him.” He said, “Is the Governor well?” I said, “Yes, he is well, and desired me to beg your assistance in his endeavours to discover what is become of Mr. Park, and ascertain whether he is dead or alive; and that you would give me a vessel to facilitate my voyage; and the Governor will reward you for so doing.” He replied, “What does the Governor mean to give me?” I said, “If you render me all the assistance in your power, the Governor will give you two hundred bars.” He asked me, how the Governor could give him that sum, being so far from him? I told him, the Governor, it was true, was far from him; but that I was there to represent and answer for him. He then accepted my offer and promised me his assistance. The King ordered a bullock to be killed for me. I staid to the end of that moon. [Footnote: September 13, 1810.]
The first [Footnote: September 14, 1810. They reckon one day when the moon is seen.] of the following moon, being the day I intended to depart, a prince of Tombuctoo came to Sego, to demand a wife who had been promised him. The King went out to meet him with a guard of six hundred men, almost naked and well armed. The prince said, that being a friend of his father (Manchong), he thought it his duty to come and let him know of his coming to take the wife promised him; the King replied, “Why have you permitted the people of your country to plunder one my caravans, [Footnote: My landlord lost his share in that caravan; seven hundred gros of gold and a slave.] and why did you not prevent it, and why did you yourself plunder another, belonging also to me?” The King left the prince out, and returned to his house with the guards, after unloading their muskets. The prince went to his lodging. He reflected how critically he was situated, and that by his bad behaviour, the wife which he had once been promised, had been given to another; and that the people of the caravan he had plundered, had been before the King and there had denounced him; and that his life was at stake. He immediately sent three horses to the King, and half a piece of cotor [Footnote: So in the MS. of this translation.] to all the chiefs present.
Next day the ambassadors of Giocha came together with the ambassadors of Tiguing-coro. The day after the King went to Impebara. I next day went to meet him there. After staying there nine days, and hearing nothing, I was much displeased; some one went to the King and told him that I was angry, and was about to depart. He sent to tell me he was going to Banangcoro, and that I should go with him; he did depart from Banangcoro, but I staid; he sent me a courier to order me near him. I went to Banangcoro, and lodged with Inche, the King’s slave and confident. The motive of the King’s journey was to see one of his children. He has six now living: and three he had destroyed. The custom is when a male child of the King’s wives is born on a Friday, that the throat should be cut; which is done immediately. The King sent for me. I went to him at ten A.M.; he ordered part of the presents to be brought before him; which was done, and among which were the hogs. [Footnote: The remaining hog died shortly after my arrival at Sego.] They were left loose before him and pleased him much.
On the next day (Friday) he gave me a canoe with three hands (fishermen), and I departed on my voyage after Mr. Park the following tide; we passed ten villages, and arrived at supper time at Sansanding, [Footnote: This village is two days journey by land from Banangcoro.] where we slept; departed by land at three P.M. and arrived at sunset at Madina, and lodged with Alihou. I found there Amadi fatouma, [Footnote: Amadou fatooma.] the very guide I had recommended to Mr. Park, and who went with him on his voyage from Sansanding. I sent for him; he came immediately. I demanded of him a faithful account of what had happened to Mr. Park. On seeing me, and hearing me mention Mr. Park, he began to weep; and his first words were, “They are all dead.” I said, “I am come to see after you, and intended to look every way for you, to know the truth from your own mouth, how they died.” He said that they were lost for ever, and it was useless to make any further enquiry after them; for to look after what was irrecoverably lost, was losing time to no purpose. I told him I was going back to Sansanding, and requested he would come the next day there to meet me, to which he agreed. I went to Sansanding and slept there; next day I sent back the canoe to Impebara. Amadi fatouma came at the appointed time to meet me, being the 21st day of the moon. [Footnote: 4th October, 1810.] I desired he would let me know what passed to his knowledge concerning Mr. Park.
We departed from Sansanding in a canoe the 27th [Footnote: This Journal mentions no moon nor year.] day of the moon, and went in two days to Sellee, [Footnote: Called Siila in Mr. Park’s first voyage.] where Mr. Park ended his first voyage. Mr. Park bought a slave to help him in the navigation of the canoe. There was Mr. Park, Martyn, three other white men, three slaves and myself as guide and interpreter; nine in number, to navigate the canoe: without landing we bought the slave. We went in two days to Ginne. We gave the Chief one piece of baft and went on. In passing Sibby, [Footnote: Here no mention is made of times. Called Dibbie in the plan.] three canoes came after us, armed with pikes, lances, bows and arrows, &c. but no fire-arms. Being sure of their hostile intentions, we ordered them to go back; but to no effect; and were obliged to repulse them by force. Passed on; we passed Rakbara; [Footnote: Called Kabra in the plan.] three came up to stop our passage, which we repelled by force. On passing Tombuctoo we were again attacked by three canoes; which we beat off, always killing many of the natives. On passing Gouroumo seven canoes came after us; which we likewise beat off. We lost one white man by sickness; we were reduced to eight hands; having each of us fifteen muskets, always in order and ready for action. Passed by a village (of which I have forgotten the name), the residence of King Gotoijege; after passing which we counted sixty canoes coming after us, which we repulsed, and killed a great number of men. Seeing so many men killed, and our superiority over them, I took hold of Martyn’s hand, saying, “Martyn, let us cease firing; for we have killed too many already”; on which Martyn wanted to kill me, had not Mr. Park interfered. After passing Gotoijege a long way, we met a very strong army on one side of the river; composed of the Poul nation; they had no beasts of any kind. We passed on the other side and went on without hostilities.
On going along we struck on the rocks. An hippopotamus rose near us, and had nearly overset the canoe; we fired on the animal and drove it away. After a great deal of trouble we got off the canoe without any material danger. We came to an anchor before Kaffo, and passed the day there. We had in the canoe before we departed from Sansanding, a very large stock of provisions, salted and fresh of all kinds; which enabled us to go along without stopping at any place, for fear of accident. The canoe was large enough to contain with ease one hundred and twenty people. In the evening we started and came to before an island; we saw on shore a great quantity of hippopotami; on our approach they went into the water in such confusion, that they almost upset our canoe. We passed the island and sailed. In the morning three canoes from Kaffo came after us, which we beat off. We came to near a small island, and saw some of the natives; I was sent on shore to buy some milk. When I got among them I saw two canoes go on board to sell fresh provisions, such as fowls, rice, &c. One of the natives wanted to kill me; at last he took hold of me, and said I was his prisoner. Mr. Park seeing what was passing on shore, suspected the truth. He stopped the two canoes and people, telling the people belonging to them, that if they should kill me, or keep me prisoner on shore, he would kill them all and carry their canoes away with him. Those on shore suspecting Mr. Park’s intentions, sent me off in another canoe on board; they were then released. After which we bought some provisions from them, and made them some presents.
A short time after our departure, twenty canoes came after us from the same place; on coming near, they hailed and said, “Amadi fatouma, how can you pass through our country without giving us any thing.” I mentioned what they had said to Mr. Park; and he gave them a few grains of amber and some trinkets, and they went back peaceably. On coming to a shallow part of the river, we saw on the shore a great many men sitting down; coming nearer to them they stood up; we presented our muskets to them, which made them run off to the interior. A little farther on we came to a very difficult passage. The rocks had barred the river; but three passages were still open between them. On coming near one of them, we discovered the same people again, standing on the top of a large rock; which caused great uneasiness to us, especially to me, and I seriously promised never to pass there again without making considerable charitable donations to the poor. We returned and went to a pass of less danger, where we passed unmolested.
We came to before Carmasse, and gave the Chief one piece of baft. We went on and anchored before Gourinon. Mr. Park sent me on shore with forty thousand cowries to buy provisions. I went and bought rice, onions, fowls, milk, &c. and departed late in the evening. The Chief of the village sent a canoe after us, to let us know of a large army encamped on the top of a very high mountain, waiting for us; and that we had better return, or be on our guard. We immediately came to an anchor, and spent there the rest of the day, and all the night. We started in the morning; on passing the above-mentioned mountain, we saw the army, composed of Moors, with horses and camels; but without any fire-arms. As they said nothing to us, we passed on quietly, and entered the country of Haoussa, and came to an anchor. Mr. Park said to me, “Now, Amadi, you are at the end of your journey; I engaged you to conduct me here; you are going to leave me, but before you go, you must give me the names of the necessaries of life, &c. in the language of the countries through which I am going to pass;” to which I agreed, and we spent two days together about it, without landing. During our voyage I was the only one who had landed. We departed and arrived at Yaour.
I was sent on shore the next morning with a musket and a sabre, to carry to the chief of the village, also with three pieces of white baft for distribution. I went and gave the Chief his present: I also gave one piece to Alhagi, one to Alhagi-biron, and the other to a person whose name I forget, all Marabous. The Chief gave us a bullock, a sheep, three jars of honey, and four men’s loads of rice. Mr. Park gave me seven thousand cowries, and ordered me to buy provisions, which I did; he told me to go to the Chief and give him five silver rings, some powder and flints, and tell him that these presents were given to the King [Footnote: The King staid a few hundred yards from the river.] by the white men, who were taking leave of him before they went away. After the Chief had received these things, he enquired if the white men intended to come back. Mr. Park being informed of this enquiry, replied that he could not return any more. [Footnote: These words occasioned his death; for the certainty of Mr. Park’s not returning induced the Chief to withhold the presents from the King.] Mr. Park had paid me for my voyage before we left Sansanding: I said to him, “I agreed to carry you into the kingdom of Haoussa; we are now in Haoussa. I have fulfilled my engagements with you; I am therefore going to leave you here and return.”
Next day (Saturday) Mr. Park departed, and I slept in the village (Yaour). Next morning, I went to the King to pay my respects to him; on entering the house I found two men who came on horseback; they were sent by the Chief of Yaour. They said to the King, “we are sent by the Chief of Yaour to let you know that the white men went away, without giving you or him (the Chief) any thing; they have a great many things with them, and we have received nothing from them; and this Amadou fatouma now before you is a bad man, and has likewise made a fool of you both.” The king immediately ordered me to be put in irons; which was accordingly done, and every thing I had taken from me; some were for killing me, and some for preserving my life. The next morning early the King sent an army to a village called Boussa near the river side. There is before this village a rock across the whole breadth of the river. One part of the rocks is very high; there is a large opening in that rock in the form of a door, which is the only passage for the water to pass through; the tide current is here very strong. This army went and took possession of the top of this opening. Mr. Park came there after the army had posted itself; he nevertheless attempted to pass. The people began to attack him, throwing lances, pikes, arrows and stones. Mr. Park defended himself for a long time; two of his slaves at the stern of the canoe were killed; they threw every thing they had in the canoe into the river, and kept firing; but being overpowered by numbers and fatigue, and unable to keep up the canoe against the current, and no probability of escaping, Mr. Park took hold of one of the white men, and jumped into the water; Martyn did the same, and they were drowned in the stream in attempting to escape. The only slave remaining in the boat, seeing the natives persist in throwing weapons at the canoe without ceasing, stood up and said to them, “Stop throwing now, you see nothing in the canoe, and nobody but myself, therefore cease. Take me and the canoe, but don’t kill me.” They took possession of the canoe and the man, and carried them to the King.
I was kept in irons three months; the King released me and gave me a slave (woman). I immediately went to the slave taken in the canoe, who told me in what manner Mr. Park and all of them had died, and what I have related above. I asked him if he was sure nothing had been found in the canoe after its capture; he said that nothing remained in the canoe but himself and a sword-belt. I asked him where the sword-belt was; he said the King took it, and had made a girth for his horse with it.
I immediately sent a Poule to Yaour to get me the belt by any means and at any price, and any thing else he could discover belonging to Mr. Park. I left Madina and went to Sansanding, and from thence to Sego. On my arrival I went to Dacha, the King, and related to him the above facts. He said he would have gone himself to destroy that country, if it had not been so far. He gathered an army and went with it to Banangcoro. I followed him there. He ordered the army to go and destroy the kingdom of Haoussa. The army went away, passed Tombuctoo a long way, and made a halt at Sacha; and dispatched a courier back to the King, to let him know where they were, and that Haoussa was at too great a distance for an army to go, without running many dangers of all kinds. The King ordered them to go to Massina, a small country belonging to the Poule nation, to take away all the Poules’ cattle, and return. They did so, and brought with them a great many cattle. The vanguard came with the cattle after a voyage of three months; and the army came one month after, which made four months they had been out. The King was much displeased with the Chiefs’ conduct, and wanted to punish them for not going where he sent them; but they observed that they went as far as they possibly could; that the distance was too great and would have destroyed an army; and that prudence and the hardships they had already sustained, had dictated the necessity of returning, though very contrary to their inclinations. We all returned to Sego.
I went back to Sansanding and staid there, waiting for the arrival of the Poule I had sent to Yaour. Four months after he came back, having been eight months on his voyage, and having suffered greatly. He brought me the belt; and said that he had bribed a young slave girl belonging to the King, who had stole it from him; and that he could not get any thing more, as nothing else was to be found which had belonged to Mr. Park or his companions.
I went to Sego and informed the King of what I had got belonging to Mr. Park, and that I was going to Senegal immediately. The King was desirous that I should spend the rainy season with him. I said I could not stay; as the object of my mission was attained, I wished to go as soon as possible. Amadi fatouma being a good, honest, and upright man, I had placed him with Mr. Park; what he related to me being on his oath, having no interest, nor any hopes of reward whatever: nothing remaining of Mr. Park or his effects; the relations of several travellers who had passed the same country, agreeing with Amadou’s Journal; being certain of the truth of what he had said, and of the dangers I should have run to no purpose in such a distant part; all these reasons induced me to proceed no farther. After obtaining the belt, I thought it best to return to Senegal.
Isaaco says that Mr. Park gave him his papers to carry to Gambia to Robert Ainsley, with an order on Robert Ainsley for ten bars. That Mr. Park went away from Sansanding with Amadi fatouma, in his presence; that he cannot tell precisely the date, but that Mr. Park died four months after his departure from Sansanding, which date may be nearly taken from the date of Mr. Park’s papers brought by him (Isaaco) to Robert Ainsley. That Mr. Park had lost all his companions but four men. He arrived at Foolah Dougou with thirty-three white men, and from Foolah Dougou to Sego (which was eight days march, but which is generally performed in three days by a Negro) they lost twenty-six men by rains, the damps, &c. Mr. Park went away from Sansanding, with four men, and he himself making five.
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