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Title: Life and Travels of Mungo Park
Author: Park, Mungo
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Life and Travels of Mungo Park" ***

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Tonya Allen, Steen Christensen, Thomas Berger, and the Online


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Mungo Park]

       *       *       *       *       *


With a full narrative of

Subsequent Adventure in Central Africa.

[Illustration: The Lion quietly suffered us to pass, though we were
fairly within his reach.]

       *       *       *       *       *



Knowledge of the Ancients concerning Africa. Herodotus. Strabo. The
Arabs. Early discoveries of the Portuguese and English. Ledyard. Lucas.
Houghton. Park's birth and parentage. His education. Serves his
apprenticeship as a surgeon. Sails for Bencoolen. African association
engage Park's services. His preparations and departure.


Park's motives for undertaking the voyage--his instructions and
departure--arrives at Jillifree, on the Gambia River--proceeds to
Vintain. Some account of the Feloops. Proceeds up the river for
Jonkakonda--arrives at Dr. Laidley's. Some account of Pisania, and the
British factory established at that place. The Author's employment during
his stay at Pisania--his sickness and recovery--the country
described--prepares to set out for the interior.


Description of the Feloops, the Jaloffs, the Foulahs, and Mandingoes.
Some account of the trade between the nations of Europe and the natives
of Africa by the way of the Gambia, and between the native inhabitants of
the coast and the nations of the interior countries--their mode of
selling and buying, &c.


The Author sets out from Pisania--his attendants--reaches Jindy. Story
related by a Mandingo Negro. Proceeds to Medina, the capital of Woolli.
Interview with the King. Saphies or charms. Proceeds to Kolor.
Description of Mumbo Jumbo--arrives at Koojar--wrestling match--crosses
the wilderness, and arrives at Tallika, in the Kingdom of Bondou.


Some account of the inhabitants of Tallika. The Author proceeds for
Fatteconda--incidents on the road. Crosses the Neriko, arrives at
Koorkarany--reaches the River Faleme--Fishery on that river--proceeds
along its banks to Naye or Nayemow--crosses the Falemé, and arrives at
Fatteconda. Has an interview with Almami, the Sovereign of Bondou.
Description of the King's dwelling--has a second interview with the King,
who begs the Author's Coat. Author visits the King's wives--is permitted
to depart on friendly terms. Journey by night--arrives at Joag. Some
account of Bondou and its inhabitants, the Foulahs.


Account of Kajaaga. Serawoollies--their manners and language. Account of
Joag. The Author is ill treated, and robbed of half of his effects, by
order of Batcheri, the king. Charity of a female slave.--The Author is
visited by Demba Sego, nephew of the King of Kasson, who offers to
conduct him in safety to that kingdom. Offer accepted. The Author and his
protector, with a numerous retinue, set out and reach Samee, on the banks
of the Senegal. Proceed to Kayee, and, crossing the Senegal, arrive in
the kingdom of Kasson.


Arrival at Teesee. Interview with Tiggity Sego, the king's brother. The
Author's detention at Teesee. Some account of that place and its
inhabitants. Incidents which occurred there. Rapacious conduct of Tiggity
Sego toward the Author on his departure. Sets out for Kooniakary, the
capital of the kingdom. Incidents on the road, and arrival at Kooniakary.


The Author admitted to an audience of the King of Kasson, whom he finds
well disposed towards him. Incidents during the Author's stay at
Kooniakary. Departs thence for Kemmoo, the capital of Kaarta. Is received
with great kindness by the King of Kaarta, who dissuades him from
prosecuting his journey, on account of approaching hostilities with the
King of Bambarra. The Author determines, notwithstanding, to proceed: and
the usual route being obstructed, takes the path to Ludamar, a Moorish
kingdom. Is accommodated by the king with a guide to Jarra, the frontier
town of the Moorish territories; and sets out for that place, accompanied
by three of the king's sons, and 200 horsemen.


Journey from Kemmoo to Funingkedy. Some account of the Lotus. A youth
murdered by the Moors--interesting scene at his death. Author passes
through Simbing. Some particulars concerning Major Houghton. Author
reaches Jarra--situation of the surrounding states at the period of his
arrival there, and a brief account of the war between Kaarta and


Some account of Jarra, and the Moorish inhabitants. The Author applies
for and obtains permission from Ali, the Moorish chief or sovereign of
Ludamar, to pass through his territories. Departs from Jarra, and arrives
at Deena. Ill treated by the Moors. Proceeds to Sampaka. Finds a Negro
who makes gunpowder. Continues his journey to Samee, where he is seized
by some Moors, who are sent for that purpose by Ali. Is conveyed a
prisoner to the Moorish camp at Benowm, on the borders of the Great


Various occurrences during the Author's confinement at Benowm--is visited
by some Moorish ladies. A funeral and wedding. The Author receives an
extraordinary present from the bride. Other circumstances illustrative of
the Moorish character and manners.


Occurrences at the camp continued. Information collected by the Author
concerning Houssa and Tombuctoo; and the situation of the latter. The
route described from Morocco to Benowm. The Author's distress from
hunger. Ali removes his camp to the northward. The Author is carried
prisoner to the new encampment, and is presented to Queen Fatima. Great
distress from want of water.


Containing some further miscellaneous reflections on the Moorish
character and manners. Observations concerning the Great Desert, its
animals, wild and domestic.


Ali departs for Jarra, and the Author allowed to follow him thither. The
Author's faithful servant, Demba, seized by Ali's order, and sent back
into slavery. Ali returns to his camp, and permits the Author to remain
at Jarra, who, thenceforward, meditates his escape. Daisy, King of
Kaarta, approaching with his army towards Jarra, the inhabitants quit the
town, and the Author accompanies them in their flight. A party of Moors
overtake him at Queira. He gets away from them at daybreak. Is again
pursued by another party, and robbed; but finally effects his escape.


The Author feels great joy at his deliverance, and proceeds through the
wilderness; but finds his situation very deplorable. Suffers greatly from
thirst, and faints on the sand.--Recovers, and makes another effort to
push forward. Is providentially relieved by a fall of rain. Arrives at a
Foulah village, where he is refused relief by the Dooty, but obtains food
from a poor woman. Continues his journey through the wilderness, and the
next day lights on another Foulah village, where he is hospitably
received by one of the shepherds. Arrives on the third day at a Negro
town called Wawra, tributary to the King of Bambarra.


The Author proceeds to Wassiboo. Is joined by some fugitive Kaartans, who
accompany him in his route through Bambarra. Discovers the Niger. Some
account of Sego, the capital of Bambarra. Mansong the king refuses to see
the Author, but sends him a present. Great hospitality of a Negro woman.


Departure from Sego, and arrival at Kabba. Description of the shea, or
vegetable butter tree. The Author and his guide arrive at Sansanding.
Behaviour of the Moors at that place. The Author pursues his journey to
the eastward. Incidents on the road. Arrives at Modiboo, and proceeds for
Kea, but obliged to leave his horse by the way. Embarks at Kea in a
fisherman's canoe for Moorzan: is conveyed from thence across the Niger
to Silla--determines to proceed no further eastward. Some account of the
further course of the Niger, and the towns in its vicinage towards the


The Author returns westward. Arrives at Modiboo, and recovers his horse.
Finds great difficulty in travelling in consequence of the rains and the
overflowing of the river. Is informed that the King of Bambarra had sent
persons to apprehend him. Avoids Sego, and prosecutes his journey along
the banks of the Niger. Incidents on the road. Cruelties attendant on
African wars. The Author crosses the river Frina, and arrives at Taffara.


Inhospitable reception at Taffara. A Negro funeral at Sooha. The Author
continues his route through several villages along the banks of the
Niger, until he comes to Koolikorro. Supports himself by writing
_saphies_--reaches Maraboo--loses the road; and, after many
difficulties, arrives at Bammakoo. Takes the road for Sibidooloo--meets
with great kindness at a village called Kooma;--is afterwards robbed,
stripped, and plundered by banditti. The Author's resource and
consolation under exquisite distress. He arrives in safety at Sibidooloo.


Government of Manding. The Author's reception by the Mansa, or chief man
of Sibidooloo, who takes measures for the recovery of his horse and
effects. The Author removes to Wonda. Great scarcity, and its afflicting
consequences. The Author recovers his horse and clothes. Presents his
horse to the Mansa, and prosecutes his journey to Kamalia. Some account
of that town. The Author's kind reception by Karfa Taura, a slatee, who
proposes to go to the Gambia in the next dry season, with a caravan of
slaves. The Author's sickness, and determination to remain and accompany


Of the climate and seasons. Winds. Vegetable productions. Population.
General observations on the character and disposition of the Mandingoes;
and a summary account of their manners and habits of life; their


The account of the Mandingoes continued. Their notions in respect of the
planetary bodies, and the figure of the earth. Their religious opinions,
and belief in a future state. Their diseases and methods of treatment.
Their funeral ceremonies, amusements, occupations, diet, art,


Observations concerning the state and sources of slavery in Africa.


Of gold-dust, and the manner in which it is collected. Process of washing
it. Its value in Africa. Of ivory. Surprise of the Negroes at the
eagerness of the Europeans for this commodity. Scattered teeth frequently
picked up in the woods. Mode of hunting the elephant. Some reflections on
the unimproved state of the country, &c.


Transactions at Kamalia resumed. Arabic MSS. in use among the Mahomedan
Negroes. Reflections concerning the conversion and education of the Negro
children. Return of the Author's benefactor, Karfa. Further account of
the purchase and treatment of slaves. Fast of Rhamadan, how observed by
the Negroes. Author's anxiety for the day of departure. The Caravan sets
out. Account of it on its departure, and proceedings on the road, until
its arrival at Kinytakooro.


The coffle crosses the Jallonka Wilderness. Miserable fate of one of the
female slaves. Arrives at Sooseeta. Proceeds to Manna. Some account of
the Jallonkas. Crosses the main stream of the Senegal. Bridge of a
singular construction. Arrives at Malacotta. Remarkable conduct of the
King of the Jaloffs.


The caravan proceeds to Konkadoo, and crosses the Falemé River. Its
arrival at Baniserile, Kirwani, and Tambacunda. Incidents on the road. A
matrimonial case. The caravan proceeds through many towns and villages,
and arrives at length on the banks of the Gambia. Passes through Medina,
the capital of Woolli, and finally stops at Jindey. The Author,
accompanied by Karfa, proceeds to Pisania. Various occurrences previous
to his departure from Africa. Takes his passage in an American ship.
Short account of his voyage to Great Britain by way of the West Indies.


Horneman's journey from Egypt to Fezzan. Attempts to penetrate to the
south. Nicholls--Roentgen--Adams.


Park's arrival at Pisania. Returns to England. Reception from the African
Association. Visits Scotland. Publication of his travels. Popularity of
the work. Settles as a surgeon at Peebles. Proposed Expedition to Africa.
Sir Walter Scott's account of Park. Park's arrangements completed.
Receives his instructions, and sets sail.


Arrival at St. Jago. Reaches Goree. Letters from that place. Arrival at
Kayee--hires a guide, and sets out. Difficulties. Woolo-Bamboo. Tornado.
Sickness of the soldiers. Park's situation. Bambarra. Attacked by lions
at night at Koena. Isaaco attacked by a crocodiles. Depredations of the
natives. Cross the Ba-Woolima, Nummasoolo. Illness of Messrs Scott and
Martyn, and of Mr. Anderson. Reach the Niger at Bambakoo.


Distressed state of Park. Mortality in the expedition. Negociations with
Mansong. Interview with Modibinnie. Park's speech. Reaches Sansanding.
Death of Mr. Anderson. Park builds a schooner. Letters from Sansanding.
Departs from Sansanding. Uncertainty respecting his fate. Isaaco's
narrative. Confirmed by subsequent travellers. Account of Park's death.
His character.


Expedition of Tuckey--of Peddie--and Gray.


Major Denham, Captain Clapperton, and Dr. Oudney arrive at Mourzouk.
Boo-Khaloom. The desert. Tibboos and Tuaricks. Lake Tchad. Shiek of
Bornou. Expedition to Mandara. Attack on Dirkulla. Defeat of the army.
Major Denham's escape. Death of Boo-Kaloom. Major Denham visits Loggun.
Fishing on the river Yeou. The Shouaa Arabs. Death of Dr. Oudney. Arrival
at Kano. Sockatoo. Denham and Clapperton return by Kouka.


Captain Clapperton sets out on a second journey. Death of three principal
members of the expedition. Clapperton and Lander reach Eyeo. Arrive at
Kacunda. Enter the Borgoo country. Lander's escape from Lions. Kiama.
Boussa. Nyffe. Zeg-Zeg. Attack of Coonia. Residence in Sockatoo. Death
and burial of Clapperton. Lander's return.


Major Laing--his murder. Caillie reaches Timbuctoo. His march across the


Richard and John Lander set out. Badagry. Journey to Kiama. African horse
race. Kakafungi. Boussa. Sail up the Niger to Yaoorie. Embark at Boussa.
Island of Zagoshi. Dangerous situation of the travellers. Egga. Hostile
demonstration of the natives. The Landers attacked. Carried to Eboe. King
Obie. Conduct of Captain Lake. Arrive at Fernando Po. Remarks on the
discovery of the Niger's termination.


Messrs Laird, Oldfield, and Lander, set out in the Quorra and Alburkah.
Attack of the natives. Leave Eboe. Mortality on board the vessels.
Capture of an alligator. Aspect of the Niger near the Kong Mountains. The
Quorra aground. Fundah. Mr. Laird returns to the coast. Richard Lander
wounded. His death. Return of the Alburkah. Conclusion.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Progress of African Discovery, before Park's first Expedition.--Park's
Early Life._

The first information we have respecting the interior of Africa is
derived from Herodotus, who, during his residence in Egypt, endeavoured
to collect as much intelligence as possible respecting the general aspect
of the country. He describes it as far less fertile than the cultivated
parts of Europe and Asia, and much exposed to drought, with the exception
of a few verdant spots. To the northern coast, he gives the name of the
forehead of Africa; and says that immediately south from it, the
comparative fertility of the soil rapidly decreases. There are natural
hills of salt, out of which the inhabitants scoop houses to shelter
themselves from the weather; rain they have not to fear, as scarcely a
drop ever alights upon that sultry region. Farther south still, there is
no food to support man or beast--neither shrub, nor a single drop of
water; all is silence and utter desolation. Herodotus then proceeds to
relate a number of monstrous fables, which bear an overwhelming
proportion to the parts of his narrative which are now known to be true.
He also describes a large inland river, which some have supposed to be
the Niger, flowing from west to east. He acquired this information from
the reports of various travellers, who stated that after a long journey
to the interior, they had themselves seen it. This account was confirmed
by several other ancient authors; but for a long time the question was
agitated by modern writers as to whether the Gambia or the Senegal was
not the river spoken of; some even denying the existence of the Niger

The fables of Herodotus were repeated, with a number of additions, by
Diodorus; but the narrative of Strabo, in regard to the northern and
western coasts, is somewhat more particular and authentic: it adds
nothing, however, to our acquaintance with the interior. The Greeks,
under the government of the Ptolemies, navigated the Red Sea, and carried
on a trade with Egypt; and some settlements were made by them in that
country. Ptolemy Euergetes conquered part of Abyssinia, and established a
kingdom, of which Axum was the metropolis; and remains of Grecian
architecture have since been found in that quarter. To the two districts
we have mentioned, the knowledge which the ancients possessed of Africa
was almost exclusively confined; though Herodotus speaks of two voyages
which had been undertaken with a view to determine the shape of the
continent; but as nothing interesting can be gleaned from his indistinct
narrative, and as the reality even of these voyages has been disputed, it
seems unnecessary to give any account of them.

As in this brief sketch we are to confine ourselves entirely to
discoveries made in the interior of Africa, we shall not mention either
the various voyages made along the shores, or the different settlements
formed upon the coast, as this would lead us far beyond our narrow

The Arabians were the first who introduced the camel into Africa, an
animal whose strength and swiftness peculiarly suited it for traversing
the immense expanse of burning sands. By means of caravans, the Arabians
were enabled to hold intercourse with the interior, whence they procured
supplies of gold and slaves; and many of them migrated to the south of
the Great Desert. Their number rapidly increased, and being skilled in
the art of war, they soon became the ruling power. They founded several
kingdoms; the principal one, called Gano, soon became the greatest market
for gold, and, under the name of Kano, is still extensive and populous,
being the chief commercial place in the interior of Africa. The Arabian
writers of the twelfth century, give the most gorgeous, and we fear
overrated, accounts of the flourishing state of these kingdoms.

In the fourteenth century, Ibn Batuta, an abridged account of whose
travels has been recently translated by Professor Lee of Cambridge, made
a journey into Central Africa. After having travelled twenty-five days
with a caravan, he came to a place which Major Rennel supposes to be the
modern Tisheet, containing the mine whence Timbuctoo is supplied with
salt. The houses he describes as built of slabs of salt, roofed with
camels' hides. After other twenty days he reached Tashila, three days'
journey from which he entered a dreary desert, where was neither
sustenance nor water, but only plains and hills of sand. Ten days brought
him to Abu Latin, a large commercial town much frequented by merchants.
This place Mr. Murray conjectures to have been Walet, the only large city
in that quarter.

In twenty-four days Ibn Batuta reached Mali, which it has been found
impossible to identify with any modern city. He found a haughty potentate
residing there, whose subjects paid him the greatest deference,
approaching prostrate to the throne, and casting dust upon their heads.
The trees in this neighbourhood were of immense bulk; and in the hollow
cavity of one he saw a weaver carrying on his occupation. Near this he
saw the Niger, but conjectured it to be the Nile, and supposed it to flow
by Timbuctoo, Kakaw, (Kuku), Yuwi, and thence by Nubia to Egypt.

Leo Africanus penetrated into the interior of Africa about two centuries
after Ibn Batuta. From his description, it would appear that the aspect
of Central Africa had considerably changed during this interval.
Timbuctoo was a powerful and opulent kingdom; and Gago (evidently the
Eyeo of Clapperton), and Ghinea, (probably the Jenne of Park), were
flourishing cities. The merchants of Timbuctoo were opulent, and two of
them were married to princesses. Science and literature were cultivated,
and manuscripts bore a high price. The king was wealthy, and maintained
an army of 3000 horse, and a large body of infantry. His courtiers shone
resplendent with gold; his palace, and several of the mosques, were
handsome edifices of stone; but his subjects dwelt in oval huts, formed
of stakes, clay, and reeds.

From this period till the formation of the African Association in 1788,
no certain information was obtained concerning Central Africa. While
British enterprise and courage had made most important discoveries in
every other quarter of the world, the ignorance which prevailed
concerning Africa was felt to be most discreditable. A few
public-spirited individuals, desirous of wiping away this stigma, formed
themselves into an Association, and subscribed the requisite funds for
the purpose of sending out intelligent and courageous travellers upon
this hazardous mission. The management was intrusted to a committee,
consisting of Lord Rawdon, afterwards Marquis of Hastings, Sir Joseph
Banks, the Bishop of Landaff, Mr. Beaufoy, and Mr. Stuart.

The first individual whom they employed was Mr. Ledyard, the greater part
of whose life had been spent in travelling; he had circumnavigated the
globe along with Captain Cook, and had resided for a number of years
among the American Indians. On his return he presented himself to Sir
Joseph Banks, who was at that time anxiously looking out for a fit person
to be sent out under the auspices of the Association. He immediately saw
that Ledyard was a suitable person for them, and introduced him to Mr
Beaufoy, who was much struck with his resolute and determined appearance.
When Ledyard was asked when he could be ready to depart, he replied,
"to-morrow!" Soon after he sailed for Alexandria, intending to proceed
from Cairo to Sennaar, and thence to traverse the breadth of the
continent. While at Cairo, he sent home some excellent observations
concerning Egypt; and announced that his next communication would be
dated from Sennaar. But tidings of his death soon after reached England.
It appeared that some delays in the starting of the caravan which he was
to have accompanied, working on his impatient and restless spirit, had
brought on a bilious distemper, to check which he had applied improper
remedies at the outset, so that the disorder cut him off in spite of the
assistance of the most skilful physicians in Cairo.

The next traveller whom the Association engaged was Mr. Lucas. When a boy,
he had been sent to Cadiz, to be educated as a merchant. On his return he
was taken prisoner by a Sallee rover, and remained three years in
captivity at Morocco. He was afterwards appointed vice-consul at Morocco,
and spent there sixteen years, during which he acquired a great knowledge
of the chief African languages. On his return to England, he was made
oriental interpreter to the British court. Upon his expressing a desire
to set out on a journey in furtherance of the objects of the Association,
his Majesty not only granted his request, but also promised to continue
his salary as oriental interpreter during his absence. He set out by
Tripoli, and obtained from the Bey some promise of assistance. He
likewise made an arrangement with two Shereefs, or followers of the
Prophet, whose persons are held sacred, to join a caravan with which they
travelled. He went with them as far as Mesurata; but the Arabs of the
neighbourhood being in a state of revolt, the party could obtain neither
camels nor guides. Mr. Lucas therefore returned to Tripoli without making
further efforts to penetrate into the interior. He, however, obtained
from one of the Shereefs some particulars respecting the countries to the
south of Tripoli, and a memoir from his notes was drawn up by Mr. Beaufoy,
which, though in many respects imperfect and erroneous, nevertheless
threw a little additional light upon the condition of Africa. No correct
information was obtained concerning the Niger.

Enough of knowledge, however, was possessed to show that the districts
along the Gambia, stretching into the interior, afforded the most direct
method of reaching the Niger, and the countries through which it rolled.
Accordingly this was the route taken by the next adventurer, Major
Houghton, who seemed qualified for the task by the most ardent courage,
and by a considerable acquaintance with the manners both of the Moors and
negroes during his residence as consul at Morocco, and afterwards as
fort-major at Goree. But it would appear that this gallant officer was
strikingly deficient in the prudent and calculating temper which such an
arduous journey demanded. Having set out early in 1791, he speedily
reached Medina, the residence of the king of Wooli, who gave him
information respecting the best route to Timbuctoo, and promised to
furnish him with guides. During his residence Medina was entirely
destroyed by a conflagration, and Major Houghton was forced, along with
the inhabitants, to flee into the fields, carrying with him only a few
such articles as he could hastily snatch up. Thence he journeyed on to
Bambouk, and after crossing the Faleme arrived at Ferbanna, where the
king sent a guide along with him, and likewise furnished him with money
to defray the expenses of the journey. He was imprudent enough to carry
with him a quantity of merchandise, and thereby excited the cupidity off
the natives, with whom he was engaged in constant disputes. After a
complication of difficulties, he took a northern route, intending to
penetrate through Ludamar. The last intelligence received from him was
dated from Simbing, the frontier village of this state, and was merely
comprised in the following brief note, addressed to Dr. Laidley of
Pisania:--"Major Houghton's compliments to Dr. Laidley, is in good
health, on his way to Timbuctoo; robbed of all his goods by Fenda Bucar's
son." Soon after this, rumours of his death reached Pisania; but the
particulars were not known till Mr. Park's return, who brought certain
intelligence. It appeared that at Jarra he had engaged some Moorish
merchants to accompany him. They persuaded him to go to Tisheet, a place
frequented for its salt mines, without informing him that it was much out
of the direct road to Timbuctoo, intending to rob him by the way. In a
few days he suspected their treachery, and resolved to return to Jarra,
but, upon refusing to advance, he was stripped of every article, and then
deserted. He wandered about the desert, alone, and famishing, till,
utterly exhausted, he lay down under a tree and expired.

The next person who offered his services to the Association was Mungo
Park, who has acquired such celebrity by the important acquisitions which
he made to African Geography. As introductory to the narrative of his
first expedition, we present our readers with a brief sketch of his early


Mungo Park, the celebrated African traveller, was born at Fowlshiels,
near the town of Selkirk, on the 10th September 1771. His father was a
respectable farmer on the Duke of Buccleuch's estate; and his mother, the
daughter of a neighbouring farmer of the name of Hislop, a woman of great
good sense and prudence, who anxiously and faithfully discharged the
duties which she owed to a large family of thirteen children, of whom
Mungo, the subject of this memoir, was the seventh. Park's father died
before his son had won that renown which so honourably distinguishes his
name, though not without the satisfaction of witnessing a fair promise of
his future distinction; but his mother, after hearing with much pride of
her offspring's early achievements, had to lament his untimely fate;
consoled, however, by the recollection of his unblemished character, and
virtuous conduct, and by the thought of the legacy of fame which he had
bequeathed, not to his family alone, but to his country.

With a solicitude for the education of his children, then by no means
common among the Scottish farmers, Mr. Park hired a tutor to superintend
their education, being anxious not to leave them to such chance
instruction as they might receive before they were of a proper age for
going to school; thus shewing that he was alive to the advantage of early
habits of application and study. The boyhood of Mungo Park was not
distinguished by any marks of peculiar talent, though he appears, when
sent to Selkirk school, to have paid more than an average share of
attention to his studies. Of a thoughtful and reserved disposition, he
seldom took a share in the mirthful sports of his school-fellows. He was
fond of reading and solitude, often wandering for hours among the hills,
and along the banks of his native Yarrow. The legends of border chivalry,
many of which still lingered in the district, had not been poured into an
unwilling ear; they made a strong impression upon his imagination, and
probably contributed, in no inconsiderable degree, to fire his spirit,
and excite that love of adventure which so strongly marked his future
life. Moreover, occasional gleams of ambition broke forth from amid his
quiet thoughtfulness, which shewed, that beneath a cold exterior there
lurked a mind of no ordinary cast. This constitutional reserve made him
select in his choice of friends, but with those to whom he granted the
privilege of intimacy, he was all confidence and frankness.

The limited cost of an education for the Church of Scotland renders it an
object of ambition to many in the middle ranks of life; and the parents
of Mungo Park, judging that his peculiar disposition fitted him for the
ministry, were anxious that he should enter upon the initiatory course of
education. Park, however, manifested a decided repugnance to this choice,
and resolved upon qualifying himself for the medical profession.
Accordingly, at the age of fifteen, he was bound apprentice to Mr. Thomas
Anderson, a respectable surgeon in Selkirk, with whom he remained for the
space of three years, during which, at leisure hours, he continued to
prosecute his classical studies, and also acquired a knowledge of the
elementary principles of mathematics. Mr. Anderson's practice, which was
pretty extensive, enabled him to obtain a considerable acquaintance of
the rudiments of his profession, and formed a suitable preparation for
his academical studies. In the year 1789, he removed to Edinburgh, and
attended the usual course of lectures for three successive sessions.
Though a persevering and attentive student, he does not seem to have
manifested much love for the healing art. Botany was his favourite study,
which he pursued with much ardour during the summer months. And,
fortunately, his brother-in-law, Mr. James Dickson, who published an
elaborate work on the _Cryptogamic_ plants, was well calculated to aid
him in this pursuit. This meritorious individual had in early life
removed to London, and for some time followed the humble occupation of a
working gardener. Having distinguished himself by a diligent and zealous
discharge of the duties of his calling, he attracted the notice of Sir
Joseph Banks, who, ever anxious to reward merit, generously opened to him
his library. Of this privilege Mr. Dickson availed himself so
successfully, that he soon distinguished himself as a botanist, and
enlarged materially the boundaries of the science. But, with rare
prudence, he still carried on his original business as a seeds man, while
he lived on terms of intimacy and friendship with many of the most
distinguished literary characters of his time.

With Mr. Dickson young Park made a summer ramble through the Highlands,
principally for the sake of adding to his botanical treasures, and, under
under the guidance of his relative, pursued enthusiastically his
favourite science. After Park had completed his medical studies, Mr
Dickson advised him to go to London, in search of professional
employment, in the expectation of advancing his prospects, through the
interest of his scientific acquaintance. Nor was he disappointed in this
hope, for, through Sir Joseph Banks's recommendation, he obtained the
appointment of assistant surgeon to the Worcester East Indiaman. He
sailed in February 1792; and after a voyage to Bencoolen, in the island
of Sumatra, returned to England in the following year. No incident of
importance occurred during this voyage, but Mr. Park made some collections
in botany and natural history, which were submitted to the Linnaean
Society, and an account of them printed in the third volume of their

It does not appear whether Park had come to any determinate conclusion to
quit the company's service; at all events, he continued to shew a decided
preference for studies in natural history; and the circle of
acquaintances to which Sir Joseph Banks had introduced him after his
return to England, contributed much to strengthen this preference. At
this time, no doubt, he was disposed, upon a suitable opening being
presented, to free himself from the duties of his profession, and enter
upon some more congenial employment. His mind was soon to be directed to
loftier objects--to scenes of stirring interest and varied adventure--to
an enterprise for which he was well qualified by his enthusiastic zeal
for discovery, his scientific acquirements, vigorous constitution, and
patient and persevering disposition. The African Association, consisting
of a number of individuals distinguished by their ardent zeal for the
promotion of geographical discovery in the unknown regions of that vast
continent, had been formed a few years before this period. Their
investigations had brought to light some leading facts relative to
Northern Africa; and with the assistance of Major Rennel, they were
endeavouring to lay down as accurately as possible upon the map, the
principal geographical outlines. But they were most anxious to acquire
correct information concerning the river Joliba, or Niger, and also to
collect some particulars concerning the interior of the country. Under
their auspices several travellers had already gone forth, who had either
fallen victims to the climate, or been murdered by the natives;--and
recent intelligence had been brought to England of the death of Major
Houghton, who had set out with the intention of penetrating to Timbuctoo
and Houssa. Deterred by his fate, no individual for a considerable period
seemed willing to undertake the mission, though liberal offers of
compensation had been made. Here was the very enterprise which possessed
irresistible charms for Park's romantic and daring mind: in him the
Association found an individual well qualified for the task. They were
fully satisfied with the answers which he gave to all their inquiries:
his mind had been already directed towards geographical research; he had
the matured strength of manhood, and his constitution had in some
measure, been inured to a hot climate; his medical knowledge would not
only contribute to the preservation of his own health, but would also
secure him the respect and veneration of the natives. At the commencement
of his narrative, he relates the feelings which animated him in deciding
on this perilous journey. The prospects of personal advantage held out,
even should he prove successful, were so inconsiderable, that in his
acceptance of the offer, he was evidently actuated by an ardent desire of
adding to the slender knowledge possessed of that interesting country, as
well as by the hope of having his name joined to the list of those who
have distinguished themselves by active enterprise.

A considerable time elapsed ere everything was ready for his departure;
and two years had passed away since his return from India. During that
period, with the exception of a short visit paid to his friends in
Scotland, he had chiefly resided in London; partly engaged with his
favourite studies, and enjoying the pleasures of cultivated society; but
devoting his chief time and attention to acquiring the knowledge, and
superintending the preparations necessary for his journey. At length he
received his final instructions from the Association, and 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. He was furnished with a letter of recommendation to Dr.
Laidley, who resided at the English factory of Pisania, on the Gambia,
and on whom he had a letter of credit for L. 200.

In the reprint which follows, the reader will find, in Mr. Park's own
words, a full narrative of the various incidents which befel him during
this eventful journey.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Map of Park's Travels in Africa with the Course of the

       *       *       *       *       *



_The author's motives for undertaking the voyage--his instructions and
departure--arrives at Jillifree, on the Gambia River--proceeds to
Vintain,--Some account of the Feloops.--Proceeds up the river for
Jonkakonda--arrives at Dr. Laidley's.--Some account of Pisania, and the
British factory established at that place.--The Author's employment
during his stay at Pisania--his sickness and recovery--the country
described--prepares to set out for the interior._

Soon after my return from the East Indies, in 1793, having learned that
the noblemen and gentlemen, associated for the purpose of prosecuting
Discoveries in the Interior of Africa, were desirous of engaging a person
to explore that continent by the way of the Gambia River, I took
occasion, through means of the President of the Royal Society, to whom I
had the honour to be known, of offering myself for that service; I had
been informed, that a gentleman of the name of Houghton, a captain in the
army, and formerly fort-major at Goree, had already sailed to the Gambia,
under the direction of the association, and that there was reason to
apprehend he had fallen a sacrifice to the climate, or perished in some
contest with the natives; but this intelligence, instead of deterring me
from my purpose, animated me to persist in the offer of my services with
the greater solicitude. I had a passionate desire to examine into the
productions of a country so little known, and to become experimentally
acquainted with the modes of life and character of the natives. I knew
that I was able to bear fatigue, and I relied on my youth, and the
strength of my constitution, to preserve me from the effects of the
climate. The salary which the committee allowed was sufficiently large,
and I made no stipulation for future reward. If I should perish in my
journey, I was willing that my hopes and expectations should perish with
me; and if I should succeed in rendering the geography of Africa more
familiar to my countrymen, and in opening to their ambition and industry
new sources of wealth, and new channels of commerce, I knew that I was in
the hands of men of honour, who would not fail to bestow that
remuneration which my successful services should appear to them to merit.
The Committee of the Association, having made such inquiries as they
thought necessary, declared themselves satisfied with the qualifications
that I possessed, and accepted me for the service; and with that
liberality which on all occasions distinguishes their conduct, gave me
every encouragement which it was in their power to grant, or which I
could with propriety ask.

It was at first proposed that I should accompany Mr. James Willis, who was
then recently appointed Consul at Senegambia, and whose countenance in
that capacity it was thought might have served and protected me; but
Government afterwards rescinded his appointment, and I lost that
advantage. The kindness of the Committee, however, supplied all that was
necessary. Being favoured by the Secretary of the Association, the late
Henry Beaufoy, Esq. with a recommendation to Dr. John Laidley, (a
gentleman who had resided many years at an English factory on the banks
of the Gambia,) and furnished with a letter of credit on him for L.200, I
took my passage in the brig Endeavour, a small vessel trading to the
Gambia for bees-wax and ivory, commanded by Captain Richard Wyatt, and I
became impatient for my departure.

My instructions were very plain and concise. I was directed, on my
arrival in Africa, "to pass on to the river Niger, either by the way of
Bambouk, or by such other route as should be found most convenient: That
I should ascertain the course, and, if possible, the rise and termination
of that river. That I should use my utmost exertions to visit the
principal towns, or cities in its neighbourhood, particularly Tombuctoo
and Houssa; and that I should be afterwards at liberty to return to
Europe, either by the way of the Gambia, or by such other route as, under
all the then existing circumstances of my situation and prospects, should
appear to me to be most advisable."

We sailed from Portsmouth on the 22d day of May 1795. On the 4th of June
we saw the mountains over Mogadore, on the coast of Africa, and on the
21st of the same month, after a pleasant voyage of thirty days, we
anchored at Jillifree, a town on the northern bank of the river Gambia,
opposite to James' Island, where the English had formerly a small port.

The kingdom of Barra, in which the town of Jillifree is situated,
produces great plenty of the necessaries of life; but the chief trade of
the inhabitants is in salt; which commodity they carry up the river in
canoes as high as Barraconda, and bring down in return Indian corn,
cotton cloths, elephants' teeth, small quantities of gold dust. The
number of canoes and people constantly employed in this trade, make the
King of Barra more formidable to Europeans than any other chieftain on
the river; and this circumstance probably encouraged him to establish
those exorbitant duties, which traders of all nations are obliged to pay
at entry, amounting to nearly L. 20 on every vessel, great and small.
These duties, or customs, are generally collected in person by the
Alkaid, or governor of Jillifree, and he is attended on these occasions
by a numerous train of dependants, among whom are found many who, by
their frequent intercourse with the English, have acquired a smattering
of our language; but they are commonly very noisy, and very troublesome;
begging for every thing they fancy with such earnestness and importunity,
that traders, in order to get quit of them, are frequently obliged to
grant their requests.

On the 23d we departed from Jillifree, and proceeded to Vintain, a town
situated about two miles up a creek on the southern side of the river.
This is much resorted to by Europeans, on account of the great quantities
of bees-wax which are brought hither--for sale: the wax is collected in
the woods by the Feloops, a wild and unsociable race of people; their
country, which is of considerable extent, abounds in rice; and the
natives supply the traders, both on the Gambia and Cassamansa rivers,
with that article, and also with goats and poultry, on very reasonable
terms. The honey which they collect is chiefly used by themselves in
making a strong intoxicating liquor, much the same as the mead which is
produced from honey in Great Britain.

In their traffic with Europeans, the Feloops generally employ a factor or
agent, of the Mandingo nation, who speaks a little English, and is
acquainted with the trade of the river. This broker makes the bargain;
and, with the connivance of the European, receives a certain part only of
the payment, which he gives to his employer as the whole; the remainder
(which is very truly called the cheating money) he receives when the
Feloop is gone, and appropriates to himself, as a reward for his trouble.

The language of the Feloops is appropriate and peculiar; and as their
trade is chiefly conducted, as hath been observed, by Mandingoes, the
Europeans have no inducement to learn it. The numerals are as follow:

    One ......... _Enory_.
    Two ......... _Sickaba_, or _Cookaba_.
    Three ....... _Sisajee_.
    Four ........ _Sibakeer_.
    Five ........ _Footuck_.
    Six ......... _Footuck-Enory_.
    Seven ....... _Footuck-Cookaba_.
    Eight ....... _Footuck-Sisajee_.
    Nine ........ _Footuck-Sibakeer_.
    Ten ......... Sibankonyen.

On the 26th we left Vintain, and continued our course up the river,
anchoring whenever the tide failed us, and frequently towing the vessel
with the boat. The river is deep and muddy; the banks are covered with
impenetrable thickets of mangrove; and the whole of the adjacent country
appears to be flat and swampy.

The Gambia abounds with fish, some species of which are excellent food;
but none of them that I recollect are known in Europe. At the entrance
from the sea, sharks are found in great abundance; and higher up,
alligators and the hippopotamus (or river-horse) are very numerous. The
latter might with more propriety be called the river-elephant, being of
an enormous and unwieldy bulk, and its teeth furnish good ivory. This
animal is amphibious, with short and thick legs, and cloven hoofs: it
feeds on grass, and such shrubs as the banks of the river afford, boughs
of trees, seldom venturing far from the water, in which it seeks refuge
on hearing the approach of man. I have seen many, and always found them
of a timid and inoffensive disposition.

In six days after leaving Vintain, we reached Jonkakonda, a place of
considerable trade, where our vessel was to take in part of her lading.
The next morning, the several European traders came from their different
factories to receive their letters and learn the nature and amount of the
cargo; and the captain dispatched a messenger to Dr. Laidley to inform him
of my arrival. He came to Jonkakonda the morning following, when I
delivered him Mr. Beaufoy's letter, and he gave me a kind invitation to
spend my time at his house until an opportunity should offer of
prosecuting my journey. This invitation was too acceptable to be refused,
and being furnished by the Doctor with a horse and guide, I set out from
Jonkakonda at daybreak on the 5th of July, and at eleven o'clock arrived
at Pisania, where I was accommodated with a room and other conveniences
in the Doctor's house.

Pisania is a small village in the King of Yany's dominions, established
by British subjects as a factory for trade, and inhabited solely by them
and their black servants. It is situated on the banks of the Gambia,
sixteen miles above Jonkakonda. The white residents, at the time of my
arrival there, consisted only of Dr. Laidley and two gentlemen who were
brothers, of the name of Ainsley; but their domestics were numerous. They
enjoyed perfect security under the king's protection, and being highly
esteemed and respected by the natives at large, wanted no accommodation
or comfort which the country could supply; and the greatest part of the
trade in slaves, ivory, and gold, was in their hands.

Being now settled for some time at my ease, my first object was to learn
the Mandingo tongue, being the language in almost general use throughout
this part of Africa; and without which I was fully convinced that I never
could acquire an extensive knowledge of the country or its inhabitants.
In this pursuit I was greatly assisted by Dr. Laidley, who, by a long
residence in the country, and constant intercourse with the natives, had
made himself completely master of it. Next to the language, my great
object was to collect information concerning the countries I intended to
visit. On this occasion I was referred to certain traders called Slatees.
These are free black merchants, of great consideration in this part of
Africa, who come down from the interior countries chiefly with enslaved
negroes for sale; but I soon discovered that very little dependance could
be placed on the accounts they gave; for they contradicted each other in
the most important particulars, and all of them seemed extremely
unwilling that I should prosecute my journey. These circumstances
increased my anxiety to ascertain the truth from my own personal

In researches of this kind, and in observing the manners and customs of
the natives, in a country so little known to the nations of Europe, and
furnished with so many striking and uncommon objects of nature, my time
passed not unpleasantly; and I began to flatter myself that I had escaped
the fever, or seasoning, to which Europeans, on their first arrival in
hot climates, are generally subject. But, on the 3d of July, I
imprudently exposed myself to the night dew, in observing an eclipse of
the moon, with a view to determine the longitude of the place; the next
day I found myself attacked with a smart fever and delirium; and such an
illness followed, as confined me to the house during the greatest part of
August. My recovery was very slow; but I embraced every short interval of
convalescence to walk out and make myself acquainted with the productions
of the country. In one of those excursions, having rambled farther than
usual, in a hot day, I brought on a return of my fever, and on the 10th
of September I was again confined to my bed. The fever, however, was not
so violent as before; and in the course of three weeks I was able, when
the weather would permit, to renew my botanical excursions; and when it
rained, I amused myself with drawing plants, in my chamber. The care and
attention of Dr. Laidley contributed greatly to alleviate my sufferings;
his company and conversation beguiled the tedious hours during that
gloomy season, when the rain falls in torrents; when suffocating heats
oppress by day, and when the night is spent by the terrified traveller in
listening to the croaking of frogs, (of which the numbers are beyond
imagination,) the shrill cry of the jackal, and the deep howling of the
hyaena; a dismal concert, interrupted only by the roar of such tremendous
thunder as no person can form a conception of but those who have heard

The country itself being an immense level, and very generally covered
with woods, presents a tiresome, and gloomy uniformity to the eye; but
although nature has denied to the inhabitants the beauties of romantic
landscapes, she has bestowed on them, with a liberal hand, the more
important blessings of fertility and abundance. A little attention to
cultivation procures a sufficiency of corn; the fields afford a rich
pasturage for cattle; and the natives are plentifully supplied with
excellent fish, both from the Gambia river and the Walli creek.

The grains which are chiefly cultivated are Indian corn, (_zea mays;_)
two kinds of _holcus spicatus_, called by the natives _soono_ and
_sanio_; _holcus niger_, and _holcus bicolor_; the former of which they
have named _bassi woolima_, and the latter _bassiqui_. These, together
with rice, are raised in considerable quantities; besides which, the
inhabitants in the vicinity of the towns and villages have gardens which
produce onions, calavances, yams, cassavi, ground-nuts, pompions, gourds,
water melons, and some other esculent plants.

I observed, likewise, near the towns, small patches of cotton and indigo.
The former of these articles supplies them with clothing, and with the
latter, they dye their cloth of an excellent blue colour, in a manner
that will hereafter be described.

In preparing their corn for food, the natives use a large wooden mortar
called a _paloon_, in which they bruise the seed until it parts with the
outer covering, or husk, which is then separated from the clean corn, by
exposing it to the wind; nearly in the same manner as wheat is cleared
from the chaff in England. The corn, thus freed from the husk, is
returned to the mortar, and beaten into meal; which is dressed variously
in different countries; but the most common preparation of it among the
nations of the Gambia is a sort of pudding, which they call _kouskous_.
It is made by first moistening the flour with water, and then stirring
and shaking it about in a large calabash, or gourd, till it adheres
together in small granules, resembling sago. It is then put into an
earthen pot, whose bottom is perforated with a number of small holes; and
this pot being placed upon another, the two vessels are luted together,
either with a paste of meal and water, or with cow's dung, and placed
upon the fire. In the lower vessel is commonly some animal food and
water, the steam or vapour of which ascends through the perforations in
the bottom of the upper vessel, and softens and prepares the _kouskous_,
which is very much esteemed throughout all the countries that I visited.
I am informed, that the same manner of preparing flour is very generally
used on the Barbary coast, and that the dish so prepared is there called
by the same name. It is therefore probable, that the Negroes borrowed the
practice from the Moors.

For gratifying a taste for variety, another sort of pudding, called
_nealing_, is sometimes prepared from the meal of corn; and they have
also adopted two or three different modes of dressing their rice. Of
vegetable food, therefore, the natives have no want, and although the
common class of people are but sparingly supplied with animal food, yet
this article is not wholly withheld from them.

Their domestic animals are nearly the same as in Europe. Swine are found
in the woods, but their flesh is not esteemed; probably the marked
abhorrence in which this animal is held by the votaries of Mahomet has
spread itself among the Pagans. Poultry of all kinds (the turkey
excepted) is every where to be had. The Guinea fowl and red partridge
abound in the fields; and the woods furnish a small species of antelope,
of which the venison is highly and deservedly prized.

Of the other wild animals in the Mandingo countries, the most common are
the hyaena, the panther, and the elephant. Considering the use that is
made of the latter in the East Indies, it may be thought extraordinary,
that the natives of Africa have not, in any part of this immense
continent, acquired the skill of taming this powerful and docile
creature, and applying his strength and faculties to the service of man.
When I told some of the natives that this was actually done in the
countries of the East, my auditors laughed me to scorn, and exclaimed,
_Tobaubo fonnio!_ (a white man's lie.) The Negroes frequently find means
to destroy the elephant by fire-arms; they hunt it principally for the
sake of the teeth, which they transfer in barter to those who sell them
again to the Europeans. The flesh they eat, and consider it as a great

The usual beast of burthen in all the Negro territories is the ass. The
application of animal labour to the purposes of agriculture is no where
adopted; the plough, therefore, is wholly unknown. The chief implement
used in husbandry is the hoe, which varies in form in different
districts; and the labour is universally performed by slaves.

On the 6th of October the waters of the Gambia were at the greatest
height, being fifteen feet above the high-water-mark of the tide; after
which they began to subside; at first slowly, but afterwards very
rapidly; sometimes sinking more than a foot in twenty-four hours; by the
beginning of November the river had sunk to its former level, and the
tide ebbed and flowed as usual. When the river had subsided, and the
atmosphere grew dry, I recovered apace, and began to think of my
departure; for this is reckoned the most proper season for travelling;
the natives had completed their harvest, and provisions were every where
cheap and plentiful.

Dr. Laidley was at this time employed in a trading voyage at Jonkakonda. I
wrote to him to desire that he would use his interest with the slatees,
or slave-merchants, to procure me the company and protection of the first
_coffle_ (or caravan) that might leave Gambia for the interior country;
and in the meantime I requested him to purchase for me a horse and two
asses. A few days afterwards the Doctor returned to Pisania, and informed
me that a coffle would certainly go for the interior in the course of the
dry season; but that as many of the merchants belonging to it had not yet
completed their assortment of goods, he could not say at what time they
would set out.

As the characters and dispositions of the slatees, and people that
composed the caravan, were entirely unknown to me, and as they seemed
rather averse to my purpose, and unwilling to enter into any positive
engagements on my account; and the time of their departure being withal
very uncertain, I resolved, on further deliberation, to avail myself of
the dry season, and proceed without them.

Dr. Laidley approved my determination, and promised me every assistance in
his power, to enable me to prosecute my journey with comfort and safety.

This resolution having been formed, I made preparations accordingly. And
now, being about to take leave of my hospitable friend, (whose kindness
and solicitude continued to the moment of my departure,[1]) and to quit,
for many months, the countries bordering on the Gambia, it seems proper,
before I proceed with my narrative, that I should, in this place, give
some account of the several Negro nations which inhabit the banks of this
celebrated river, and the commercial intercourse that subsists between
them, and such of the nations of Europe as find their advantage in
trading to this part of Africa. The observations which have occurred to
me on both these subjects will be found in the following chapter.

  [1] Dr. Laidley, to my infinite regret, has since paid the debt of
    nature. He left Africa in the latter end of 1797, intending to return
    to Great Britain by way of the West Indies; and died soon after his
    arrival at Barbadoes.


_Description of the Feloops, the Jaloffs, the Foulahs, and
Mandingoes.--Some account of the trade between the nations of Europe and
the natives of Africa by the way of the Gambia, and between the native
inhabitants of the coast and the nations of the interior countries--their
mode of selling and buying._

The natives of the countries bordering on the Gambia, though distributed
into a great many distinct governments, may, I think, be divided into
four great classes; the Feloops, the Jaloffs, the Foulahs, and the
Mandingoes. Among all these nations, the religion of Mahomet has made,
and continues to make, considerable progress; but in most of them, the
body of the people, both free and enslaved, persevere in maintaining the
blind but harmless superstitions of their ancestors, and are called by
the Mahomedans _kafirs_, or infidels.

Of the Feloops, I have little to add to what has been observed concerning
them in the former chapter. They are of a gloomy disposition, and are
supposed never to forgive an injury. They are even said to transmit their
quarrels as deadly feuds to their posterity; insomuch that a son
considers it as incumbent on him, from a just sense of filial obligation,
to become the avenger of his deceased father's wrongs. If a man loses his
life in one of those sudden quarrels, which perpetually occur at their
feasts, when the whole party is intoxicated with mead, his son, or the
eldest of his sons, (if he has more than one,) endeavours to procure his
father's sandals, which he wears _once a year_, on the anniversary of his
father's death, until a fit opportunity offers of avenging his fate, when
the object of his resentment seldom escapes his pursuit. This fierce and
unrelenting disposition is, however, counterbalanced by many good
qualities; they display the utmost gratitude and affection towards their
benefactors; and the fidelity with which they preserve whatever is
entrusted to them is remarkable. During the present war they have, more
than once, taken up arms to defend our merchant vessels from French
privateers; and English property, of considerable value, has frequently
been left at Vintain, for a long time, entirely under the care of the
Feloops, who have uniformly manifested on such occasions the strictest
honesty and punctuality. How greatly is it to be wished, that the minds
of a people so determined and faithful, could be softened and civilized
by the mild and benevolent spirit of Christianity!

The Jaloffs (or Yaloffs) are an active, powerful, and warlike race,
inhabiting great part of that tract which lies between the river Senegal
and the Mandingo States on the Gambia; yet they differ from the
Mandingoes, not only in language, but likewise in complexion and
features. The noses of the Jaloffs are not so much depressed, nor the
lips so protuberant, as among the generality of Africans; and although
their skin is of the deepest black, they are considered by the white
traders as the most sightly Negroes in this part of the Continent.

They are divided into several independent states or kingdoms; which are
frequently at war either with their neighbours, or with each other. In
their manners, superstitions, and government, however, they have a
greater resemblance to the Mandingoes (of whom I shall presently speak)
than to any other nation; but excel them in the manufacture of cotton
cloth, spinning the wool to a finer thread, weaving it in a broader loom,
and dyeing it of a better colour.

Their language is said to be copious and significant; and is often
learned by Europeans trading to Senegal. I cannot say much of it from my
own knowledge; but have preserved their numerals, which are these:

    One       .........   _Wean_.
    Two       .........   _Yar_.
    Three     .........   _Yat_.
    Four      .........   _Yanet_.
    Five      .........   _Judom_.
    Six       .........   _Judom Wean_.
    Seven     .........   _Judom Yar_.
    Eight     .........   _Judom Yat_.
    Nine      .........   _Judom Yanet_.
    Ten       .........   _Fook_.
    Eleven    .........   _Fook aug Wean_, &c.

The Foulahs, (or Pholeys,) such of them at least as reside near the
Gambia, are chiefly of a tawny complexion, with soft silky hair, and
pleasing features. They are much attached to a pastoral life, and have
introduced themselves into all the kingdoms on the windward coast as
herdsmen and husbandmen, paying a tribute to the sovereign of the country
for the lands which they hold. Not having many opportunities, however,
during my residence at Pisania, of improving my acquaintance with these
people, I defer entering at large into their character, until a fitter
occasion occurs, which will present itself when I come to Bondou.

The Mandingoes, of whom it remains to speak, constitute in truth the bulk
of the inhabitants in all those districts of Africa which I visited; and
their language, with a few exceptions, is universally understood and very
generally spoken in that part of the continent. Their numerals are

    One       .........   _Killin_.
    Two       .........   _Foola_.
    Three     .........   _Sabba_.
    Four      .........   _Nani_.
    Five      .........   _Looloo_.
    Six       .........   _Woro_.
    Seven     .........   _Oronglo_.
    Eight     .........   _Sie_.
    Nine      .........   _Conunta_.
    Ten       .........   _Tang_.
    Eleven    .........   _Tan ning killin_, &c.

  [2] In the Travels of Francis Moore the reader will find a pretty
    copious vocabulary of the Mandingo language, which in general is

They are called Mandingoes, I conceive, as having originally migrated
from the interior state of Manding, of which some account will hereafter
be given; but, contrary to the present constitution of their parent
country, which is republican, it appeared to me that the government in
all the Mandingo states, near the Gambia, is monarchical. The power of
the sovereign is, however, by no means unlimited. In all affairs of
importance, the king calls an assembly of the principal men, or elders,
by whose councils he is directed, and without whose advice he can neither
declare war nor conclude peace.

In every considerable town there is a chief magistrate, called the
_Alkaid_, whose office is hereditary, and whose business it is to
preserve order, to levy duties on travellers, and to preside at all
conferences in the exercise of local jurisdiction and the administration
of justice. These courts are composed of the elders of the town, (of free
condition,) and are termed _palavers_; and their proceedings are
conducted in the open air with sufficient solemnity. Both sides of a
question are freely canvassed, witnesses are publicly examined, and the
decisions which follow generally meet with the approbation of the
surrounding audience.

As the Negroes have no written language of their own, the general rule of
decision is an appeal to _ancient custom_; but since the system of
Mahomet has made so great progress among them, the converts to that faith
have gradually introduced, with the religious tenets, many of the civil
institutions of the Prophet; and where the Koran is not found
sufficiently explicit, recourse is had to a commentary called _Al
Sharru_, containing, as I was told, a complete exposition or digest of
the Mahomedan laws, both civil and criminal, properly arranged and

This frequency of appeal to written laws, with which the Pagan natives
are necessarily unacquainted, has given rise in their palavers to (what I
little expected to find in Africa) professional advocates, or expounders
of the law, who are allowed to appear and to plead for plaintiff or
defendant, much in the same manner as counsel in the law courts of Great
Britain. They are Mahomedan Negroes who have made, or affect to have
made, the laws of the Prophet their peculiar study; and if I may judge
from their harangues, which I frequently attended, I believe that in the
forensic qualifications of procrastination and cavil, and the arts of
confounding and perplexing a cause, they are not always surpassed by the
ablest pleaders in Europe. While I was at Pisania a cause was heard which
furnished the Mahomedan lawyers with an admirable opportunity of
displaying their professional dexterity. The case was this: An ass
belonging to a Serawoolli Negro (a native of an interior country near the
River Senegal) had broke into a field of corn belonging to one of the
Mandingo inhabitants, and destroyed great part of it. The Mandingo having
caught the animal in his field, immediately drew his knife and cut its
throat. The Serawoolli thereupon called a _palaver_ (or in European
terms, _brought an action_) to recover damages for the loss of his beast,
on which he set a high value. The defendant confessed he had killed the
ass, but pleaded a _set-off_, insisting that the loss he had sustained by
the ravage in his corn was equal to the sum demanded for the animal. To
ascertain this fact was the point at issue, and the learned advocates
contrived to puzzle the cause in such a manner, that, after a hearing of
three days, the court broke up without coming to any determination upon
it; and a second palaver was, I suppose, thought necessary.

The Mandingoes, generally speaking, are of a mild, sociable, and obliging
disposition. The men are commonly above the middle size, well shaped,
strong, and capable of enduring great labour; the women are good-natured,
sprightly, and agreeable. The dress of both sexes is composed of cotton
cloth, of their own manufacture; that of the men is a loose frock, not
unlike a surplice, with drawers which reach half way down the leg; and
they wear sandals on their feet, and white cotton caps on their heads.
The women's dress consists of two pieces of cloth, each of which they
wrap round the waist, which, hanging down to the ancles, answers the
purpose of a petticoat: the other is thrown negligently over the bosom
and shoulders.

This account of their clothing is indeed nearly applicable to the natives
of all the different countries in this part of Africa; a peculiar
national mode is observable only in the head dresses of the women.

Thus, in the countries of the Gambia, the females wear a sort of bandage,
which they call _Jalla_. It is a narrow stripe of cotton cloth, wrapped
many times round, immediately over the forehead. In Bondou the head is
encircled with strings of white beads, and a small plate of gold is worn
in the middle of the forehead. In Kasson, the ladies decorate their
heads, in a very tasteful and elegant manner, with white sea-shells. In
Kaarta and Ludamar, the women raise their hair to a great height by the
addition of a pad, (as the ladies did formerly in Great Britain,) which
they decorate with a species of coral, brought from the Red Sea by
pilgrims returning from Mecca, and sold at a great price.

In the construction of their dwelling-houses, the Mandingoes also conform
to the general practice of the African nations on this part of the
continent, contenting themselves with small and incommodious hovels. A
circular mud wall about four feet high, upon which is placed a conical
roof, composed of the bamboo cane, and thatched with grass, forms alike
the palace of the king, and the hovel of the slave. Their household
furniture is equally simple. A hurdle of canes placed upon upright
stakes, about two feet from the ground, upon which is spread a mat or
bullock's hide, answers the purpose of a bed; a water jar, some earthen
pots for dressing their food, a few wooden bowls and calabashes, and one
or two low stools, compose the rest.

As every man of free condition has a plurality of wives, it is found
necessary (to prevent, I suppose, matrimonial dispute) that each of the
ladies should be accommodated with a hut to herself; and all the huts
belonging to the same family are surrounded by a fence, constructed of
bamboo canes split and formed into a sort of wicker-work. The whole
inclosure is called a _sirk_ or _surk_. A number of these inclosures,
with narrow passages between them, form what is called a town; but the
huts are generally placed without any regularity, according to the
caprice of the owner. The only rule that seems to be attended to, is
placing the door towards the south-west, in order to admit the sea

In each town is a large stage called the _Bentang_, which answers the
purpose of a public hall or townhouse; it is composed of interwoven
canes, and is generally sheltered from the sun by being erected in the
shade of some large tree. It is here that all public affairs are
transacted and trials conducted; and here the lazy and indolent meet to
smoke their pipes, and hear the news of the day. In most of the towns the
Mahomedans have also a _missura_, or mosque, in which they assemble and
offer up their daily prayers, according to the rules of the Koran.

In the account which I have thus given of the natives, the reader must
bear in mind, that my observations apply chiefly to persons of _free
condition_, who constitute, I suppose, not more than one-fourth part of
the inhabitants at large; the other three-fourths are in a state of
hopeless and hereditary slavery; and are employed in cultivating the
land, in the care of cattle, and in servile offices of all kinds, much in
the same manner as the slaves in the West Indies. I was told, however,
that the Mandingo master can neither deprive his slave of life, nor sell
him to a stranger, without first calling a palaver on his conduct; or, in
other words, bringing him to a public trial; but this degree of
protection is extended only to the native of domestic slave. Captives
taken in war, and those unfortunate victims who are condemned to slavery
for crimes or insolvency, and, in short, all those unhappy people who are
brought down from the interior countries for sale, have no security
whatever, but may be treated and disposed of in all respects as the owner
thinks proper. It sometimes happens, indeed, when no ships are on the
coast, that a humane and considerate master incorporates his purchased
slaves among his domestics; and their offspring at least, if not the
parents, become entitled to all the privileges of the native class.

The preceding remarks concerning the several nations that inhabit the
banks of the Gambia, are all that I recollect as necessary to be made in
this place, at the outset of my journey. With regard to the Mandingoes,
however, many particulars are yet to be related; some of which are
necessarily interwoven into the narrative of my progress, and others will
be given in a summary at the end of my work; together with all such
observations as I have collected on the country and climate, which I
could not with propriety insert in the regular detail of occurrences.
What remains of the present chapter will therefore, relate solely to the
trade which the nations of Christendom have found means to establish with
the natives of Africa, by the channel of the Gambia; and the inland
traffic which has arisen in consequence of it between the inhabitants of
the coast and the nations of the interior countries.

The earliest European establishment on this celebrated river was a
factory of the Portuguese; and to this must be ascribed the introduction
of the numerous words of that language which are still in use among the
Negroes. The Dutch, French, and English, afterwards successively
possessed themselves of settlements on the coast, but the trade of the
Gambia became and continued for many years a sort of monopoly in the
hands of the English. In the travels of Francis Moore is preserved an
account of the Royal African Company's establishments in this river, in
the year 1730: at which time James' Factory alone consisted of a
governor, deputy governor, and two other principal officers; eight
factors, thirteen writers, twenty inferior attendants and tradesmen; a
company of soldiers, and thirty-two Negro servants, besides sloops,
shallops, and boats with their crews; and there were no less than eight
subordinate factories in other parts of the river.

The trade with Europe, by being afterwards laid open, was almost
annihilated; the share which the subjects of England at this time hold in
it supports not more than two or three annual ships; and I am informed
that the gross value of British exports is under L. .20,000. The French
and Danes still maintain a small share, and the Americans have lately
sent a few vessels to the Gambia by way of experiment.

The commodities exported to the Gambia from Europe consist chiefly of
fire-arms and ammunition, iron ware, spirituous liquors, tobacco, cotton
caps, a small quantity of broad cloth, and a few articles of the
manufacture of Manchester; a small assortment of India goods, with some
glass beads, amber, and other trifles; for which are taken in exchange
slaves, gold dust, ivory, bees-wax, and hides. Slaves are the chief
article, but the whole number which at this time are annually exported
from the Gambia, by all nations, is supposed to be under one thousand.

Most of these unfortunate victims are brought to the coast in periodical
caravans; many of them from very remote inland countries; for the
language which they speak is not understood by the inhabitants of the
maritime districts. In a subsequent part of my work I shall give the best
information I have been able to collect concerning the manner in which
they are obtained. On their arrival at the coast, if no immediate
opportunity offers of selling them to advantage, they are distributed
among the neighbouring villages, until a slave ship arrives, or until
they can be sold to black traders, who sometimes purchase on speculation.
In the meanwhile, the poor wretches are kept constantly fettered, two and
two of them being chained together, and employed in the labours of the
field; and I am sorry to add, are very scantily fed, as well as harshly
treated. The price of a slave varies according to the number of
purchasers from Europe and the arrival of caravans from the interior; but
in general I reckon that a young and healthy male, from 16 to 25 years of
age, may be estimated on the spot from L. 18 to L. 20 sterling.

The Negro slave merchants, as I have observed in the former chapter, are
called _Slatees_; who, besides slaves, and the merchandize which they
bring for sale to the whites, supply the inhabitants of the maritime
districts with native iron, sweet smelling gums and frankincense, and a
commodity called _Shea-toulou_, which, literally translated, signifies
_tree-butter_. This commodity is extracted by means of boiling water from
the kernel of a nut, as will be more particularly described hereafter; it
has the consistence and appearance of butter; and is in truth an
admirable substitute for it. It forms an important article in the food of
the natives, and serves also for every domestic purpose in which oil
would otherwise be used. The demand for it is therefore very great.

In payment of these articles, the maritime states supply the interior
countries with salt, a scarce and valuable commodity, as I frequently and
painfully experienced in the course of my journey. Considerable
quantities of this article, however, are also supplied to the inland
natives by the Moors; who obtain it from the salt pits in the Great
Desert, and receive in return corn, cotton cloth, and slaves.

In thus bartering one commodity for another, many inconveniences must
necessarily have arisen at first from the want of coined money, or some
other visible and determinate medium, to settle the balance, or
difference of value, between different articles, to remedy which, the
natives of the interior make use of small shells called _kowries_, as
will be shown hereafter. On the coast, the inhabitants have adopted a
practice which, I believe, is peculiar to themselves.

In their early intercourse with Europeans, the article that attracted
most notice was iron. Its utility, in forming the instruments of war and
husbandry, made it preferable to all others; and iron soon became the
measure by which the value of all other commodities was ascertained. Thus
a certain quantity of goods, of whatever denomination, appearing to be
equal to a bar of iron, constituted, in the trader's phraseology, a bar
of that particular merchandize. Twenty leaves of tobacco, for instance,
were considered as a _bar_ of tobacco; and a gallon of spirits (or rather
half spirits and half water) as a _bar_ of rum; a bar of one commodity
being reckoned equal in value to a bar of another commodity.

As, however, it must unavoidably happen, that according to the plenty or
scarcity of goods at market, in proportion to the demand, the relative
value would be subject to continual fluctuation, greater precision has
been found necessary; and at this time the current value of a single bar
of any kind is fixed by the whites at two shillings sterling. Thus a
slave, whose price is L. 15, is said to be worth 150 bars.

In transactions of this nature, it is obvious that the white trader has
infinitely the advantage over the African, whom, therefore, it is
difficult to satisfy; for, conscious of his own ignorance, he naturally
becomes exceedingly suspicious and wavering; and, indeed, so very
unsettled and jealous are the Negroes in their dealings with the whites,
that a bargain is never considered by the European as concluded until the
purchase money is paid, and the party has taken leave.

Having now brought together such general observations on the country and
its inhabitants, as occurred to me during my residence in the vicinage of
the Gambia, I shall detain the reader no longer with introductory matter,
but proceed, in the next chapter, to a regular detail of the incidents
which happened, and the reflections which arose in my mind, in the course
of my painful and perilous journey, from its commencement until my return
to the Gambia.


_The Author sets out from Pisania--his attendants--reaches Jindy.--Story
related by a Mandingo Negro.--Proceeds to Medina, the capital of
Woolli.--Interview with the king--Saphies or charms.--Proceeds to
Kolor.--Description of Mumbo Jumbo--arrives at Koojar--wrestling
match--crosses the wilderness, and arrives at Tallika, in the Kingdom of

On the 2d of December 1795, I took my departure from the hospitable
mansion of Dr. Laidley. I was fortunately provided with a Negro servant,
who spoke both the English and Mandingo tongues. His name was _Johnson_.
He was a native of this part of Africa; and having in his youth been
convoyed to Jamaica as a slave, he had been made free, and taken to
England by his master, where he had resided many years; and at length
found his way back to his native country. As he was known to Dr. Laidley,
the Doctor recommended him to me, and I hired him as my interpreter, at
the rate of ten bars monthly, to be paid to himself, and five bars a
month to be paid to his wife during his absence. Dr. Laidley furthermore
provided me with a Negro boy of his own, named Demba; a sprightly youth,
who, besides Mandingo, spoke the language of the Serawoollies, an inland
people (of whom mention will hereafter be made) residing on the banks of
the Senegal; and to induce him to behave well, the Doctor promised him
his freedom on his return, in case I should report favourably of his
fidelity and services. I was furnished with a horse for myself, (a small,
but very hardy and spirited beast, which cost me to the value of L.7,
10s.,) and two asses for my interpreter and servant. My baggage was
light, consisting chiefly of provisions for two days; a small assortment
of beads, amber, and tobacco, for the purchase of a fresh supply, as I
proceeded; a few changes of linen and other necessary apparel, an
umbrella, a pocket sextant, a magnetic compass, and a thermometer;
together with two fowling-pieces, two pair of pistols, and some other
small articles.

A freeman (a Bushreen or Mahomedan) named Madiboo, who was travelling to
the kingdom of Bambarra, and, two Slatees, or slave-merchants, of the
Serawoolli nation, and of the same sect, who were going to Bondou,
offered their services as far as they intended respectively to proceed;
as did likewise a Negro named Tami, (also a Mahomedan,) a native of
Kasson, who had been employed some years by Dr. Laidley as a blacksmith,
and was returning to his native country with the savings of his labours.
All these men travelled on foot, driving their asses before them. Thus I
had no less than six attendants, all of whom had been taught to regard me
with great respect, and to consider that their safe return hereafter, to
the countries on the Gambia, would depend on my preservation.

Dr. Laidley himself, and Messrs Ainsley, with a number of their domestics,
kindly determined to accompany me the two first days; and I believe they
secretly thought they should never see me afterwards.

We reached Jindey the same day, having crossed the Walli creek, a branch
of the Gambia, and rested at the house of a black woman, who had formerly
been the _chere amie_ of a white trader named Hewett; and who, in
consequence thereof, was called, by way of distinction, _Seniora_. In the
evening we walked out to see an adjoining village, belonging to a Slatee
named Jemafoo Mamadoo, the richest of all the Gambia traders. We found
him at home; and he thought so highly of the honour done him by this
visit, that he presented us with a fine bullock, which was immediately
killed, and part of it dressed for our evening's repast. The Negroes do
not go to supper till late, and in order to amuse ourselves while our
beef was preparing, a Mandingo was desired to relate some diverting
stories; in listening to which, and smoking tobacco, we spent three
hours. These stories bear some resemblance to those in the Arabian Nights
Entertainments; but, in general, are of a more ludicrous cast. I shall
here abridge one of them for the reader's amusement. "Many years ago,
(said the relator,) the people of Doomasansa (a town on the Gambia) were
much annoyed by a lion, that came every night, and took away some of
their cattle. By continuing his depredations, the people were at length
so much enraged, that a party of them resolved to go and hunt the
monster. They accordingly proceeded in search of the common enemy, which
they found concealed in a thicket; and immediately firing at him, were
lucky enough to wound him in such a manner, that, in springing from the
thicket towards the people, he fell down among the grass, and was unable
to rise. The animal, however, manifested such appearance of vigour, that
nobody cared to approach him singly; and a consultation was held,
concerning the properest means of taking him alive; a circumstance, it
was said, which, while it furnished undeniable proof of their prowess,
would turn out to great advantage, it being resolved to convey him to the
coast, and sell him to the Europeans. While some persons proposed one
plan, and some another, an old man offered a scheme. This was, to strip
the roof of a house of its thatch, and to carry the bamboo frame, (the
pieces of which are well secured together by thongs,) and throw it over
the lion. If, in approaching him, he should attempt to spring upon them,
they had nothing to do but to let down the roof upon themselves, and fire
at the lion through the rafters.

"This proposition was approved and adopted. The thatch was taken from the
roof of a hut, and the lion hunters, supporting the fabric, marched
courageously to the field of battle; each person carrying a gun in one
hand, and bearing his share of the roof on the opposite shoulder. In this
manner they approached the enemy; but the beast had by this time
recovered his strength; and such was the fierceness of his countenance,
that the hunters, instead of proceeding any further, thought it prudent
to provide for their own safety, by covering themselves with the roof.
Unfortunately, the lion was too nimble for them; for, making a spring
while the roof was setting down, both the beast and his pursuers were
caught in the same cage, and the lion devoured them at his leisure, to
the great astonishment and mortification of the people of Doomasansa; at
which place it is dangerous even at this day to tell the story; for it is
become the subject of laughter and derision in the neighbouring
countries, and nothing will enrage an inhabitant of that town so much as
desiring him to catch a lion alive."

About one o'clock in the afternoon of the 3d of December, I took my leave
of Dr. Laidley and Messrs Ainsley, and rode slowly into the woods. I had
now before me a boundless forest, and a country, the inhabitants of which
were strangers to civilized life, and to most of whom a white man was the
object of curiosity or plunder. I reflected that I had parted from the
last European I might probably behold, and perhaps quitted for ever the
comforts of Christian society. Thoughts like these would necessarily cast
a gloom over the mind, and I rode musing along for about three miles,
when I was awakened from my reverie by a body of people, who came running
up and stopped the asses, giving me to understand that I must go with
them to Peckaba, to present myself to the King of Walli, or pay customs
to them. I endeavoured to make them comprehend that the object of my
journey not being traffic. I ought not to be subjected to a tax like the
Slatees, and other merchants who travel for gain; but I reasoned to no
purpose. They said it was usual for travellers of all descriptions to
make a present to the King of Walli, and without doing so I could not be
permitted to proceed. As they were more numerous than my attendants, and
withal very noisy, I thought it prudent to comply with their demand, and
having presented them with four bars of tobacco, for the king's use, I
was permitted to continue my journey, and at sunset reached a village
near Kootacunda, where we rested for the night.

In the morning of December 4th, I passed Kootacunda, the last town of
Walli, and stopped about an hour at a small adjoining village to pay
customs to an officer of the King of Woolli; we rested the ensuing night
at a village called Tabajang; and at noon the next day, (December 5th,)
we reached Medina, the capital of the King of Woolli's dominions.

The kingdom of Woolli is bounded by Walli on the west, by the Gambia on
the south, by the small river Walli on the north-west, by Bondou on the
north-east, and on the east by the Simbani wilderness.

The country every where rises into gentle acclivities, which are
generally covered with extensive woods, and the towns are situated in the
intermediate valleys. Each town is surrounded by a tract of cultivated
land, the produce of which, I presume, is found sufficient to supply the
wants of the inhabitants; for the soil appeared to me to be every where
fertile, except near the tops of the ridges, where the red iron stone and
stunted shrubs sufficiently marked the boundaries between fertility and
barrenness. The chief productions are cotton, tobacco, and esculent
vegetables; all which are raised in the valleys, the rising grounds being
appropriated to different sorts of corn.

The inhabitants are Mandingoes; and, like most of the Mandingo nations,
are divided into two great sects, the Mahomedans, who are called
_Bushreens_, and the Pagans, who are called indiscriminately _Kafirs_,
(unbelievers,) and _Sonakies_, (_i. e._ men who drink strong liquors.)
The Pagan natives are by far the most numerous, and the government of the
country is in their hands; for though the most respectable among the
Bushreens are frequently consulted in affairs of importance, yet they are
never permitted to take any share in the executive government, which
rests solely in the hands of the _Mansa_, or sovereign, and great
officers of the state. Of these, the first in point of rank is the
presumptive heir of the crown, who is called the _Farbanna_; next to him
are the _Alkaids_, or provincial governors, who are more frequently
called _Keamos_. Then follow the two grand divisions of freemen and
slaves:[3] of the former, the Slatees, so frequently mentioned in the
preceding pages, are considered as the principal; but in all classes
great respect is paid to the authority of aged men. On the death of the
reigning monarch, his eldest son (if he has attained the age of manhood)
succeeds to the regal authority. If there is no son, or if the son is
under the age of discretion, a meeting of the great men is held, and the
late monarch's nearest relation (commonly his brother) is called to the
government, not as regent, or guardian to the infant son, but in full
right, and to the exclusion of the minor. The charges of the government
are defrayed by occasional tributes from the people, and by duties on
goods transported across the country. Travellers, on going from the
Gambia towards the interior, pay customs in European merchandize. On
returning they pay in iron and _shea-toulou_: these taxes are paid at
every town.

  [3] The term which signifies a man of free condition is _Horia_; that
    of a slave, _Jong_.

Medina,[4] the capital of the kingdom, at which I was now arrived, is a
place of considerable extent; and may contain from eight hundred to one
thousand houses. It is fortified in the common African manner, by a
surrounding high wall built of clay, and an outward fence of pointed
stakes and prickly bushes; but the walls are neglected, and the outward
fence has suffered considerably from the active hands of busy housewives,
who pluck up the stakes for firewood. I obtained a lodging at one of the
king's near relations, who apprized me, that at my introduction to the
king, I must not presume _to shake hands with him_. It was not usual, he
said, to allow this liberty to strangers. Thus instructed, I went in the
afternoon to pay my respects to the sovereign; and ask permission to pass
through his territories to Bondou. The king's name was _Jatta_. He was
the same venerable old man of whom so favourable an account was
transmitted by Major Houghton. I found him seated upon a mat before the
door of his hut: a number of men and women were arranged on each side,
who were singing and clapping their hands. I saluted him respectfully,
and informed him of the purport of my visit. The king graciously replied,
that he not only gave me leave to pass through his country, but would
offer up his prayers for my safety. On this, one of my attendants,
seemingly in return for the king's condescension, began to sing, or
rather to roar, an Arabic song; at every pause of which, the king
himself, and all the people present, struck their hands against their
forehead, and exclaimed, with devout and affecting solemnity, _Amen!
Amen!_[5] The king told me furthermore, that I should have a guide the
day following, who would conduct me safely to the frontier of his
kingdom. I then took my leave, and in the evening sent the king an order
upon Dr. Laidley for three gallons of rum, and received in return great
store of provisions.

  [4] Medina in the Arabic signifies a city. The name is not uncommon
    among the Negroes, and has probably been burrowed from the

  [5] It may seem from hence that the king was a Mahomedan; but I was
    assured to the contrary. He joined in prayer on this occasion
    probably from the mere dictates of his benevolent mind, considering
    perhaps that prayers to the Almighty, offered up with true devotion
    and sincerity, were equally acceptable, whether from Bushreen or

December 6th, early in the morning, I went to the king a second time, to
learn if the guide was ready. I found his majesty sitting upon a
bullock's hide, warming himself before a large fire; for the Africans are
sensible of the smallest variation in the temperature of the air, and
frequently complain of cold when a European is oppressed with heat. He
received me with a benevolent countenance, and tenderly entreated me to
desist from my purpose of travelling into the interior; telling me that
Major Houghton had been killed in his route, and that if I followed his
footsteps, I should probably meet with his fate. He said that I must not
judge of the people of the eastern country by those of Woolli: that the
latter were acquainted with white men, and respected them; whereas the
people of the east had never seen a white man, and would certainly
destroy me. I thanked the king for his affectionate solicitude, but told
him that I had considered the matter, and was determined, notwithstanding
all dangers, to proceed. The king shook his head, but desisted from
further persuasion; and told me the guide should be ready in the

About two o'clock, the guide appearing, I went and took my last farewell
of the good old king, and in three hours reached Konjour, a small
village, where we determined to rest for the night. Here I purchased a
fine sheep for some beads, and my Serawoolli attendants killed it with
all the ceremonies prescribed by their religion: part of it was dressed
for supper: after which a dispute arose between one of the Serawoolli
Negroes and Johnson, my interpreter, about the sheep's horns. The former
claimed the horns as his perquisite, for having acted the part of our
butcher, and Johnson contested the claim. I settled the matter by giving
a horn to each of them. This trifling incident is mentioned as
introductory to what follows; for it appeared on inquiry that these horns
were highly valued, as being easily convertible into portable sheaths, or
cases, for containing and keeping secure certain charms or amulets called
_saphies_, which the Negroes constantly wear about them. These saphies
are prayers, or rather sentences, from the Koran, which the Mahomedan
priests write on scraps of paper, and sell to the simple natives, who
consider them to possess very extraordinary virtues. Some of the Negroes
wear them to guard themselves against the bite of snakes or alligators;
and on this occasion the saphie is commonly enclosed in a snake's or
alligator's skin, and tied round the ancle. Others have recourse to them
in time of war, to protect their persons against hostile weapons; but the
common use to which these amulets are applied is to prevent or cure
bodily diseases; to preserve from hunger and thirst; and generally to
conciliate the favour of superior powers under all the circumstances and
occurrences of life.[6]

  [6] I believe that similar charms or amulets, under the names of
    _domini, grigri, fetich_ &c. &c. are common in all parts of Africa.

In this case it is impossible not to admire the wonderful contagion of
superstition; for, notwithstanding that the majority of the Negroes are
Pagans, and absolutely reject the doctrines of Mahomet. I did not meet
with a man, whether a Bushreen or Kafir, who was not fully persuaded of
the powerful efficacy of these amulets. The truth is, that all the
natives of this part of Africa consider the art of writing as bordering
on magic; and it is not in the doctrines of the prophet, but in the arts
of the magician, that their confidence is placed. It will hereafter be
seen that I was myself lucky enough, in circumstances of distress, to
turn the popular credulity in this respect to good account.

On the 7th I departed from Konjour, and slept at a village called Malla,
(or Mallaing;) and on the 8th about noon I arrived at Kolor, a
considerable town; near the entrance into which I observed, hanging upon
a tree, a sort of masquerade habit, made of the bark of trees, which I
was told on inquiry belonged to MUMBO JUMBO. This is a strange bugbear,
common to all the Mandingo towns, and much employed by the Pagan natives
in keeping their women in subjection; for as the Kafirs are not
restricted in the number of their wives, every one marries as many as he
can conveniently maintain; and as it frequently happens that the ladies
disagree among themselves, family quarrels sometimes rise to such a
height, that the authority of the husband can no longer preserve peace in
his household. In such cases, the interposition of Mumbo Jumbo is called
in, and is always decisive.

This strange minister of justice, (who is supposed to be either the
husband himself, or some person instructed by him,) disguised in the
dress that has been mentioned, and armed with the rod of public
authority, announces his coming (whenever his services are required) by
loud and dismal screams in the woods near the town. He begins the
pantomime at the approach of night; and as soon as it is dark he enters
the town, and proceeds to the Bentang, at which all the inhabitants
immediately assemble.

It may easily be supposed that this exhibition is not much relished by
the women; for, as the person in disguise is entirely unknown to them,
every married female suspects that the visit may possibly be intended for
herself; but they dare not refuse to appear when they are summoned; and
the ceremony commences with songs and dances, which continue till
midnight, about which time Mumbo fixes on the offender. This unfortunate
victim being thereupon immediately seized, is stripped naked, tied to a
post, and severely scourged, with Mumbo's rod, amidst the shouts and
derision of the whole assembly; and it is remarkable, that the rest of
the women are the loudest in their exclamations on this occasion against
their unhappy sister. Daylight puts an end to this indecent and unmanly

December 9th. As there was no water to be procured on the road, we
travelled with great expedition until we reached Tambacunda; and
departing from thence early the next morning, the 10th, we reached in the
evening Kooniakary, a town of nearly the same magnitude as Kolor. About
noon on the 11th we arrived at Koojar, the frontier town of Woolli,
towards Bondou, from which it is separated by an intervening wilderness
of two days' journey.

The guide appointed by the King of Woolli being now to return, I
presented him with some amber for his trouble; and having been informed
that it was not possible at all times to procure water in the wilderness,
I made inquiry for men who would serve both as guides and water-bearers
during my journey across it. Three Negroes, elephant-hunters, offered
their services for these purposes, which I accepted, and paid them three
bars each in advance, and the day being far spent, I determined to pass
the night in my present quarters.

The inhabitants of Koojar, though not wholly unaccustomed to the sight of
Europeans, (most of them having occasionally visited the countries on the
Gambia,) beheld me with a mixture of curiosity and reverence, and in the
evening invited me to see a _neobering_, or wrestling match at the
Bentang. This is an exhibition very common in all the Mandingo countries.
The spectators arranged themselves in a circle, leaving the intermediate
space for the wrestlers, who were strong active young men, full of
emulation, and accustomed, I suppose, from their infancy to this sort of
exertion. Being stripped of their clothing, except a short pair of
drawers, and having their skin anointed with oil, or _shea_ butter, the
combatants approached each other on all-fours, parrying with, and
occasionally extending a hand for some time, till at length one of them
sprang forward, and caught his rival by the knee. Great dexterity and
judgment were now displayed; but the contest was decided by superior
strength; and I think that few Europeans would have been able to cope
with the conqueror. It must not be unobserved, that the combatants were
animated by the music of a drum, by which their actions were in some
measure regulated.

The wrestling was succeeded by a dance, in which many performers
assisted, all of whom were provided with little bells, which were
fastened to their legs and arms; and here too the drum regulated their
motions. It was beaten with a crooked stick, which the drummer held in
his right hand, occasionally using his left to deaden the sound, and thus
vary the music. The drum is likewise applied on these occasions to keep
order among the spectators, by imitating the sound of certain Mandingo
sentences: for example, when the wrestling match is about to begin, the
drummer strikes what is understood to signify _ali bae see_,--sit all
down; upon which the spectators immediately seat themselves; and when the
combatants are to begin, he strikes _amuta amuta_,--take hold, take hold.

In the course of the evening I was presented, by way of refreshment, with
a liquor which tasted so much like the strong beer of my native country,
(and very good beer too,) as to induce me to inquire into its
composition; and I learned, with some degree of surprise, that it was
actually made from corn which had been previously malted, much in the
same manner as barley is malted in Great Britain: a root yielding a
grateful bitter was used in lieu of hops, the name of which I have
forgot; but the corn which yields the wort is the _holcus spicatus_ of

Early in the morning, (the 12th,) I found that one of the
elephant-hunters had absconded with the money he had received from me in
part of wages; and in order to prevent the other two from following his
example, I made them instantly fill their calabashes (or gourds) with
water, and as the sun rose I entered the wilderness that separates the
kingdoms of Woolli and Bondou.

We had not travelled more than a mile before my attendants insisted on
stopping that they might prepare a saphie, or charm, to ensure us a safe
journey. This was done by muttering a few sentences, and spitting upon a
stone, which was thrown before us on the road. The same ceremony was
repeated three times, after which the Negroes proceeded with the greatest
confidence; every one being firmly persuaded that the stone (like the
scape-goat) had carried with it every thing that could induce superior
powers to visit us with misfortune.

We continued our journey without stopping any more until noon, when we
came to a large tree, called by the natives Neema Tula. It had a very
singular appearance, being decorated with innumerable rags or scraps of
cloth, which persons travelling across the wilderness had, at different
times, tied to the branches; probably, at first, to inform the traveller
that water was to be found near it; but the custom has become so
sanctioned by time, that nobody now presumes to pass without hanging up
something. I followed the example, and suspended a handsome piece of
cloth on one of the boughs; and being told that either a well or pool of
water was at no great distance, I ordered the Negroes to unload the asses
that we might give them corn, and regale ourselves with the provisions we
had brought. In the meantime, I sent one of the elephant-hunters to look
for the well, intending, if water was to be obtained, to rest here for
the night. A pool was found, but the water was thick and muddy, and the
Negro discovered near it the remains of a fire recently extinguished, and
the fragments of provisions, which afforded a proof that it had been
lately visited, either by travellers or banditti. The fears of my
attendants supposed the latter; and believing that robbers lurked near
us, I was persuaded to change my resolution of resting here all night,
and proceed to another watering place, which I was assured we might reach
early in the evening.

We departed accordingly, but it was eight o'clock at night before we came
to the watering place; and being now sufficiently fatigued with so long a
day's journey, we kindled a large fire, and lay down, surrounded by our
cattle, on the bare ground, more than a gun-shot from any bush; the
Negroes agreeing to keep watch by turns to prevent surprise.

I know not indeed that any danger was justly to be dreaded, but the
Negroes were unaccountably apprehensive of banditti during the whole of
the journey. As soon, therefore, as day light appeared, we filled our
_soofroos_ (skins) and calabashes at the pool, and set out for Tallika,
the first town in Bondou, which we reached about eleven o'clock in the
forenoon, (the 13th of December.) I cannot, however, take leave of
Woolli, without observing that I was every where well received by the
natives; and that the fatigues of the day were generally alleviated by a
hearty welcome at night; and although the African mode of living was at
first unpleasant to me, yet I found, at length, that custom surmounted
trifling inconveniences, and made every thing palatable and easy.


_Some account of the inhabitants of Tallika.--The Author proceeds for
Fatteconda--incidents on the road.--Crosses the Neriko, arrives at
Koorkarany--reaches the River Faleme--Fishery on that river--proceeds
along its bank to Naye or Nayemow--crosses the Faleme, and arrives at
Fatteconda.--Has an interview with Almami, the Sovereign of
Bondou.--Description of the King's dwelling--has a second interview with
the King, who begs the Author's Coat--Author visits the King's wives--is
permitted to depart on friendly, terms.--Journey by night--arrives at
Joag.--Some account of Bondou and its inhabitants, the Foulahs._

Tallika, the frontier town of Bondou towards Woolli, is inhabited chiefly
by Foulahs of the Mahomedan religion, who live in considerable affluence,
partly by furnishing provisions to the _coffles_, or caravans, that pass
through the town, and partly by the sale of ivory, obtained by hunting
elephants; in which employment the young men are generally very
successful. Here, an officer belonging to the King of Bondou constantly
resides, whose business it is to give timely information of the arrival
of the caravans; which are taxed according to the number of loaded asses
that arrive at Tallika.

I took up my residence at this officer's house, and agreed with him to
accompany me to Fatteconda, the residence of the king, for which he was
to receive five bars; and before my departure I wrote a few lines to Dr
Laidley, and gave my letter to the master of a caravan bound for the
Gambia. This caravan consisted of nine or ten people with five asses
loaded with ivory. The large teeth are conveyed in nets, two on each side
of the ass; the small ones are wrapped up in skins, and secured with

December 14th. We left Tallika, and rode on very peaceably for
about two miles, when a violent quarrel arose between two of my
fellow-travellers,--one of whom was the blacksmith,--in the course of
which they bestowed some opprobrious terms upon each other; and it is
worthy of remark, that an African will sooner forgive a blow than a term
of reproach applied to his ancestors: "Strike me, but do not curse my
mother," is a common expression even among the slaves. This sort of
abuse, therefore, so enraged one of the disputants, that he drew his
cutlass upon the blacksmith, and would certainly have ended the dispute
in a very serious manner, if the others had not laid hold of him, and
wrested the cutlass from him. I was obliged to interfere, and put an end
to this disagreeable business, by desiring the blacksmith to be silent,
and telling the other who I thought was in the wrong, that if he
attempted in future to draw his cutlass, or molest any of my attendants,
I should look upon him as a robber, and shoot him without further
ceremony. This threat had the desired effect, and we marched sullenly
along till the afternoon, when we arrived at a number of small villages
scattered over an open and fertile plain: At one of these, called Ganado,
we took up our residence for the night; here an exchange of presents and
a good supper terminated all animosities among my attendants; and the
night was far advanced before any of us thought of going to sleep. We
were amused by an itinerant _singing man_,[7] who told a number of
diverting stories, and played some sweet airs, by blowing his breath upon
a bowstring, and striking it at the same time with a stick.

  [7] These are a sort of travelling bards and musicians, who sing
    extempore songs in praise of those who employ them. A fuller
    account of them will be given hereafter.

December 15th. At daybreak my fellow-travellers, the Serawoollies, took
leave of me, with many prayers for my safety. About a mile from Ganado,
we crossed a considerable branch of the Gambia called Neriko. The banks
were steep, and covered with _mimosas_; and I observed in the mud a
number of large muscles, but the natives do not eat them. About noon, the
sun being exceedingly hot, we rested two hours in the shade of a tree,
and purchased some milk and pounded corn from some Foulah herdsmen, and
at sunset reached a town called Koorkarany, where the blacksmith had some
relations; and here we rested two days.

Koorkarany is a Mahomedan town, surrounded by a high wall, and is
provided with a mosque. Here I was shown a number of Arabic manuscripts,
particularly a copy of the book before mentioned, called _Al Shara_. The
_Maraboo_ or priest, in whose possession it was, read and explained to me
in Mandingo, many of the most remarkable passages; and in return I showed
him Richardson's Arabic grammar which he very much admired. On the
evening of the second day (Dec. 17th) we departed from Koorkarany. We
were joined by a young man who was travelling to Fatteconda for salt; and
as night set in we reached Dooggi, a small village about three miles from

Provisions were here so cheap that I purchased a bullock for six small
stones of amber; for I found my company increase or diminish according to
the good fare they met with.

Dec. 18th. Early in the morning we departed from Dooggi, and being joined
by a number of Foulahs and other people, made a formidable appearance;
and were under no apprehension of being plundered in the woods. About
eleven o'clock one of the asses proving very refractory, the Negroes took
a curious method to make him tractable. They cut a forked stick, and
putting the forked part into the ass's mouth, like the bit of a bridle,
tied the two smaller parts together above his head, leaving the lower
part of the stick of sufficient length to strike against the ground if
the ass should attempt to put his head down. After this, the ass walked
along quietly, and gravely enough, taking care, after some practice, to
hold his head sufficiently high to prevent the stones or roots of trees
from striking against the end of the stick, which experience had taught
him would give a severe shock to his teeth. This contrivance produced a
ludicrous appearance, but my fellow-travellers told me it was constantly
adopted by the Slatees, and always proved effectual.

In the evening we arrived at a few scattered villages, surrounded with
extensive cultivation; a tone of which, called Buggil, we passed the
night in a miserable hut, having no other bed than a bundle of corn
stalks, and no provisions but what we brought with us. The wells here are
dug with great ingenuity, and are very deep. I measured one of the
bucket-ropes, and found the depth of the well to be 28 fathoms.

Dec. 19th. We departed from Buggil, and travelled along a dry, stony
height, covered with _mimosas_ till mid-day; when the land sloped towards
the east, and we descended into a deep valley, in which I observed
abundance of whin stone and white quartz. Pursuing our course to the
eastward, along this valley, in the bed of an exhausted river course, we
came to a large village, where we intended to lodge. We found many of the
natives dressed in a thin French gauze, which they call _Byqui_; this
being a light airy dress, and well calculated to display the shape of
their persons, is much esteemed by the ladies. The manners of these
females, however, did not correspond with their dress; for they were rude
and troublesome in the highest degree; they surrounded me in numbers,
begging for amber, beads, &c.; and were so vehement in their
solicitations, that I found it impossible to resist them. They tore my
cloak, cut the buttons from my boy's clothes, and were proceeding to
other outrages, when I mounted my horse and rode off, followed for half a
mile by a body of these harpies.

In the evening we reached Soobrudooka, and as my company was numerous,
(being fourteen,) I purchased a sheep, and abundance of corn for supper
after which we lay down by the bundles, and passed an uncomfortable night
in a heavy dew.

Dec. 20th. We departed from Soobrudooka, and at two o'clock reached a
large village situated on the banks of the Faleme River, which is here
rapid and rocky. The natives were employed in fishing in various ways.
The large fish were taken in long baskets made of split cane, and placed
in a strong current which was created by walls of stone built across the
stream, certain open places being left, through which the water rushed
with great force. Some of these baskets were more than 20 feet long, and
when once the fish had entered one of them, the force of the stream
prevented it from returning. The small fish were taken in great numbers
in hand-nets, which the natives weave of cotton, and use with great
dexterity. The fish last mentioned are about the size of sprats, and are
prepared for sale in different ways; the most common is by pounding them
entire as they come from the stream in a wooden mortar, and exposing them
to dry in the sun, in large lumps like sugar loaves. It may be supposed
that the smell is not very agreeable; but in the Moorish countries to the
north of the Senegal, where fish is scarcely known, this preparation is
esteemed as a luxury, and sold to considerable advantage. The manner of
using it by the natives is, by dissolving a piece of this blackloaf in
boiling water, and mixing it with their kouskous.

I thought it very singular at this season of the year, to find the banks
of the Faleme every where covered with large and beautiful fields of
corn, but on examination I found it was not the same species of grain as
is commonly cultivated on the Gambia; it is called by the natives Mania,
and grows in the dry season; is very prolific, and is reaped in the month
of January. It is the same which, from the depending position of the ear,
is called by botanical writers _holcus cernuus_.

On returning to the village, after an excursion to the river side, to
inspect the fishery, an old Moorish shereeff came to bestow his blessing
upon me, and beg some paper to write saphies upon. This man had seen
Major Houghton in the kingdom of Kaarta, and told me that he died in the
country of the Moors. I gave him a few sheets of paper, and he levied a
similar tribute from the blacksmith; for it is customary for young
Mussulmen to make presents to the old ones, in order to obtain their
blessing, which is pronounced in Arabic, and received with great

About three in the afternoon we continued our course along the bank of
the river, to the northward, till eight o clock, when we reached Nayemow;
here the hospitable master of the town received us kindly, and presented
us with a bullock. In return, I gave him some amber and beads.

Dec. 21st. In the morning, having agreed for a canoe to carry over my
bundles, I crossed the river, which came up to my knees as I sat on my
horse; but the water is so clear, that from the high bank the bottom is
visible all the way over.

About noon we entered Fatteconda, the capital of Bondou; and in a little
time received an invitation to the house of a respectable Slatee: for, as
there are no public houses in Africa, it is customary for strangers to
stand at the Bentang, or some other place of public resort, till they are
invited to a lodging by some of the inhabitants. We accepted the offer;
and in an hour afterwards, a person came and told me that he was sent on
purpose to conduct me to the king, who was very desirous of seeing me
immediately, if I was not too much fatigued.

I took my interpreter with me, and followed the messenger till we got
quite out of the town, and crossed some corn fields; when, suspecting
some trick, I stopped, and asked the guide whither he was going. Upon
which he pointed to a man sitting under a tree at some little distance;
and told me that the king frequently gave audiences in that retired
manner, in order to avoid a crowd of people; and that nobody but myself
and my interpreter must approach him. When I advanced, the king desired
me to come and sit by him upon the mat; and after hearing my story, on
which he made no observation, he asked if I wished to purchase any slaves
or gold: being answered in the negative, he seemed rather surprised; but
desired me to come to him in the evening, and he would give me some

This monarch was called Almami; a Moorish name, though I was told that he
was not a Mahomedan, but a Kafir, or Pagan. I had heard that he had acted
towards Major Houghton with great unkindness, and caused him to be
plundered. His behaviour, therefore, towards myself at this interview,
though much more civil than I expected, was far from freeing me from
uneasiness. I still apprehended some double dealing; and as I was now
entirely in his power, I thought it best to smooth the way by a present:
Accordingly, I took with me in the evening one canister of gunpowder,
some amber, tobacco, and my umbrella: and as I considered that my bundles
would inevitably be searched, I concealed some few articles in the roof
of the hut where I lodged, and I put on my new blue coat, in order to
preserve it.

All the houses belonging to the king and his family are surrounded by a
lofty mud wall, which converts the whole into a kind of citadel. The
interior is subdivided into different courts. At the first place of
entrance I observed a man standing with a musket on his shoulder; and I
found the way to his presence very intricate, leading through many
passages, with sentinels placed at the different doors. When we came to
the entrance of the court in which the king resides, both my guide and
interpreter, according to custom, took off their sandals; and the former
pronounced the king's name aloud, repeating it till he was answered from
within. We found the monarch sitting upon a mat, and two attendants with
him. I repeated what I had before told him concerning the object of my
journey, and my reasons for passing through his country. He seemed,
however, but half satisfied. The notion of travelling for curiosity was
quite new to him. He thought it impossible, he said, that any man in his
senses would undertake so dangerous a journey, merely to look at the
country and its inhabitants: however, when I offered to show him the
contents of my portmanteau, and every thing belonging to me, he was
convinced: and it was evident that his suspicion had arisen from a
belief, that every white man must of necessity be a trader. When I had
delivered my presents, he seemed well pleased, and was particularly
delighted with the umbrella, which he repeatedly furled and unfurled, to
the great admiration of himself and his two attendants, who could not for
some time comprehend the use of this wonderful machine. After this I was
about to take my leave, when the king, desiring me to stop awhile, began
along preamble in favour of the whites; extolling their immense wealth
and good dispositions. He next proceeded to an eulogium on my blue coat,
of which the yellow buttons seemed particularly to catch his fancy; and
he concluded by entreating me to present him with it; assuring me, for my
consolation under the loss of it, that he would wear it on all public
occasions, and inform every one who saw it of my great liberality towards
him. The request of an African prince, in his own dominions, particularly
when made to a stranger, comes little short of a command. It is only a
way of obtaining by gentle means what he can, if he pleases, take by
force; and as it was against my interest to offend him by a refusal, I
very quietly took off my coat, the only good one in my possession, and
laid it at his feet.

In return for my compliance, he presented me with great plenty of
provisions, and desired to see me again in the morning. I accordingly
attended, and found him sitting upon his bed. He told me he was sick; and
wished to have a little blood taken from him; but I had no sooner tied up
his arm, and displayed the lancet, than his courage failed; and he begged
me to postpone the operation till the afternoon, as he felt himself, he
said, much better than he had been, and thanked me kindly for my
readiness to serve him. He then observed that his women were very
desirous to see me, and requested that I would favour them with a visit.
An attendant was ordered to conduct me; and I had no sooner entered the
court appropriated to the ladies, than the whole seraglio surrounded me:
some begging for physic, some for amber; and all of them desirous of
trying that great African specific, _blood-letting_. They were ten or
twelve in number, most of them young and handsome, and wearing on their
heads ornaments of gold, and beads of amber.

They rallied me with a good deal of gaiety on different subjects;
particularly upon the whiteness of my skin, and the prominency of my
nose. They insisted that both were artificial. The first, they said, was
produced when I was an infant, by dipping me in milk; and they insisted
that my nose had been pinched every day, till it had acquired its present
unsightly and unnatural conformation. On my part, without disputing my
own deformity, I paid them many compliments on African beauty, I praised
the glossy jet of their skins, and the lovely depression of their noses;
but they said that flattery, or (as they emphatically termed it)
_honey-mouth_, was not esteemed in Bondou. In return, however, for my
company or my compliments, (to which, by the way, they seemed not so
insensible as they affected to be), they presented me with a jar of honey
and some fish, which were sent to my lodging; and I was desired to come
again to the king a little before sunset.

I carried with me some beads and writing paper, it being usual to present
some small offering on taking leave; in return for which, the king gave
me five drachms of gold; observing that it was but a trifle, and given
out of pure friendship; but would be of use to me in travelling, for the
purchase of provision. He seconded this act of kindness by one still
greater; politely telling me, that though it was customary to examine the
baggage of every traveller passing through his country, yet, in the
present instance, he would dispense with that ceremony; adding, that I
was at liberty to depart when I pleased.

Accordingly, on the morning of the 23d, we left Fatteconda, and about
eleven o'clock came to a small village, where we determined to stop for
the rest of the day.

In the afternoon my fellow-travellers informed me, that as this was the
boundary between Bondou and Kajaaga, and dangerous for travellers, it
would be necessary to continue our journey by night, until we should
reach a more hospitable part of the country. I agreed to the proposal,
and hired two people for guides through the woods; and as soon as the
people of the village were gone to sleep, (the moon shining bright,) we
set out. The stillness of the air, the howling of the wild beasts, and
the deep solitude of the forest, made the scene solemn and impressive.
Not a word was uttered by any of us, but in a whisper; all were
attentive, and every one anxious to show his sagacity, by pointing out to
me the wolves and hyaenas as they glided, like shadows, from one thicket
to another.--Towards morning we arrived at a village called Kimmoo,
where our guides awakened one of their acquaintances, and we stopped to
give the asses some corn and roast a few groundnuts for ourselves. At
daylight we resumed our journey, and in the afternoon arrived at Joag in
the kingdom of Kajaaga.

Being now in a country, and among a people, differing in many respects
from those that have as yet fallen under our observation, I shall, before
I proceed further, give some account of Bondou, (the territory we have
left,) and its inhabitants, the Foulahs, the description of whom I
purposely reserved for this part of my work.

Bondou is bounded on the east by Bambouk; on the south-east, and south,
by Tenda, and the Simbani Wilderness; on the south-west by Woolli; on the
west by Foota Torra; and on the north by Kajaaga.

The country, like that of Woolli, is very generally covered with woods,
but the land is more elevated, and towards the Faleme river, rises into
considerable hills. In native fertility the soil is not surpassed, I
believe, by any part of Africa.

From the central situation of Bondou between the Gambia and Senegal
rivers, it is become a place of great resort; both for the Slatees, who
generally pass through it, in going from the coast to the interior
countries, and for occasional traders, who frequently come hither from
the inland countries to purchase salt.

These different branches of commerce are conducted principally by
Mandingoes and Serawoollies, who have settled in the country. These
merchants likewise carry on a considerable trade with Gedumah, and other
Moorish countries, bartering corn and blue cotton cloths for salt; which
they again barter in Dentila and other districts for iron, shea-butter,
and small quantities of gold-dust. They likewise sell a variety of
sweet-smelling gums packed up in small bags, containing each about a
pound. These gums, being thrown on hot embers, produce a very pleasant
odour, and are used by the Mandingoes for perfuming their huts and

The customs, or duties on travellers, are very heavy; in almost every
town an ass-load pays a bar of European merchandize; and at Fatteconda,
the residence of the king, one Indian baft, or a musket, and six bottles
of gunpowder, are exacted as a common tribute. By means of these duties,
the King of Bondou is well supplied with arms and ammunition; a
circumstance which makes him formidable to the neighbouring states.

The inhabitants differ in their complexions and national manners from the
Mandingoes and Serawoollies, with whom they are frequently at war. Some
years ago the King of Bondou crossed the Faleme river with a numerous
army, and after a short and bloody campaign, totally defeated the forces
of Samboo,

King of Bambouk, who was obliged to sue for peace, and surrender to him
all the towns along the eastern bank of the Faleme.

The Foulahs, in general, (as has been observed in a former chapter,) are
of a tawny complexion, with small features, and soft silky hair; next to
the Mandingoes they are undoubtedly the most considerable of all the
nations in this part of Africa. Their original country is said to be
Fooladoo, (which signifies the country of the Foulahs,) but they possess
at present many other kingdoms at a great distance from each other; their
complexion, however, is not exactly the same in the different districts;
in Bondou, and the other kingdoms which are situated in the vicinity of
the Moorish territories, they are of a more yellow complexion than in the
southern states.

The Foulahs of Bondou are naturally of a mild and gentle disposition, but
the uncharitable maxims of the Koran have made them less hospitable to
strangers, and more reserved in their behaviour than the Mandingoes. They
evidently consider all the Negro natives as their inferiors; and when
talking of different nations, always rank themselves among the white

Their government differs from that of the Mandingoes chiefly in this,
that they are more immediately under the influence of the Mahomedan laws;
for all the chief men, (the king excepted,) and a large majority of the
inhabitants of Bondou, are Mussulmen, and the authority and laws of the
Prophet are every where looked upon as sacred and decisive. In the
exercise of their faith, however, they are not very intolerant towards
such of their countrymen as still retain their ancient superstitions.
Religious persecution is not known among them, nor is it necessary; for
the system of Mahomet is made to extend itself by means abundantly more
efficacious. By establishing small schools in the different towns, where
many of the Pagan as well as Mahomedan children are taught to read the
Koran, and instructed in the tenets of the Prophet, the Mahomedan priests
fix a bias on the minds, and form the character of their young disciples,
which no accidents of life can ever afterwards remove or alter. Many of
these little schools I visited in my progress through the country, and
observed with pleasure the great docility and submissive deportment of
the children, and heartily wished they had had better instructors, and a
purer religion.

With the Mahomedan faith is also introduced the Arabic language, with
which most of the Foulahs have a slight acquaintance. The native tongue
abounds very much in liquids, but there is something unpleasant in the
manner of pronouncing it. A stranger, on hearing the common conversation
of two Foulahs, would imagine that they were scolding each other. Their
numerals are these:--

    One   ......... _Go_.
    Two   ......... _Deeddee_.
    Three ......... _Tettee_.
    Four  ......... _Nee_.
    Five  ......... _Jouee_.
    Six   ......... _Jego_.
    Seven ......... _Jedeeddee_.
    Eight ......... _Je Tettee_.
    Nine  ......... _Je Nee_.
    Ten   ......... _Sappo_.

The industry of the Foulahs, in the occupations of pasturage and
agriculture, is everywhere remarkable. Even on the banks of the Gambia,
the greater part of the corn is raised by them; and their herds and
flocks are more numerous and in better condition than those of the
Mandingoes; but in Bondou they are opulent in a high degree, and enjoy
all the necessaries of life in the greatest profusion. They display great
skill in the management of their cattle, making them extremely gentle by
kindness and familiarity. On the approach of night, they are collected
from the woods, and secured in folds, called korrees, which are
constructed in the neighbourhood of the different villages. In the middle
of each korree is erected a small hut, wherein one or two of the herdsmen
keep watch during the night, to prevent the cattle from being stolen, and
to keep up the fires which are kindled round the korree to frighten away
the wild beasts.

The cattle are milked in the mornings and evenings; the milk is
excellent, but the quantity obtained from any one cow is by no means so
great as in Europe. The Foulahs use the milk chiefly as an article of
diet, and that not until it is quite sour. The cream which it affords is
very thick, and is converted into butter by stirring it violently in a
large calabash. This butter, when melted over a gentle fire, and freed
from impurities, is preserved in small earthen pots, and forms a part in
most of their dishes; it serves likewise to anoint their heads, and is
bestowed very liberally on their faces and arms.

But although milk is plentiful, it is somewhat remarkable that the
Foulahs, and indeed all the inhabitants of this part of Africa, are
totally unacquainted with the art of making cheese. A firm attachment to
the customs of their ancestors makes them view with an eye of prejudice
every thing that looks like innovation. The heat of the climate, and the
great scarcity of salt, are held forth as unanswerable objections: and
the whole process appears to them too long and troublesome to be attended
with any solid advantage.

Besides the cattle, which constitute the chief wealth of the Foulahs,
they possess some excellent horses, the breed of which seems to be a
mixture of the Arabian with the original African.


_Account of Kajaaga.--Serawoollies--their manners and language.--Account
of Joag.--The Author is ill treated, and robbed of half of his effects,
by order of Batcheri, the king.--Charity of a female slave.--The Author
is visited by Demba Sego, nephew of the King of Kasson, who offers to
conduct him in safety to that kingdom.--Offer accepted.--The Author and
his protector, with a numerous retinue, set out and reach Samee, on the
banks of the Senegal.--Proceed to Kayee, and, crossing the Senegal,
arrive in the kingdom of Kasson._

The kingdom of Kajaaga, in which I was now arrived, is called by the
French Gallam; but the name that I have adopted is universally used by
the natives. This country is bounded on the south-east and south by
Bambouk; on the west by Bondou and Foota Torra; and on the north by the
river Senegal.

The air and climate are, I believe, more pure and salubrious than at any
of the settlements towards the coast; the face of the country is
everywhere interspersed with a pleasing variety of hills and valleys; and
the windings of the Senegal river, which descends from the rocky hills of
the interior, make the scenery on its banks very picturesque and

The inhabitants are called Serawoollies, or (as the French write it)
_Seracolets_. Their complexion is a jet black: they are not to be
distinguished in this respect from the Jaloffs. The government is
monarchical; and the regal authority, from what I experienced of it,
seems to be sufficiently formidable. The people themselves, however,
complain of no oppression; and seemed all very anxious to support the
king in a contest he was going to enter into with the sovereign of
Kasson. The Serawoollies are habitually a trading people; they formerly
carried on a great commerce with the French in gold and slaves, and still
maintain some traffic in slaves with the British factories on the Gambia.
They are reckoned tolerably fair and just in their dealings, but are
indefatigable in their exertions to acquire wealth, and they derive
considerable profits by the sale of salt and cotton cloth in distant
countries. When a Serawoolli merchant returns home from a trading
expedition, the neighbours immediately assemble to congratulate him upon
his arrival. On these occasions the traveller displays his wealth and
liberality, by making a few presents to his friends; but if he has been
unsuccessful, his levee is soon over; and every one looks upon him as a
man of no understanding, who could perform a long journey, and (as they
express it) _bring back nothing but the hair upon his head_.

Their language abounds much in gutterals, and is not so harmonious as
that spoken by the Foulahs; it is, however, well worth acquiring by those
who travel through this part of the African continent, it being very
generally understood in the kingdoms of Kasson, Kaarta, Ludamar, and the
northern parts of Bambarra. In all these countries the Serawoollies are
the chief traders. Their numerals are:--

    One   ......... _Bani_.
    Two   ......... _Fillo_.
    Three ......... _Sicco_.
    Four  ......... _Narrato_.
    Five  ......... _Karrago_.
    Six   ......... _Toomo_.
    Seven ......... _Nero_.
    Eight ......... _Sego_.
    Nine  ......... _Kabbo_.
    Ten   ......... _Tamo_.
    Twenty......... _Tamo di fillo_.

We arrived at Joag, the frontier town of this kingdom, on the 24th of
December; and took up our residence at the house of the chief man, who is
here no longer known by the title of _Alkaid_, but is called the _Dooty_.
He was a rigid Mahomedan, but distinguished for his hospitality. This
town may be supposed, on a gross computation, to contain two thousand
inhabitants. It is surrounded by a high wall, in which are a number of
port-holes, for musketry to fire through; in case of an attack. Every
man's possession is likewise surrounded by a wall; the whole forming so
many distinct citadels; and amongst a people unacquainted with the use of
artillery, these walls answer all the purposes of stronger
fortifications. To the westward of the town is a small river, on the
banks of which the natives raise great plenty of tobacco and onions.

The same evening Madiboo the Bushreen, who had accompanied me from
Pisania, went to pay a visit to his father and mother, who dwelt at a
neighbouring town called Dramanet. He was joined by my other attendant
the blacksmith; and as soon as it was dark, I was invited to see the
sports of the inhabitants, it being their custom, on the arrival of
strangers, to welcome them by diversions of different kinds. I found a
great crowd surrounding a party who were dancing, by the light of some
large fires, to the music of four drums, which were beat with great
exactness and uniformity. The dances, however, consisted more in wanton
gestures than in muscular exertion or graceful attitudes. The ladies vied
with each other in displaying the most voluptuous movements imaginable.

December 25th. About two o'clock in the morning a number of horsemen came
into the town, and having awakened my landlord, talked to him for some
time in the Serawoolli tongue; after which they dismounted, and came to
the Bentang, on which I had made my bed. One of them thinking that I was
asleep, attempted to steal the musket that lay by me on the mat; but
finding that he could not effect his purpose undiscovered, he desisted:
and the strangers sat down by me till daylight.

I could now easily perceive, by the countenance of my interpreter,
Johnson, that something very unpleasant was in agitation. I was likewise
surprised to see Madiboo and the blacksmith so soon returned. On
inquiring the reason, Madiboo informed me that as they were dancing at
Dramanet, ten horsemen, belonging to Batcheri, king of the country, with
his second son at their head, had arrived there, inquiring if the white
man had passed: and on being told that I was at Joag, they rode off
without stopping. Madiboo added, that on hearing this, he and the
blacksmith hastened back to give me notice of their coming. Whilst I was
listening to this narrative, the ten horsemen mentioned by Madiboo
arrived; and coming to the Bentang, dismounted and seated themselves with
those who had come before, the whole being about twenty in number,
forming a circle round me, and each man holding his musket in his hand. I
took this opportunity to observe to my landlord, that as I did not
understand the Serawoolli tongue, I hoped, whatever the men had to say
they would speak in Mandingo. To this they agreed; and a short man,
loaded with a remarkable number of saphies, opened the business in a very
long harangue, informing me that I had entered the king's town without
having first paid the duties, or giving any present to the king, and
that, according to the laws of the country, my people, cattle, and
baggage, were forfeited.  He added, that they had received orders from
the king to conduct me to Maana,[8] the place of his residence; and if I
refused to come with them, their orders were to bring me by force; upon
his saying which, all of them rose up and asked me if I was ready. It
would have been equally vain and imprudent in me to have resisted or
irritated such a body of men; I therefore affected to comply with their
commands, and begged them only to stop a little until I had given my
horse a feed of corn, and settled matters with my landlord. The poor
blacksmith, who was a native of Kasson, mistook this feigned compliance
for a real intention, and taking me away from the company, told me that
he had always behaved towards me as if I had been his father and master;
and he hoped I would not entirely ruin him, by going to Maana; adding,
that as there was every reason to believe a war would soon take place
between Kasson and Kajaaga, he should not only lose his little property,
the savings of four years industry, but should certainly be detained and
sold as a slave, unless his friends had an opportunity of paying two
slaves for his redemption. I saw this reasoning in its full force, and
determined to do my utmost to preserve the blacksmith from so dreadful a
fate. I therefore told the king's son that I was ready to go with him,
upon condition that the blacksmith, who was an inhabitant of a distant
kingdom, and entirely unconnected with me, should be allowed to stay at
Joag till my return: to this they all objected; and insisted, that as we
had all acted contrary to the laws, we were all equally answerable for
our conduct.

  [8] Maana is within a short distance of the ruins of Fort St. Joseph,
    on the Senegal river, formerly a French factory.

I now took my landlord aside, and giving him a small present of
gunpowder, asked his advice in so critical a situation. He was decidedly
of opinion that I ought not to go to the king: he was fully convinced, he
said, that if the king should discover anything valuable in my
possession, he would not be over scrupulous about the means of obtaining
it. This made me the more solicitous to conciliate matters with the
king's people; and I began by observing, that what I had done did not
proceed from any want of respect towards the king, nor from any wish to
violate his laws, but wholly from my own inexperience and ignorance,
being a stranger, totally unacquainted with the laws and customs of their
country. I had indeed entered the king's frontier, without knowing that I
was to pay the duties beforehand, but I was ready to pay them now; which
I thought was all that they could reasonably demand. I then tendered
them, as a present to the king, the five drachms of gold which the King
of Bondou had given me: this they accepted, but insisted on examining my
baggage, which I opposed in vain. The bundles were opened; but the men
were much disappointed in not finding in them so much gold and amber as
they expected; they made up the deficiency, however, by taking whatever
things they fancied; and after wrangling and debating with me till
sunset, they departed, having first robbed me of half my goods. These
proceedings dispirited my people, and our fortitude was not strengthened
by a very indifferent supper, after a long fast. Madiboo begged me to
turn back; Johnson laughed at the thoughts of proceeding without money,
and the blacksmith was afraid to be seen, or even to speak, lest any one
should discover him to be a native of Kasson. In this disposition we
passed the night by the side of a dim fire, and our situation the next
day was very perplexing: it was impossible to procure provisions without
money, and I knew that if I produced any beads or amber, the king would
immediately hear of it, and I should probably lose the few effects I had
concealed. We therefore resolved to combat hunger for the day, and wait
some favourable opportunity of purchasing or begging provisions.

Towards evening, as I was sitting upon the Bentang, chewing straws, an
old female slave, passing by with a basket upon her head, asked me _if I
had got my dinner_. As I thought she only laughed at me, I gave her no
answer; but my boy, who was sitting close by, answered for me, and told
her that the king's people had robbed me of all my money. On hearing
this, the good old woman, with a look of unaffected benevolence,
immediately took the basket from her head, and showing me that it
contained ground nuts, asked me if I could eat them; being answered in
the affirmative, she presented me with a few handfuls, and walked away
before I had time to thank her for this seasonable supply. This trifling
circumstance gave me peculiar satisfaction. I reflected with pleasure on
the conduct of this poor untutored slave, who, without examining into my
character or circumstances, listened implicitly to the dictates of her
own heart. Experience had taught her that hunger was painful, and her own
distresses made her commiserate those of others.

The old woman had scarcely left me, when I received information that a
nephew of Demba Sego Jalla, the Mandingo King of Kasson, was coming to
pay me a visit. He had been sent on an embassy to Batcheri, King of
Kajaaga, to endeavour to settle the disputes which had arisen between his
uncle and the latter; but after debating the matter four days without
success, he was now on his return; and hearing that a white man was at
Joag, in his way to Kasson, curiosity brought him to see me. I
represented to him my situation and distresses; when he frankly offered
me his protection, and said he would be my guide to Kasson, (provided I
would set out the next morning,) and be answerable for my safety. I
readily and gratefully accepted his offer; and was ready, with my
attendants, by daylight on the morning of the 27th of December.

My protector, whose name was Demba Sego, probably after his uncle, had a
numerous retinue. Our company at leaving Joag consisted of thirty persons
and six loaded asses; and we rode on cheerfully enough for some hours,
without any remarkable occurrence, until we came to a species of tree,
for which my interpreter, Johnson, had made frequent inquiry. On finding
it, he desired us to stop; and producing a white chicken, which he had
purchased at Joag for the purpose, he tied it by the leg to one of the
branches, and then told us we might now safely proceed, for that our
journey would be prosperous. This circumstance is mentioned merely to
illustrate the disposition of the Negroes, and to show the power of
superstition over their minds; for although this man had resided seven
years in England, it was evident that he still retained the prejudices
and notions he had imbibed in his youth. He meant this ceremony, he told
me, as an offering or sacrifice to the spirits of the woods; who were, he
said, a powerful race of beings of a white colour, with long flowing
hair. I laughed at his folly, but could not condemn the piety of his

At noon we had reached Gungadi, a large town, where we stopped about an
hour, until some of the asses that had fallen behind came up. Here I
observed a number of date trees, and a mosque built of clay, with six
turrets, on the pinnacles of which were placed six ostrich eggs. A little
before sunset we arrived at the town of Samee, on the banks of the
Senegal, which is here a beautiful but shallow river, moving slowly over
a bed of sand and gravel. The banks are high and covered with verdure;
the country is open and cultivated; and the rocky hills of Felow and
Bambouk add much to the beauty of the landscape.

December 28th.  We departed from Samee, and arrived in the afternoon at
Kayee, a large village, part of which is situated on the north, and part
on the south side of the river. A little above this place is a
considerable cataract, where the river flows over a ledge of whinstone
rock with great force: below this the river is remarkably black and deep;
and here it was proposed to make our cattle swim over. After hallooing,
and firing some muskets, the people on the Kasson side observed us, and
brought over a canoe to carry our baggage. I did not, however, think it
possible to get the cattle down the bank, which is here more than forty
feet above the water; but the Negroes seized the horses, and launched one
at a time down a sort of trench or gulley that was almost perpendicular,
and seemed to have been worn smooth by this sort of use. After the
terrified cattle had been plunged in this manner to the water's edge,
every man got down as well as he could. The ferryman then taking hold of
the most steady of the horses by a rope, led him into the water, and
paddled the canoe a little from the brink; upon which a general attack
commenced upon the other horses, who, finding themselves pelted and
kicked on all sides, unanimously plunged into the river, and followed
their companion. A few boys swam in after them; and by laving water upon
them when they attempted to return, urged them onwards, and we had the
satisfaction in about fifteen minutes to see them all safe on the other
side. It was a matter of greater difficulty to manage the asses: their
natural stubbornness of disposition made them endure a great deal of
pelting and shoving before they would venture into the water; and when
they had reached the middle of the stream, four of them turned back, in
spite of every exertion to get them forwards. Two hours were spent in
getting the whole of them over; an hour more was employed in transporting
the baggage; and it was near sunset before the canoe returned, when Demba
Sego and myself embarked in this dangerous passage-boat, which the least
motion was like to overset. The king's nephew thought this a proper time
to have a peep into a tin box of mine, that stood in the forepart of the
canoe; and in stretching out his hand for it, he unfortunately destroyed
the equilibrium, and overset the canoe. Luckily we were not far advanced,
and got back to the shore without much difficulty; from whence, after
wringing the water from our clothes, we took a fresh departure, and were
soon afterwards safely landed in Kasson.


_Arrival at Teesee.--Interview with Tiggity Sego, the king's
brother,--The Author's detention at Teesee.--Some account of that place
and its inhabitants.--Incidents which occurred there.--Rapacious conduct
of Tiggity Sego toward the Author on his departure--Sets out for
Kooniakary, the capital of the kingdom.--Incidents on the road, and
arrival at Kooniakary._

We no sooner found ourselves safe in Kasson, than Demba Sego told me that
we were now in his uncle's dominions, and he hoped I would consider,
being now out of danger, the obligation I owed to him, and make him a
suitable return for the trouble he had taken on my account by a handsome
present. This, as he knew how much had been pilfered from me at Joag, was
rather an unexpected proposition; and I began to fear that I had not much
improved my condition by crossing the water; but as it would have been
folly to complain, I made no observation upon his conduct, and gave him
seven bars of amber and some tobacco, with which he seemed to be content.

After a long day's journey, in the course of which I observed a number of
large loose nodules of white granite, we arrived at Teesee on the evening
of December 29th, and were accommodated in Demba Sego's hut. The next
morning he introduced me to his father Tiggity Sego, brother to the King
of Kasson, chief of Teesee. The old man viewed me with great earnestness,
having never, he said, beheld but one white man before, whom by his
description I immediately knew to be Major Houghton. I related to him, in
answer to his inquiries, the motives that induced me to explore the
country. But he seemed to doubt the truth of what I asserted; thinking, I
believe, that I secretly meditated some project which I was afraid to
avow. He told me, it would be necessary I should go to Kooniakary, the
residence of the king, to pay my respects to that prince, but desired me
to come to him again before I left Teesee.

In the afternoon one of his slaves eloped; and a general alarm being
given, every person that had a horse rode into the woods, in the hopes of
apprehending him; and Demba Sego begged the use of my horse for the same
purpose. I readily consented: and in about an hour they all returned with
the slave, who was severely flogged, and afterwards put in irons. On the
day following, (Dec. 31,) Demba Sego was ordered to go with twenty
horsemen to a town in Gedumah, to adjust some dispute with the Moors, a
party of whom were supposed to have stolen three horses from Teesee.
Demba begged a second time the use of my horse; adding, that the sight of
my bridle and saddle would give him consequence among the Moors. This
request also I readily granted, and he promised to return at the end of
three days. During his absence I amused myself with walking about the
town, and conversing with the natives, who attended me everywhere with
great kindness and curiosity, and supplied me with milk, eggs, and what
other provisions I wanted, on very easy terms.

Teesee is a large unwalled town, having no security against the attack of
an enemy except a sort of citadel, in which Tiggity and his family
constantly reside. This town, according to the report of the natives, was
formerly inhabited only by a few Foulah shepherds, who lived in
considerable affluence by means of the excellent meadows in the
neighbourhood, in which they reared great herds of cattle; but their
prosperity attracting the envy of some Mandingoes, the latter drove out
the shepherds, and took possession of their lands.

The present inhabitants, though they possess both cattle and corn in
abundance, are not over nice in articles of diet; rats, moles, squirrels,
snakes, locusts, &c., are eaten without scruple by the highest and
lowest. My people were one evening invited to a feast given by some of
the townsmen, where, after making a hearty meal of what they thought fish
and kouskous, one of them found a piece of hard skin in the dish, and
brought it along with him, to show me what sort of fish they had been
eating. On examining the skin, I found they had been feasting on a large
snake. Another custom, still more extraordinary, is, that no woman is
allowed to eat an egg. This prohibition, whether arising from ancient
superstition, or from the craftiness of some old Bushreen who loved eggs
himself, is rigidly adhered to, and nothing will more affront a woman of
Teesee than to offer her an egg. The custom is the more singular, as the
men eat eggs without scruple in the presence of their wives, and I never
observed the same prohibition in any other of the Mandingo countries.

The third day after his son's departure, Tiggity Sego held a palaver on a
very extraordinary occasion, which I attended; and the debates on both
sides of the question displayed much ingenuity. The case was this: A
young man, a Kafir, of considerable affluence, who had recently married a
young and handsome wife, applied to a very devout Bushreen, or Mussulman
priest of his acquaintance, to procure him saphies for his protection
during the approaching war. The Bushreen complied with the request; and
in order, as he pretended, to render the saphies more efficacious,
enjoined the young man to avoid any nuptial intercourse with his bride
for the space of six weeks. Severe as the injunction was, the Kafir
strictly obeyed; and without telling his wife the real cause, absented
himself from her company. In the meantime, it began to be whispered at
Teesee, that the Bushreen, who always performed his evening devotions at
the door of the Kafir's hut, was more intimate with the young wife than
he ought to be. At first, the good husband was unwilling to suspect the
honour of his sanctified friend, and one whole month elapsed before any
jealousy rose in his mind; but hearing the charge repeated he at last
interrogated his wife on the subject who frankly confessed that the
Bushreen had seduced her.

Hereupon the Kafir put her into confinement, and called a palaver upon
the Bushreen's conduct. The fact was clearly proved against him; and he
was sentenced to be sold into slavery, or to find two slaves for his
redemption, according to the pleasure of the complainant. The injured
husband, however, was unwilling to proceed against his friend to such
extremity, and desired rather to have him publicly flogged before Tiggity
Sego's gate. This was agreed to, and the sentence was immediately
executed. The culprit was tied by the hands to a strong stake; and a long
black rod being brought forth, the executioner, after flourishing it
round his head for some time, applied it with such force and dexterity to
the Bushreen's back, as to make him roar until the woods resounded with
his screams. The surrounding multitude, by their hooting and laughing,
manifested how much they enjoyed the punishment of this old gallant; and
it is worthy of remark, that the number of stripes was precisely the same
as are enjoined by the Mosaic law, _forty, save one._

As there appeared great probability that Teesee, from its being a
frontier town, would be much exposed, during the war, to the predatory
excursions of the Moors of Gadumah, Tiggity Sego had, before my arrival,
sent round to the neighbouring villages, to beg or to purchase as much
provisions as would afford subsistence to the inhabitants for one whole
year, independently of the crop on the ground, which the Moors might
destroy. This project was well received by the country people, and they
fixed a day on which to bring all the provisions they could spare to
Teesee; and as my horse was not yet returned, I went in the afternoon of
January 4th, 1796, to meet the escort with the provisions.

It was composed of about 400 men marching in good order, with corn and
ground nuts in large calabashes upon their heads. They were preceded by a
strong guard of bowmen, and followed by eight musicians or singing men.
As soon as they approached the town, the latter began a song, every verse
of which was answered by the company, and succeeded by a few strokes on
the large drums. In this manner they proceeded amidst the acclamations of
the populace, till they reached the house of Tiggity Sego, where the
loads were deposited; and in the evening they all assembled under the
Bentang tree, and spent the night in dancing and merriment. Many of these
strangers remained at Teesee for three days, during which time I was
constantly attended by as many of them as could conveniently see me; one
party giving way to another, as soon as curiosity was gratified.

On the 5th of January an embassy of ten people belonging to Almami
Abdulkader, King of Foota Torra, a country to the west of Bondou, arrived
at Teesee; and desiring Tiggity Sego to call an assembly of the
inhabitants, announced publicly their king's determination, to this
effect: "That unless all the people of Kasson would embrace the Mahomedan
religion, and evince their conversion by saying eleven public prayers, he
(the King of Foota Torra) could not possibly stand neuter in the present
contest, but would certainly join his arms to those of Kajaaga." A
message of this nature, from so powerful a prince, could not fail to
create great alarm; and the inhabitants of Teesee, after a long
consultation, agreed to conform to his good pleasure, humiliating as it
was to them. Accordingly, one and all publicly offered up eleven prayers,
which were considered a sufficient testimony of their having renounced
Paganism, and embraced the doctrines of the Prophet.

It was the 8th of January before Demba Sego returned with my horse; and
being quite wearied out with the delay, I went immediately to inform his
father, that I should set out for Kooniakary early the next day. The old
man made many frivolous objections; and at length gave me to understand,
that I must not think of departing, without first paying him the same
duties he was entitled to receive from all travellers; besides which, he
expected, he said, some acknowledgment for his kindness towards me.
Accordingly, on the morning of the 9th, my friend Demba, with a number of
people, came to me, and said that they were sent by Tiggity Sego for my
present, and wished to see what goods I had appropriated for that
purpose. I knew that resistance was hopeless, and complaint unavailing;
and being in some measure prepared, by the intimation I had received the
night before, I quietly offered him seven bars of amber and five of
tobacco. After surveying these articles for some time very coolly, Demba
laid them down, and told me this, was not a present for a man of Tiggity
Sego's consequence, who had it in his power to take whatever he pleased
from me. He added, that if I did not consent to make him a larger
offering, he would carry all my baggage to his father and let him choose
for himself. I had not time for reply; for Demba and his attendants
immediately began to open my bundles, and spread the different articles
upon the floor, where they underwent a more strict examination than they
had done at Joag. Every thing that pleased them they took without
scruple; and amongst other things, Demba seized the tin box, which had so
much attracted his attention in crossing the river. Upon collecting the
scattered remains of my little fortune after these people had left me, I
found that as at Joag I had been plundered of half, so here, without even
the shadow of accusation, I was deprived of half the remainder. The
blacksmith himself, though a native of Kasson, had also been compelled to
open his bundles, and take an oath that the different articles they
contained were his own exclusive property. There was, however, no remedy;
and having been under some obligation to Demba Sego for his attention
towards me in the journey from Joag, I did not reproach him for his
rapacity, but determined to quit Teesee at all events the next morning.
In the meanwhile, in order to raise the drooping spirits of my
attendants, I purchased a fat sheep, and had it dressed for our dinner.

Early in the morning of January 10th, therefore, I left Teesee, and about
mid-day ascended a ridge, from whence we had a distant view of the hills
round Kooniakary. In the evening we reached a small village, where we
slept, and departing from thence the next morning, crossed in a few hours
a narrow but deep stream called Krieko, a branch of the Senegal. About
two miles farther to the eastward, we passed a large town called Madina;
and at two o'clock came in sight of Jumbo, the blacksmith's native town,
from whence he had been absent more than four years. Soon after this, his
brother, who had by some means been apprised of his coming, came out to
meet him, accompanied by a singing man; he brought a horse for the
blacksmith, that he might enter his native town in a dignified manner;
and he desired each of us to put a good charge of powder into our guns.
The singing man now led the way, followed by the two brothers; and we
were presently joined by a number of people from the town, all of whom
demonstrated great joy at seeing their old acquaintance the blacksmith,
by the most extravagant jumping and singing. On entering the town, the
singing man began an ex-tempore song in praise of the blacksmith,
extolling his courage in having overcome so many difficulties; and
concluding with a strict injunction to his friends to dress him plenty of

When we arrived at the blacksmith's place of residence we dismounted and
fired our muskets. The meeting between him and his relations was very
tender; for these rude children of nature, free from restraint, display
their emotions in the strongest and most expressive manner. Amidst these
transports, the blacksmith's aged mother was led forth, leaning upon a
staff. Every one made way for her; and she stretched out her hand to bid
her son welcome. Being totally blind, she stroked his hands, arms, and
face, with great care, and seemed highly delighted that her latter days
were blessed by his return, and that her ears once more heard the music
of his voice. From this interview I was fully convinced, that whatever
difference there is between the Negro and European, in the conformation
of the nose and the colour of the skin, there is none in the genuine
sympathies and characteristic feelings of our common nature.

During the tumult of these congratulations, I had seated myself apart, by
the side of one of the huts, being unwilling to interrupt the flow of
filial and parental tenderness; and the attention of the company was so
entirely taken up with the blacksmith, that I believe none of his friends
had observed me. When all the people present had seated themselves, the
blacksmith was desired by his father to give them some account of his
adventures, and silence being commanded, he began; and after repeatedly
thanking God for the success that had attended him, related every
material occurrence that had happened to him from his leaving Kasson to
his arrival at the Gambia; his employment and success in those parts; and
the dangers he had escaped in returning to his native country. In the
latter part of his narration, he had frequently occasion to mention me;
and after many strong expressions concerning my kindness to him, he
pointed to the place where I sat, and exclaimed, _affille ibi siring_,
"see him sitting there." In a moment all eyes were turned upon me; I
appeared like a being dropped from the clouds; every one was surprised
that they had not observed me before; and a few women and children
expressed great uneasiness at being so near a man of such an uncommon
appearance. By degrees, however, their apprehensions subsided; and when
the blacksmith assured them that I was perfectly inoffensive, and would
hurt nobody, some of them ventured so far as to examine the texture of my
clothes; but many of them were still very suspicious; and when by
accident I happened to move myself, or look at the young children, their
mothers would scamper off with them with the greatest precipitation. In a
few hours, however, they all became reconciled to me.

With those worthy people I spent the remainder of that, and the whole of
the ensuing day, in feasting and merriment; and the blacksmith declared
he would not quit me during my stay at Kooniakary, for which place we set
out early on the morning of the 14th of January, and arrived about the
middle of the day at Soolo, a small village three miles to the south of

As this place was somewhat out of the direct road, it is necessary to
observe, that I went thither to visit a Slatee, or Gambia trader, of
great note and reputation, named Salim Daucari. He was well known to Dr
Laidley, who had trusted him with effects to the value of five slaves,
and had given me an order for the whole of the debt. We luckily found him
at home, and he received me with great kindness and attention. It is
remarkable, however, that the King of Kasson was, by some means,
immediately apprised of my motions; for I had been at Soolo but a few
hours, before Sambo Sego, his second son, came thither with a party of
horse, to inquire what had prevented me from proceeding to Kooniakary,
and waiting immediately upon the king, who, he said, was impatient to see
me. Salim Daucari made my apology, and promised to accompany me to
Kooniakary the same evening: we accordingly departed from Soolo at
sunset, and in about an hour entered Kooniakary. But as the king had gone
to sleep, we deferred the interview till next morning, and slept at the
hut of Sambo Sego.

My interview with the king, and the incidents which occurred to me in the
kingdoms of Kasson and Kaarta, will be the subject of the ensuing


_The Author admitted to an audience of the King of Kasson, whom he finds
well disposed towards him.--Incidents during the Author's stay at
Kooniakary.--Departs thence for Kemmoo, the capital of Kaarta.--Is
received with great kindness by the King of Kaarta, who dissuades him
from prosecuting his journey, on account of approaching hostilities with
the King of Bambarra.--The Author determines, notwithstanding, to
proceed: and the usual route being obstructed, takes the path to Ludamar,
a Moorish kingdom.--Is accommodated by the king with a guide to Jarra,
the frontier town of the Moorish territories; and sets out for that
place, accompanied by three of the king's sons, and 200 horsemen._

About eight o'clock in the morning of January 15, 1796, we went to an
audience of the king, (Demba Sego Jalla,) but the crowd of people to see
me was so great, that I could scarcely get admittance. A passage being at
length obtained, I made my bow to the monarch, whom we found sitting upon
a mat, in a large hut: he appeared to be a man of about sixty years of
age. His success in war, and the mildness of his behaviour in time of
peace, had much endeared him to all his subjects. He surveyed me with
great attention; and when Salim Daucari explained to him the object of my
journey, and my reasons for passing through his country, the good old
king appeared not only perfectly satisfied, but promised me every
assistance in his power. He informed me that he had seen Major Houghton,
and presented him with a white horse; but that, after crossing the
kingdom of Kaarta, he had lost his life among the Moors; in what manner
he could not inform me. When this audience was ended we returned to our
lodging, and I made up a small present for the king, out of the few
effects that were left me; for I had not yet received anything from Salim
Daucari. This present, though inconsiderable in itself, was well received
by the king, who sent me in return a large white bullock. The sight of
this animal quite delighted my attendants; not so much on account of its
bulk, as from its being of a white colour, which is considered as a
particular mark of favour. But although the king himself was well
disposed towards me, and readily granted me permission to pass through
his territories, I soon discovered that very great and unexpected
obstacles were likely to impede my progress. Besides the war which was on
the point of breaking out between Kasson and Kajaaga, I was told that the
next kingdom of Kaarta, through which my route lay, was involved in the
issue; and was furthermore threatened with hostilities on the part of
Bambarra. The king himself informed me of these circumstances, and
advised me to stay in the neighbourhood of Kooniakary, till such time as
he could procure proper information respecting Bambarra, which he
expected to do in the course of four or five days, as he had already, he
said, sent four messengers into Kaarta for that purpose. I readily
submitted to this proposal, and went to Soolo, to stay there till the
return of one of those messengers. This afforded me a favourable
opportunity of receiving what money Salim Daucari could spare me on Dr
Laidley's account. I succeeded in receiving the value of three slaves,
chiefly in gold dust; and being anxious to proceed as quickly as
possible, I begged Daucari to use his interest with the king to allow me
a guide by the way of Fooladoo, as I was informed that the war had
already commenced between the Kings of Bambarra and Kaarta. Daucari
accordingly set out for Kooniakary on the morning of the 20th, and the
same evening returned with the king's answer, which was to this purpose,
that the king had many years ago made an agreement with Daisy, King of
Kaarta, to send all merchants and travellers through his dominions; but
that if I wished to take the route through Fooladoo, I had his permission
so to do; though he could not, consistently with his agreement, lend me a
guide. Having felt the want of regal protection in a former part of my
journey, I was unwilling to hazard a repetition of the hardships I had
then experienced, especially as the money I had received was probably the
last supply that I should obtain; I therefore determined to wait for the
return of the messengers from Kaarta.

In the interim, it began to be whispered abroad, that I had received
plenty of gold from Salim Daucari; and on the morning of the 23d, Sambo
Sego paid me a visit with a party of horsemen. He insisted upon knowing
the exact amount of the money I had obtained; declaring, that whatever
the sum was, one half of it must go to the king; besides which, he
intimated that he expected a handsome present for himself, as being the
king's sons and for his attendants, as being the king's relations. The
reader will easily perceive, that if all these demands had been
satisfied, I should not have been overburdened with money; but though it
was very mortifying to me to comply with the demands of injustice, and so
arbitrary an exaction, yet, thinking it was highly dangerous to make a
foolish resistance, and irritate the lion when within the reach of his
paw, I prepared to submit; and if Salim Daucari had not interposed, all
my endeavours to mitigate this oppressive claim would have been of no
avail, Salim at last prevailed upon Sambo to accept sixteen bars of
European merchandize, and some powder and ball, as a complete payment of
every demand that could be made upon me in the kingdom of Kasson.

January 26th. In the forenoon, I went to the top of a high hill to the
southward of Soolo, where I had a most enchanting prospect of the
country. The number of towns and villages, and the extensive cultivation
around them, surpassed every thing I had yet seen in Africa. A gross
calculation may be formed of the number of inhabitants in this delightful
plain, by considering, that the King of Kasson can raise four thousand
fighting men by the sound of his war-drum. In traversing the rocky
eminences of this hill, which are almost destitute of vegetation, I
observed a number of large holes in the crevices and fissures of the
rocks, where the wolves and hyaenas take refuge during the day. Some of
these animals paid us a visit on the evening of the 27th: their approach
was discovered by the dogs of the village; and on this occasion it is
remarkable, that the dogs did not bark, but howl in the most dismal
manner. The inhabitants of the village no sooner heard them than, knowing
the cause, they armed themselves; and providing bunches of dry grass,
went in a body to the inclosure in the middle of the village where the
cattle were kept. Here they lighted the bunches of grass, and, waving
them to and fro, ran hooping and hallooing towards the hills. This
manoeuvre had the desired effect of frightening the wolves away from the
village; but, on examination, we found that they had killed five of the
cattle, and torn and wounded many others.

February 1st. The messengers arrived from Kaarta, and brought
intelligence that the war had not yet commenced between Bambarra and
Kaarta, and that I might probably pass through Kaarta before the Bambarra
army invaded that country.

Feb. 3d. Early in the morning, two guides on horseback came from
Kooniakary to conduct me to the frontiers of Kaarta. I accordingly took
leave of Salim Daucari, and parted for the last time from my
fellow-traveller the blacksmith, whose kind solicitude for my welfare had
been so conspicuous; and about ten o'clock departed from Soolo. We
travelled this day through a rocky and hilly country, along the banks of
the river Krieko, and at sunset came to the village of Soomo, where we

Feb. 4th. We departed from Soomo, and continued our route along the banks
of the Krieko, which are everywhere well cultivated, and swarm with
inhabitants. At this time they were increased by the number of people
that had flown thither from Kaarta, on account of the Bambarra war. In
the afternoon we reached Kimo, a large village, the residence of Madi
Konko, governor of the hilly country of Kasson, which is called Sorroma,
From hence the guides appointed by the King of Kasson returned, to join
in the expedition against Kajaaga; and I waited until the 6th, before I
could prevail on Madi Konko to appoint me a guide to Kaarta.

Feb. 7th. Departing from Kimo, with Madi Konko's son as a guide, we
continued our course along the banks of the Krieko until the afternoon,
when we arrived at Kangee, a considerable town. The Krieko is here but a
small rivulet; this beautiful stream takes its rise a little to the
eastward of this town, and descends with a rapid and noisy current until
it reaches the bottom of the high hill called Tappa, where it becomes
more placid, and winds gently through the lovely plains of Kooniakary;
after which, having received an additional branch from the north, it is
lost in the Senegal, somewhere near the falls of Felow.

Feb. 8th. This day we travelled over a rough stony country, and having
passed Seimpo and a number of other villages, arrived in the afternoon at
Lackarago, a small village, which stands upon the ridge of hills that
separates the kingdoms of Kasson and Kaarta. In the course of the day we
passed many hundreds of people flying from Kaarta, with their families
and effects.

Feb. 9th. Early in the morning we departed from Lackarago, and a little
to the eastward came to the brow of a hill, from whence we had an
extensive view of the country. Towards the south-east were perceived some
very distant hills, which our guide told us were the mountains of
Fooladoo. We travelled with great difficulty down a stony and abrupt
precipice, and continued our way in the bed of a dry river course, where
the trees meeting over head made the place dark and cool. In a little
time we reached the bottom of this romantic glen, and about ten o'clock
emerged from between two rocky hills, and found ourselves on the level
and sandy plains of Kaarta. At noon we arrived at a Korree, or
watering-place, where, for a few strings of beads, I purchased as much
milk and corn-meal as we could eat: indeed, provisions are here so cheap,
and the shepherds live in such affluence, that they seldom ask any,
return for what refreshments a traveller receives from them. From this
Korree we reached Feesurah at sunset, where we took up our lodging for
the night.

Feb. 10th. We continued at Feesurah all this day, to have a few clothes
washed, and learn more exactly the situation of affairs before we
ventured towards the capital.

Feb. 11th. Our landlord, taking advantage of the unsettled state of the
country, demanded so extravagant a sum for our lodging, that suspecting
he wished for an opportunity to quarrel with us, I refused to submit to
his exorbitant demand; but my attendants were so much frightened at the
reports of approaching wars that they refused to proceed any further,
unless I could settle matters with him, and induce him to accompany us to
Kemmoo, for our protection on the road. This I accomplished with some
difficulty, and by a present of a blanket which I had brought with me to
sleep in, and for which our landlord had conceived a very great liking:
matters were at length amicably adjusted, and he mounted his horse and
led the way. He was one of those Negroes who, together with the
ceremonial part of the Mahomedan religion, retain all their ancient
superstitions, and even drink strong liquors. They are called Johars, or
Jowers, and in this kingdom form a very numerous and powerful tribe. We
had no sooner got into a dark and lonely part of the first wood, than he
made a sign for us to stop, and taking hold of a hollow piece of bamboo,
that hung as an amulet round his neck, whistled very loud three times. I
confess I was somewhat startled, thinking it was a signal for some of his
companions to come and attack us; but he assured me that it was done
merely with a view to ascertain what success we were likely to meet with
on our present journey. He then dismounted, laid his spear across the
road, and having said a number of short prayers, concluded with three
loud whistles; after which he listened for some time, as if in
expectation of an answer, and receiving none, told us we might proceed
without fear, for there was no danger. About noon we passed a number of
large villages quite deserted, the inhabitants having fled into Kasson to
avoid the horrors of war. We reached Karankalla at sunset; this formerly
was a large town, but having been plundered by the Bambarrans about four
years ago, nearly one half of it is still in ruins.

Feb. 12th. At daylight we departed from Karankalla, and as it was but a
short day's journey to Kemmoo, we travelled slower than usual, and amused
ourselves by collecting such eatable fruits as grew near the road-side.
In this pursuit I had wandered a little from my people, and being
uncertain whether they were before or behind me, I hastened to a rising
ground to look about me. As I was proceeding towards this eminence, two
Negro horsemen, armed with muskets, came galloping from among the bushes:
on seeing them I made a full stop; the horsemen did the same; and all
three of us seemed equally surprised and confounded at this interview. As
I approached them, their fears increased, and one of them, after casting
upon me a look of horror, rode off at full speed; the other, in a panic
of fear, put his hands over his eyes, and continued muttering prayers
until his horse, seemingly without the rider's knowledge, conveyed him
slowly after his companion. About a mile to the westward, they fell in
with my attendants, to whom they related a frightful story: it seems
their fears had dressed me in the flowing robes of a tremendous spirit;
and one of them affirmed, that when I made my appearance, a cold blast of
wind came pouring down upon him from the sky, like so much cold water.
About noon we saw at a distance the capital of Kaarta, situated in the
middle of an open plain, the country for two miles round being cleared of
wood, by the great consumption of that article for building and fuel, and
we entered the town about two o'clock in the afternoon.

We proceeded without stopping to the court before the king's residence
but I was so completely surrounded by the gazing multitude, that I did
not attempt to dismount, but sent in the landlord and Madi Konko's son,
to acquaint the king of my arrival. In a little time they returned
accompanied by a messenger from the king, signifying that he would see me
in the evening; and, in the meantime, the messenger had orders to procure
me a lodging, and see that the crowd did not molest me. He conducted me
into a court, at the door of which he stationed a man, with a stick in
his hand, to keep off the mob, and then showed me a large hut, in which I
was to lodge. I had scarcely seated myself in this spacious apartment,
when the mob entered; it was found impossible to keep them out, and I was
surrounded by as many as the hut could contain. When the first party,
however, had seen me; and asked a few questions, they retired to make
room for another company; and in this manner the hut was filled and
emptied thirteen different times.

A little before sunset, the king sent to inform me that he was at
leisure, and wished to see me. I followed the messenger through a number
of courts surrounded with high walls, where I observed plenty of dry
grass bundled up like hay, to fodder the horses in case the town should
be invested. On entering the court in which the king was sitting, I was
astonished at the number of his attendants, and at the good order that
seemed to prevail among them; they were all seated, the fighting men on
the king's right hand, and the women and children on the left, leaving a
space between them for my passage. The king, whose name was Daisy
Koorabarri, was not to be distinguished from his subjects by any
superiority in point of dress; a bank of earth about two feet high, upon
which was spread a leopard's skin, constituted the only mark of royal
dignity. When I had seated myself upon the ground before him, and related
the various circumstances that had induced me to pass through his
country, and my reasons for soliciting his protection, he appeared
perfectly satisfied; but said it was not in his power at present to
afford me much assistance; for that all sort of communication between
Kaarta and Bambarra had been interrupted for some time past; and as
Mansong, the King of Bambarra, with his army had entered Fooladoo in his
way to Kaarta, there was but little hope of my reaching Bambarra by any
of the usual routes, inasmuch as, coming from an enemy's country, I
should certainly be plundered or taken for a spy. If his country had been
at peace, he said, I might have remained with him until a more favourable
opportunity offered; but as matters stood at present, he did not wish me
to continue in Kaarta, for fear some accident should befal me, in which
case my countrymen might say that he had murdered a white man. He would
therefore advise me to return into Kasson, and remain there until the war
should terminate, which would probably happen in the course of three or
four months; after which, if he was alive, he said, he would be glad to
see me, and if he was dead, his sons would take care of me.

This advice was certainly well meant on the part of the king; and perhaps
I was to blame in not following it; but I reflected that the hot months
were approaching; and I dreaded the thoughts of spending the rainy season
in the interior of Africa. These considerations, and the aversion I felt
at the idea of returning without having made a greater progress in
discovery, made me determine to go forwards; and though the king could
not give me a guide to Bambarra, I begged that he would allow a man to
accompany me as near the frontiers of his kingdom as was consistent with
safety. Finding that I was determined to proceed, the king told me that
one route still remained, but that, he said, was by no means free from
danger; which was to go from Kaarta into the Moorish kingdom of Ludamar,
from whence I might pass, by a circuitous route, into Bambarra. If I
wished to follow this route, he would appoint people to conduct me to
Jarra, the frontier town of Ludamar. He then enquired very particularly
how I had been treated since I had left the Gambia, and asked in a
jocular way how many slaves I expected to carry home with me on my
return. He was about to proceed, when a man mounted on a fine Moorish
horse, which was covered with sweat and foam, entered the court, and
signifying that he had something of importance to communicate, the king
immediately took up his sandals, which is the signal to strangers to
retire. I accordingly took leave, but desired my boy to stay about the
place, in order to learn something of the intelligence that this
messenger had brought. In about an hour the boy returned, and informed me
that the Bambarra army had left Fooladoo, and was on its march towards
Kaarta; that the man I had seen, who had brought this intelligence, was
one of the scouts or watchmen employed by the king, each of whom has his
particular station, (commonly on some rising ground,) from whence he has
the best view of the country, and watches the motions of the enemy.

In the evening the king sent me a fine sheep; which was very acceptable,
as none of us had tasted victuals during the day. Whilst we were employed
in dressing supper, evening prayers were announced; not by the call of
the priest, as usual, but by beating on drums, and blowing through large
elephants' teeth, hollowed out in such a manner as to resemble
bugle-horns; the sound is melodious, and, in my opinion, comes nearer to
the human voice than any other artificial sound. As the main body of
Daisy's army was, at this juncture, at Kemmoo, the mosques were very much
crowded; and I observed that the disciples of Mahomet composed nearly one
half of the army of Kaarta.

Feb. 13th. At daylight I sent my horse-pistols and holsters as a present
to the king, and being very desirous to get away from a place which was
likely soon to become the seat of war, I begged the messenger to inform
the king, that I wished to depart from Kemmoo as soon as he should find
it convenient to appoint me a guide. In about an hour the king sent his
messenger to thank me for the present, and eight horsemen to conduct me
to Jarra. They told me that the king wished me to proceed to Jarra with
all possible expedition, that they might return before any thing decisive
should happen between the armies of Bambarra and Kaarta; we accordingly
departed forthwith from Kemmoo, accompanied by three of Daisy's sons, and
about two hundred horsemen, who kindly undertook to see me a little way
on my journey.


_Journey from Kemmoo to Funingkedy.--Some account of the Lotus.--A youth
murdered by the Moors--interesting scene at his death.--Author passes
through Simbing.--Some particulars concerning Major Houghton,--Author
reaches Jarra--situation of the surrounding states at the period of his
arrival there, and a brief account of the war between Kaarta and

On the evening of the day of our departure from Kemmoo, (the king's
eldest son and great part of the horsemen having returned,) we reached a
village called Marina, where we slept. During the night some thieves
broke into the hut where I had deposited my baggage, and having cut open
one of my bundles, stole a quantity of beads, part of my clothes, and
some amber and gold; which happened to be in one of the pockets. I
complained to my protectors, but without effect. The next day (Feb. 14th)
was far advanced before we departed from Marina, and we travelled slowly,
on account of the excessive heat, until four o'clock in the afternoon,
when two Negroes were observed sitting among some thorny bushes at a
little distance from the road. The king's people, taking it for granted
that they were runaway slaves, cocked their muskets, and rode at full
speed in different directions through the bushes, in order to surround
them, and prevent their escaping. The Negroes, however, waited with great
composure until we came within bowshot of them, when each of them took
from his quiver a handful of arrows, and putting two between his teeth,
and one in his bow, waved to us with his hand to keep at a distance upon
which one of the king's people called out to the strangers to give some
account of themselves. They said that "they were natives of Toorda, a
neighbouring village, and had come to that place to gather _tomberongs_."
These are small farinaceous berries, of a yellow colour and delicious
taste, which I knew to be the fruit of the _rhamnus lotus_ of Linnaeus.
The Negroes showed us two large baskets full, which they had collected in
the course of the day. These berries are much esteemed by the natives,
who convert them into a sort of bread, by exposing them for some days to
the sun, and afterwards pounding them gently in a wooden mortar, until
the farinaceous part of the berry is separated from the stone. This meal
is then mixed with a little water, and formed into cakes; which, when
dried in the sun, resemble in colour and flavour the sweetest
gingerbread. The stones are afterwards put into a vessel of water, and
shaken about so as to separate the meal which may still adhere to them;
this communicates a sweet and agreeable taste to the water, and, with the
addition of a little pounded millet, forms a pleasant gruel called
_fondi_, which is the common breakfast in many parts of Ludamar, during
the months of February and March. The fruit is collected by spreading a
cloth upon the ground, and beating, the branches with a stick.

The lotus is very common in all the kingdoms which I visited; but is
found in the greatest plenty on the sandy soil of Kaarta, Ludamar, and
the northern parts of Bambarra, where it is one of the most common shrubs
of the country. I had observed the same species at Gambia. The leaves of
the desert shrub are, however, much smaller; and more resembling, in that
particular, those represented in the engraving given by Desfontaines, in
the Memoires de l'Academie Royale des Sciences, 1788, p. 443.

As this shrub is found in Tunis, and also in the Negro kingdoms, and as
it furnishes the natives of the latter with a food resembling bread, and
also with a sweet liquor, which is much relished by them, there can be
little doubt of its being the lotus mentioned by Pliny as the food of
the Lybian Lotophagi. An army may very well have been fed with the bread
I have tasted, made of the meal of the fruit, as is said by Pliny to have
been done in Lybia; and as the taste of the bread is sweet and agreeable,
it is not likely that the soldiers would complain of it.

We arrived in the evening at the village of Toorda; when all the rest of
the king's people turned back except two, who remained with me as guides
to Jarra.

Feb. 15th. I departed from Toorda, and about two o'clock came to a
considerable town called Funingkedy. As we approached the town the
inhabitants were much alarmed; for, as one of my guides wore a turban,
they mistook us for some Moorish banditti. This misapprehension was soon
cleared up, and we were well received by a Gambia Slatee, who resides at
this town, and at whose house we lodged.

Feb. 16th. We were informed that a number of people would go from this
town to Jarra on the day following; and as the road was much infested by
the Moors, we resolved to stay and accompany the travellers. In the
meantime, we were told, that a few days before our arrival, most of the
Bushreens and people of property in Funingkedy had gone to Jarra, to
consult about removing their families and effects to that town, for fear
of the approaching war; and that the Moors, in their absence, had stolen
some of their cattle.

About two o'clock, as I was lying asleep upon a bullock's hide behind the
door of the hut, I was awakened by the screams of women, and a general
clamour and confusion among the inhabitants. At first I suspected that
the Bambarrans had actually entered the town; but observing my boy upon
the top of one of the huts, I called to him to know what was the matter.
He informed me that the Moors were come a second time to steal the
cattle, and that they were now close to the town. I mounted the roof of
the hut, and observed a large herd of bullocks coming towards the town,
followed by five Moors on horseback, who drove the cattle forward with
their muskets. When they had reached the wells, which are close to the
town, the Moors selected from the herd sixteen of the finest beasts, and
drove them off at full gallop.

During this transaction, the townspeople, to the number of five hundred,
stood collected close to the walls of the town; and when the Moors drove
the cattle away, though they passed within pistol shot of them, the
inhabitants scarcely made a show of resistance. I only saw four muskets
fired, which, being loaded with gunpowder of the Negroes' own
manufacture, did no execution. Shortly after this I observed a number of
people supporting a young man upon horseback, and conducting him slowly
towards the town. This was one of the herdsmen, who, attempting to throw
his spear, had been wounded by a shot from one of the Moors. His mother
walked on before, quite frantic with grief, clapping her hands, and
enumerating the good qualities of her son. _Ee maffo fonio_, (he never
told a lie,) said the disconsolate mother, as her wounded son was carried
in at the gate--_Ee maffo fonio abada_, (he never told a lie; no, never.)
When they had conveyed him to his hut, and laid him upon a mat, all the
spectators joined in lamenting his fate, by screaming and howling in the
most piteous manner.

After their grief had subsided a little, I was desired to examine the
wound. I found that the ball had passed quite through his leg, having
fractured both bones a little below the knee. The poor boy was faint from
the loss of blood, and his situation withal so very precarious, that I
could not console his relations with any great hopes of his recovery.
However, to give him a possible chance, I observed to them that it was
necessary to cut off his leg above the knee. This proposal made every one
start with horror; they had never heard of such a method of cure, and
would by no means give their consent to it; indeed, they evidently
considered me as a sort of cannibal for proposing so cruel and unheard-of
an operation, which, in their opinion, would be attended with more pain
and danger than the wound itself. The patient was therefore committed to
the care of some old Bushreens, who endeavoured to secure him a passage
into paradise, by whispering in his ear some Arabic sentences, and
desiring him to repeat them. After many unsuccessful attempts, the poor
Heathen at last pronounced, _la illah el allah, Mahomet rasowl
allahi_;[9] and the disciples of the Prophet assured his mother that her
son had given sufficient evidence of his faith, and would be happy in a
future state. He died the same evening.

  [9] There is but one God, and Mahomet is his Prophet.

Feb. 17th. My guides informed me, that in order to avoid the Moorish
banditti, it was necessary to travel in the night; we accordingly
departed from Funingkedy in the afternoon, accompanied by about thirty
people, carrying their effects with them into Ludamar, for fear of the
war. We travelled with great silence and expedition until midnight, when
we stopped in a sort of enclosure, near a small village; but the
thermometer being so low as 68°, none of the Negroes could sleep on
account of the cold.

At daybreak on the 18th we resumed our journey, and at eight o'clock
passed Simbing, the frontier village of Ludamar, situated in a narrow
pass between two rocky hills, and surrounded with a high wall. From this
village Major Houghton (being deserted by his Negro servants, who refused
to follow him into the Moorish country) wrote his last letter with a
pencil to Dr. Laidley. This brave but unfortunate man, having surmounted
many difficulties, had taken a northerly direction, and endeavoured to
pass through the kingdom of Ludamar, where I afterwards learned the
following particulars concerning his melancholy fate. On his arrival at
Jarra he got acquainted with certain Moorish merchants who were
travelling to Tisheet (a place near the salt pits in the Great Desert,
ten days' journey to the northward) to purchase salt; and the Major, at
the expense of a musket and some tobacco, engaged them to convey him
thither. It is impossible to form any other opinion on this
determination, than that the Moors intentionally deceived him, either
with regard to the route that he wished to pursue, or the state of the
intermediate country between Jarra and Tombuctoo. Their intention
probably was to rob and leave him in the Desert. At the end of two days
he suspected their treachery, and insisted on returning to Jarra. Finding
him persist in this determination, the Moors robbed him of every thing he
possessed, and went off with their camels; the poor Major being thus
deserted, returned on foot to a watering place in possession of the
Moors, called Tarra. He had been some days without food, and the
unfeeling Moors refusing to give him any, he sunk at last under his
distresses. Whether he actually perished of hunger, or was murdered
outright by the savage Mahomedans, is not certainly known; his body was
dragged into the woods, and I was shown at a distance the spot where his
remains were left to perish.

About four miles to the north of Simbing, we came to a small stream of
water, where we observed a number of wild horses; they were all of one
colour, and galloped away from us at any easy rate, frequently stopping
and looking back. The Negroes hunt them for food, and their flesh is much

About noon we arrived at Jarra, a large town situated at the bottom of
some rocky hills. But before I proceed to describe the place itself, and
relate the various occurrences which befel me there, it will not be
improper to give my readers a brief recital of the origin of the war
which induced me to take this route; an unfortunate determination, the
immediate cause of all the misfortunes and calamities which afterwards
befel me. The recital which I propose to give in this place will prevent
interruptions hereafter.

This war, which desolated Kaarta soon after I had left that kingdom, and
spread terror into many of the neighbouring states, arose in the
following manner. A few bullocks belonging to a frontier village of
Bambarra having been stolen by a party of Moors, were sold to the Dooty
or chief man of a town in Kaarta. The villagers claimed their cattle, and
being refused satisfaction, complained of the Dooty to their sovereign,
Mansong, King of Bambarra, who probably beheld with an eye of jealousy
the growing prosperity of Kaarta, and availed himself of this incident to
declare hostilities against that kingdom.

With this view he sent a messenger and a party of horsemen to Daisy, King
of Kaarta, to inform him that the King of Bambarra, with nine thousand
men, would visit Kemmoo in the course of the dry season; and to desire
that he (Daisy) would direct his slaves to sweep the houses, and have
every thing ready for their accommodation. The messenger concluded this
insulting notification by presenting the king with a pair of _iron
sandals_; at the same time adding, that "until such time as Daisy had
worn out these sandals in his flight, he should never be secure from the
arrows of Bambarra."

Daisy, having consulted with his chief men about the best means of
repelling so formidable an enemy, returned an answer of defiance, and
made a Bushreen write in Arabic, upon a piece of thin board, a sort of
proclamation, which was suspended to a tree in the public square; and a
number of aged men were sent to different places to explain it to the
common people. This proclamation called upon all the friends of Daisy to
join him immediately; but to such as had no arms, or were afraid to enter
into the war, permission was given to retire into any of the neighbouring
kingdoms; and it was added, that provided they observed a strict
neutrality, they should always be welcome to return to their former
habitations; if, however, they took any active part against Kaarta, they
had then "broken the key of their huts, and could never afterwards enter
the door." Such was the expression.

This proclamation was very generally applauded; but many of the Kaartans,
and, amongst others, the powerful tribes of Jower and Kakaroo, availing
themselves of the indulgent clause, retired from Daisy's dominions, and
took refuge in Ludamar and Kesson. By means of these desertions, Daisy's
army was not so numerous as might have been expected; and when I was at
Kemmoo, the whole number of effective men according to report, did not
exceed four thousand; but they were men of spirit and enterprise, and
could be depended on.

On the 22d of February, (four days after my arrival at Jarra) Mansong,
with his army, advanced towards Kemmoo; and Daisy, without hazarding a
battle, retired to Joko, a town to the north-west of Kemmoo, where he
remained three days, and then took refuge in a strong town called
Gedingooma, situated in the hilly country, and surrounded with high walls
of stone. When Daisy departed from Joko, his sons refused to follow him,
alleging that "the singing men would publish their disgrace, as soon as
it should be known that Daisy and his family had fled from Joko without
firing a gun." They were therefore left behind with a number of horsemen
to defend Joko; but, after many skirmishes, they were totally defeated,
and one of Daisy's sons taken prisoner; the remainder fled to Gedingooma,
which Daisy had stored with provisions, and where he determined to
make his final stand.

Mansong, finding that Daisy was determined to avoid a pitched battle,
placed a strong force at Joko to watch his motions, and separating the
remainder of his army into small detachments, ordered them to overrun the
country, and seize upon the inhabitants, before they had time to escape.
These orders were executed with such promptitude, that in a few days the
whole kingdom of Kaarta became a scene of desolation. Most of the poor
inhabitants of the different towns and villages, being surprised in the
night, fell an easy prey; and their corn, and every thing that could be
useful to Daisy, was burnt and destroyed. During these transactions,
Daisy was employed in fortifying Gedingooma: this town is built in a
narrow pass between two high hills, having only two gates, one towards
Kaarta and the other towards Jaffnoo: the gate towards Kaarta was
defended by Daisy in person; and that towards Jaffnoo was committed to
the charge of his sons. When the army of Bambarra approached the town,
they made some attempts to storm it, but were always driven back with
great loss; and Mansong, finding Daisy more formidable than he expected,
resolved to cut off his supplies, and starve him into submission. He
accordingly sent all the prisoners he had taken into Bambarra, and having
collected a considerable quantity of provisions, remained with his army
two whole months in the vicinity of Gedingooma, without doing any thing
decisive. During this time, he was much harassed by sallies from the
besieged; and his stock of provisions being nearly exhausted, he sent to
Ali, the Moorish King of Ludamar, for two hundred horsemen, to enable him
to make an attack upon the north gate of the town, and give the
Bambarrans an opportunity of storming the place. Ali, though he had made
an agreement with Mansong at the commencement of the war, to afford him
assistance, now refused to fulfil his engagement; which so enraged
Mansong, that he marched part of his army to Funingkedy, with a view to
surprise the camp of Benowm; but the Moors having received intelligence
of his design, fled to the northward; and Mansong, without attempting any
thing farther, returned to Sego. This happened while I was myself in
captivity in Ali's camp, as will hereafter be seen.

As the King of Kaarta had now got quit of his most formidable antagonist,
it might have been hoped that peace would have been restored to his
dominions; but an extraordinary incident involved him, immediately
afterwards, in hostilities with Kasson; the king of which country dying
about that time, the succession was disputed by his two sons. The younger
(Sambo Sego, my old acquaintance) prevailed, and drove his brother from
the country. He fled to Gedingooma; and, being pursued thither, Daisy,
who had lived in constant friendship with both the brothers, refused to
deliver him up; at the same time declaring that he would not support his
claim, nor any way interfere in the quarrel. Sambo Sego, elated with
success, and proud of the homage that was paid him as sovereign of
Kasson, was much displeased with Daisy's conduct, and joined with some
disaffected fugitive Kaartans in a plundering expedition against him.
Daisy, who little expected such a visit, had sent a number of people to
Joko, to plant corn, and collect together such cattle as they might find
straying in the woods, in order to supply his army. All these people fell
into the hands of Sambo Sego, who carried them to Kooniakary, and
afterwards sent them in caravans, to be sold to the French at Fort-Louis,
on the river Senegal.

This attack was soon retaliated; for Daisy, who was now in distress for
want of provisions, thought he was justified in supplying himself from
the plunder of Kasson. He accordingly took with him eight hundred of his
best men; and, marching secretly through the woods, surprised in the
night three large villages near Kooniakary, in which many of his
traitorous subjects, who were in Sambo's expedition, had taken up their
residence; all these, and indeed all the able men that fell into Daisy's
hands, were immediately put to death.

After this expedition, Daisy began to indulge the hopes of peace; many of
his discontented subjects had returned to their allegiance, and were
repairing the towns which had been desolated by the war; the rainy season
was approaching; and every thing wore a favourable appearance, when he
was suddenly attacked from a different quarter.

The Jowers, Kakaroos, and some other Kaartans, who had deserted from him
at the commencement of the war, and had shown a decided preference to
Mansong and his army during the whole campaign, were now afraid or
ashamed to ask forgiveness of Daisy, and being very powerful in
themselves, joined together to make war upon him. They solicited the
Moors to assist them in their rebellion, (as will appear hereafter,) and,
having collected a considerable army, they plundered a large village
belonging to Daisy, and carried off a number of prisoners.

Daisy immediately prepared to revenge this insult; but the Jowers, and
indeed almost all the Negro inhabitants of Ludamar, deserted their towns,
and fled to the eastward; and the rainy season put an end to the war of
Kaarta, which had enriched a few individuals, but destroyed the happiness
of thousands.

Such was the state of affairs among the nations in the neighbourhood of
Jarra, soon after the period of my arrival there. I shall now proceed,
after giving some description of that place, with the detail of events as
they occurred.


_Some account of Jarra, and the Moorish inhabitants.--The Author applies
for and obtains permission from Ali, the Moorish chief or sovereign of
Ludamar, to pass through his territories.--Departs from Jarra, and
arrives at Deena.--Ill treated by the Moors.--Proceeds to Sampaka.--Finds
a Negro who makes gunpowder.--Continues his journey to Samee, where he is
seized by some Moors, who are sent for that purpose by Ali.--Is conveyed
a prisoner to the Moorish camp at Benowm, on the borders of the Great

The town of Jarra is of considerable extent; the houses are built of clay
and stone intermixed; the clay answering the purpose of mortar. It is
situated in the Moorish kingdom of Ludamar; but the major part of the
inhabitants are Negroes, from the borders of the southern states, who
prefer a precarious protection under the Moors--which they purchase by a
tribute--rather than continue exposed to their predatory hostilities. The
tribute they pay is considerable; and they manifest towards their Moorish
superiors the most unlimited obedience and submission, and are treated by
them with the utmost indignity and contempt. The Moors of this, and the
other states adjoining the country of the Negroes, resemble in their
persons the Mulattoes of the West Indies to so great a degree, as not
easily to be distinguished from them; and in truth, the present
generation seem to be a mixed race between the Moors (properly so called)
of the North, and the Negroes of the South, possessing many of the worst
qualities of both nations.

Of the origin of these Moorish tribes, as distinguished from the
inhabitants of Barbary, from whom they are divided by the Great Desert,
nothing farther seems to be known than what is related by John Leo, the
African; whose account may be abridged as follows.

Before the Arabian Conquest, about the middle of the seventh century, all
the inhabitants of Africa, whether they were descended from Numidians,
Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, or Goths, were comprehended
under the general name of _Mauri_ or Moors. All these nations were
converted to the religion of Mahomet, during the Arabian empire under the
Caliphs. About this time many of the Numidian tribes, who led a wandering
life in the Desert, and supported themselves upon the produce of their
cattle, retired southward across the Great Desert, to avoid the fury of
the Arabians: and by one of those tribes, says Leo, (that of Zanhaga,)
were discovered and conquered the Negro nations on the Niger. By the
Niger is here undoubtedly meant the river of Senegal, which in the
Mandingo language is called _Bafing_, or the Black River.

To what extent these people are now spread over the African continent it
is difficult to ascertain; There is reason to believe, that their
dominion stretches from west to east, in a narrow line or belt, from the
mouth of the Senegal (on the northern side of that river) to the confines
of Abyssinia. They are a subtle and treacherous race of people; and take
every opportunity of cheating and plundering the credulous and
unsuspecting Negroes. But their manners and general habits of life will
be best explained, as incidents occur, in the course of my narrative.

On my arrival at Jarra, I obtained a lodging at the house of Daman Jumma,
a Gambia slatee. This man had formerly borrowed goods from Dr. Laidley,
who had given me an order for the money, to the amount of six slaves; and
though the debt was of five years standing, he readily acknowledged it,
and promised me what money he could raise. He was afraid, he said, in his
present situation, he could not pay more than two slaves' value. He gave
me his assistance, however, in exchanging my beads and amber for gold,
which was a more portable article, and more easily concealed from the

The difficulties we had already encountered, the unsettled state of the
country, and, above all, the savage and overbearing deportment of the
Moors, had so completely frightened my attendants, that they declared
they would rather relinquish every claim to reward, than proceed one step
farther to the eastward. Indeed, the danger they incurred of being seized
by the Moors, and sold into slavery, became every day more apparent; and
I could not condemn their apprehensions. In this situation, deserted by
my attendants, and reflecting that my retreat was cut off by the war
behind me, and that a Moorish country of ten days' journey lay before me,
I applied to Daman to obtain permission from Ali, the chief or sovereign
of Ludamar, that I might pass through his country unmolested into
Bambarra; and I hired one of Daman's slaves to accompany me thither, as
soon as such permission should be obtained. A messenger was dispatched to
Ali, who at this time was encamped near Benowm; and as a present was
necessary in order to insure success, I sent him five garments of cotton
cloth, which I purchased of Daman for one of my fowling-pieces. Fourteen
days elapsed in settling this affair; but, on the evening of the 26th of
February, one of Ali's slaves arrived with directions, as he pretended,
to conduct me in safety as far as Goomba; and told me I was to pay him
one garment of blue cotton cloth for his attendance. My faithful boy
observing that I was about to proceed without him, resolved to accompany
me; and told me, that though he wished me to turn back, he never had
entertained any serious thoughts of deserting me, but had been advised to
it by Johnson, with a view to induce me to return immediately for Gambia.

Feb. 27th. I delivered most of my papers to Johnson, to convey them to
Gambia as soon as possible, reserving a duplicate for myself, in case of
accidents. I likewise left in Daman's possession a bundle of clothes and
other things that were not absolutely necessary; for I wished to diminish
my baggage as much as possible, that the Moors might have fewer
inducements to plunder us.

Things being thus adjusted, we departed from Jarra in the forenoon, and
slept at Troomgoomba, a small walled village, inhabited by a mixture of
Negroes and Moors. On the day following (Feb. 28th) we reached Quira; and
on the 29th, after a toilsome journey over a sandy country, we came to
Compe, a watering place belonging to the Moors; from whence, on the
morning following, we proceeded to Deena, a large town, and, like Jarra,
built of stone and clay. The Moors are here in greater proportion to the
Negroes than at Jarra. They assembled round the hut of the Negro where I
lodged, and treated me with the greatest insolence: they hissed, shouted,
and abused me; they even spit in my face with a view to irritate me, and
afford them a pretext for seizing my baggage. But, finding such insults
had not the desired effect, they had recourse to the final and decisive
argument, that I was a Christian, and of course that my property was
lawful plunder to the followers of Mahomet. They accordingly opened my
bundles, and robbed me of every thing they fancied. My attendants,
finding that every body could rob me with impunity, insisted on returning
to Jarra.

The day following (March 2d) I endeavoured, by all the means in my power,
to prevail upon my people to go on; but they still continued obstinate;
and having reason to fear some further insult from the fanatic Moors, I
resolved to proceed alone. Accordingly, the next morning about two
o'clock, I departed from Deena. It was moonlight; but the roaring of the
wild beasts made it necessary to proceed with caution.

When I had reached a piece of rising ground about half a mile from the
town, I heard somebody halloo, and looking back, saw my faithful boy
running after me. He informed me, that Ali's man had gone back to Benowm,
and that Daman's Negro was about to depart for Jarra; but he said he had
no doubt, if I would stop a little, that he could persuade the latter to
accompany us. I waited accordingly, and in about an hour the boy returned
with the Negro; and we continued travelling over a sandy country, covered
chiefly with the _Asclepias giganteo_, until mid-day, when we came to a
number of deserted huts; and seeing some appearances of water at a
distance, I sent the boy to fill a soofroo; but as he was examining the
place for water, the roaring of a lion, that was probably on the same
pursuit, induced the frightened boy to return in haste; and we submitted
patiently to the disappointment. In the afternoon we reached a town
inhabited chiefly by Foulahs, called Samamingkoos.

Next morning (March 4th) we set out for Sampaka, which place we reached
about two o'clock. On the road we observed immense quantities of locusts;
the trees were quite black with them. These insects devour every
vegetable that comes in their way, and in a short time completely strip a
tree of its leaves. The noise of their excrement falling upon the leaves
and withered grass, very much resembles a shower of rain. When a tree is
shaken or struck, it is astonishing to see what a cloud of them will fly
off. In their flight they yield to the current of the wind, which at this
season of the year is always from the north-east. Should the wind shift,
it is difficult to conceive where they could collect food, as the whole
of their course was marked with desolation.

Sampaka is a large town, and, when the Moors and Bambarrans were at war,
was thrice attacked by the former: but they were driven off with great
loss, though the King of Bambarra was afterwards obliged to give up this,
and all the other towns as far as Goomba, in order to obtain a peace.
Here I lodged at the house of a Negro who practised the art of making
gunpowder. He showed me a bag of nitre, very white, but the crystals were
much smaller than common. They procure it in considerable quantities from
the ponds which are filled in the rainy season, and to which the cattle
resort for coolness during the heat of the day. When the water is
evaporated, a white efflorescence is observed on the mud, which the
natives collect and purify in such a manner as to answer their purpose.
The Moors supply them with sulphur from the Mediterranean; and the
process is completed by pounding the different articles together in a
wooden mortar. The grains are very unequal, and the sound of its
explosion is by no means so sharp as that produced by European gunpowder.

March 5th. We departed from Sampaka at daylight. About noon we stopped a
little at a village called Dungali; and in the evening arrived at Dalli.
We saw upon the road two large herds of camels feeding. When the Moors
turn their camels to feed, they tie up one of their fore legs, to prevent
their straying. This happened to be a feast day at Dalli, and the people
were dancing before the Dooty's house. But when they were informed that a
white man was come into the town, they left off dancing, and came to the
place where I lodged, walking in regular order, two and two, with the
music before them. They play upon a sort of flute; but instead of blowing
into a hole in the side, they blow obliquely over the end, which is half
shut by a thin piece of wood: they govern the holes on the side with
their fingers, and play some simple and very plaintive airs. They
continued to dance and sing until midnight; during which time I was
surrounded by so great a crowd, as made it necessary for me to satisfy
their curiosity, by sitting still.

March 6th. We stopt here this morning because some of the townspeople,
who were going for Goomba on the day following, wished to accompany us:
but in order to avoid the crowd of people which usually assembled in the
evening, we went to a Negro village to the east of Dalli, called Samee,
where we were kindly received by the hospitable Dooty, who on this
occasion killed two fine sheep, and invited his friends to come and feast
with him.

March 7th. Our landlord was so proud of the honour of entertaining a
white man, that he insisted on my staying with him and his friends until
the cool of the evening, when he said he would conduct me to the next
village. As I was now within two days' journey of Goomba, I had no
apprehensions from the Moors, and readily accepted the invitation. I
spent the forenoon very pleasantly with these poor Negroes: their company
was the more acceptable, as the gentleness of their manners presented a
striking contrast to the rudeness and barbarity of the Moors. They
enlivened their conversation by drinking a fermented liquor made from
corn; the same sort of beer that I have described in a former chapter;
and better I never tasted in Great Britain.

In the midst of this harmless festivity, I flattered myself that all
danger from the Moors was over. Fancy had already placed me on the banks
of the Niger, and presented to my imagination a thousand delightful
scenes in my future progress, when a party of Moors unexpectedly entered
the hut, and dispelled the golden dream. They came, they said, by Ali's
orders, to convey me to his camp at Benowm. If I went peaceably, they
told me I had nothing to fear; but if I refused, they had orders to bring
me by force. I was struck dumb by surprise and terror, which the Moors
observing, endeavoured to calm my apprehensions, by repeating the
assurance that I had nothing to fear. Their visit, they added, was
occasioned by the curiosity of Ali's wife, _Fatima_, who had heard so
much about Christians, that she was very anxious to see one: as soon as
her curiosity should be satisfied, they had no doubt, they said, that Ali
would give me a handsome present, and send a person to conduct me to
Bambarra. Finding entreaty and resistance equally fruitless, I prepared
to follow the messengers, and took leave of my landlord and his company
with great reluctance. Accompanied by my faithful boy, (for Daman's slave
made his escape on seeing the Moors,) we reached Dalli in the evening,
where we were strictly watched by the Moors during the night.

March 8th. We were conducted by a circuitous path through the woods to
Dangali, where we slept.

March 9th. We continued our journey, and in the afternoon arrived at
Sampaka. On the road we saw a party of Moors, well armed, who told us
that they were hunting for a runaway slave; but the townspeople informed
us, that a party of Moors had attempted to steal some cattle from the
town in the morning, but were repulsed; and on their describing the
persons, we were satisfied that they were the same banditti that we had
seen in the woods.

Next morning (March loath) we set out for Samamingkoos. On the road we
overtook a woman and two boys, with an ass; she informed us that she was
going for Bambarra, but had been stopped on the road by a party of Moors,
who had taken most of her clothes, and some gold from her: and that she
would be under the necessity of returning to Deena, till the fast moon
was over. The same evening the new moon was seen, which ushered in the
month Rhamadan. Large fires were made in different parts of the town, and
a greater quantity of victuals than usual dressed upon the occasion.

March 11th. By daylight the Moors were in readiness; but as I had
suffered much from thirst on the road, I made my boy fill a soofroo of
water for my own use; for the Moors assured me that they should not taste
either meat or drink until sunset. However, I found that the excessive
heat of the sun, and the dust we raised in travelling, overcame their
scruples, and made my soofroo a very useful part of our baggage. On our
arrival at Deena, I went to pay my respects to one of Ali's sons. I found
him sitting in a low hut, with five or six more of his companions,
washing their hands and feet, and frequently taking water into their
mouths, gargling, and spitting it out again. I was no sooner seated, than
he handed me a double-barrelled gun, and told me to dye the stock of a
blue colour, and repair one of the locks. I found great difficulty in
persuading him that I knew nothing about the matter. However, says he, if
you cannot repair the gun, you shall give me some knives and scissors
immediately; and when my boy, who acted as interpreter, assured him that
I had no such articles, he hastily snatched up a musket that stood by
him, cocked it, and putting the muzzle close to the boy's ear, would
certainly have shot him dead upon the spot, had not the Moors wrested the
musket from him and made signs for us to retreat. The boy, being
terrified at this treatment, attempted to make his escape in the night;
but was prevented by the vigilance of the Moors, who guarded us with
strict attention; and at night always went to sleep by the door of the
hut, in such a situation that it was almost impossible to pass, without
stepping upon them.

March 12th. We departed from Deena towards Benowm, and about nine o'clock
came to a Korree, whence the Moors were preparing to depart to the
southward on account of the scarcity of water; here we filled our
soofroo, and continued our journey over a hot sandy country, covered with
small stunted shrubs, until about one o'clock, when the heat of the sun
obliged us to stop. But our water being expended, we could not prudently
remain longer than a few minutes to collect a little gum, which is an
excellent succedaneum for water; as it keeps the mouth moist, and allays,
for a time, the pain in the throat.

About five o'clock we came in sight of Benowm, the residence of Ali. It
presented to the eye a great number of dirty looking tents, scattered
without order, over a large space of ground; and among the tents appeared
large herds of camels, cattle, and goats. We reached the skirts of the
camp, a little before sunset, and, with much entreaty, procured a little
water. My arrival was no sooner observed, than the people who drew water
at the wells threw down their buckets; those in the tents mounted their
horses, and men, women, and children, came running or galloping towards
me. I soon found myself surrounded by such a crowd, that I could scarcely
move; one pulled my clothes, another took off my hat, a third stopped me
to examine my waistcoat buttons, and a fourth called out, _la illah el
allah Mahomet rasowl allahi_,[10] and signified, in a threatening manner,
that I must repeat those words. We reached at length the king's tent,
where we found a great number of people, men and women, assembled. Ali
was sitting upon a black leather cushion, clipping a few hairs from his
upper lip; a female attendant holding up a looking-glass before him. He
appeared to be an old man, of the Arab cast, with a long white beard; and
he had a sullen and indignant aspect. He surveyed me with attention, and
inquired of the Moors if I could speak Arabic: being answered in the
negative, he appeared much surprised, and continued silent. The
surrounding attendants, and especially the ladies, were abundantly more
inquisitive: they asked a thousand questions, inspected every part of my
apparel, searched my pockets, and obliged me to unbutton my waistcoat,
and display the whiteness of my skin: they even counted my toes and
fingers, as if they doubted whether I was in truth a human being. In a
little time the priest announced evening prayers; but before the people
departed, the Moor, who had acted as interpreter, informed me that Ali
was about to present me with something to eat; and looking round, I
observed some boys bringing a wild hog, which they tied to one of the
tent strings, and Ali made signs to me to kill and dress it for supper.
Though I was very hungry, I did not think it prudent to eat any part of
an animal so much detested by the Moors, and therefore told him that I
never eat such food. They then untied the hog in hopes that it would run
immediately at me; for they believe that a great enmity subsists between
hogs and Christians; but in this they were disappointed, for the animal
no sooner regained his liberty, than he began to attack indiscriminately
every person that came in his way, and at last took shelter under the
couch upon which the king was sitting. The assembly being thus dissolved,
I was conducted to the tent of Ali's chief slave, but was not permitted
to enter, nor allowed to touch any thing belonging to it. I requested
something to eat, and a little boiled corn, with salt and water, was at
length sent me in a wooden bowl; and a mat was spread upon the sand
before the tent, on which I passed the night, surrounded by the curious

  [10] See page 87 [Footnote 9. Transcriber.].

At sunrise, Ali, with a few attendants, came on horseback to visit me,
and signified that he had provided a hut for me, where I would be
sheltered from the sun. I was accordingly conducted thither, and found
the hut comparatively cool and pleasant. It was constructed of corn
stalks set up on end, in the form of a square, with a flat roof of the
same materials, supported by forked sticks; to one of which was tied the
wild hog before mentioned. This animal had certainly been placed there by
Ali's order, out of derision to a Christian; and I found it a very
disagreeable inmate, as it drew together a number of boys, who amused
themselves by beating it with sticks, until they had so irritated the hog
that it ran and bit at every person within its reach.

I was no sooner seated in this my new habitation, than the Moors
assembled in crowds to behold me; but I found it rather a troublesome
levee, for I was obliged to take off one of my stockings, and show them
my foot, and even to take off my jacket and waistcoat, to show them how
my clothes were put on and off: they were much delighted with the curious
contrivance of buttons. All this was to be repeated to every succeeding
visitor; for such as had already seen these wonders insisted on their
friends seeing the same; and in this manner I was employed, dressing and
undressing, buttoning and unbuttoning, from noon to night. About eight
o'clock, Ali sent me for supper some kouskous and salt and water, which
was very acceptable, being the only victuals I had tasted since morning.

I observed that, in the night, the Moors kept regular watch, and
frequently looked into the hut, to see if I was asleep, and if it was
quite dark, they would light a wisp of grass. About two o'clock in the
morning, a Moor entered the hut, probably with a view to steal something,
or perhaps to murder me: and groping about, he laid his hand upon my
shoulder. As night visitors were at best but suspicious characters, I
sprang up the moment he laid his hand upon me; and the Moor, in his haste
to get off, stumbled over my boy, and fell with his face upon the wild
hog, which returned the attack by biting the Moor's arm. The screams of
this man alarmed the people in the king's tent, who immediately
conjectured that I had made my escape, and a number of them mounted their
horses, and prepared to pursue me. I observed upon this occasion that Ali
did not sleep in his own tent, but came galloping upon a white horse from
a small tent at a considerable distance: indeed, the tyrannical and cruel
behaviour of this man made him so jealous of every person around him,
that even his own slaves and domestics knew not where he slept. When the
Moors had explained to him the cause of this outcry, they all went away
and I was permitted to sleep quietly until morning.

March 13th. With the returning day commenced the same round of insult and
irritation: the boys assembled to beat the hog, and the men and women to
plague the Christian. It is impossible for me to describe the behaviour
of a people who study mischief as a science, and exult in the miseries
and misfortunes of their fellow-creatures. It is sufficient to observe
that the rudeness, ferocity, and fanaticism, which distinguish the Moors
from the rest of man-kind, found here a proper subject whereon to
exercise their propensities. I was a _stranger_, I was _unprotected_, and
I was a _Christian_; each of these circumstances is sufficient to drive
every spark of humanity from the heart of a Moor; but when all of them,
as in my case, were combined in the same person, and a suspicion
prevailed withal, that I had come as a _spy_ into the country, the reader
will easily imagine that, in such a situation, I had every thing to fear.
Anxious, however, to conciliate favour, and if possible, to afford the
Moors no pretence for ill-treating me, I readily complied with every
command, and patiently bore every insult; but never did any period of my
life pass away so heavily; from sunrise to sunset was I obliged to
suffer, with an unruffled countenance, the insults of the rudest savages
on earth.


_Various occurrences during the Author's confinement at Benowm--is
visited by some Moorish ladies.--A funeral and wedding.--The Author
receives an extraordinary present from the bride.--Other circumstances
illustrative of the Moorish character and manners._

The Moors, though very indolent themselves, are rigid task-masters, and
keep every person under them in full employment. My boy Demba was sent to
the woods to collect withered grass for Ali's horses; and after a variety
of projects concerning myself, they at last found out an employment for
me; this was no other than the respectable office of _barber_. I was to
make my first exhibition in this capacity in the royal presence, and to
be honoured with the task of shaving the head of the young prince of
Ludamar. I accordingly seated myself upon the sand, and the boy with some
hesitation sat down beside me. A small razor, about three inches long,
was put into my hand, and I was ordered to proceed; but whether from my
own want of skill, or the improper shape of the instrument, I
unfortunately made a slight incision in the boy's head, at the very
commencement of the operation; and the king, observing the awkward manner
in which I held the razor, concluded that his son's head was in very
improper hands, and ordered me to resign the razor, and walk out of the
tent. This I considered as a very fortunate circumstance; for I had laid
it down as a rule, to make myself as useless and insignificant as
possible, as the only means of recovering my liberty.

March 18th. Four Moors arrived from Jarra with Johnson my interpreter,
having seized him before he had received any intimation of my
confinement: and bringing with them a bundle of clothes that I had left
at Daman Jumma's house, for my use in case I should return by the way of
Jarra. Johnson was led into Ali's tent and examined; the bundle was
opened, and I was sent for to explain the use of the different articles.
I was happy, however, to find that Johnson had committed my papers to the
charge of one of Daman's wives. When I had satisfied Ali's curiosity
respecting the different articles of apparel, the bundle was again tied
up, and put in a large cow-skin bag, that stood in a corner of the tent.
The same evening Ali sent three of his people to inform me, that there
were many thieves in the neighbourhood, and that to prevent the rest of
my things from being stolen, it was necessary to convey them all into his
tent. My clothes, instruments, and every thing that belonged to me, were
accordingly carried away; and though the heat and dust made clean linen
very necessary and refreshing, I could not procure a single shirt out of
the small stock I had brought along with me. Ali was however
disappointed, by not finding among my effects the quantity of gold and
amber that he expected; but to make sure of every thing, he sent the same
people on the morning following, to examine whether I had any thing
concealed about my person. They, with their usual rudeness, searched
every part of my apparel, and stripped me of all my gold, amber, my
watch, and one of my pocket compasses; I had fortunately, in the night,
buried the other compass in the sand; and this, with the clothes I had
on, was all that the tyranny of Ali had now left me.

The gold and amber were highly gratifying to Moorish avarice, but the
pocket compass soon became an object of superstitious curiosity. Ali was
very desirous to be informed, why that small piece of iron, the needle,
always pointed to the Great Desert, and I found myself somewhat puzzled
to answer the question. To have pleaded my ignorance, would have created
a suspicion that I wished to conceal the real truth from him; I therefore
told him, that my mother resided far beyond the sands of Sahara, and that
whilst she was alive, the piece of iron would always point that way, and
serve as a guide to conduct me to her, and that if she was dead, it would
point to her grave. Ali now looked at the compass with redoubled
amazement; turned it round and round repeatedly; but observing that it
always pointed the same way, he took it up with great caution and
returned it to me, manifesting that he thought there was something of
magic in it, and that he was afraid of keeping so dangerous an instrument
in his possession.

March 20th. This morning a council of chief men was held in Ali's tent
respecting me; their decisions, though they were all unfavourable to me,
were differently related by different persons. Some said that they
intended to put me to death; others, that I was only to lose my right
hand: but the most probable account was that which I received from Ali's
own son, a boy about nine years of age, who came to me in the evening,
and, with much concern, informed me that his uncle had persuaded his
father to put out my eyes, which they said resembled those of a cat, and
that all the Bushreens had approved of this measure. His father, however,
he said, would not put the sentence into execution until Fatima the
queen, who was at present in the north, had seen me.

March 21st. Anxious to know my destiny, I went to the king early in the
morning: and as a number of Bushreens were assembled, I thought this a
favourable opportunity of discovering their intentions. I therefore began
by begging his permission to return to Jarra, which was flatly refused;
his wife, he said, had not yet seen me, and I must stay until she came to
Benowm, after which I should be at liberty to depart; and that my horse,
which had been taken away from me the day after I arrived should be again
restored to me. Unsatisfactory as this answer was, I was forced to appear
pleased: and as there was little hopes of making my escape, at this
season of the year, on account of the excessive heat, and the total want
of water in the woods, I resolved to wait patiently until the rains had
set in, or until some more favourable opportunity should present
itself;--but _hope deferred maketh the heart sick_. This tedious
procrastination from day to day, and the thoughts of travelling through
the Negro kingdoms in the rainy season, which was now fast approaching,
made me very melancholy; and having passed a restless night, I found
myself attacked, in the morning, by a smart fever. I had wrapped myself
close up in my cloak, with a view to induce perspiration, and was asleep
when a party of Moors entered the hut, and with their usual rudeness
pulled the cloak from me. I made signs to them that I was sick, and
wished much to sleep; but I solicited in vain; my distress was matter of
sport to them, and they endeavoured to heighten it by every means in
their power. This studied and degrading insolence, to which I was
constantly exposed, was one of the bitterest ingredients in the cup of
captivity; and often made life itself a burthen to me. In those
distressing moments I have frequently envied the situation of the slave,
who, amidst all his calamities, could still possess the enjoyment of his
own thoughts; a happiness to which I had, for some time, been a stranger.
Wearied out with such continual insults, and perhaps a little peevish
from the fever, I trembled lest my passion might unawares overleap the
bounds of prudence, and spur me to some sudden act of resentment, when
death must be the inevitable consequence. In this perplexity, I left my
hut, and walked to some shady trees at a little distance from the camp,
where I lay down. But even here persecution followed me; and solitude was
thought too great an indulgence for a distressed Christian. Ali's son,
with a number of horsemen, came galloping to the place, and ordered me to
rise and follow them. I begged they would allow me to remain where I was,
if it was only for a few hours; but they paid little attention to what I
said; and after a few threatening words, one of them pulled out a pistol
from a leather bag, that was fastened to the pummel of his saddle, and
presenting it towards me, snapped it twice. He did this with so much
indifference, that I really doubted whether the pistol was loaded; he
cocked it a third time, and was striking the flint with a piece of steel,
when I begged them to desist, and returned with them to the camp. When we
entered Ali's tent, we found him much out of humour. He called for the
Moor's pistol, and amused himself for some time with opening and shutting
the pan; at length, taking up his powder horn, he fresh primed it; and
turning round to me with a menacing look, said something in Arabic, which
I did not understand. I desired my boy, who was sitting before the tent,
to inquire what offence I had committed; when I was informed that having
gone out of the camp without Ali's permission, they suspected that I had
some design of making my escape; and that, in future, if I was seen
without the skirts of the camp, orders had been given that I should be
shot by the first person that observed me.

In the afternoon the horizon, to the eastward, was thick and hazy, and
the Moors prognosticated a sand wind; which accordingly commenced on the
morning following, and lasted, with slight intermissions, for two days.
The force of the wind was not in itself very great; it was what a seaman
would have denominated a _stiff breeze_; but the quantity of sand and
dust carried before it was such as to darken the whole atmosphere. It
swept along from east to west, in a thick and constant stream, and the
air was at times so dark and full of sand, that it was difficult to
discern the neighbouring tents. As the Moors always dress their victuals
in the open air, this sand fell in great plenty among the kouskous; it
readily adhered to the skin, when moistened by perspiration, and formed a
cheap and universal hair powder. The Moors wrap a cloth round their face
to prevent them from inhaling the sand, and always turn their backs to
the wind when they look up, to prevent the sand falling into their eyes.

About this time, all the women of the camp had their feet, and the ends
of their fingers, stained of a dark saffron colour. I could never
ascertain whether this was done from motives of religion, or by way of
ornament. The curiosity of the Moorish ladies had been very troublesome
to me ever since my arrival at Benowm; and on the evening of the 25th,
(whether from the instigation of others, or impelled by their own
ungovernable curiosity, or merely out of frolic, I cannot affirm,) a
party of them came into my hut, and gave me plainly to understand that
the object of their visit was to ascertain, by actual inspection, whether
the rite of circumcision extended to the Nazarenes (Christians) as well
as to the followers of Mahomet. The reader will easily judge of my
surprise at this unexpected declaration; and in order to avoid the
proposed scrutiny, I thought it best to treat the business jocularly. I
observed to them, that it was not customary in my country to give ocular
demonstration in such cases before so many beautiful women; but that if
all of them would retire, except the young lady to whom I pointed,
(selecting the youngest and handsomest,) I would satisfy her curiosity.
The ladies enjoyed the jest, and went away laughing heartily; and the
young damsel herself, to whom I had given the preference, (though she did
not avail herself of the privilege of inspection,) seemed no way
displeased at the compliment; for she soon afterwards sent me some meal
and milk for my supper.

March 28th. This morning a large herd of cattle arrived from the
eastward; and one of the drivers, to whom Ali had lent my horse, came
into my hut with the leg of an antelope as a present, and told me that my
horse was standing before Ali's tent. In a little time Ali sent one of
his slaves to inform me, that, in the afternoon, I must be in readiness
to ride out with him, as he intended to show me to some of his women.

About four o'clock, Ali, with six of his courtiers, came riding to my
hut, and told me to follow them. I readily complied. But here a new
difficulty occurred; the Moors, accustomed to a loose and easy dress,
could not reconcile themselves to the appearance of my _nankeen
breeches_, which they said were not only inelegant, but, on account of
their tightness, very indecent; and as this was a visit to ladies, Ali
ordered my boy to bring out the loose cloak which I had always worn since
my arrival at Benowm, and told me to wrap it close round me. We visited
the tents of four different ladies, at every one of which I was presented
with a bowl of milk and water. All these ladies were remarkably
corpulent, which is considered here as the highest mark of beauty. They
were very inquisitive, and examined my hair and skin with great
attention; but affected to consider me as a sort of inferior being to
themselves, and would knit their brows, and seemed to shudder, when they
looked at the whiteness of my skin. In the course of this evening's
excursion, my dress and appearance afforded infinite mirth to the
company, who galloped round me as if they were baiting a wild animal;
twirling their muskets round their heads, and exhibiting various feats of
activity and horsemanship, seemingly to display their superior prowess
over a miserable captive.

The Moors are certainly very good horsemen. They ride without fear; their
saddles being high before and behind, afford them a very secure seat; and
if they chance to fall, the whole country is so soft and sandy, that they
are very seldom hurt. Their greatest pride, and one of their principal
amusements, is to put the horse to his full speed, and then stop him with
a sudden jerk, so as frequently to bring him down upon his haunches. Ali
always rode upon a milk-white horse, with its tail dyed red. He never
walked, unless when he went to say his prayers; and even in the night,
two or three horses were always kept ready saddled, at a little distance
from his own tent. The Moors set a very high value upon their horses; for
it is by their superior fleetness, that they are enabled to make so many
predatory excursions into the Negro countries. They feed them three or
four times a day, and generally give them a large quantity of sweet milk
in the evening, which the horses appear to relish very much.

April 3d. This forenoon a child, which had been some time sickly, died in
the next tent; and the mother and relations immediately began the death
howl. They were joined by a number of female visitors, who came on
purpose to assist at this melancholy concert. I had no opportunity of
seeing the burial, which is generally performed secretly in the dusk of
the evening, and frequently at only a few yards distance from the tent.
Over the grave, they plant one particular shrub; and no stranger is
allowed to pluck a leaf, or even to touch it; so great a veneration have
they for the dead.

April 7th. About four o'clock in the afternoon, a whirlwind passed
through the camp with such violence that it overturned three tents, and
blew down one side of my hut. These whirlwinds come from the Great
Desert, and at this season of the year are so common, that I have seen
five or six of them at one time. They carry up quantities of sand to an
amazing height, which resemble, at a distance, so many moving pillars of

The scorching heat of the sun, upon a dry and sandy country, makes the
air insufferably hot. Ali having robbed me of my thermometer, I had no
means of forming a comparative judgment; but in the middle of the day,
when the beams of the vertical sun are seconded by the scorching wind
from the Desert, the ground is frequently heated to such a degree, as not
to be borne by the naked foot; even the Negro slaves will not run from
one tent to another without their sandals. At this time of the day, the
Moors lie stretched at length in their tents, either asleep, or unwilling
to move; and I have often felt the wind so hot, that I could not hold my
hand in the current of air, which came through the crevices of my hut,
without feeling sensible pain.

April 8th. This day the wind blew from the south-west, and in the night
there was a heavy shower of rain accompanied with thunder and lightning.

April 10th. In the evening the Tabala, or large drum, was beat to
announce a wedding, which was held at one of the neighbouring tents. A
great number of people of both sexes assembled, but without that mirth
and hilarity which take place at a Negro wedding: here was neither
singing nor dancing, nor any other amusement that I could perceive. A
woman was beating the drum, and the other women joining at times like a
chorus, by setting up a shrill scream; and at the same time, moving their
tongues from one side of the mouth to the other with great celerity. I
was soon tired, and had returned into my hut, where I was sitting almost
asleep, when an old woman entered, with a wooden bowl in her hand, and
signified that she had brought me a present from the bride. Before I
could recover from the surprise which this message created, the woman
discharged the contents of the bowl full in my face. Finding that It was
the same sort of holy water, with which, among the Hottentots, a priest
is said to sprinkle a new married couple, I began to suspect that the old
lady was actuated by mischief or malice; but she gave me seriously to
understand, that it was a nuptial benediction from the bride's own
person; and which, on such occasions, is always received by the young
unmarried Moors as a mark of distinguished favour. This being the case, I
wiped my face, and sent my acknowledgments to the lady. The wedding drum
continued to beat, and the women to sing, or rather whistle, all night.
About nine in the morning, the bride was brought in state from her
mother's tent, attended by a number of women who carried her tent, (a
present from the husband,) some bearing up the poles, others holding by
the strings; and in this manner they marched, whistling as formerly,
until they came to the place appointed for her residence, where they
pitched the tent. The husband followed, with a number of men leading four
bullocks, which they tied to the tent strings; and having killed another,
and distributed the beef among the people, the ceremony was concluded.


_Occurrences at the camp continued.--Information collected by the Author
concerning Houssa and Tombuctoo; and the situation of the latter.--The
route described from Morocco to Benowm.--The Author's distress from
hunger--Ali removes his camp to the northward,--The Author is carried
prisoner to the new encampment, and is presented to Queen Fatima.--Great
distress from want of water_.

One whole month had now elapsed since I was led into captivity; during
which time each returning day brought me fresh distresses. I watched the
lingering course of the sun with anxiety, and blessed his evening beams
as they shed a yellow lustre along the sandy floor of my hut; for it was
then that my oppressors left me, and allowed me to pass the sultry night
in solitude and reflection.

About midnight a bowl of kouskous, with some salt and water, was brought
for me and my two attendants. This was our common fare, and it was all
that was allowed us, to allay the cravings of hunger, and support nature
for the whole of the following day: for it is to be observed, that this
was the Mahomedan Lent, and as the Moors keep the fast with a religious
strictness, they thought it proper to compel me, though a Christian, to a
similar observance. Time, however, somewhat reconciled me to my
situation: I found that I could bear hunger and thirst better than I
expected; and at length I endeavoured to beguile the tedious hours by
learning to write Arabic. The people who came to see me soon made me
acquainted with the characters; and I discovered, that, by engaging their
attention in this way, they were not so troublesome as otherwise they
would have been: indeed, when I observed any person whose countenance I
thought bore malice towards me, I made it a rule to ask him, either to
write in the sand himself, or to decipher what I had already written; and
the pride of showing his superior attainments generally induced him to
comply with my request.

April 14th. As Queen Fatima had not yet arrived, Ali proposed to go to
the north, and bring her back with him; but as the place was two days'
journey from Benowm, it was necessary to have some refreshment on the
road; and Ali, suspicious of those about him, was so afraid of being
poisoned, that he never ate anything but what was dressed under his own
immediate inspection. A fine bullock was therefore killed, and the flesh
being cut into thin slices, was dried in the sun: and this, with two bags
of dry kouskous, formed his travelling provisions.

Previous to his departure, the black people of the town of Benowm came,
according to their annual custom, to show their arms, and bring their
stipulated tribute of corn and cloth. They were but badly armed:
twenty-two with muskets, forty or fifty with bows and arrows; and nearly
the same number of men and boys with spears only: they arranged
themselves before the tent, where they waited until their arms were
examined and some little disputes settled.

About midnight on the 16th, Ali departed quietly from Benowm, accompanied
by a few attendants. He was expected to return in the course of nine or
ten days.

April 18th Two days after the departure of Ali, a Shereef arrived with
salt and some other articles from Walet, the capital of the kingdom of
Biroo. As there was no tent appropriated for him, he took up his abode in
the same hut with me. He seemed to be a well informed man, and his
acquaintance both with the Arabic and Bambarra tongues enabled him to
travel, with ease and safety, through a number of kingdoms; for though
his place of residence was Walet, he had visited Houssa, and had lived
some years at Tombuctoo. Upon my inquiring so particularly about the
distance from Walet to Tombuctoo, he asked me if I intended to travel
that way; and being answered in the affirmative, he shook his head, and
said, _it would not do_; for that Christians were looked upon there as
the devil's children, and enemies to the Prophet. From him I learned the
following particulars; that Houssa was the largest town he had ever seen;
that Walet was larger than Tombuctoo; but being remote from the Niger,
and its trade consisting chiefly of salt, it was not so much resorted to
by strangers; that between Benowm and Walet was ten days' journey; but
the road did not lead through any remarkable towns, and travellers
supported themselves by purchasing milk from the Arabs, who keep their
herds by the watering places; two of the days' journies were over a sandy
country, without water. From Walet to Tombuctoo was eleven days more; but
water was more plentiful, and the journey was usually performed upon
bullocks. He said there were many Jews at Tombuctoo, but they all spoke
Arabic, and used the same prayers as the Moors. He frequently pointed his
hand to the south-east quarter, or rather the east by south; observing,
that Tombuctoo was situated in that direction; and though I made him
repeat this information again and again, I never found him to vary more
than half a point, which was to the southward.

April 24th. This morning Shereef Sidi Mahomed Moora Abdalla, a native of
Morocco, arrived with five bullocks loaded with salt. He had formerly
resided some months at Gibraltar, where he had picked up as much English
as enabled him to make himself understood. He informed me, that he had
been five months in coming from Santa Cruz; but that great part of the
time had been spent in trading. When I requested him to enumerate the
days employed in travelling from Morocco to Benowm, he gave them as
follows;--to Swera, three days; to Agadier, three; to Jiniken, ten; to
Wadenoon, four; to Lakeneigh, five; to Zeeriwin-zeriman, five; Tisheet,
ten; to Benowm, ten; in all fifty days; but travellers usually rest a
long while at Jiniken and Tisheet; at the latter of which places they dig
the rock salt, which is so great an article of commerce with the Negroes.

In conversing with these Shereefs, and the different strangers that
resorted to the camp, I passed my time with rather less uneasiness than
formerly. On the other hand, as the dressing of my victuals was now left
entirely to the care of Ali's slaves, over whom I had not the smallest
control, I found myself but ill supplied, worse even than in the fast
month. For two successive nights they neglected to send us our accustomed
meal; and though my boy went to a small Negro town near the camp, and
begged with great diligence from hut to hut, he could only procure a few
handfuls of ground nuts, which he readily shared with me. Hunger, at
first, is certainly a very painful sensation; but when it has continued
for some time, this pain is succeeded by languor and debility: in which
case, a draught of water, by keeping the stomach distended, will greatly
exhilarate the spirits, and remove for a short time every sort of
uneasiness. Johnson and Demba were very much dejected. They lay stretched
upon the sand, in a sort of torpid slumber: and even when the kouskous
arrived, I found some difficulty in awakening them. I felt no inclination
to sleep, but was affected with a deep convulsive respiration, like
constant sighing: and what alarmed me still more, a dimness of sight, and
a tendency to faint when I attempted to sit up. These symptoms did not go
off until some time after I had received nourishment.

We had been for some days in daily expectation of Ali's return from
Saheel (or the north country) with his wife Fatima. In the meanwhile
Mansong, King of Bambarra, as I have related in Chapter VIII, had sent to
Ali for a party of horse to assist in storming Gedingooma. With this
demand Ali had not only refused to comply, but had treated the messengers
with great haughtiness and contempt; upon which Mansong gave up all
thoughts of taking the town, and prepared to chastise Ali for his

Things were in this situation when, on the 29th of April, a messenger
arrived at Benowm, with the disagreeable intelligence that the Bambarra
army was approaching the frontiers of Ludamar. This threw the whole
country into confusion; and in the afternoon Ali's son, with about twenty
horsemen, arrived at Benowm. He ordered all the cattle to be driven away
immediately, all the tents to be struck, and the people to hold
themselves in readiness to depart at daylight the next morning.

April 30th. At daybreak the whole camp was in motion. The baggage was
carried upon bullocks, the two tent poles being placed one on each side,
and the different wooden articles of the tent distributed in like manner;
the tent cloth was thrown over all, and upon this was commonly placed one
or two women, for the Moorish women are very bad walkers. The king's
favourite concubines rode upon camels, with a saddle of a particular
construction, and a canopy to shelter them from the sun. We proceeded to
the northward until noon, when the king's son ordered the whole company,
except two tents, to enter a thick low wood, which was upon our right. I
was sent along with the two tents, and arrived in the evening at a Negro
town called Farani; here we pitched the tents in an open place, at no
great distance from the town.

The hurry and confusion which attended this decampment prevented the
slaves from dressing the usual quantity of victuals; and lest their dry
provisions should be exhausted before they reached their place of
destination, (for as yet none but Ali and the chief men knew whither we
were going,) they thought proper to make me observe this day as a day of

May 1st. As I had some reason to suspect that this day was also to be
considered as a fast, I went in the morning to the Negro town of Farani,
and begged some provisions from the Dooti, who readily supplied my wants,
and desired me to come to his house every day during my stay in the
neighbourhood. These hospitable people are looked upon by the Moors as an
abject race of slaves, and are treated accordingly. Two of Ali's
household slaves, a man and a woman, who had come along with the two
tents, went this morning to water the cattle from the town wells, at
which there began to be a great scarcity. When the Negro women observed
the cattle approaching, they took up their pitchers, and ran with all
possible haste towards the town, but before they could enter the gate,
they were stopped by the slaves, who compelled them to bring back the
water they had drawn for their own families, and empty it into the
troughs for the cattle. When this was exhausted, they were ordered to
draw water until such time as the cattle had all drank; and the woman
slave actually broke two wooden bowls over the heads of the black girls,
because they were somewhat dilatory in obeying her commands.

May 3d. We departed from the vicinity of Farani, and after a circuitous
route through the woods, arrived at Ali's camp in the afternoon. This
encampment was larger than that of Benowm, and was situated in the middle
of a thick wood about two miles distant from a Negro town, called
Bubaker. I immediately waited upon Ali, in order to pay my respects to
Queen Fatima, who had come with him from Saheel. He seemed much pleased
with my coming; shook hands with me, and informed his wife that I was the
Christian. She was a woman of the Arab cast, with long black hair, and
remarkably corpulent. She appeared at first rather shocked at the thought
of having a Christian so near her; but when I had (by means of a Negro
boy, who spoke the Mandingo and Arabic tongues) answered a great many
questions, which her curiosity suggested, respecting the country of the
Christians, she seemed more at ease, and presented me with a bowl of
milk; which I considered as a very favourable omen.

The heat was now almost insufferable; all nature seemed sinking under it.
The distant country presented to the eye a dreary expanse of sand, with a
few stunted trees and prickly bushes, in the shade of which the hungry
cattle licked up the withered grass, while the camels and goats picked
off the scanty foliage. The scarcity of water was greater here than at
Benowm. Day and night the wells were crowded with cattle, lowing and
fighting with each other to come at the troughs; excessive thirst made
many of them furious: others, being too weak to contend for the water,
endeavoured to quench their thirst by devouring the black mud from the
gutters near the wells; which they did with great avidity, though it was
commonly fatal to them.

This great scarcity of water was felt severely by all the people of the
camp, and by none more than myself; for though Ali allowed me a skin for
containing water, and Fatima, once or twice, gave me a small supply, when
I was in distress, yet such was the barbarous disposition, of the Moors
at the wells, that when my boy attempted to fill the skin, he commonly
received a sound drubbing for his presumption. Every one was astonished
that the slave of a Christian should attempt to draw water from wells
which had been dug by the followers of the Prophet. This treatment, at
length, so frightened the boy, that I believe he would sooner have
perished with thirst, than attempted again to fill the skin; he,
therefore, contented himself with begging water from the Negro slaves
that attended the camp; and I followed his example; but with very
indifferent success; for though I let no opportunity slip, and was very
urgent in my solicitations, both to the Moors and the Negroes, I was but
ill supplied, and frequently passed the night in the situation of
_Tantalus_. No sooner had I shut my eyes, than fancy would convey me to
the streams and rivers of my native land; there, as I wandered along the
verdant brink, I surveyed the clear stream with transport, and hastened
to swallow the delightful draught;--but, alas! disappointment awakened
me; and I found myself a lonely captive, perishing of thirst, amidst the
wilds of Africa.

One night, having solicited in vain for water at the camp, and being
quite feverish, I resolved to try my fortune at the wells, which were
about half a mile distant from the camp. Accordingly, I set out about
midnight, and being guided by the lowing of the cattle, soon arrived at
the place; where I found the Moors very busy drawing water. I requested
permission to drink, but was driven away with outrageous abuse. Passing,
however, from one well to another, I came at last to one where there was
only an old man and two boys. I made the same request to this man, and he
immediately drew me up a bucket of water; but, as I was about to take
hold of it, he recollected that I was a Christian, and fearing that his
bucket might be polluted by my lips, he dashed the water into the trough,
and told me to drink from thence. Though this trough was none of the
largest, and three cows were already drinking in it, I resolved to come
in for my share; and kneeling down, thrust my head between two of the
cows, and drank with great pleasure, until the water was nearly
exhausted, and the cows began to contend with each other for the last

In adventures of this nature, I passed the sultry month of May, during
which no material change took place in my situation. Ali still considered
me as a lawful prisoner; and Fatima, though she allowed me a larger
quantity of victuals than I had been accustomed to receive at Benowm, had
as yet said nothing on the subject of my release. In the meantime, the
frequent changes of the wind, the gathering clouds, and distant
lightning, with other appearances of approaching rain, indicated that the
wet season was at hand; when the Moors annually evacuate the country of
the Negroes, and return to the skirts of the Great Desert. This made me
consider that my fate was drawing towards a crisis, and I resolved to
wait for the event without any seeming uneasiness; but circumstances
occurred which produced a change in my favour, more suddenly than I had
foreseen, or had, reason to expect. The case was this; the fugitive
Kaartans, who had taken refuge in Ludamar, as I have related in Chapter
VIII., finding that the Moors were about to leave them, and dreading the
resentment of their own sovereign, whom they had so basely deserted,
offered to treat with Ali, for two hundred Moorish horsemen, to
co-operate with them in an effort to expel Daisy from Gedingooma; for
until Daisy should be vanquished or humbled, they considered that they
could neither return to their native towns, nor live in security in any
of the neighbouring kingdoms. With a view to extort money from these
people, by means of this treaty, Ali dispatched his son to Jarra, and
prepared to follow him in the course of a few days. This was an
opportunity of too great consequence to me to be neglected. I immediately
applied to Fatima, (who, I found, had the chief direction in all affairs
of state,) and begged her interest with Ali, to give me permission to
accompany him to Jarra. This request, after some hesitation, was
favourably received. Fatima looked kindly on me, and, I believe, was at
length moved with compassion towards me. My bundles were brought from the
large cow-skin bag that stood in the corner of Ali's tent, and I was
ordered to explain the use of the different articles, and show the method
of putting on the boots, stockings, &c., with all which I cheerfully
complied, and was told that, in the course of a few days, I should be at
liberty to depart.

Believing, therefore, that I should certainly find the means of escaping
from Jarra, if I should once get thither, I now freely indulged the
pleasing hope that my captivity would soon terminate; and happily not
having been disappointed in this idea, I shall pause in this place, to
collect and bring into one point of view such observations on the Moorish
character and country, as I had no fair opportunity of introducing into
the preceding narrative.


_Containing some further miscellaneous reflections on the Moorish
character and manners.--Observations concerning the Great Desert, its
animals, wild and domestic, &c. &c._

The Moors of this part of Africa are divided into many separate tribes;
of which the most formidable, according to what was reported to me, are
those of Trasart and Il Braken, which inhabit the northern bank of the
Senegal river. The tribes of Gedumah, Jafnoo, and Ludamar, though not so
numerous as the former, are nevertheless very powerful and warlike; and
are each governed by a chief or king, who exercises absolute jurisdiction
over his own horde, without acknowledging allegiance to a common
sovereign. In time of peace, the employment of the people is pasturage.
The Moors, indeed, subsist chiefly on the flesh of their cattle; and are
always in the extreme of either gluttony or abstinence. In consequence of
the frequent and severe fasts which their religion enjoins, and the
toilsome journeys which they sometimes undertake across the Desert, they
are enabled to bear both hunger and thirst with surprising fortitude; but
whenever opportunities occur of satisfying their appetite, they generally
devour more at one meal than would serve an European for three. They pay
but little attention to agriculture; purchasing their corn, cotton-cloth,
and other necessaries, from the Negroes, in exchange for salt, which they
dig from the pits in the Great Desert.

The natural barrenness of the country is such, that it furnishes but few
materials for manufacture. The Moors, however, contrive to weave a strong
cloth, with which they cover their tents; the thread is spun by their
women from the hair of goats; and they prepare the hides of their cattle,
so as to furnish saddles, bridles, pouches, and other articles of
leather. They are likewise sufficiently skilful to convert the native
iron, which they procure from the Negroes, into spears and knives, and
also into pots for boiling their food; but their sabres and other
weapons, as well as their fire-arms and ammunition, they purchase from
the Europeans in exchange for the Negro slaves, which they obtain in
their predatory excursions. Their chief commerce of this kind is with the
French traders on the Senegal river.

The Moors are rigid Mahomedans, and possess, with the bigotry and
superstition, all the intolerance of their sect. They have no mosques at
Benowm, but perform their devotions in a sort of open shed or inclosure
made of mats. The priest is at the same time schoolmaster to the juniors.
His pupils assemble every evening before his tent, where, by the light of
a large fire made of brushwood and cow's dung, they are taught a few
sentences from the Koran, and are initiated into the principles of their
creed. Their alphabet differs but little from that in Richardson's Arabic
Grammar. They always write with the vowel points. Their priests even
affect to know something of foreign literature. The priest of Benowm
assured me that he could read the writings of the Christians: he showed
me a number of barbarous characters which he asserted were the Roman
alphabet, and he produced another specimen equally unintelligible, which
he declared to be the _Kallam il Indi_, or Persian. His library consisted
of nine volumes in quarto; most of them, I believe, were books of
religion; for the name of Mahomet appeared in red letters in almost every
page of each. His scholars wrote their lessons upon thin boards; paper
being too expensive for general use. The boys were diligent enough, and
appeared to possess a considerable share of emulation; carrying their
boards slung over their shoulders when about their common employments.
When a boy has committed to memory a few of their prayers, and can read
and write certain parts of the Koran, he is reckoned sufficiently
instructed; and with this slender stock of learning, commences his career
of life. Proud of his acquirements, he surveys with contempt the
unlettered Negro; and embraces every opportunity of displaying his
superiority over such of his countrymen as are not distinguished by the
same accomplishments.

The education of the girls is neglected altogether; mental
accomplishments are but little attended to by the women; nor is the want
of them considered by the men as a defect in the female character. They
are regarded, I believe, as an inferior species of animals, and seem to
be brought up for no other purpose than that of administering to the
sensual pleasures of their imperious masters. Voluptuousness is,
therefore, considered as their chief accomplishment, and slavish
submission as their indispensable duty.

The Moors have singular ideas of feminine perfection. The gracefulness of
figure and motion, and a countenance enlivened by expression, are by no
means essential points in their standard: with them, corpulence and
beauty appear to be terms nearly synonymous. A woman of even moderate
pretensions must be one who cannot walk without a slave under each arm to
support her; and a perfect beauty is a load for a camel. In consequence
of this prevalent taste for unwieldiness of bulk, the Moorish ladies take
great pains to acquire it early in life; and for this purpose many of the
young girls are compelled by their mothers to devour a great quantity of
kouskous, and drink a large bowl of camel's milk every morning. It is of
no importance whether the girl has an appetite or not, the kouskous and
milk must be swallowed: and obedience is frequently enforced by blows. I
have seen a poor girl sit crying, with a bowl at her lips, for more than
an hour; and her mother, with a stick in her hand, watching her all the
while, and using the stick without mercy whenever she observed that her
daughter was not swallowing. This singular practice, instead of producing
indigestion and disease, soon covers the young lady with that degree of
plumpness, which, in the eye of a Moor, is perfection itself.

As the Moors purchase all their clothing from the Negroes, the women are
forced to be very economical in the article of dress. In general they
content themselves with a broad piece of cotton-cloth, which is wrapped
round the middle, and hangs round like a petticoat almost to the ground:
to the upper part of this are sewed two square pieces, one before, and
the other behind, which are fastened together over the shoulders. The
head-dress is commonly a bandage of cotton-cloth, with some parts of it
broader than others, which serve to conceal the face when they walk in
the sun; frequently, however, when they go abroad they veil themselves
from head to foot.

The employment of the women varies according to their degrees of
opulence.--Queen Fatima, and a few others of high rank, like the great
ladies in some parts of Europe, pass their time chiefly in conversing
with their visitors, performing their devotions, or admiring their charms
in a looking-glass. The women of inferior class employ themselves in
different domestic duties. They are very vain and talkative; and when any
thing puts them out of humour, they commonly vent their anger upon their
female slaves, over whom they rule with severe and despotic authority;
which leads me to observe, that the condition of these poor captives is
deplorably wretched. At daybreak they are compelled to fetch water from
the wells in large skins called _girbas_; and as soon as they have
brought water enough to serve the family for the day, as well as the
horses, (for the Moors seldom give their horses the trouble of going to
the wells,) they are then employed in pounding the corn, and dressing the
victuals. This being always done in the open air, the slaves are exposed
to the combined heat of the sun, the sand, and the fire. In the intervals
it is their business to sweep the tent, churn the milk, and perform other
domestic offices. With all this they are badly fed, and oftentimes
cruelly punished.

The men's dress among the Moors of Ludamar differs but little from that
of the Negroes, (which has been already described,) except that they have
all adopted that characteristic of the Mahomedan sect, the _turban_,
which is here universally made of white cotton-cloth. Such of the Moors
as have long beards display them with a mixture of pride and
satisfaction, as denoting an Arab ancestry. Of this number was Ali
himself; but among the generality of the people the hair is short and
bushy, and universally black. And here I may be permitted to observe,
that if any one circumstance excited among them favourable thoughts
towards my own person, it was my beard; which was now grown to an
enormous length, and was always beheld with approbation or envy. I
believe in my conscience they thought it too good a beard for a

The only diseases which I observed to prevail among the Moors were the
intermittent fever and dysentery; for the cure of which, nostrums are
sometimes administered by their old women; but, in general, nature is
left to her own operations. Mention was made to me of the small-pox, as
being sometimes very destructive; but it had not, to my knowledge, made
its appearance in Ludamar while I was in captivity. That it prevails,
however, among some tribes of the Moors, and that it is frequently
conveyed by them to the Negroes in the southern states, I was assured on
the authority of Dr. Laidley, who also informed me that the Negroes on
the Gambia practise inoculation.

The administration of criminal justice, as far as I had opportunities of
observing, was prompt and decisive. For, although civil rights were but
little regarded in Ludamar, it was necessary, when crimes were committed,
that examples should sometimes be made. On such occasions, the offender
was brought before Ali, who pronounced, of his sole authority, what
judgment he thought proper. But I understood that capital punishment was
seldom or never inflicted, except on the Negroes.

Although the wealth of the Moors consists chiefly in their numerous herds
of cattle, yet, as the pastoral life does not afford full employment, the
majority of the people are perfectly idle, and spend the day in trifling
conversation about their horses, or in laying schemes of depredation on
the Negro villages.

The usual place of rendezvous for the indolent is the king's tent; where
great liberty of speech seems to be exercised by the company towards each
other; while in speaking of their chief they express but one opinion. In
praise of their sovereign they are unanimous. Songs are composed in his
honour, which the company frequently sing in concert; but they are so
loaded with gross adulation, that no man but a Moorish despot could hear
them without blushing. The king is distinguished by the fineness of his
dress; which is composed of blue cotton-cloth, brought from Tombuctoo, or
white linen or muslin from Morocco. He has likewise a larger tent than
any other person, with a white cloth over it; but, in his usual
intercourse with his subjects, all distinctions of rank are frequently
forgotten. He sometimes eats out of the same bowl with his camel driver,
and reposes himself, during the heat of the day, upon the same bed. The
expenses of his government and household are defrayed by a tax upon his
Negro subjects, which is paid by every householder, either in corn,
cloth, or gold-dust; a tax upon the different Moorish Korrees, or
watering places, which is commonly levied in cattle; and a tax upon all
merchandize which passes through the kingdom, and is generally collected
in kind. But a considerable part of the king's revenue arises from the
plunder of individuals. The Negro inhabitants of Ludamar, and the
travelling merchants, are afraid of appearing rich; for Ali, who has
spies stationed in the different towns, to give him information
concerning the wealth of his subjects, frequently invents some frivolous
plea for seizing their property, and reducing the opulent to a level with
their fellow citizens.

Of the number of Ali's Moorish subjects, I had no means of forming a
correct estimate. The military strength of Ludamar consists in cavalry.
They are well mounted, and appear to be very expert in skirmishing and
attacking by surprise. Every soldier furnishes his own horse, and finds
his accoutrements, consisting of a large sabre, a double-barrelled gun, a
small red leather bag for holding his balls, and a powder-horn slung over
the shoulder. He has no pay, nor any remuneration but what arises from
plunder. This body is not very numerous, for when Ali made war upon
Bambarra, I was informed that his whole force did not exceed two thousand
cavalry. They constitute, however, by what I could learn, but a very
small proportion of his Moorish subjects. The horses are very beautiful,
and so highly esteemed, that the Negro princes will sometimes give from
twelve to fourteen slaves for one horse.

Ludamar has for its northern boundary the Great Desert of Sahara. From
the best inquiries I could make, this vast ocean of sand, which occupies
so large a space in Northern Africa, may be pronounced almost destitute
of inhabitants, except where the scanty vegetation which appears in
certain spots affords pasturage for the flocks of a few miserable Arabs,
who wander from one well to another. In other places, where the supply of
water and pasturage is more abundant, small parties of the Moors have
taken up their residence. Here they live in independent poverty, secure
from the tyrannical government of Barbary. But the greater part of the
Desert being totally destitute of water, is seldom visited by any human
being, unless where the trading caravans trace out their toilsome and
dangerous route across it. In some parts of this extensive waste, the
ground is covered with low stunted shrubs, which serve as land-marks for
the caravans, and furnish the camels with a scanty forage. In other parts
the disconsolate wanderer, wherever he turns, sees nothing around him but
a vast interminable expanse of sand and sky; a gloomy and barren void,
where the eye finds no particular object to rest upon, and the mind is
filled with painful apprehensions of perishing with thirst. "Surrounded
by this dreary solitude, the traveller sees the dead bodies of birds,
that the violence of the wind has brought, from happier regions: and as
he ruminates on the fearful length of his remaining passage, listens with
horror to the voice of the driving blast, the only sound that interrupts
the awful repose of the Desert."[11]

  [11] Proceedings of the African Association, part 1.

The few wild animals which inhabit these melancholy regions are the
antelope and the ostrich, their swiftness of foot enabling them to reach
the distant watering places. On the skirts of the Desert, where water is
more plentiful, are found lions, panthers, elephants, and wild boars.

Of domestic animals, the only one that can endure the fatigue of crossing
the Desert is the camel. By the particular conformation of the stomach,
he is enabled to carry a supply of water sufficient for ten or twelve
days; his broad and yielding foot is well adapted for a sandy country;
and by a singular motion of his upper lip, he picks the smallest leaves
from the thorny shrubs of the Desert as he passes along. The camel is,
therefore, the only beast of burthen employed by the trading caravans,
which traverse the Desert in different directions, from Barbary to
Nigritia. As this useful and docile creature has been sufficiently
described by systematical writers, it is unnecessary for me to enlarge
upon his properties. I shall only add, that his flesh, though to my own
taste dry and unsavoury, is preferred by the Moors to any other; and that
the milk of the female is in universal esteem, and is indeed sweet,
pleasant, and nutritive.

I have observed that the Moors, in their complexion, resemble the
Mulattoes of the West Indies; but they have something unpleasant in their
aspect, which the Mulattoes have not. I fancied that I discovered in the
features of most of them a disposition towards cruelty and low cunning;
and I could never contemplate their physiognomy without feeling sensible
uneasiness. From the staring wildness of their eyes, a stranger would
immediately set them down as a nation of lunatics. The treachery and
malevolence of their character are manifested in their plundering
excursions against the Negro villages. Oftentimes, without the smallest
provocation, and sometimes under the fairest professions of friendship,
they will suddenly seize upon the Negroes' cattle, and even on the
inhabitants themselves. The Negroes very seldom retaliate. The
enterprising boldness of the Moors, their knowledge of the country, and,
above all, the superior fleetness of their horses, make them such
formidable enemies, that the petty Negro states which border upon the
Desert are in continual terror while the Moorish tribes are in the
vicinity, and are too much awed to think of resistance.

Like the roving Arabs, the Moors frequently remove from one place to
another, according to the season of the year, or the convenience of
pasturage. In the month of February, when the heat of the sun scorches up
every sort of vegetation in the Desert, they strike their tents, and
approach the Negro country to the south, where they reside until the
rains commence in the month of July. At this time, having purchased corn
and other necessaries from the Negroes, in exchange for salt, they again
depart to the northward, and continue in the Desert until the rains are
over, and that part of the country becomes burnt up and barren.

This wandering and restless way of life, while it inures them to
hardships, strengthens at the same time the bonds of their little
society, and creates in them an aversion towards strangers, which is
almost insurmountable. Cut off from all intercourse with civilized
nations, and boasting an advantage over the Negroes, by possessing,
though in a very limited degree, the knowledge of letters, they are at
once the vainest and proudest, and perhaps the most bigotted, ferocious,
and intolerant of all the nations on the earth, combining in their
character the blind superstition of the Negro, with the savage cruelty
and treachery of the Arab.

It is probable that many of them had never beheld a white man before my
arrival at Benowm; but they had all been taught to regard the Christian
name with inconceivable abhorrence, and to consider it nearly as lawful
to murder a European as it would be to kill a dog. The melancholy fate of
Major Houghton, and the treatment I experienced during my confinement
among them, will, I trust, serve as a warning to future travellers to
avoid this inhospitable district.

The reader may probably have expected from me a more detailed and copious
account of the manners, customs, superstitions, and prejudices of this
secluded and singular people; but it must not be forgotten, that the
wretchedness of my situation among them afforded me but few opportunities
of collecting information. Some particulars, however, might be added in
this place; but being equally applicable to the Negroes of the southward,
they will appear in a subsequent page.


_Ali departs for Jarra, and the Author allowed to follow him
thither.--The Author's faithful servant, Demba, seized by Ali's order,
and sent back into slavery.--Ali returns to his camp, and permits the
Author to remain at Jarra, who, thenceforward, meditates his
escape.--Daisy, King of Kaarta, approaching with his army towards Jarra,
the inhabitants quit the town, and the Author accompanies them in their
flight.--A party of Moors overtake him at Queira.--He gets away from them
at daybreak.--Is again pursued by another party, and robbed; but finally
effects his escape._

Having, as has been related, obtained permission to accompany Ali to
Jarra, I took leave of Queen Fatima, who, with much grace and civility,
returned me part of my apparel: and the evening before my departure, my
horse, with the saddle and bridle, were sent me by Ali's order.

Early on the morning of the 26th of May, I departed from the camp of
Bubaker, accompanied by my two attendants, Johnson and Demba, and a
number of Moors on horseback; Ali, with about fifty horsemen, having gone
privately from the camp during the night. We stopped about noon at
Farani, and were there joined by twelve Moors riding upon camels, and
with them we proceeded to a watering-place in the woods, where we
overtook Ali with his fifty horsemen. They were lodged in some low
shepherds' tents near the wells. As the company was numerous, the tents
could scarcely accommodate us all; and I was ordered to sleep in the open
space in the centre of the tents, where every one might observe my

During the night, there was much lightning from the north-east; and about
daybreak a very heavy sand-wind commenced, which continued with great
violence until four in the afternoon. The quantity of sand which passed
to the westward in the course of this day must have been prodigiously
great. At times it was impossible to look up; and the cattle were so
tormented by the particles lodging in their ears and eyes that they ran
about like mad creatures, and I was in continual danger of being trampled
to death by them.

May 28th. Early in the morning the Moors saddled their horses, and Ali's
chief slave ordered me to get in readiness. In a little time the same
messenger returned, and taking my boy by the shoulders, told him, in the
Mandingo language, that "Ali was to be his master in future:" and then
turning to me, "the business is settled at last, (said he,) the boy, and
every thing but your horse, goes back to Bubaker; but you may take the
old fool (meaning Johnson the interpreter) with you to Jarra." I made him
no answer; but being shocked beyond description at the idea of losing the
poor boy, I hastened to Ali, who was at breakfast before his tent,
surrounded by many of his courtiers. I told him, perhaps in rather too
passionate a strain, that whatever imprudence I had been guilty of, in
coming into his country, I thought I had already been sufficiently
punished for it, by being so long detained, and then plundered of all my
little property; which, however, gave me no uneasiness, when compared
with what he had just now done to me. I observed, that the boy which he
had now seized upon was not a slave, and had been accused of no offence;
he was indeed one of my attendants; and his faithful services in that
station had procured him his freedom; his fidelity and attachment had
made him follow me into my present situation; and as he looked up to me
for protection, I could not see him deprived of his liberty, without
remonstrating against such an act, as the height of cruelty and
injustice. Ali made no reply, but with a haughty air and malignant smile,
told his interpreter, that if I did not mount my horse immediately, he
would send me back likewise. There is something in the frown of a tyrant
which rouses the most secret emotions of the heart; I could not suppress
my feelings; and for once entertained an indignant wish to rid the world
of such a monster.

Poor Demba was not less affected than myself: he had formed a strong
attachment towards me, and had a cheerfulness of disposition, which often
beguiled the tedious hours of captivity; he was likewise a proficient in
the Bambarra tongue, and promised on that account to be of great utility
to me in future. But it was in vain to expect anything favourable to
humanity from people who are strangers to its dictates. So having shaken
hands with this unfortunate boy, and blended my tears with his, assuring
him, however, that I would do my utmost to redeem him, I saw him led off
by three of Ali's slaves towards the camp at Bubaker.

When the Moors had mounted their horses, I was ordered to follow them;
and, after a toilsome journey through the woods, in a very sultry day, we
arrived in the afternoon at a walled village, called Doombani; where we
remained two days, waiting for the arrival of some horsemen from the

On the 1st of June we departed from Doombani towards Jarra. Our company
now amounted to two hundred men, all on horseback; for the Moors never
use infantry in their wars. They appeared capable of enduring great
fatigue; but from their total want of discipline our journey to Jarra was
more like a fox-chase than the march of an army.

At Jarra, I took up my lodging at the house of my old acquaintance, Daman
Jumma; and informed him of every thing that had befallen me. I
particularly requested him to use his interest with Ali to redeem my boy,
and promised him a bill upon Dr. Laidley, for the value of two slaves,
the moment he brought him to Jarra. Daman very readily undertook to
negotiate the business; but found that Ali considered the boy as my
principal interpreter, and was unwilling to part with him, lest he should
fall a second time into my hands, and be instrumental in conducting me to
Bambarra. Ali, therefore, put off the matter from day to day; but withal
told Daman, that if he wished to purchase the boy for himself, he should
have him thereafter, at the common price of a slave; which Daman agreed
to pay for him, whenever Ali should send him to Jarra.

The chief object of Ali, in this journey to Jarra, as I have already
related, was to procure money from such of the Kaartans as had taken
refuge in his country. Some of these had solicited his protection, to
avoid the horrors of war; but by far the greatest number of them were
dissatisfied men, who wished the ruin of their own sovereign. These
people no sooner heard that the Bambarran army had returned to Sego
without subduing Daisy, as was generally expected, than they resolved to
make a sudden attack themselves upon him, before he could recruit his
forces, which were now known to be much diminished by a bloody campaign,
and in great want of provisions. With this view, they solicited the Moors
to join them, and offered to hire of Ali two hundred horsemen; which Ali,
with the warmest professions of friendship, agreed to furnish, upon
condition that they should previously supply him with four hundred head
of cattle, two hundred garments of blue cloth, and a considerable
quantity of beads and ornaments. The raising this impost somewhat
perplexed them; and in order to procure the cattle, they persuaded the
king to demand one-half the stipulated number from the people of Jarra;
promising to replace them in a short time. Ali agreed to this proposal,
and the same evening (June 2d) the drum was sent through the town; and
the crier announced that if any person suffered his cattle to go into the
woods the next morning, before the king had chosen his quota of them, his
house should be plundered, and his slaves taken from him. The people
dared not disobey the proclamation; and next morning about two hundred of
their best cattle were selected, and delivered to the Moors; the full
complement was made up afterwards, by means equally unjust and arbitrary.

June 8th. In the afternoon Ali sent his chief slave to inform me, that he
was about to return to Bubaker; but as he would only stay there a few
days, to keep the approaching festival (_Banna Salee_), and then return
to Jarra, I had permission to remain with Daman until his return. This
was joyful news to me; but I had experienced so many disappointments,
that I was unwilling to indulge the hope of its being true, until Johnson
came and told me that Ali, with part of the horsemen, were actually gone
from the town, and that the rest were to follow him in the morning.

June 9th. Early in the morning the remainder of the Moors departed from
the town. They had, during their stay, committed many acts of robbery;
and this morning, with the most unparalleled audacity, they seized upon
three girls who were bringing water from the wells, and carried them away
into slavery.

The anniversary of _Banna Salee_, at Jarra, very well deserved to be
called a festival. The slaves were all finely clad on this occasion, and
the householders vied with each other in providing large quantities of
victuals, which they distributed to all their neighbours with the
greatest profusion; hunger was literally banished from the town; man,
woman, and child, bond and free, all had as much as they could eat.

June 12th. Two people, dreadfully wounded, were discovered, at a
watering-place in the woods; one of them had just breathed his last, but
the other was brought alive to Jarra. On recovering a little, he informed
the people, that he had fled through the woods from Kasson; that Daisy
had made war upon Sambo, the king of that country; had surprised three of
his towns, and put all the inhabitants to the sword. He enumerated by
name many of the friends of the Jarra people, who had been murdered in
Kasson. This intelligence made the death-howl universal in Jarra for the
space of two days.

This piece of bad news was followed by another not less distressing. A
number of runaway slaves arrived from Kaarta on the 14th, and reported
that Daisy, having received information concerning the intended attack
upon him, was about to visit Jarra. This made the Negroes call upon Ali
for the two hundred horsemen, which he was to furnish them, according to
engagement. But Ali paid very little attention to their remonstrances;
and at last plainly told them that his cavalry were otherwise employed.
The Negroes, thus deserted by the Moors, and fully apprised that the King
of Kaarta would show them as little clemency as he had shown the
inhabitants of Kasson, resolved to collect all their forces, and hazard a
battle, before the king, who was now in great distress for want of
provisions, should become too powerful for them. They, therefore,
assembled about eight hundred effective men in the whole; and with these
they entered Kaarta on the evening of the 18th of June.

June 19th. This morning the wind shifted to the south-west; and about two
o'clock in the afternoon we had a heavy tornado, or thunder squall,
accompanied with rain, which greatly revived the face of nature, and gave
a pleasant coolness to the air. This was the first rain that had fallen
for many months.

As every attempt to redeem my boy had hitherto been unsuccessful, and in
all probability would continue to prove so whilst I remained in the
country, I found that it was necessary for me to come to some
determination concerning my own safety, before the rains should be fully
set in; for my landlord, seeing no likelihood of being paid for his
trouble, began to wish me away; and Johnson, my interpreter, refusing to
proceed, my situation became very perplexing. If I continued where I was,
I foresaw that I must soon fall a victim to the barbarity of the Moors;
and yet if I went forward singly, it was evident that I must sustain
great difficulties, both from the want of means to purchase the
necessaries of life, and of an interpreter to make myself understood. On
the other hand, to return to England, without accomplishing the object of
my mission, was worse than either. I therefore determined to avail myself
of the first opportunity of escaping, and to proceed directly for
Bambarra, as soon as the rains had set in for a few days, so as to afford
me the certainty of finding water in the woods.

Such was my situation, when, on the evening of the 24th of June, I was
startled by the report of some muskets close to the town, and inquiring
the reason, was informed that the Jarra army had returned from fighting
Daisy, and that this firing was by way of rejoicing. However, when the
chief men of the town had assembled, and heard a full detail of the
expedition, they were by no means relieved from their uneasiness on
Daisy's account. The deceitful Moors having drawn back from the
confederacy, after being hired by the Negroes, greatly dispirited the
insurgents, who, instead of finding Daisy with a few friends concealed in
the strong fortress of Gedingooma, had found him at a town near Joka, in
the open country, surrounded by so numerous an army, that every attempt
to attack him was at once given up; and the confederates only thought of
enriching themselves, by the plunder of the small towns in the
neighbourhood. They accordingly fell upon one of Daisy's towns, and
carried off the whole of the inhabitants; but, lest intelligence of this
might reach Daisy, and induce him to cut off their retreat, they returned
through the woods by night, bringing with them the slaves and cattle
which they had captured.

June 26th. This afternoon, a spy from Kaarta brought the alarming
intelligence, that Daisy had taken Simbing in the morning, and would be
in Jarra some time in the course of the ensuing day. A number of the
people were immediately stationed on the tops of the rocks, and in the
different passages leading into the town, to give early intelligence of
Daisy's motions, and the women set about making the necessary
preparations for quitting the town as soon as possible. They continued
beating corn, and packing up different articles, during the night; and
early in the morning, nearly one half of the townspeople took the road
for Bambarra, by the Way of Deena.

Their departure was very affecting; the women and children crying; the
men sullen and dejected; and all of them looking back with regret on
their native town, and on the wells and rocks, beyond which their
ambition had never tempted them to stray, and where they had laid all
their plans of future happiness; all of which they were now forced to
abandon, and to seek shelter among strangers.

June 27th. About eleven o'clock in the forenoon, we were alarmed by the
sentinels, who brought information that Daisy was on his march towards
Jarra, and that the confederate army had fled before him without firing a
gun. The terror of the townspeople on this occasion is not easily to be
described.--Indeed, the screams of the women and children, and the great
hurry and confusion that everywhere prevailed, made me suspect that the
Kaartans had already entered the town; and although I had every reason to
be pleased with Daisy's behaviour to me when I was at Kemmoo, I had no
wish to expose myself to the mercy of his army, who might, in the general
confusion, mistake me for a Moor. I therefore mounted my horse, and
taking a large bag of corn before me, rode slowly along with the
townspeople, until we reached the foot of a rocky hill, where I
dismounted, and drove my horse up before me. When I had reached the
summit I sat down, and having a full view of the town, and the
neighbouring country, could not help lamenting the situation of the poor
inhabitants, who were thronging after me, driving their sheep, cows,
goats, &c. and carrying a scanty portion of provisions, and a few
clothes. There was a great noise and crying everywhere upon the road; for
many aged people and children were unable to walk, and these, with the
sick, were obliged to be carried, otherwise they must have been left to
certain destruction.

About five o'clock we arrived at a small farm, belonging to the Jarra
people, called Kadeeja; and here I found Daman and Johnson employed in
filling large bags of corn, to be carried upon bullocks, to serve as
provisions for Daman's family on the road.

June 28th. At daybreak, we departed from Kadeeja; and, having passed
Troomgoomba, without stopping, arrived in the afternoon at Queira. I
remained here two days, in order to recruit my horse, which the Moors had
reduced to a perfect Rosinante, and to wait for the arrival of some
Mandingo Negroes, who were going for Bambarra in the course of a few

On the afternoon of the 1st of July, as I was tending my horse in the
fields, Ali's chief slave and four Moors arrived at Queira, and took up
their lodging at the Dooty's house. My interpreter, Johnson, who
suspected the nature of this visit, sent two boys to overhear their
conversation; from which he learned that they were sent to convey me back
to Bubaker. The same evening, two of the Moors came privately to look at
my horse, and one of them proposed taking it to the Dooty's hut; but the
other observed that such a precaution was unnecessary, as I could never
escape upon such an animal. They then inquired where I slept, and
returned to their companions.

All this was like a stroke of thunder to me, for I dreaded nothing so
much as confinement again among the Moors, from whose barbarity I had
nothing but death to expect. I therefore determined to set off
immediately for Bambarra, a measure which I thought offered almost the
only chance of saving my life, and gaining the object of my mission; I
communicated the design to Johnson, who, although he applauded my
resolution, was so far from showing any inclination to accompany me, that
he solemnly protested he would rather forfeit his wages than go any
farther. He told me that Daman had agreed to give him half the price of a
slave for his service, to assist in conducting a coffle of slaves to
Gambia, and that he was determined to embrace the opportunity of
returning to his wife and family.

Having no hopes, therefore, of persuading him to accompany me, I resolved
to proceed by myself. About midnight I got my clothes in readiness, which
consisted of two shirts, two pairs of trowsers, two pocket-handkerchiefs,
an upper and under waistcoat, a hat, and a pair of half-boots; these,
with a cloak, constituted my whole wardrobe.--And I had not one single
bead, nor any other article of value in my possession, to purchase
victuals for myself, or corn for my horse.

About daybreak, Johnson, who had been listening to the Moors all night,
came and whispered to me that they were asleep. The awful crisis was now
arrived, when I was again either to taste the blessing of freedom, or
languish out my days in captivity. A cold sweat moistened my forehead as
I thought on the dreadful alternative, and reflected, that, one way or
the other, my fate must be decided in the course of the ensuing day. But
to deliberate was to lose the only chance of escaping. So, taking up my
bundle, I stepped gently over the Negroes, who were sleeping in the open
air, and having mounted my horse, I bade Johnson farewell, desiring him
to take particular care of the papers I had entrusted him with, and
inform my friends in Gambia that he had left me in good health, on my way
to Bambarra.

I proceeded with great caution; surveying each bush, and frequently
listening and looking behind me for the Moorish horsemen, until I was
about a mile from the town, when I was surprised to find myself in the
neighbourhood of a Korree, belonging to the Moors. The shepherds followed
me for about a mile, hooting and throwing stones after me: and when I was
out of their reach, and had began to indulge the pleasing hopes of
escaping, I was again greatly alarmed to hear somebody holla behind me;
and looking back, I saw three Moors on horseback, coming after me at full
speed, whooping and brandishing their double-barrelled guns. I knew it
was in vain to think of escaping, and therefore turned back and met them;
when two of them caught hold of my bridle, one on each side, and the
third, presenting his musket, told me I must go back to Ali.

When the human mind has for sometime been fluctuating between hope and
despair, tortured with anxiety, and hurried from one extreme to another,
it affords a sort of gloomy relief to know the worst that can possibly
happen; such was my situation. An indifference about life and all its
enjoyments had completely benumbed my faculties, and I rode back with the
Moors with apparent unconcern. But a change took place much sooner than I
had any reason to expect. In passing through some thick bushes, one of
the Moors ordered me to untie my bundle, and show them the contents.
Having examined the different articles, they found nothing worth taking
except my cloak, which they considered as a very valuable acquisition,
and one of them pulling it from me, wrapped it about himself. This cloak
had been of great use to me; it served to cover me from the rains in the
day, and to protect me from the musketoes in the night: I therefore
earnestly begged him to return it, and followed him some little way to
obtain it; but without paying any attention to my request, he and one of
his companions rode off with their prize. When I attempted to follow
them, the third, who had remained with me, struck my horse over the head,
and presenting his musket, told me I should proceed no further.

I now perceived that these men had not been sent by any authority to
apprehend me, but had pursued me solely in the view to rob and plunder
me. Turning my horse's head therefore once more towards the east, and
observing the Moor follow the track of his confederates, I congratulated
myself on having escaped with my life, though in great distress, from
such a horde of barbarians.

I was no sooner out of sight of the Moor, than I struck into the woods,
to prevent being pursued, and kept pushing on, with all possible speed,
until I found myself near some high rocks, which I remembered to have
seen in my former route from Queira to Deena; and, directing my course a
little to the northward, I fortunately fell in with the path.


_The Author feels great joy at his deliverance, and proceeds through the
wilderness; but finds his situation very deplorable.--Suffers greatly
from thirst, and faints on the sand--Recovers, and makes another effort
to push forward.--Is providentially relieved by a fall of rain.--Arrives
at a Foulah village, where he is refused relief by the Dooty, but obtains
food from a poor woman.--Continues his journey through the wilderness,
and the next day lights on another Foulah village, where he is hospitably
received by one of the shepherds.--Arrives on the third day at a Negro
town called Wawra, tributary to the King of Bambarra._

It is impossible to describe the joy that arose in my mind, when I looked
around and concluded that I was out of danger. I felt like one recovered
from sickness; I breathed freer; I found unusual lightness in my limbs;
even the Desert looked pleasant; and I dreaded nothing so much as falling
in with some wandering parties of Moors, who might convey me back to the
land of thieves and murderers, from which I had just escaped.

I soon became sensible, however, that my situation was very deplorable;
for I had no means of procuring food, nor prospect of finding water.
About ten o'clock, perceiving a herd of goats feeding close to the road,
I took a circuitous route to avoid being seen; and continued travelling
through the wilderness, directing my course, by compass, nearly
east-south-east, in order to reach, as soon as possible, some town or
village of the kingdom of Bambarra.

A little after noon, when the burning heat of the sun was reflected with
double violence from the hot sand, and the distant ridges of the hills,
seen through the ascending vapour, seemed to wave and fluctuate like the
unsettled sea, I became faint with thirst, and climbed a tree in hopes of
seeing distant smoke, or some other appearance of a human habitation; but
in vain, nothing appeared all around but thick underwood and hillocks of
white sand.

About four o'clock, I came suddenly upon a large herd of goats, and,
pulling my horse into a bush, I watched to observe if, the keepers were
Moors or Negroes. In a little time I perceived two Moorish boys, and with
some difficulty persuaded them to approach me. They informed me that the
herd belonged to Ali, and that they were going to Deena, where the water
was more plentiful, and where they intended to stay until the rain had
filled the pools in the Desert. They showed me their empty water-skins,
and told me that they had seen no water in the woods. This account
afforded me but little consolation; however, it was in vain to repine,
and I pushed on as fast as possible, in hopes of reaching some
watering-place in the course of the night. My thirst was by this time
become insufferable; my mouth was parched and inflamed; a sudden dimness
would frequently come over my eyes, with other symptoms of fainting; and
my horse being very much fatigued, I began seriously to apprehend that I
should perish of thirst. To relieve the burning pain in my mouth and
throat, I chewed the leaves of different shrubs, but found them all
bitter, and of no service.

A little before sunset, having reached the top of a gentle rising, I
climbed a high tree, from the topmost branches of which I cast a
melancholy look over the barren Wilderness, but without discovering the
most distant trace of a human dwelling. The same dismal uniformity of
shrubs and sand every where presented itself, and the horizon was as
level and uninterrupted as that of the sea.

Descending from the tree, I found my horse devouring the stubble and
brushwood with great avidity; and as I was now too faint to attempt
walking, and my horse too much fatigued to carry me, I thought it but an
act of humanity, and perhaps the last I should ever have it in my power
to perform, to take off his bridle and let him shift for himself; in
doing which I was suddenly affected with sickness and giddiness; and
falling upon the sand, felt as if the hour of death was fast approaching.
"Here, then, (thought I,) after a short but ineffectual struggle,
terminate all my hopes of being useful in my day and generation; here
must the short span of my life come to an end." I cast (as I believed) a
last look on the surrounding scene, and whilst I reflected on the awful
change that was about to take place, this world with its enjoyments
seemed to vanish from my recollection. Nature, however, at length resumed
its functions; and on recovering my senses, I found myself stretched upon
the sand, with the bridle still in my hand, and the sun just sinking
behind the trees. I now summoned all my resolution, and determined to
make another effort to prolong my existence. And as the evening was
somewhat cool, I resolved to travel as far as my limbs would carry me, in
hopes of reaching (my only resource) a watering-place. With this view, I
put the bridle on my horse, and driving him before me, went slowly along
for about an hour, when I perceived some lightning from the north-east, a
most delightful sight; for it promised rain. The darkness and lighting
increased very rapidly; and in less than an hour I heard the wind roaring
among the bushes. I had already opened my mouth to receive the refreshing
drops which I expected; but I was instantly covered with a cloud of sand,
driven with such force by the wind, as to give a very disagreeable
sensation to my face and arms; and I was obliged to mount my horse, and
stop under a bush, to prevent being suffocated. The sand continued to fly
in amazing quantities for near an hour, after which I again set forward,
and travelled with difficulty until ten o'clock. About this time I was
agreeably surprised by some very vivid flashes of lightning, followed by
a few heavy drops of rain. In a little time the sand ceased to fly, and I
alighted, and spread out all my clean clothes to collect the rain, which
at length I saw would certainly fall. For more than an hour it rained
plentifully, and I quenched my thirst, by wringing and sucking my

There being no moon, it was remarkably dark, so that I was obliged to
lead my horse, and direct my way by the compass, which the lightning
enabled me to observe. In this manner I travelled with tolerable
expedition, until past midnight; when the lightning becoming more
distant, I was under the necessity of groping along, to the no small
danger of my hands and eyes. About two o'clock my horse started at
something, and, looking round, I was not a little surprised to see a
light at a short distance among the trees, and supposing it to be a town,
I groped along the sand in hopes of finding corn-stalks, cotton, or other
appearances of cultivation, but found none. As I approached, I perceived
a number of other lights in different places, and began to suspect that I
had fallen upon a party of Moors. However, in my present situation, I was
resolved to see who they were, if I could do it with safety. I
accordingly led my horse cautiously towards the light, and heard by the
lowing of the cattle, and the clamorous tongues of the herdsmen, that it
was a watering-place, and most likely belonged to the Moors. Delightful
as the sound of the human voice was to me, I resolved once more to strike
into the woods, and rather run the risk of perishing of hunger, than
trust myself again in their hands; but still being thirsty, and dreading
the approach of the burning day, I thought it prudent to search for the
wells, which I expected to find at no great distance. In this pursuit, I
inadvertently approached so near to one of the tents as to be perceived
by a woman, who immediately screamed out. Two people came running to her
assistance from some of the neighbouring tents, and passed so very near
to me that I thought I was discovered, and hastened again into the woods.

About a mile from this place, I heard a loud and confused noise somewhere
to the right of my course, and in a short time was happy to find it was
the croaking of frogs, which was heavenly music to my ears. I followed
the sound, and at daybreak arrived at some shallow muddy pools, so full
of frogs, that it was difficult to discern the water. The noise they made
frightened my horse, and I was obliged to keep them quiet, by beating the
water with a branch until he had drank. Having here quenched my thirst, I
ascended a tree, and the morning being calm, I soon perceived the smoke
of the watering-place which I had passed in the night; and observed
another pillar of smoke east-south-east, distant 12 or 14 miles. Towards
this I directed my route, and reached the cultivated ground a little
before eleven o'clock where, seeing a number of Negroes at work planting
corn, I inquired the name of the town; and was informed that it was a
Foulah village, belonging to Ali, called Shrilla. I had now some doubts
about entering it; but my horse being very much fatigued, and the day
growing hot, not to mention the pangs of hunger which began to assail me,
I resolved to venture, and accordingly rode up to the Dooty's house,
where I was unfortunately denied admittance, and could not obtain even a
handful of corn either for myself or horse. Turning from this
inhospitable door, I rode slowly out of the town, and perceiving some low
scattered huts without the walls, I directed my route towards them;
knowing that in Africa, as well as in Europe, hospitality does not always
prefer the highest dwellings. At the door of one of these huts, an old
motherly-looking woman sat, spinning cotton; I made signs to her that I
was hungry, and inquired if she had any victuals with her in the hut. She
immediately laid down her distaff, and desired me, in Arabic, to come in.
When I had seated myself upon the floor, she set before me a dish of
kouskous, that had been left the preceding night, of which I made a
tolerable meal; and in return for this kindness I gave her one of my
pocket-handkerchiefs, begging at the same time a little corn for my
horse, which she readily brought me.

Overcome with joy at so unexpected a deliverance, I lifted up my eyes to
heaven, and whilst my heart swelled with gratitude, I returned thanks to
that gracious and bountiful Being, whose power had supported me under so
many dangers, and had now spread for me a table in the Wilderness.

Whilst my horse was feeding the people began to assemble, and one of them
whispered something to my hostess, which very much excited her surprise.
Though I was not well acquainted with the Foulah language, I soon
discovered that some of the men wished to apprehend and carry me back to
Ali, in hopes, I suppose, of receiving a reward. I therefore tied up the
corn; and lest any one should suspect I had ran away from the Moors, I
took a northerly direction, and went cheerfully along, driving my horse
before me, followed by all the boys and girls of the town. When I had
travelled about two miles, and got quit of all my troublesome attendants,
I struck again into the woods, and took shelter under a large tree, where
I found it necessary to rest myself; a bundle of twigs serving me for a
bed, and my saddle for a pillow.

I was awakened about two o'clock by three Foulahs, who, taking me for a
Moor, pointed to the sun, and told me it was time to pray. Without
entering into conversation with them, I saddled my horse and continued my
journey. I travelled over a level, but more fertile country, than I had
seen for some time, until sunset, when, coming to a path that took a
southerly direction, I followed it until midnight, at which time I
arrived at a small pool of rain water, and the wood being open, I
determined to rest by it for the night. Having given my horse the
remainder of the corn, I made my bed as formerly; but the musketoes and
flies from the pool prevented sleep for some time, and I was twice
disturbed in the night by wild beasts, which came very near, and whose
howlings kept the horse in continual terror.

July 4th. At daybreak I pursued my course through woods as formerly; saw
numbers of antelopes, wild hogs, and ostriches; but the soil was more
hilly, and not so fertile as I had found it the preceding day. About
eleven o'clock I ascended an eminence, where I climbed a tree, and
discovered, at about eight miles distance, an open part of the country,
with several red spots which I concluded were cultivated land; and
directing my course that way, came to the precincts of a watering-place,
about one o'clock. From the appearance of the place, I judged it to
belong to the Foulahs, and was hopeful that I should meet a better
reception than I had experienced at Shrilla. In this I was not deceived;
for one of the shepherds invited me to come into his tent, and partake of
some dates. This was one of those low Foulah tents in which there is room
just sufficient to sit upright, and in which the family, the furniture,
&c. seem huddled together like so many articles in a chest. When I had
crept upon my hands and knees into this humble habitation, I found that
it contained a woman and three children; who, together with the shepherd
and myself, completely occupied the floor. A dish of boiled corn and
dates was produced, and the master of the family, as is customary in this
part of the country, first tasted it himself, and then desired me to
follow his example. Whilst I was eating, the children kept their eyes
fixed upon me; and no sooner did the shepherd pronounce the word
_Nazaram_, than they began to cry, and their mother crept slowly towards
the door, out of which she sprang like a greyhound, and was instantly
followed by her children, so frightened were they at the very name of a
Christian, that no entreaties could induce them to approach the tent.
Here I purchased some corn for my horse in exchange for some brass
buttons; and having thanked the shepherd for his hospitality, struck
again into the woods. At sunset, I came to a road that took the direction
for Bambarra, and resolved to follow it for the night; but about eight
o'clock, hearing some people coming from the southward, I thought it
prudent to hide myself among some thick bushes near the road. As these
thickets are generally full of wild beasts, I found my situation rather
unpleasant; sitting in the dark, holding my horse by the nose, with both
hands, to prevent him from neighing, and equally afraid of the natives
without and the wild beasts within. My fears, however, were soon
dissipated; for the people, after looking round the thicket, and
perceiving nothing, went away; and I hastened to the more open parts of
the wood, where I pursued my journey E.S.E. until midnight; when the
joyful cry of frogs induced me once more to deviate a little from my
route, in order to quench my thirst. Having accomplished this, from a
large pool of rain water, I sought for an open place, with a single tree
in the midst, under which I made my bed for the night. I was disturbed by
some wolves towards morning, which induced me to set forward a little
before day; and having passed a small village called Wassalita, I came
about ten o'clock (July fifth) to a Negro town called Wawra, which
properly belongs to Kaarta, but was at this time tributary to Mansong,
King of Bambarra.


_The Author proceeds to Wassiboo.--Is joined by some fugitive Kaartans,
who accompany him in his route through Bambarra.--Discovers the
Niger.--Some account of Sego, the capital of Bambarra.--Mansong the King
refuses to see the Author, but sends him a present.--Great hospitality of
a Negro woman._

Wawra is a small town surrounded with high walls, and inhabited by a
mixture of Mandingoes and Foulahs. The inhabitants employ themselves
chiefly in cultivating corn, which they exchange with the Moors for salt.
Here, being in security from the Moors, and very much fatigued, I
resolved to rest myself; and meeting with a hearty welcome from the
Dooty, whose name was Flancharee, I laid myself down upon a bullock's
hide, and slept soundly for about two hours. The curiosity of the people
would not allow me to sleep any longer. They had seen my saddle and
bridle, and were assembled in great numbers to learn who I was, and
whence I came. Some were of opinion that I was an Arab; others insisted
that I was some Moorish Sultan; and they continued to debate the matter
with such warmth, that the noise awoke me. The Dooty (who had formerly
been at Gambia) at last interposed in my behalf, and assured them that I
was certainly a white man; but he was convinced, from my appearance, that
I was a very poor one.

In the course of the day, several women, hearing that I was going to
Sego, came and begged me to inquire of Mansong, the king, what was become
of their children. One woman, in particular, told me that her son's name
was Mamadee; that he was no Heathen, but prayed to God morning and
evening, and had been taken from her about three years ago, by Mansong's
army; since which she had never heard of him. She said, she often dreamed
about him; and begged me, if I should see him, either in Bambarra, or in
my own country, to tell him that his mother and sister were still alive.
In the afternoon, the Dooty examined the contents of the leather bag, in
which I had packed up my clothes; but finding nothing that was worth
taking, he returned it, and told me to depart in the morning.

July 6th. It rained very much in the night, and at daylight I departed,
in company with a Negro, who was going to a town called Dingyee for corn:
but we had not proceeded above a mile, before the ass upon which he rode
kicked him off, and he returned, leaving me to prosecute the journey by

I reached Dingyee about noon; but the Dooty and most of the inhabitants
had gone into the fields to cultivate corn. An old Foulah, observing me
wandering about the town, desired me to come to his hut, where I was well
entertained; and the Dooty, when he returned, sent me some victuals for
myself, and corn for my horse.

July 7th. In the morning, when I was about to depart, my landlord, with a
great deal of diffidence, begged me to give him a lock of my hair. He had
been told, he said, that white men's hair made a saphie that would give
to the possessor all the knowledge of white men. I had never before heard
of so simple a mode of education, but instantly complied with the
request; and my landlord's thirst for learning was such, that, with
cutting and pulling, he cropped one side of my head pretty closely; and
would have done the same with the other, had I not signified my
disapprobation by putting on my hat, and assuring him, that I wished to
reserve some of this precious merchandize for a future occasion.

I reached a small town called Wassiboo, about twelve o'clock, where I was
obliged to stop until an opportunity should offer of procuring a guide to
Satile, which is distant a very long day's journey, through woods without
any beaten path. I accordingly took up my residence at the Dooty's house,
where I staid four days; during which time I amused myself by going to
the fields with the family to plant corn. Cultivation is carried on here
on a very extensive scale; and, as the natives themselves express it,
"hunger is never known." In cultivating the soil, the men and women work
together. They use a large sharp hoe, much superior to that used in
Gambia; but they are obliged, for fear of the Moors, to carry their arms
with them to the field. The master, with the handle of his spear, marks
the field into regular plats, one of which is assigned to every three

On the evening of the 11th, eight of the fugitive Kaartans arrived at
Wassiboo.--They had found it impossible to live under the tyrannical
government of the Moors, and were now going to transfer their allegiance
to the King of Bambarra. They offered to take me along with them as far
as Satile; and I accepted the offer.

July 12th. At daybreak we set out, and travelled with uncommon expedition
until sunset: we stopped only twice in the course of the day; once at a
watering-place in the woods, and another time at the ruins of a town
formerly belonging to Daisy, called _Illa Compe_, (the corn town). When
we arrived in the neighbourhood of Satile, the people who were employed
in the corn fields, seeing so many horsemen, took us for a party of
Moors, and ran screaming away from us. The whole town was instantly
alarmed, the slaves were seen, in every direction, driving the cattle and
horses towards the town. It was in vain that one of our company galloped
up to undeceive them: it only frightened them the more; and when we
arrived at the town, we found the gates shut, and the people all under
arms. After a long parley, we were permitted to enter and, as there was
every appearance of a heavy tornado, the Dooty allowed us to sleep in his
saloon, and gave us each a bullock's hide for a bed.

July 13th. Early in the morning we again set forward. The roads were wet
and slippery, but the country was very beautiful, abounding with
rivulets, which were increased by the rain into rapid streams. About ten
o'clock we came to the ruins of a village, which had been destroyed by
war about six months before; and in order to prevent any town from being
built there in future, the large Bentang tree, under which the natives
spent the day, had been burnt down; the wells filled up; and every thing
that could make the spot desirable completely destroyed.

About noon, my horse was so much fatigued that I could not keep up with
my companions; I therefore dismounted, and desired them to ride on,
telling them, that I would follow as soon as my horse had rested a
little. But I found them unwilling to leave me; the lions, they said,
were very numerous in those parts, and though they might not so readily
attack a body of people, they would soon find out an individual. It was
therefore agreed that one of the company should stay with me, to assist
in driving my horse, while the others passed on to Galloo, to procure
lodgings, and collect grass for the horses before night. Accompanied by
this worthy Negro, I drove my horse before me until about four o'clock,
when we came in sight of Galloo, a considerable town, standing in a
fertile and beautiful valley, surrounded with high rocks.

As my companions had thoughts of settling in this neighbourhood, they had
a fine sheep given them by the Dooty; and I was fortunate enough to
procure plenty of corn for my horse. Here they blow upon elephants' teeth
when they announce evening prayers, in the same manner as at Kemmoo.

Early next morning, (July 14th,) having first returned many thanks to our
landlord for his hospitality, while my fellow travellers offered up their
prayers that he might never want, we set forward, and about three o'clock
arrived at Moorja, a large town famous for its trade in salt, which the
Moors bring here in great quantities, to exchange for corn and cotton
cloth. As most of the people here are Mahomedans, it is not allowed to
the Kafirs to drink beer, which they call _Neo-dollo_ (corn spirit)
except in certain houses. In one of these I saw about twenty people
sitting round large vessels of this beer, with the greatest conviviality,
many of them in a state of intoxication. As corn is plentiful, the
inhabitants are very liberal to strangers. I believe we had as much corn
and milk sent us by different people as would have been sufficient for
three times our number; and though we remained here two days, we
experienced no diminution of their hospitality.

On the morning of the 16th we again set forward, accompanied by a coffle
of fourteen asses, loaded with salt, bound for Sansanding. The road was
particularly romantic, between two rocky hills; but the Moors sometimes
lie in wait here to plunder strangers. As soon as we had reached the open
country, the master of the salt coffle thanked us for having staid with
him so long, and now desired us to ride on. The sun was almost set before
we reached Datliboo. In the evening we had a most tremendous tornado. The
house in which we lodged, being flat-roofed, admitted the rain in
streams; the floor was soon ankle deep, the fire extinguished, and we
were left to pass the night upon some bundles of fire wood, that happened
to lie in a corner.

July 17th. We departed from Datliboo; and about ten o'clock passed a
large coffle returning from Sego, with corn hoes, mats, and other
household utensils. At five o'clock we came to a large village, where we
intended to pass the night, but the Dooty would not receive us. When we
departed from this place, my horse was so much fatigued that I was under
the necessity of driving him, and it was dark before we reached Fanimboo,
a small village; the Dooty of which no sooner heard that I was a white
man, than he brought out three old muskets, and was much disappointed,
when he was told that I could not repair them.

July 18th. We continued our journey, but, owing to a light supper the
preceding night, we felt ourselves rather hungry this morning, and
endeavoured to procure some corn at a village; but without success. The
towns were now more numerous, and the land that is not employed in
cultivation affords excellent pasturage for large herds of cattle; but
owing to the great concourse of people daily going to and returning from
Sego, the inhabitants are less hospitable to strangers.

My horse becoming weaker and weaker every day, was now of very little
service to me. I was obliged to drive him before me for the greater part
of the day; and did not reach Geosorro until eight o'clock in the
evening. I found my companions wrangling with the Dooty, who had
absolutely refused to give or sell them any provisions; and as none of us
had tasted victuals for the last twenty-four hours, we were by no means
disposed to fast another day if we could help it. But finding our
entreaties without effect, and being very much fatigued, I fell asleep,
from which I was awakened about midnight, with the joyful information
"_kinnenata_" (the victuals are come.) This made the remainder of the
night pass away pleasantly; and at daybreak, July 19th, we resumed our
journey, proposing to stop at a village called Doolinkeaboo, for the
night following. My fellow-travellers having better horses than myself,
soon left me, and I was walking barefoot, driving my horse, when I was
met by a coffle of slaves, about seventy in number, coming from Sego.
They were tied together by their necks with thongs of a bullock's hide
twisted like a rope; seven slaves upon a thong, and a man with a musket
between every seven. Many of the slaves were ill-conditioned, and a great
number of them women. In the rear came Sidi, Mahomed's servant, whom I
remembered to have seen at the camp of Benowm: he presently knew me, and
told me that these slaves were going to Morocco, by the way of Ludamar,
and the Great Desert.

In the afternoon, as I approached Doolinkeaboo, I met about twenty Moors
on horseback, the owners of the slaves I had seen in the morning; they
were well armed with muskets, and were very inquisitive concerning me,
but not so rude as their countrymen generally are. From them I learned
that Sidi Mahomed was not at Sego, but had gone to Kancaba for gold-dust.

When I arrived at Doolinkeaboo, I was informed that my fellow-travellers
had gone on; but my horse was so much fatigued that I could not possibly
proceed after them. The Dooty of the town, at my request, gave me a
draught of water, which is generally looked upon as an earnest of greater
hospitality, and I had no doubt of making up for the toils of the day by
a good supper and a sound sleep. Unfortunately, I had neither one nor the
other. The night was rainy and tempestuous, and the Dooty limited his
hospitality to the draught of water.

July 20th. In the morning I endeavoured, both by entreaties and threats,
to procure some victuals from the Dooty, but in vain. I even begged some
corn from one of his female slaves, as she was washing it at the well,
and had the mortification to be refused. However, when the Dooty was gone
to the fields, his wife sent me a handful of meal, which I mixed with
water and drank for breakfast. About eight o'clock I departed from
Doolinkeaboo, and at noon stopped a few minutes at a large Korree, where
I had some milk given me by the Foulahs. And hearing that two Negroes
were going from thence to Sego, I was happy to have their company, and we
set out immediately. About four o'clock we stopped at a small village,
where one of the Negroes met with an acquaintance who invited us to a
sort of public entertainment, which was conducted with more than common
propriety. A dish made of sour milk and meal, called _Sinkatoo_, and beer
made from their corn, was distributed with great liberality; and the
women were admitted into the society, a circumstance I had never before
observed in Africa. There was no compulsion, every one was at liberty to
drink as he pleased; they nodded to each other when about to drink, and
on setting down the calabash, commonly said _berka_, (thank you). Both
men and women appeared to be somewhat intoxicated, but they were far from
being quarrelsome.

Departing from thence, we passed several large villages, where I was
constantly taken for a Moor, and became the subject of much merriment to
the Bambarrans; who, seeing me drive my horse before me, laughed heartily
at my appearance. He has been at Mecca, says one, you may see that by his
clothes; another asked me if my horse was sick; a third wished to
purchase it, &c., so that I believe the very slaves were ashamed to be
seen in my company. Just before it was dark, we took up our lodging for
the night at a small village, where I procured some victuals for myself
and some corn for my horse, at the moderate price of a button; and was
told that I should see the Niger (which the Negroes call Joliba, or _the
great water_) early the next day. The lions are here very numerous. The
gates are shut a little after sunset, and nobody allowed to go out. The
thoughts of seeing the Niger in the morning, and the troublesome buzzing
of musketoes, prevented me from shutting my eyes during the night; and I
had saddled my horse and was in readiness before daylight; but, on
account of the wild beasts, we were obliged to wait until the people were
stirring, and the gates opened. This happened to be a market-day at Sego,
and the roads were every where filled with people carrying different
articles to sell. We passed four large villages, and at eight o'clock saw
the smoke over Sego.

As we approached the town, I was fortunate enough to overtake the
fugitive Kaartans, to whose kindness I had been so much indebted on my
journey through Bambarra. They readily agreed to introduce me to the
king; and we rode together through some marshy ground, where, as I was
anxiously looking around for the river, one of them called out _qeo
affili_, (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.

The circumstance of the Niger's flowing towards the east and its
collateral points did not, however, excite my surprise; for although I
had left Europe in great hesitation on this subject, and rather believed
that it ran in the contrary direction, I had made such frequent inquiries
during my progress concerning this river, and received from Negroes of
different nations such clear and decisive assurances that its general
course was _towards the rising sun_, as scarce left any doubt on my mind;
and more especially, as I knew that Major Houghton had collected similar
information in the same manner.

Sego, the capital of Bambarra, at which I had now arrived, consists,
properly speaking, of four distinct towns; two on the northern bank of
the Niger, called Sego Korro, and Sego Boo; and two on the southern bank,
called Sego Soo Korro, and Sego See Korro. They are all surrounded with
high mud walls; the houses are built of clay, of a square form, with flat
roofs; some of them have two stories, and many of them are white-washed.
Besides these buildings, Moorish mosques are seen in every quarter, and
the streets, though narrow, are broad enough for every useful purpose in
a country where wheel carriages are entirely unknown. From the best
inquiries I could make, I have reason to believe that Sego contains
altogether about thirty thousand inhabitants. The king of Bambarra
constantly resides at Sego See Korro; he employs a great many slaves in
conveying people over the river, and the money they receive (though the
fare is only ten Kowrie shells for each individual) furnishes a
considerable revenue to the king in the course of a year. The canoes are
of a singular construction, each of them being formed of the trunks of
two large trees, rendered concave, and joined together, not side by side,
but end-ways, the junction being exactly across the middle of the canoe;
they are, therefore, very long and disproportionately narrow, and have
neither decks nor masts. They are however, very roomy, for I observed in
one of them four horses and several people crossing over the river. When
we arrived at this ferry, with a view to pass over to that part of the
town in which the king resides, we found a great number waiting for a
passage; they looked at me with silent wonder, and I distinguished with
concern many Moors among them. There were three different places of
embarkation, and the ferrymen were very diligent and expeditious; but
from the crowd of people, I could not immediately obtain a passage, and
sat down upon the bank of the river to wait for a more favourable
opportunity. The view of this extensive city, the numerous canoes upon
the river, the crowded population, and the cultivated state of the
surrounding country, formed altogether a prospect of civilization and
magnificence, which I little expected to find in the bosom of Africa.

I waited more than two hours without having an opportunity of crossing
the river; during which time the people who had crossed carried
information to Mausong the King, that a white man was waiting for a
passage, and was coming to see him. He immediately sent over one of his
chief men, who informed me that the king could not possibly see me, until
he knew what had brought me into his country; and that I must not presume
to cross the river without the king's permission. He therefore advised me
to lodge at a distant village, to which he pointed, for the night; and
said that in the morning he would give me further instructions how to
conduct myself. This was very discouraging. However, as there was no
remedy, I set off for the village; where I found, to my great
mortification, that no person would admit me into his house. I was
regarded with astonishment and fear, and was obliged to sit all day
without victuals in the shade of a tree; and the night threatened to be
very uncomfortable, for the wind rose, and the was great appearance of a
heavy rain; and the wild beasts are so very numerous in the
neighbourhood, that I should have been under the necessity of climbing up
the tree and resting among the branches. About sunset, however, as I was
preparing to pass the night in this manner, and had turned my horse
loose, that he might graze at liberty, a woman, returning from the
labours of the field, stopped to observe me, and perceiving that I was
weary and dejected, inquired into my situation, which I briefly explained
to her: whereupon, with looks of great compassion, she took up my saddle
and bridle, and told me to follow her. Having conducted me into her hut,
she lighted up a lamp, spread a mat on the floor, and told me I might
remain there for the night. Finding that I was very hungry, she said she
would procure me something to eat. She accordingly went out, and returned
in a short time with a very fine fish; which having caused to be half
broiled upon some embers, she gave me for supper. The rites of
hospitality being thus performed towards a stranger in distress, my
worthy benefactress (pointing to the mat, and telling me I might sleep
there without apprehension) called to the female part of her family, who
had stood gazing on me all the while in fixed astonishment, to resume
their task of spinning cotton; in which they continued to employ
themselves great part of the night. They lightened their labour by songs,
one of which was composed extempore; for I was myself the subject of it.
It was sung by one of the young women, the rest joined in a sort of
chorus. The air was sweet and plaintive, and the words, literally
translated were these:

  "The winds roared, and the rains fell.
  The poor white man, faint and weary,
  Came and sat under our tree.
  He has no mother to bring him milk;
  No wife to grind his corn."

    _Chorus_, "Let us pity the white man:
              No mother has he," &c. &c.

Trifling as this recital may appear to the reader, to a person in my
situation, the circumstance was affecting in the highest degree.

I was oppressed by such unexpected kindness, and sleep fled from my eyes.
In the morning I presented my compassionate landlady with two of the four
brass buttons which remained on my waistcoat; the only recompence I could
make her.

July 21st. I continued in the village all this day in conversation with
the natives, who came in crowds to see me; but was rather uneasy towards
evening, to find that no message had arrived from the king; the more so,
as the people began to whisper, that Mansong had received some very
unfavourable accounts of me, from the Moors and Slatees residing at Sego;
who it seems were exceedingly suspicious concerning the motives of my
journey. I learned that many consultations had been held with the king
concerning my reception and disposal; and some of the villagers frankly
told me, that I had many enemies, and must expect no favour.

July 22d. About eleven o'clock, a messenger arrived from the king, but he
gave me very little satisfaction. He inquired particularly if I had
brought any present; and seemed much disappointed when he was told that I
had been robbed of every thing by the Moors. When I proposed to go along
with him, he told me to stop until the afternoon, when the king would
send for me.

[Illustration: NEGRO SONG from Mr. PARK'S TRAVELS.




  The loud wind roar'd, the rain fell fast;
  The White Man yielded to the blast:
  He sat him down, beneath our tree;
  For weary, sad, and faint was he;
  And ah, no wife, or mother's care,
  For him, the milk or corn prepare.


  _The White Man, shall our pity share;
  Alas, no wife or mother's care,
  For him, the milk or corn prepare._


  The storm is o'er; the tempest past;
  And Mercy's voice has hush'd the blast,
  The wind is heard in whispers low;
  The White Man far away must go;--
  But ever in his heart will bear
  Remembrance of the Negro's care.


  _Go, White Man, go;--but with thee bear
  The Negro's wish, the Negro's prayer;
  Remembrance of the Negro's care._]

July 23d. In the afternoon another messenger arrived from Mansong, with a
bag in his hands. He told me it was the king's pleasure that I should
depart forthwith from the vicinage of Sego; but that Mansong, wishing to
relieve a white man in distress, had sent me five thousand Kowries,[12] to
enable me to purchase provisions in the course of my journey; the
messenger added, that if my intentions were really to proceed to Jenne,
he had orders to accompany me as a guide to Sansanding. I was, at first,
puzzled to account for this behaviour of the king; but from the
conversation I had with the guide, I had afterwards reason to believe
that Mansong would willingly have admitted me into his presence at Sego;
but was apprehensive he might not be able to protect me against the blind
and inveterate malice of the Moorish inhabitants. His conduct, therefore,
was at once prudent and liberal. The circumstances under which I made my
appearance at Sego were undoubtedly such as might create in the mind of
the king a well warranted suspicion that I wished to conceal the true
object of my journey. He argued, probably, as my guide argued, who, when
he was told that I had come from a great distance, and through many
dangers, to behold the Joliba river, naturally inquired, if there were no
rivers in my own country, and whether one river was not like another.
Notwithstanding this, and in spite of the jealous machinations of the
Moors, this benevolent prince thought it sufficient, that a white man was
found in his dominions, in a condition of extreme wretchedness; and that
no other plea was necessary to entitle the sufferer to his bounty.

  [12] Mention has already been made of these little shells, (p. 23
    [At the end of chapter II. Transcriber.]) which pass current as money
    in many parts of the East Indies as well as Africa. In Bambarra, and
    the adjacent countries, where the necessaries of life are very cheap,
    one hundred of them would commonly purchase a day's provisions for
    myself, and corn for my horse. I reckoned about two hundred and fifty
    Kowries equal to one shilling.


_Departure from Sego, and arrival at Kabba.--Description of the shea, or
vegetable butter tree.--The Author and his guide arrive at
Sansanding.--Behaviour of the Moors at that place.--The Author pursues
his journey to the eastward.--Incidents on the road.--Arrives at Modiboo,
and proceeds for Kea; but obliged to leave his horse by the way.--Embarks
at Kea in a fisherman's canoe for Moorzan; is conveyed from thence across
the Niger to Silla--determines to proceed no further eastward.--Some
account of the further course of the Niger, and the towns in its
vicinage, towards the East._

Being, in the manner that has been related; compelled to leave Sego, I
was conducted the same evening to a village about seven miles to the
eastward, with some of the inhabitants of which my guide was acquainted,
and by whom we were well received.[13] He was very friendly and
communicative, and spoke highly of the hospitality of his countrymen; but
withal told me, that if Jenne was the place of my destination, which he
seemed to have hitherto doubted, I had undertaken an enterprise of
greater danger than probably I was apprized of; for, although the town of
Jenne was nominally a part of the King of Bambarra's dominions, it was,
in fact, he said, a city of the Moors; the leading part of the
inhabitants being Bushreens, and even the governor himself, though
appointed by Mansong, of the same sect. Thus was I in danger of falling a
second time into the hands of men who would consider it not only
justifiable; but meritorious, to destroy me; and this reflection was
aggravated by the circumstance that the danger increased as I advanced in
my journey; for I learned that the places beyond Jenne were under the
Moorish influence, in a still greater degree than Jenne itself; and
Tombuctoo, the great object of my search, altogether in possession of
that savage and merciless people, who allow no Christian to live there.
But I had now advanced too far to think of returning to the westward, on
such vague and uncertain information, and determined to proceed; and
being accompanied by the guide, I departed from the village on the
morning of the 24th. About eight o'clock, we passed a large town called
Kabba, situated in the midst of a beautiful and highly cultivated
country; bearing a greater resemblance to the centre of England, than to
what I should have supposed had been the middle of Africa. The people
were everywhere employed in collecting the fruit of the Shea trees, from
which they prepare the vegetable butter, mentioned in former parts of
this work. These trees grow in great abundance all over this part of
Bambarra. They are not planted by the natives, but are found growing
naturally in the woods; and in clearing wood land for cultivation, every
tree is cut down but the Shea. The tree itself very much resembles the
American oak; and the fruit, from the kernel of which, being first dried
in the sun, the butter is prepared by boiling the kernel in water, has
somewhat the appearance of a Spanish olive. The kernel is enveloped in a
sweet pulp under a thin green rind; and the butter produced from it,
besides the advantage of its keeping the whole year without salt, is
whiter, firmer, and, to my palate, of a richer flavour than the best
butter I ever tasted made from cow's milk. The growth and preparation of
this commodity seem to be among the first objects of African industry in
this and the neighbouring states; and it constitutes a main article of
their inland commerce.

  [13] I should have before observed, that I found the language of
    Bambarra a sort of corrupted Mandingo. After a little practice, I
    understood and spoke it without difficulty.

We passed, in the course of the day, a great many villages, inhabited
chiefly by fishermen; and in the evening about five o'clock arrived at
Sansanding, a very large town, containing, as I was told, from eight to
ten thousand inhabitants. This place is much resorted to by the Moors,
who bring salt from Beeroo, and beads and coral from the Mediterranean,
to exchange here for gold-dust and cotton-cloth. This cloth they sell to
great advantage in Beeroo, and other Moorish countries, where, on account
of the want of rain, no cotton is cultivated.

I desired my guide to conduct me to the house in which we were to lodge,
by the most private way possible. We accordingly rode along between the
town and the river, passing by a creek or harbour, in which I observed
twenty large canoes, most of them fully loaded, and covered with mats, to
prevent the rain from injuring the goods. As we proceeded, three other
canoes arrived, two with passengers, and one with goods. I was happy to
find that all the Negro inhabitants, took me for a Moor; under which
character I should probably have passed unmolested, had not a Moor, who
was sitting by the river side, discovered the mistake, and setting up a
loud exclamation, brought together a number of his countrymen.

When I arrived at the house of Counti Mamadi, the Dooty of the town, I
was surrounded with hundreds of people, speaking a variety of different
dialects, all equally unintelligible to me. At length, by the assistance
of my guide, who acted as interpreter, I understood that one of the
spectators pretended to have seen me at one place, and another at some
other place; and a Moorish woman absolutely swore that she had kept my
house three years at. Gallam, on the river Senegal. It was plain that
they mistook me for some other person; and I desired two of the most
confident to point towards the place where they had seen me. They pointed
due south; hence I think it probable that they came from Cape Coast,
where they might have seen many white men. Their language was different
from any I had yet heard. The Moors now assembled in great numbers; with
their usual arrogance, compelling the Negroes to stand at a distance.
They immediately began to question me concerning my religion; but finding
that I was not master of the Arabic, they sent for two men, whom they
call _Ilhuidi_ (Jews), in hopes that they might be able to converse with
me. These Jews, in dress and appearance, very much resemble the Arabs;
but though they so far conform to the religion of Mahomet, as to recite,
in public, prayers from the Koran, they are but little respected by the
Negroes; and even the Moors themselves allowed, that though I was a
Christian, I was a better man than a Jew. They, however, insisted that,
like the Jews, I must conform so far as to repeat the Mahomedan prayers;
and when I attempted to waive the subject, by telling them that I could
not speak Arabic, one of them, a Shereef from Tuat, in the Great Desert,
started up and swore by the Prophet, that if I refused to go to the
mosque, he would be one that would assist in carrying me thither. And
there is no doubt but this threat would have been immediately executed,
had not my landlord interposed in my behalf. He told them that I was the
king's stranger, and he could not see me ill treated, whilst I was under
his protection. He therefore advised them to let me alone for the night;
assuring them that in the morning I should be sent about my business.
This somewhat appeased their clamour; but they compelled me to ascend a
high seat, by the door of the mosque, in order that every body might see
me; for the people had assembled in such numbers as to be quite
ungovernable; climbing upon the houses, and squeezing each other, like
the spectators at an execution. Upon this seat I remained until sunset,
when I was conducted into a neat little hut, with a small court before
it; the door of which Counti Mamadi shut, to prevent any person from
disturbing me. But this precaution could not exclude the Moors. They
climbed over the top of the mud-wall, and came in crowds into the court,
in order, they said, to see me _perform my evening devotions, and eat
eggs_. The former of these ceremonies I did not think proper to comply
with; but I told them I had no objection to eat eggs, provided they would
bring me eggs to eat. My landlord immediately brought me seven hen's
eggs, and was much surprised to find that I could not eat them raw; for
it seems to be a prevalent opinion among the inhabitants of the interior,
that Europeans subsist almost entirely on this diet. When I had succeeded
in persuading my landlord that this opinion was without foundation, and
that I would gladly partake of any victuals which he might think proper
to send me, he ordered a sheep to be killed, and part of it to be dressed
for my supper. About midnight, when the Moors had left me, he paid me a
visit, and with much earnestness desired me to write him a saphie. "If a
Moor's saphie is good, (said this hospitable old man,) a white man's must
needs be better." I readily furnished him with one, possessed of all the
virtues I could concentrate; for it contained the Lord's Prayer. The pen
with which it was written was made of a reed; a little charcoal and
gum-water made very tolerable ink, and a thin board answered the purpose
of paper.

July 25th. Early in the morning, before the Moors were assembled, I
departed from Sansanding, and slept the ensuing night at a small town
called Sibili; from whence, on the day following, I reached Nyara, a
large town at some distance from the river, where I halted the 27th, to
have my clothes washed, and recruit my horse. The Dooty there has a very
commodious house, flat roofed, and two stories high. He showed me some
gunpowder of his own manufacturing, and pointed out as a great curiosity
a little brown monkey, that was tied to a stake by the door, telling me
that it came from a far distant country, called Kong.

July 28th. I departed from Nyara, and reached Nyamee about noon. This
town is inhabited chiefly by Foulahs, from the kingdom of Masina. The
Dooty (I know not why) would not receive me, but civilly sent his son on
horseback, to conduct me to Modiboo; which, he assured me, was at no
great distance.

We rode nearly in a direct line through the woods; but in general went
forwards with great circumspection. I observed that my guide frequently
stopped, and looked under the bushes. On inquiring the reason of this
caution, he told me that lions were very numerous in that part of the
country, and frequently attacked people travelling through the woods.
While he was speaking, my horse started, and looking round, I observed a
large animal of the cameleopard kind, standing at a little distance. The
neck and fore legs were very long; the head was furnished with two short
black horns, turning backwards; the tail, which reached down to the ham
joint, had a tuft of hair at the end. The animal was of a mouse colour;
and it trotted away from us in a very sluggish manner; moving its head
from side to side, to see if we were pursuing it. Shortly after this, as
we were crossing a large open plain, where there were a few scattered
bushes, my guide, who was a little way before me, wheeled his horse round
in a moment, calling out something in the Foulah language, which I did
not understand. I inquired in Mandingo what he meant; _Wara billi billi_,
a very large lion, said he; and made signs for me to ride away. But my
horse was too much fatigued; so we rode slowly past the bush, from which
the animal had given us the alarm. Not seeing any thing myself, however,
I thought my guide had been mistaken, when the Foulah suddenly put his
hand to his mouth, exclaiming _Soubah an alluhi_ (God preserve us!), and
to my great surprise I then perceived a large red lion, at a short
distance from the bush, with his head couched between his fore paws. I
expected he would instantly spring upon me, and instinctively pulled my
feet from my stirrups to throw myself on the ground, that my horse might
become the victim, rather than myself. But it is probable the lion was
not hungry; for he quietly suffered us to pass, though we were fairly
within his reach. My eyes were so rivetted upon this sovereign of the
beasts, that I found it impossible to remove them, until we were at a
considerable distance. We now took a circuitous route, through some
swampy ground, to avoid any more of these disagreeable rencounters. At
sunset we arrived at Modiboo, a delightful village on the banks of the
Niger, commanding a view of the river for many miles, both to the east
and west. The small green islands, (the peaceful retreat of some
industrious Foulahs, whose cattle are here secure from the depredations
of wild beasts,) and the majestic breadth of the river, which is here
much larger than at Sego, render the situation one of the most enchanting
in the world. Here are caught great plenty of fish, by means of long
cotton nets, which the natives make themselves, and use nearly in the
same manner as nets are used in Europe. I observed the head of a
crocodile lying upon one of the houses, which they told me had been
killed by the shepherds in a swamp near the town. These animals are not
uncommon in the Niger; but I believe they are not oftentimes found
dangerous. They are of little account to the traveller, when compared
with the amazing swarms of musquetoes, which rise from the swamps and
creeks, in such numbers as to harass even the most torpid of the natives;
and as my clothes were now almost worn to rags, I was but ill prepared to
resist their attacks. I usually passed the night without shutting my
eyes, walking backwards and forwards, fanning myself with my hat; their
stings raised numerous blisters on my legs and arms; which, together with
the want of rest, made me very feverish and uneasy.

July 29th. Early in the morning, my landlord observing that I was sickly,
hurried me away; sending a servant with me as a guide to Kea. But though
I was little able to walk, my horse was still less able to carry me; and
about six miles to the east of Modiboo, in crossing some rough clayey
ground, he fell; and the united strength of the guide and myself could
not place him again upon his legs. I sat down for some time, beside this
worn-out associate of my adventures; but finding him still unable to
rise, I took off the saddle and bridle, and placed a quantity of grass
before him. I surveyed the poor animal, as he lay panting on the ground,
with sympathetic emotion; for I could not suppress the sad apprehension,
that I should myself, in a short time, lie down and perish in the same
manner, of fatigue and hunger. With this foreboding, I left my poor
horse, and with great reluctance followed my guide on foot, along the
bank of the river, until about noon; when we reached Kea, which I found
to be nothing more than a small fishing village. The Dooty, a surly old
man, who was sitting by the gate, received me very coolly; and when I
informed him of my situation, and begged his protection, told me, with
great indifference, that he paid very little attention to fine speeches,
and that I should not enter his house. My guide remonstrated in my
favour, but to no purpose; for the Dooty remained inflexible in his
determination, I knew not where to rest my wearied limbs, but was happily
relieved by a fishing canoe, belonging to Silla, which was at that moment
coming down the river. The Dooty waved to the fisherman to come near, and
desired him to take, charge of me as far as Moorzan. The fisherman, after
some hesitation, consented to carry me; and I embarked in the canoe, in
company with the fisherman, his wife, and a boy. The Negro who had
conducted me from Modiboo now left me; I requested him to look to my
horse on his return, and take care of him if he was still alive, which he
promised to do.

Departing from Kea, we proceeded about a mile down the river, when the
fisherman paddled the canoe to the bank, and desired me to jump out.
Having tied the canoe to a stake, he stripped off his clothes, and dived
for such a length of time, that I thought he had actually drowned
himself, and was surprised to see his wife behave with so much
indifference upon the occasion; but my fears were over when he raised up
his head astern of the canoe, and called for a rope. With this rope he
dived a second time, and then got into the canoe, and ordered the boy to
assist him in pulling. At length they brought up a large basket, about
ten feet in diameter, containing two fine fish, which the fisherman
(after returning the basket into the water) immediately carried ashore,
and hid in the grass. We then went a little further down, and took up
another basket, in which was one fish. The fisherman now left us, to
carry his prizes to some neighbouring market; and the woman and boy
proceeded with me in the canoe down the river.

About four o'clock we arrived at Moorzan, a fishing town on the northern
bank; from whence I was conveyed across the river to Silla, a large town;
where I remained until it was quite dark, under a tree, surrounded by
hundreds of people. But their language was very different from the other
parts of Bambarra: and I was informed that in my progress eastward, the
Bambarra tongue was but little understood, and that when I reached Jenne,
I should find that the majority of the inhabitants spoke a different
language, called _Jenne Kummo_ by the Negroes; and _Kalam Soudan_ by the

With a great deal of entreaty the Dooty allowed me to come into his
baloon, to avoid the rain, but the place was very damp, and I had a smart
paroxysm of fever during the night. Worn down by sickness, exhausted with
hunger and fatigue, half naked, and without any article of value, by
which I might procure provisions, clothes, or lodging, I began to reflect
seriously on my situation. I was now convinced, by painful experience,
that the obstacles to my further progress were insurmountable. The
tropical rains were already set in, with all their violence, the rice
grounds and swamps were everywhere overflowed, and, in a few days more,
travelling of every kind, unless by water, would be completely
obstructed. The kowries which remained of the King of Bambarra's present,
were not sufficient to enable me to hire a canoe for any great distance;
and I had but little hopes of subsisting by charity, in a country where
the Moors have such influence. But about all, I perceived that I was
advancing more and more within the power of those merciless fanatics; and
from my reception both at Sego and Sansanding, I was apprehensive that,
in attempting to reach even Jenne, (unless under the protection of some
man of consequence amongst them, which I had no means of obtaining,) I
should sacrifice my life to no purpose, for my discoveries would perish
with me. The prospect either way was gloomy. In returning to the Gambia,
a journey on foot of many hundred miles, presented itself to my
contemplation, through regions and countries unknown. Nevertheless, this
seemed to be the only alternative; for I saw inevitable destruction, in
attempting to proceed to the eastward. With this conviction on my mind, I
hope my readers will acknowledge, that I did right in going no farther. I
had made every effort to execute my mission in its fullest extent, which
prudence could justify. Had there been the most distant prospect of a
successful termination, neither the unavoidable hardships of the journey,
nor the dangers of a second captivity, should have forced me to desist.
This, however, necessity compelled me to do; and whatever may be the
opinion of my general readers on this point, it affords me inexpressible
satisfaction, that my honourable employers have been pleased, since my
return, to express their full approbation of my conduct.

Having thus brought my mind, after much doubt and perplexity, to a
determination to return westward, I thought it incumbent on me, before I
left Silla, to collect from the Moorish and Negro traders all the
information I could, concerning the further course of the Niger eastward,
and the situation and extent of the kingdoms in its vicinage; and the
following few notices I received from such various quarters, as induce me
to think they are authentic.

Two short days journey to the eastward of Silla is the town of Jenne,
which is situated on a small island in the river, and is said to contain
a greater number of inhabitants than Sego itself, or any other town in
Bambarra. At the distance of two days more, the river spreads into a
considerable lake, called _Dibbe_ (or the dark lake), concerning the
extent of which all the information I could obtain was, that in crossing
it, from west to east, the canoes lose sight of land one whole day. From
this lake the water issues in many different streams, which terminate in
two large branches, one whereof flows towards the north-east, and the
other to the east; but these branches join at Kabra, which is one day's
journey to the southward of Tombuctoo, and is the port or shipping-place
of that city. The tract of land which the two streams encircle is called
Jinbala, and is inhabited by Negroes; and the whole distance, by land,
from Jenne to Tombuctoo, is twelve days journey.

From Kabra, at the distance of eleven days' journey, down the stream, the
river passes to the southward of Houssa, which is two days journey
distant from the river. Of the further progress of this great river and
its final exit, all the natives with whom I conversed seemed to be
entirely ignorant. Their commercial pursuits seldom induce them to travel
further than the cities of Tombuctoo and Houssa; and as the sole object
of those journeys is the acquirement of wealth, they pay but little
attention to the course of rivers, or the geography of countries. It is,
however, highly probable that the Niger affords a safe and easy
communication between very remote nations. All my informants agreed, that
many of the Negro merchants who arrive at Tombuctoo and Houssa, from the
eastward, speak a different language from that of Bambarra, or any other
kingdom with which they are acquainted. But even these merchants, it
would seem, are ignorant of the termination of the river, for such of
them as can speak Arabic, describe the amazing length of its course in
very general terms, saying only that they believe it _runs to the world's

The names of many kingdoms to the eastward of Houssa are familiar to the
inhabitants of Bambarra. I was shown quivers and arrows of very curious
workmanship, which I was informed came from the kingdom of Kassina.

On the northern bank of the Niger, at a short distance from Silla, is the
kingdom of Masina, which is inhabited by Foulahs. They employ themselves
there, as in other places, chiefly in pasturage, and pay an annual
tribute to the King of Bambarra for the lands which they occupy.

To the north-east of Masina is situated the kingdom of Tombuctoo, the
great object of European research, the capital of this kingdom being one
of the principal marts for that extensive commerce which the Moors carry
on with the Negroes. The hopes of acquiring wealth in this pursuit, and
zeal for propagating their religion, have filled this extensive city with
Moors and Mahomedan converts; the king himself, and all the chief
officers of state, are Moors, and they are said to be more severe and
intolerant in their principles than any other of the Moorish tribes in
this part of Africa. I was informed by a venerable old Negro, that when
he first visited Tombuctoo, he took up his lodging at a sort of public
inn, the landlord of which, when he conducted him into his hut, spread a
mat on the floor, and laid a rope upon it, saying, "If you are a
Mussulman you are my friend, sit down; but if you are a Kafir, you are my
slave, and with this rope I will lead you to market." The present King of
Tombuctoo is named _Abu Abrahima_; he is reported to possess immense
riches. His wives and concubines are said to be clothed in silk, and the
chief officers of state live in considerable splendour. The whole expense
of his government is defrayed, as I was told, by a tax upon merchandize,
which is collected at the gates of the city.

The city of Houssa (the capital of a large kingdom of the same name,
situated to the eastward of Tombuctoo) is another great mart for Moorish
commerce. I conversed with many merchants who had visited that city, and
they all agreed that it is larger and more populous than Tombuctoo. The
trade, police, and government, are nearly the same in both; but in Houssa
the Negroes are in greater proportion to the Moors, and have some share
in the government.

Concerning the small kingdom of Jinbala, I was not able to collect much
information. The soil is said to be remarkably fertile, and the whole
country so full of creeks and swamps, that the Moors have hitherto been
baffled in every attempt to subdue it. The inhabitants are Negroes, and
some of them are said to live in considerable affluence, particularly
those near the capital, which is a resting-place for such merchants as
transport goods from Tombuctoo to the western parts of Africa.

To the southward of Jinbala is situated the Negro kingdom of Gotto, which
is said to be of great extent. It was formerly divided into a number of
petty states which were governed by their own chiefs; but their private
quarrels invited invasion from the neighbouring kingdoms. At length a
politic chief, of the name of Moosee, had address enough to make them
unite in hostilities against Bambarra; and on this occasion he was
unanimously chosen general, the different chiefs consenting for a time to
act under his command. Moosee immediately dispatched a fleet of canoes,
loaded with provisions, from the banks of the lake Dibbe up the Niger
towards Jenne, and with the whole of his army pushed forwards into
Bambarra. He arrived on the banks of the Niger opposite to Jenne, before
the townspeople had the smallest intimation of his approach. His fleet of
canoes joined him the same day, and having landed the provisions, he
embarked part of his army, and in the night took Jenne by storm. This
event so terrified the King of Bambarra, that he sent messengers to sue
for peace, and in order to obtain it, consented to deliver to Moosee a
certain number of slaves every year, and return every thing that had been
taken from the inhabitants of Gotto. Moosee, thus triumphant, returned to
Gotto, where he was declared king, and the capital of the country is
called by his name.

On the west of Gotto is the kingdom of Baedoo, which was conquered by the
present King of Bambarra about seven years ago, and has continued
tributary to him ever since.

West of Baedoo is Maniana, the inhabitants of which, according to the
best information I was able to collect, are cruel and ferocious, carrying
their resentment towards their enemies so far, as never to give quarter,
and even to indulge themselves with unnatural and disgusting banquets of
human flesh.

I am well aware that the accounts which the Negroes give of their enemies
ought to be received with great caution; but I heard the same account in
so many different kingdoms, and from such variety of people, whose
veracity I had no occasion to suspect, that I am disposed to allow it
some degree of credit. The inhabitants of Bambarra, in the course of a
long and bloody war, must have had frequent opportunities of satisfying
themselves as to the fact; and if the report had been entirely without
foundation, I cannot conceive why the term _Madummulo_ (man-eaters)
should be applied exclusively to the inhabitants of Maniana.


_The Author returns westward.--Arrives at Modiboo, and recovers his
horse.--Finds great difficulty in travelling in consequence of the rains,
and the overflowing of the river.--Is informed that the King of Bambarra
had sent persons to apprehend him.--Avoids Sego, and prosecutes his
journey along the banks of the Niger.--Incidents on the road.--Cruelties
attendant on African wars.--The Author crosses the river Frina, and
arrives at Tafiara._

Having, for the reasons assigned in the last chapter, determined to
proceed no farther eastward than Silla, I acquainted the Dooty with my
intention of returning to Sego, proposing to travel along the southern
side of the river; but he informed me, that, from the number of creeks
and swamps on that side, it was impossible to travel by any other route
than along the northern bank; and even that route, he said, would soon be
impassable, on account of the overflowing of the river. However, as he
commended my determination to return westward, he agreed to speak to some
one of the fishermen to carry me over to Moorzan. I accordingly stepped
into a canoe about eight o'clock in the morning of July 30th, and in
about an hour was landed at Moorzan. At this place I hired a canoe for
sixty kowries, and in the afternoon arrived at Kea; where, for forty
kowries more, the Dooty permitted me to sleep in the same hut with one of
his slaves. This poor Negro, perceiving that I was sickly, and that my
clothes were very ragged, humanely lent me a large cloth to cover me for
the night.

July 31st. The Dooty's brother being going to Modiboo, I embraced the
opportunity of accompanying him thither, there being no beaten road. He
promised to carry my saddle, which I had left at Kea when my horse fell
down in the woods, as I now proposed to present it to the King of

We departed from Kea at eight o'clock, and about a mile to the westward
observed, on the bank of the river, a great number of earthen jars piled
up together. They were very neatly formed, but not glazed; and were
evidently of that sort of pottery which is manufactured at Downie, (a
town to the west of Tombuctoo,) and sold to great advantage in different
parts of Bambarra. As we approached towards the jars, my companion
plucked up a large handful of herbage, and threw it upon them, making
signs for me to do the same, which I did. He then, with great
seriousness, told me that these jars belonged to some supernatural power;
that they were found in their present situation about two years ago, and
as no person had claimed them, every traveller, as he passed them, from
respect to the invisible proprietor, threw some grass, or the branch of a
tree, upon the heap, to defend the jars from the rain.

Thus conversing, we travelled in the most friendly manner, until,
unfortunately, we perceived the footsteps of a lion, quite fresh in the
mud, near the river side. My companion now proceeded with great
circumspection, and at last, coming to some thick underwood, he insisted
that I should walk before him. I endeavoured to excuse myself, by
alleging that I did not know the road, but he obstinately persisted; and
after a few high words and menacing looks, threw down the saddle and went
away. This very much disconcerted me; but as I had given up all hopes of
obtaining a horse, I could not think of encumbering myself with the
saddle, and taking off the stirrups and girths, I threw the saddle into
the river. The Negro no sooner saw me throw the saddle into the water,
than he came running from among the bushes where he had concealed
himself, jumped into the river, and by help of his spear, brought out the
saddle, and ran away with it. I continued my course along the bank; but
as the wood was remarkably thick, and I had reason to believe that a lion
was at no great distance, I became much alarmed, and took a long circuit
through the bushes to avoid him.

About four in the afternoon I reached Modiboo, where I found my saddle.
The guide, who had got there before me, being afraid that I should inform
the king of his conduct, had brought the saddle with him in a canoe.

While I was conversing with the Dooty, and remonstrating against the
guide for having left me in such a situation, I heard a horse neigh in
one of the huts; and the Dooty inquired, with a smile, if I knew who was
speaking to me? He explained himself, by telling me that my horse was
still alive, and somewhat recovered from his fatigue; but he insisted
that I should take him along with me; adding, that he had once kept a
Moor's horse for four months, and when the horse had recovered and got
into good condition, the Moor returned and claimed it, and refused to
give him any reward for his trouble.

August 1st. I departed from Modiboo, driving my horse before me, and in
the afternoon reached Nyamee, where I remained three days, during which
time it rained without intermission, and with such violence, that no
person could venture out of doors.

Aug. 5th. I departed from Nyamee; but the country was so deluged, that I
was frequently in danger of losing the road, and had to wade across the
savannahs for miles together, knee deep in water. Even the corn ground,
which is the driest land in the country, was so completely flooded, that
my horse twice stuck fast in the mud, and was not got out without the
greatest difficulty.

In the evening of the same day I arrived at Nyara, where I was well
received by the Dooty; and as the 6th was rainy, I did not depart until
the morning of the 7th; but the water had swelled to such a height, that
in many places the road was scarcely passable; and though I waded breast
deep across the swamps, I could only reach a small village called
Nemaboo, where, however, for an hundred kowries, I procured from some
Foulahs plenty of corn for my horse, and milk for myself.

Aug. 8th. The difficulties I had experienced the day before, made me
anxious to engage a fellow-traveller; particularly as I was assured,
that, in the course of a few days, the country would be so completely
overflowed, as to render the road utterly impassable; but though I
offered two hundred kowries for a guide, nobody would accompany me.
However, on the morning following, (Aug. 9th,) a Moor and his wife,
riding upon two bullocks, and bound for Sego with salt, passed the
village, and agreed to take me along with them; but I found them of
little service, for they were wholly unacquainted with the road, and
being accustomed to a sandy soil, were very bad travellers. Instead of
wading before the bullocks, to feel if the ground was solid, the woman
boldly entered the first swamp, riding upon the top of the load; but when
she had proceeded about two hundred yards, the bullock sunk into a hole,
and threw both the load and herself among the reeds. The frightened
husband stood for some time seemingly petrified with horror, and suffered
his wife to be almost drowned before he went to her assistance.

About sunset we reached Sibity, but the Dooty received me very coolly,
and when I solicited for a guide to Sansanding, he told me his people
were otherwise employed. I was shown into a damp old hut, where I passed
a very uncomfortable night; for when the walls of the hut are softened by
the rain, they frequently become too weak to support the weight of the
roof. I heard three huts fall during the night, and was apprehensive that
the hut I lodged in would be the fourth. In the morning, as I went to
pull some grass for my horse, I counted fourteen huts which had fallen in
this manner, since the commencement of the rainy season.

It continued to rain with great violence all the 10th; and as the Dooty
refused to give me any provisions, I purchased some corn, which I divided
with my horse.

Aug. 11th. The Dooty compelled me to depart from the town, and I set out
for Sansanding, without any great hopes of faring better there than I had
done at Sibity; for I learned from people who came to visit me, that a
report prevailed, and was universally believed, that I had come to
Bambarra as a spy; and as Mansong had not admitted me into his presence,
the Dooties of the different towns were at liberty to treat me in what
manner they pleased. From repeatedly hearing the same story, I had no
doubt of the truth of it; but as there was no alternative, I determined
to proceed, and a little before sunset arrived at Sansanding. My
reception was what I expected. Counti Mamadi, who had been so kind to me
formerly, scarcely gave me welcome. Every one wished to shun me, and my
landlord sent a person to inform me, that a very unfavourable report was
received from Sego concerning me, and that he wished me to depart early
in the morning. About ten o'clock at night Counti Mamadi himself came
privately to me, and informed me, that Mansong had dispatched a canoe to
Jenne to bring me back; and he was afraid I should find great difficulty
in going to the west country. He advised me, therefore, to depart from
Sansanding before daybreak; and cautioned me against stopping at Diggani,
or any town near Sego.

Aug. 12th. I departed from Sansanding, and reached Kabba in the
afternoon. As I approached the town, I was surprised to see several
people assembled at the gate; one of whom, as I advanced, came running
towards me, and taking my horse by the bridle, led me round the walls of
the town; and then pointing to the west, told me to go along, or it would
fare worse with me. It was in vain that I represented the danger of being
benighted in the woods, exposed to the inclemency of the weather, and to
the fury of wild beasts. "Go along," was all the answer; and a number of
people coming up, and urging me in the same manner with great
earnestness, I suspected that some of the king's messengers, who were
sent in search of me, were in the town; and that these Negroes, from mere
kindness, conducted me past it with a view to facilitate my escape. I
accordingly took the road for Sego, with the uncomfortable prospect of
passing the night on the branches of a tree. After travelling about three
miles, I came to a small village near the road. The Dooty was splitting
sticks by the gate; but I found I could have no admittance; and when I
attempted to enter, he jumped up, and with the stick he held in his hand,
threatened to strike me off the horse, if I presumed to advance another

At a little distance from this village (and farther from the road) is
another small one. I conjectured, that being rather out of the common
route, the inhabitants might have fewer objections to give me house room
for the night; and having crossed some corn fields, I sat down under a
tree by the well. Two or three women came to draw water; and one of them
perceiving I was a stranger, inquired whither I was going. I told her I
was going for Sego, but being benighted on the road, I wished to stay at
the village until morning; and begged she would acquaint the Dooty with
my situation. In a little time the Dooty sent for me, and permitted me to
sleep in a large baloon, in one corner of which was constructed a kiln
for drying the fruit of the Shea trees. It contained about half a
cart-load of fruit, under which was kept up a clear wood fire. I was
informed that in three days the fruit would be ready for pounding and
boiling; and that the butter thus manufactured is preferable to that
which is prepared from the fruit dried in the sun, especially in the
rainy season, when the process by insolation is always tedious, and
oftentimes ineffectual.

Aug. 13th. About ten o'clock I reached a small village within half a mile
of Sego, where I endeavoured, but in vain, to procure some provisions.
Every one seemed anxious to avoid me; and I could plainly perceive, by
the looks and behaviour of the inhabitants, that some very unfavourable
accounts had been circulated concerning me. I was again informed, that
Mansong had sent people to apprehend me; and the Dooty's son told me I
had no time to lose, if I wished to get safe out of Bambarra. I now fully
saw the danger of my situation, and determined to avoid Sego altogether.
I accordingly mounted my horse, and taking the road for Diggani,
travelled as fast as I could, until I was out of sight of the villagers,
when I struck to the westward through high grass and swampy ground. About
noon, I stopped under a tree, to consider what course to take; for I had
now no doubt but that the Moors and Slatees had misinformed the king
respecting the object of my mission, and that the people were absolutely
in search of me to convey me a prisoner to Sego. Sometimes I had thoughts
of swimming my horse across the Niger, and going to the southward for
Cape Coast; but reflecting that I had ten days to travel before I should
reach Kong, and afterward an extensive country to traverse, inhabited by
various nations, with whose language and manners I was totally
unacquainted, I relinquished this scheme, and judged that I should better
answer the purpose of my mission, by proceeding to the westward along the
Niger, endeavouring to ascertain how far the river was navigable in that
direction. Having resolved upon this course, I proceeded accordingly; and
a little before sunset arrived at a Foulah village called Sooboo, where,
for two hundred kowries, I procured lodging for the night.

Aug. 14th. I continued my course along the bank of the river, through a
populous and well cultivated country. I passed a walled town called
Kamalia,[14] without stopping; and at noon rode through a large town called
Samee, where there happened to be a market, and a number of people
assembled in an open place in the middle of the town, selling cattle,
cloth, corn, &c. I rode through the midst of them without being much
observed, every one taking me for a Moor. In the afternoon I arrived at a
small village called Binni, where I agreed with the Dooty's son, for one
hundred kowries, to allow me to stay for the night; but when the Dooty
returned, he insisted that I should instantly leave the place, and if his
wife and son had not interceded for me, I must have complied.

  [14] There is another town of this name hereafter to be mentioned.

Aug. 15th. About nine o'clock I passed a large town called Sai, which
very much excited my curiosity. It is completely surrounded by two very
deep trenches, at about two hundred yards distant from the walls. On the
top of the trenches are a number of square towers, and the whole has the
appearance of a regular fortification. Inquiring into the origin of this
extraordinary entrenchment, I learned from two of the townspeople the
following particulars, which, if true, furnish a mournful picture of the
enormities of African wars. About fifteen years ago, when the present
King of Bambarra's father desolated Maniana, the Dooty of Sai had two
sons slain in battle, fighting in the king's cause. He had a third son
living; and when the king demanded a further reinforcement of men, and
this youth among the rest, the Dooty refused to send him. This conduct so
enraged the king, that when he returned from Maniana, about the beginning
of the rainy season, and found the Dooty protected by the inhabitants, he
sat down before Sai with his army, and surrounded the town with the
trenches I had now seen. After a siege of two months, the townspeople
became involved in all the horrors of famine; and whilst the king's army
were feasting in their trenches, they saw with pleasure the miserable
inhabitants of Sai devour the leaves and bark of the Bentang tree that
stood in the middle of the town. Finding, however, that the besieged
would sooner perish than surrender, the king had recourse to treachery.
He promised, that if they would open the gates, no person should be put
to death, nor suffer any injury but the Dooty alone. The poor old man
determined to sacrifice himself for the sake of his fellow citizens, and
immediately walked over to the king's army, where he was put to death.
His son, in attempting to escape, was caught and massacred in the
trenches; and the rest of the townspeople were carried away captives, and
sold as slaves to the different Negro traders.

About noon I came to the village of Kaimoo, situated upon the bank of the
river; and as the corn I had purchased at Sibili was exhausted, I
endeavoured to purchase a fresh supply, but was informed that corn was
become very scarce all over the country; and, though I offered fifty
kowries for a small quantity, no person would sell me any. As I was about
to depart, however, one of the villagers (who probably mistook me for a
Moorish shereef) brought me some as a present; only desiring me in return
to bestow my blessing upon him; which I did in plain English, and he
received it with a thousand acknowledgments. Of this present I made my
dinner; and it was the third successive day that I had subsisted entirely
upon raw corn.

In the evening I arrived at a small village called Song, the surly
inhabitants of which would not receive me, nor so much as permit me to
enter the gate; but as lions were very numerous in this neighbourhood,
and I had frequently, in the course of the day, seen the impression of
their feet on the road, I resolved to stay in the vicinity of the
village. Having collected some grass for my horse, I accordingly lay down
under a tree by the gate. About ten o'clock I heard the hollow roar of a
lion at no great distance, and attempted to open the gate; but the people
from within told me, that no person must attempt to enter the gate
without the Dooty's permission. I begged them to inform the Dooty that a
lion was approaching the village, and I hoped he would allow me to come
within the gate. I waited for an answer to this message with great
anxiety; for the lion kept prowling round the village, and once advanced
so very near me, that I heard him rustling among the grass, and climbed
the tree for safety. About midnight the Dooty, with some of his people,
opened the gate, and desired me to come in. They were convinced, they
said, that I was not a Moor; for no Moor ever waited any time at the gate
of a village, without cursing the inhabitants.

Aug. 16th. About ten o'clock I passed a considerable town, with a mosque,
called Jabbe. Here the country begins to rise into hills, and I could see
the summits of high mountains to the westward. I had very disagreeable
travelling all this day, on account of the swampiness of the roads; for
the river was now risen to such a height, as to overflow great part of
the flat land on both sides; and, from the muddiness of the water, it was
difficult to discern its depth. In crossing one of these swamps, a little
to the westward of a town called Gangu, my horse, being up to the belly
in water, slipt suddenly into a deep pit, and was almost drowned before
he could disengage his feet from the stiff clay at the bottom. Indeed,
both the horse and its rider were so completely covered with mud, that,
in passing the village of Callimana, the people compared us to two dirty
elephants. About noon I stopped at a small village near Yamina, where I
purchased some corn, and dried my papers and clothes.

The town of Yamina, at a distance, has a very fine appearance. It covers
nearly the same extent of ground as Sansanding; but having been plundered
by Daisy, King of Kaarta, about four years ago, it has not yet resumed
its former prosperity; nearly one half of the town being nothing but a
heap of ruins. However, it is still a considerable place, and is so much
frequented by the Moors, that I did not think it safe to lodge in it. But
in order to satisfy myself respecting its population and extent, I
resolved to ride through it; in doing which, I observed a great many
Moors sitting upon the Bentangs, and other places of public resort. Every
body looked at me with astonishment; but, as I rode briskly along, they
had no time to ask questions.

I arrived in the evening at Farra, a walled village; where, without much
difficulty, I procured a lodging for the night.

Aug. 17th. Early in the morning I pursued my journey, and at eight
o'clock passed a considerable, town called Balaba; after which the road
quits the plain, and stretches along the side of the hill. I passed in
the course of this day the ruins of three towns, the inhabitants of which
were all carried away by Daisy, King of Kaarta, on the same day that he
took and plundered Yamina. Near one of these ruins I climbed a tamarind
tree, but found the fruit quite green and sour; and the prospect of the
country was by no means inviting; for the high grass and bushes seemed
completely to obstruct the road, and the low lands were all so flooded by
the river, that the Niger had the appearance of an extensive lake. In the
evening I arrived at Kanika, where the Dooty, who was sitting upon an
elephant's hide at the gate, received me kindly; and gave me for supper
some milk and meal; which I considered (as to a person in my situation it
really was) a very great luxury.

Aug. 18th. By mistake I took the wrong road, and did not discover my
error until I had travelled near four miles; when, coming to an eminence,
I observed the Niger considerably to the left. Directing my course
towards it, I travelled through long grass and bushes, with great
difficulty, until two o'clock in the afternoon; when I came to a
comparatively small, but very rapid river; which I took at first for a
creek, or one of the streams of the Niger. However, after I had examined
it with more attention, I was convinced that it was a distinct river; and
as the road evidently crossed it, (for I could see the pathway on the
opposite side,) I sat down upon the bank, in hopes that some traveller
might arrive, who would give me the necessary information concerning the
fording place; for the banks were so covered with reeds and bushes, that
it would have been almost impossible to land on the other side, except at
the pathway; which, on account of the rapidity of the stream, it seemed
very difficult to reach. No traveller, however, arriving, and there being
a great appearance of rain, I examined the grass and bushes, for some way
up the bank, and determined upon entering the river considerably above
the pathway, in order to reach the other side before the stream had swept
me too far down. With this view I fastened my clothes upon the saddle,
and was standing up to the neck in water, pulling my horse by the bridle
to make him follow me, when a man came accidentally to the place, and,
seeing me in the water, called to me with great vehemence to come out.
The alligators, he said, would devour both me and my horse, if we
attempted to swim over. When I had got out, the stranger, who had never
before seen a European, seemed wonderfully surprised. He twice put his
hand to his mouth, exclaiming in a low tone of voice, "God preserve me!
who is this?" But when he heard me speak the Bambarra tongue, and found
that I was going the same way as himself, he promised to assist me in
crossing the river; the name of which he told me was Frina. He then went
a little way along the bank and called to some person, who answered from
the other side. In a short time, a canoe with two boys, came paddling
from among the reeds. These boys agreed, for fifty Kowries, to transport
me and my horse over the river, which was effected without much
difficulty, and I arrived in the evening at Taffara, a walled town; and
soon discovered that the language of the natives was improved from the
corrupted dialect of Bambarra to the pure Mandingo.


_Inhospitable reception at Taffara.--A Negro funeral at Sooha.--The
Author continues his route through several villages along the banks of
the Niger, until he comes to Koolikorro.--Supports himself by writing
saphies--reaches Maraboo--loses the road; and, after many difficulties,
arrives at Bammakoo.--Takes the road for Sibidooloo--meets with great
kindness at a village called Kooma;--is afterwards robbed, stripped, and
plundered by banditti.--The Author's resource and consolation under
exquisite distress.--He arrives in safety at Sibidooloo._

On my arrival at Taffara, I inquired for the Dooty, but was informed that
he had died a few days before my arrival, and that there was, at that
moment, a meeting of the chief men for electing another, there being some
dispute about the succession. It was probably owing to the unsettled
state of the town, that I experienced such a want of hospitality in it,
for, though I informed the inhabitants that I should only remain with
them for one night, and assured them that Mansong had given me some
kowries to pay for my lodging, yet no person invited me to come in; and I
was forced to sit alone under the Bentang tree, exposed to the rain and
wind of a tornado, which lasted with great violence until midnight. At
this time the stranger, who had assisted me in crossing the river, paid
me a visit, and observing that I had not found a lodging, invited me to
take part of his supper, which he had brought to the door of his hut;
for, being a guest himself, he could not, without his landlord's consent,
invite me to come in. After this, I slept upon some wet grass in the
corner of a court. My horse fared still worse than myself, the corn I had
purchased being all expended, and I could not procure a supply.

Aug. 20th. I passed the town of Jaba, and stopped a few minutes at a
village called Somino, where I begged and obtained some coarse food,
which the natives prepare from the husks of corn, and call _Boo_. About
two o'clock I came to the village of Sooha, and endeavoured to purchase
some corn from the Dooty, who was sitting by the gate, but without
success. I then requested a little food by way of charity, but was told
that he had none to spare. Whilst I was examining the countenance of this
inhospitable old man, and endeavouring to find out the cause of the
sullen discontent which was visible in his eye, he called to a slave who
was working in the corn-field at a little distance, and ordered him to
bring his hoe along with him. The Dooty then told him to dig a hole in
the ground, pointing to a spot at no great distance. The slave, with his
hoe, began to dig a pit in the earth; and the Dooty, who appeared to be a
man of a very fretful disposition, kept muttering and talking to himself
until the pit was almost finished, when he repeated _dankatoo_ (good for
nothing;) _jiankra lemen_ (a real plague;) which expressions I thought
could be applied to nobody but myself; and as the pit had very much the
appearance of a grave, I thought it prudent to mount my horse, and was
about to decamp, when the slave, who had before gone into the village, to
my surprise, returned with a corpse of a boy about nine or ten years of
age, quite naked. The Negro carried the body by a leg and an arm, and
threw it into the pit with a savage indifference, which I had never
before seen. As he covered the body with earth, the Dooty often expressed
himself, _naphula attiniata_ (money lost;) whence I concluded that the
boy had been one of his slaves.

Departing from this shocking scene, I travelled by the side of the river
until sunset, when I came to Koolikorro; a considerable town, and a great
market for salt. Here I took up my lodging at the house of a Barabarran,
who had formerly been the slave of a Moor, and in that character had
travelled to Aoran, Towdinni, and many other places in the Great Desert;
but turning Mussulman, and his master dying at Jenne, he obtained his
freedom, and settled at this place, where he carries on a considerable
trade in salt, cotton-cloth, &c. His knowledge of the world has not
lessened that superstitious confidence in saphies and charms, which he
had imbibed in his earlier years; for, when he heard that I was a
Christian, he immediately thought of procuring a saphie, and for this
purpose brought out his _walha_, or writing board, assuring me, that he
would dress me a supper of rice, if I would write him a saphie to protect
him from wicked men. The proposal was of too great consequence to me to
be refused; I therefore wrote the board full from top to bottom on both
sides; and my landlord, to be certain of having the whole force of the
charm, washed the writing from the board into a calabash with a little
water, and having said a few prayers over it, drank this powerful
draught; after which, lest a single word should escape, he licked the
board until it was quite dry. A saphie writer was a man of too great
consequence to be long concealed; the important information was carried
to the Dooty, who sent his son with half a sheet of writing paper,
desiring me to write him a _naphula saphie_ (a charm to procure wealth).
He brought me, as a present, some meal and milk; and when I had finished
the saphie, and read it to him with an audible voice, he seemed highly
satisfied with his bargain, and promised to bring me in the morning some
milk for my breakfast. When I had finished my supper of rice and salt I
laid myself down upon a bullock's hide, and slept very quietly until
morning; this being the first good meal and refreshing sleep that I had
enjoyed for a long time.

Aug. 21st. At daybreak I departed from Koolikorro, and about noon passed
the villages of Kayoo and Toolumbo. In the afternoon I arrived at
Maraboo, a large town, and like Koolikorro, famous for its trade in salt.
I was conducted to the house of a Kaartan, of the tribe of Jower, by whom
I was well received. This man had acquired a considerable property in the
slave trade; and, from his hospitality to strangers, was called by way of
pre-eminence, _Jattee_ (the landlord;) and his house was a sort of public
inn for all travellers. Those who had money were well lodged, for they
always made him some return for his kindness; but those who had nothing
to give, were content to accept whatever he thought proper; and as I
could not rank myself among the monied men, I was happy to take up my
lodging in the same hut with seven poor fellows who had come from Kancaba
in a canoe. But our landlord sent us some victuals.

Aug. 22d. One of the landlord's servants went with me a little way from
the town to shew me what road to take; but, whether from ignorance or
design I know not, he directed me wrong; and I did not discover my
mistake until the day was far advanced, when, coming to a deep creek, I
had some thoughts of turning back; but as by that means, I foresaw that I
could not possibly reach Bammakoo before night, I resolved to cross it;
and leading my horse close to the brink, I went behind him, and pushed
him headlong into the water; and then taking the bridle in my teeth, swam
over to the other side. This was the third creek I had crossed in this
manner, since I had left Sego; but having secured my notes and
memorandums in the crown of my hat, I received little or no inconvenience
from such adventures. The rain and heavy dew kept my clothes constantly
wet; and the roads being very deep and full of mud, such a washing was
sometimes pleasant, and oftentimes necessary. I continued travelling,
through high grass, without any beaten road, and about noon came to the
river; the banks of which are here very rocky, and the force and roar of
the water were very great. The King of Bambarra's canoes, however,
frequently pass these rapids by keeping close to the bank; persons being
stationed on the shore with ropes fastened to the canoe, while others
push it forward with long poles. At this time, however, it would, I
think, have been a matter of great difficulty for any European boat to
have crossed the stream. About four o'clock in the afternoon, having
altered my course from the river towards the mountains, I came to a small
pathway which led to a village called Foorkaboo, where I slept.

Aug. 23d. Early in the morning I set out for Bammakoo, at which place I
arrived about five o'clock in the afternoon. I had heard Bammakoo much
talked of as a great market for salt, and I felt rather disappointed to
find it only a middling town, not quite so large as Maraboo; however, the
smallness of its size is more than compensated by the riches of its
inhabitants; for, when the Moors bring their salt through Kaarta or
Bambarra, they constantly rest a few days at this place; and the Negro
merchants here, who are well acquainted with the value of salt in
different kingdoms, frequently purchase by wholesale, and retail it to
great advantage. Here I lodged at the house of a Sera-Woolli Negro, and
was visited by a number of Moors. They spoke very good Mandingo, and were
more civil to me than their countrymen had been. One of them had
travelled to Rio Grande, and spoke very highly of the Christians. He sent
me in the evening some boiled rice and milk. I now endeavoured to procure
information concerning my route to the westward, from a slave merchant
who had resided some years on the Gambia. He gave me some imperfect
account of the distance, and enumerated the names of a great many places
that lay in the way; but withal told me, that the road was impassable at
this season of the year. He was even afraid, he said, that I should find
great difficulty in proceeding any farther, as the road crossed the
Joliba at a town about half a day's journey to the westward of Bammakoo;
and there being no canoes at that place large enough, to receive my
horse, I could not possibly get him over for some months to come. This
was an obstruction of a very serious nature; but as I had no money to
maintain myself even for a few days, I resolved to push on, and if I
could, not convey my horse across the river, to abandon him, and swim
over myself. In thoughts of this nature I passed the night, and in the
morning consulted with my landlord how I should surmount the present
difficulty. He informed me that one road still remained, which was indeed
very rocky, and scarcely passable for horses; but that if I had a proper
guide over the hills to a town called Sibidooloo, he had no doubt, but
with patience and caution, I might travel forwards through Handing. I
immediately applied to the Dooty, and was informed that a _Jilli Kea_
(singing man) was about to depart for Sibidooloo, and would show me the
road over the hills. With this man, who undertook to be my conductor, I
travelled up a rocky glen about two miles, when we came to a small
village; and here my musical fellow-traveller found out that he had
brought me the wrong road. He told me that the horse-road lay on the
other side of the hill, and throwing his drum upon his back, mounted up
the rocks, where indeed no horse could follow him, leaving me to admire
his agility, and trace out a road for myself. As I found it impossible to
proceed, I rode back to the level ground, and directing my course to the
eastward, came about noon to another glen, and discovered a path on which
I observed the marks of horses feet. Following this path I came in a
short time to some shepherds' huts, where I was informed that I was in
the right road, but that I could not possibly reach Sibidooloo before
night. Soon after this I gained the summit of a hill, from whence I had
an extensive view of the country. Towards the south-east appeared some
very distant mountains, which I had formerly seen from an eminence near
Maraboo, where the people informed me that these mountains were situated
in a large and powerful kingdom called Kong, the sovereign of which could
raise a much greater army than the king of Bambarra. Upon this height the
soil is shallow, the rocks are iron-stone and schistus, with detached
pieces of white quartz.

A little before sunset, I descended on the north-west side of this ridge
of hills, and as I was looking about for a convenient tree under which to
pass the night, (for I had no hopes of reaching any town,) I descended
into a delightful valley, and soon afterwards arrived at a romantic
village called Kooma. This village is surrounded by a high wall, and is
the sole property of a Mandingo merchant, who fled hither with his family
during a former war. The adjacent fields yield him plenty of corn, his
cattle roam at large in the valley, and the rocky hills secure him from
the depredations of war. In this obscure retreat he is seldom visited by
strangers, but whenever this happens, he makes the weary traveller
welcome. I soon found myself surrounded by a circle of the harmless
villagers. They asked me a thousand questions about my country; and, in
return for my information, brought corn and milk for myself, and grass
for my horse, kindled a fire in the hut where I was to sleep, and
appeared very anxious to serve me.

Aug. 25th. I departed from Kooma, accompanied by two shepherds, who were
going towards Sibidooloo. The road was very steep and rocky, and as my
horse had hurt his feet much in coming from Bammakoo, he travelled slowly
and with great difficulty; for in many places the ascent was so sharp,
and the declivities so great, that if he made one false step, he must
inevitably have been dashed to pieces. The shepherds being anxious to
proceed, gave themselves little trouble about me or my horse, and kept
walking on at a considerable distance. It was about eleven o'clock, as I
stopped to drink a little water at a rivulet, (my companions being near a
quarter of a mile before me,) that I heard some people calling to each
other, and presently a loud screaming, as from a person in great
distress. I immediately conjectured that a lion had taken one of the
shepherds, and mounted my horse to have a better view of what had
happened. The noise, however, ceased; and I rode slowly towards the place
from whence I thought it had proceeded, calling out but without receiving
any answer. In a little time, however, I perceived one of the shepherds
lying among the long grass near the road, and, though I could see no
blood upon him, I concluded he was dead. But when I came close to him, he
whispered me to stop, telling me that a party of armed men had seized
upon his companion, and shot two arrows at himself as he was making his
escape. I stopped to consider what course to take, and looking round, saw
at a little distance a man sitting upon the stump of a tree; I
distinguished also the heads of six or seven more sitting among the
grass, with muskets in their hands. I had now no hopes of escaping, and
therefore determined to ride toward towards them. As I approached them,
I was in hopes they were elephant hunters; and, by way of opening the
conversation, inquired if they had shot any thing; but without returning
an answer, one of them ordered me to dismount; and then, as if
recollecting himself, waved with his hand for me to proceed. I
accordingly rode past, and had with some difficulty crossed a deep
rivulet, when I heard somebody holla; and looking behind, saw those I had
taken for elephant hunters running after me, and calling out to me to
turn back. I stopped until they were all come up; when they informed
me that the King of the Foulahs had sent them on purpose to bring me,
my horse, and every thing that belonged to me, to Fooladoo; and
that therefore I must turn back and go along with them. Without
hesitating a moment, I turned round and followed them, and we travelled
together near a quarter of a mile without exchanging a word, when, coming
to a dark place of the wood, one of them said in the Mandingo language,
"this place will do;" and immediately snatched my hat from my head.
Though I was by no means free of apprehension, yet I resolved to shew as
few signs of fear as possible, and therefore told them, that unless my
hat was returned to me, I should proceed no further. But before I had
time to receive an answer, another drew his knife, and seizing upon a
metal button which remained upon my waistcoat, cut it off, and put it
into his pocket. Their intentions were now obvious; and I thought that
the easier they were permitted to rob me of every thing, the less I had
to fear. I therefore allowed them to search my pockets without
resistance, and examine every part of my apparel, which they did with the
most scrupulous exactness. But observing that I had one waistcoat under
another, they insisted that I should cast them both off; and at last, to
make sure work, stripped me quite naked. Even my half boots (though the
sole of one of them was tied on to my foot with a broken-bridle rein,)
were minutely inspected. Whilst they were examining the plunder, I begged
them, with great earnestness, to return my pocket compass; but when I
pointed it out to them, as it was lying on the ground, one of the
banditti, thinking I was about to take it up, cocked his musket, and
swore that he would lay me dead on the spot, if I presumed to put my hand
upon it. After this, some of them went away with my horse, and the
remainder stood considering whether they should leave me quite naked, or
allow me something to shelter me from the sun. Humanity at last
prevailed; they returned me the worst of the two shirts, and a pair of
trowsers; and, as they went away, one of them threw back my hat, in the
crown of which I kept my memorandums; and this was probably the reason
they did not wish to keep it. After they were gone, I sat for some time
looking around me with amazement and terror. Which ever way I turned,
nothing appeared but danger and difficulty. I saw myself in the midst of
a vast wilderness in the depth of the rainy season, naked and alone,
surrounded by savage animals, and men still more savage. I was five
hundred miles from the nearest European settlement. All these
circumstances crowded at once on my recollection, and I confess that my
spirits began to fail me. I considered my fate as certain, and that I had
no alternative but to lie down and perish. The influence of religion,
however, aided and supported me. I reflected that no human prudence or
foresight could possibly have averted my present sufferings. I was indeed
a stranger in a strange land, yet I was still under the protecting eye of
that Providence who has condescended to call himself the stranger's
friend. At this moment, painful as my reflections were, the extraordinary
beauty of a small moss, in fructification, irresistibly caught my eye, I
mention this to show from what trifling circumstances the mind will
sometimes derive consolation; for though the whole plant was not larger
than the top of one of my fingers, I could not contemplate the delicate
conformation of its roots, leaves, and capsula, without admiration. Can
that Being (thought I,) who planted, watered, and brought to perfection,
in this obscure part of the world, a thing which appears of so small
importance, look with unconcern upon the situation and sufferings of
creatures formed after his own image?--Surely not? Reflections like these
would not allow me to despair. I started up, and disregarding both hunger
and fatigue, travelled forwards, assured that relief was at hand; and I
was not disappointed. In a short time I came to a small village, at the
entrance of which I overtook the two shepherds who had come with me from
Kooma. They were much surprised to see me; for they said they never
doubted that the Foulahs, when they had robbed, had murdered me.
Departing from this village, we travelled over several rocky ridges, and
at sunset arrived at Sibidooloo, the frontier town of the kingdom of


_Government of Manding.--The Author's reception by the Mansa, or chief
man of Sibidooloo, who takes measures for the recovery of his horse and
effects.--The Author removes to Wonda.--Great scarcity, and its
afflicting consequences.--The Author recovers his horse and
clothes.--Presents his horse to the Mansa, and prosecutes his journey to
Kamalia.--Some account of that town.--The Author's kind reception by
Karfa Taura, a slatee, who proposes to go to the Gambia in the next dry
season, with a caravan of slaves.--The Author's sickness, and
determination to remain and accompany Karfa._

The town of Sibidooloo is situated in a fertile valley, surrounded with
high rocky hills. It is scarcely accessible for horses, and during the
frequent wars between the Bambarrans, Foulahs, and Mandingoes, has never
once been plundered by an enemy. When I entered the town, the people
gathered round me, and followed me into the balloon; where I was
presented to the Dooty or chief man, who is here called Mansa, which
usually signifies king. Nevertheless, it appeared to me that the
government of Manding was a sort of republic, or rather an oligarchy,
every town having a particular Mansa, and the chief power of the state,
in the last resort, being lodged in the assembly of the whole body. I
related to the Mansa the circumstances of my having been robbed of my
horse and apparel, and my story was confirmed by the two shepherds. He
continued smoking his pipe all the time I was speaking; but I had no
sooner finished, than, taking his pipe from his mouth, and tossing up the
sleeve of his coat, with an indignant air "Sit down, (said he,) you shall
have everything restored to you; I have sworn it:"--and then turning to
an attendant, "Give the white man (said he) a draught of water; and with
the first light of the morning go over the hills, and inform the Dooty of
Bammakoo, that a poor white man, the King of Bambarra's stranger, has
been robbed by the King of Fooladoo's people."

I little expected, in my forlorn condition, to meet with a man who could
thus feel for my sufferings. I heartily thanked the Mansa for his
kindness, and accepted his invitation to remain with him until the return
of the messenger, I was conducted into a hut, and had some victuals sent
me; but the crowd of people which assembled to see me, all of whom
commiserated my misfortunes, and vented imprecations against the Foulahs,
prevented me from sleeping until past midnight. Two days I remained
without hearing any intelligence of my horse or clothes; and as there was
at this time a great scarcity of provisions, approaching even to famine,
all over this part of the country, I was unwilling to trespass any
further on the Mansa's generosity, and begged permission to depart to the
next village. Finding me very anxious to proceed, he told me that I might
go as far as a town called Wonda, where he hoped I would remain a few
days, until I heard some account of my horse, &c.

I departed accordingly on the next morning of the 28th, and stopped at
some small villages for refreshment. I was presented at one of them with
a dish which I had never before seen. It was composed of the blossoms, or
_antherae_ of the maize, stewed in milk and water. It is eaten only in
time of great scarcity. On the 30th, about noon, I arrived at Wonda, a
small town with a mosque, and surrounded by a high wall. The Mansa, who
was a Mahomedan, acted in two capacities; as chief magistrate of the
town, and schoolmaster to the children. He kept his school in an open
shed, where I was desired to take up my lodging, until some account
should arrive from Sibidooloo, concerning my horse and clothes; for
though the horse was of little use to me, yet the few clothes were
essential. The little raiment upon me could neither protect me from the
sun by day, nor the dews and musquetoes by night: indeed my shirt was not
only worn thin, like a piece of muslin, but withal was so very dirty,
that I was happy to embrace an opportunity of washing it; which having
done, and spread it upon a bush, I sat down naked in the shade until it
was dry.

Ever since the commencement of the rainy season, my health had been
greatly on the decline. I had often been affected with slight paroxysms
of fever; and, from the time of leaving Bammakoo the symptoms had
considerably increased. As I was sitting in the manner described, the
fever returned with such violence, that it very much alarmed me; the more
so, as I had no medicine to stop its progress, nor any hope of obtaining
that care and attention which my situation required.

I remained at Wonda nine days; during which time I experienced the
regular return of the fever every day. And though I endeavoured as much
as possible to conceal my distress from my landlord, and frequently lay
down the whole day, out of his sight, in a corn field, conscious how
burthensome I was to him and his family, in a time of such great
scarcity, yet I found that he was apprised of my situation, and one
morning, as I feigned to be asleep by the fire; he observed to his wife
that they were likely to find me a very troublesome and chargeable guest,
for that, in my present sickly state, they should be obliged, for the
sake of their good name, to maintain me until I recovered, or died.

The scarcity of provisions was certainly felt at this time most severely
by the poor people, as the following circumstance most painfully
convinced me. Every evening, during my stay, I observed five or six women
come to the Mansa's house, and receive each of them a certain quantity of
corn. As I knew how valuable this article was at this juncture, I
enquired of the Mansa, whether he maintained these poor women from pure
bounty, or expected a return when the harvest should be gathered in.
"Observe that boy," said he, (pointing to a fine child about five years
of age;) "his mother has sold him to me for forty days' provision for
herself and the rest of her family. I have bought another boy in the same
manner." Good God, thought I, what must a mother suffer, before she sells
her own child! I could not get this melancholy subject out of my mind,
and the next night, when the women returned for their allowance, I
desired the boy to point out to me his mother, which he did. She was much
emaciated, but had nothing cruel or savage in her countenance; and when
she had received her corn, she came and talked to her son with as much
cheerfulness as if he had still been under her care.

Sept. 6th. Two people arrived from Sibidooloo, bringing with them my
horse and clothes; but I found that my pocket compass was broken to
pieces. This was a great loss, which I could not repair.

Sept. 7th. As my horse was grazing near the brink of a well, the ground
gave way, and he fell in. The well was about ten feet diameter, and so
very deep, that when I saw my horse snorting in the water, I thought it
was impossible to save him. The inhabitants of the village, however,
immediately assembled, and having tied together a number of withes[15]
they lowered a man down into the well, who fastened those withes round
the body of the horse; and the people, having first drawn up the man,
took hold of the withes, and to my surprise, pulled the horse out with
the greatest facility. The poor animal was now reduced to a mere
skeleton, and the roads were scarcely passable, being either very rocky,
or else full of mud and water. I therefore found it impracticable to
travel with him any farther, and was happy to leave him in the hands of
one who I thought would take care of him. I accordingly presented him to
my landlord, and desired him to send my saddle and bridle a present to
the Mansa of Sibidooloo, being the only return I could make him for
having taken so much trouble in procuring my horse and clothes.

  [15] From a plant called _kabba_, that climbs like a vine upon the

I now thought it necessary, sick as I was, to take leave of my hospitable
landlord. On the morning of Sept. 8th, when I was about to depart, he
presented me with his spear, as a token of remembrance, and a leather bag
to contain my clothes. Having converted my half boots into sandals, I
travelled with more ease, and slept that night at a village called
Ballanti. On the 9th, I reached Nemacoo; but the Mansa of the village
thought fit to make me sup upon the cameleon's dish. By way of apology,
however, he assured me the next morning, that the scarcity of corn was
such, that he could not possibly allow me any. I could not accuse him of
unkindness, as all the people actually appeared to be starving.

Sept. 10th. It rained hard all day, and the people kept themselves in
their huts. In the afternoon I was visited by a Negro, named Modi Lemina
Taura, a great trader, who, suspecting my distress, brought me some
victuals, and promised to conduct me to his house at Kinyeto the day

Sept. 11th. I departed from Nemacoo, and arrived at Kinyeto in the
evening; but having hurt my ankle in the way, it swelled and inflamed so
much that I could neither walk nor set my foot to the ground, the next
day, without great pain. My landlord observing this, kindly invited me to
stop with him a few days; and I accordingly remained at his house until
the 14th; by which time I felt much relieved, and, could walk with the
help of a staff. I now set out, thanking my landlord for his great care
and attention; and being accompanied by a young man, who was travelling
the same way, I proceeded for Jerijang, a beautiful and well cultivated
district, the Mansa of which is reckoned the most powerful chief of any
in Manding.

On the 15th, I reached Dosita, a large town, where I staid one day on
account of the rain; but continued very sickly, and was slightly
delirious in the night. On the 17th, I set out for Mansia, a considerable
town, where small quantities of gold are collected. The road led over a
high rocky hill, and my strength and spirits were so much exhausted, that
before I could reach the top of the hill, I was forced to lie down three
times, being very faint and sickly. I reached Mansia in the afternoon.
The Mansa of this town had the character of being very inhospitable. He
however sent me a little corn for supper, but demanded something in
return; and when I assured him that I had nothing of value in my
possession, he told me (as if in jest) that my white skin should not
defend me if I told him lies. He then showed me the hut wherein I was to
sleep; but took away my spear, saying that it should be returned to me in
the morning. This trifling circumstance, when joined to the character I
had heard of the man, made me rather suspicious of him; and I privately
desired one of the inhabitants of the place, who had a bow and quiver, to
sleep in the same hut with me. About midnight, I heard somebody approach
the door, and observing the moonlight strike suddenly into the hut, I
started up, and saw a man stepping cautiously over the threshold. I
immediately snatched up the Negro's bow and quiver, the rattling of which
made the man withdraw; and my companion looking out, assured me that it
was the Mansa himself, and advised me to keep awake until the morning. I
closed the door, and placed a large piece of wood behind it; and was
wondering at this unexpected visit, when somebody pressed so hard against
the door, that the Negro could scarcely keep it shut. But when I called
to him to open the door, the intruder ran off, as before.

Sept. 16th. As soon as it was light, the Negro, at my request, went to
the Mansa's house, and brought away my spear. He told me that the Mansa
was asleep, and lest this inhospitable chief should devise means to
detain me, he advised me to set out before he was awake; which I
immediately did; and about two o'clock reached Kamalia, a small town
situated at the bottom of some rocky hills, where the inhabitants collect
gold in considerable quantities. The Bushreens here live apart from the
Kafirs, and have built their huts in a scattered manner, at a short
distance from the town. They have a place set apart for performing their
devotions in, to which they give the name of _missura_, or mosque; but it
is in fact nothing more than a square piece of ground made level, and
surrounded with the trunks of trees, having a small projection towards
the east, where the Marraboo, or priest, stands, when he calls the people
to prayers. Mosques of this construction are very common among the
converted Negroes; but having neither walls nor roof, they can only be
used in fine weather. When it rains, the Bushreens perform their
devotions in their huts.

On my arrival at Kamalia, I was conducted to the house of a Bushreen
named Karfa Taura, the brother of him to whose hospitality I was indebted
at Kinyeto. He was collecting a coffle of slaves, with a view to sell
them to the Europeans on the Gambia, as soon as the rains should be over.
I found him sitting in his baloon surrounded by several Slatees, who
proposed to join the coffle. He was reading to them from an Arabic book;
and inquired, with a smile, if I understood it? Being answered in the
negative, he desired one of the Slatees to fetch the little curious book,
which had been brought from the west country. On opening this small
volume, I was surprised and delighted to find it our _Book of Common
Prayer_; and Karfa expressed great joy to hear that I could read it; for
some of the Slatees, who had seen the Europeans upon the Coast, observing
the colour of my skin, (which was now become very yellow from sickness,)
my long beard, ragged clothes, and extreme poverty, were unwilling to
admit that I was a white man, and told Karfa that they suspected I was
some Arab in disguise. Karfa, however, perceiving that I could read this
book, had no doubt concerning me; and kindly promised me every assistance
in his power. At the same time he informed me, that it was impossible to
cross the Jallonka wilderness for many months yet to come, as no less
than eight rapid rivers, he said, lay in the way. He added, that he
intended to set out himself for Gambia as soon as the rivers were
fordable, and the grass burnt; and advised me to stay and accompany him.
He remarked, that when a caravan of the natives could not travel through
the country, it was idle for a single white man to attempt it. I readily
admitted that such an attempt was an act of rashness, but I assured him
that I had now no alternative; for having no money to support myself, I
must either beg my subsistence, by travelling from place to place, or
perish for want. Karfa now looked at me with great earnestness, and
inquired if I could eat the common victuals of the country, assuring me
he had never before seen a white man. He added, that if I would remain
with him until the rains were over, he would give me plenty of victuals
in the meantime, and a hut to sleep in; and that after he had conducted
me in safety to the Gambia, I might then make him what return I thought
proper. I asked him if the value of one prime slave would satisfy him. He
answered in the affirmative, and immediately ordered one of the huts to
be swept for my accomodation. Thus was I delivered, by the friendly care
of this benevolent Negro, from a situation truly deplorable. Distress and
famine pressed hard upon me. I had, before me, the gloomy wilds of
Jallonkadoo, where the traveller sees no habitation for five successive
days. I had observed at a distance the rapid course of the river Kokoro.
I had almost marked out the place where I was doomed, I thought, to
perish, when this friendly Negro stretched out his hospitable hand for my

In the hut which was appropriated for me, I was provided with a mat to
sleep on, an earthen jar for holding water, and a small calabash to drink
out of; and Karfa sent me from his own dwelling two meals a day; and
ordered his slaves to supply me with firewood and water. But I found that
neither the kindness of Karfa, nor any sort of accomodation, could put a
stop to the fever which weakened me, and which became every day more
alarming. I endeavoured as much as possible to conceal my distress; but
on the third day after my arrival, as I was going with Karfa to visit
some of his friends, I found myself so faint that I could scarcely walk,
and before we reached the place, I staggered, and fell into a pit from
which the clay had been taken to build one of the huts. Karfa endeavoured
to console me with the hopes of a speedy recovery; assuring me, that if I
would not walk out in the wet, I should soon be well. I determined to
follow his advice and confine myself to my hut; but was still tormented
with the fever, and my health continued to be in a very precarious state
for five ensuing weeks. Sometimes I could crawl out of the hut, and sit a
few hours in the open air; at other times I was unable to rise, and
passed the lingering hours in a very gloomy and solitary manner. I was
seldom visited by any person except my benevolent landlord, who came
daily to inquire after my health. When the rains became less frequent and
the country began to grow dry, the fever left me; but in so debilitated
condition, that I could scarcely stand upright, and it was with great
difficulty that I could carry my mat to the shade of a tamarind tree, at
a short distance, to enjoy the refreshing smell of the corn-fields, and
delight my eyes with a prospect of the country. I had the pleasure, at
length, to find myself in a state of convalescence: towards which the
benevolent and simple manners of the Negroes, and the perusal of Karfa's
little volume, greatly contributed.

In the meantime, many of the slatees who resided at Kamalia, having spent
all their money, and become in a great measure dependent upon Karfa's
hospitality, beheld me with an eye of envy, and invented many ridiculous
and trifling stories to lessen me in Karfa's esteem; and in the beginning
of December, a Sera-Woolli slatee, with five slaves, arrived from Sego.
This man, too, spread a number of malicious reports concerning me; but
Karfa paid no attention to them, and continued to show me the same
kindness as formerly. As I was one day conversing with the slaves which
this slatee had brought, one of them begged me to give him some victuals.
I told him I was a stranger, and had none to give. He replied, "I gave
_you_ victuals when you was hungry.--Have you forgot the man who brought
you milk at Karrankalla? But (added he, with a sigh) _the irons were not
then upon my legs!_" I immediately recollected him, and begged some
ground nuts from Karfa to give him as a return for his former kindness.
He told me that he had been taken by the Bambarrans, the day after the
battle at Joka, and sent to Sego, where he had been purchased by his
present master, who was carrying him down to Kajaaga. Three more of these
slaves were from Kaarta, and one from Wassela, all of them prisoners of
war. They stopped four days at Kamalia, and were then taken to Bala,
where they remained until the river Kokoro was fordable, and the grass

In the beginning of December Karfa proposed to complete his purchase of
slaves; and for this purpose, collected all the debts which were owing to
him in his own country; and on the 19th, being accompanied by three
slatees, he departed for Kancaba, a large town on the banks of the Niger,
and a great slave-market. Most of the slaves, who are sold at Kancaba,
come from Bambarra; for Mansong, to avoid the expense and danger of
keeping all his prisoners at Sego, commonly sends them in small parties
to be sold at the different trading towns; and as Kancaba is much
resorted to by merchants, it is always well supplied with slaves, which
are sent thither up the Niger in canoes. When Karfa departed from
Kamalia, he proposed to return in the course of a month; and during his
absence I was left to the care of a good old Bushreen, who acted as
schoolmaster to the young people of Kamalia.

Being now left alone, and at leisure to indulge my own reflections, it
was an opportunity not to be neglected of augmenting and extending the
observations I had already made on the climate and productions of the
country; and of acquiring a more perfect knowledge of the natives, than
it was possible for me to obtain in the course of a transient and
perilous journey through the country. I endeavoured likewise to collect
all the information I could concerning those important branches of
African commerce, the trade for gold, ivory, and slaves. Such was my
employment during the remainder of my stay at Kamalia; and I shall now
proceed to lay before my readers the result of my researches and
inquiries; avoiding, as far as I can, a repetition of those circumstances
and observations, which were related, as occasion arose, in the narrative
of my journey.


_Of the climate and seasons.--Winds.--Vegetable
productions.--Population.--General observations on the character and
disposition of the Mandingoes; and a summary account of their manners and
habits of life; their marriages, &c._

The whole of my route, both in going and returning, having been confined
to a tract of country bounded nearly by the 12th and 15th parallels of
latitude, the reader must imagine that I found the climate in most places
extremely hot; but nowhere did I feel the heat so intense and oppressive
as in the Camp at Benowm, of which mention has been made in a former
place. In some parts, where the country ascends into hills, the air is at
all times comparatively cool; yet none of the districts which I traversed
could properly be called mountainous. About the middle of June, the hot
and sultry atmosphere is agitated by violent gusts of wind, (called
_tornadoes_,) accompanied with thunder and rain. These usher in what is
denominated the _rainy season_, which continues until the month of
November. During this time, the diurnal rains are very heavy; and the
prevailing winds are from the south-west. The termination of the rainy
season is likewise attended with violent tornadoes; after which the wind
shifts to the north-east, and continues to blow from that quarter during
the rest of the year.

When the wind sets in from the north-east it produces a wonderful change
on the face of the country. The grass soon becomes dry and withered; the
rivers subside very rapidly, and many of the trees shed their leaves.
About this period is commonly felt the _harmattan_, a dry and parching
wind, blowing from the north-east, and accompanied by a thick smoky haze,
through which the sun appears of a dull red colour. This wind, in passing
over the Great Desert of Sahara, acquires a very strong attraction for
humidity, and parches up every thing exposed to its current. It is,
however, reckoned very salutary, particularly to Europeans, who generally
recover their health during its continuance. I experienced immediate
relief from sickness, both at Dr. Laidley's and at Kamalia, during the
harmattan. Indeed, the air, during the rainy season, is so loaded with
moisture, that clothes, shoes, trunks, and every thing that is not close
to the fire, become damp and mouldy; and the inhabitants may be said to
live in a sort of vapour bath: but this dry wind braces up the solids,
which were before relaxed, gives a cheerful flow of spirits, and is even
pleasant to respiration. Its ill effects are, that it produces chaps in
the lips, and afflicts many of the natives with sore eyes.

Whenever the grass is sufficiently dry, the Negroes set it on fire; but
in Ludamar, and other Moorish countries, this practice is not allowed:
for it is upon the withered stubble that the Moors feed their cattle,
until the return of the rains. The burning the grass in Mandingo exhibits
a scene of terrific grandeur. In the middle of the night, I could see the
plains and mountains, as far as my eye could reach, variegated with lines
of fire; and the light reflected on the sky made the heavens appear in a
blaze. In the day-time, pillars of smoke were seen in every direction;
while the birds of prey were observed hovering round the conflagration,
and pouncing down upon the snakes, lizards, and other reptiles, which
attempted to escape from the flames. This annual burning is soon followed
by a fresh and sweet verdure, and the country is thereby rendered more
healthful and pleasant.

Of the most remarkable and important of the vegetable productions,
mention has already been made; and they are nearly the same in all the
districts through which I passed. It is observable, however, that
although many species of the edible roots which grow in the West India
Islands are found in Africa, yet I never saw, in any part of my journey,
either the sugar-cane, the coffee, or the cocoa-tree; nor could I learn,
on inquiry, that they were known to the natives. The pine-apple, and the
thousand other delicious fruits, which the industry of civilized man
(improving the bounties of nature) has brought to such great perfection
in the tropical climates of America, are here equally unknown. I
observed, indeed, a few orange and banana-trees, near the mouth of the
Gambia; but whether they were indigenous, or were formerly planted there
by some of the white traders, I could not positively learn. I suspect
that they were originally introduced by the Portuguese.

Concerning property in the soil, it appeared to me that the lands in
native woods were considered as belonging to the king or (where the
government was not monarchical) to the state. When any individual of free
condition had the means of cultivating more land than he actually
possessed, he applied to the chief man of the district, who allowed him
an extension of territory, on condition of forfeiture if the lands were
not brought into cultivation by a given period. The condition being
fulfilled, the soil became vested in the possessor; and for aught that
appeared to me, descended to his heirs.

The population, however, considering the extent and fertility of the
soil, and the ease with which lands are obtained, is not very great in
the countries which I visited. I found many extensive and beautiful
districts, entirely destitute of inhabitants; and in general, the borders
of the different kingdoms were either very thinly peopled or entirely
deserted. Many places are likewise unfavourable to population, from being
unhealthful. The swampy banks of the Gambia, the Senegal, and other
rivers towards the coast, are of this description. Perhaps it is on this
account chiefly that the interior countries abound more with inhabitants,
than the maritime districts, for all the Negro nations that fell under my
observation, though divided into a number of petty independent states,
subsist chiefly by the same means, live nearly in the same temperature,
and possess a wonderful similarity of disposition. The Mandingoes, in
particular, are a very gentle race, cheerful in their dispositions,
inquisitive, credulous, simple, and fond of flattery. Perhaps the most
prominent defect in their character, was that insurmountable propensity,
which the reader must have observed to prevail in all classes, of them,
to steal from me the few effects I was possessed of. For this part of
their conduct, no complete justification can be offered, because theft is
a crime in their own estimation; and it must be observed, that they are
not habitually and generally guilty of it towards each other. This,
however, is an important circumstance in mitigation; and before we
pronounce them a more depraved people than any other, it were well to
consider whether the lower order of people in any part of Europe would
have acted, under similar circumstances, with greater honesty towards a
stranger, than the Negroes acted towards me. It must not be forgotten,
that the laws of the country afforded me no protection; that every one
was at liberty to rob me with impunity; and, finally, that some part of
my effects were of as great value, in the estimation of the Negroes, as
pearls and diamonds would have been in the eyes of a European. Let us
suppose a black merchant of Hindostan to have found his way into the
centre of England, with a box of jewels at his back; and that the laws of
the kingdom afforded him no security, in such a case, the wonder would
be, not that the stranger was robbed of any part of his riches, but that
any part was left for a second depredator. Such, on sober reflection, is
the judgment I have formed concerning the pilfering disposition of the
Mandingo Negroes towards myself. Notwithstanding I was so great a
sufferer by it, I do not consider that their natural sense of justice was
perverted or extinguished; it was overpowered only for the moment, by the
strength of a temptation which it required no common virtue to resist.

On the other hand, as some counterbalance to this depravity in their
nature, allowing it to be such, it is impossible for me to forget the
disinterested charity, and tender solicitude, with which many of these
poor heathens (from the sovereign of Sego to the poor women who received
me at different times into their cottages, when I was perishing of
hunger) sympathised with me in my sufferings, relieved my distresses, and
contributed to my safety. This acknowledgment, however, is perhaps more
particularly due to the female part of the nation. Among the men, as the
reader must have seen, my reception, though generally kind, was sometimes
otherwise. It varied according to the various tempers of those to whom I
made application. The hardness of avarice in some, and the blindness of
bigotry in others, had closed up the avenues to compassion; but I do not
recollect a single instance of hard-heartedness towards me in the women.
In all my wanderings and wretchedness I found them uniformly kind and
compassionate; and I can truly say, as my predecessor Mr. Ledyard has
eloquently said before me, "To a woman, I never addressed myself in the
language of decency and friendship, without receiving a decent and
friendly answer. If I was hungry or thirsty, wet or sick, they did not
hesitate, like the men, to perform a generous action. In so free and so
kind a manner did they contribute to my relief, that if I was dry, I
drank the sweetest draught, and if hungry, I ate the coarsest morsel with
a double relish."

It is surely reasonable to suppose, that the soft and amiable sympathy of
nature, which was thus spontaneously manifested towards me, in my
distress, is displayed by these poor people as occasion requires, much
more strongly towards persons of their own nation and neighbourhood, and
especially when the objects of their compassion are endeared to them by
the ties of consanguinity. Accordingly, the maternal affection (neither
suppressed by the restraints, nor diverted by the solicitudes of
civilized life) is every where conspicuous among them; and creates a
correspondent return of tenderness in the child. An illustration of this
has been given in p. 39. "Strike me," said my attendant, "but do not
curse my mother." The same sentiment I found universally to prevail, and
observed in all parts of Africa, that the greatest affront which could be
offered to a Negro, was to reflect on her who gave him birth.

It is not strange, that this sense of filial duty and affection among the
Negroes should be less ardent towards the father than the mother. The
system of polygamy, while it weakens the father's attachment, by dividing
it among the children of different wives, concentrates all the mother's
jealous tenderness to one point, the protection of her own offspring. I
perceived with great satisfaction, too, that the maternal solicitude
extended not only to the growth and security of the person, but also, in
a certain degree, to the improvement of the mind of the infant; for one
of the first lessons in which the Mandingo women instruct their children,
is _the practice of truth_. The reader will probably recollect the case
of the unhappy mother, whose son was murdered by the Moorish banditti, at
Funingkedy, p. 86.--Her only consolation, in her uttermost distress, was
the reflection that the poor boy, in the course of his blameless life,
_had never told a lie_. Such testimony, from a fond mother on such an
occasion, must have operated powerfully on the youthful part of the
surrounding spectators. It was at once a tribute of praise to the
deceased, and a lesson to the living.

The Negro women suckle their children until they are able to walk of
themselves. Three years nursing is not uncommon; and during this period
the husband devotes his whole attention to his other wives. To this
practice it is owing, I presume, that the family of each wife is seldom
very numerous. Few women have more than five or six children. As soon as
an infant is able to walk, it is permitted to run about with great
freedom. The mother is not over solicitous to preserve it from slight
falls and other trifling accidents. A little practice soon enables the
child to take care of itself, and experience acts the part of a nurse. As
they advance in life, the girls are taught to spin cotton, and to beat
corn, and are instructed in other domestic duties; and the boys are
employed in the labours of the field. Both sexes, whether Bushreens or
Kafirs, on attaining the age of puberty, are circumcised. This painful
operation is not considered by the Kafirs so much in the light of a
religious ceremony, as a matter of convenience and utility. They have,
indeed, a superstitious notion that it contributes to render the marriage
state prolific. The operation is performed upon several young people at
the same time; all of whom are exempted from every sort of labour for two
months afterwards. During this period, they form a society called
_Solimanu_. They visit the towns and villages in the neighbourhood, where
they dance and sing, and are well treated by the inhabitants, I had
frequently, in the course of my journey, observed parties of this
description, but they were all males. I had, however, an opportunity of
seeing a female _Solimana_ at Kamalia.

In the course of the celebration, it frequently happens that some of the
young women get married. If a man takes a fancy to any one of them, it is
not considered as absolutely necessary that he should make an overture to
the girl herself. The first object is to agree with the parents,
concerning the recompence to be given them for the loss of the company
and services of their daughter. The value of two slaves is a common
price, unless the girl is thought very handsome; in which case, the
parents will raise their demand very considerably. If the lover is rich
enough, and willing to give the sum demanded, he then communicates his
wishes to the damsel; but her consent is by no means necessary to the
match; for if the parents agree to it, and eat a few _kolla-nuts_, which
are presented by the suitor as an earnest of the bargain, the young lady
must either have the man of their choice, or continue unmarried, for she
cannot afterwards be given to another. If the parents should attempt it,
the lover is then authorised, by the laws of the country, to seize upon
the girl as his slave. When the day for celebrating the nuptials is fixed
on, a select number of people are invited to be present at the wedding; a
bullock or goat is killed, and great plenty of victuals dressed for the
occasion. As soon as it is dark, the bride is conducted into a hut, where
a company of matrons assist in arranging the wedding dress, which is
always white cotton, and is put on in such a manner as to conceal the
bride from head to foot. Thus arrayed, she is seated upon a mat, in the
middle of the floor, and the old women place themselves in a circle round
her. They then give her a series of instructions, and point out, with
great propriety, what ought to be her future conduct in life. This scene
of instruction, however, is frequently interrupted by girls, who amuse
the company with songs and dances, which are rather more remarkable for
their gaiety than delicacy. While the bride remains within the hut with
the women, the bridegroom devotes his attention to the guests of both
sexes, who assemble without doors, and by distributing among them small
presents of kolla-nuts, and seeing that every one partakes of the good
cheer which is provided, he contributes much to the general hilarity of
the evening. When supper is ended, the company spend the remainder of the
night in singing and dancing, and seldom separate until daybreak. About
midnight, the bride is privately conducted by the women into the hut
which is to be her future residence; and the bridegroom, upon a signal
given, retires from his company. The new married couple, however, are
always disturbed towards morning by the women, who assemble to inspect
the nuptial sheet, (according to the manners of the ancient Hebrews, as
recorded in scripture,) and dance round it. This ceremony is thought
indispensably necessary, nor is the marriage considered as valid without

The Negroes, as hath been frequently observed, whether Mahomedan or
Pagan, allow a plurality of wives. The Mahomedans alone are by their
religion confined to four; and as the husband commonly pays a great price
for each, he requires from all of them the utmost deference and
submission, and treats them more like hired servants than companions.
They have, however, the management of domestic affairs, and each in
rotation is mistress of the household, and has the care of dressing the
victuals, overlooking the female slaves, &c. But though the African
husbands are possessed of great authority over their wives, I did not
observe that in general they treat them with cruelty; neither did I
perceive that mean jealousy in their dispositions which is so prevalent
among the Moors. They permit their wives to partake of all public
diversions, and this indulgence is seldom abused; for though the Negro
women are very cheerful and frank in their behaviour, they are by no
means given to intrigue: I believe that instances of conjugal infidelity
are not common. When the wives quarrel among themselves, a circumstance
which, from the nature of their situation, must frequently happen, the
husband decides between them; and sometimes finds it necessary to
administer a little corporal chastisement, before tranquillity can be
restored. But if any one of the ladies complains to the chief of the
town, that her husband has unjustly punished her, and shown an undue
partiality to some other of his wives, the affair is brought to a public
trial. In these _palavers_, however, which are conducted chiefly by
married men, I was informed, that the complaint of the wife is not always
considered in a very serious light; and the complainant herself is
sometimes convicted of strife and contention, and left without remedy. If
she murmurs at the decision of the court, the magic rod of _Mumbo Jumbo_
soon puts an end to the business.

The children of the Mandingoes are not always named after their
relations; but frequently in consequence of some remarkable occurrence.
Thus, my landlord at Kamalia was called _Karfa_, a word signifying _to
replace_; because he was born shortly after the death of one of his
brothers. Other names are descriptive of good or bad qualities; as
_Modi_, "a good man;" _Fadibba_, "father of the town," &c. Indeed, the
very names of their towns have something descriptive in them; as
_Sibidooloo_, "the town of ciboa trees;" _Kenneyeto_, "victuals here;"
_Dosita_, "lift your spoon." Others seem to be given by way of reproach,
as _Bammakoo_, "wash a crocodile;" _Korankalla_, "no cup to drink from,"
&c. A child is named when it is seven or eight days old. The ceremony
commences by shaving the infant's head; and a dish called _Dega_, made of
pounded corn and sour milk, is prepared for the guests. If the parents
are rich, a sheep or a goat is commonly added. The feast is called _Ding
koon lee_, "the child's head shaving." During my stay at Kamalia, I was
present at four different feasts of this kind, and the ceremony was the
same in each, whether the child belonged to a Bushreen or a Kafir. The
schoolmaster who officiated as priest on these occasions, and who is
necessarily a Bushreen, first said a long prayer over the _dega_; during
which every person present took hold of the brim of the calabash with his
right hand. After this, the schoolmaster took the child in his arms, and
said a second prayer, in which he repeatedly solicited the blessing of
God upon the child and upon all the company. When this prayer was ended,
he whispered a few sentences in the child's ear, and spit three times in
its face; after which he pronounced its name aloud, and returned the
infant to the mother. This part of the ceremony being ended, the father
of the child divided the _dega_ into a number of balls, one of which he
distributed to every person present. And inquiry was then made if any
person in the town was dangerously sick, it being usual in such cases to
send the party a large portion of the _dega_, which is thought to possess
great medical virtues.[16]

  [16] Soon after baptism, the children are marked in different parts
    of the skin, in a manner resembling what is called tattowing in the
    South Sea Islands.

Among the Negroes, every individual, besides his own proper name, has
likewise a _kontong_, or surname, to denote the family or clan to which
he belongs. Some of these families are very numerous and powerful. It is
impossible to enumerate the various _kontongs_ which are found in
different parts of the country; though the knowledge of many of them is
of great service to the traveller; for as every Negro plumes himself upon
the importance, or the antiquity of his clan, he is much flattered when
he is addressed by his _kontong_.

Salutations among the Negroes to each other when they meet are always
observed; but those in most general use among the Kafirs are _Abbe
haeretto--E ning seni--Anawari, &c._, all of which have nearly the same
meaning, and signify _are you well?_ or to that effect. There are
likewise salutations which are used at different times of the day, as _E
ning somo_, good morning, &c. The general answer to all salutations is to
repeat the _kontong_ of the person who salutes, or else to repeat the
salutation itself, first pronouncing the word _marhaba_, my friend.


_The account of the Mandingoes continued.--Their notions in respect of
the planetary bodies, and the figure of the earth.--Their religious
opinions, and belief in a future state.--Their diseases and methods of
treatment.--Their funeral ceremonies, amusements, occupations, diet,
arts, manufactures, &c._

The Mandingoes, and, I believe, the Negroes in general, have no
artificial method of dividing time. They calculate the years by the
number of _rainy seasons_. They portion the year into _moons_, and reckon
the days by so many _suns_. The day they divide into morning, mid-day,
and evening; and further subdivide it, when necessary, by pointing to the
sun's place in the Heavens. I frequently inquired of some of them what
became of the sun during the night, and whether we should see the same
sun, or a different one, in the morning? but I found that they considered
the question as very childish. The subject appeared to them as placed
beyond the reach of human investigation. They had never indulged a
conjecture, nor formed any hypothesis about the matter. The moon, by
varying her form, has more attracted their attention. On the first
appearance of the new moon, which they look upon to be newly created, the
Pagan natives, as well as Mahomedans, say a short prayer; and this seems
to be the only visible adoration which the Kafirs offer up to the Supreme
Being. This prayer is pronounced in a whisper, the party holding up his
hands before his face. Its purport (as I have been assured by many
different people) is to return thanks to God for his kindness through the
existence of the past moon, and to solicit a continuation of his favour
during that of the new one. At the conclusion, they spit, upon their
hands, and rub them over their faces. This seems to be nearly the same
ceremony which prevailed among the Heathens in the days of Job.[17]

  [17] Chap. xxxi. ver. 26, 27, 28.

Great attention, however, is paid to the changes of this luminary in its
monthly course; and it is thought very unlucky to begin a journey, or any
other work of consequence, in the last quarter. An eclipse, whether of
the sun or moon, is supposed to be effected by witchcraft. The stars are
very little regarded; and the whole study of astronomy appears to them as
a useless pursuit, and attended to by such persons only as deal in magic.

Their notions of geography are equally puerile. They imagine that the
world is an extended plain, the termination of which no eye has
discovered; it being, they say, overhung with clouds and darkness. They
describe the sea as a large river of salt water, on the farther shore of
which is situated a country called _Tobaubo doo_; "the land of the white
people." At a distance from Tobaubo doo, they describe another country,
which they allege is inhabited by cannibals of gigantic size, called
_Koomi_. This country they call _Jong sang doo_, "the land where the
slaves are sold." But of all countries in the world their own appears to
them as the best, and their own people as the happiest; and they pity the
fate of other nations, who have been placed by Providence in less fertile
and less fortunate districts.

Some of the religious opinions of the Negroes, though blended with the
weakest credulity and superstition, are not unworthy of attention. I have
conversed with all ranks and conditions, upon the subject of their faith,
and can pronounce, without the smallest shadow of doubt, that the belief
of one God, and of a future state of reward and punishment, is entire and
universal among them. It is remarkable, however, that, except on the
appearance of a new moon, as before related, the Pagan natives do not
think it necessary to offer up prayers and supplications to the Almighty.
They represent the Deity, indeed, as the Creator and Preserver of all
things; but in general they consider him as a Being so remote, and of so
exalted a nature, that it is idle to imagine the feeble supplications of
wretched mortals can reverse the decrees, and change the purposes of
unerring Wisdom. If they are asked, for what reason then do they offer up
a prayer on the appearance of the new moon? the answer is, that custom
has made it necessary; they do it, because their fathers did it before
them. Such is the blindness of unassisted nature! The concerns of this
world, they believe, are committed by the Almighty to the superintendence
and direction of subordinate spirits, over whom they suppose that certain
magical ceremonies have great influence. A white fowl suspended to the
branch of a particular tree, a snake's head, or a few handfuls of fruit,
are offerings which ignorance and superstition frequently present, to
deprecate the wrath, or to conciliate the favour of these tutelary
agents. But it is not often that the Negroes make their religious
opinions the subject of conversation. When interrogated, in particular,
concerning their ideas of a future state, they express themselves with
great reverence, but endeavour to shorten the discussion by
observing--_mo o mo inta allo_, "no man knows any thing about it." They
are content, they say, to follow the precepts and examples of their
forefathers, through the various vicissitudes of life; and when this
world presents no objects of enjoyment or comfort, they seem to look with
anxiety towards another, which they believe will be better suited to
their natures; but concerning which they are far from indulging vain and
delusive conjectures.

The Mandingoes seldom attain extreme old age. At forty, most of them
become gray haired, and covered with wrinkles; and but few of them
survive the age of fifty-five or sixty. They calculate the years of their
lives, as I have already observed, by the number of rainy seasons, (there
being but one such in the year,) and distinguish each year by a
particular name, founded on some remarkable occurrence which happened in
that year. Thus they say the year of the _Farbanna war_; the year of the
_Kaarta war_; the year on which _Gadou was plundered_, &c. &c.; and I
have no doubt that the year 1796 will in many places be distinguished by
the name of _Tobaubo tambi sang_, "the year the white man passed;" as
such an occurrence would naturally form an epoch in their traditional

But notwithstanding that longevity is uncommon among them, it appeared to
me, that their diseases are but few in number. Their simple diet, and
active way of life, preserve them from many of those disorders which
embitter the days of luxury and idleness. Fevers and fluxes are the most
common, and the most fatal. For these, they generally apply saphies to
different parts of the body, and perform a great many other superstitious
ceremonies; some of which are, indeed, well calculated to inspire the
patient with the hope of recovery, and divert his mind from brooding over
his own danger. But I have sometimes observed among them a more
systematic mode of treatment. On the first attack of a fever, when the
patient complains of cold, he is frequently placed in a sort of vapour.
This is done by spreading branches of the _nauclea orientalis_ upon hot
wood embers, and laying the patient upon them, wrapped up in a large
cotton cloth. Water is then sprinkled upon the branches, which descending
to the hot embers, soon covers the patient with a cloud of vapour, in
which he is allowed to remain until the embers are almost extinguished.
This practice commonly produces a profuse perspiration, and wonderfully
relieves the sufferer.

For the dysentery, they use the bark of different trees reduced to
powder; and mixed with the patient's food; but this practice is in
general very unsuccessful.

The other diseases which prevail among the Negroes are the _yaws_, the
_elephantiasis_, and a _leprosy_ of the very worst kind. This last
mentioned complaint appears, at the beginning, in scurfy spots upon
different parts of the body, which finally settle upon the hands or feet,
where the skin becomes withered, and cracks in many places. At length,
the ends of the fingers swell and ulcerate, the discharge is acrid and
foetid; the nails drop off, and the bones of the fingers become carious,
and separate at the joints. In this manner the disease continues to
spread, frequently until the patient loses all his fingers and toes. Even
the hands and feet are sometimes destroyed by this inveterate malady, to
which the Negroes give the name of _balla jou_, "incurable."

The _Guinea worm_ is likewise very common in certain places, especially
at the commencement of the rainy season. The Negroes attribute this
disease, which has been described by many writers, to bad water, and
allege that the people who drink from wells are more subject to it than
those who drink from streams. To the same cause they attribute the
swelling of the glands of the neck, (goitres,) which are very common in
some parts of Bambarra. I observed also, in the interior countries, a few
instances of simple gonorrhoea; but never the confirmed lues. On the
whole, it appeared to me that the Negroes are better surgeons than
physicians. I found them very successful in their management of fractures
and dislocations, and their splints and bandages are simple, and easily
removed. The patient is laid upon a soft mat, and the fractured limb is
frequently bathed with cold water. All abscesses they open with the
actual cautery; and the dressings are composed of either soft leaves,
shea-butter, or cows' dung, as the case seems, in their judgment, to
require. Towards the Coast, where a supply of European lancets can be
procured, they sometimes perform phlebotomy; and in cases of local
inflammation, a curious sort of cupping is practised. This operation is
performed by making incisions in the part, and applying to it a bullock's
horn, with a small hole in the end. The operator then takes a piece of
bees-wax in his mouth, and putting his lips to the hole, extracts the air
from the horn; and by a dexterous use of his tongue, stops up the hole
with the wax. This method is found to answer the purpose, and in general
produces a plentiful discharge.

When a person of consequence dies, the relations and neighbours meet
together, and manifest their sorrow by loud and dismal howlings. A
bullock or goat is killed for such persons as come to assist at the
funeral, which generally takes place in the evening of the same day on
which the party died. The Negroes have no appropriate burial places, and
frequently dig the grave in the floor of the deceased's hut, or in the
shade of a favourite tree. The body is dressed in white cotton, and
wrapped up in a mat. It is carried to the grave in the dusk of the
evening by the relations. If the grave is without the walls of the town,
a number of prickly bushes are laid upon it, to prevent the wolves from
digging up the body; but I never observed that any stone was placed over
the grave, as a monument or memorial.

Hitherto I have considered the Negroes chiefly in a moral light, and
confined myself to the most prominent features in their mental character,
their domestic amusements, occupations, and diet. Their arts and
manufactures, with some other subordinate objects, are now to be noticed.

Of their music and dances, some account has incidentally been given in
different parts of my Journal. On the first of these heads, I have now to
add a list of their musical instruments, the principal of which are--the
_koonting_, a sort of guitar with three strings;--the _korro_, a large
harp, with eighteen strings;--the _simbing_, a small harp with seven
strings;--the _balafou_, an instrument composed of twenty pieces of hard
wood of different lengths, with the shells of gourds hung underneath, to
increase the sound;--the _tangtang_, a drum, open at the lower end; and,
lastly, the _tabala_, a large drum, commonly used to spread an alarm
through the country. Besides these, they make use of small flutes,
bowstrings, elephants' teeth, and bells; and at all their dances and
concerts, _clapping of hands_ appears to constitute a necessary part of
the chorus.

With the love of music is naturally connected a taste for poetry; and,
fortunately for the poets of Africa, they are in a great measure exempted
from that neglect and indigence, which, in more polished countries,
commonly attend the votaries of the Muses. They consist of two classes;
the most numerous are the _singing men_, called _Jilli kea_, mentioned in
a former part of my narrative. One or more of these may be found in every
town. They sing extempore songs, in honour of their chief men, or any
other persons who are willing to give "solid pudding for empty praise."
But a nobler part of their office is to recite the historical events of
their country; hence, in war they accompany the soldiers to the field, in
order, by reciting the great actions of their ancestors, to awaken in
them a spirit of glorious emulation. The other class are devotees of the
Mahomedan faith, who travel about the country, singing devout hymns, and
performing religious ceremonies, to conciliate the favour of the
Almighty; either in averting calamity, or insuring success to any
enterprise. Both descriptions of these itinerant bards are much employed
and respected by the people, and very liberal contributions are made for

The usual diet of the Negroes is somewhat different in different
districts. In general, the people of free condition breakfast about
daybreak, upon gruel made of meal and water, with a little of the fruit
of the tamarind, to give it an acid taste. About two o'clock in the
afternoon, a sort of hasty pudding, with a little shea-butter, is the
common meal; but the supper constitutes the principal repast, and is
seldom ready before midnight. This consists almost universally of
kouskous, with a small portion of animal food, or shea-butter, mixed with
it. In eating, the Kafirs as well as Mahomedans use the right hand only.

The beverage of the Pagan Negroes is beer and mead; of each of which they
frequently drink to excess. The Mahomedan converts drink nothing but
water. The natives of all descriptions take snuff, and smoke tobacco;
their pipes are made of wood, with an earthen bowl of curious
workmanship. But in the interior countries, the greatest of all luxuries
is salt. It would appear strange to an European, to see a child suck a
piece of rock-salt as if it were sugar. This, however, I have frequently
seen; although, in the inland parts, the poorer class of inhabitants are
so very rarely indulged with this precious article, that to say _a man
eats salt with his victuals_, is the same as saying _he is a rich man_. I
have myself suffered great inconvenience from the scarcity of this
article. The long use of vegetable food creates so painful a longing for
salt, that no words can sufficiently describe it.

The Negroes in general, and the Mandingoes in particular, are considered
by the whites on the Coast as an indolent and inactive people; I think
without reason. The nature of the climate is, indeed, unfavourable to
great exertion; but surely a people cannot justly be denominated
habitually indolent, whose wants are supplied, not by the spontaneous
productions of nature, but by their own exertions. Few people work
harder, when occasion requires, than the Mandingoes; but not having many
opportunities of turning to advantage the superfluous produce of their
labour, they are content with cultivating as much ground only as is
necessary for their own support. The labours of the field give them
pretty full employment during the rains; and in the dry season, the
people who live in the vicinity of large rivers employ themselves chiefly
in fishing. The fish are taken in wicker baskets, or with small cotton
nets; and are preserved by being first dried in the sun, and afterwards
rubbed with shea butter, to prevent them from contracting fresh moisture.
Others of the natives employ themselves in hunting. Their weapons are
bows and arrows; but the arrows in common use are not poisoned.[18] They
are very dexterous marksmen, and will hit a lizard on a tree, or any
other small object, at an amazing distance. They likewise kill
Guinea-fowls, partridges, and pigeons, but never on the wing. While the
men are occupied in these pursuits, the women are very diligent in
manufacturing cotton cloth. They prepare the cotton for spinning, by
laying it in small quantities at a time, upon a smooth stone, or piece of
wood, and rolling the seeds out with a thick iron spindle; and they spin
it with the distaff. The thread is not fine, but well twisted, and makes
a very durable cloth. A woman, with common diligence, will spin from six
to nine garments of this cloth in one year; which, according to its
fineness, will sell for a minkalli and a half, or two minkallies
each.[19] The weaving is performed by the men. The loom is made exactly
upon the same principle as that of Europe; but so small and narrow, that
the web is seldom more than four inches broad. The shuttle is of the
common construction; but as the thread is coarse, the chamber is somewhat
larger than the European.

  [18] Poisoned arrows are used chiefly in war. The poison, which is
    said to be very deadly, is prepared from a shrub called _koona_ (a
    species of _echites_,) which is very common in the woods. The leaves
    of this shrub, when boiled with a small quantity of water, yield a
    thick black juice, into which the Negroes dip a cotton thread; this
    thread they fasten round the iron of the arrow, in such a manner that
    it is almost impossible to extract the arrow, when it has sunk beyond
    the barbs, without leaving the iron point, and the poisoned thread,
    in the wound.

  [19] A minkalli is a quantity of gold, nearly equal in value to ten
    shillings sterling.

The women dye this cloth of a rich and lasting blue colour, by the
following simple process: The leaves of the indigo when fresh gathered
are pounded in a wooden mortar, and mixed in a large earthen jar, with a
strong ley of wood ashes; chamber-ley is sometimes added. The cloth is
steeped in this mixture, and allowed to remain until it has acquired the
proper shade. In Kaarta and Ludamar, where the indigo is not plentiful,
they collect the leaves, and dry them in the sun; and when they wish to
use them, they reduce a sufficient quantity to powder, and mix it with
the ley as before mentioned. Either way, the colour is very beautiful,
with a fine purple gloss, and equal, in my opinion, to the best Indian or
European blue. This cloth is cut into various pieces, and sewed into
garments, with needles of the natives' own making.

As the arts of weaving, dyeing, sewing, &c. may easily be acquired, those
who exercise them are not considered in Africa as following any
particular profession; for almost every slave can weave, and every boy
can sew. The only artists which are distinctly acknowledged as such by
the Negroes, and who value themselves on exercising appropriate and
peculiar trades, are the manufacturers of _leather_ and of _iron_. The
first of these are called _Karrankea_, (or, as the word is sometimes
pronounced, _Gaungay_.) They are to be found in almost every town, and
they frequently travel through the country in the exercise of their
calling. They tan and dress leather with very great expedition, by
steeping the hide first in a mixture of wood-ashes and water, until it
parts with the hair; and afterwards by using the pounded leaves of a tree
called _goo_, as an astringent. They are at great pains to render the
hide as soft and pliant as possible, by rubbing it frequently between
their hands, and beating it upon a stone. The hides of bullocks are
converted chiefly into sandals, and therefore require less care in
dressing than the skins of sheep and goats, which are used for covering
quivers and saphies, and in making sheaths for swords and knives, belts,
pockets, and a variety of ornaments. These skins are commonly dyed of a
red or yellow colour; the red, by means of millet stalks reduced to
powder; and the yellow, by the root of a plant, the name of which I have

The manufacturers in iron are not so numerous as the _Karrankeas_; but
they appear to have studied their business with equal diligence. The
Negroes on the Coast being cheaply supplied with iron from the European
traders, never attempt the manufacturing of this article themselves; but
in the inland parts, the natives smelt this useful metal in such
quantities, as not only to supply themselves from it with all necessary
weapons and instruments, but even to make it an article of commerce with
some of the neighbouring states. During my stay at Kamalia, there was a
smelting furnace at a short distance from the hut where I lodged, and the
owner and his workmen made no secret about the manner of conducting the
operation; and readily allowed me to examine the furnace, and assist them
in breaking the ironstone. The furnace was a circular tower of clay,
about ten feet high, and three in diameter; surrounded in two places with
withes, to prevent the clay from cracking and falling to pieces by the
violence of the heat. Round the lower part, on a level with the
ground,(but not so low as the bottom of the furnace, which was somewhat
concave,) were made seven openings, into every one of which were placed
three tubes of clay, and the openings again plastered up in such a manner
that no air could enter the furnace but through the tubes; by the opening
and shutting of which they regulated the fire. These tubes were formed by
plastering a mixture of clay and grass round a smooth roller of wood,
which as soon as the clay began to harden was withdrawn, and the tube
left to dry in the sun. The ironstone which I saw was very heavy, and of
a dull red colour, with greyish specks; it was broken into pieces about
the size of a hen's egg. A bundle of dry wood was first put into the
furnace, and covered with a considerable quantity of charcoal, which was
brought ready burnt from the woods. Over this was laid a stratum of
ironstone, and then another of charcoal, and so on until the furnace was
quite full. The fire was applied through one of the tubes, and blown for
some time with bellows made of goats'-skins. The operation went on very
slowly at first, and it was some hours before the flame appeared above
the furnace; but after this, it burnt with great violence all the first
night, and the people who attended put in at times more charcoal. On the
day following the fire was not so fierce, and on the second night some of
the tubes were withdrawn, and the air allowed to have freer access to the
furnace; but the heat was still very great, and a bluish flame rose some
feet above the top of the furnace. On the third day from the commencement
of the operation, all the tubes were taken out, the ends of many of them
being vitrified with the heat; but the metal was not removed until some
days afterwards, when the whole was perfectly cool. Part of the furnace
was then taken down, and the iron appeared in the form of a large
irregular mass, with pieces of charcoal adhering to it. It was sonorous;
and when any portion was broken off, the fracture exhibited a granulated
appearance, like broken steel. The owner informed me that many parts of
this cake were useless, but still there was good iron enough to repay him
for his trouble. This iron, or rather steel, is formed into various
instruments, by being repeatedly heated in a forge, the heat of which is
urged by a pair of double bellows of a very simple construction, being
made of two goats' skins; the tubes from which unite, before they enter
the forge, and supply a constant and very regular blast. The hammer,
forceps, and anvil, are all very simple, and the workmanship
(particularly in the formation of knives and spears) is not destitute of
merit. The iron, indeed, is hard and brittle, and requires much labour
before it can be made to answer the purpose.

Most of the African blacksmiths are acquainted also with the method of
smelting gold, in which process they use an alkaline salt, obtained from
a ley of burnt corn-stalks evaporated to dryness. They likewise draw the
gold into wire, and form it into a variety of ornaments, some of which
are executed with a great deal of taste and ingenuity.

Such is the chief information I obtained concerning the present state of
arts and manufactures in those regions of Africa which I explored in my
journey. I might add, though it is scarce worthy observation, that in
Bambarra and Kaarta, the natives make very beautiful baskets, hats, and
other articles, both for use and ornament, from rushes, which they stain
of different colours; and they contrive also to cover their calabashes
with interwoven cane, dyed in the same manner.

In all the laborious occupations above described, the master and his
slaves work together, without any distinction of superiority. Hired
servants, by which I mean persons of free condition, voluntarily working
for pay, are unknown in Africa; and this observation naturally leads me
to consider the condition of the slaves, and the various means by which
they are reduced to so miserable a state of servitude. This unfortunate
class are found, I believe, in all parts of this extensive country, and
constitute a considerable branch of commerce with the states on the
Mediterranean, as well as with the nations of Europe.


_Observations concerning the state and sources of slavery in Africa._

A state of subordination, and certain inequalities of rank and condition,
are inevitable in every stage of civil society; but when this
subordination is carried to so great a length, that the persons and
services of one part of the community are entirely at the disposal of
another part, it may then be denominated a state of slavery; and in this
condition of life, a great body of the Negro inhabitants of Africa have
continued from the most early period of their history; with this
aggravation, that their children are born to no other inheritance.

The slaves in Africa, I suppose, are nearly in the proportion of three to
one to the freemen. They claim no reward for their services, except food
and clothing; and are treated with kindness or severity, according to the
good or bad disposition of their masters. Custom, however, has
established certain rules with regard to the treatment of slaves, which
it is thought dishonourable to violate. Thus, the domestic slaves, or
such as are born in a man's own house, are treated with more lenity than
those which are purchased with money. The authority of the master over
the domestic slave, as I have elsewhere observed, extends only to
reasonable correction; for the master cannot sell his domestic, without
having first brought him to a public trial, before the chief men of the
place.[20] But these restrictions on the power of the master extend not
to the case of prisoners taken in war, nor to that of slaves purchased
with money. All these unfortunate beings are considered as strangers and
foreigners, who have no right to the protection of the law, and may be
treated with severity, or sold to a stranger, according to the pleasure
of their owners. There are, indeed, regular markets, where slaves of this
description are bought and sold; and the value of a slave, in the eye of
an African purchaser, increases in proportion to his distance from his
native kingdom; for when slaves are only a few days' journey from the
place of their nativity, they frequently effect their escape; but when
one or more kingdoms intervene, escape being more difficult, they are
more readily reconciled to their situation. On this account, the unhappy
slave is frequently transferred from one dealer to another, until he has
lost all hopes of returning to his native kingdom. The slaves which are
purchased by the Europeans on the Coast are chiefly of this description;
a few of them are collected in the petty wars, hereafter to be described,
which take place near the Coast; but by far the greater number are
brought down in large caravans from the inland countries, of which many
are unknown, even by name, to the Europeans. The slaves which are thus
brought from the interior may be divided into two distinct classes;
_first_, such as were slaves from their birth having been born of
enslaved mothers: _secondly_, such as were born free, but who afterwards,
by whatever means, became slaves. Those of the first description are by
far the most numerous; for prisoners taken in war (at least such as are
taken in open and declared war, when one kingdom avows hostilities
against another) are generally of this description. The comparatively
small proportion of free people to the enslaved, throughout Africa, has
already been noticed; and it must be observed, that men of free condition
have many advantages over the slaves, even in war time. They are in
general better armed, and well mounted; and can either fight or escape
with some hopes of success: but the slaves who have only their spears and
bows, and of whom great numbers are loaded with baggage, become an easy
prey. Thus, when Mansong, King of Bambarra, made war upon Kaarta, (as I
have related in a former chapter,) he took in one day nine hundred
prisoners, of which number not more than seventy were free men. This
account I received from Daman Jumma, who had thirty slaves at Kemmoo, all
of whom were made prisoners by Mansong. Again, when a freeman is taken
prisoner, his friends will sometimes ransom him by giving two slaves in
exchange; but when a slave is taken, he has no hopes of such redemption.
To these disadvantages, it is to be added, that the Slatees, who purchase
slaves in the interior countries, and carry them down to the Coast for
sale, constantly prefer such as have been in that condition of life from
their infancy, well knowing that these have been accustomed to hunger and
fatigue, and are better able to sustain the hardships of a long and
painful journey, than free men; and on their reaching the Coast, if no
opportunity offers of selling them to advantage, they can easily be made
to maintain themselves by their labour; neither are they so apt to
attempt making their escape, as those who have once tasted the blessings
of freedom.

  [20] In time of famine, the master is permitted to sell one or more
    of his domestics, to purchase provisions for his family; and in case
    of the master's insolvency, the domestic slaves are sometimes seized
    upon by the creditors; and if the master cannot redeem them, they are
    liable to be sold for payment of his debts. These are the only cases
    that I recollect, in which the domestic slaves are liable to be sold,
    without any misconduct or demerit of their own.

Slaves of the second description generally become such by one or other of
the following causes: 1. Captivity. 2. Famine. 3. Insolvency. 4. Crimes.
A freeman may, by the established customs of Africa, become a slave by
being taken in war. War is, of all others, the most productive source,
and was probably the origin of slavery; for when one nation had taken
from another a greater number of captives than could be exchanged on
equal terms, it is natural to suppose that the conquerors, finding it
inconvenient to maintain their prisoners, would compel them to labour; at
first, perhaps, only for their own support, but afterwards to support
their masters. Be this as it may, it is a known fact, that prisoners of
war in Africa are the slaves of the conquerors; and when the weak or
unsuccessful warrior begs for mercy beneath the uplifted spear of his
opponent, he gives up at the same time his claim to liberty; and
purchases his life at the expense of his freedom.

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 to the scythe of

The wars of Africa are of two kinds, which are distinguished by different
appellations; that species which bears the greatest resemblance to our
European contests is denominated _killi_, a word signifying "to call
out," because such wars are openly avowed, and previously declared. Wars
of this description in Africa commonly terminate, however, in the course
of a single campaign. A battle is fought; the vanquished seldom think of
rallying again; the whole inhabitants become panic-struck, and the
conquerors have only to bind the slaves, and carry off their plunder and
their victims. Such of the prisoners as, through age or infirmity, are
unable to endure fatigue, or are found unfit for sale, are considered as
useless, and I have no doubt are frequently put to death. The same fate
commonly awaits a chief, or any other person who has taken a very
distinguished part in the war. And here it may be observed, that,
notwithstanding this exterminating system, it is surprising to behold how
soon an African town is rebuilt and re-peopled. The circumstance arises
probably from this, that their pitched battles are few; the weakest know
their own situation, and seek safety in flight. When their country has
been desolated, and their ruined towns and villages deserted by the
enemy, such of the inhabitants as have escaped the sword, and the chain,
generally return, though with cautious steps, to the place of their
nativity; for it seems to be the universal wish of mankind, to spend the
evening of their days where they passed their infancy. The poor Negro
feels this desire in its full force. To him no water is sweet but what is
drawn from his own well; and no tree has so cool and pleasant a shade as
the _tabba_ tree[21] of his native village. When war compels him to
abandon the delightful spot in which he first drew his breath, and seek
for safety in some other kingdom, his time is spent in talking about the
country of his ancestors; and no sooner is peace restored than he turns
his back upon the land of strangers, rebuilds with haste his fallen
walls, and exults to see the smoke ascend from his native village.

  [21] This is a large spreading tree, (a species of _sterculia_,)
    under which the Bentang is commonly placed.

The other species of African warfare is distinguished by the appellation
of _tegria_, "plundering or stealing." It arises from a sort of
hereditary feud which the inhabitants of one nation or district bear
towards another. No immediate cause of hostility is assigned, or notice
of attack given; but the inhabitants of each watch every opportunity to
plunder and distress the objects of their animosity by predatory
excursions. These are very common, particularly about the beginning of
the dry season, when the labour of the harvest is over, and provisions
are plentiful. Schemes of vengeance are then meditated. The chief man
surveys the number and activity of his vassals, as they brandish their
spears at festivals; and elated with his own importance, turns his whole
thoughts towards revenging some depredation or insult, which either he or
his ancestors may have received from a neighbouring state.

Wars of this description are generally conducted with great secrecy. A
few resolute individuals, headed by some person of enterprise and
courage, march quietly through the woods, surprise in the night some
unprotected village, and carry off the inhabitants and their effects,
before their neighbours can come to their assistance. One morning during
my stay at Kamalia, we were all much alarmed by a party of this kind. The
King of Fooladoo's son, with five hundred horsemen, passed secretly
through the woods, a little to the southward of Kamalia, and on the
morning following plundered three towns belonging to Madigai, a powerful
chief in Jallonkadoo.

The success of this expedition encouraged the governor of Bangassi, a
town in Fooladoo, to make a second inroad upon another part of the same
country. Having assembled about two hundred of his people, he passed the
river Kokoro in the night, and carried off a great number of prisoners.
Several of the inhabitants who had escaped these attacks were afterwards
seized by the Mandingoes, as they wandered about in the woods, or
concealed themselves in the glens and strong places of the mountains.

These plundering excursions always produce speedy retaliation; and when
large parties cannot be collected for this purpose, a few friends will
combine together, and advance into the enemy's country, with a view to
plunder, or carry off the inhabitants. A single individual has been known
to take his bow and quiver, and proceed in like manner. Such an attempt
is doubtless in him an act of rashness; but when it is considered that in
one of these predatory wars, he has probably been deprived of his child,
or his nearest relation, his situation will rather call for pity than
censure. The poor sufferer, urged on by the feelings of domestic or
paternal attachment, and the ardour of revenge, conceals himself among
the bushes, until some young or unarmed person passes by. He then,
tiger-like, springs upon his prey; drags his victim into the thicket, and
in the night carries him off as a slave.

When a Negro has, by means like these, once fallen into the hands of his
enemies, he is either retained as the slave of his conqueror, or bartered
into a distant kingdom; for an African, when he has once subdued his
enemy, will seldom give him an opportunity of lifting up his hand against
him at a future period. A conqueror commonly disposes of his captives
according to the rank which they held in their native kingdom. Such of
the domestic slaves as appear to be of a mild disposition, and
particularly the young women, are retained as his own slaves. Others that
display marks of discontent are disposed of in a distant country; and
such of the freemen or slaves, as have taken an active part in the war,
are either sold to the Slatees or put to death. War, therefore, is
certainly the most general and most productive source of slavery; and the
desolations of war often (but not always) produce the second cause of
slavery, _famine_; in which case a freeman becomes a slave to avoid a
greater calamity.

Perhaps, by a philosophic and reflecting mind, death itself would
scarcely be considered as a greater calamity than slavery; but the poor
Negro, when fainting with hunger, thinks, like Esau of old, "Behold, I am
at the point to die, and what profit shall this birth-right do to me?"
There are many instances of free men voluntarily surrendering up their
liberty to save their lives. During a great scarcity, which lasted for
three years, in the countries of the Gambia, great numbers of people
became slaves in this manner. Dr. Laidley assured me that, at that time,
many free men came and begged, with great earnestness, _to be put upon
his slave chain_, to save them from perishing of hunger. Large families
are very often exposed to absolute want; and as the parents have almost
unlimited authority over their children, it frequently happens, in all
parts of Africa, that some of the latter are sold to purchase provisions
for the rest of the family. When I was at Jarra, Daman Jumma pointed out
to me three young slaves which he had purchased in this manner. I have
already related another instance which I saw at Wonda; and I was informed
that in Fooladoo, at that time, it was a very common practice.

The third cause of slavery is _insolvency_. Of all the offences (if
insolvency may be so called) to which the laws of Africa have affixed the
punishment of slavery, this is the most common. A Negro trader commonly
contracts debts on some mercantile speculation, either from his
neighbours, to purchase such articles as will sell to advantage in a
distant market, or from the European traders on the Coast; payment to be
made in a given time. In both cases, the situation of the adventurer is
exactly the same. If he succeeds, he may secure an independency. If he is
unsuccessful, his person and services are at the disposal of another; for
in Africa, not only the effects of the insolvent, but even the insolvent
himself, are sold to satisfy the lawful demands of his creditors.[22]

  [22] When a Negro takes up goods on credit from any of the
    Europeans on the Coast, and does not make payment at the time
    appointed, the European is authorized, by the laws of the country, to
    seize upon the debtor himself, if he can find him; or if he cannot be
    found, on any person of his family; or in the last resort, on any
    native of the same kingdom. The person thus seized on is detained
    while his friends are sent in quest of the debtor. When he is found,
    a meeting is called of the chief people of the place, and the debtor
    is compelled to ransom his friend by fulfilling his engagements. If
    he is unable to do this, his person is immediately secured and sent
    down to the Coast, and the other released. If the debtor cannot be
    found, the person seized on is obliged to pay double the amount of
    the debt, or is himself sold into slavery. I was given to understand,
    however, that this part of the law is seldom enforced.

The fourth cause above enumerated, is _the commission of crimes, on which
the laws of the country affix slavery as a punishment_. In Africa, the
only offences of this class are murder, adultery, and witchcraft; and I
am happy to say, that they did not appear to me to be common. In cases of
murder, I was informed, that the nearest relation of the deceased had it
in his power, after conviction, either to kill the offender with his own
hand, or sell him into slavery. When adultery occurs, it is generally
left to the option of the person injured, either to sell the culprit, or
accept such a ransom for him as he may think equivalent to the injury he
has sustained. By witchcraft is meant pretended magic, by which the lives
or health of persons are affected; in other words, it is the
administering of poison. No trial for this offence, however, came under
my observation while I was in Africa, and I therefore suppose that the
crime, and its punishment, occur but very seldom.

When a freeman has become a slave by any one of the causes before
mentioned, he generally continues so for life, and his children (if they
are born of an enslaved mother) are brought up in the same state of
servitude. There are, however, a few instances of slaves obtaining their
freedom, and sometimes even with the consent of their masters; as by
performing some singular piece of service, or by going to battle, and
bringing home two slaves as a ransom; but the common way of regaining
freedom is by escape; and when slaves have once set their minds on
running away, they often succeed. Some of them will wait for years before
an opportunity presents itself, and during that period show no signs of
discontent. In general, it may be remarked, that slaves who come from a
hilly country, and have been much accustomed to hunting and travel, are
more apt to attempt their escape than such as are born in a flat country,
and have been employed in cultivating the land.

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 path 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 or beneficial, as many wise and worthy persons
fondly expect.


_Of gold-dust, and the manner in which it is collected.--Process of
washing it.--Its value in Africa,--Of ivory.--Surprise of the Negroes at
the eagerness of the Europeans for this commodity.--Scattered teeth
frequently picked up in the woods.--Mode of hunting the elephant.--Some
reflections on the unimproved state of the country, &c._

Those valuable commodities, gold and ivory, (the next objects of our
inquiry,) have probably been found in Africa from the first ages of the
world. They are reckoned among its most important productions in the
earliest records of its history.

It has been observed, that gold is seldom or never discovered, except in
_mountainous_ and _barren_ countries. Nature, it is said, thus making
amends in one way, for her penuriousness in the other. This, however, is
not wholly true. Gold is found in considerable quantities throughout
every part of Manding; a country which is indeed hilly, but cannot
properly be called mountainous, much less barren. It is also found in
great plenty in Jallonkadoo, (particularly about Boori,) another hilly,
but by no means an infertile country. It is remarkable, that in the place
last mentioned, (Boori,) which is situated about four days' journey to
the south-west of Kamalia, the salt market is often supplied, at the same
time, with rock-salt from the Great Desert, and sea-salt from the Rio
Grande; the price of each, at this distance from its source, being nearly
the same; and the dealers in each, whether Moors from the north, or
Negroes from the west, are invited thither by the same motives, that of
bartering their salt for gold.

The gold of Manding, so far as I could learn, is never found in any
matrix or vein, but always in small grains, nearly in a pure state, from
the size of a pin's head to that of a pea; scattered through a large body
of sand or clay; and in this state it is called by the Mandingoes _sanoo
munko_, "gold powder," It is, however, extremely probable, by what I
could learn of the situation of the ground, that most of it has
originally been washed down by repeated torrents from the neighbouring
hills. The manner in which it is collected is nearly as follows:--

About the beginning of December, when the harvest is over, and the
streams and torrents have greatly subsided, the Mansa, or chief man of
the town, appoints a day to begin _sanoo koo_, "gold washing;" and the
women are sure to have themselves in readiness by the time appointed. A
hoe, or spade, for digging up the sand, two or three calabashes for
washing it in, and a few quills for containing the gold dust, are all the
implements necessary for the purpose. On the morning of their departure,
a bullock is killed for the first day's entertainment, and a number of
prayers and charms are used to ensure success; for a failure on that day
is thought a bad omen. The Manga of Kamalia, with fourteen of his people,
were, I remember, so much disappointed in their first day's washing, that
a very few of them had resolution to persevere; and the few that did had
but very indifferent success: which indeed is not much to be wondered at,
for, instead of opening some untried place, they continue to dig and wash
in the same spot where they had dug and washed for years; and where, of
course, but few large grains could be left.

The washing the sands of the streams is by far the easiest way of
obtaining the gold-dust; but in most places the sands have been so
narrowly searched before, that unless the stream takes some new course,
the gold is found but in small quantities. While some of the party are
busied in washing the sands, others employ themselves farther up the
torrent, where the rapidity of the stream has carried away all the clay,
sand, &c. and left nothing but small pebbles. The search among these is a
very troublesome task. I have seen women who have had the skin worn off
the tops of their fingers in this employment. Sometimes, however, they
are rewarded by finding pieces of gold, which they call _sanoo birro_,
"gold-stones," that amply repay them for their trouble. A woman and her
daughter, inhabitants of Kamalia, found in one day two pieces of this
kind; one of five drachms, and the other of three drachms, weight. But
the most certain and profitable way of washing is practised in the height
of the dry season, by digging a deep pit, like a draw-well, near some
hill which has previously been discovered to contain gold. The pit is dug
with small spades or corn hoes, and the earth is drawn up in large
calabashes. As the Negroes dig through the different strata of clay or
sand, a calabash or two of each is washed, by way of experiment; and in
this manner the labourers proceed, until they come to a stratum
containing gold; or until they are obstructed by rocks, or inundated by
water. In general, when they come to a stratum of fine reddish sand, with
small black specks therein, they find gold in some proportion or other,
and send up large calabashes full of the sand, for the women to wash; for
though the pit is dug by the men, the gold is always washed by the women,
who are accustomed from their infancy to a similar operation, in
separating the husks of corn from the meal.

As I never descended into any of these pits, I cannot say in what manner
they are worked under ground. Indeed, the situation in which I was placed
made it necessary for me to be cautious not to incur the suspicion of the
natives, by examining too far into the riches of their country; but the
manner of separating the gold from the sand is very simple, and is
frequently performed by the women in the middle of the town; for when the
searchers return from the valleys in the evening, they commonly bring
with them each a calabash or two of sand, to be washed by such of the
females as remain at home. The operation is simply as follows:--

A portion of sand or clay (for gold is sometimes found in a brown
coloured clay) is put into a large calabash, and mixed with a sufficient
quantity of water. The woman, whose office it is, then shakes the
calabash in such a manner, as to mix the sand and water together, and
give the whole a rotatory motion; at first gently, but afterwards more
quick, until a small portion of sand and water, at every revolution,
flies over the brim of the calabash. The sand thus separated is only the
coarsest particles mixed with a little muddy water. After the operation
has been continued for some time, the sand is allowed to subside, and the
water poured off; a portion of coarse sand, which is now uppermost in the
calabash, is removed by the hand, and fresh water being added, the
operation is repeated until the water comes off almost pure. The woman
now takes a second calabash, and shakes the sand and water gently from
the one to the other, reserving that portion of sand which is next the
bottom of the calabash, and which is most likely to contain the gold.
This small quantity is mixed with some pure water, and being moved about
in the calabash, is carefully examined. If a few particles of gold are
picked out, the contents of the other calabash are examined in the same
manner; but in general, the party is well contented; if she can obtain
three or four grains from the contents of both calabashes. Some women,
however, by long practice, become so well acquainted with the nature of
the sand, and the mode of washing it, that they will collect gold, where
others cannot find a single particle. The gold dust is kept in quills,
stopt up with cotton, and the washers are fond of displaying a number of
these quills in their hair. Generally speaking, if a person uses common
diligence, in a proper soil, it is supposed that as much gold may be
collected by him in the course of the dry season as is equal to the value
of two slaves.

Thus simple is the process by which the Negroes obtain gold in Manding;
and it is evident, from this account, that the country contains a
considerable portion of this precious metal; for many of the smaller
particles must necessarily escape the observation of the naked eye; and
as the natives generally search the sands of streams at a considerable
distance from the hills, and consequently far removed from the mines
where the gold was originally produced, the labourers are sometimes but
ill paid for their trouble. Minute particles only of this heavy metal can
be carried by the current to any considerable distance; the larger must
remain deposited near the original source from whence they came. Were the
gold-bearing streams to be traced to their fountains, and the hills from
whence they spring properly examined, the sand in which the gold is there
deposited would, no doubt, be found to contain particles of a much larger
size;[23] and even the small grains might be collected to considerable
advantage by the use of quicksilver, and other improvements, with which
the natives are at present unacquainted.

  [23] I am informed that the gold mine, as it is called, in Wicklow,
    in Ireland, which was discovered in the year 1795, is near the top,
    and upon the steep slope of a mountain. Here, pieces of gold of
    several ounces weight were frequently found. What would have been
    gold dust two miles below was here golden gravel; that is, each grain
    was like a small pebble in size, and one piece was found which
    weighed near twenty-two ounces, troy.

Part of this gold is converted into ornaments for the women; but, in
general, these ornaments are more to be admired for their weight than
their workmanship. They are massy and inconvenient, particularly the ear
rings, which are commonly so heavy as to pull down and lacerate the lobe
of the ear; to avoid which, they are supported by a thong of red leather,
which passes over the crown of the head from one ear to the other. The
necklace displays greater fancy; and the proper arrangement of the
different beads and plates of gold, is the great criterion of taste and
elegance. When a lady of consequence is in full dress, her gold ornaments
may be worth altogether from fifty to eighty pounds sterling.

A small quantity of gold is likewise employed by the Slatees, in
defraying the expenses of their journies to and from the Coast; but by
far the greater proportion is annually carried away by the Moors in
exchange for salt and other merchandize. During my stay at Kamalia, the
gold collected by the different traders at that place, for salt alone,
was nearly equal to one hundred and ninety-eight pounds sterling; and as
Kamalia is but a small town, and not much resorted to by the trading
Moors, this quantity must have borne a very small proportion to the gold
collected at Kancaba, Kancaree, and some other large towns.

The value of salt in this part of Africa is very great. One slab, about
two feet and a half in length, fourteen inches in breadth, and two inches
in thickness, will sometimes sell for about two pounds ten shillings
sterling, and from one pound fifteen shillings to two pounds, may be
considered as the common price. Four of these slabs are considered as a
load for an ass, and six for a bullock. The value of European merchandize
in Manding varies very much, according to the supply from the Coast, or
the dread of war in the country; but the return for such articles is
commonly made in slaves. The price of a prime slave, when I was at
Kamalia, was from _nine_ to _twelve_ minkallies, and European commodities
had then nearly the following value:--

    18 gun flints,            )
    48 leaves of tobacco,     ) one minkalli.
    20 charges of gunpowder,  )
    A cutlass,                )
    A musket from three to four minkallies.

The produce of the country, and the different necessaries of life when
exchanged for gold, sold as follows:--

Common provisions for one day, the weight of one _teelee-kissi_, (a black
bean, six of which make the weight of one minkalli;) a chicken, one
teelee-kissi; a sheep, three teelee-kissi; a bullock, one minkalli; a
horse, from ten to seventeen minkallies.

The Negroes weigh the gold in small balances, which they always carry
about them. They make no difference, in point of value, between gold dust
and wrought gold. In bartering one article for another, the person who
receives the gold always weighs it with his own teelee-kissi. These beans
are sometimes fraudulently soaked in Shea-butter, to make them heavy; and
I once saw a pebble ground exactly into the form of one of them; but such
practices are not very common.

Having now related the substance of what occurs to my recollection
concerning the African mode of obtaining gold from the earth, and its
value in barter, I proceed to the next article, of which I proposed to
treat, namely, _ivory_.

Nothing creates a greater surprise among the Negroes on the sea coast,
than the eagerness displayed by the European traders to procure
elephants' teeth; it being exceedingly difficult to make them comprehend
to what use it is applied. Although they are shown knives with ivory
hafts, combs, and toys of the same material, and are convinced that the
ivory thus manufactured was originally part of a tooth, they are not
satisfied. They suspect that this commodity is more frequently converted
in Europe to purposes of far greater importance, the true nature of which
is studiously concealed from them, lest the price of ivory should be
enhanced. They cannot, they say, easily persuade themselves, that ships
would be built, and voyages undertaken, to procure an article, which had
no other value than that of furnishing handles to knives, &c., when
pieces of wood would answer the purpose equally well.

Elephants are very numerous in the interior of Africa, but they appear to
be a distinct species from those found in Asia. Blumenbach, in his
figures of objects of natural history, has given good drawings of a
grinder of each; and the variation is evident. M. Cuvier also has given
in the _Magazin Encyclopedique_ a clear account of the difference between
them. As I never examined the Asiatic elephant, I have chosen rather to
refer to those writers, than advance this as an opinion of my own. It has
been said that the African elephant is of a less docile nature than the
Asiatic, and incapable of being tamed. The Negroes certainly do not at
present tame them; but when we consider that the Carthaginians had always
tame elephants in their armies, and actually transported some of them to
Italy in the course of the Punic wars, it seems more likely that they
should have possessed the art of taming their own elephants, than have
submitted to the expense of bringing such vast animals from Asia. Perhaps
the barbarous practice of hunting the African elephants for the sake of
their teeth, has rendered them more untractable and savage, than they
were found to be in former times.

The greater part of the ivory which is sold on the Gambia and Senegal
rivers is brought from the interior country. The lands towards the Coast
are too swampy, and too much intersected with creeks and rivers, for so
bulky an animal as the elephant to travel through, without being
discovered; and when once the natives discern the marks of his feet in
the earth, the whole village is up in arms. The thoughts of feasting on
his flesh, making sandals of his hide, and selling the teeth to the
Europeans, inspire every one with courage; and the animal seldom escapes
from his pursuers; but in the plains of Bambarra and Kaarta, and the
extensive wilds of Jallonkadoo, the elephants are very numerous; and,
from the great scarcity of gunpowder in those districts, they are less
annoyed by the natives.

Scattered teeth are frequently picked up in the woods, and travellers are
very diligent in looking for them. It is a common practice with the
elephant to thrust his teeth under the roots of such shrubs and bushes as
grow in the more dry and elevated parts of the country where the soil is
shallow. These bushes he easily overturns, and feeds on the roots, which
are in general more tender and juicy than the hard woody branches or the
foliage; but when the teeth are partly decayed by age, and the roots more
firmly fixed, the great exertions of the animal, in this practice,
frequently causes them to break short. At Kamalia I saw two teeth, one a
very large one, which were found in the woods, and which were evidently
broke off in this manner. Indeed, it is difficult otherwise to account
for such a large proportion of broken ivory, as is daily offered for
sale, at the different factories; for when the elephant is killed in
hunting, unless he dashes himself over a precipice, the teeth are always
extracted entire.

There are certain seasons of the year when the elephants collect into
large herds, and traverse the country in quest of food or water; and as
all that part of the country to the north of the Niger is destitute of
rivers, whenever the pools in the woods are dried up, the elephants
approach towards the banks of that river. Here they continue until the
commencement of the rainy season, in the months of June or July; and
during this time they are much hunted by such of the Bambarrans as have
gunpowder to spare. The elephant hunters seldom go out singly; a party of
four or five join together; and having each furnished himself with powder
and ball, and a quantity of corn-meal in a leather bag, sufficient for
five or six day's provisions, they enter the most unfrequented parts of
the wood, and examine with great care every thing that can lead to the
discovery of the elephants. In this pursuit, notwithstanding the bulk of
the animal, very great nicety of observation is required. The broken
branches, the scattered dung of the animal, and the marks of his feet,
are carefully inspected; and many of the hunters have, by long experience
and attentive observation, become so expert in their search, that as soon
as they observe the footmarks of an elephant, will they tell almost to a
certainty at what time it passed, and at what distance it will be found.

When they discover a herd of elephants, they follow them at a distance,
until they perceive some one stray from the rest, and come into such a
situation as to be fired at with advantage. The hunters then approach
with great caution, creeping amongst the long grass, until they have got
near enough to be sure of their aim. They then discharge all their pieces
at once, and throw themselves on their faces among the grass. The wounded
elephant immediately applies his trunk to the different wounds, but being
unable to extract the balls, and seeing nobody near him, becomes quite
furious, and runs about among the bushes, until by fatigue and loss of
blood he has exhausted himself, and affords the hunters an opportunity of
firing a second time at him, by which he is generally brought to the

The skin is now taken off, and extended on the ground with pegs, to dry;
and such parts of the flesh as are most esteemed are cut up into thin
slices, and dried in the sun, to serve for provisions on some future
occasion. The teeth are struck out with a light hatchet, which the
hunters always carry along with them; not only for that purpose, but also
to enable them to cut down such trees as contain honey; for though they
carry with them only five or six days' provisions, they will remain in
the woods for months if they are successful, and support themselves upon
the flesh of such elephants as they kill, and wild honey.

The ivory thus collected is seldom brought down to the Coast by the
hunters themselves. They dispose of it to the itinerant merchants, who
come annually from the Coast with arms and ammunition, to purchase this
valuable commodity. Some of these merchants will collect ivory, in the
course of one season, sufficient to load four or five asses. A great
quantity of ivory is likewise brought from the interior by the slave
coffles. There are, however, some Slatees, of the Mahomedan persuasion,
who, from motives of religion, will not deal in ivory, nor eat of the
flesh of the elephant, unless it has been killed with a spear.

The quantity of ivory collected in this part of Africa is not so great,
nor are the teeth in general so large, as in the countries nearer the
Line: few of them weigh more than eighty, or one hundred pounds; and upon
an average, a bar of European merchandize may be reckoned as the price of
a pound of ivory.

I have now, I trust, in this and the preceding chapters, explained, with
sufficient minuteness, the nature and extent of the commercial connection
which at present prevails, and has long subsisted, between the Negro
natives of those parts of Africa which I visited, and the nations of
Europe; and it appears that slaves, gold, and ivory, together with the
few articles enumerated in the beginning of my work, viz. bees-wax and
honey, hides, gums, and dye woods, constitute the whole catalogue of
exportable commodities. Other productions, however, have been
incidentally noticed as the growth of Africa; such as grain of different
kinds, tobacco, indigo, cotton-wool, and perhaps a few others; but all of
these (which can only be obtained by cultivation and labour) the natives
raise sufficient only for their own immediate expenditure; nor, under the
present system of their laws, manners, trade, and government, can any
thing farther be expected from them. It cannot, however, admit of a
doubt, that all the rich and valuable productions, both of the East and
West Indies, might easily be naturalized, and brought to the utmost
perfection, in the tropical parts of this immense continent. Nothing is
wanting to this end but example, to enlighten the minds of the natives;
and instruction, to enable them to direct their industry to proper
objects. It was not possible for me to behold the wonderful fertility of
the soil, the vast herds of cattle, proper both for labour and food, and
a variety of other circumstances favourable to colonization and
agriculture; and reflect, withal, on the means which presented themselves
of a vast inland navigation, without lamenting that a country, so
abundantly gifted and favoured by nature, should remain in its present
savage and neglected state. Much more did I lament, that a people of
manners and disposition so gentle and benevolent, should either be left,
as they now are, immersed in the gross and uncomfortable blindness of
pagan superstition, or permitted to become converts to a system of
bigotry and fanaticism, which, without enlightening the mind, often
debases the heart. On this subject many observations might be made; but
the reader will probably think that I have already digressed too largely;
and I now, therefore, return to my situation at Kamalia.


Transactions at Kamalia resumed.--Arabic MSS. in use among the Mahomedan
Negroes.--Reflections concerning the conversion and education of the
Negro children.--Return of the Author's benefactor, Karfa.--Further
account of the purchase and treatment of slaves.--Fast of Rhamadan, how
observed by the Negroes.--Author's anxiety for the day of departure.--The
Caravan sets out.--Account of it on its departure, and proceedings on the
road, until its arrival at Kinytakooro.

The schoolmaster, to whose care I was entrusted during the absence of
Karfa, was a man of a mild disposition and gentle manners; his name was
Fankooma; and although he himself adhered strictly to the religion of
Mahomet, he was by no means intolerant in his principles towards others
who differed from him. He spent much of his time in reading; and teaching
appeared to be his pleasure, as well as employment. His school consisted
of seventeen boys, most of whom were sons of Kafirs; and two girls, one
of whom was Karfa's own daughter. The girls received their instructions
in the daytime, but the boys always had their lessons by the light of a
large fire before daybreak, and again late in the evening; for being
considered, during their scholarship, as the domestic slaves of the
master, they were employed in planting corn, bringing fire-wood, and in
other servile offices through the day.

Exclusive of the Koran, and a book or two of commentaries thereon, the
schoolmaster possessed a variety of manuscripts, which had partly been
purchased from the trading Moors, and partly borrowed from Bushreens in
the neighbourhood, and copied with great care. Other MSS. had been
produced to me at different places in the course of my journey; and on
recounting those I had before seen, and those which were now shown to me,
and interrogating the schoolmaster on the subject, I discovered that the
Negroes are in possession (among others) of an Arabic version of the
Pentateuch of Moses; which they call _Taureta la Moosa_. This is so
highly esteemed, that it is often sold for the value of one prime slave.
They have likewise a version of the Psalms of David, (_Zabora Dawidi_;)
and, lastly the book of Isaiah, which they call _Lingeeli la Isa_, and it
is in very high esteem. I suspect, indeed, that in all these copies,
there are interpolations of some of the peculiar tenets of Mahomet, for I
could distinguish in many passages the name of the Prophet. It is
possible, however, that this circumstance might otherwise have been
accounted for, if my knowledge of the Arabic had been more extensive. By
means of those books, many of the converted Negroes have acquired an
acquaintance with some of the remarkable events recorded in the Old
Testament. The account of our first parents; the death of Abel; the
Deluge; the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the story of Joseph and
his brethren; the history of Moses David, Solomon, &c. All these have
been related to me in the Mandingo language, with tolerable exactness, by
different people; and my surprise was not greater on hearing these
accounts from the lips of the Negroes, than theirs, on finding that I was
already acquainted with them; for although the Negroes in general have a
very great idea of the wealth and power of the Europeans, I am afraid
that the Mahomedan converts among them think but very lightly of our
superior attainments in religious knowledge. The white traders in the
maritime districts take no pains to counteract this unhappy prejudice;
always performing their own devotions in secret, and seldom condescending
to converse with the Negroes in a friendly and instructive manner. To me,
therefore, it was not so much the subject of wonder as matter of regret,
to observe, that while the superstition of Mahomet has in this manner
scattered a few faint beams of learning among these poor people, the
precious light of Christianity is altogether excluded. I could not but
lament, that although the Coast of Africa has now been known and
frequented by the Europeans for more than two hundred years, yet the
Negroes still remain entire strangers to the doctrines of our holy
religion. We are anxious to draw from obscurity the opinions and records
of antiquity, the beauties of Arabian and Asiatic literature, &c.; but
while our libraries are thus stored with the learning of various
countries, we distribute with a parsimonious hand, the blessings of
religious truth, to the benighted nations of the earth. The natives of
Asia derive but little advantage in this respect from an intercourse with
us, and even the poor Africans, whom we affect to consider as barbarians,
look upon us, I fear, as little better than a race of formidable but
ignorant heathens. When I produced Richardson's Arabic Grammar to some
Slatees on the Gambia, they were astonished to think that any European
should understand and write the sacred language of their religion. At
first they suspected that it might have been written by some of the
slaves carried from the Coast; but on a closer examination, they were
satisfied that no Bushreen could write such beautiful Arabic; and one of
them offered to give me an ass, and sixteen bars of goods, if I would
part with the book. Perhaps a short and easy introduction to
Christianity, such as is found in some of the catechisms for children,
elegantly printed in Arabic, and distributed on different parts of the
Coast, might have a wonderful effect. The expense would be but trifling;
curiosity would induce many to read it; and the evident superiority which
it would possess over their present manuscripts, both in point of
elegance and cheapness, might at last obtain it a place among the school
books of Africa.

The reflections which I have thus ventured to submit to my readers on
this important subject, naturally suggested themselves to my mind on
perceiving the encouragement which was thus given to learning (such as it
is) in many parts of Africa. I have observed, that the pupils at Kamalia
were most of them the children of Pagans; their parents, therefore, could
have had no predilection for the doctrines of Mahomet. Their aim was
their children's improvement, and if a more enlightened system had
presented itself, it would probably have been preferred. The children,
too, wanted not a spirit of emulation, which it is the aim of the tutor
to encourage. When any one of them has read through the Koran, and
performed a certain number of public prayers, a feast is prepared by the
schoolmaster, and the scholar undergoes an examination, or (in European
terms) _takes out his degree_. I attended at three different
inaugurations of this sort, and heard with pleasure the distinct and
intelligent answers which the scholars frequently gave to the Bushreens,
who assembled on those occasions, and acted as examiners. When the
Bushreens had satisfied themselves respecting the learning and abilities
of the scholar, the last page of the Koran was put into his hand, and he
was desired to read it aloud; after the boy had finished this lesson, he
pressed the paper against his forehead, and pronounced the word _Amen_;
upon which all the Bushreens rose, and shaking him cordially by the hand,
bestowed upon him the title of Bushreen.

When a scholar has undergone this examination, his parents are informed
that he has completed his education and that it is incumbent on them to
redeem their son, by giving to the schoolmaster a slave, or the price of
a slave, in exchange; which is always done, if the parents can afford to
do it; if not, the boy remains the domestic slave of the schoolmaster,
until he can, by his own industry, collect goods sufficient to ransom

About a week after the departure of Karfa, three Moors arrived at Kamalia
with a considerable quantity of salt, and other merchandize, which they
had obtained on credit, from a merchant of Fezzan, who had lately arrived
at Kancaba. Their engagement was to pay him his price when the goods were
sold, which they expected would be in the course of a month. Being rigid
Bushreens, they were accommodated with two of Karfa's huts, and sold
their goods to very great advantage.

On the 24th of January, Karfa returned to Kamalia with a number of people
and thirteen prime slaves, which he had purchased. He likewise brought
with him a young girl whom he had married at Kancaba, as his fourth wife,
and had given her parents three prime slaves for her. She was kindly
received at the door of the baloon by Karfa's other wives, who conducted
their new acquaintance and co-partner into one of the best huts, which
they had caused to be sweat and white-washed, on purpose to receive

  [24] The Negroes white wash their huts with a mixture of bone ashes
    and water, to which is commonly added a little gum.

My clothes were by this time become so very ragged, that I was almost
ashamed to appear out of doors; but Karfa, on the day after his arrival,
generously presented me with such a garment and trowsers as are commonly
worn in the country.

The slaves which Karfa had brought with him were all of them prisoners of
war; they had been taken by the Bambarran army in the kingdoms of Wassela
and Kaarta, and carried to Sego, where some of them had remained three
years in irons. From Sego they were sent, in company with a number of
other captives, up the Niger in two large canoes, and offered for sale at
Yamina, Bammakoo, and Kancaba; at which places the greater number of the
captives were bartered for gold-dust, and the remainder sent forward to

Eleven of them confessed to me that they had been slaves from their
infancy; but the other two refused to give any account of their former
condition. They were all very inquisitive; but they viewed me at first
with looks of horror, and repeatedly asked if my countrymen were
cannibals. They were very desirous to know what became of the slaves
after they had crossed the salt water. I told them, that they were
employed in cultivating the land; but they would not believe me; and one
of them putting his hand upon the ground, said with great simplicity,
"Have you really got such ground as this to set your feet upon?" A deeply
rooted idea that the Whites purchase Negroes for the purpose of devouring
them, or of selling them to others, that they may be devoured hereafter,
naturally makes the slaves contemplate a journey towards the Coast with
great terror; insomuch that the Slatees are forced to keep them
constantly in irons, and watch them very closely to prevent their escape.
They are commonly secured, by putting the right leg of one, and the left
of another, into the same pair of fetters. By supporting the fetters with
a string, they can walk, though very slowly. Every four slaves are
likewise fastened together by the necks, with a strong rope of twisted
thongs; and in the night an additional pair of fetters is put on their
hands, and sometimes a light iron chain passed round their necks.

Such of them as evince marks of discontent are secured in a different
manner. A thick billet of wood is cut about three feet long, and a smooth
notch being made upon one side of it, the ankle of the slave is bolted to
the smooth part by means of a strong iron staple, one prong of which
passes on each side of the ankle. All these fetters and bolts are made
from native iron; in the present case they were put on by the blacksmith
as soon as the slaves arrived from Kancaba, and were not taken off until
the morning on which the coffle departed for Gambia.

In other respects, the treatment of the slaves during their stay at
Kamalia was far from being harsh or cruel. They were led out in their
fetters every morning to the shade of the tamarind tree, where they were
encouraged to play at games of hazard, and sing diverting songs, to keep
up their spirits; for though some of them sustained the hardships of
their situation with amazing fortitude, the greater part were very much
dejected, and would sit all day in a sort of sullen melancholy, with
their eyes fixed upon the ground. In the evening, their irons were
examined, and their hand fetters put on; after which they were conducted
into two large huts, where they were guarded during the night by Karfa's
domestic slaves. But notwithstanding all this, about a week after their
arrival, one of the slaves had the address to procure a small knife with
which he opened the rings of his fetters, cut the rope, and made his
escape; more of them would probably have got off, had they assisted each
other; but the slave no sooner found himself at liberty, than he refused
to stop and assist in breaking the chain which was fastened round the
necks of his companions.

As all the Slatees and slaves belonging to the coffle were now assembled,
either at Kamalia, or some of the neighbouring villages, it might have
been expected that we should have set out immediately for Gambia; but
though the day of our departure was frequently fixed, it was always found
expedient to change it. Some of the people had not prepared their dry
provisions; others had gone to visit their relations, or collect some
trifling debts; and, last of all, it was necessary to consult whether the
day would be a lucky one. On account of one of these, or other such
causes, our departure was put off, day after day, until the month of
February was far advanced; after which all the Slatees agreed to remain
in their present quarters, until the _fast moon was over_. And here I may
remark, that loss of time is an object of no great importance in the eyes
of a Negro. If he has any thing of consequence to perform, it is a matter
of indifference to him whether he does it to-day or to-morrow, or a month
or two hence; so long as he can spend the present moment with any degree
of comfort, he gives himself very little concern about the future.

The fast of Rhamadan was observed with great strictness by all the
Bushreens; but instead of compelling me to follow their example, as the
Moors did on a similar occasion, Karfa frankly told me that I was at
liberty to pursue my own inclination. In order, however, to manifest a
respect for their religious opinions, I voluntarily fasted three days,
which was thought sufficient to screen me from the reproachful epithet of
Kafir. During the fast, all the Slatees belonging to the coffle assembled
every morning in Karfa's house, where the schoolmaster read to them some
religious lesson, from a large folio volume, the author of which was an
Arab, of the name of _Sheiffa_. In the evening, such of the women as had
embraced Mahomedanism assembled, and said their prayers publicly at the
Misura. They were all dressed in white, and went through the different
prostrations, prescribed by their religion, with becoming solemnity.
Indeed, during the whole fast of Rhamadan, the Negroes behaved themselves
with the greatest meekness and humility; forming a striking contrast to
the savage intolerance and brutal bigotry which at this period
characterise the Moors.

When the fast month was almost at an end, the Bushreens assembled at the
Misura, to watch for the appearance of the new moon; but the evening
being rather cloudy, they were for some time disappointed, and a number
of them had gone home with a resolution to fast another day, when on a
sudden this delightful object showed her sharp horns from behind a cloud,
and was welcomed with the clapping of hands, beating of drums, firing
muskets, and other marks of rejoicing. As this moon is reckoned extremely
lucky, Karfa gave orders that all the people belonging to the coffle
should immediately pack up their dry provisions, and hold themselves in
readiness: and on the 16th of April, the Slatees held a consultation, and
fixed on the 19th of the same month, as the day on which the coffle
should depart from Kamalia. This resolution freed me from much
uneasiness; for our departure had already been so long deferred, that I
was apprehensive it might still be put off until the commencement of the
rainy reason; and although Karfa behaved towards me with the greatest
kindness, I found my situation very unpleasant. The Slatees were
unfriendly to me; and the trading Moors, who were at this time at
Kamalia, continued to plot mischief against me, from the first day of
their arrival. Under these circumstances, I reflected, that my life in a
great measure depended on the good opinion of an individual, who was
daily hearing malicious stories concerning the Europeans; and I could
hardly expect that he would always judge with impartiality between me and
his countrymen. Time had, indeed, reconciled me, in some degree, to their
mode of life; and a smoky hut, or a scanty supper, gave me no great
uneasiness; but I became at last wearied out with a constant state of
alarm and anxiety, and felt a painful longing for the manifold blessings
of civilized society.

On the morning of the 17th, a circumstance occurred, which wrought a
considerable change in my favour. The three trading Moors who had lodged
under Karfa's protection, ever since their arrival at Kamalia, and had
gained the esteem of all the Bushreens, by an appearance of great
sanctity, suddenly packed up their effects, and, without once thanking
Karfa for his kindness towards them, marched over the hills to Bala.
Every one was astonished at this unexpected removal; but the affair was
cleared up in the evening, by the arrival of the Fezzan merchant from
Kancaba, (mentioned in p. 269;) who assured Karfa, that these Moors had
borrowed all their salt and goods from him, and had sent for him to come
to Kamalia, and receive payment. When he was told that they had fled to
the westward, he wiped a tear from each eye with the sleeve of his cloak,
and exclaimed, "These _shirukas_ (robbers) are Mahomedans, but they are
not men: they have robbed me of two hundred minkallies." From this
merchant I received information of the capture of our Mediterranean
convoy by the French, in October 1795.

April 19th. The long-wished-for day of our departure was at length
arrived; and the Slatees having taken the irons from their slaves,
assembled with them at the door of Karfa's house, where the bundles were
all tied up, and every one had his load assigned him. The coffle, on its
departure from Kamalia, consisted of twenty-seven slaves for sale, the
property of Karfa and four other Slatees: but we were afterwards joined
by five at Maraboo, and three at Bala: making in all thirty-five slaves.
The free men were fourteen in number, but most of them had one or two
wives and some domestic slaves; and the schoolmaster, who was now upon
his return for Woradoo, the place of his nativity, took with him eight of
his scholars, so that the number of free people and domestic slaves
amounted to thirty-eight, and the whole amount of the coffle was
seventy-three. Among the freemen were six Jilli keas, (singing men) whose
musical talents were frequently exerted either to divert our fatigue, or
obtain us a welcome from strangers. When we departed from Kamalia, we
were followed for about half a mile by most of the inhabitants of the
town, some of them crying, and others shaking hands with their relations,
who were now about to leave them; and when we had gained a piece of
rising ground, from which we had a view of Kamalia, all the people
belonging to the coffle were ordered to sit down in one place, with their
faces towards the west, and the townspeople were desired to sit down in
another place, with their faces towards Kamalia. In this situation, the
schoolmaster, with two of the principal Slatees, having taken their
places between the two parties, pronounced a long and solemn prayer;
after which, they walked three times round the coffle, making an
impression on the ground with the ends of their spears, and muttering
something by way of charm. When this ceremony was ended, all the people
belonging to the coffle sprang up, and without taking a formal farewell
of their friends, set forward. As many of the slaves had remained for
years in irons, the sudden exertion of walking quick, with heavy loads
upon their heads, occasioned spasmodic contractions of their legs; and we
had not proceeded above a mile, before it was found necessary to take two
of them from the rope, and allow them to walk more slowly until we
reached Maraboo, a walled village, where some people were waiting to join
the coffle. Here we stopt about two hours, to allow the strangers time to
pack up their provisions, and then continued our route to Bala, which
town we reached about four in the afternoon. The inhabitants of Bala, at
this season of the year, subsist chiefly on fish, which they take in
great plenty from the streams in the neighbourhood. We remained here
until the afternoon of the next day, the 20th, when we proceeded to
Worumbang, the frontier village of Manding towards Jallonkadoo. As we
proposed shortly to enter the Jallonka Wilderness, the people of this
village furnished us with great plenty of provisions; and on the morning
of the 21st, we entered the woods to the westward of Worumbang. After
having travelled some little way, a consultation was held, whether we
should continue our route through the Wilderness, or save one day's
provisions by going to Kinytakooro, a town in Jallonkadoo. After debating
the matter for some time, it was agreed that we should take the road for
Kinytakooro; but as that town was a long day's journey distant, it was
necessary to take some refreshment. Accordingly, every person opened his
provision bag, and brought a handful or two of meal, to the place where
Karfa and the Slatees were sitting. When every one had brought his quota,
and the whole was properly arranged in small gourd shells, the
schoolmaster offered up a short prayer, the substance of which was, that
God and the holy Prophet might preserve us from robbers and all bad
people, that our provisions might never fail us, nor our limbs become
fatigued. This ceremony being ended, every one partook of the meal, and
drank a little water, after which we set forward, (rather running than
walking) until we came to the river Kokoro, a branch of the Senegal,
where we halted about ten minutes. The banks' of this river are very
high; and from the grass and brushwood which had been left by the stream,
it was evident that at this place the water had risen more than twenty
feet perpendicular, during the rainy season. At this time it was only a
small stream, such as would turn a mill, swarming with fish; and on
account of the number of crocodiles, and the danger of being carried past
the ford by the force of the stream in the rainy season, it is called
_Kokoro_, (dangerous.) From this place we continued to travel with the
greatest expedition, and in the afternoon crossed two small branches of
the Kokoro. About sunset we came in sight of Kinytakooro, a considerable
town, nearly square, situate in the middle of a large and well cultivated
plain: before we entered the town we halted, until the people who had
fallen behind came up. During this day's travel, two slaves, a woman and
a girl, belonging to a Slatee of Bala, were so much fatigued, that they
could not keep up with the coffle; they were severely whipped, and
dragged along until about three o'clock in the afternoon, when they were
both affected with vomiting, by which it was discovered that they had
eaten clay. This practice is by no means uncommon amongst the Negroes;
but whether it arises from a vitiated appetite, or from a settled
intention to destroy themselves, I cannot affirm. They were permitted to
lie down in the woods, and three people remained with them until they had
rested themselves; but they did not arrive at the town until past
midnight; and were then so much exhausted, that the Slatee gave up all
thoughts of taking them across the woods in their present condition, and
determined to return with them to Bala, and wait for another opportunity.

As this was the first town beyond the limits of Manding, greater
etiquette than usual was observed. Every person was ordered to keep in
his proper station, and we marched towards the town in a sort of
procession nearly as follows. In front five or six singing men, all of
them belonging to the coffle; these were followed by the other free
people; then came the slaves fastened in the usual way by a rope round
their necks, four of them to a rope, and a man with a spear between each
four; after them came the domestic slaves, and in the rear the women of
free condition, wives of the Slatees, &c. In this manner we proceeded,
until we came within a hundred yards of the gate, when the singing men
began a loud song, well calculated to flatter the vanity of the
inhabitants, by extolling their known hospitality to strangers, and their
particular friendship for the Mandingoes. When we entered the town we
proceeded to the Bentang, where the people gathered round us to hear our
_dentegi_, (history;) this was related publicly by two of the singing
men; they enumerated every little circumstance which had happened to the
coffle; beginning with the events of the present day, and relating every
thing, in a backward series, until they reached Kamalia. When this
history was ended, the master of the town gave them a small present, and
all the people of the coffle, both free and enslaved, were invited by
some person or other, and accommodated with lodging and provisions for
the night.


_The coffle crosses the Jallonka Wilderness.--Miserable fate of one of
the female slaves.--Arrives at Sooseeta.--Proceeds to Manna.--Some
account of the Jallonkas.--Crosses the main stream of the
Senegal.--Bridge of a singular construction.--Arrives at
Malacotta.--Remarkable conduct of the King of the Jalofs._

We continued at Kinytakooro until noon of the 22d of April, when we
removed to a village about seven miles to the westward, the inhabitants
of which being apprehensive of hostilities from the Foulahs of Fooladoo,
were at this time employed in constructing small temporary huts among the
rocks, on the side of a high hill close to the village. The situation was
almost impregnable, being everywhere surrounded with high precipices,
except on the eastern side, where the natives had left a pathway
sufficient to allow one person at a time to ascend. Upon the brow of the
hill, immediately over this path, I observed several heaps of large loose
stones, which the people told me were intended to be thrown down upon the
Foulahs, if they should attempt the hill.

At daybreak on the 23d, we departed from this village, and entered the
Jallonka Wilderness. We passed, in the course of the morning, the ruins
of two small towns, which had lately been burnt by the Foulahs. The fire
must have been very intense; for I observed that the walls of many of the
huts were slightly vitrified, and appeared at a distance as if covered
with a red varnish. About ten o'clock we came to the river Wonda, which
is somewhat larger than the river Kokoro; but the stream was at this time
rather muddy, which Karfa assured me was occasioned by amazing shoals of
fish. They were indeed seen in all directions, and in such abundance,
that I fancied the water itself tasted and smelt fishy. As soon as we had
crossed the river, Karfa gave orders that all the people of the coffle
should in future keep close together, and travel in their proper station;
the guides and young men were accordingly placed in the van, the women
and slaves in the centre, and the freemen in the rear. In this order, we
travelled with uncommon expedition through a woody, but beautiful
country, interspersed with a pleasing variety of hill and dale, and
abounding with partridges, guinea-fowls, and deer, until sunset, when we
arrived at a most romantic stream called Co-meissang. My arms and neck
having been exposed during the whole day, and irritated by the rubbing of
my dress in walking, were now very much inflamed and covered with
blisters; and I was happy to embrace the opportunity, while the coffle
rested on the bank of this river, to bathe myself in the stream. This
practice, together with the cool of the evening, much diminished the
inflammation. About three miles to the westward of the Co-meissang we
halted in a thick wood, and kindled our fires for the night. We were all,
by this time, very much fatigued, having, as I judged, travelled this day
thirty miles; but no person was heard to complain. Whilst supper was
preparing, Karfa made one of the slaves break some branches from the
trees for my bed. When we had finished our supper of kouskous, moistened
with some boiling water, and put the slaves in irons, we all lay down to
sleep; but we were frequently disturbed in the night by the howling of
wild beasts; and we found the small brown ants very troublesome.

April 24th. Before daybreak the Bushreens said their morning prayers, and
most of the free people drank a little _moening_, (a sort of gruel,) part
of which was likewise given to such of the slaves as appeared least able
to sustain the fatigues of the day. One of Karfa's female slaves was very
sulky, and when some gruel was to offered her, she refused to drink it.
As soon as day dawned we set out, and travelled the whole morning over a
wild and rocky country, by which my feet were very much bruised; and I
was sadly apprehensive that I should not be able to keep up with the
coffle during the day; but I was in a great measure relieved from this
anxiety, when I observed that others were more exhausted than myself. In
particular, the woman slave, who had refused victuals in the morning,
began now to lag behind, and complain dreadfully of pains in her legs.
Her load was taken from her, and given to another slave, and she was
ordered to keep in the front of the coffle. About eleven o'clock, as we
were resting by a small rivulet, some of the people discovered a hive of
bees in a hollow tree, and they were proceeding to obtain the honey, when
the largest swarm I ever beheld flew out, and attacking the people of the
coffle, made us fly in all directions. I took the alarm first, and I
believe was the only person who escaped with impunity. When our enemies
thought fit to desist from pursuing us, and every person was employed in
picking out the stings he had received, it was discovered that the poor
woman above mentioned, whose name was Nealee, was not come up; and as
many of the slaves in their retreat had left their bundles behind them,
it became necessary for some persons to return, and bring them. In order
to do this with safety, fire was set to the grass, a considerable way to
the eastward of the hive, and the wind driving the fire furiously along,
the party pushed through the smoke, and recovered the bundles. They
likewise brought with them poor Nealee, whom they found lying in the
rivulet. She was very much exhausted, and had crept to the stream in
hopes to defend herself from the bees by throwing water over her body,
but this proved ineffectual; for she was stung in the most dreadful

When the Slatees had picked out the stings as far as they could, she was
washed with water, and then rubbed with bruised leaves; but the wretched
woman obstinately refused to proceed any farther; declaring that she
would rather die than walk another step. As entreaties and threats were
used in vain, the whip was at length applied; and after bearing patiently
a few strokes, she started up and walked with tolerable expedition for
four or five hours longer, when she made an attempt to run away from the
coffle, but was so very weak, that she fell down in the grass. Though she
was unable to rise, the whip was a second time applied, but without
effect; upon which Karfa desired two of the Slatees to place her upon the
ass which carried our dry provisions; but she could not sit erect; and
the ass being very refractory, it was found impossible to carry her
forward in that manner. The Slatees, however, were unwilling to abandon
her, the day's journey being nearly ended; they therefore made a sort of
litter of bamboo canes, upon which she was placed, and tied on it with
slips of bark: this litter was carried upon the heads of two slaves, one
walking before the other, and they were followed by two others, who
relieved them occasionally. In this manner the woman was carried forward
until it was dark, when we reached a stream of water, at the foot of a
high hill called Gankaran-Kooro; and here we stopt for the night and set
about preparing our supper. As we had ate only one handful of meal since
the preceding night, and travelled all day in a hot sun, many of the
slaves, who had loads upon their heads, were very much fatigued: and some
of them _snapt their fingers_, which among the Negroes is a sure sign of
desperation. The Slatees immediately put them all in irons; and such of
them as had evinced signs of great despondency were kept apart from the
rest, and had their hands tied. In the morning they were found greatly

April 25th. At daybreak poor Nealee was awakened, but her limbs were now
so stiff and painful, that she could neither walk nor stand; she was
therefore lifted, like a corpse, upon the back of the ass, and the
Slatees endeavoured to secure her in that situation, by fastening her
hands together under the ass's neck and her feet under the belly, with
long slips of bark; but the ass was so very unruly, that no sort of
treatment could induce him to proceed with his load; and as Nealee made
no exertion to prevent herself from falling, she was quickly thrown off,
and had one of her legs much bruised. Every attempt to carry her forward
being thus found ineffectual, the general cry of the coffle was,
_kang-tegi, kang-tegi_, "cut her throat, cut her throat;" an operation I
did not wish to see performed, and therefore marched onwards with the
foremost of the coffle. I had not walked above a mile, when one of
Karfa's domestic slaves came up to me, with poor Nealee's garment upon
the end of his bow, and exclaimed, _Nealee affeeleeta_, (Nealee is lost.)
I asked him whether the Slatees had given him the garment as a reward for
cutting her throat; he replied, that Karfa and the schoolmaster would not
consent to that measure, but had left her on the road, where undoubtedly
she soon perished, and was probably devoured by wild beasts.

The sad fate of this wretched woman, notwithstanding the outcry before
mentioned, made a strong impression on the minds of the whole coffle, and
the schoolmaster fasted the whole of the ensuing day, in consequence of
it. We proceeded in deep silence, and soon afterward crossed the river
Furkoomah, which was about as large as the river Wonda. We now travelled
with great expedition, every one being apprehensive he might otherwise
meet with the fate of poor Nealee. It was, however, with great difficulty
that I could keep up, although I threw away my spear, and every thing
that could in the least obstruct me. About noon we saw a large herd of
elephants, but they suffered us to pass unmolested, and in the evening we
halted near a thicket of bamboo, but found no water; so that we were
forced to proceed four miles farther, to a small stream, where we stopt
for the night. We had marched this day, as I judged, about twenty-six

April 26th. This morning two of the schoolmaster's pupils complained much
of pains in their legs, and one of the slaves walked lame, the soles of
his feet being very much blistered and inflamed; we proceeded,
notwithstanding, and about eleven o'clock began to ascend a rocky hill
called Boki-Kooro, and it was past two in the afternoon before we reached
the level ground on the other side. This was the most rocky road we had
yet encountered, and it hurt our feet much. In a short time we arrived at
a pretty large river called Boki, which we forded: it ran smooth and
clear, over a bed of whinstone. About a mile to the westward of the
river, we came to a road which leads to the north-east towards Gadou, and
seeing the marks of many horses' feet upon the soft sand, the Slatees
conjectured that a party of plunderers had lately rode that way, to fall
upon some town of Gadou; and lest they should discover, upon their
return, that we had passed, and attempt to pursue us by the marks of our
feet, the coffle was ordered to disperse, and travel in a loose manner
through the high grass and bushes. A little before it was dark, having
crossed the ridge of hills to the westward of the river Boki, we came to
a well called _culleng qui_, (white sand well,) and here we rested for
the night.

April 27th. We departed from the well early in the morning, and walked on
with the greatest alacrity, in hopes of reaching a town before night. The
road, during the forenoon, led through extensive thickets of dry bamboos.
About two o'clock we came to a stream called Nunkolo, where we were each
of us regaled with a handful of meal, which, according to a superstitious
custom, was not to be eaten until it was first moistened with water from
this stream. About four o'clock we reached Sooseeta, a small Jallonka
village, situated in the district of Kullo, which comprehends all that
tract of country lying along the banks of the Black river, or main branch
of the Senegal. These were the first human habitations we had seen since
we left the village to the westward of Kinytakooro; having travelled in
the course of the last five days upwards of one hundred miles. Here,
after a great deal of entreaty, we were provided with huts to sleep in;
but the master of the village plainly told us that he could not give us
any provisions, as there had lately been a great scarcity in this part of
the country. He assured us, that before they had gathered in their
present crops, the whole inhabitants of Kullo had been for twenty-nine
days without tasting corn; during which time, they supported themselves
entirely upon the yellow powder which is found in the pods of the
_nitta_, so called by the natives, a species of mimosa; and upon the
seeds of the bamboo cane, which, when properly pounded and dressed, taste
very much like rice. As our dry provisions were not yet exhausted, a
considerable quantity of kouskous was dressed for supper, and many of the
villagers were invited to take part of the repast; but they made a very
bad return for this kindness; for in the night they seized upon one of
the schoolmaster's boys, who had fallen asleep under the Bentang tree,
and carried him away. The boy fortunately awoke before he was far from
the village, and setting up a loud scream, the man who carried him put
his hand upon his mouth, and ran with him into the woods; but afterwards
understanding that he belonged to the schoolmaster, whose place of
residence is only three days' journey distant, he thought, I suppose,
that he could not retain him as a slave without the schoolmaster's
knowledge; and therefore stripped off the boy's clothes, and permitted
him to return.

April 28th. Early in the morning we departed from Sooseeta, and about ten
o'clock, came to an unwalled town called Manna, the inhabitants of which
were employed in collecting the fruit of the nitta trees, which are very
numerous in this neighbourhood. The pods are long and narrow, and contain
a few black seeds enveloped in the fine mealy powder before mentioned,
the meal itself is of a bright yellow colour, resembling the flour of
sulphur, and has a sweet mucilaginous taste; when eaten by itself it is
clammy, but when mixed with milk or water, it constitutes a very pleasant
and nourishing article of diet.

The language of the people of Manna is the same that is spoken all over
that extensive and hilly country called Jallonkadoo. Some of the words
have great affinity to the Mandingo, but the natives themselves consider
it as a distinct language. Their numerals are these:--

    One    _Kidding_.
    Two    _Fidding_.
    Three  _Sarra_.
    Four   _Nani_.
    Five   _Soolo_.
    Six    _Seni_.
    Seven  _Soolo ma fidding_.
    Eight  _Soolo ma sarra_.
    Nine   _Soolo ma nani_.
    Ten    _Nuff_.

The Jallonkas, like the Mandingoes, are governed by a number of petty
chiefs, who are in a great measure independent of each other: they have
no common sovereign; and the chiefs are seldom upon such terms of
friendship as to assist each other even in war time. The chief of Manna,
with a number of his people, accompanied us to the banks of the Bafing,
or Black river, (a principal branch of the Senegal,) which we crossed
upon a bridge of bamboos of a very singular construction. The river at
this place is smooth and deep, and has very little current. Two tall
trees, when tied together by the tops, are sufficiently long to reach
from one side to the other; the roots resting upon the rocks, and the
tops floating in the water. When a few trees have been placed in this
direction, they are covered with dry bamboos, so as to form a floating
bridge, with a sloping gangway at each end, where the trees rest upon the
rocks. This bridge is carried away every year by the swelling of the
river in the rainy season, and is constantly rebuilt by the inhabitants
of Manna, who, on that account, expect a small tribute from every

In the afternoon we passed several villages, at none of which could we
procure a lodging; and in the twilight we received information that two
hundred Jallonkas had assembled near a town called Melo, with a view to
plunder the coffle. This induced us to alter our course, and we travelled
with great secrecy until midnight, when we approached a town called Koba.
Before we entered the town, the names of all the people belonging to the
coffle were called over, and a freeman and three slaves were found to be
missing. Every person immediately concluded that the slaves had murdered
the freeman, and made their escape. It was therefore agreed that six
people should go back as far as the last village, and endeavour to find
his body, or collect some information concerning the slaves. In the
meantime the coffle was ordered to lie concealed in a cotton field near a
large nitta tree, and nobody to speak except in a whisper. It was towards
morning before the six men returned, having heard nothing of the man or
the slaves. As none of us had tasted victuals for the last twenty-four
hours, it was agreed that we should go into Koba, and endeavour to
procure some provisions. We accordingly entered the town before it was
quite day, and Karfa purchased from the chief man, for three strings of
beads, a considerable quantity of ground nuts, which we roasted and ate
for breakfast; we were afterwards provided with huts, and rested here for
the day.

About eleven o'clock, to our great joy and surprise, the freeman and
slaves, who had parted from the coffle the preceding night, entered the
town. One of the slaves, it seems, had hurt his foot, and the night being
very dark, they soon lost sight of the coffle. The freeman, as soon as he
found himself alone with the slaves, was aware of his own danger, and
insisted on putting them in irons. The slaves were at first rather
unwilling to submit, but when he threatened to stab them one by one with
his spear, they made no further resistance; and he remained with them
among the bushes until morning, when he let them out of irons, and came
to the town in hopes of hearing which route the coffle had taken. The
information that we received concerning the Jallonkas, who intended to
rob the coffle, was this day confirmed, and we were forced to remain here
until the afternoon of the 30th; when Karfa hired a number of people to
protect us, and we proceeded to a village called Tinkingtang. Departing
from this village on the day following, we crossed a high ridge of
mountains to the west of the Black river, and travelled over a rough
stony country until sunset, when we arrived at Lingicotta, a small
village in the district of Woradoo. Here we shook out the last handful of
meal from our dry provision bags; this being the second day (since we
crossed the Black river) that we had travelled from morning until night,
without tasting one morsel of food.

May 2d. We departed from Lingicotta; but the slaves being very much
fatigued, we halted for the night at a village about nine miles to the
westward, and procured some provisions through the interest of the
schoolmaster; who now sent forward a messenger to Malacotta, his native
town, to inform his friends of his arrival in the country, and to desire
them to provide the necessary quantity of victuals to entertain the
coffle for two or three days.

May 3d. We set out for Malacotta, and about noon arrived at a village,
near a considerable stream of water which flows to the westward; here we
determined to stop for the return of the messenger which had been sent to
Malacotta the day before; and as the natives assured me there were no
crocodiles in this stream, I went and bathed myself. Very few people here
can swim; for they came in numbers to dissuade me from venturing into a
pool, where they said the water would come over my head. About two
o'clock the messenger returned from Malacotta; and the schoolmaster's
elder brother being impatient to see him, came along with the messenger
to meet him at this village. The interview between the two brothers, who
had not seen each other for nine years, was very natural and affecting.
They fell upon each other's neck, and it was some time before either of
them could speak. At length, when the schoolmaster had a little recovered
himself, he took his brother by the hand, and turning round, "This is the
man" (said he, pointing to Karfa) "who has been my father in Manding; I
would have pointed him out sooner to you, but my heart was too full."

We reached Malacotta in the evening, where we were well received. This is
an unwalled town; the huts for the most part are made of split cane,
twisted into a sort of wicker-work, and plastered over with mud. Here we
remained three days, and were each day presented with a bullock from the
schoolmaster; we were likewise well entertained by the townspeople, who
appear to be very active and industrious. They make very good soap, by
boiling ground nuts in water, and then adding a ley of wood ashes. They
likewise manufacture excellent iron: which they carry to Bondou to barter
for salt. A party of the townspeople had lately returned from a trading
expedition of this kind, and brought information concerning a war between
Almami Abdulkader, King of Foota Torra, and Damel, King of the Jaloffs.
The events of this war soon became a favourite subject with the singing
men, and the common topic of conversation in all the kingdoms bordering
upon the Senegal and Gambia; and as the account is somewhat singular, I
shall here abridge it for the reader's information. The King of Foota
Torra, inflamed with a zeal for propagating his religion, had sent an
embassy to Damel, similar to that which he had sent to Kasson, as related
in page 67. The ambassador, on the present occasion, was accompanied by
two of the principal Bushreens, who carried each a large knife, fixed on
the top of a long pole. As soon as he had procured admission into the
presence of Damel, and announced the pleasure of his sovereign, he
ordered the Bushreens to present the emblems of his mission. The two
knives were accordingly laid before Damel, and the ambassador explained
himself as follows:--"With this knife (said he) Abdulkader will
condescend to shave the head of Damel, if Damel will embrace the
Mahomedan faith: and with this other knife, Abdulkader will cut the
throat of Damel, if Damel refuses to embrace it:--take your choice."
Damel coolly told the ambassador that he had no choice to make; he
neither chose to have his head shaved, nor his throat cut; and with this
answer the ambassador was civilly dismissed. Abdulkader took his measures
accordingly, and with a powerful army invaded Damel's country. The
inhabitants of the towns and villages filled up their wells, destroyed
their provisions, carried off their effects, and abandoned their
dwellings, as he approached. By this means he was led on from place to
place, until he had advanced three days' journey into the country of the
Jaloffs. He had, indeed, met with no opposition; but his army had
suffered so much from the scarcity of water, that several of his men had
died by the way. This induced him to direct his march towards a watering
place in the woods, where his men, having quenched their thirst, and
being overcome with fatigue, lay down carelessly to sleep among the
bushes. In this situation they were attacked by Damel before daybreak,
and completely routed. Many of them were trampled to death as they lay
asleep by the Jaloff horses; others were killed in attempting to make
their escape; and a still greater number were taken prisoners. Among the
latter was Abdulkader himself. This ambitious or rather frantic prince,
who but a month before had sent the threatening message to Damel, was now
himself led into his presence a miserable captive. The behaviour of Damel
on this occasion is never mentioned by the singing men but in terms of
the highest approbation; and it was indeed so extraordinary in an African
prince, that the reader may find it difficult to give credit to the
recital. When his royal prisoner was brought before him in irons, and
thrown upon the ground, the magnanimous Damel, instead of setting his
foot upon his neck, and stabbing him with his spear, according to custom
in such cases, addressed him as follows:--"Abdulkader, answer me this
question: If the chance of war had placed me in your situation, and you
in mine, how would you have treated me?"--"I would have thrust my spear
into your heart," returned Abdulkader with great firmness; "and I know
that a similar fate awaits me."--"Not so, (said Damel,) my spear is
indeed red with the blood of your subjects killed in battle, and I could
now give it a deeper stain by dipping it in your own; but this would not
build up my towns, nor bring to life the thousands who fell in the woods.
I will not therefore kill you in cold blood, but I will retain you as my
slave, until I perceive that your presence in your own kingdom will be no
longer dangerous to your neighbours; and then I will consider of the
proper way of disposing of you." Abdulkader was accordingly retained, and
worked as a slave for three months; at the end of which period, Damel
listened to the solicitations of the inhabitants of Foota Torra, and
restored to them their king. Strange as this story may appear, I have no
doubt of the truth of it: it was told me at Malacotta by the Negroes; it
was afterwards related to me by the Europeans on the Gambia; by some of
the French at Goree; and confirmed by nine slaves who were taken
prisoners along with Abdulkader, by the watering place in the woods, and
carried in the same ship with me to the West Indies.


_The caravan proceeds to Konkadoo, and crosses the Falemé River.--Its
arrival at Baniserile, Kirwani, and Tambacunda.--Incidents on the
road.--A matrimonial case.--The caravan proceeds through many towns and
villages, and arrives at length on the banks of the Gambia.--Passes
through Medina, the capital of Wolli, and finally stops at Jindey.--The
Author, accompanied by Karfa, proceeds to Pisania.--Various occurrences
previous to his departure from Africa.--Takes his passage in an American
ship.--Short account of his voyage to Great Britain by way of the West

On the 7th of May, we departed from Malacotta, and having crossed the _Ba
lee_, "Honey river," a branch of the Senegal, we arrived in the evening
at a walled town called Bintingala, where we rested two days. From
thence, in one day more, we proceeded to Dindikoo, a small town situated
at the bottom of a high ridge of hills, from which this district is named
_Konkadoo_, "the country of mountains." These hills are very productive
of gold. I was shown a small quantity of this metal, which had been
lately collected: the grains were about the usual size, but much flatter
than those of Manding, and were found in white quartz, which had been
broken to pieces by hammers. At this town I met with a Negro, whose hair
and skin were of a dull white colour. He was of that sort which are
called in the Spanish West Indies _Albinos_, or white Negroes. The skin
is cadaverous and unsightly, and the natives considered this complexion
(I believe truly) as the effect of disease.

May 11th. At daybreak we departed from Dindikoo, and after a toilsome
day's travel, arrived in the evening at Satadoo, the capital of a
district of the same name. This town was formerly of considerable extent;
but many families had left it in consequence of the predatory incursions
of the Foulahs of Foota Jalla, who made it a practice to come secretly
through the woods, and carry off people from the corn fields, and even
from the wells near the town. In the afternoon of the 12th, we crossed
the Falemé river, the same which I had formerly crossed at Bondou in my
journey eastward. This river, at this season of the year, is easily
forded at this place, the stream being only about two feet deep. The
water is very pure, and flows rapidly over a bed of sand and gravel. We
lodged for the night at a small village called Medina, the sole property
of a Mandingo merchant, who, by a long intercourse with Europeans, has
been induced to adopt some of their customs. His victuals were served up
in pewter dishes, and even his houses were built after the fashion of the
English houses on the Gambia.

May 13th. In the morning, as we were preparing to depart, a coffle of
slaves, belonging to some Serawoolli traders, crossed the river, and
agreed to proceed with us to Baniserile, the capital of Dentila; a very
long day's journey from this place. We accordingly set out together, and
travelled with great expedition through the woods until noon; when one of
the Serawoolli slaves dropt the load from his head, for which he was
smartly whipped. The load was replaced; but he had not proceeded above a
mile before he let it fall a second time, for which he received the same
punishment. After this he travelled in great pain until about two
o'clock, when we stopt to breathe a little, by a pool of water, the day
being remarkably hot. The poor slave was now so completely exhausted that
his master was obliged to release him from the rope, for he lay
motionless on the ground. A Serawoolli therefore undertook to remain with
him, and endeavour to bring him to the town during the cool of the night;
in the meanwhile we continued our route, and after a very hard day's
travel, arrived at Baniserile late in the evening.

One of our Slatees was a native of this place, from which he had been
absent three years. This man invited me to go with him to his house; at
the gate of which his friends met him with many expressions of joy;
shaking hands with him, embracing him, and singing and dancing before
him. As soon as he had seated himself upon a mat by the threshold of his
door, a young woman (his intended bride) brought a little water in a
calabash, and kneeling down before him, desired him to wash his hands;
when he had done this, the girl with a tear of joy sparkling in her eyes,
drank the water; this being considered the greatest proof she could give
him of her fidelity and attachment. About eight o'clock the same evening,
the Serawoolli, who had been left in the woods to take care of the
fatigued slave, returned and told us that he was dead; the general
opinion, however, was that he himself had killed him, or left him to
perish on the road; for the Serawoollies are said to be infinitely more
cruel in their treatment of slaves than the Mandingoes. We remained at
Baniserile two days, in order to purchase native iron, shea-butter, and
some other articles for sale on the Gambia; and here the Slatee who had
invited me to his house, and who possessed three slaves, part of the
coffle, having obtained information that the price on the Coast was very
low, determined to separate from us, and remain with his slaves where he
was, until an opportunity should offer of disposing of them to advantage;
giving us to understand that he should complete his nuptials with the
young woman before mentioned, in the meantime.

May 16th. We departed from Baniserile, and travelled through thick woods
until noon, when we saw at a distance the town of Julifunda, but did not
approach it; as we proposed to rest for the night at a large town called
Kirwani, which we reached about four o'clock in the afternoon. This town
stands in a valley, and the country for more than a mile round it is
cleared of wood and well cultivated. The inhabitants appear to be very
active and industrious, and seem to have carried the system of
agriculture to some degree of perfection; for they collect the dung of
their cattle into large heaps during the dry season, for the purpose of
manuring their land with it at the proper time. I saw nothing like this
in any other part of Africa. Near the town are several smelting furnaces,
from which the natives obtain very good iron. They afterwards hammer the
metal into small bars, about a foot in length and two inches in breadth,
one of which bars is sufficient to make two Mandingo corn hoes. On the
morning after our arrival, we were visited by a Slatee of this place, who
informed Karfa, that among some slaves he had lately purchased, was a
native of Foota Jalla; and as that country was at no great distance, he
could not safely employ him in the labours of the field, lest he should
effect his escape. The Slatee was therefore desirous of exchanging this
slave for one of Karfa's, and offered some cloth and shea-butter, to
induce Karfa to comply with the proposal, which was accepted. The Slatee
thereupon sent a boy to order the slave in question to bring him a few
ground nuts. The poor creature soon afterwards entered the court in which
we were sitting, having no suspicion of what was negociating, until the
master caused the gate to be shut, and told him to sit down. The slave
now saw his danger, and perceiving the gate to be shut upon him, threw
down the nuts, and jumped over the fence. He was immediately pursued and
overtaken by the Slatees, who brought him back, and secured him in irons,
after which one of Karfa's slaves was released and delivered in exchange.
The unfortunate captive was at first very much dejected, but in the
course of a few days his melancholy gradually subsided; and he became at
length as cheerful as any of his companions.

Departing from Kirwani on the morning of the 20th, we entered the Tenda
Wilderness of two day's journey. The woods were very thick, and the
country shelved towards the south-west. About ten o'clock we met a coffle
of twenty-six people, and seven loaded asses, returning from the Gambia.
Most of the men were armed with muskets, and had broad belts of scarlet
cloth over their shoulders, and European hats upon their heads. They
informed us that there was very little demand for slaves on the Coast, as
no vessel had arrived for some months past. On hearing this, the
Serawoollies, who had travelled with us from the Falemé river, separated
themselves and their slaves from the coffle. They had not, they said, the
means of maintaining their slaves in Gambia until a vessel should arrive,
and were unwilling to sell them to disadvantage; they therefore departed
to the northward for Kajaaga. We continued our route through the
Wilderness, and travelled all day through a rugged country, covered with
extensive thickets of bamboo. At sunset, to our great joy, we arrived at
a pool of water near a large tabba tree, whence the place is called
Tabba-gee, and here we rested a few hours. The water at this season of
the year is by no means plentiful in these woods; and as the days were
insufferably hot, Karfa proposed to travel in the night. Accordingly,
about eleven o'clock, the slaves were taken out of their irons, and the
people of the coffle received orders to keep close together, as well to
prevent the slaves from attempting to escape, as on account of the wild
beasts. We travelled with great alacrity until daybreak, when it was
discovered that a free woman had parted from the coffle in the night; her
name was called until the woods resounded, but no answer being given, we
conjectured that she had either mistaken the road, or that a lion had
seized her unperceived. At length it was agreed that four people should
go back a few miles to a small rivulet, where some of the coffle had
stopt to drink, as we passed it in the night, and that the coffle should
wait for their return. The sun was about an hour high before the people
came back with the woman, whom they found lying fast asleep by the
stream. We now resumed our journey, and about eleven o'clock reached a
walled town called Tambacunda, where we were well received. Here we
remained four days, on account of a _palaver_ which was held on the
following occasion. Modi Lemina, one of the Slatees belonging to the
coffle, had formerly married a woman of this town, who had borne him two
children; he afterwards went to Manding, and remained there eight years,
without sending any account of himself, during all that time, to his
deserted wife; who, seeing no prospect of his return, at the end of three
years had married another man, to whom she had likewise borne two
children. Lemina now claimed his wife, but the second husband refused to
deliver her up; insisting that by the laws of Africa, when a man has been
three years absent from his wife, without giving her notice of his being
alive, the woman is at liberty to marry again. After all the
circumstances had been fully investigated in an assembly of the chief
men, it was determined that the wife should make her choice, and be at
liberty either to return to the first husband, or continue with the
second, as she alone should think proper. Favourable as this
determination was to the lady, she found it a difficult matter to make up
her mind, and requested time for consideration; but I think I could
perceive that first love would carry the day. Lemina was indeed somewhat
older than his rival, but he was also much richer. What weight this
circumstance had in the scale of his wife's affections, I pretend not to

On the morning of the 26th, as we departed from Tambacunda, Karfa
observed to me that there were no shea-trees farther to the westward than
this town. I had collected and brought with me from Manding the leaves
and flowers of this tree, but they were so greatly bruised on the road
that I thought it best to gather another specimen at this place. The
appearance of the fruit evidently places the shea-tree in the natural
order of _Sapotae_, and it has some resemblance to the _mudhuca_ tree,
described by Lieutenant Charles Hamilton, in the Asiatic Researches, Vol.
I. page 300. About one o'clock we reached Sibikillin, a walled village,
but the inhabitants having the character of inhospitality towards
strangers, and of being much addicted to theft, we did not think proper
to enter the gate. We rested a short time under a tree, and then
continued our route until it was dark, when we halted for the night by a
small stream running towards the Gambia. Next day the road led over a
wild and rocky country, everywhere rising into hills, and abounding with
monkeys and wild beasts. In the rivulets among the hills we found plenty
of fish. This was a very hard day's journey, and it was not until sunset,
that we reached the village of Koomboo, near to which are the ruins of a
large town formerly destroyed by war. The inhabitants of Koomboo, like
those of Sibikillin, have so bad a reputation, that strangers seldom
lodge in the village; we accordingly rested for the night in the fields,
where we erected temporary huts for our protection, there being great
appearance of rain.

May 28th. We departed from Koomboo, and slept at a Foulah town about
seven miles to the westward; from which, on the day following, having
crossed a considerable branch of the Gambia, called Neola Koba, we
reached a well inhabited part of the country. Here are several towns
within sight of each other, collectively called Tenda, but each is
distinguished also by its particular name. We lodged at one of them
called Koba Tenda, where we remained the day following, in order to
procure provisions for our support in crossing the Simbani woods. On the
30th we reached Jallacotta, a considerable town, but much infested by
Foulah banditti, who come through the woods from Bondou, and steal every
thing they can lay their hands on. A few days before our arrival, they
had stolen twenty head of cattle, and on the day following made a second
attempt, but were beaten off, and one of them taken prisoner. Here one of
the slaves belonging to the coffle, who had travelled with great
difficulty for the last three days, was found unable to proceed any
farther; his master (a singing man) proposed therefore to exchange him
for a young girl, belonging to one of the townspeople. The poor girl was
ignorant of her fate, until the bundles were all tied up in the morning,
and the coffle ready to depart, when coming with some other young women
to see the coffle set out, her master took her by the hand, and delivered
her to the singing man. Never was a face of serenity more suddenly
changed into one of the deepest distress; the terror she manifested on
having the load put upon her head, and the rope fastened round her neck,
and the sorrow with which she bade adieu to her companions, were truly
affecting. About nine o'clock, we crossed a large plain covered with
_ciboa_ trees, (a species of palm,) and came to the river Nerico, a
branch of the Gambia. This was but a small river at this time, but in the
rainy season it is often dangerous to travellers. As soon as we had
crossed this river, the singing men began to vociferate a particular
song, expressive of their joy at having got safe into the west country,
or, as they expressed it, _the land of the setting sun_. The country was
found to be very level, and the soil a mixture of clay and sand. In the
afternoon it rained hard, and we had recourse to the common Negro
umbrella, a large ciboa leaf, which being placed upon the head,
completely defends the whole body from the rain. We lodged for the night
under the shade of a large tabba tree, near the ruins of a village. On
the morning following, we crossed a stream called Noulico, and about two
o'clock, to my infinite joy, I saw myself once more on the banks of the
Gambia, which at this place being deep and smooth, is navigable; but the
people told me that a little lower down, the stream is so shallow that
the coffles frequently cross it on foot. On the south side of the river,
opposite to this place, is a large plain of clayey ground, called Toombi
Toorila. It is a sort of morass, in which people are frequently lost, it
being more than a day's journey across it. In the afternoon we met a man
and two women, with bundles of cotton-cloth upon their heads. They were
going, they said, for Dentila, to purchase iron, there being a great
scarcity of that article on the Gambia. A little before it was dark, we
arrived at a village in the kingdom of Woolli, called Seesukunda. Near
this village there are great plenty of nitta-trees, and the slaves in
passing along had collected large bunches of the fruit; but such was the
superstition of the inhabitants, that they would not permit any of the
fruit to be brought into the village. They had been told, they said, that
some catastrophe would happen to the place when people lived upon nittas,
and neglected to cultivate corn.

June 2d. We departed from Seesukunda, and passed a number of villages, at
none of which was the coffle permitted to stop, although we were all very
much fatigued: it was four o'clock in the afternoon before we reached
Baraconda, where we rested one day. Departing from Baraconda on the
morning of the 4th, we reached in a few hours Medina, the capital of the
King of Woolli's dominions, from whom the reader way recollect I received
an hospitable reception in the beginning of December 1795, in my journey
east-ward.[25] I immediately inquired concerning the health of my good
old benefactor, and learnt with great concern that he was dangerously
ill. As Karfa would not allow the coffle to stop, I could not present my
respects to the king in person; but I sent him word, by the officer to
whom we paid customs, that his prayers for my safety had not been
unavailing. We continued our route until sunset, when we lodged at a
small village a little to the westward of Koota-kunda, and on the day
following arrived at Jindey; where, eighteen months before I had parted
from my friend Dr. Laidley; an interval during which I had not beheld the
face of a Christian, nor once heard the delightful sound of my native

  [25] Vide pages 51 [Second half of chapter IV. Transcriber], 72
    [Beginning of chapter VII. Transcriber.].

Being now arrived within a short distance of Pisania, from whence my
journey originally commenced, and learning that my friend Karfa was not
likely to meet with an immediate opportunity of selling his slaves on the
Gambia, it occurred to me to suggest to him that he would find it for his
interest to leave them at Jindey, until a market should offer. Karfa
agreed with me in this opinion; and hired from the chief man of the town,
huts for their accomodation, and a piece of land on which to employ them,
in raising corn, and other provisions for their maintenance. With regard
to myself, he declared that he would not quit me until my departure from
Africa. We set out accordingly, Karfa, myself, and one of the Foulahs
belonging to the coffle, early on the morning of the 9th; but although I
was now approaching the end of my tedious and toilsome journey, and
expected in another day to meet with countrymen and friends, I could not
part, for the last time, with my unfortunate fellow-travellers--doomed,
as I knew most of them to be, to a life of captivity and slavery in a
foreign land--without great emotion. During a wearisome peregrination of
more than five hundred British miles, exposed to the burning rays of a
tropical sun, these poor slaves, amidst their own infinitely greater
sufferings, would commiserate mine; and frequently of their own accord
bring water to quench my thirst, and at night collect branches and leaves
to prepare me a bed in the Wilderness. We parted with reciprocal
expressions of regret and benediction. My good wishes and prayers were
all I could bestow upon them; and it afforded me some consolation to be
told that they were sensible I had no more to give.

My anxiety to get forward admitting of no delay on the road we reached
Tendacunda in the evening, and were hospitably received at the house of
an aged black female, called Seniora Camilla, a person who had resided
many years at the English factory, and spoke our language. I was known to
her before I had left the Gambia, at the outset of my journey; but my
dress and figure were now so different from the usual appearance of an
European, that she was very excusable in mistaking me for a Moor. When I
told her my name and country, she surveyed me with great astonishment,
and seemed unwilling to give credit to the testimony of her senses. She
assured me that none of the traders on the Gambia ever expected to see me
again; having been informed long ago, that the Moors of Ludamar had
murdered me, as they had murdered Major Boughton. I inquired for my two
attendants, Johnson and Demba, and learnt with great sorrow, that neither
of them was returned. Karfa who had never before heard people converse in
English, listened to us with great attention. Every thing he saw seemed
wonderful. The furniture of the house, the chairs, &c. and particularly
beds with curtains, were objects of his great admiration; and he asked me
a thousand questions concerning the utility and necessity of different
articles, to some of which I found it difficult to give satisfactory

On the morning of the 10th, Mr. Robert Ainsley, having learnt that I was
at Tendacunda, came to meet me, and politely offered me the use of his
horse. He informed me that Dr. Laidley had removed all his property to a
place called Kaye, a little farther down the river, and that he was then
gone to Doomasansa with his vessel to purchase rice, but would return in
a day or two. He therefore invited me to stay with him at Pisania until
the Doctor's return. I accepted the invitation, and being accompanied by
my friend Karfa, reached Pisania about ten o'clock. Mr. Ainsley's
schooner was lying at anchor before the place. This was the most
surprising object which Karfa had yet seen. He could not easily
comprehend the use of the masts, sails, and rigging; nor did he conceive
that it was possible, by any sort of contrivance, to make so large a body
move forwards by the common force of the wind. The manner of fastening
together the different planks which composed the vessel, and filling up
the seams so as to exclude the water, was perfectly new to him; and I
found that the schooner with her cable and anchor, kept Karfa in deep
meditation the greater part of the day.

About noon, on the 12th, Dr. Laidley returned from Doomasansa, and
received me with great joy and satisfaction, as one risen from the dead.
Finding that the wearing apparel which I had left under his care was not
sold nor sent to England, I lost no time in resuming the English dress,
and disrobing my chin of its venerable incumbrance. Karfa surveyed me in
my British apparel with great delight; but regretted exceedingly that I
had taken off my beard; the loss of which, he said, had converted me from
a man into a boy. Dr. Laidley readily undertook to discharge all the
pecuniary engagements I had entered into since my departure from the
Gambia, and took my draft upon the Association for the amount. My
agreement with Karfa (as I have already related) was to pay him the value
of one prime slave, for which I had given him my bill upon Dr. Laidley,
before we departed from Kamalia: for, in case of my death on the road I
was unwilling that my benefactor should be a loser. But this good
creature had continued to manifest towards me so much kindness, that I
thought I made him but an inadequate recompence, when I told him that he
was now to receive double the sum I had originally promised; and Dr.
Laidley assured him that he was ready to deliver the goods to that
amount, whenever he thought proper to send for them. Karfa was
overpowered by this unexpected token of my gratitude, and still more so,
when he heard that I intended to send a handsome present to the good old
schoolmaster Fankooma, at Malacotta. He promised to carry up the goods
along with his own; and Dr. Laidley assured him that he would exert
himself in assisting him to dispose of his slaves to the best advantage,
the moment a slave vessel should arrive. These and other instances of
attention and kindness shown him by Dr. Laidley were not lost upon Karfa.
He would often say to me, "my journey has indeed been prosperous!" But,
observing the improved state of our manufactures, and our manifest
superiority in the arts of civilized life, he would sometimes appear
pensive, and exclaim with an involuntary sigh, _fato fing inta feng_,
"black men are nothing." At other times, he would ask me with great
seriousness, what could possibly have induced me, who was no trader, to
think of exploring so miserable a country as Africa? He meant by this to
signify that, after what I must have witnessed in my own country, nothing
in Africa could in his opinion deserve a moment's attention, I have
preserved these little traits of character in this worthy Negro, not only
from regard to the man, but also because they appear to me to demonstrate
that he possessed a mind _above his condition_; and to such of my readers
as love to contemplate human nature in all its varieties, and to trace
its progress from rudeness to refinement, I hope the account I have given
of this poor African will not be unacceptable.

No European vessel had arrived at Gambia for many months previous to my
return from the interior; and as the rainy season was now setting in, I
persuaded Karfa to return to his people at Jindey. He parted with me on
the 14th with great tenderness; but as I had little hopes of being able
to quit Africa for the remainder of the year, I told him, as the fact
was, that I expected to see him again before my departure. In this,
however, I was luckily disappointed; and my narrative now hastens to its
conclusion; for on the 15th, the ship Charlestown, an American vessel,
commanded by Mr. Charles Harris, entered the river. She came for slaves,
intending to touch at Goree to fill up; and to proceed from thence to
South Carolina. As the European merchants on the Gambia had at this time
a great many slaves on hand, they agreed with the captain to purchase the
whole of his cargo, consisting chiefly of rum and tobacco, and deliver
him slaves to the amount, in the course of two days. This afforded me
such an opportunity of returning (though by a circuitous route) to my
native country, as I thought was not to be neglected. I therefore
immediately engaged my passage in this vessel for America; and having
taken leave of Dr. Laidley, to whose kindness I was so largely indebted,
and my other friends on the river, I embarked at Kaye on the 17th day of

Our passage down the river was tedious and fatiguing; and the weather was
so hot, moist, and unhealthy, that before our arrival at Goree, four of
the seamen, the surgeon, and three of the slaves, had died of fevers. At
Goree we were detained for want of provisions, until the beginning of

The number of slaves received on board this vessel, both on the Gambia
and at Goree, was one hundred and thirty; of whom about twenty-five had
been, I suppose, of free condition in Africa, as most of them, being
Bushreens, could write a little Arabic. Nine of them had become captives
in the religious war between Abdulkader and Damel, mentioned in the
latter part of the preceding chapter; two of the others had seen me as I
passed through Bondou, and many of them had heard of me in the interior
countries. My conversation with them, in their native language, gave them
great comfort; and as the surgeon was dead, I consented to act in a
medical capacity in his room for the remainder of the voyage. They had in
truth need of every consolation in my power to bestow; not that I
observed any wanton acts of cruelty practised either by the master or the
seamen towards them; but the mode of confining and securing Negroes in
the American slave ships, (owing chiefly to the weakness of their crews,)
being abundantly more rigid and severe than in British vessels employed
in the same traffic, made these poor creatures to suffer greatly, and a
general sickness prevailed amongst them. Besides the three who died on
the Gambia, and six or eight while we remained at Goree, eleven perished
at sea, and many of the survivors were reduced to a very weak and
emaciated condition.

In the midst of these distresses, the vessel, after having been three
weeks at sea, became so extremely leaky, as to require constant exertion
at the pumps. It was found necessary, therefore, to take some of the
ablest of the Negro men out of irons, and employ them in this labour; in
which they were often worked beyond their strength. This produced a
complication, of miseries not easily to be described. We were, however,
relieved much sooner than I expected; for the leak continuing to gain
upon us, notwithstanding our utmost exertions to clear the vessel, the
seamen insisted on bearing away for the West Indies, as affording the
only chance of saving our lives. Accordingly, after some objections on
the part of the master, we directed our course for Antigua, and
fortunately made that island in about thirty-five days after our
departure from Goree. Yet even at this juncture we narrowly escaped
destruction; for on approaching the north-west side of the island, we
struck on the Diamond Rock, and got into St John's harbour with great
difficulty. The vessel was afterwards condemned as unfit for sea, and the
slaves, as I have heard, were ordered to be sold for the benefit of the

At this island I remained ten days; when the Chesterfield Packet,
homeward bound from the Leeward Islands, touching at St John's for the
Antigua mail, I took my passage in that vessel. We sailed on the 24th of
November; and after a short but tempestuous voyage, arrived at Falmouth
on the 22d of December; from whence I immediately set out for London;
having been absent from England two years and seven months.

[Here terminates Mr. Park's own narrative. The following chapters contain
an account of his life from his return to England, in 1797, to his death
on the Niger, in 1805; and also of the discoveries and adventures of
succeeding travellers.]


_Attempts of Horneman, Nicholls, Roentgen, and Adams._

During the interval which elapsed between Park's first and second
journey, several attempts were made to explore Central Africa. The first
traveller was Frederick Horneman, a student of Gottingen, who was
recommended by Professor Blumenbach to the patronage of the African
Association. After spending some time in the study of Natural History,
and the Arabic language, he went to Cairo, intending to join some
caravan, under the assumed character of an Arab or Moslem. It was not
till the following year, 1798, that he was enabled to find a caravan
proceeding westward, and bound for Fezzan. On the 8th September, they
left Egypt, entering upon a wide expanse of sandy desert, resembling what
might be supposed to be the bed of the ocean after the waters had left
it. It was covered with fragments of petrified wood, of a lightish grey
colour and bearing a strong resemblance to natural wood. The Arabs
travelled all day, and when they halted at night, each gathered a few
sticks and prepared his own victuals. There were a few _oases_ in this
waste. In ten days they came to Ummesogeir, a village containing one
hundred and twenty inhabitants, who lived on a rock, subsisting on dates,
and separated by immense tracts of sand from all intercourse with the
rest of the world. In twenty-four hours they came to Siwah, an extensive
oasis, about fifty miles in circumference, and the only inhabited spot of
any considerable extent on the route to Fezzan. Here there were found
some curious remains of antiquity; among the rest a monument, called by
the natives Ummebeda, a large mass of dilapidated ruins, which some
suppose to have been the celebrated shrine of Jupiter Ammon. Thence they
travelled through sandy regions, diversified with numerous limestone
rocks. Here Horneman was in considerable danger; for the caravan was met
by several hundred inhabitants of Siwah, mounted on asses, who pointed to
him and insisted that he and another of the caravan were Christians from
Cairo, against whom they cherished a deadly enmity. But Horneman's
coolness and courage disarmed their hostility; he insisted that he was a
Moslem, took out the Koran and read passages from it aloud, and even
challenged them to answer him on points of the Mahommedan faith.

Soon after the travellers entered the Black Harutsch, a range of dreary
mountains, the long defiles of which presented the most dismal prospect
imaginable. After sixteen days toilsome journeying they came to the great
Oasis, or small Kingdom of Fezzan. The inhabitants were a commercial
people, and received the caravan with joy. Much communication is held
between this place and Central Africa. Here Horneman endeavoured to
collect information concerning Tombuctoo and the Niger. He resolved to
visit Tripoli before endeavouring to penetrate to the south. He set off
on his journey southward on the 6th April 1800, along with two shereefs
or descendants of Mahomed, who had promised to protect him. Two years
elapsed before any more was heard of him; when a Fezzan merchant informed
the Danish Consul at Tripoli, that he was still alive. He was afterwards
reported to have resided in Kashna, about 1803. Major Denham heard that
he had penetrated as far as Nyffe on the Niger, where he fell a victim to
the climate.

The next traveller sent out to Africa was Mr. Nicholls, who resolved to
land at Calabar, in the Gulf of Benin, and thence to proceed into the
interior. He landed on the coast in January 1805, but speedily fell a
victim to the fever of the country.

Roentgen, a German, endeavoured to reach the interior by the way of
Morocco. He spoke Arabic fluently, assumed the Mahomedan garb, and
entertained high hopes of success. Having procured two guides, he joined
the Soudan caravan; but, a little distance from the spot whence he set
out, his corpse was found lying on the road.

Soon after, some information concerning Tombuctoo was derived from Adams,
an American sailor, who was wrecked upon the coast, and who reported that
he had been carried captive to that city by the Moors, and had remained
there six months. His description of this famous place ill corresponded
with the ideas which Europeans entertained of its splendour; the most
spacious of the houses being merely huts, one storey in height, composed
of timber frame-works filled with earth; and many of the inhabitants
sheltering themselves under hovels, consisting of branches of trees,
covered with mats of the palmetto. The palace was merely a collection of
such apartments enclosed by a mud wall. The inhabitants were of a gay and
thoughtless disposition, spending much of their time in dancing. The
chief traffic of the place was in slaves.


_From Park's return, to his Second Expedition._

Park's own narrative of his travels will now have informed the reader of
all that wonderful train of events which the hardy and enterprising
discoverer went through: of his captivity among the Moors--his
escape--his discovery of the course of the Niger--of the African capital
of Sego--his journey through Bambarra, and his toilsome and perilous
return. On his arrival at Pisania, his kind and attentive friend Dr.
Laidley was absent, but a countryman, Mr. Robert Ainslie, invited him to
his house. In two days Dr. Laidley returned, and hailed Park with joy,
receiving him as "one risen from the dead." As no European vessel was at
that time expected to arrive at Gambia, Park embarked on the 15th June
1797, on board a slave-ship bound to America. This vessel was driven by
stress of wind to the West Indies, and at length, after much difficulty,
succeeded in making the island of Antigua; whence Park sailed on the 24th
November, in the Chesterfield Packet, which, after a short but stormy
passage, reached Falmouth on the 22d December. No intelligence had for a
long time reached England of the wanderer's fate, and his bones were
supposed to have been bleaching amid the sands of the desert.

Park arrived at London, before day-break, on the morning of the 25th;
and, unwilling to disturb his brother-in-law's family at such an
unseasonable hour, he wandered about for some time through the streets
near Mr. Dickson's residence. As he strolled along, finding one of the
entrances to the gardens of the British Museum accidentally left open, he
entered and walked about there for some time. It chanced that Mr.
Dickson, who superintended the gardens, had found occasion to go there
thus early about some trifling matter or other. What must have been his
astonishment at beholding, by the still weak light, the form--or as it
had rather seemed--the vision, of that relative, who had ever been in his
most anxious thoughts, and whose countenance he had never expected again
to see, or even to learn tidings of his fate. A joyful welcome of course
ensued, and Park's anxieties concerning his relations, were speedily set
at rest.

The interest attached to his return was by no means confined to his
relations and friends--the public at large, whose sympathies had followed
the traveller on his arduous way, were gratified to learn that he had
again returned, after having made important discoveries, and tracked a
considerable portion of the course of the Niger. Rumours were also
current of his "hair-breadth 'scapes," and the lovers of novelty and
adventure were anxious to hear the particulars of his wanderings. The
African Association triumphed in the success of his mission, and were
proud that the assiduous diligence of Park had, under such unfavourable
circumstances, collected a mass of information which so far outweighed
the results of all previous expeditions, and that they could therefore
claim justly more support from the public. They gave a substantial proof
of their gratitude to Park, by permitting him to publish his travels for
his own benefit; and a complete narrative of his journey from his own pen
was speedily announced to be in preparation. An abstract, drawn up by Mr.
Bryan Edwards, from Park's Notes, was printed for private circulation
among the members of the Association in the meantime; it was also
enriched by a valuable Memoir by Major Rennel, on African Geography. This
publication afterwards formed the ground-work of the larger work, to the
quarto edition of which Major Kennel's narrative was also appended.

During the remainder of that winter Park resided in London, arranging the
materials of his work; he also required to be in constant communication
with the members of the Association, while the memoirs we have alluded to
were being drawn up. His engaging and unassuming manners gained him the
friendship of Mr. Edwards, to whose country residence at Southampton he
paid frequent visits. Repeated offers were made to him by Government, who
then wished to procure a complete survey of New Holland; but this scene
of action did not seem to present sufficient attractions to Park, for he
declined it.

In June 1798, Park went to Scotland, and visited his relations at
Fowlshiels, where he remained the whole of the ensuing summer and autumn.
Great must have been the joy of his relatives, when he, who had been
mourned for as dead, was again an inmate of their house. The fame which
he had earned in other quarters by his daring heroism, must have been
poor in value, compared with the admiration and interest with which his
tales were listened to beneath the domestic roof; and the expressions of
wonder which his adventures had extorted from strangers, must to his mind
have seemed tame and heartless, when he beheld the astonishment and
breathless interest depicted on the countenances, and glistening in the
eyes of the family circle. All this time he was employed upon his
travels, busying himself with his manuscripts almost the whole day, and
only indulging himself in the evenings with a solitary walk. The work was
difficult, and untried authorship he found almost as arduous as his
journeyings. He was unaccustomed to writing; his notes were imperfect and
scanty, so that he had frequently to draw upon memory; care, and
correction, and retrenchment were necessary to render his work worthy of
the interest which his adventures had excited; and he knew that it would
be carefully sifted by each of the two contending parties, who were on
the watch for information concerning the great controverted question of
the slave-trade, so that the utmost nicety and exactness were requisite
in stating the facts respecting it, which had fallen under his notice.
The long-expected work at length appeared in April 1799, in quarto, and
met with the greatest popularity. It was sought after with avidity, both
on account of the novelty and importance of the information comprised in
it, and the interesting manner in which the narrative was conducted. Two
large impressions were soon disposed of, and numerous smaller editions
and abridgments were from time to time called for. In a literary point of
view, the book is of rare merit; the style is clear, simple and direct;
and though the writer's personal adventures form the main topic, there is
no trace of ostentation or egotism. It bears all the marks of fidelity
and truthfulness, and has obtained the highest commendations from every
judge capable of forming an estimate of it.

The circumstance of a portion of Mr. Edwards' Narrative having been
incorporated into the Travels, and of Park's having acknowledged, in the
Preface, his obligations to that gentleman's revision, gave rise to an
unfounded report of his being the real author of the volume. This rumour,
however, has been long since rejected, both from the letters of Park,
published after Mr. Edwards' death, and also from the internal evidence
of the style, which presents a remarkable contrast to the elaborate and
ornate composition of Mr. Edwards' works.

There is another subject connected with the publication of his Travels,
which has excited too much discussion to permit us to pass it over in
silence; viz. his statements concerning the slave-trade. It has been
supposed, without any adequate ground, that Park's sentiments were
unfavourable to its abolition; but the strictly impartial nature and
neutral tone of his statements on this subject, were sufficiently proved
by the fact, that both parties confidently appealed to his pages, as
supporting their particular views. Besides, there is at least one passage
in the work which implies, that Park looked upon this iniquitous traffic
with no favourable eye; though he might not be convinced, upon the whole,
that the proper period had arrived for doing it away. And in justice to
his memory, it ought to be stated, that his nearest relatives and most
intimate friends had often heard him express himself strongly against the
system. All that the most scrutinizing reader can infer from these
passages, merely amounts to this, that some of the abolitionists, in
their generous zeal, might possibly have overrated the _immediate_ good
effect which the discontinuance of the practice would produce. Moreover,
it was no part of Park's business to enter upon a political or commercial
discussion on this subject, for his object was to give a clear and simple
account of his own observations, not to discuss other men's theories; and
both delicacy and propriety concurred in rendering such a course proper,
since Mr. Bryan Edwards, and some other members of the African
Association; to whose kind attention and patronage he owed so much, were
decided supporters of the slave-trade.

After the publication of his work, he at first seemed resolved to retire
into domestic and professional life; There had been an attachment of long
standing between him and a daughter of Mr. Anderson, with, whom he had
served his apprenticeship. The marriage had been settled the preceding
summer, and was only postponed till the publication of his Travels gave
him leisure for enjoying the pleasures of connubial happiness. If,
however, he had at any time formed the resolution of spending the
remainder of his days at home, his mind soon changed; for soon after, we
find him endeavouring, through various channels, to get his services
accepted, either by the Association, or by Government. He had frequent
communications with his steady friend, Sir Joseph Banks, upon this
subject; and no opportunity of qualifying himself still farther for such
an expedition was left unimproved. For two years he seemed not to have
fixed upon any determinate course of life; sometimes considering the
propriety of renting a form, and occasionally looking out for openings in
the medical profession. In the meantime, the profits derived from his
Travels secured him from want, and prevented him from proving burdensome
to his family. Unknown to them, he seems to have been employing every
means to get the master passion of his soul gratified; and he fondly
trusted that it would be shortly in his power to add to the discoveries
he had already made. He rejected a proposal made to him by Mr. Edwards,
to superintend his property in the West Indies, evidently cherishing the
hope of being again sent out by the African Association. About this time,
the capture of Goree seemed to open a communication with Central Africa,
and Park thought it a good opportunity for revisiting that country. He
wrote a letter to Sir Joseph Banks, expressing a confident hope of
success, provided the countenance of Government were obtained. His
proposal was not at that time accepted; and in a letter to Sir Joseph,
dated 31st July 1800, he thus writes,--"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 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
that hangs over my future prospects is dispelled." Evidently he could not
reconcile his taste either to farming, or to the dull and wearisome
drudgery of a country surgeon's life; in fact, he seemed altogether
discontented with his profession. But when he saw that his prospect of
employment by the Association was by no means certain, and might be long
deferred, he felt that, as an honest man, it was necessary to provide
some certain means of support for a wife and family. In October 1801, an
opening took place at Peebles, by the decease of one of the two regular
practitioners in that town: he settled there, and soon acquired a
practice which, if not particularly remunerating, was at least tolerably
extensive. He was surrounded by a pastoral, and, in some places,
uncultivated district; and had often to make long rides at night along
bad roads, to afford aid to those whose poverty did not allow them to
make any return for his skill and kindness. The rides of a country
surgeon, near an unfrequented district, are dreary and long; "he is at
the mercy of all who may demand his assistance within a circle of forty
miles in diameter, untraversed by roads in many directions, and including
moors, mountains, rivers, and lakes," generally for a very low
recompense, and sometimes for none at all.

Sir Walter Scott has so well described a country surgeon's miseries, that
we shall quote the passage, more especially as it bears particular
reference to Park:--"Like the ghostly lover of Leonora, he mounts at
midnight, and traverses in darkness paths which, to those less accustomed
to them, seem formidable in daylight, through straits where the slightest
aberration would plunge him into a morass, or throw him over a precipice,
on to cabins which his horse might ride over without knowing they lay in
his way, unless he happened to fall through the roofs. When he arrives at
such a stately termination of his journey, where his services are
required, either to bring a wretch into the world, or prevent one from
leaving it, the scene of misery is often such, that, far from touching
the hard saved shillings which are gratefully offered to him, he bestows
his medicines as well as his attendance--for charity. I have heard the
celebrated traveller Mungo Park, who had experienced both courses of
life, rather give the preference to travelling as a discoverer in Africa,
than to wandering, by night and day, the wilds of his native land in the
capacity of a country medical practitioner. He mentioned having once upon
a time rode forty miles, sat up all night, and successfully assisted a
woman under influence of the primitive curse, for which his sole
remuneration was a roasted potato and a draught of butter milk. But his
was not the heart which grudged the labour that relieved human misery. In
short, there is no creature in Scotland that works harder, and is more
poorly requited than the country doctor, unless, perhaps, it may be his
horse. Yet the horse is, and indeed must be, hardy, active, and
indefatigable, ever liable to be unpleasantly interrupted, in spite of a
rough coat and indifferent condition; and so you will often find in his
master, under an unpromising and blunt exterior, professional skill and
enthusiasm, intelligence humanity, courage, and science." Such was
certainly the character of Park: having himself experienced what it was
to suffer unrelieved, he was ready to sympathize with his suffering
fellow-creatures, and to endure every hardship and privation when
humanity called upon him to do so. But his liberality was a great enemy
to his purse, and for a considerable time, all he could do was barely
enough to earn a livelihood. Such difficulties every one, generally, who
enters upon this arduous profession must lay his account with. His
reputation as a discoverer, his modest and unassuming character, and the
propriety of his conduct, however, gained Park many friends, some of whom
were literary men of great eminence, such as Adam Ferguson and Dugald
Stewart. In addition to the honour of attracting the notice of men so
gifted in intellectual endowments, he was also on the best terms with
many of the neighbouring gentry,--among others, with Sir Walter Scott,
who had not then attained that high place among his contemporaries which
he afterwards held. He had also formed many acquaintances in a humbler
rank of life,--men of shrewdness and sagacity, in whose homely
conversation Park felt much pleasure. He enrolled himself a member of a
volunteer corps raised in the district, and proved a great acquisition to
the mess-table. One thing was remarkable about Park, that, go where he
would, he never introduced his own adventures, seldom ever answering
queries concerning them, unless when asked by intimate friends. He shewed
the true modesty of a brave man, in never reminding those around him that
he had overcome great perils and distresses. Yet those who knew him best,
describe him as always apparently cherishing a secret purpose in his
bosom. His mind, in fact, seems never to have been diverted from its
grand purpose; it was directed to the prospect of adding yet more claims
to the notice of posterity: hence, he could neither bring himself down
patiently to the ordinary routine of common-place life, nor take a great
interest in the feelings and pursuits of the society with which he
mingled. Often would his thoughts be wafted across the ocean to the
burning deserts of Africa, and directed to the prospect of tracing out
the windings of the mysterious Niger.

About this time, by the advice of Sir Joseph Banks, he became a candidate
for the Botanical Chair at Edinburgh, vacant by the decease of Dr.
Rutherford. In his efforts to obtain the appointment he failed. This
circumstance probably hastened his determination of again setting out for
Africa; and, in 1803, a favourable opportunity seemed to be afforded. He
received a letter from the Colonial Office, requiring his immediate
presence in London. He had an interview with Lord Hobart, then Colonial
Secretary, who informed him that it was the intention of Government to
organize an expedition for discovery in Africa, to be placed under his
superintendence. This proposal was exactly what Park wished; the subject,
in all its bearings, had been considered by him in almost hourly
meditations; he resolved inwardly to accept the proposal, but asked a
brief space to consult his family and friends. He returned immediately to
Scotland, and again journeying to London, at once closed with the offer,
and proceeded to make his preparations, expecting in a few weeks to set
sail for Africa. But the usual delays of office took place, and the
expedition was only announced to sail from Portsmouth about the end of
February. Before that period arrived, the impatient traveller was
mortified to find that the important political changes which were then in
agitation would at least defer, if not altogether destroy his projects.
This blow was the more severe, as the stores and troops had been already

Mr. Pitt was made First Commissioner of the Treasury, and Chancellor of
the Exchequer in May. When the commotion caused by this change had
subsided a little, Government was able to direct its attention to
subjects less immediately pressing, and among the rest, to African
discovery. Park received an intimation from the Colonial Office, that the
intention of sending out an expedition had by no means been lost sight
of; and, in the meantime, he was advised to direct his particular
attention to those branches of knowledge which might facilitate the
undertaking, with the understanding that all necessary expenses would be
defrayed. The earliest period at which he could possibly set out was
September, and he determined diligently to improve the interval. He
chiefly directed his attention to the method of taking astronomical
observations, and to the study of the Arabic language. For the latter
purpose, he engaged a native of Mogadore, Sidi Omback Boubi, who then
resided in London, and had served as the interpreter to Elphi Bey, the
Mameluke ambassador from Cairo, to accompany him to Scotland. Park and
his oriental companion arrived at Peebles in March, and resided there
till about the middle of May; he then removed to Fowlshiels, where he
remained till the expected summons from the Secretary of State should
reach him. Sidi Omback appeared quite a phenomenon to the inhabitants of
Peebles. He was a firm adherent of the Mahometan faith, and scrupulous to
an excess; observing rigidly the Prophet's prohibitions respecting wine
and spirits, and eating no meat which had not been killed by his own
hand. The method in which he performed this operation was somewhat
peculiar:--having stalked solemnly into the market, and pitched upon his
animal, he turned its head towards the east, muttered over it a short
prayer, and then cut off its head, rejecting the blood as unclean. He had
the greatest aversion to prints and paintings, and nearly stabbed a young
man who was bold enough to take a sketch of his peculiar visage. He
punctually performed his devotions according to the fashion of his own
country, and professed to be a great interpreter of dreams and omens. In
one instance, he proved a true prophet, for he said more than once, that
if Park went a second time to Africa, he would never return; and though
urgently requested by Park to join the expedition, he refused.

When Sir Walter Scott first became acquainted with Park, he was living in
seclusion at the farm of Fowlshiels, nearly opposite Newark Castle. They
soon became much attached to each other; and Scott supplied some
interesting anecdotes of their brief intercourse to the late Mr. Wishaw,
the editor of Park's posthumous Journal, with which, says Mr. Lockhart, I
shall blend a few minor circumstances which I gathered from him in
conversation long afterwards. "On one occasion," he says, "the traveller
communicated to him some very remarkable adventures which had befallen
him in Africa, but which he had not recorded in his book." On Scott's
asking the cause of this silence, Mungo answered, "That in all cases
where he had information to communicate which he thought of importance to
the public, he had stated the facts boldly, leaving it to his readers to
give such credit to his statements as they might appear justly to
deserve; but that he would not shock their faith, or render his travels
more marvellous, by introducing circumstances which, however true, were
of little or no moment, as they related solely to his own personal
adventures and escapes," This reply struck Scott as highly characteristic
of the man; and though strongly tempted to set down some of these marvels
for Mr. Wishaw's use, he, on reflection, abstained from doing so, holding
it unfair to record what the adventurer had deliberately chosen to
suppress in his own narrative. He confirms the account given by Park's
biographer of his cold and reserved manners to strangers, and in
particular, of his disgust with the _indirect_ questions which curious
visitors would often put to him upon the subject of his travels. "This
practice," said Mungo, "exposes me to two risks,--either that I may not
understand the questions meant to be put, or that my answers to them may
be misconstrued;" and he contrasted such conduct with the frankness of
Scott's revered friend, Dr. Adam Ferguson, who, the very first day the
traveller dined with him at Hallyards, spread a large map of Africa on
the table, and made him trace out his progress thereupon, inch by inch,
questioning him minutely as to every step he had taken. "Here, however,"
says Scott, "Dr. F. was using a privilege to which he was well entitled
by his venerable age and high literary character, but which could not
have been exercised with propriety by any common stranger."

Calling one day at Fowlshiels, and not finding Park at home, Scott walked
in search of him along the banks of the Yarrow, which in that
neighbourhood passes over various ledges of rock, forming deep pools and
eddies between them. Presently he discovered his friend standing alone on
the bank, plunging one stone after another into the water, and watching
anxiously the bubbles as they rose to the surface. "This," said Scott,
"appears but an idle amusement for one who has seen so much stirring
adventure." "Not so idle, perhaps, as you suppose," answered Mungo. "This
was the manner in which I used to ascertain the depth of a river in
Africa before I ventured to cross it, judging whether the attempt would
be safe by the time the bubbles of air took to ascend." At this time,
Park's intention of a second expedition had never been revealed to Scott,
but he instantly formed the opinion that these experiments on Yarrow were
connected with some such purpose.

His thoughts had always continued to be haunted with Africa. He told
Scott, that whenever he awoke suddenly in the night, owing to a nervous
disorder with which he was troubled, he fancied himself still a prisoner
in the tent of Ali; but when the Poet expressed some surprise that he
should design again to revisit those scenes, he answered, that he would
rather brave Africa and all its horrors, than wear out his life in long
and toilsome rides over the hills of Scotland, for which the remuneration
was hardly enough to keep soul and body together.

Towards the end of autumn, when about to quit his country for the last
time, Park paid Scott a farewell visit, and slept at Ashestiel. Next
morning his host accompanied him homewards over the wild chain of hills
between the Tweed and the Yarrow. Park talked much of the new scheme, and
mentioned his determination to tell his family that he had some business
for a day or two in Edinburgh, and send them his blessing from thence,
without returning to take leave. He had married, not long before, a
pretty, amiable woman; and when they reached the _William Hope Ridge_,
"the autumnal mist floating heavily and slowly down the valley of the
Yarrow," presented to Scott's imagination "a striking emblem of the
troubled and uncertain prospect which his undertaking afforded." He
remained, however, unshaken; and at length they reached the spot at which
they had agreed to separate. A small ditch divided the moor from the
road, and, in going over it, Park's horse stumbled, and nearly fell. "I
am afraid, Mungo," said the Sheriff, "that is a bad omen." To which he
answered, smiling, "_Freits_ (omens) follow those who look to them." With
this expression Mungo struck the spurs into his horse, and Scott never
saw him again. His parting proverb, by the way, was probably suggested by
one of the Border ballads, in which species of lore he was almost as
great a proficient as the Sheriff himself; for we read in "Edom o'
Gordon,"--"Them look to freits, my master dear. Then freits will follow

  [26] Lockhart's Life of Scott, Vol. II.

In the beginning of September, Park received the summons from the
Colonial Office, and had a satisfactory interview with Lord Camden. He
had previously, at Lord Camden's request, given in to him a memorial,
comprising a statement of his views concerning the objects of the
expedition, the means which he would require for his purpose, and the
manner in which the plans of Government were to be carried into
execution. The object of his journey. Park stated to be the extension of
British commerce, and the enlargement of geographical knowledge;
particular attention was to be paid to the state of the interior, the
course of the Niger, and the character and situation of the towns upon
its banks. The means Park requested were thirty European soldiers, six
carpenters, fifteen or twenty Goree negroes, fifty asses, and six horses
or mules. Each man was to be provided with gun, pistols, and suitable
clothing. He gave in also a list of other articles which he required,
comprising harness and equipments for the asses, carpenters tools, and
cordage, with other stores, for building two boats of forty feet length,
to sail down the Niger, and a number of articles of commerce to procure
supplies from the natives, and for presents to their chiefs, such as
coloured cloth, amber, gold, and glass beads, arms and ammunition,
mirrors, knives, scissors, &c. Park's proposed route was to proceed up
the Gambia, cross the country to the Niger, when they were to sail down
the river till they came to its termination. If, as Park supposed, in
place of being lost, according to Major Rennel's theory, in some
imaginary lake called Margara, it took a southerly direction, and might
prove to be the river Congo; it was his intention to embark on board some
slave-ship, and return, either by the way of St. Helena or the West
Indies. Major Rennel earnestly advised Park against the expedition, but
without success, and indeed, upon the Major's theory, the plan was
utterly impracticable. Some have censured Park for going on an
expedition, which at the outset was pronounced to be hopeless; and these
"prophets of evil" claimed abundant credit for their sagacity. But Park
had made up his mind, and was not to be turned aside from his purpose.
Fatally confident, as the event proved, in his own resources, he was not
to be daunted by the formidable array of difficulties which he must have
well known he would have to face; and though somewhat disheartened for a
time by these representations, he was consoled by the approbation of Sir
Joseph Banks, and other scientific men.

Orders were now given for the completion of the arrangements; but
vexations and fatal delays again occurred, which contributed most
materially to diminish the chances of the success of the expedition. It
was now impossible that they could be landed in Africa before the rainy
season had commenced; and it was only after three months impatient
waiting that Park got these final instructions:--

"_Downing Street, 2d January_ 1805.

"SIR,--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 the 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 a 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 your 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 a mercantile banking-house in London as you may fix upon. I am, &c.

"(Signed) CAMDEN.

"_To Mungo Park, Esq. &c. &c. &c._"

Before Park departed, Government had generously resolved, that, in
addition to a handsome reward for his own services, the sum of £4000
should be settled upon his wife and family, in the event of his death or
non-appearance after a certain stipulated time. Nothing, therefore,
remained but that he should finally settle his affairs, and take an
affectionate farewell of his friends, who bade adieu to him with a heavy
heart, fearing that they would never see his face again.


_Park's Second Journey--The Gambia to Bambakoo._

On the 30th January 1805, Park, accompanied by Mr. Anderson, his
brother-in-law, who was to be second in command of the expedition, and
Mr. Scott, a friend and neighbour, who went as draftsman, together with
four or five artificers from the dockyards, set sail from Portsmouth in
the Crescent transport, and reached Port Prayo Bay in St. Jago on the 8th
March, after a very stormy passage. Having purchased forty-four asses,
they left this place on the 21st March, and having made the coast of
Africa on the 25th, anchored in Goree Roads. From the garrison at this
place Park had been instructed to select a limited party of soldiers--an
arrangement which proved by no means favourable to the success of the
expedition, as many of the men were of intemperate habits, and, through
their long residence at Goree, most of them were much debilitated by the
climate. Park fixed upon thirty-five, who seemed the strongest men of the
garrison, to accompany him; and one of their officers, Lieutenant Martyn,
also volunteered. Two experienced seamen, by permission of Captain
Shortland of the Squirrel frigate, were also to go with him, as their
assistance would prove most useful in equipping' the boats for sailing
down the Niger. Before they left Goree, Park wrote the following letter
to his wife:--

"_Goree, 4th April_ 1805.

"I have just now learnt that an American ship sails from this place for
England in a day or two, and I readily embrace the opportunity of sending
a letter to my dear 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 everything 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 tears 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."

In a letter to the Colonial Office, written at the same time as the
above, he gives the following account of his departure from Goree:--"On
the morning of the 6th of April, we embarked the soldiers, in number
thirty-five men. They jumped into the boat 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." On the 9th April they
reached Jillifree on the Gambia, and in a few days got up the river to
Kayee. Thence Park wrote several letters to his friends, among which was
the following, addressed to his wife.--

"_Kayee, River Gambia, 26th April_ 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 to-morrow 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

"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 Wooli.

"I expect to have an opportunity of writing to you from Konkodoo or
Bammakoo, by some of the slavetraders; 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 of the same date, Park thus expresses himself with great
confidence as to his prospects of success: "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 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."

His letter to his father-in-law apparently shews the same confidence in
the prospects of the expedition:--

"_Kayee, River Gambia, 26th April_ 1806.

"That I have not wrote you sooner, you may be sure was not from want of
attention, but from want of time, and because I knew that you must have
received every information respecting our procedure from Alexander. I
know that you will rejoice to hear that we both of us keep our health,
and that the kind hand of Providence has thus far made our journey
prosperous. We set off to-morrow morning for the interior, with the most
flattering prospect of finishing our expedition in the course of six
months, with honour to ourselves, and benefit to mankind. I need not tell
you how solicitous I am about the welfare of my dear Allie and children.
Though I have no hopes of my hearing from her till my return to England,
yet I will indulge the hope that all is well. In case it should please
the Almighty to take me to himself, I have thought it necessary to give a
statement of the money matters in the enclosed letter, that my dear wife
and children may reap the reward of my industry. I did not do this from
any second sight, but merely to guard against a possible occurrence. I am
far from being in the least down-hearted: indeed I have so much to attend
to, that I have little time to myself. I receive great benefit from
Alexander, who is as systematic, cautious and careful as ever. I
sometimes think he has forgot his old maxim 'Take it easy.' I can easily
imagine how little Ibe[27] will be stotting about the house and garden.
Tell her if she can say her questions[28] well, I will bring her two new
frocks. My compliments to Mrs. Anderson, George, Thomas, and Bell. I
suppose Andrew will be in the army by this time. When we return to the
coast, if we are lucky enough to find a vessel coming directly to
England, I think we may be in England by the month of December, but if we
have to go round by the West Indies, it will take us two months longer.
With best wishes for your health and prosperity, I am,

"Your affectionate friend,


"_To Mr. Thomas Anderson, Surgeon, Selkirk, North Britain._"

  [27] Elizabeth, his infant daughter.

  [28] The Catechism.

In spite of all the confidence which these letters express, Park was so
well aware of the extreme danger of the expedition that his mind must
have been filled with the most harassing and anxious thoughts. We have
already said, that the soldiers who accompanied him were below the
ordinary standard even of African troops. Their constitutions were worn
out by the climate, and by debauchery; and they seem to have been utter
strangers to sobriety and good discipline. But Park had a still more
serious cause of alarm arising from the repeated delays which had taken
place before the expedition was sent out, which rendered it scarcely
possible for them to reach the Niger before the rainy season set in.
There was besides, the positive certainty of encountering the great
tropical heats and tornadoes, which invariably precede and follow that
time, and prove a source of the greatest inconvenience, and sometimes
even of danger, to caravans. There were just two courses before him: he
might go forward upon the journey at all hazards, straining every nerve
to reach the Niger before the rainy season came on in full violence; or
he might wait till the middle of November, the proper period for
travelling. The latter alternative was one which his ardent spirit could
ill brook; and even could he himself have submitted to this penance, the
spending so many months in idleness and inactivity might excite the
severe displeasure of his employers. He had no reason to suppose that
they had calculated upon this great additional expense. He considered
moreover that such a contingency had not been provided for in his
instructions. The eyes of his countrymen anxiously watched his
progress--delay might be visited with severe censures. Accordingly, he
unhappily departed from the course which prudence would have pointed out,
and adopted the alternative most agreeable to his own feelings. Having
once formed his plan, he adhered to it with vigour and perseverance,
resolutely facing every obstacle, and resolved to fulfil the object of
his mission, or perish in the attempt. Whatever might be his own
misgivings and apprehensions, he concealed them from his comrades,
resolved that no disclosure of them should damp their confidence, or
weaken their efforts.

At Kayee, Isaaco, a Mandingo priest and travelling merchant, who had had
great experience in inland travelling, was engaged to accompany the
expedition as guide. On the 27th April 1805 they left Kayee, under a
salute from the guns of the _Crescent_. They suffered great inconvenience
from the extreme heat of the weather, and the difficulty of bringing the
asses forward, most of them having been unaccustomed to heavy burdens. On
the evening of the following day they came to Pisania, Park's starting
point on his first journey, where those of his former friends, who still
resided there, were not a little astonished to see him again. He stayed
at this place for a week to complete his preparations, part of the
baggage having to arrive by water, and some of the beasts of burden,
being useless, requiring to be replaced by others. The burdens having
been equally divided among the party, and every thing ready, they set out
from Pisania, accompanied for a mile or two by most of the principal
inhabitants of the place, who were anxious to confer this honour upon the
travellers. They set out in regular order of march: Mr. Scott and one of
Isaaco's attendants in front, Lieutenant Martyn in the centre, and Mr.
Anderson and Park bringing up the rear. But their progress was slow, for
some of the asses were overloaded, and others were restive and threw off
their burdens, so that they had soon to purchase an additional number. On
the 10th May they arrived at Fatteconda, where the son of Park's friend,
the former king of Wooli, met him, from whom he learnt that his journey
was looked upon with great jealousy by some of the influential
inhabitants residing about Madina. At noon, they reached the capital of
Wooli. The asses were unloaded under a tree, without the gates of the
town. It was five o'clock before Park obtained an audience of the king,
to whom he carried as presents, a pair of silver-mounted pistols, ten
dollars, some amber and coral; but his Majesty being covetous, and
considering it beneath his dignity to receive so little, Park was obliged
to add fifteen dollars more, and double the quantity of coral and amber.
The king also begged a blanket to shield his royal person from the rains,
which was sent to him. This was only a sample of the numerous extortions
to which they were exposed; and as the natives annoyed them much,
conceiving that they carried merchandise of great value, the utmost
vigilance was necessary to guard against their sly pilferings, as well as
the more violent attempts of the numerous bands of robbers who infested
the neighbourhood. They reached Kanipe, a straggling village, on the 13th
of May. Here the women had fallen upon an ingenious plan to extort amber
and beads. After many hours labour, they had drawn up all the water from
the wells and carried it away. They were fairly baffled, however, by the
travellers; for in the evening, one of the soldiers having, as if by
accident, dropped his canteen into the well, he was lowered down by a
rope to pick it up; and standing at the bottom of the well, filled all
the camp-kettles of the party, so that the women had to depart in grief
and mortification.

After having passed through Kussai, the country was wooded for five
miles, when the travellers reached a level plain almost destitute of
shade, along which some hundreds of antelopes, of a dark colour, and
nearly as large as bullocks, were bounding. At half-past ten they again
came to the banks of the Gambia, and halted, during the heat of the day,
under a large spreading tree. The river was here one hundred yards
across, its waters swarming with crocodiles; and, contrary to Park's
expectations, he found that it had a regular tide, rising four inches by
the shore. Here Park ascended a hill, which commanded a wide prospect of
the course of the Gambia, distinguished by a range of dark green trees,
which fringed its banks. At this place the first disaster of the
expedition occurred. John Walters, one of the soldiers, fell down in an
epileptic fit, and soon after died. They lay down to rest, apprehensive
of an attack from the natives, each man sleeping with his loaded musket
under his head.

For some days they travelled on a line with the banks of the river; they
then crossed the river Nerico, and on the 20th May, came to Bady, in the
territory of Tenda. The chief of that place behaved with great audacity
and violence; and some of his people having carried off the guide's
horse, and Isaaco demanding it in person, he was seized, flogged, and
detained as a prisoner. His disconsolate wife and child sat, in tears,
under a tree. It would, indeed, have been an easy matter for Park and his
companions to have set fire to the town in resentment for this ill usage,
but this would have brought destruction on the innocent, and might not
have produced the desired effect of the restoration of Isaaco. But they
determined next morning, should other means prove ineffectual, to employ
force. Early in the morning, however, Isaaco was sent back by the chief,
with the lame apology that he had no desire to quarrel with Park, and
merely wished the customary tribute to be paid him.

They went on, nearly along the same way by which Park had returned in
1797, and, having traversed the wilderness of Samarkara, came to a place
which they called Bee's Creek, from a singular accident which befel them
there. No sooner had they unsaddled their asses, and kindled a fire to
cook their supper, than an immense swarm of bees attacked both men and
asses so violently, that they took to flight precipitately in all
directions; while the burning embers set fire to some bamboos, and nearly
consumed the baggage. They, however, succeeded in snatching it up before
the flames reached it; but by this untoward accident, they lost six asses
and one horse, and most of the party were severely stung about the face
and hands.

On the 28th May, Park came to Bamboo, where he was compelled to disburse
presents to a large amount. Thence he sent two letters to England, by the
way of Gambia,--one addressed to his wife, and the other to Sir Joseph
Banks. To the former, he gave a brief account of his journey, and then
adds, "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 find that my former journeys by foot were underrated;
some of them surprise myself when I trace the same road on horseback. I
expect to reach the Niger by the 27th of June."

He thus writes to Mrs. Park,--"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
everywhere 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 (Mrs. Park's brother) is quite free from
all his stomach complaints. 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!" From these
extracts, it would seem that Park still entertained the prospect of
ultimate success. His situation appeared difficult, but not desperate. He
had now traversed what he believed would be the most arduous part of his
route, with the loss of only one of his party; and hoped that, by dint of
strenuous exertion, the greater part of the distance which lay between
him and the Niger might possibly be gone over before the rainy season set
in. But the sad realities of suffering and death were soon to break in on
his dreams of success.

They had now arrived at Julifunda, the chief of which place extorted from
Park goods to the value of two hundred bars, before he would suffer the
party to proceed. The next day, being his Majesty's birthday, Park
halted, pitched one of the tents, and purchased a bullock and a calf for
the soldiers, who were drawn up in the afternoon, and fired a salute.
They made this as much a day of festivity as circumstances would admit
of, though they were under the necessity of drinking the king's health in
_water_, in the absence of any more stimulating and genial fluid. At
Baniserile, a Mahometan town, they met with a most hospitable reception
from the chief man, Fodi Braheima, to whom Park presented a copy of the
New Testament, in Arabic. On the 6th June, one of the carpenters, who had
been sick of the dysentery ever since they had crossed the Nerico, became
very ill. On the 7th the sick man was so ill that he had to be mounted on
an ass, which was driven forward by two soldiers; next day he threw
himself from the beast, and expressed a wish to be left alone to die, and
could only be held on by force. About noon they arrived at Medina, and
halted upon the banks of the Falemé, which the rain had discoloured, but
little increased in volume. At this place it ran over rocks, at the rate
of about four miles the hour. It abounded with fish of a great size. In
the afternoon the soldiers were quite worn out with carrying the baggage
across the river, and up the steep bank. The carpenter being in a dying
state was left with the Dooty, to whom Park gave ten bars, and also
directed a soldier to remain with him. Next morning the soldier came up
to the party at Sadadoo, and told them that the carpenter had died during
the night, and that he, with the assistance of some negroes, had buried
him. On the 9th, five of the soldiers, who had not gone into the tent,
but had remained during the rain under a tree, complained much of
headache and sickness. During the night some of the canteens had been
stolen. They left Sadadoo at sunrise, journeying over a hard rocky soil,
towards the mountains, and the advanced party reached Shrondo at sunset;
but Park did not come up to the place till eight o'clock, having mounted
one of the sick men on his horse, and assisted in driving in the wearied
asses, four of which he was compelled to leave in the woods. Here they
were overtaken by a dreadful tornado, which drenched them completely:
this proved to them indeed the "_beginning of sorrows._" Its dreadful
effects were immediately manifested in the sickness of the soldiers, many
of whom were, before the rain had fallen three minutes, seized with
vomiting; while others fell asleep, and looked as if they had been half
intoxicated. Next morning twelve of the party were sick. Before this Park
had fondly hoped that he would reach the Niger, with a moderate loss; but
now, for the first time, do we find stated in his journal, a feeling of
distrust and apprehension: "The rain," he says, "had set in, and I
trembled to think that we were only half way through, our journey." From
that period the horrors of fatal disease were superadded to those of
toilsome and dangerous journey. Many of the beasts of burden sank down or
strayed, so that an additional load had to be put upon those that
remained. The track was intersected by frequent torrents, and the sick
had to be placed upon the horses and spare asses; those whose strength
disease had not yet wasted, were worn out in endeavouring to urge on the
staggering beasts. Their footsteps were tracked by plunderers, who
watched every opportunity of pilfering. The sick soldiers would throw
themselves at the foot of a tree, declaring that they were content to
perish; even had they been suffered to remain, a quiet death could not
have been expected, as the beasts of prey were prowling about, and their
feverish rest at night was often broken by their distant howling. In the
midst of all this complication of difficulties, it is impossible not to
be struck with the nobleness of Park's conduct, facing boldly
difficulties however arduous, and endearing himself to his men by the
greatest attention and kindness,--himself enduring toil that they might
have rest, lingering behind the party to help on some exhausted soldier,
or mounting him upon his own horse, comforting the desponding, and in
their last hour consoling and soothing the dying.

The party rested a day at Shrondo, but the distressing circumstances in
which they were involved did not prevent Park from visiting the gold
mines in the neighbourhood, and he gives in his journal a curious account
of the method in which the gold is obtained. He was guided by a woman to
a meadow where there were dug about thirty pits. Beside these lay heaps
of sand and gravel, to be conveyed to circular wash-pits, which were
lined with clay. Two calabashes are used, one large, into which the
gravel is put; the other small, with which the water is poured in. The
sand is then covered with the water, carefully crumbled down and shaken
in the calabash, and the lighter parts thrown out, till all that remains
is a black substance, called gold-rust. The shaking is then repeated, and
the grains of gold are sought out. Two pounds of gravel yield about
twenty-three particles of gold, some of which are very small; and the
bulk of gold-rust is about forty times that of the gold. The washing only
takes place at the time of the rains.

They next proceeded along the mountains of Konkodoo to Dindikoo, where
they saw a number of gold-pits, sunk about twelve feet deep, with notches
in the sides for steps. The mountains were lofty and steep, composed of a
coarse species of red granite, but cultivated to the very tops, and the
villages built in their glens were singularly romantic. "The
inhabitants," says Park, "have plenty of water, and grass at all seasons;
they have cattle enough for their own use, and their superfluous grain
purchases all their little 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 Falemé to the
Black River." This plain was about forty miles in extent; the lions
abounded in the plain, but none were seen among the hills. On the 18th
they had great difficulty in getting the sick forward, though all the
spare horses and asses were reserved for their use. The ass which bore
the telescope and several other articles of consequence was missing; but
was brought on the following day by one of the natives who had caught it.

Park now began to be "very uneasy about their situation;" half of the
party were on the sick list, among whom were Messrs. Anderson and Scott,
and he himself was by no means well. They rested for one day at Fankia.
On the 15th their road lay along a steep and rocky pass in the mountains
of Tambaura. During this toilsome march they were in a state of dreadful
confusion. There were few drivers for the asses, which were overburdened
with the sick and baggage. The natives, seeing their weak state, followed
them, seizing every opportunity for pillage. At Serimanna, two of the men
were left behind. At Gambia, the natives having heard that the white men
were sickly, rose up in arms, and attempted to plunder the caravan. One
seized the Serjeant's horse, but on a pistol being presented, quitted his
hold. Others tried to drive away the asses with their loads. But the
soldiers stood firm, loaded their pieces with ball, and fixed bayonets;
upon which the natives hesitated, and the soldiers having placed the
asses in safety on the other side of a rivulet, returned. Park then
demanded of the Dooty that he should be suffered to proceed in peace. To
this after a little he consented, in consequence of the determined front
shown by the British, and to avoid farther molestation, Park deemed it
prudent to present him with four bars of amber. Near Sullo, the eyes of
the jaded and weary travellers were a little revived by the
picturesqueness of the scenery, which presented all the possible
diversities of rock, towering up like ruined castles, spires, and
pyramids. One place bore a very striking resemblance to a ruined Gothic
abbey,--the niches, windows, and staircase, having all counterparts in
the natural rock. Mr. Park describes the banks of the Ba-Fing and Ba-Lee,
two tributaries of the Senegal, to be rugged and grand beyond any thing
he had seen.

In crossing the Ba-Fing the canoe was upset, with three men in it, one of
whom was drowned. Park's efforts to restore animation were unavailing,
and he was buried on the banks of the river. The people on the banks were
a set of thieves, and endeavoured to make off with the medicine-chest.
Not a day now passed but one or other of the soldiers died of fever, or
was left behind. At Koeena, on the 2d July, they were much annoyed by
three lions, which, after prowling about all day, at midnight attacked
the asses, which broke their ropes, and rushed in among the tents. One of
the lions approached so near that the sentry made a cut at it with his
sword. They could not sleep, because of the noise of the hippopotami
which infested that part of the river. At this time several of the
soldiers strayed, and never came up with the party again, though muskets
were frequently fired to give intimation of the route. Next day one of
the soldiers became so exhausted that he could not sit upon the ass. He
was fastened on it, and held upright; he became more and more faint, and
shortly after died. His body was brought forward to a place where the
front of the coffle had halted to allow the rear to come up. "Here," says
Park, "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 that covered the tomb of the brave."
When Park came up to the halting-place, which was near a pool of water,
shaded with ground palm-trees, he found that two more of the soldiers
were missing. Lights were set up, partly to scare away the lions and also
to guide those who had not come up; and Park himself went back a
considerable part of the way in search of them, but only one came up,
who, next day, lagged behind through fatigue. Search was then made for
him, but he could not be found; and they supposed that he had been
devoured by the wild beasts.

On the 4th July they crossed the river Wonda; but as they had only one
canoe, the passage was both dangerous and tedious. Isaaco, the guide,
exerted himself much, endeavouring to drive six of the asses through a
little below where the party crossed, as the stream was there not so
deep. He had reached the middle of the river, when a crocodile rose,
seized him by the left thigh, and dragged him under water. With wonderful
presence of mind, however, he felt the head of the animal, and thrust his
finger into its eye. The monster quitted its hold for a moment, but then
seized his other thigh, and again pulled him under water. Isaaco again
thrust his fingers into its eyes. This proved effectual. The crocodile
rose to the surface, dashed about a while as if stupified, and then swam
down the middle of the river. Isaaco landed on the other side, bleeding
copiously. He was so much lacerated as for a time to be unfit for
travelling; and as his guidance was indispensable to the party, they
waited four days, to give his wounds time to heal.

On the 11th July they came to Keminoom, the strongest fortified town Park
had seen in Africa,--whence they were very desirous to depart, as they
found the inhabitants to be "thieves to a man," committing depredations
upon the travellers with the greatest coolness and impudence, in which
the King and his thirty sons formed accomplished models for the subjects
to look up to. Here they were subjected to the most vexatious extortions,
and a number of articles were stolen from the baggage. On the 14th they
set out from this place, one of the king's sons on horseback with them as
a protector; but had not got a gun-shot from the town, when a bag was
stolen from one of the asses; Park and Martyn ran after the offender, and
recovered the bag; but before they returned to the coffle, another had
made off with a musket. About two miles from this town some of the asses
fell down. Park rode forward to look out for an easier ascent. As he held
his musket carelessly in his hand, two of the king's sons came up, one of
whom begged Park to give him a pinch of snuff. Park turned round to
assure him he had none; upon which the other stole behind him, snatched
the musket from his hand, and ran off. Park sprang from his saddle with
his sword drawn, and Mr. Anderson got within musket-shot of the thief,
but was unwilling to fire on this scion of royalty. The thief escaped up
the rocks, and when Park returned to his horse, he found that the other
descendant of royalty had stolen his great-coat. Park complained to the
king's son who accompanied them as guide; he told him that the best
course would be for the people to fire upon the delinquents. The natives
seeing their preparations hid themselves behind the rocks, and only
occasionally peeped through the crevices. The sky became overcast with
clouds, and before they were five miles from the town, a heavy tornado
came on. During the rain, another of the royal family ran off with a
musket and a pair of pistols, which a soldier had laid down while
reloading his ass. As they halted for a little, the natives nearly drove
off four of the asses. At length Park gave the soldiers directions to
shoot every one who came near the baggage, and they cleared the difficult
passes of the rocks by sunset, without sustaining any farther loss.
During the 18th a great number of articles, and one of the asses, were
stolen from the sick soldiers, who had scarcely strength to defend
themselves; and one of the party not having come up, Park supposed, with
too much probability, that he had been stripped and murdered. During that
and the following day they had three tornados. So many of the beasts of
burden had been stolen, that the men were obliged to carry part of the
loads. Park himself put a knapsack on his back, and his horse had a heavy
load of articles to bear.

They found great difficulty in crossing the banks of the Ba-Woolima, a
narrow, rapid, and deep river, which was then much swollen by the rains,
They first endeavoured to throw across trunks of trees, but these were
carried away by the stream. They next attempted a raft; but after the
logs had been cut, the sick people were not able to drag them to the
water side. But the negroes who were with them constructed a bridge in
the most ingenious manner. It was formed of two ranges of a number of
upright forked sticks, of sufficient length. Across each of the ranges of
forks were placed two trees tied together. These beams were then
connected with cross sticks. To prevent this structure from being carried
away by the current, two large trees, fastened together, were fixed to
both banks, their roots being tied with ropes to the trees growing there;
they were allowed to sink in the water, so that the current could not
bear away the forks whose ends sloped down the stream, and the current
itself kept in their places those whose roots slanted up the stream. Here
another of the party died of fever.

On the 22d they came to Bangassi, a large fortified town; where the king
gave them a bullock and two calabashes of sweet milk, receiving in return
a number of presents. Nevertheless, he seemed somewhat suspicious, and
questioned Park closely concerning the object of his journey. On parting,
he offered Park the protection of his son as far as Sego, whither he
intended to proceed in a few days; but Park was too anxious to reach the
Niger, to submit to any delay. The health of the soldiers became still
worse, one died, and another was left behind at Bangassi. They had not
gone far from the town when four men lay down, and declared themselves
unable to proceed. Park himself felt very sick and faint; but his spirits
were revived, and he almost felt a return of strength, when, upon
ascending an eminence, he saw some distant mountains to the southeast.
"The certainty that the Niger washed the southern base of these
mountains, made him forget his fever; and he thought of nothing but how
to climb their blue summits."

On the 27th, July, they reached Nummasoolo, a large ruined town, which
had been destroyed by war. They had scarcely time to pitch the tent
before the rain came upon them in torrents, and threatened to destroy the
merchandise: two days were spent in drying it. Two more of the men died,
and one was left behind at this place, concerning whom there is the
following entry in Park's journal:--"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." Their route now lay through ruined towns and villages. The
last of the forty asses they had brought from St. Jago perished of
fatigue. On the 9th August they had to pass a rapid stream, and a number
of their beasts of burden were nearly drowned. Both Mr. Scott and
Lieutenant Martyn were suffering from fever; and Park's brother-in-law,
Mr. Anderson, was found lying under a bush, seemingly in a dying state.
Park lifted him up, carried him on his back across a stream which came up
to his middle, then placed him on his own horse, and again proceeded to
help in carrying over the loads. He crossed the stream sixteen times;
then loaded his ass, walked on foot to the next village, killing the
horse on which Anderson was, and driving the ass before him. In the two
last marches they had lost four men; and on the 12th none of the
Europeans were able to lift a load. As they went on, Park led Mr.
Anderson's horse by the bridle, to give him more ease. They passed an ass
deserted by the driver, who was never more heard of. A sick man, who had
been mounted on Park's horse, also lay on the ground. About twelve,
Anderson's strength seemed quite exhausted, and Park laid him under a
bush, and sat down near him. Two hours after he again made an effort to
proceed, but was compelled to desist. Park allowed the horse to graze,
and sat down beside his dying friend. About five o'clock Anderson faintly
intimated his desire of being mounted, and Park led forward the horse as
quickly as possible, in the hope of reaching Koomikoomi before night.
They had only got on about a mile when they heard a noise like the
barking of a huge mastiff, ending in a prolonged hiss like that of an
angry cat. Park thought at first that it was a large monkey, and observed
to Anderson, "what a bouncing fellow that must be," when another bark was
heard nearer, and then one close at hand accompanied with a growl.
Immediately they saw three large lions all abreast, bounding over the
long grass towards them. Park was apprehensive lest, if he allowed them
to come too near, and his piece should miss fire, the lions would spring
upon them. He therefore let go the bridle, and walked forward to meet
them. As soon as he came within long shot he fired at the centre one, but
did not seem to hit him; the lions halted, looked at each other, then
bounded away a few paces, and one of them again stopped and looked at
Park, who was busily loading his piece; at length, to his great joy, the
last of them slowly marched off among the bushes. About half a mile
farther on, another bark and growl proceeded from the bushes, quite close
to them. This was probably one of the lions who had continued to track
them; and Park, fearing that they would follow him till dark, when they
would have too many opportunities for springing secretly upon them, took
Anderson's call, and made as load a whistling and noise as he could.
Amidst the gullies, Park, after it became dark, could no longer
distinguish the footprints of the asses which marked the way along which,
the party had proceeded; and as the road became steep and dangerous, he
resolved to halt till morning. A fire was lighted, Anderson wrapt in his
cloak, while Park watched all night, in case the lions, whom he knew to
abound in the neighbourhood, should attack them.

On the 13th August they arrived at the village of Doombila, where Park
was delighted to meet Karfa Taura, the kind friend to whom, in his former
journey, he owed so many obligations. This worthy person had undertaken a
six days journey to Bambakoo, on hearing that a person named Park, who
spoke the Mandingo language, was leading a party of white men through the
country; and he brought with him three slaves to aid them in getting
forward. But not finding Park there, he had proceeded other two days
journey to meet him. "He instantly recognised me," says Park, "and you
may judge of the pleasure I felt on seeing my old benefactor."

Mr. Scott had died of fever at Koomikoomi, and Mr. Anderson was only
brought on by being carried in a litter by negroes, whom Park had hired
for that purpose. Disease had done its work fearfully among the little
band that had departed high in hope of tracing out the mysterious Niger;
and it seemed as if the few who had survived the toilsome and dangerous
journey would soon follow their comrades. There were to be other victims

After having travelled twenty miles along a miserable road, they arrived
at Touiba on the 18th. Rain fell during the whole night, and as the
soldiers went to the village for shelter, Park had to keep watch alone.
The district abounded in corn, which rendered the task very troublesome,
for there is a law in Africa, that if an ass break a single stem of corn,
the proprietor may seize the animal, and if the owner refuse to indemnify
him for the loss, he may retain the ass, and though he cannot be sold or
employed, he may be killed and eaten--the people of Bambarra reckoning
ass-flesh a delightful repast.

On the 19th August, they kept ascending the mountains to the south of
Touiba till three o'clock, when, having gained the summit of the ridge
which separates the Niger from the remote branches of the Senegal, Park
went on a little before, and, coming to the brow of the hill, he once
more saw the Niger, rolling its immense stream along the plain. At
half-past six o'clock that evening, they arrived at Bambakoo, where the
river becomes navigable, and pitched their tents under a tree near the


_Park on the Niger--His Death and Character_.

Park now reached the Niger, the point at which he had too fondly hoped
that all his difficulties would be at an end. He had conceived that, once
afloat upon its waters, he would be swiftly borne onwards towards the
termination of its course. But disaster had attended the enterprise
almost from its commencement; unexpected and formidable difficulties had
caused these flattering prospects to vanish as a dream. On the 29th May,
he had expected to reach the Niger in a month; there had since then
passed away eleven weeks of unparalleled hardship; the deadly influence
of climate, aggravated by the horrors of the rainy season, had caused the
greater part of his little band to fall, one after another, around him;
the few survivors were so wasted by sickness that, instead of proving an
assistance, they only added to his cares and anxieties. No wonder, then,
that the joy inspired by the sight of the Niger was transient, and that
fearful forebodings hanging upon his spirit should make him thus
write:--"After the fatiguing march, which we had experienced, the sight
of this river was no doubt pleasant, as it promised an end to, or, at
least, an alleviation of our toils. But, when I reflected, that
three-fourths of the soldiers had died on the 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." On the 22d August, Park hired a canoe to convey the
baggage to Maraboo, and himself embarked in it, along with Anderson.
Several rapids intervened, but the river was navigable over them, being
much swollen, by the rains. The Niger was here an English mile in
breadth, and at the rapids was spread to nearly two miles. They were
carried along, at the rate of five miles an hour, and on the following
day, arrived in safety at Maraboo. Here Isaaco was paid the stipulated
quantity of goods for having acted as guide, to which Park made an
additional present, also promising to give him all the asses and horses
when once a satisfactory agreement had been come to with the king of
Bambarra. Meantime, Isaaco was sent forward to Sego, to ask permission to
pass through the king's territories, and to build a boat for sailing down
the Niger. Some days elapsed before any answer was received; a report was
even current, that the king had with his own hand killed Isaaco, and had
avowed his resolution that every white man who should come within his
reach should share the same fate. During this period, Park was seized
with a severe attack of dysentery, which had carried off so many of his
party; he cured himself, however, by taking a powerful course of mercury.
His apprehensions were relieved by the arrival of the king's "singing
man," who is almost a sort of privy-councillor at the African courts,
declaring Mansong's high satisfaction with the presents conveyed to him
by Park's envoy, and inviting Park to Sego, to deliver them to his
majesty in person. Park was eager to depart, but the "singing man" had
contracted a strong liking to the beef and beer which Dooty Sokee ordered
to be liberally supplied to him, and six days elapsed before he would
consent to move. At last they embarked, and Park thus describes their
voyage:--"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." After passing Koolikorro and Yamina, Park arrived
at Samee, where he met with Isaaco, who told him that Mansong seemed
favourably disposed towards the expedition, but that, whenever he
attempted to enter into particulars, the king began to construct squares
and triangles with his fingers upon the sand, and during the whole time
that he spoke, seemed unwilling to withdraw his mind from these fits of
geometrical study, and showed no anxiety to have a personal interview
with the travellers.

A few days afterwards, Park was visited by Modibinnie, the prime
minister, and four other officers of the court. It was intimated to him,
that Mansong had instructed him to inquire of Park the motives which had
brought him to Bambarra, and directed him to give an explanation of his
object next morning. Park addressed a judicious speech to them in the
Bambarran language, which seemed to produce the desired effect. He
alluded to the generous treatment he had received from Mansong in his
former journey through Bambarra, and then said, "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 Jinni bring to Sego are made by us. If
you speak of a good _gun_; who made it? 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 Jinni
at a still higher price, and the people of Jinni sell them to you. Now,
the king of the white people wishes to find out a way by which we may
bring our merchandise 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 purpose 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." He concluded by advising them to keep this secret from the Moors,
who would certainly murder him were they aware of his purpose. Upon this,
Modibinnie replied, "We have heard what you have said. Your journey is a
good one, and may God prosper you in it. Mansong will protect you."
Park's presents were viewed with high admiration, particularly a
silver-plated tureen, and two double-barrelled guns; Modibinnie
declaring, that "the present was great, and worthy of Mansong." A wish
being also expressed to examine the remainder of his stores, Park was
reluctantly obliged to exhibit them. Two days afterwards, they returned
with a favourable message from Mansong, who promised them protection in
travelling through his dominions, and also gave them permission to build
a boat at Samee, Sego, Sansanding, or Jinni. Park chose Sansanding, as
being the most retired; and Mansong having asked what suitable return he
could make for such a handsome present, Park intimated that two large
canoes would answer his purpose best.

In the voyage to Sansanding they suffered much from the intense heat; and
on the 2d October, two of the soldiers died. Sansanding is a place
carrying on a considerable traffic, and is said to contain eleven
thousand inhabitants. It has a large market-place, in the form of a
square, where the articles for sale are arranged on stalls, shaded by
mats from the heat of the sun. In each stall only a single article is
sold, the chief being beef, beer, beads, indigo, cloth, elephants teeth,
and slaves; besides which one side of the square is entirely devoted to
salt the staple commodity of the place. The value of the articles is paid
in cowries, the chief currency of central Africa.

As Mansong did not seem likely to fulfil his promise soon, Park found it
necessary to provide, by the sale of some of his merchandise, a
sufficient supply of cowries. Accordingly he opened a stall in
Sansanding, and displayed for sale such an assortment of European goods
as had never before been seen in the quarter. He soon found abundance of
purchasers, as his goods were very superior in quality. But his success
had nearly proved fatal to him, for it excited the envy of the merchants
of the place, who, joining with the moors of Sego, endeavoured to tempt
Mansong, by large offers, to put the white men to death; but the king was
far too honourable to accept of this base proposal. But independently of
the danger of such attempts, the season was now too much advanced to
allow of any farther delay. The river was already beginning to subside,
and Park wished to commence his voyage, before the Moors residing in the
countries through which he would have to pass, should receive notice of
his expedition from their countrymen who showed such enmity to him at
Sego. He sent repeated remonstrances to Mansong. At length, on the 16th
October, Modibinnie came down with a canoe from the king; one half of
which being rotten, another half was sent for; but this also being
defective, another, almost as bad, was brought. This proved that his
friendly offices were to be confined merely to words. To add to Park's
difficulties, all the carpenters whom he had brought with him from
England had died, before their services were needed. But undismayed at
this most untoward occurrence, he determined to make the most of his
scanty materials. With the aid of a single soldier, by patching together
all the three, after eighteen days, he constructed a boat, forty feet in
length, and six in breadth, which he termed the schooner Joliba. Before
he left Sansanding, he met with a more severe misfortune than any he had
before experienced. His relation Mr. Anderson died, after a lingering
illness of four months. Park passes no studied eulogium upon his merits,
but speaks of him simply and sincerely, in a manner which shows the high
sense he felt of his merits. "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 amid the wilds of Africa." Mr. Anderson was buried
near one of the principal mosques at Sansanding, and the Dooty of the
place was present, as a mark of respect, at the interment. The party was
now reduced to five Europeans; Park, Lieutenant Martyn, and three
soldiers, one of whom was in a state of derangement.

The schooner was ready by the 14th November, and Park only delayed
setting sail till Isaaco should return from Sego; when he came he advised
Park to set off instantly, lest the vigilance of the Moors should be
roused. Before departing he wrote letters to Mr. Anderson's father, Sir
Joseph Banks, Lord Camden, and Mrs. Park. As the two latter are
peculiarly interesting, we shall quote them.

"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, 17th
November_ 1805.

"MY LORD--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

"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
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 nowhere but in the sea.

"My dear friend Mr. Anderson, and likewise Mr. Scott are both dead. But
though all the Europeans who were with me should die, and though I were
myself half dead, I would still persevere; and if I could not succeed in
this 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 loose 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 gives 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, nor land anywhere,
till we reach the coast, which I suppose will be sometime 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 1st of May. The reason
for 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."

These were the last accounts received from Park and his brave companions.
Isaaco, who brought the two preceding letters, along with Park's Journal,
departed from Sansanding on the 17th November, and arrived at Pisania
with the intelligence, that Park, along with three white men (all of the
Europeans that had survived the journey,) three slaves, and Amadi
Fatouma, his new guide, set sail in their little vessel down the Niger.
In the following year unfavourable reports reached the British
settlements on that coast, brought by native merchants from the interior,
who declared that they had heard that Park and his companions had
perished. But as these accounts were vague, no credit was for some time
attached to them. But when months and years glided away without any
information concerning the expedition, it was feared that the tidings of
disaster were too true. The anxieties of the British public had followed
Park on his way, and they demanded that the mystery which hung over the
subject should be cleared up. At length, in the year 1810, Colonel
Maxwell, the governor of Senegal despatched Isaaco, Park's guide, upon a
mission into the interior, to collect all the information that he could
upon the matter. After twenty months' absence, Isaaco returned with full
confirmation of the reports concerning the fate of Park and his
companions. He brought with him a journal, containing a full report of
his proceedings, which bears internal evidence of fidelity and truth. His
information was derived from an unexceptionable quarter,--from Amadi
Fatouma, whom Park had hired to be his guide from Sansanding to Kashua.
Isaaco met this person at Modina, a town upon the banks of the Niger, a
little beneath Sansanding. Upon Isaaco's asking him if he knew what had
become of Park, he burst into tears, and said, "They are all dead!" On
Isaaco's inquiring the particulars, Amadi Fatouma, whom Park had, in his
letter to Sir Joseph Banks, described as a man of intelligence and
acuteness, produced a journal, written in Arabic, containing a narrative
of all he knew upon the subject. We shall give a summary of the principal
facts contained in this document, the veracity of which has been amply
confirmed by the researches of subsequent travellers.

Amadi Fatouma accompanied Park, Lieutenant Martyn, three soldiers, and
three slaves, in the vessel, which had been built for the purpose of
descending the Niger; and which, though clumsy, was not ill-adapted for
inland navigation, being flat-bottomed, narrow, and schooner-rigged, so
that she could sail with any wind. After two days voyage, they arrived at
Jenne, to the chief of which place Park gave a present. They sailed on in
perfect safety till they came to the lake Dibbe, where three armed canoes
attacked them, but were beaten off. They were again attacked at Kabra or
Rakbara, the port of Tombuctoo, and also at Gouramo. In these encounters
several of the natives were slain. About this time one of the three
soldiers, who had been suffering under mental derangement, died. Their
course lay towards the kingdom of Haussa, and they were obliged to keep
constantly on their guard against the natives, who frequently sailed up
to them in armed canoes, and molested them from the banks of the river.
But fortunately they were not only well provided with arms and
ammunition, but had also laid in a large stock of provisions, before
leaving Bambarra, so that they were able to sail on without touching upon
the shore, so long as they dreaded the hostility of the inhabitants. At
Caffo some of the people on shore called out to the guide, "Amadi
Fatouma, how can you pass through our country without giving us
anything?" Accordingly, a few trifling articles were thrown to them.
After they had passed this place, the navigation became difficult and
intricate, the course of the little vessel being interrupted by shallows,
and by rocks almost closing up the river, and dividing it into narrow
channels. At length they anchored before Goronmo, where Amadi Fatouma
landed to purchase provisions. The chief of this place seemed well
disposed towards Park, for he warned him that a body of armed men were
posted on a high rock commanding the river, to cut off his little party.
Here Park remained all night; upon passing the place next morning he saw
a number of Moors, with horses and camels, but unarmed, from whom he
experienced no molestation. The guide was engaged to accompany them no
farther than the kingdom of Haussa. Before he departed, Park said to him,
"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." Amadi accordingly remained
two days longer, till they arrived at the kingdom of Yaour, where he
landed, with a musket and sabre for the Dooty, and some other presents;
and also some silver rings, flints, and gunpowder, as a present for the
king of Yaour, who resided at a little distance. The Dooty asked Park,
through Amadi, "Whether the white men intended to return to that place?"
Park answered that "he could not return any more." The Dooty acted in a
covetous and dishonourable manner, keeping back the king's present, and
retaining it for his own use. Amadi's narrative proves that this actually
caused Park's murder. After the schooner had gone on her way, Amadi slept
on shore, and then went to do homage to the king. When he entered the
king's residence, he found that the treacherous Dooty had already sent
two messengers to the court, to say that the white men had passed down
the river without giving any thing either to the Dooty or to the king,
and that Amadi was in league with them. The guide was immediately thrown
into prison. The king then dispatched an armed band to attack Park as he
passed the town of Boussa; a place peculiarly fitted for the murderous
deed, as there a ridge of rock almost entirely blocks up the river,
leaving only one channel, which Lander, who saw the spot, describes as
"not more than a stone-cast across." Upon this rock the king's force was
stationed. No sooner did Park and his companions attempt to pass this
point, than they were received with a shower of stones, lances, pikes,
and arrows. They defended themselves bravely, in spite of the
overwhelming numbers opposed to them. At length their efforts became
feebler, for they were soon exhausted. Two of the slaves at the stern of
the canoe were killed; nevertheless they threw every thing in the canoe
into the river, and kept firing. But as the canoe could no longer be kept
up against the current, they endeavoured to escape by swimming; Park took
hold of one of the white men and jumped into the river; Lieutenant Martyn
did the same, and they were all drowned in their attempt to reach the
land. The natives still discharged missiles at the remaining black in the
canoe; but he cried out for mercy, saying, "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." He was accordingly carried, with the
canoe, to the king. Amadi Fatouma was detained in irons three months, at
the expiry of which period he learned these facts from the slave.

As a proof of the truth of this narrative, Isaaco brought with him the
only relic of Park which he was able to procure--a sword-belt, which the
king of Yaour had converted into a girth for his horse. This he obtained
through the instrumentality of a Poule, who bribed one of the king's
female slaves to steal it for him.

When Isaaco's narrative first reached this country, many of its
statements were thought to be unwarranted by facts; but his veracity has
been fully proved by the researches of subsequent travellers. The
accuracy of his account of the spot where the melancholy catastrophe took
place is acknowledged by Captain Clapperton, who, in 1826, visited
Boussa. With some difficulty he drew from the natives an account of the
circumstances, which, however, they ascribed to the men of Boussa,
supposing Park to be a chief of the Felatahs, who had made a hostile
incursion into Soudan, and whom they shortly expected to attack
themselves. In 1830, John and Richard Lander saw the place, and thus
described it; "On our arrival at this formidable place, we discovered a
range of black rocks running directly across the stream, and the water,
finding only one narrow passage, rushed through it with great
impetuosity, overturning and carrying away every thing in its course."
They also discovered a _tohe_ or cloak, a cutlass, a double-barrelled
gun, a book of logarithms, and an invitation-card, which had belonged to
Park. They heard at one time that his journal was still in existence; but
it turned out that this was only a feint used by the king of Yaour to
entice them into his dominions, and fleece them of some of their
property; and there appeared no reason to doubt that the journal, the
loss of which there is much reason to regret, sunk in the waters of the

It seems unnecessary to enter into a lengthened estimate of the character
of Mungo Park. The biographical details which we have given, with his own
narrative of his first expedition, and the summary of the leading events
of his second, will have sufficiently enabled our readers to judge for
themselves. But we cannot quit the subject without a few brief remarks,
having frequently, while writing these pages, had our attention called
off from the events themselves to him who was the principal actor in
them. Amongst the numerous adventurers whose spirit of research has led
them into unknown countries, it would be difficult to find one better
qualified in every way than Park was. His frame was admirably adapted for
enduring toil. He was tall and muscular, and possessed great strength and
agility. In his first African journey he traversed three thousand miles,
for the most part on foot, through an unknown and barbarous country,
exposed to continued unremitting toil, to the perils of the way, to
storm, hunger, pestilence, and the attacks of wild beasts and savage
natives, supported by a dauntless spirit, and by a fortitude which never
forsook him. Amply did he possess the indispensable qualities of a
traveller, keenness of observation, mental energy, unflinching
perseverance, an ardent temperament, corrected and restrained by a cool
and sagacious judgment. Amid danger and disaster his character shone with
great lustre. It only remains to be added, that he was an exemplary model
in his faithful discharge of all the relative duties--a good son,
husband, and parent.

We entirely concur in the following observations of a writer in the
Edinburgh Review: "We bid a mournful farewell to the sufferings and
exploits of this illustrious man;--sufferings borne with an unaffected
cheerfulness of magnanimity, which must both exalt and endear him to all
who are capable of being touched with what is generous and noble in
character,--and exploits performed with a mildness and modesty and
kindness of nature, not less admirable than the heroic firmness and
ardour with which they were conjoined. In Mungo Park, we are not afraid
to say, that the world lost a great man--one who was well qualified, and
indeed has been, one of its benefactors. His travels are interesting, not
merely to those who care about Africa, or the great schemes to his zeal
for which he fell a martyr, but to all who take delight in the spectacle
of unbounded courage and heroic ardour, unalloyed with any taint of
ferocity, selfishness, or bigotry."

Park left behind him three sons and a daughter. Mungo, the eldest, became
an assistant-surgeon in India, and soon after died. Thomas, the second,
resembled his father both in appearance and disposition, and early
cherished the intention of obtaining certain information as to his
father's fate. He was a midshipman on board the Sybille; and having
obtained permission from the Lords of the Admiralty, set out on an
expedition into the interior. He landed at Acra in June 1827; but arrived
there only to die. Archibald, the youngest son, is a lieutenant in the
Bengal service. Park's daughter is the wife of Henry Wetter Meredith,
Esq. of Pentry-Bichen, Denbighshire. Park's widow is still living.

The following beautiful tribute to Mungo Park's memory appeared in
Blackwood's Magazine:--

_The Negro's Lament for Mungo Park_.


          Where the wild Joliba
            Rolls his deep waters,
          Sate at their evening toil
            Afric's dark daughters:
          Where the thick mangroves
            Broad shadows were flinging,
          Each o'er her lone loom
            Bent mournfully singing--
  "Alas! for the white man! o'er deserts a ranger,
  No more shall we welcome the white-bosomed stranger!


          "Through the deep forest
            Fierce lions are prowling;
          'Mid thickets entangling,
            Hyenas are howling;
          There should he wander,
            Where danger lurks ever;
          To his home, where the sun sets,
            Return shall he never.
  Alas! for the white man! o'er deserts a ranger,
  No more shall we welcome the white-bosomed stranger!


          "The hands of the Moor
            In his wrath do they bind him?
          Oh! sealed is his doom
            If the savage Moor find him.
          More fierce than hyenas,
            Through darkness advancing,
          Is the curse of the Moor,
            And his eyes fiery glancing!
  Alas! for the white man! o'er deserts a ranger,
  No more shall we welcome the white-bosomed stranger!


          "A voice from the desert!
            My wilds do not hold him;
          Pale thirst doth not rack,
            Nor the sand-storm enfold him.
          The death-gale pass'd by
            And his breath failed to smother,
          Yet ne'er shall he wake
            To the voice of his mother
  Alas! for the white man! o'er deserts a ranger,
  No more shall we welcome the white-bosomed stranger!


          "O loved of the lotus
            Thy waters adorning,
          Pour, Joliba! pour
            Thy full streams to the morning?
          The halcyon may fly
            To thy wave as her pillow;
          But wo to the white man
            Who trusts to thy billow!
  Alas! for the white man! o'er deserts a ranger,
  No more shall we welcome the white-bosomed stranger!


          "He launched his light bark,
            Our fond warnings despising,
          And sailed to the land
            Where the day-beams are rising.
          His wife from her bower
            May look forth in her sorrow,
          But he shall ne'er come
            To her hope of to-morrow!
  Alas! for the white man! o'er deserts a ranger,
  No more shall we welcome the white-bosomed stranger!"


_Tuckey, Peddie, and Gray's Expeditions_.

The fatal termination of Park's second journey by no means damped the
ardent desire of acquiring fresh knowledge concerning the interior of
Africa. The question as to whether the Niger finally proved to be
identical with the Congo, was undetermined; and Government resolved to
organize a large expedition for the purpose of deciding it. To attain
this object, there were to be two parties sent out, one of which was to
descend the Niger, and the other to ascend the Congo or Zaire river; and
if the hypothesis proved to be true, it was expected that both would form
a junction at a certain point. The expedition excited much interest, and
from the scale on which it was planned, and the talents of the officers
engaged in it, seemed to have a fair promise of success.

Captain Tuckey, an experienced officer, was to command the Congo
expedition; his party consisted of fifty seamen, marines, and mechanics,
with several individuals skilled in the various branches of natural
history. They sailed from Deptford in the middle of February 1816, and
arrived at Malemba about the end of June. The mafouk, or king's chief
minister of the place, gave them at first a cordial reception, but soon
showed hostility, when he learnt that they had no intention of purchasing
slaves. Soon after, they entered the Congo, which much disappointed their
expectations, on account of the shallowness of its channel. The river,
however, was then at a low ebb; its banks were marshy, and its waters
moved slowly and silently between forests of mangrove trees. The air was
filled with the discordant croak of innumerable parrots, diversified
somewhat by the notes of a few singing birds. As they proceeded, the
river, instead of diminishing, seemed to increase in volume. At Embomma,
much interest was excited among the natives, by the discovery that their
cook's mate was the son of a native prince. His arrival was the signal
for general rejoicing, and the enraptured father hastened to welcome his
heir. During the night the village resounded with music and songs. "Next
day the ci-devant cook appeared in all the pomp of African royalty, with
a tarnished silk embroidered coat, a black glazed hat with an enormous
feather, and a silk sash; he was carried in a hammock by two slaves, with
an umbrella over his head."

On the 27th July, Captain Tuckey was introduced to the Chenoo or
sovereign, who sat in full divan, with his councillors around him,
beneath a spreading tree, from the branches of which were suspended two
of his enemies' skulls. He was dressed in a most gaudy fashion. He could
not be made to comprehend the objects of the expedition, and for two
hours reiterated the two questions,--"Are you come to trade?" and "Are
you come to make war?" After he had exacted a promise that they would not
interfere with the slave-trade, a keg of rum was emptied with great
satisfaction by the monarch and his attendants.

On either bank of the river were ridges of rocky hills, which rapidly
became more and more contracted; at length they came to a cataract, where
its channel was almost entirely blocked up by the fall of huge fragments
of granite. The boats could go no farther, nor could they be carried over
the hills and deep ravines. The party were compelled to proceed by land,
and without a guide. They had frequently to sleep in the open air, the
evil effect of which soon became apparent in the sickness of the party.
At length, just when their progress became easier, on account of the
country being much more level, their health was so much injured, that
several of the principal members of the expedition were compelled to
return to the ship. Captain Tuckey, who had suffered much from fever,
felt a like necessity. At this crisis the baggage canoe sunk with the
greater part of their utensils on board; the natives continually annoyed
them, and seized every opportunity of plundering. They had great
difficulty in returning to the shore. Most of the naturalists died of
fever; and Captain Tuckey was cut off after reaching the coast.

The Niger expedition, consisting of 100 men, and 200 animals, was
commanded by Major Peddie. They sailed from the Senegal, and landed at
Kacundy. Major Peddie died before they set out, and the command devolved
on Captain Campbell. Before they had proceeded 150 miles from Kacundy,
the chief of the Foulahs obstructed their progress much, under pretence
of a war. A long time was lost in fruitless negociations; during which,
most of the beasts of burden died. They were compelled to return; and
Captain Campbell soon after died from vexation and disappointment.

In 1818, Captain Gray attempted to proceed by Park's route along the
Gambia; but being detained by the chief of Bondou, came back as soon as
he was released.

Undismayed by these repeated failures, the British Government still
endeavoured to promote the cause of African discovery. The Bashaw of
Tripoli, who had great influence with the inhabitants of Bornou, and the
other great African states, seemed favourable to the object, and promised
his protection. Mr. Ritchie was sent out, accompanied by Lieutenant Lyon
of the navy. In March 1819, they reached Fezzan. The sultan, who had
acquired great wealth by the slave-trade, deluded them with promises of
protection. Here they were detained by illness the whole summer. Mr.
Ritchie died on the 20th November 1819: and Mr. Lyon, after collecting a
little information concerning Fezzan, resolved to retrace his steps.


_Denham and Clapperton's Journey_.

Government resolved to send an expedition to Tripoli, across the Great
Desert, to Bornou, confiding in the friendly disposition of the Bashaw of
Tripoli, whose influence extended over a large part of Central Africa.
Major Denham, Lieutenant Clapperton of the Navy, and Dr. Oudney, a naval
surgeon, who possessed considerable knowledge of natural history, were
selected for this mission. They reached Tripoli about the middle of
November 1821, and were presented to the Bashaw, whom they found sitting
cross-legged on a carpet, surrounded by his guards; he ordered
refreshments to be brought, and afterwards invited them to attend a
hawking party.

On the 8th April 1822, they arrived at Mourzouk, and were civilly
received by the potentate of that place, who however did not shew any
great zeal in forwarding their arrangements. After various delays, Major
Denham returned to Tripoli to remonstrate with the Bashaw; and not
getting any satisfactory reply from him, set sail for England; but was
stopped at Marseilles, by a vessel sent by the Bashaw, to announce that
an agreement had been entered into with Boo Khaloom, a wealthy merchant,
who intended to travel across the Desert, and had promised to escort the

Boo Khaloom was a favourable specimen of that peculiar race, the Arab
caravan-merchants. The Arab trader travels with his merchandise over the
greater part of a continent; his home is wherever the human foot can
wander; he is exposed to the inhospitable desert and the burning sky. He
must be prepared to defend his property against the roving bands of
plunderers, and proceed at the head of a detachment of troops. Confiding
in the strength of his forces, and in reprisal of attacks, he is too
often tempted to add the gains of robbery to those of merchandise. He is
a slave dealer, and organizes expeditions to seize his unfortunate
victims. As the value of his goods is much heightened by conveyance
across the desert, in a few successful journeys he may acquire great
wealth and influence. He is a staunch Mahometan, and enslaves only the
enemies of the Prophet. He is fond of display, and when his wealth
abounds, emulates almost princely splendour. Boo Khaloom had some
virtue,--he was free from bigotry, and even humane for a slave-dealer,
and he was of a generous and honourable nature.

Major Denham travelled along a dreary route till he came to Sockna, into
which place Boo Khaloom resolved to enter in becoming state. He rode at
the head of his party on a beautiful white Tunisian horse, the saddle and
housings of which were ornamented with gold, attired in robes of rich
silk covered with embroidery. On the 30th December, Major Denham arrived
at Mourzouk, and was distressed to find his two companions much
indisposed. They set out from Mourzouk along with the caravan; the party
consisted of 210 Arabs, commanded by their respective chiefs, who cheered
the monotony of the way by tales and songs. The road lay along a sandy
uneven soil highly impregnated with salt, the track being worn down by
the footsteps of caravans. In these dreary regions no sound either of
insect or of bird was heard. After they left Mourzouk, the eye was
relieved at great distances, by the sight of small towns, situated in the
oases, or watered valleys, the lofty palm-trees of which served to guide
them. But these became gradually fewer, and after leaving Bilma, they
travelled for thirteen days without coming to any resting-place. During
the day the sun beat intensely upon them; but the nights were still and
beautiful. Cool and refreshing breezes played around the encampment, and
the moon and stars shone with great brilliancy. A soft couch was found by
removing the--sand to the depth of a few inches.

Soon after the desert presented horrors of a peculiar kind. The ground
was strewed with skeletons, sometimes fifty or sixty together. Fragments
of flesh and hair were still upon some of them. They were slaves whom
their conquerors had abandoned on finding their provisions run short. Two
female skeletons were found twined together,--they had expired in each
other's arms. One day Major Denham was roused from a reverie, by the
sound caused by a skeleton crackling under his horses hoofs. The Arabs
aimed blows at the limbs with their muskets, jesting at these melancholy
remains of mortality.

Their road lay between the two tribes of Tibboos and Tuaricks, and they
passed through the villages and settlements of the former. The Tibboos
carry on a traffic between Mourzouk and Bournou, and subsist chiefly on
camel's milk. They are of a gay disposition, and delight in dancing and
singing. Though black, they have not the negro features; and Denham says
that the females have some pretensions to beauty. They live in constant
dread of the Tuaricks, who often make hostile ravages upon them. The
unresisting and peaceful Tibboos, on their approach fly with their goods
to the summit of the rocks. The Tuaricks, again, in spite of their
constant feuds with the Tibboos, are hospitable and kind to strangers.
Though a wandering horde, and professing to look with contempt on all who
cultivate the soil, they are yet the only African tribe who possess an
alphabet; and they inscribe their records upon the faces of dark rocks
and stones.

About a mile from the little town of Bilma, the capital of the Tibboos,
they came to a spring of water surrounded by green turf, the last spot of
verdure they saw for thirteen days. They passed over loose hillocks of
sand, into which the camels sank knee-deep. Some of these hills were from
twenty to sixty feet in height, with almost perpendicular sides. The
drivers use great care as the animals slide down these banks; they hang
with all their weight upon the tails, to steady their descent; otherwise
they would fall forward, and cast their burdens over their heads. Dark
sand-stone ridges form the only landmarks among these billows of sand.

After a fortnight's travelling, vegetation once more appeared, in the
form of scattered clumps of herbage and stunted shrubs, the leaves of
which were most acceptable to the camels. Herds of gazelles crossed the
path, hyenas abounded, and the footsteps of the ostrich were perceived.
As they went on, the face of the country improved, the valleys became
greener, and the colocynth and the kosom, with its red flowers, were in
full bloom, "The freshness of the air, with the melody of the songsters
that were perched among the creeping plants, whose flowers diffused an
aromatic odour, formed a delightful contrast to the desolate region
through which they had passed." In the neighbourhood was a tribe--of the
Gunda Tiboos, who supported themselves and their horses chiefly on
camels' milk. The chief of this people was quite delighted by a coarse
scarlet robe and a small, mirror with which he was presented. During the
march, the natives committed several thefts upon the caravan, the members
of which in their turn could hardly be prevented from making reprisals.
At length they reached Lari, in the province of Kanem, the most northern
part of Bornou,--a place containing two thousand inhabitants, who dwell
in huts constructed of rushes, with conical tops. They had now reached an
important stage on their journey; for "the great lake Tchad, glowing with
the golden rays of the sun in its strength," appeared within a mile of
the elevated spot on which they stood. Next morning, Major Denham
hastened to the banks of this great inland sea. The shore was covered
with multitudes of water-fowl, which were so tame that they were not the
least alarmed by his presence. The lake swarmed with fish, which the
females caught easily by wading in a short way, and then driving them
before them to land.

They travelled by the margin of the lake, and came to a large town called
Woodie, which was inhabited by an exclusively negro population. In a few
days, an invitation was sent to them to visit the shiek of Bornou, at
Kouka. On their way, they passed the Yeou, a stream about fifty yards
broad, which flows into the lake. Two canoes, constructed of planks
fastened together with cords, and capable of holding about thirty men in
each, lay upon the banks, for the transport of goods and passengers. The
camels and horses swam across with their heads tied to the boats.

Three days afterwards, they arrived at Kouka, where the shiek of Bornou
resided. As they emerged from the forest which skirts the town, they saw
a large body of cavalry drawn up in lines on each side of the road, as
far as the eye could reach. As the Arab troops approached, the horsemen
of Bornou raised loud shouts, accompanied by the clamour of their rude
martial instruments. They then, in detached troops, galloped up to the
Arabs, and suddenly wheeled about, crying, "Blessing! blessing! sons of
your country! sons of your country!" shaking the spears over their heads.
The Bornouese crowded close upon them, and almost prevented them from
moving, till Barca Gana, the shiek's generalissimo, rode up upon a fine
Mandara steed, and ordered his troops to fall back. After some delay,
they were ushered into the presence of the chief of Bornou. He sat upon a
carpet, in a small dark room, which was ornamented with weapons of war,
and was plainly attired in a blue gown and shawl turban. He seemed to be
about forty-six years of age; his countenance was open, and conveyed the
idea of mildness and benevolence. He inquired, "What was their object in
coming?" They answered, "To see the country, and to give an account of
its inhabitants, produce, and appearance, as their sultan was desirous of
knowing every part of the globe." He replied that they were welcome, and
that he would give them every facility. He assigned to them some huts,
which they had no sooner entered than they were much incommoded by crowds
of visitors. They were most liberally supplied with provisions; besides
bullocks, camel loads of wheat and rice, butter, and honey, they had a
daily allowance of rice mixed with meat, and paste made of barley flour.
On a second interview, they delivered to the sheik the present intended
for him; he examined the gun and brace of pistols attentively, and seemed
much pleased with them. He was delighted when he was told that his fame
had reached the king of England, and said, "This must be in consequence
of our having defeated the Begharmies;" and one of his most distinguished
chiefs asked, "Did he ever hear of me?" "Certainly," was the reply; and
all the court exclaimed, "Oh, the king of England must be a great man!"
The sheik was much gratified by the present of a musical snuff-box, of
which he had previously expressed strong admiration. The whole populace
were afterwards gratified by a discharge of sky-rockets.

On the 2d March, the travellers set out to Birnie, to visit the sultan.
At this court it was the fashion for the grandees to emulate each other
in rotundity, and when the desired result could not be attained by high
feeding, they used wadding, and in spite of the sultry climate, put on a
vast number of garments, one over another. Surrounded by three hundred of
these great men, sat the sultan, enclosed in a species of cane basket
covered with silk, his features scarcely discernible beneath his huge
turban. The presents were received in silence.

The travellers departed for Kouka, passing Angornou, a city containing
thirty thousand inhabitants. The market of Angornou is held in the open
air, and is attended by immense crowds; the principal articles sold are
grain, bullocks, sheep, and fowls, together with amber, coral, and brass;
also young lions, which are kept as domestic pets.

The kingdom of Bornou is of great extent. Its chief physical feature is
the lake Tchad, which is about 200 miles in length, and 150 in breadth,
and is one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world, second only
in extent to the great inland seas of America. Its dimensions vary
according to the season; and during the rains, many miles of territory
previously dry, are submerged. This tract, covered with dense thickets,
and rank grass twice the height of a man, is the habitation of wild
beasts, "abounding with elephants of enormous dimensions, beneath whose
reclining bodies large shrubs, and even young trees were seen crushed;
tenanted also by lions, panthers, leopards, large flocks of hyenas, and
snakes of enormous bulk." These monsters of the wood are driven from
their fastnesses by the advancing waters, and seek their prey among the
dwellings of the natives. "At this period, travellers, and the persons
employed in watching the harvest, often fall victims; nay, the hyenas
have been known to carry walled towns by storm, and devour the herds
which had been driven into them for shelter."

The soil of Bornou is fertile, and though only turned up by the hoe,
yields pretty good crops of the small grain called _gussub_. Vast herds
of cattle abound. The only manufacture in which the people can be said to
excel, is that of cotton cloth died blue with indigo; pieces of which
constitute the current coin. The natives have the negro features in their
full deformity; they are simple, good-natured, ignorant, and fond of
wrestling and gaming. The military force is almost entirely composed of
cavalry, many of whom are well mounted, and defended by coats of mail.

Boo Khaloom had brought with him an extensive assortment of goods, which
he found he could not sell at Bornou. He therefore wished to dispose of
them at Soudan; but his followers were most anxious that he should make a
warlike excursion to the south, for the purpose of driving in a large
body of slaves. He reluctantly, and against his better judgment,
consented to proceed to the mountains of Mandara, and Major Denham,
against the advice of the sheikh, resolved to accompany the party, whose
numbers and strength were augmented by a large body of Bornou cavalry,
under the command of Barca Gana, the chief general.

They set out along an ascending road, which wound through a fertile
country, and passed several populous towns. The way was rough, and
overhung by the branches of the prickly _tulloh_, so that pioneers had to
go before with long poles to clear away obstructions. The troops sang the
praises of Barca Gana, crying, "Who is in battle like the rolling of
thunder? Barca Gana. In battle, who spreads terror around him like the
buffalo in his rage? Barca Gana." They soon reached the kingdom and
mountains of Mandara. In the valley are situated eight large and a number
of smaller towns, which are overhung by the mountains, the recesses of
which are inhabited by a numerous and barbarous tribe, called Kerdies or
Pagans, whom the Arabs and Bornouese consider as only fit to be enslaved.
The dwellings of this unfortunate people were visible in clusters upon
the sides and tops of the hills which tower above the Mandingo capital.
"The fires which were visible in the different nests of these
unfortunates, threw a glare upon the bold peaks and bluff promontories of
granite rock by which they were surrounded, and produced a picturesque
and somewhat awful appearance." The inhabitants of these wild regions
were clothed in the spoils of the chace, and subsisted chiefly on wild
fruits, honey, and fish. They knew the object of this expedition, and so
soon as they saw the advance of the hostile army, parties came down with
peace-offerings of leopard skins, honey, and slaves. The sultan of
Mandara used all his influence to persuade Boo Khaloom to attack some
strong Fellatah posts, and the latter unfortunately consented; his
followers were eager for the attack, the prospect of booty being held out
to them.

After passing through a verdant plain, they entered the heart of the
mountains, and every point as they advanced, disclosed to them heights of
rugged magnificence. The valleys were clothed with bright and luxuriant
verdure, and flowering parasitical plants wound along the trunks of
spreading trees. This beautiful spot, however, abounded in scorpions and
panthers. Next day they approached the Fellatah town of Dirkulla. Boo
Khaloom and his Arabs, with Barca Gana, and one hundred of his bravest
warriors, began the attack, while the rest hung behind, awaiting the
issue of the conflict. The Arabs gallantly carried two posts, and killed
many of the enemy. But the undaunted Fellatahs recovering from their
surprise, entrenched themselves within a strongly fortified place farther
up the hills, called Musfeia, in front of which were swamps and
palisades. The greater part of the soldiers remained without the range of
the arrows of the Fellatahs; who, being joined by fresh troops, and
seeing that their assailants were few in number, advanced to the attack,
discharging showers of poisoned arrows. Most of the Arabs were hurt;
their horses staggered under them; Boo Khaloom and his charger received
wounds which afterwards proved to be mortal. The Fellatah horse, taking
advantage of their confusion, dashed in amongst them; "and the chivalry
of Bornou and Mandara spurred their steeds to the most rapid flight."
Major Denham found himself in a desperate predicament. As the account of
his escape is one of the most interesting narratives of personal
adventure which we have ever read, we shall extract it in his own

"I now for the first time, as I saw Barca Gana on a fresh horse, lamented
my own folly in so exposing myself, badly prepared as I was for
accidents. If my horse's wounds were from poisoned arrows, I felt that
nothing could save me: however there was not much time for reflection. We
instantly became a flying mass, and plunged, in great disorder, into the
wood we had but a few hours before moved through with order, and very
different feelings. I had got a little to the westward of Barca Gana, in
the confusion which took place on our passing the ravine which had been
left just on our rear, and where upwards of 100 of the Bornouese were
speared by the Fellatahs, and was following at a round gallop the steps
of one of the Mandara eunuchs, who I observed kept a good look out, his
head being constantly turned over his left shoulder, with, a face
expressive of the greatest dismay--when the cries behind of the Fellatah
horse pursuing, made us both quicken our paces. The spur however had the
effect of incapacitating my beast altogether, as the arrow I found
afterwards had reached the shoulder bone, and in passing over some rough
ground he stumbled and fell. Almost before I was on my legs, the
Fellatahs were upon me; I had however, kept hold of the bridle, and
seizing a pistol from the holsters, I presented it at two of the
ferocious savages, who were pressing me with their spears: they instantly
went off; but another who came on me more boldly, just as I was
endeavouring to mount, received the contents somewhere in his left
shoulder, and again I was enabled to place my foot in the stirrup.
Remounted, I again pushed my retreat; I had not, however, proceeded many
hundred yards, when my horse again came down with such violence as to
throw me against a tree at a considerable distance; and alarmed at the
horses behind him, he quickly got up and escaped, leaving me on foot and

"The eunuch and his four followers were here butchered, after a very
slight resistance, and stripped within a few yards of me: their cries
were dreadful; and even now, the feelings of that moment are fresh in my
memory. My hopes of life were too faint to deserve the name. I was almost
instantly surrounded, and incapable of making the least resistance, as I
was unarmed, was as speedily stript; and whilst attempting first to save
my shirt and then my trowsers, I was thrown on the ground. My pursuers
made several thrusts at me with their spears, that badly wounded my hands
in two places, and slightly my body, just under my ribs, on the right
side. Indeed, I saw nothing before me but the same cruel death I had seen
unmercifully inflicted on the few who had fallen into the power of those
who now had possession of me; and they were only prevented from murdering
me, in the first instance, I am persuaded, by the fear of injuring the
value of my clothes, which appeared to them a rich booty,--but it was
otherwise ordained.

"My shirt was now absolutely torn off my back, and I was left perfectly
naked. When my plunderers began to quarrel for the spoil, the idea of
escape came like lightning across my mind, and without a moment's
hesitation or reflection, I crept under the belly of the horse nearest
me, and started as fast as my legs could carry me for the thickest part
of the wood. Two of the Fellatahs followed, and I ran on to the eastward,
knowing that our stragglers would be in that direction, but still almost
as much afraid of friends as foes. My pursuers gained on me, for the
prickly underwood not only obstructed my passage, but tore my flesh
miserably; and the delight with which I saw a mountain stream gliding
along at the bottom of a deep ravine cannot be imagined. My strength had
almost left me, and I seized the young branches issuing from the stump of
a large tree which overhung the ravine, for the purpose of letting myself
down into the water, as the sides were precipitous; when under my hand,
as the branch yielded to the weight of my body, a large _liffa_, the
worst kind of serpent this country produces, rose from its coil as if in
the very act of striking. I was horror-struck, and deprived for a moment
of all recollection--the branch slipped from my hand, and I tumbled
headlong into the water beneath; this shock, however, revived me, and
with three strokes of my arms I reached the opposite bank, which with
difficulty I crawled up, and then, for the first time, felt myself safe
from my pursuers.

"I now saw horsemen through the trees still farther to the east, and
determined on reaching them if possible, whether friends or enemies; and
the feelings of gratitude and joy with which I recognized Barca Gana and
Boo Khaloom, with about six Arabs, although they also were pressed
closely by a party of the Fellatahs, was beyond description. The guns and
pistols of the Arab shiekhs kept the Fellatahs in check, and assisted in
some measure the retreat of the footmen, I hailed them with all my might,
but the noise and confusion which prevailed from the cries of those who
were falling under the Fellatah spears, the cheers of the Arabs rallying,
and their enemies pursuing, would have drowned all attempts to make
myself heard, had not Maramy, the shiekh's negro, seen and known me at a
distance. To this man I was indebted for my second escape; riding up to
me, he assisted me to mount behind him, while the arrows whistled over
our heads; and we then galloped off to the rear as fast as his wounded
horse could carry us. After we had gone a mile or two, and the pursuit
had something cooled, in consequence of all the baggage having been
abandoned to the enemy. Boo Khaloom rode up to me, and desired one of the
Arabs to cover me with a bornouse. This was a most welcome relief, for
the burning sun had already begun to blister my neck and back, and gave
me the greatest pain. Shortly after, the effects of the poisoned wound in
his foot caused our excellent friend to breathe his last. Maramy
exclaimed, 'Look, look! Boo Khaloom is dead!' I turned my head, almost as
great an exertion as I was capable of, and saw him drop from the horse
into the arms of his favourite Arab; he never spoke after. They said he
had only swooned; there was no water, however, to revive him, and about
an hour after, when we came to Makkeray, he was past the reach of

"About the time Boo Khaloom dropped, Barca Gana ordered a slave to bring
me a horse, from which he had just dismounted, being the third that had
been wounded under him in the course of the day. His wound was in the
chest. Maramy cried, "_Sidi rais!_ do not mount him, he will die." In a
moment, for only a moment was given me, I decided on remaining with
Maramy. Two Arabs, panting with fatigue, then seized the bridle, mounted,
and pressed their retreat. In less than half an hour he fell to rise no
more, and both the Arabs were butchered before they could recover
themselves. Had we not now arrived at the water, as we did, I do not
think it possible that I could have supported the thirst by which I was
consuming. I tried several times to speak in reply to Maramy's directions
to hold tight, when we came to breaks or inequalities in the ground; but
it was impossible, and a painful straining at the stomach and throat was
the only effect produced by the effort.

"On coming to the stream, the horses, with blood gushing from their
nostrils, rushed into the shallow water, and, letting myself down from
behind Maramy, I knelt down amongst them, and seemed to imbibe new life
by copious draughts of the muddy beverage which I swallowed. Of what
followed I have no re-collection, Maramy told me afterwards that I
staggered across the stream, which was not above my hips, and fell down
at the foot of a tree on the other side. About a quarter of an hour's
halt took place here for the benefit of stragglers, and to tie poor Boo
Khaloom's body on a horse's back, at the end of which Maramy awoke me
from a deep sleep, and I found my strength wonderfully increased: not so,
however, our horse, for he had become stiff, and could scarcely move. As
I learned afterwards, a conversation had taken place about me while I
slept, which rendered my obligations to Maramy still greater. He had
reported to Barca Gana the state of his horse, and the impossibility of
carrying me on, when the chief, irritated by his losses and defeat, as
well as at my having refused his horse, by which means, he said, it had
come by its death, replied, 'Then leave him behind. By the head of the
Prophet! Believers enough have breathed their last today. What is there
extraordinary in a Christian's death?' My old antagonist Malem Chadily
replied, 'No. God has preserved him, let us not forsake him!' Maramy
returned to the tree, and said, 'His heart told him what to do.' He awoke
me, assisted me to mount, and we moved on as before."

In this fatal conflict forty-five of the Arabs, besides their chief,
fell. Most of the rest were wounded, and had lost their camels, and been
stripped of their property. They were obliged to depend upon the bounty
of Barca Gana for subsistence.

Major Denham also accompanied the Bornou troops on an expedition against
the Mungas. He passed through what had been a fertile country, but which
was then depopulated by war. They saw thirty ruined towns, whose
inhabitants had been carried away as slaves. They passed on their route
old Birnie, the ancient capital of the country, the ruins of which
covered six miles; and also Gambarou, which was dignified by the ruins of
a palace and two mosques. The Munga warriors, struck with dismay at the
approach of so strong a force, submitted, and came in hundreds to the
camp, falling prostrate upon the ground, and casting sand upon their

On the 23rd of January, 1824, Major Denham, accompanied by Mr. Toole, who
had travelled across the desert to join the expedition, resolved to visit
the Shary, a wide river flowing into the lake Tchad, through the kingdom
of Loggun. When they came to Showy, they saw the river, which is a noble
stream, half a mile broad; they sailed a considerable length down this
river, the banks of which were adorned with forests, and fragrant with
the odour of numerous aromatic plants. They traced it forty miles, and
saw it flowing "in great beauty and majesty past the high walls of the
capital of Loggun." This city was handsome and spacious, having a street
as wide as Pall Mall, on either side of which were large habitations,
with enclosures in front. Here Denham was introduced to the sultan. After
passing through several dark rooms, he was conducted to a large square
court filled with people. A lattice-work of cane, before which two slaves
fanned the air, was removed, and "something alive was discovered on a
carpet, wrapped up in silk robes, with the head enveloped in shawls, and
nothing but the eyes visible. The whole court prostrated themselves, and
poured sand on their heads, while eight frumfrums, and as many horns,
blew a loud and very harsh-sounding salute." The presents were received
in almost perfect silence, the potentate only muttering a few
unintelligible words. The people manufactured cloth of a very superior
kind, and iron coins were in circulation. The females, though handsome
and intelligent, were inquisitive and dishonest; and, upon the whole, the
natives were of a jealous and revengeful disposition. The country is
fertile, abounding in grain and cattle; but the atmosphere is filled with
tormenting insects.

[Illustration: Manner of Fishing in the River Yewn]

Major Denham passed the river Yeou, and describes the mode of fishing
pursued by the inhabitants on its banks, from which they derive a very
considerable source of revenue. "They make very good nets of a twine spun
from a perennial plant called _kalimboa_. The implements for fishing are
ingenious, though simple: two large gourds are nicely balanced, and then
fixed on a large stem of bamboo, at the extreme ends; the fisherman
launches this on the river, and places himself astride between the
gourds, and thus he floats with the stream, and throws his net. He has
also floats of cane, and weights of small leather bags of sand: he beats
up against the stream, paddling with his hands and feet, previous to
drawing the net, which, as it rises in the water, he lays before him as
he sits; and with a sort of mace, which he carries for the purpose, the
fish are stunned by a single blow. His drag finished, the fish are taken
out, and thrown into the gourds, which are open at the top, to receive
the produce of his labor. These wells being filled, he steers for the
shore, unloads, and again returns to the sport."

On this journey Mr. Toole sank under disease and fatigue. He was interred
in a deep grave, overhung by a clump of mimosas in full blossom. Above
was placed a high pile of prickly thorns, to protect his remains from the

Mr. Tyrwhit, who had been sent out by Government, joined the party on the
20th May. Major Denham and this gentleman accompanied Barca Gana on an
expedition, against the La Sala Shouas, a kind of "amphibious shepherds,"
who dwell in a number of green islands on the south-eastern shores of the
Lake Tchad, the channels between which are so shallow, that, in spite of
the bottom being filled with mud and holes, the experienced traveller can
pass them in safety. Here Barca Gana, though at the head of 1400 men, was
inclined to pause; but his troops could not be restrained when they saw
the flocks and herds of the La Salas feeding peacefully on the opposite
shores. They cried out, "What! shall we be so near them, and not eat
them? This night these flocks and women shall be ours." They plunged into
the water, but were soon entangled in the holes and mud of the narrow
passes. The La Salas, too, were on the alert, poured showers of arrows
upon them, and pushed forward their cavalry. The Arabs were totally
discomfited, and Barca Gana was wounded in the back through his chain

In this excursion Major Denham obtained some acquaintance with the Shouaa
Arabs, also called Dugganahs, a simple and pastoral race, whose principal
sustenance is the milk of their herds. They dwell in tents of leather
arranged in circular encampments; they wear long beards, and their
countenances are serious and expressive. Tahr, the chief, after strictly
examining into the motive of his journey, said, "And have you been three
years from your home? Are not your eyes dimmed with straining to the
north, where all your thoughts must ever be? If my eyes do not see the
wife and children of my heart for ten days, they are flowing with tears
when they should be closed in sleep." At his departure, Tahr said, "May
you die at your own tents, and in the arms of your wife and family!"

The shores of the lake are infested by the Biddoomabs, a piratical tribe
who lurk in the many islands scattered upon its ample bosom. They are
rude and savage in their manners, despising cultivation: and possessing
nearly a thousand canoes, they spread terror and desolation along the

This was the last warlike expedition which Major Denham accompanied; and
while his zeal for discovery is commendable, yet he seems to have acted
most injudiciously in exposing himself to danger, for the sake of
acquiring a cursory and superficial knowledge (all that his opportunities
enabled him to do) of certain parts of the country.

During the time that Major Denham was engaged in these excursions, we
have mentioned that Mr. Clapperton and Dr. Oudney obtained permission to
travel westward into Soudan. At Murmur Dr. Oudney expired. The territory
of the Fellatahs was under better cultivation than any part of Africa
which they had seen. In five weeks they came to Kano, the great emporium
of Houssa, and indeed of Central Africa, which contains about 30,000
stationary inhabitants, in addition to the migratory crowds, who repair
to it with merchandise from the farthest quarters of Africa. The walls
are fifteen miles in circumference, but only a fourth part of this
surface is covered with houses. The list of goods sold in the market is
varied and extensive, comprising clothing of all kinds made from the
cloth of the country, unwrought silk, Moorish and Mameluke dresses,
pieces of Egyptian linen striped with gold, sword-blades from Malta,
antimony and tin, glass and coral beads, ornaments of silver, pewter, and
brass, &c. besides cattle, vegetables, and fruits. But the chief feature
is the slave market, where the unfortunate beings are ranged, according
to their sex, in two long rows. The cowrie, so frequently mentioned in
Park's Travels, is here the chief medium of circulation. The city is very
unhealthy, owing to the great quantity of stagnant water enclosed within
the walls; many of the Arab merchants of the place are described as
looking rather like ghosts than men. The number of those who have lost
their sight is great, and there is a separate quarter of the town
assigned to them.

From Kano they departed for Sockatoo, which is a well built city, laid
out in regular streets, and containing a large number of inhabitants. The
palace was merely a large enclosure, consisting of a multitude of straw
huts separated from each other. The sultan was away on a _ghrazzie_ or
slave-hunt, but returned next day, and sent for the English traveller.
After being conducted through three huts, which served as guard-houses,
Clapperton was ushered into a fourth, somewhat larger than the rest,
supported on pillars painted blue and white. Sultan Bello had a
prepossessing and noble appearance, with a fine forehead, and large black
eyes. He appeared to be much pleased with the various presents laid
before him, expressing particular satisfaction at the sight of a compass
and spy-glass. He evidently possessed an enlarged and inquisitive mind;
was acquainted with the use of the telescope, named the planets and many
of the constellations, and was much struck with the quadrant, which he
called the "looking-glass of the sun." He desired that some of the
English books should be read to him, that he might hear the sound of the
language, which he admired much.

Sockatoo is surrounded by a wall about twenty-five feet high, with twelve
gates, which are closed at sunset. There are two large mosques, one of
which is about 800 feet long, built in rather a handsome style, and
adorned with wooden pillars. There is a spacious market-place. The
principal inhabitants live in clusters of flat-roofed cottages, built in
the Moorish style, and surrounded by high walls.

The sultan dissuaded Clapperton from his intention of journeying to the
western countries and the Gulf of Benin; giving him an account of the
dangerous and indeed almost impracticable nature of the route.
Clapperton, therefore, resolved to return. Before he departed, he
received an account of Park's death, which nearly coincided with the
statement of Amadi Fatouma. He passed through Kashna, which before the
rise of the Fellatahs, had been the most powerful kingdom in Africa its
power having extended from Bornou to the Niger. It still carries on a
considerable traffic with the Tuaricks. On the 8th July, he reached
Kouka, where he was joined by Major Denham, and both returned in safety,
after having suffered much in their harassing march across the desert.


_Clapperton's Second Journey_.

Encouraged by the discoveries made by Denham and Clapperton, and by the
safe return of two members of the mission, government resolved to send
out another expedition. Captain Clapperton, Captain Pearce, a good
draftsman, and Mr. Morrison, a naval surgeon, were the gentlemen selected
for this enterprize. They landed at Badagry about the beginning of
December 1825, and set out on their journey on the 7th. At the outset,
they were so imprudent as to sleep in the open air, in consequence of
which Morrison and Pearce were attacked with fever, and Clapperton with
ague. On the 23d, Morrison set out on his return to the ship, but died
before he reached it. On the 27th, Captain Pearce died; and Clapperton
was left to pursue his journey, attended only by Richard Lander, his
faithful and attached servant (whose name has been since associated with
the discovery of the Niger's termination), and Pascoe, an African.

After proceeding sixty miles into the interior, they reached the kingdom
of Yarriba or Eyeo. The soil is fertile, and well cultivated, yielding
abundant harvests of Indian corn, millet, yams, and cotton. The females
are industrious, and were frequently seen carrying burdens, spinning
cloths, and dyeing them with indigo. Here they met with a much better
reception than at Houssa, where they had been looked upon as Caffres, and
enemies of the Prophet; the negroes of Eyeo, on the contrary, regarded
them as beings of almost a superior order. At the entrance to each town,
they were greeted by thousands, with every demonstration of respect, and
the night of their arrival was sometimes spent by the natives in

Their route now lay through a romantic range of hills, "the passes of
which were peculiarly narrow and rugged, hemmed in by gigantic blocks of
granite six or seven hundred feet high, sometimes fearfully overhanging
the road." Every level spot along the bottom, and even in the cliffs of
the mountains, bore crops of yams, millet, and cotton. Lander describes
one of the lovely spots that so beautifully relieved the sterner
magnificence of the rocks. "At noon we descended into a delightful
valley, situated in the bottom of a ridge of rocks, which effectually hid
it from observation till one approached almost close to it. It was
intersected with streams and rills, the elegant palm, and the
broad-leaved banana, covered with foliage, embellishing the sheltered and
beautifully romantic spot. In the centre was a sheet of water, resembling
an artificial pond, in which were numbers of young maidens from the
neighbouring town of Tschow, some of them reposing at full length on its
verdant banks, and some frisking and basking in the sun-beams, whilst
others were bathing in the cool waters." After leaving the mountains, the
travellers came to Tschow, a walled town of considerable size. As the
road was infested with robbers, they here procured an escort from the
king of Yarriba, consisting of 200 horsemen, and 400 warriors on foot,
armed with spears, bows, and arrows. The troops were dressed in a
grotesque fashion, some wearing gaudy robes, while others were in rags.
The whole cavalcade had a wild and romantic appearance as it wound along
the narrow and crooked paths, to the sound of rude instruments of music.

At noon, they came in sight of the city of Kakunda, picturesquely
situated at the foot of a mountain, and surrounded with trees. After
riding nearly five miles through the streets, pressed upon by the escort,
and almost stunned by the noise of the musicians, the weary travellers at
length reached the palace. The king sat under a verandah, with two
umbrellas spread above him, surrounded by above 400 of his wives, and
many of his chief men. He was dressed in two long cotton robes, decorated
with strings of glass beads, with a pasteboard crown, covered with
cotton, upon his head. They dismounted at about 20 yards distance, and
walked up close to the monarch, who rose and cordially shook hands with
them, repeatedly vociferating, "Ako! ako!" which means, "How do you do?"
at which his chief men and wives gave loud cheers. A house was assigned
to the English, and each day they received a plentiful supply of

Under various pretences they were detained at this place for the space of
seven weeks. The Quorra or Niger was only about thirty miles distant to
the eastward; but though the king had promised to afford them every
facility for reaching it, one delay took place after another. He
endeavoured to deter them by false accounts of the dangerous nature of
the route, in consequence of an alleged incursion of the Fellatahs, and
insurrection of the Houssa slaves. At last, however, he suffered them to
set out, by the kingdom of Borgoo, towards Houssa.

They now entered the Borgoo country. They passed several villages which
had been pillaged and burnt by the Fellatahs; indeed, the whole country
bore testimony to the ravages of war. Lander gives a spirited account of
an adventure which happened to him in this part of the country. "We left
a village at four o'clock in the afternoon; and the horse on which I rode
being in better condition than the others, I was considerably in advance
of the rest of the party, when the animal came to a sudden halt, and all
my endeavours could not make him proceed. There he stood like a block of
marble, keeping his eye riveted on something that was approaching us, and
I had scarcely time to consider what it could be, when a fine antelope
bounded before me with incredible swiftness, and in the next moment two
huge lions, with mane and tail erect, crossed the path but a couple of
yards from the horse's head, almost with equal speed, and covered with
foam. A tremendous roar, which made the forest tremble, informed me in
another minute that the lions had overtaken their prey; but the
sudden--and unexpected appearance of these ferocious animals startled me
as much as it had intimidated the horse before, and I hastened back to
the party, my poor beast trembling violently the whole of the way.
Fortunately the lions, which were male and female, were so eager in the
chase that both the horse and its rider were unobserved by them,
otherwise it might have gone hard with me, for I saw not the slightest
chance of escaping. We halted in the woods that night; but fancying every
sound I heard was the roaring of a lion, I could not compose myself to

Kiama, the next city at which they arrived, contains 80,000 inhabitants.
The king came to meet Clapperton, attended by a singular train. He rode
upon a handsome steed, followed by an admiring crowd; six young girls,
each flourishing spears, and who had only a fillet on their heads, ran by
his side as he galloped on. "Their light form, the vivacity of their
eyes, and the ease with which they appeared to fly over the ground, made
them appear something more than mortal." When the king entered the hut in
which the travellers sat, these damsels, having deposited their weapons
at; the door, and attired themselves in blue mantles, came in and waited
upon him.

They now crossed a river which was said to have its source in Nyffe, and
to flow into the Niger above Rakah. It abounded in alligators. The
scenery in the neighbourhood is said to be very fine. "Our ears," says
Lander, "were ravished by the warbling of hundreds of small birds, which,
with parrots and parroquets, peopled the branches of the trees in the
vicinity of the stream, whose delightful banks were thereby overshadowed;
and the eye met a variety of beautiful objects,--groves of noble trees,
verdant hills, and smiling plains, through which the river winded,
carrying fertility and beauty in its course, and altogether forming a
rich and charming landscape." They then arrived at Wa-wa, a large city,
through which the Houssa caravans pass, and which has a population of
15,000. The inhabitants are dissolute and extravagant, spending all their
money in drinking and festivity. The ladies were very attentive to the
English, especially a fat widow called Zuma, who even pressed marriage
upon Clapperton, after she had exhibited to him all her wealth. She
afterwards gave him a good deal of trouble by following him on the
journey at the head of a band of armed attendants, and he rejoiced much
when he finally got rid of her.

On their way to Comie, they visited Boussa, the scene of Park's tragical
end. The natives were extremely reserved upon the subject, but what they
told, bore out in every particular Amadi Fatouma's account. They said
that the attack was caused by the English having been mistaken for an
advanced guard of Fellatahs, who were then devastating Soudan. The King
of Boussa received Clapperton and Lander with great kindness. Here they
found boats lying ready for them, with a message from the Sultan of
Youri, requesting a visit, and promising, if they consented, to deliver
up some books and papers of Mungo Park, which he said he had in his
possession. Clapperton's arrangements, however, prevented him from paying
this visit.

They crossed the Niger, and on entering the kingdom of Nyffe, beheld
proofs of the effects of civil war. Two princes had struggled for the
ascendency, one of whom, by obtaining the help of the Fellatahs, had
overcome the other. As Clapperton travelled towards the camp of the
conqueror, he saw nothing but ruined villages, and plantations overgrown
with weeds. "This African camp consisted of a number of huts like
beehives, arranged in streets, with men weaving, women spinning, markets
at every green tree, holy men counting their beads, and dissolute slaves
drinking; so that, but for the number of horses and armed men, and the
drums beating, it might have been mistaken for a populous village." After
journeying along the banks of the Mayyarrow, and passing a walled village
called Gonda, they entered Coulfo, which is the most considerable
market-town in Nyffe. It is enclosed by a high wall, with a deep and
broad ditch beyond it, and contains about 16,000 resident inhabitants.
Markets are held daily, and a great variety of articles of native and
foreign manufacture are exposed for sale. Traders resort in vast numbers
from Bornou and Sockatoo to the north-east, and the sea-coast to the
west, with the produce of their respective countries. The inhabitants are
professedly Moslems, but are by no means bigoted in their belief. The
greater part of the traffic is carried on by the females, many of whom
possess great wealth.

Clapperton next passed through several independent states, one of which
mustered a force of 1000 cavalry.

He next came to the Fellatah district of Zeg-Zeg, one of the most
beautiful and fertile parts of Central Africa. The fields bore luxuriant
crops of grain; rich meadows abounded, and groves of tall trees waved
upon the hills. Thence he went to Kano, which he found in a state of
great commotion, a war having sprung up between the king of Bornou and
the Fellatahs. Having left his baggage at this place, he proceeded to the
residence of Sultan Bello, with the presents intended for that potentate.
He saw bodies of troops on their way to attack Coonia; the soldiers had a
peculiar appearance as they passed by the lakes formed by the river
Zurmie; he thus describes the scene:--"The borders of these lakes are the
resort of numbers of elephants and other wild beasts. The appearance at
this season, and at the spot where I saw it, was very beautiful; all the
acacia trees were in blossom, some with white flowers, others with
yellow, forming a contrast with the small dusky leaves, like gold and
silver tassels on a cloak of dark green velvet. I observed some fine
large fish leaping in the lake. Some of the troops were bathing, others
watering their horses, bullocks, camels and asses: the lake was as smooth
as glass, and flowing around the roots of the trees. The sun, on its
approach to the horizon, throws the shadows of the flowery acacias along
its surface, like sheets of burnished gold and silver. The smoking fires
on its banks, the sounding of horns, the beating of their gongs or drums,
the braying of their brass and tin trumpets, the rude hut of grass and
branches of trees rising as if by magic, everywhere the cries of Mohamed,
Abdo, Mustafa, &c. with the neighing of horses, and the braying of asses,
gave animation to the beautiful scenery of the lake, and its sloping
green and woody banks."

The army, amounting to 50,000 men, under the sultan's command, surrounded
the walls of Coonia. The account which Clapperton gives of the action
which then took place is curious, "After the midday prayers, all except
the eunuchs, camel drivers, and such other servants as were of use only
to prevent theft, whether mounted or on foot, marched towards the object
of attack, and soon arrived before the walls of the city. I also
accompanied them, and took up my station close to the Gadado. The march
had been the most disorderly that can be imagined; horse and foot
intermingling in the greatest confusion, all rushing to get forward;
sometimes the followers of one chief tumbling amongst those of another,
when swords were half unsheathed, but all ending in making a face, or
putting on a threatening aspect. We soon arrived before Coonia, the
capital of the rebels of Goobur, which was not above half a mile in
diameter, being nearly circular, and built on the bank of one of the
branches of the rivers or lakes, which I have mentioned. Each chief, as
he came up, took his station, which, I suppose, had previously been
assigned to him. The number of fighting men brought before the town could
not, I think, be less than fifty or sixty thousand, horse and foot, of
which the foot amounted to more than nine-tenths. For the depth of two
hundred yards all round the walls, was a dense circle of men and horses.
The horse kept out of bow-shot, while the foot went up as they felt
courage or inclination, and kept up a straggling fire, with about thirty
muskets and the shooting of arrows. In the front of the Sulfcaa, the
Zeg-Zeg troops had one French fusil: the Kano forces had forty-one
muskets. These fellows, whenever they fired their pieces, ran out of
bow-shot to load; all of them were slaves: not a single Fellatah had a
musket. The enemy kept up a sure and slow fight, seldom throwing away
their arrows, until they saw an opportunity of letting fly with effect.
Now and then a single horseman would gallop up to the ditch, taking care
to cover himself with his large leather shield, and return as fast as he
went, generally calling out lustily when he got among his own party,
'Shields to the wall!' 'You people of the Gadado or Atego,' &c, 'why
don't you hasten to the wall?' To which some voices would call out, 'Oh!
you have a good large shield to cover you!' The cry of 'Shields to the
wall!' was constantly heard from the several chiefs to their troops; but
they disregarded the call, and neither chiefs nor vassals moved from the
spot. At length the men in quilted armour went up. They certainly cut not
a bad figure at a distance, as their helmets were ornamented with black
and white ostrich feathers, and the sides of the helmets with pieces of
tin, which glittered in the sun, their long quilted cloaks of gaudy
colours, reaching over part of the horses' tails, and hanging over their
flanks. On the neck, even the horses' armour was notched or vandyked, to
look like a mane; on his forehead and over his nose, was a brass or tin
plate, as also a semi-circular piece on each side. The rider was armed
with a large spear and he had to be assisted to mount his horse, as his
quilted cloak was too heavy; it required two men to lift him on, and
there were six of them belonging to each governor, and six to the Sultan.
I at first thought the foot would take advantage of going under cover of
these unwieldy machines; but no, they went alone as fast as the poor
horses could bear them, which was but a slow pace. They had one musket in
Coonia, and it did wonderful execution, for it brought down the foremost
of the quilted men, who fell from his horse like a sack of corn thrown
from a horse's back at a miller's door, but both horse and man were
brought off by two or three footmen. He had got two balls through his
breast: one went through his body and both sides of the robe, the other
went through and lodged in the quilted armour opposite the shoulders."

Clapperton was desired by the sultan to repair to Sockatoo, where he
found the same house in which he had formerly lodged prepared for his
reception. He resided there six months, harassed by disappointment, and
worn down by severe illness. No farther was this gallant and intrepid
traveller to be permitted to advance; in the midst of his discoveries he
was to be cut down, his dying couch tended by none but his faithful and
kind companion and servant, the depth and fidelity of whose attachment is
attested by the affectionate manner in which he speaks of his master.

The feelings of the natives and of the king seemed to have undergone a
most unfavourable change towards the travellers. The Africans entertained
some vague suspicion, that the King of England, in sending the white men
to their country, had some sinister object in view. A letter had reached
the sultan from Bornou, intimating, that in sending missions to Africa,
the English were acting in the same manner as they had done, in order to
subdue the Indian princes, and even advising that Clapperton should be
put to death. Bello evidently put some faith in this ridiculous
assertion. He seized Clapperton's baggage, under the pretence that he was
conveying arms and warlike stores to the sultan of Bornou, and ordered
Lord Bathurst's letter to that prince to be given up to him. Clapperton's
remonstrances against this unfair treatment were vain; grief preyed upon
his ardent spirit, and though the sultan, some time afterwards began to
treat him more favourably, this returning kindness came too late. He was
attacked with dysentery, brought on by a cold, caught by lying down under
a tree on soft and wet ground, when fatigued and heated with walking.
"Twenty days," says Lander, "my poor master continued in a low and
distressed state. His body, from being robust and vigorous, became weak
and emaciated, and indeed was little better than a skeleton." Towards the
beginning of April, his malady increased in violence. His sleep was short
and disturbed, broken by frightful dreams. One day he called Lander to
his bedside, and said, "Richard, I shall shortly be no more,--I feel
myself dying." Almost choked with grief, Lander replied, "God forbid, my
dear master,--you will live many years yet." "Do not be so much affected,
my dear boy, I entreat you," said he; "it is the will of the Almighty,
and cannot be helped." Lander promised strict attention to his directions
concerning his papers and property. "He then," says Lander, "took my hand
within his, and looking me full in the face, while a tear stood
glistening in his eye, said in a low but deeply affecting tone; 'My dear
Richard, if you had not been with me I should have died long ago; I can
only thank you with my latest breath for your kindness and attachment to
me; and if I could have lived to return with you, you should have been
placed beyond the reach of want; but God will reward you.'"

He lingered a few days, and even seemed to rally a little. But on the
morning of the 13th April, Lander was alarmed by hearing a peculiar
rattling sound in his throat. He called out "Richard," in a low and
hurried tone. Lander hastened to his side, and found him sitting upright,
and staring wildly around. He clasped his master in his arms, and felt
his heart palpitating violently; he leant his head upon his shoulder to
catch his last words, but only "some indistinct expressions quivered on
his lips, and as he vainly strove to give them utterance, his heart
ceased to vibrate, and his eyes closed for ever." Bello permitted Lander
to bury the body near a village about five miles from the town. The
grave was dug by two slaves, and Lander, having saddled his camel, placed
the body upon it, covered it with the British flag, and having reached
the grave, read over it the funeral service of the Church of England,
"showers of tears" falling from his eyes upon the book. He then gave the
natives a sum of money to erect a shed over the spot, to preserve it from
the wild beasts.

Lander returned in sadness from the grave of that master to whom he was
so justly attached. Bello allowed him to depart, and he resolved to make
his way to the coast by the negro countries. In spite of the limited
nature of his resources, he even attempted the solution of the great
problem of the Niger's termination. He proceeded to Kano, and struck off
to the eastward of his former route, passing on his way several towns,
the inhabitants of which all treated him kindly. He travelled through the
beautiful plain of Cuttup, which contains five hundred little villages,
situated near to each other, and surrounded by groves of trees, among
which towered the plantain, the palm, and the cocoa-nut. The sun shone
brightly upon the numerous hamlets; the oxen, cows, and sheep, presented
a picture of comfort and peace; and the air was filled with the song of
birds. Thence he proceeded to Dunrora, and conceived that a few days
farther journey would enable him to attain his object, when four armed
men, mounted on foaming steeds, dashed into the town, and ordered him
immediately to return to the king of Zeg-Zeg. He was obliged to journey
back by his former route. After being exposed to various dangers from the
enmity of the Portuguese slave-traders on the coast, he embarked on the
13th February, and reached England on the 30th April 1828.


_Laing and Caillie_.

At the same time that Clapperton undertook his second journey, Major
Laing, who had on a former excursion penetrated a little way into the
interior, attempted to reach Tombuctoo, from Tripoli, across the desert,
by Ghadamis. In the midst of the desert, the party with whom he travelled
was attacked during the night by a formidable band of Tuaricks; and
Laing, having received twenty-four wounds, was left for dead. He
afterwards recovered by the care of his companions, though several
splinters of bone were extracted from his head. Undismayed by this
unpropitious accident, he after a short delay resumed his journey, and
reached Tombuctoo on the 18th August, 1826. There he resided for a month,
during which several letters from him reached England. He described the
city as every way equal, except in size, to his expectation. It was not
above four miles in circumference. During his short residence, he had
collected much valuable information concerning the geography of Central
Africa. He was obliged to depart in consequence of instructions reaching
the governor of the city that the Christian must instantly remove. He
accordingly engaged a merchant, called Barbooshi, to guide him to the
coast. Before he had advanced three days journey from Tombuctoo, the
treacherous Moor murdered him at night, and seized his baggage and
journal. His papers were reported to have been carried to Tripoli; but
they have never since been recovered.

[Illustration: Burial of Clapperian.]

[Illustration: Body Guard, of the Sheik, of Bornoiu.]

The next traveller was a Frenchman, M. Caillie, who, after having
previously resided some years at Senegal, returned to Africa in 1824.
Disguised as a Mahomedan, he departed for the interior on the 19th of
April, 1827, and arrived at Tangier in safety in the following August.
His countrymen rewarded him with a pension and the cross of the legion of
honour, and claimed for him a high place among distinguished travellers.
Doubts have been thrown upon the authenticity of his narrative, some
having gone so far as to say that the greater part of it is a
fabrication. Many errors have been detected in it, particularly with
regard to the observation of the heavenly bodies; but this may have
arisen from ignorance. It is now generally agreed that his account is
entitled to consideration; especially as in the present state of our
knowledge concerning Africa there is not sufficient ground to disprove
it. At all events, his want of education and defective observation
prevent him from laying any claims to accuracy.

M. Caillie travelled along with a caravan of Mandingoes through a steep
and rocky district, diversified however, at intervals, with picturesque
views, and in many places in a state of comparative cultivation. At the
village of Couroussa he first saw the Niger, which was already about ten
feet deep. He remained a month at Kankan, which contains about 6000
inhabitants, and has a well-supplied market. To the north of it lies the
district of Boure, which abounds in gold. He then came to Time, the
country around which is fertile, producing many different species of
fruits and vegetables. M. Caillie was here detained by illness for five
months. After which he accompanied a caravan for Jenne; and on the 10th
March crossed the Niger, which appeared to be about 500 feet broad at
that point. On the 23rd March he embarked on the Joliba, in a
slight-built vessel, fastened together by cords, and of about 60 tons
burden. On the 2nd April they came to the place where the river widens
into the great lake Dibbe. They then passed through a country thinly
peopled by Foulah herdsmen, and bands of roving Tuaricks. In a few days
he came to Cabra, the port of Tombuctoo, which consists of a long row of
clay huts, thatched with straw. It contains about 1200 inhabitants, who
are solely employed in conveying merchandize from the vessels to

On the 20th April M. Caillie entered Tombuctoo. His feelings at the sight
of this celebrated city were those of disappointment. Perhaps in his
wanderings he had fed his imagination with dreams of a flourishing and
splendid capital reared amid the waste. He thus describes it:--"The
spectacle before me did not answer my expectation. At first sight it
presents but a heap of houses, neither so large nor so well peopled as I
expected. Its commerce is less considerable than is stated by public
report, a great concourse of strangers coming from every part of Soudan.
I met in the streets only the camels coming from Kabra. The city is
inhabited by negroes of the Kissour nation. They form the principal
population. The city is without any walls, open on all sides, and may
contain 10,000 or 12,000 inhabitants, including the Moors." The houses
are built of brick; and there are seven mosques, the principal one of
great size, having a tower fifty feet high. The city depends exclusively
on trade, which is entirely in the hands of the Moors. The chief article
of commerce is salt, which is dug out of the mines of Sahara; but other
articles, both of European and native manufacture, are likewise sold. The
goods are embarked for Jenne, and bartered for gold, slaves, and
provisions. The city is surrounded with plains of moving sand. "The
horizon is of a pale red. All is gloomy in nature. The deepest silence
reigns--not the song of a single bird is heard."

On the 4th May, M. Caillie departed from Tombuctoo, and in a few days
arrived at Aroan, a town containing 3000 inhabitants, on the route to
which neither herb nor shrub was seen; and their only fuel was the dung
of camels. On the 19th May he prepared to cross the desert, along with a
large caravan. Scarcely a drop of water could be found, and many of the
wells were dried up. "Before us appeared a horizon without bounds, in
which our eyes distinguished only an immense plain of burning sand,
enveloped by a sky on fire. At this spectacle the camels raised long
cries, and the slaves mournfully lifted up their eyes to heaven." They
suffered much from thirst during this dreary march, and their strength
was almost exhausted before they reached the springs of Telig. After many
days harassing toil, they came to the frontiers of Morocco, and M.
Caillie, having crossed the Atlas, contrived to make his way to Tangier.


_Lander's Journey_.

In the preceding chapter the reader must have admired the fortitude and
resolution manifested by Lander, when, after the death of Clapperton, he
had to travel to the coast alone. His attempt to reach the Niger shewed
that his disposition was ardent and enterprising, and that, but for
untoward circumstances, he would have effected his object. On his return
to England, he again offered his services to government, and accompanied
by his brother John, embarked from Portsmouth on the 9th January 1830,
and reached Cape Coast Castle on the 22d of the following month.

Having hired several native attendants, one of whom, called Pascoe, was
well qualified to act as an interpreter, the travellers sailed to
Badagry, and landed on the 22d. They resided some days at this place, the
chief being unwilling to part from them till he had obtained as presents
almost every article which he coveted. As if in contrast with the beauty
of the country, the inhabitants of Badagry are a dissolute, sensual, and
greedy race. While they resided in the town, the Landers were invited to
visit the spot where the Mahomedans perform some of their religious
rites. Two Mussulmen guided them to the place, which was about a mile
distant. They came to a bare space of sandy ground, surrounded with
trees; here they found the Mussulmen engaged in prostration and ablution.
Each group as it arrived, was received with flourishes of musical
instruments. Every one was clad in his best apparel. "Loose robes, with
caps and turbans, striped and plain, red, blue, and black, were not
unpleasingly contrasted with the original native costume of fringed
cotton thrown loosely over the shoulders, and immense rush hats.
Manchester cloths, of the most glaring patterns, were conspicuous amongst
the crowd; but these were cast in the shade, by scarfs of green silk
ornamented with leaves and flowers of gold, and aprons covered with
silver spangles." No sooner were the religious ceremonies finished, than
there was a general discharge of fire-arms; and clarionets, drums, and
strings of bells betokened the joy felt on the occasion.

The soil of Badagry is fertile, and consists of a layer of fine white
sand over loam, clay, and earth; the sand is so deep as to render walking
difficult. The inhabitants depend for subsistence on fishing, and the
cultivation of the yam and Indian corn. They fish with nets and spears,
and also with a peculiarly formed earthen pot, which they bait with the
palm nut. The more wealthy possess bullocks, sheep, goats, and poultry.
The houses, which are neatly constructed of bamboo, and thatched with
palm leaves, contain several rooms; almost all have yards attached to
them, to the cultivation of which some little attention is paid.

On the night of the 31st March they set sail from Badagry in the chief's
war canoe, which was about forty feet long, and propelled by poles. The
banks of the river were low, covered with stunted trees; and a
slave-factory and fetish hut were the only buildings visible. At
intervals, at a winding of the river, they saw "a noble and solitary
palm-tree, with its lofty branches bending over the water's edge." At
this point, the atmosphere is loaded with pestilential miasmata. For a
considerable way the water is almost hid by a profusion of marine plants,
but these gradually disappear, and the boughs of beautiful trees hang
over the banks, and screen the travellers from the sun's rays. A number
of aquatic birds resort to this place; and the ear is absolutely stunned
with the noise of parrots and monkeys. They landed, and walked on to Wow,
which is an extensive town. After passing through several villages, their
route lay through woods and patches of open ground, till they came to a
beautiful and romantic glen in the very heart of a wood. It abounded in
butterflies, whose shining wings displayed an infinity of colours.

The Landers now followed nearly the same route which Clapperton had
pursued on his second journey. On the 6th April, they arrived at Jenne,
where they were well received by the governor, who had recently been
appointed to his office by the king of Badagry. The inhabitants are
industrious and temperate, living chiefly on vegetable food. The chief
labour, however, is devolved upon the females, who carry merchandize from
place to place upon their heads, and bear with great patience their heavy
burdens. Their path continued to lie through a most beautiful and fertile
region, covered with exuberant vegetation. With the slightest attention
and care, the soil would yield an abundant return; but the people are
satisfied if they merely supply the cravings of nature, contenting
themselves with slightly turning up the ground with the hoe. As they left
Chouchow, a delightful morning following a rainy night, caused the
flowers and shrubs to exhale delicious perfumes. On each side of the path
were granite mountains of irregular shapes, the tops of which were
covered with trees, and in the hollows of their slopes were clusters of
huts. A great number of birds frequented the valley, and the delightful
notes of a few were strangely contrasted with the harsh and discordant
croaking of others. "The modest partridge appeared in company with the
magnificent Balearic crane, with his regal crest; and delicate humming
birds hopped from twig to twig with others of an unknown species; some of
them were of a dark shining green; some had red silky wings and purple
bodies; some were variegated with stripes of crimson and gold; and these
chirped and warbled from among the thick foliage of the trees."

They arrived at Katunga on the 18th May, and immediately had an interview
with king Mansolah. His head was ornamented with a turban resembling in
shape a bishop's mitre, to which many strings of coral were attached.
"His robe was of green silk, crimson silk damask, and green silk velvet,
which were all sewn together like pieces of patchwork. He wore English
cotton stockings, and neat leathern sandals of native workmanship. A
large piece of superfine light blue cloth, given him by the late Captain
Clapperton, served as a carpet." The monarch, after some hesitation,
granted them permission to visit Botissa and the neighbourhood, and said
he would dispatch a messenger to the neighbouring princes, to facilitate
the progress of the travellers through their dominions. The city had a
melancholy and cheerless aspect; the walls had fallen to decay, and the
streets were nearly deserted.

After passing Kushee, the travellers were joined by a Borgoo _fatakie_,
or company of merchants. Their route lay through a vast and lonely
forest, infested by robbers. At one opening a band of twenty marauders
armed with lances and bows and arrows, appeared from behind the trees,
and stationed themselves in the middle of the path before the men who
carried the baggage, who were much frightened, and seemed disposed to
throw down their burdens and run away. But when Richard Lander presented
his gun at their leaders, their courage failed, and they took to flight.
On the road to Kiama, the appearance of the country was completely
changed, and the road lay through a vast tract of mountain forest, the
haunt of savage animals. The crossing of a narrow brook introduced them
to a people speaking a different language, of different manners and creed
from those of Yarriboo. Lander gives the following account of the first
night which they spent in this new territory:--"We occupy a large round
hut, in the centre of which is the trunk of a large tree, which supports
the roof; it has two apertures for doors, above which are a couple of
charms, written in Arabic. It is now eleven P.M.; our attendants, with
several of their fellow-travellers, are reposing on mats and skins, in
various parts of the hut. Bows and arrows, and quivers ornamented with
cows' tails, together with muskets, pistols, swords, lances, and other
weapons, are either hanging on the wall or resting upon it. The scene is
wild and singular. Outside our hut it is still more striking. There
though it rains and thunders, the remainder of the _fatakie_, consisting
of men, women, and children, are sitting on the ground in groups, or
sleeping near several large fires, which are burning almost close to the
hut, whilst others are lying under the shelter of large spreading trees
in its immediate vicinity. Their only apparel is drawn over their half
naked persons; their weapons at their sides, and their horses are grazing
near them." After entering Kiama, they were introduced to King Yarro, who
sat by himself upon a heap of buffalo hides; the walls of the apartment
were ornamented with portraits of George IV. the Duke of York, the Duke
of Wellington, and Lord Nelson; opposite to these were suspended horse
accoutrements, and on each side were scraps of paper, on which were
written sentences from the Koran. On the floor lay a confused heap of
muskets, lances, and other weapons. The king assigned to them a dwelling
near the palace. The travellers had one day the gratification of
witnessing an African horse-race. The entertainment was preceded by the
ceremonies of Mahometan devotion. The head Mallam read a few pages from
the Koran, after which a sheep was sacrificed; the blood was then poured
into a calibash, and the king and some of his subjects washed their hands
in it, and sprinkled the drops on the ground. After this a few old
muskets were discharged, and the king and his chiefs rode about the
ground, armed, and in gay attire. It was evening before the races
commenced, which were attended by a joyful and noisy crowd. The monarch
and his guards came upon the ground in procession, mounted on handsome
steeds. The horses and their riders soon appeared. The men wore turbans
of blue and white cotton, red morocco boots, and robes of every possible
hue. The horses were gaily caparisoned, and had strings of bells hanging
from their necks. The signal for starting was given, and they set off at
full gallop. "The riders brandished their spears, the little boys
flourished their cows' tails, the buffoons performed their antics,
muskets were discharged, and the chief himself, mounted on the finest
horse on the ground, watched the progress of the race, while tears of
delight were starting from his eyes. The race was well contested, and
terminated only by the horses being fatigued, and out of breath."

On the 5th June they left Kiama, and arrived at a large town called
Kakafungi. The inhabitants are a good-humoured and civil race, often
amusing themselves at night by dancing in the moonlight to the sound of a
large drum. The road from this place was marked by many foot-prints of
wild beasts; but the travellers only saw a few antelopes, which
immediately took to flight. No trees defended them from the burning sun,
and they could scarcely proceed from weakness. They saw the sun set
behind some magnificent clouds, whilst they had yet a great way to go;
and the narrow foot-path, overgrown with bushes and rank grass, was
hardly discernible by the light of the moon. In the afternoon, all had
been silent in the forest; but at night the jackal, the hyena, and the
baboon had forsaken their retreats, and mingled their dismal howl with
the chirping of innumerable insects.

They reached Boussa on the 17th June. The appearance of the Niger at this
place disappointed them much. "Black rugged rocks rose abruptly from the
centre of the stream, causing strong ripples and eddies on its surface."
At its widest part, the Niger here did not exceed a stone-cast in
breadth. They sat on the rock which overlooks the place where the
intrepid Park was murdered. The Landers recovered from one of the natives
a robe, of rich crimson damask, covered with gold embroidery, which the
natives said had belonged to Mr. Park. The king's drummer, with whom they
lodged, told them, that there was in the country a book which had also
belonged to the white man. A few days afterwards, the king came to the
house, followed by a man, who carried under his arm a book wrapped in a
large cotton cloth. "Our hearts beat high with expectation, as the man
was slowly unfolding it, for by its size we guessed it to be Mr. Park's
journal; but our disappointment was great, when, on opening the book, we
discovered it to be an old nautical publication of the last century." It
consisted chiefly of tables of logarithms, and between the leaves were a
few loose papers of very little consequence.

In a few days, a canoe was ready for their voyage up the Niger to
Yaoorie. The canoe was of great length, and constructed of two blocks of
wood sewn together with a thick cord, under which a quantity of straw was
placed, both inside and out, to prevent the admission of water. Still it
was leaky and insecure. The direction of that branch of the river which
flows past Boussa is nearly east and west, and they had to descend the
stream for some distance, in order to get into its main branch, where
there was deeper water. The river then flowed from north to south,
through a fertile country, and its channel was more than a mile in width.
The branches of spreading and majestic trees almost met the water's edge;
ripe grain waved upon the banks; large villages were frequently seen; and
herds of spotted cattle grazed beneath the shade. Canoes, laden with
sheep and goats, and propelled by women, frequently passed them; and
aquatic birds skimmed over the smooth and glassy surface.

During the following day, the river gradually widened to two miles, and
though in many places shallow, was in other parts deep enough to float a
frigate. By the afternoon, however, the beauty of the scene was entirely
gone; the banks were composed of black and rugged rocks, and the course
of the river was frequently intercepted by sand-banks and low islands. On
the following morning, the channel became so much obstructed, that, at
one part, they were obliged to land in order to lighten the canoe, which,
after much trouble, was lifted over a ridge into deeper water. Though
they often struck upon concealed rocks and sandbanks, yet the canoe, from
its peculiar structure, seemed to sustain little damage. At length,
however, these difficulties were surmounted, and they came to the
termination of all the islands, beyond which they were assured there was
no farther danger to navigators. At this point, the river "presented its
noblest appearance; not a single rock nor sand-bank was perceptible; its
borders resumed their beauty, and a strong refreshing breeze, which had
blown during the whole of the morning, now gave it the motion of a
slightly agitated sea." They landed at a village about eight miles
distant from Yaoorie, where they found their horses and attendants
waiting for them. Here one of the Landers obtained from an Arab a gun
which had belonged to Mr. Park, in exchange for his own.

The walls of Yaoorie are between thirty and forty miles in circuit; but
this space encloses clusters of huts, with pasture grounds and corn
fields. The land is fertile, and produces excellent crops of rice. Yet it
must be very unhealthy, for it is in many places swampy, and exposed to
inundation. The sultan's residence is substantially built, and two
stories in height; most of the other houses are built in a circular form.
The place has rather a pleasing appearance, being adorned by many clumps
of trees. The soil is cultivated by a peaceable, industrious, half
servile tribe, called the Cumbrie, who are often subjected to much

On the 1st August, they paid a farewell visit to the sultan before
proceeding on their return to Boussa. They were ushered into a large,
gloomy, and uncomfortable apartment, through which naked girls and boys
were constantly passing, carrying dirty calibashes in their hands, and
swallows flew about the room in all directions. The sultan sat upon a
platform covered with faded damask, and smoked a pipe of huge dimensions.
Next day they departed, travelling in a direct line towards the river
Cubbie. They embarked in two canoes, each about twenty feet long, and
constructed of a single log. After they had sailed for about four miles,
the Cubbie fell into the Niger. They took a different channel from that
by which they had before ascended, and reached Boussa on the 5th. They
now determined to proceed to Wowow, to purchase a canoe better fitted for
navigating the Niger. They arrived at Wowow on the 12th, and had a
favourable interview with the old chief. They then returned to Boussa to
complete their preparations, but the arrival of the vessel was delayed,
under various pretexts, until past the middle of September.

Early in the morning of the 20th, however, their goods were embarked in
two canoes, and they set off. Some of their Boussa friends implored a
blessing upon them before they started. They had not proceeded far before
they found that the smaller of the two canoes was so unsafe, that they
were compelled to lighten it much. After passing several towns of
considerable size, they reached a large and beautiful island called
Patashie, very fertile, and adorned with groves of lofty palm-trees. One
of the Landers went to Wowow to procure better canoes, while the other
remained on the island with the baggage. At length they succeeded in
their object, and were again borne along the river. For some time they
met with no obstacle; but at one part they came to a reef of rocks, to
clear which they had to proceed through a very narrow channel, overhung
with the branches of trees, and more than half filled with rushes and
tall grass. Soon after passing into the main river, they landed at the
town of Lever, or Layaba, which contains a great number of inhabitants,
and was then in the hands of the Fellatahs; here they remained till the
4th October. The river at this place ran deep, and was free from rocks.
Its width varied from one to three miles; the country on each side was
flat, and a few insignificant villages were scattered at intervals along
the banks. Yet at a little distance farther on, the banks were again
overshadowed by large trees, the openings of which disclosed a fertile,
and apparently populous country.

Near Bajiebo, they noticed several large canoes of a peculiar build, the
bottom being of a single tree, and built up with planks to a considerable
height. Upon these, sheds thatched with straw, were erected, which served
the people for dwellings. Beyond this place the Niger separated into
large branches, and the travellers went on by the eastward one; after
they had passed an island, these again united.

After passing a high hill of curious granite rock, they came to a double
range of rocky mountains, near which was a small village, where the
canoe-men were exchanged. The hills are gloomy and romantic, fringed in
some parts with stunted shrubs, which overhang deep precipices; they are
haunted by wild beasts and birds of prey. In the very middle of the river
a rocky island, called Mount Kesa, rose to the height of nearly 300 feet,
and its steep sides had an imposing appearance.

They next passed the island of Belee; the sound of music was heard, and
an ornamented canoe appeared, conveying an important personage, called by
the sounding title of "the King of the Dark Water," who conducted them to
his "island-domain," which is called Zagoshi, and is situated in the
midst of the Niger. It is fifteen miles long, and three broad; its mud
surface, which is frequently overflowed, lies almost on a level with the
water, and is so soft, that even in the floors of the huts, a slender
cane could be thrust down to any depth. Yet it is well cultivated, and
productive; and its manufactures are superior to those of Nyffe; the
cloth especially is reckoned the best in Africa. Wooden vessels, mats,
shoes, horse trappings, and rude agricultural instruments, are likewise
made. The travellers saw many natives plying their various occupations in
the open air. The chief of the place possesses a naval force of 600

Opposite Zagoshi, on the eastern shore of the river, stands Rabba, the
largest and most flourishing city of Nyffe. The surrounding territory is
fertile, and produces large crops of grain; the people possess many
flocks and herds. The travellers' stock of goods to be exchanged for
provisions was now so nearly exhausted by the delays they had met with,
and the extortions of the chiefs and natives, that they began to be in
difficulties, and were compelled to part with several valuable articles,
and among the rest with Mungo Park's robe.

Before they left Zagoshi, they exchanged their two canoes for one, which
appeared more commodious, and better adapted for the navigation of the
river. It was fifteen feet long, and four broad, perfectly strait, and
flat-bottomed. They had not gone far, however, when the canoe began to
leak, and they discovered that it had been patched up in many places,
After they had paddled about thirty miles, they were in great danger from
the hippopotami, which rose very near to them, and came "snorting,
splashing, and tumbling all round the canoe." They fired a shot or two,
but the noise only called up more of these unwieldy monsters to the
surface. The boatmen, who had never before been exposed in a canoe to
such huge and formidable beasts, trembled with fear and apprehension, and
absolutely "wept aloud; their terror was not a little increased by the
dreadful peals of thunder that burst over their heads, and the awful
darkness that prevailed, which was only broken at intervals by vivid
flashes of lightning. We were told that they frequently upset canoes in
the river, when every one in them is sure to perish. They came so close
to us, that we could reach them with the butt-end of a gun." To add to
their terror, as the night advanced the storm increased. The wind was so
furious, that it dashed the water several times over the sides of the
canoe, so that she was nearly filled. The little vessel became almost
unmanageable; at length, however, they got to a bank about the centre of
the stream, and fastened the boat to a thorny tree. The weather became
calmer at midnight, after which the rain descended in torrents,
accompanied with terrific thunder and lightning. They were obliged
constantly to bale. Next morning they perceived several mountains, which
were so elevated and distant, that their blue summits could scarcely be
distinguished from the clouds. They were of the most varied shapes, and
appeared to form part of a regular mountain chain. After having passed
the island of Gungo, which contains about 100 inhabitants, they were
again exposed to danger on the river, which was so agitated, that the
canoe was "tossed about like a cocoa-nut shell." The only method by which
they could escape sinking, was by pulling it among the Tushes on the
banks, which was effected after much labour and difficulty. No sooner did
they conceive themselves safe, than a huge crocodile rose up close to the
canoe, plunging near it with much violence: one blow from him would have
split it to pieces. Shortly after they came to a place where the current
rushed with the impetuosity of a torrent over a broad sand bank; they
were carried along with irresistible velocity, and the canoe struck
against the roof of a hut which was covered with water.

They now passed the mountains which they had observed on the preceding
day; they were flat table mountains, and appeared to be not far distant
from the bank. One or two were entirely barren, while a few were most
fertile, being covered with corn up to the very summits; they rest
displayed only stunted vegetation. Several villages, surrounded by groups
of tall trees, were situated at their foot. On the 19th October, they
arrived at Egga, a large handsome town, behind a deep morass. It is
upwards of two miles in length, and the people carry on a great trade. A
large number of canoes, laden with merchandize, lie beside the town, and
many of the natives reside in them. Half of the population is Mohammedan.
When they left this place, they were informed that in their farther
progress towards the sea, they would pass through states of an entirely
different character, inhabited by fierce and lawless people, from whom
both their lives and property would be exposed to peril. The friendly
natives exhorted them to return, or at least if they were determined to
persevere, to pass, if possible, the towns by night.

After they had left Egga, the banks of the river assumed a pleasing
appearance, and were adorned with numerous villages. The Landers observed
a number of canoes, built in the same manner as those of the Bonny and
Calabar rivers, which confirmed them in the opinion that they were
approaching the sea. The natives of one village, when they saw them,
sounded their war-cry, and flew to arms; but their hostility was speedily
exchanged for friendship, when the object of the travellers was
explained. Their next halting-place was Kacunda, which consists of four
large villages, at a considerable distance from each other. The river
here changes its direction to the N.N.E., which the main branch keeps
till it reaches the sea. About forty miles below Kacunda, its volume is
increased by the influx of the Tshadda; at the place of the junction the
river is about three or four miles in breadth, and the Landers saw
numerous canoes floating upon it. They passed a large city, but neither
landed, nor held any communication with the inhabitants; they were
afterwards told that it was called Cuttumcurafee, and was a place of
considerable traffic.

Some days afterwards the apprehension of a storm induced them to land,
and to erect an awning of mats under the shade of a palm-tree. No
habitation was seen, but the place had evidently been resorted to by a
great number of people. Three of the men, however, who had gone in search
of firewood, suddenly came upon a village, but saw only some women, who
fled in terror from the strangers, and alarmed their male relatives, who
were at work in the fields. They returned to the party, who did not
anticipate any danger from this strange occurrence, till one of the
negroes suddenly cried out, "War is coming! oh, war is coming!" A fierce
band of men, armed with spears, cutlasses, muskets, and bows and arrows,
rushed towards the little encampment. Resistance was vain against such an
overwhelming force, and the only resource of the travellers was to adopt
pacific measures. They threw down their useless weapons, and walked
forward boldly towards the chief. The natives seemed determined to attack
them; the chief's "quiver was dangling at his side, his bow was bent, and
an arrow which was pointed at their breasts, already trembled on the
string. But just as he was about to pull the fatal cord, a man that was
nearest him rushed forward and stayed his arm. At that instant we stood
before them, and immediately held forth our hands; all of them trembled
like aspen-leaves; the chief looked up full in our faces, kneeling on the
ground; light seemed to flash from his dark rolling eyes, his body was
convulsed all over, as though he were enduring the utmost torture, and
with a timorous, yet undefinable expression of countenance, in which all
the passions of our nature were strangely blended, he drooped his head,
eagerly grasped our proffered hands, and burst into tears. This was a
sign of friendship; harmony followed, and war and bloodshed were thought
of no more." His followers showed equal delight. They gave repeated
shouts, thrust their arrows into their quivers, fired off their muskets,
shook their spears, danced, laughed, sung, and cried in succession, and
in short behaved like madmen. The chief sat down on the turf, with the
Landers on each side of him, while his men stood around leaning on their
weapons. Employing an interpreter who understood the Haussa language, the
chief stated, that he had taken them for a hostile party, who meditated a
midnight attack upon the village, to carry away the inhabitants as
slaves, but that his heart had relented when he saw them approach in
peaceful and friendly guise, and that he had thought that they were
"_children of heaven_" who had dropped from the skies. "And now," said he
"white men, all I ask is your forgiveness." "That you shall have most
heartily," said the travellers, shaking hands with him cordially; and
they internally returned thanks to God for this signal preservation.

Fifty miles farther on, they came to Damugoo, the chief of which place
gave them a very kind reception, and sent a canoe, manned by some of his
subjects to accompany and guide them to the coast. Yet he was a
tyrannical despot, and told the travellers to cut off the heads of his
people, if they annoyed them by crowding to see them. Here they saw
manifest traces of European intercourse; the natives wore Manchester
cottons, and the chief presented the travellers with a case bottle of
rum, a liquor which they had not tasted since they left Kiama.

About a mile from Damugoo, they saw two streams which appeared to be
branches of the Niger; one of which came from the eastward, while the
other flowed from the westward. At the junction formed by this latter
branch with the river, they saw a large town, called Kirree, in front of
which lay a great number of canoes. They appeared to be very large, and
had flags flying at the end of long bamboo canes. The travellers passed
without molestation; but in a short time came in contact with a fleet of
fifty war canoes, each of which had a six-pounder lashed to the stern,
and the crews were well provided with muskets. From their masts fluttered
a great number of European flags of various nations, among which the
British union bore a prominent place; some had also figures on them of a
man's leg, chairs, tables, decanters, glasses, &c. The crews were chiefly
dressed in European clothing. As the travellers came up separately, the
canoes of each were attacked and plundered. Their lives were in jeopardy,
and at length they were compelled to proceed to the town of Kirree. Here,
however, several of the well-disposed and more respectable inhabitants
espoused their cause, and that part of the stolen property which could be
recovered was ordered to be restored. It was at last decided that they
should be brought down the river, and placed at the disposal of Obie, the
king of the Eboe country. During the attack, Richard Lander's journal was
lost, but his brother John's notes were fortunately preserved. The most
valuable part of their property was likewise gone, and among the rest
their wearing apparel, Mr. Park's gun, all their other weapons, their
compass and thermometer, and their cowries and needles, so that they were
left completely destitute.

As the Landers were carried down the river, the country on the banks
completely changed its appearance, being low and swampy, covered with
vast entangled forests, which completely concealed the towns and
villages, of whose existence the travellers were nevertheless apprised by
the number of inhabitants who came to the beach to trade with the
canoemen. The people subsisted chiefly on the produce of the banana, the
plantain, and the yam, and on the fish which they caught in the river.
The chief article of traffic was palm-oil.

As they drew near to Eboe, they sailed through a large lake on the river,
which branched out into three broad streams, which take different
directions towards the south-west; whence they felt assured that they
were rapidly approaching the termination of the river's course in the
Gulf of Guinea. The pleasure which they felt in the hope of soon solving
the mysterious problem which had been hid for so many ages, was however
damped by the thought of their precarious situation, and the hostile
reception which they might meet with at Eboe.

They came to an extensive morass, intercepted by narrow channels in every
direction. Passing through one of these, they got into clear water, and
arrived in front of Eboe town. Here they found hundreds of canoes, some
of which were much larger than any they had hitherto seen, being
furnished with sheds and awnings, and affording habitations to a great
number of the people, who constantly reside in them. The travellers say
that one of these canoes, hollowed out of a single trunk, may accommodate
seventy individuals. The houses of the people of Eboe are of a superior
kind, and are constructed of yellow clay plastered over, thatched with
palm leaves, and surrounded by plantations. The people are a savage and
dissolute race, and the bad expression of their countenances is a true
index of their character.

King Obie determined to detain the Landers till he could extort a large
sum for their ransom. He demanded the sum of twenty _bars_ (each equal to
one slave or a cask of palm oil). The travellers had the prospect of
being detained for an indefinite period, had not King Boy of Brass-town,
Obie's son-in-law, undertaken to pay the amount, and convey them to the
coast, on condition of receiving a guarantee for thirty-five bars, being
determined to retain the difference as profit for his trouble. King Boy
then went to the mouth of the river with Richard Lander, John being left
at Brass-town. The English brig Thomas, commanded by Captain Lake, was
then lying at anchor in the Nun, and Richard Lander went on board, in the
hope that Lake would advance the sum, which was sure to be repaid by the
British Government. He, however, had no sympathy towards his distressed
countrymen, and peremptorily refused to grant them any assistance, and
King Boy was with difficulty prevailed upon to bring John Lander to the
brig, Richard trusting that the hard-hearted captain would by that time
relent. Both brothers were now on board, and were employing all the means
in their power to induce Lake to consent to the arrangement; but in place
of doing so, he set sail, leaving King Boy to exclaim against what he no
doubt considered the treachery of the travellers. The British Government,
however, afterwards caused King Boy to be paid more than the sum which he
had stipulated for.

The Landers suffered much discomfort on board the vessel from the
tyrannical and harsh behaviour of Lake; and they encountered a severe
storm in crossing the bar of the river Nun. On the 1st of December, they
landed at Fernando Po, where they experienced great friendship and
hospitality from the British residents. Thence they found a passage home
in the Carnarvon, and arrived at Portsmouth on the 10th June 1831.

The great problem of African geography was now solved, and the
enterprising travellers met with the praise so justly due to their
sagacity, prudence, and fortitude. "For several hundred miles of its
lower course, the river was found to form a broad and magnificent
expanse, resembling an inland sea. Yet must the Niger yield very
considerably to the Missouri and Orellana, those stupendous rivers of the
new world. But it appears at least as great as any of those which water
the old continents. There can rank with it only the Nile, and the
Yang-tse-Kiang, or Great River of China. But the upper course of neither
is yet very fully established; and the Nile can compete only in length of
course, not in the magnitude of its stream, or the fertility of the
regions. There is one feature in which the Niger may defy competition
from any river, either of the old or new world. This is the grandeur of
its Delta. Along the whole coast, from the river of Formosa or Benin to
that of Old Calabar, about 300 miles in length, there open into the
Atlantic its successive estuaries, which navigators have scarcely been
able to number. Taking its coast as the base of the triangle or Delta,
and its vertex at Kirree, about 170 miles inland, we have a space of
upwards of 25,000 square miles, equal to the half of England. Had this
Delta, like that of the Nile, been subject only to temporary inundations,
leaving behind a layer of fertilizing slime, it would have formed the
most fruitful region on earth, and might have been almost the granary of
a continent. But, unfortunately, the Niger rolls down its waters in such
excessive abundance, as to convert the whole into a huge and dreary
swamp, covered with dense forests of mangrove, and other trees of
spreading and luxuriant foliage. The equatorial sun, with its fiercest
rays, cannot penetrate these dark recesses; it only exhales from them
pestilential vapours, which render this coast the theatre of more fatal
epidemic diseases than any other, even of Western Africa. That human
industry will one day level these forests, drain these swamps, and cover
this soil with luxuriant harvests, we may confidently anticipate; but
many ages must probably elapse before man, in Africa, can achieve such a
victory over nature."[29]

  [29] Edinburgh Review, vol. 55.


_The Steam Voyage of the Quorra and Alburkah_.

The peculiar characteristic of British enterprise is in general its
practical tendency; wherever a way is opened which promises to afford a
competent return for labour and even hazard, the path is pursued; and
though the advantage may not be immediately held out, the experiment is
nevertheless made. Notwithstanding that the remarkable voyage of which we
are about to give some account, failed in effecting the desired end,
enough was done to shew the possibility of establishing commercial
intercourse between Britain and Interior Africa, when due care and
management are employed in the choice of that season of the year when the
influence of the climate is comparatively little felt.

Some Liverpool merchants being desirous of opening a trade with the
countries on the banks of the Niger, by the exchange of British
manufactures for native produce, fitted out two steam boats: one of
which, the Quorra, was of 150 tons, and of the ordinary construction;
while the other, the Alburkah, was only of 57 tons. The latter vessel was
entirely iron-built, with the exception of her decks; her bottom was 1/4
of an inch in thickness, her sides from 3/18 to 1/8 of an inch. She was
seventy feet in length, 13 in beam, 6-1/2 in depth, and had an engine of
16-horse power. The great inconvenience apprehended from the vessel was,
that from her construction, the crew would suffer much from heat; but so
far from this having been the case, the iron, being an universal
conductor, kept her constantly at the same temperature with the water. To
these vessels was added the Columbine, a sailing brig of 150 tons, which
was intended to remain at the mouth of the river, to receive the goods
brought down by the steam-boats.

Richard Lander volunteered his valuable services to this expedition,--the
last in which he was destined to take part; Messrs. Laird and Oldfield,
with a considerable number of Europeans also embarked. They left England
about the end of July 1832, and arrived off the Nun on the 19th of
October, after having touched at Sierra Leone, Cape Coast Castle, and
other settlements, to lay in provisions, and secure the services of some

  [30] The Kroomen inhabit the country which extends along the coast,
    from Simon River to Capes Palmas and Lahoo; they voluntarily engage
    themselves in bands to aid the crews of vessels.

Having safely moored the brig, they proceeded to unload the merchandize
on board of her, and to transfer it to the steam-vessels. They then began
to sail up the Nun branch of the Niger. This part of the river is most
unhealthy; it is one entire swamp, covered with mangrove, cabbage, and
palm trees. "The fen-damp rose in the morning cold and clammy to the
feeling, and appeared like the smoke of a damp wood fire." The bodies of
the natives are covered with ulcers and cutaneous eruptions; they spend a
short and miserable life in profligacy. After they had gone up about
thirty miles, the banks had an appearance of greater consistency, and the
beautiful, but deadly mangrove tree was no longer visible. The river was
now about 300 yards broad, and from four to five fathoms deep. They met
with no obstruction from the natives, till they came to Eboe, where an
unfortunate quarrel took place, which seems to have arisen from a mere
misunderstanding. The discharge of a gun had been agreed upon as the
signal from the Alburkah for the Quorra to anchor; which being fired
after dark, before the village, alarmed the natives, who opened a brisk
discharge of musketry from the banks. The voyagers found it necessary to
put a stop to this attack, by the discharge of their great guns, and in
about twenty minutes the musketry from the shore was silenced. At
day-break they made farther reprisals, and in order to terrify the
natives, landed and set fire to the village--an act of barbarity which
appears to have been entirely gratuitous and uncalled for. After they had
passed the scene of this unfortunate rencontre, the river increased in
breadth to one thousand yards; the banks were higher, and the woods were
more frequently diversified with plantations of bananas, plantains and
yams. Soon after they anchored off Eggaboo, to take in a supply of wood;
it was the first town which they had observed built at a short distance
from the river, and not upon its margin. It contained about two hundred
houses, each of which was surrounded with a bamboo fence about nine feet
high. They gratified King Obie by a visit, who gave them various
presents, and also visited the steamers in state, escorted by upwards of
sixty canoes, seven of which were of great size, and were each manned by
crews of seventy men. Palm oil is produced in large quantities at Eboe;
but the people are chiefly occupied in slave-hunting. As may be expected,
their disposition is cruel and revengeful,--they live in the daily
practice of the most flagrant vice and immorality.

On the night of the 9th November, they departed from Eboe, and were
guided through the intricate and dangerous navigation by the light of a
brilliant moon. After two days they anchored about 15 miles from the
town. The river was here at least 3000 yards broad; and afterwards when
it had thrown off its two great branches, the Benin and the Bonny, was
about 1500 yards wide, divided by sandy islands overgrown with grass. One
of the vessels grounded, but after half-an-hour's hard labour was got
off. In the course of the same evening they were surrounded by canoes,
which brought goats, yams, plantains, and bananas for sale.

The effect of the climate and of their stay near the swamps now became
fatally manifest. In the Quorra, fourteen men died, and three in the
Alburkah. The disproportion of mortality in the two vessels, at this
period, is ascribed to the superior coolness of the Alburkah, which was
rendered more healthy in consequence of her iron hull diffusing through
her interior the coolness of the surrounding water.

They next anchored off Attah, a picturesque town, situated on the top of
a hill which rises nearly 300 feet above the river. The view from the
town is said to be grand and extensive. Here Mr. Laird saw an alligator
captured by two natives, in an ingenious and daring manner. "He was
discovered basking on a bank in the river, a short distance ahead of the
vessels. Two natives in a canoe immediately paddled to the opposite side
of the bank, and having landed, crept cautiously towards him. As soon as
they were near the animal, one of the natives stood up from his crouching
position, holding a spear about six feet long, which with one blow he
struck through the animal's tail into the sand. A most strenuous contest
immediately ensued; the man with the spear holding it in the sand as
firmly as his strength allowed him, and clinging to it as it became
necessary to shift his position with the agility of a monkey; while his
companion occasionally ran in as opportunity offered, and with much
dexterity gave the animal a thrust with his long knife, retreating at the
same moment from, without the reach of its capacious jaws, as it whirled
round upon the extraordinary pivot which his companion had so
successfully placed in its tail. The battle lasted about half an hour,
terminating in the slaughter of the alligator, and the triumph of his
conquerors, who were not long in cutting him into pieces and loading
their canoes with his flesh, which they immediately carried to the shore
and retailed to their countrymen. The success of the plan depended
entirely on the nerve and dexterity of the man who pinned the animal's
tail to the ground; and his contortions and struggles to keep his
position were highly entertaining."

They were now within the district of the Kong Mountains, which are of a
tabular form, and rise on both sides to between 2000 or 2500 feet. The
change of prospect was most grateful to those who had spent two months in
a flat, marshy, and uninteresting country. These mountains lie in the
direction of W.N.W. and E.S.E., where they are intersected by the Niger.
Their outlines are extremely bold, and they appear to be chiefly composed
of granite. The navigation of the channel between them is full of danger,
as large fragments of granite have fallen into the stream, and produced
eddies and shoals. At a little distance beyond this point, a noble
prospect opened before the Voyagers. "An immense river, about three
thousand yards wide, extending as far as the eye could reach, lay before
us, flowing majestically between its banks, which rose gradually to a
considerable height, and were studded with clumps of trees and brushwood,
giving them the appearance of a gentleman's park; while the smoke rising
from different towns on its banks, and the number of canoes floating on
its bosom, gave it an aspect of security and peace." Here the vessel ran
aground with a violent shock, and they experienced the greatest
difficulty in relieving her.

A great misfortune happened to the expedition a little above Attah. The
Quorra again ran aground, near the confluence of the Tshadda with the
Niger, and all their efforts to extricate her proved vain; she was
stopped for four months, after which the rising of the water lifted her

Mr. Laird, accompanied by Dr. Briggs, visited Addakudda, which was the
largest town in sight from the vessel on the western bank of the river;
it is situated on an eminence of granite, which gives it the appearance
of a fortified place. It contains about 5000 inhabitants, but like most
African towns, is dirty and ill-constructed. Here they saw the method
used by the natives for dying cloth with indigo, which is extremely rude
and inartificial; and the effect seems to be produced solely by the
superior quality of the indigo, and the quantity employed. Little ivory
is exposed for sale in the market, cloth, and provisions forming the
chief articles of traffic.

As any farther progress was for a time entirely prevented, Mr. Laird
resolved to travel towards Fundah, in order to ascertain whether any
opening for commerce could be found there. After journeying about forty
miles, by land and water, he arrived in a state of great debility, and
experienced a most inhospitable reception from the king, who pilfered
from him as much as he could, and detained him in his own residence for
some time, threatening to put him to death if he attempted to escape. He
was only allowed to depart in consequence of several devices, which
operated powerfully upon the superstitious fears of the king and his

The town of Fundah, which is very extensive, is situated on the western
extremity of an immense plain, about nine miles distant from the northern
bank of the river Shary. To the eastward the country is rich and
beautiful. The town is built in the form of a crescent, and is surrounded
by a ditch, and a wall about twelve feet high. A considerable space
intervenes between the houses and the walls. The streets are narrow and
dirty, with the exception of one a mile in length, and about two hundred
feet wide; where the market is held every Friday. "The houses are all
circular with conical huts built of clay, with the exception of the chief
Mallam's, which has a gable end to it. The verandahs in the front give
them a cool and pleasant appearance." The king's residence would appear
to be the citadel, as it is surrounded by a wall pierced with many
loopholes. Mr. Laird estimates the population at 15,000, who are chiefly
employed in extensive dye-works, and in the manufacture of iron and
copper utensils.

Soon after this, Mr. Laird having resolved to abandon the expedition,
returned to Fernando Po in the Quorra. Dr. Briggs, the medical officer
attached to the expedition, had died in February; and only three or four
of the original crew of the vessel survived.

We shall now follow Mr. Oldfield's narrative. As Mr. Laird was on his
return to Fernando Po, he passed the Alburkah, with Messrs. Lander and
Oldfield on board, on their way to Boussa. They entered the Tshadda on
the 2d August, and sailed 104 miles up the stream, till the want of
provisions compelled them to return to the Niger. They remained for some
time at Kacunda, Egga, and Rabba, but their efforts to open a trade with
the natives were by no means successful. At Rabba, they were compelled to
return, in consequence of the steamer's engine having sustained some
damage. They returned to the sea-coast, but had scarcely arrived when
Lander departed to Cape Coast Castle to procure a supply of cowries. Mr.
Oldfield proceeded with the Alburkah to meet him. The voyage was slow,
for the machinery had got out of order; great mortality prevailed on
board the vessel; the Kroometi began to disobey orders; and there were
rumours abroad, that the natives, knowing their weakness and diminished
numbers, intended to attack and plunder the vessel. On the 28th of March,
Mr. Oldfield received a letter from Richard Lander, which stated that his
boat had been attacked, three of the crew killed, and himself wounded;
that the other three men who were with him had been seriously hurt; that
they had been plundered of every thing, and had with difficulty escaped.
This fatal accident happened when he was opposite to the towns called
Hyamma and Ikibree. The natives tempted by the value of the goods which
he carried with him in several canoes, opened a fire of musketry upon
him. Lander and his men defended themselves as long as they could, but
they were at length compelled to flee. Their pursuers continued to fire;
and as Lander stooped to take up some ammunition, he received a musket
shot, and the ball lodged in the upper part of his thigh. The wound at
first seemed slight, and he was enabled to reach Fernando Po; but all
efforts to extract the ball were useless, and mortification of the
muscles having ensued, he expired on the thirteenth day after the attack.

The Alburkah proceeded up the river no farther than Attah, where Mr.
Oldfield procured a considerable quantity of ivory. The greater part of
the crew had been cut off by fever and dysentery, four only being fit for
duty. As soon, therefore, as Mr. Oldfield heard of Mr. Lander's death, he
resolved to return to the coast, which he reached in July 1834.

We have now completed the sketch of those discoveries in Central Africa,
which have taken place since the time of Park, and have endeavoured to
make it as interesting as our restricted limits permitted. The scenery
through which we have passed has been varied and sometimes beautiful; but
the beauty has been wild and uncultivated, and has been more than
counterbalanced by the oft-times stern aspect of nature, darkened by the
frowns of an ungenial and unhealthy sky, in too faithful keeping with the
actions of savage men, cruel and revengeful, sunk in vice and immorality.
The narrative has been one of suffering and untimely death; one
adventurer after another has gone forth, while scarcely one has returned
from his toilsome and perilous wanderings; and the melancholy list has
been closed by the fate of him who had the proud honour of tracing the
termination of the mysterious river. Though each has displayed high and
peculiar qualities of mind, not one has surpassed him whose energy and
force of character in a great measure paved the way for succeeding
travellers. Yet none will have fallen in vain, inasmuch as each has done
something to point out the way whereby the blessings of civilization may
be conveyed to the natives of Africa. The time may yet be distant, but it
will assuredly come, when commerce and enlightenment shall be conveyed by
the great channel of the Niger; when slavery shall be finally and for
ever destroyed; and when, above all, the same blessed influence shall
pervade Central, which had already done so much good in Southern Africa;
when the voice of the missionary, which has been already blessed in
raising up from the ground the degraded Hotentot, shall be heard in the
huts that border the great river; when the natives shall cast away their
idols, and with them, those vices which degrade and sully their


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