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Lander's Travels by Robert Huish

Part 12 out of 15

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water which ran through it, contrived to sleep till morning.

They were obliged to lie the whole of the night in their wet clothes,
the effects of which were visible in John Lander in the morning. His
brother endeavoured, in vain, to rally him, but he was scarcely able
to stand. The tent was packed up in its wet state, and the carriers
hastened onwards as fast as they could, for the provisions were
consumed, and they were anxious to get to their journey's end without
delay. As they advanced, John Lander became worse, till at length, he
was completely overcome, and to prevent falling off his horse, he
dismounted and was laid down. There was not a tree near them, which
could shelter them from the sun, so with the assistance of his
people, Richard obtained a few branches, and formed a sort of bower,
their horses' pads answering the purpose of a bed. During the
remainder of the day, John became worse, and the medicine chest had
been sent with the other things. In this dilemma, with no food at
hand, the condition of the travellers was most deplorable. Richard
with the view of obtaining some refreshment for his brother, went
into the wood and shot the only bird he saw, which was not much
bigger than the sparrow. With this, he returned, made a fire, and
prepared a little soup in a half-pint cup, which for want of salt,
was rather unsavoury, nevertheless it was of service to his brother;
the flesh of the bird, Richard divided between himself and his man,
both of them being weak for want of food. They now contrived to make
a more substantial habitation for the invalid, of some stout branches
of trees, and thatched it with long grass; they also lighted large
fires round it to keep off the wild beasts, but sleep was out of the
question, for they were attacked by myriads of mosquitoes, and
buzzing flies, attracted by the glare of the fires. A prowling tiger
was the only savage animal that approached near enough to be seen
during the night.

On the following morning, a considerable improvement having taken
place in John Lander's health, they set forward in good spirits, and
shortly after sunset arrived in the vicinity of Coobly, without
experiencing so much fatigue as had been anticipated. Having waited
on the governor, as a matter of courtesy, they were detained but a
few moments, and then repaired to the hut assigned to them, where
John was soon after seized with the return of the fever, more severe
than the former. The governor sent them a bowl of rice, one of milk,
two calabashes of butter, and a fine fat bullock.

The situation of Richard Lander was now distressing in the extreme,
his brother became hourly worse, and every moment was expected to be
his last. During the few intervals he had from delirium, he seemed to
be aware of his danger, and entered into arrangements respecting his
family concerns. At this moment Richard's feelings were of too
painful a nature to be described. The unhappy fate of his late
master, Clapperton, came forcibly to his mind. He had followed him
into the country, where he perished; he had attended him in his
parting moments; he had performed for him the last mournful office
which our nature requires, and the thought that he should have to go
through the same sad ceremony for his brother, overwhelmed him with

Two messengers now arrived from Boossa with a quantity of onions as a
present from the queen. They were commanded by the king to await
their departure from Coobly, and escort them to the city of Boossa,
which was said to be about two days journey from Coobly.

The illness of John Lander, to the great joy of his brother, now took
a favourable turn, and he became more tranquil and freer from pain,
and preparations were now made for their departure from Coobly. For
some hours before their departure, Richard was greatly annoyed by an
old woman, who applied to him for medicine that would produce her an
entire new set of teeth, or, she, "if I can only be supplied with two
large and strong ones, I shall be satisfied with them." The woman at
last became rather impertinent, when Richard recommended her two iron
ones from the blacksmith, which so much displeased her, that she went
away in a pet. The governor supplied them every day with abundance of
rice and milk, in fact, nothing could surpass his benevolence and
general good humour.

They quitted Coobly on the 15th June, and on the following morning
entered a snug pretty little town called Zalee, lying in a rich and
romantic valley, formed by a gap in a triple range of elevated hills,
which ran from east to west. The governor sent them a goat, a fowl, a
calabash of rice, and a quantity of corn for the horses. Zalee
contained about a thousand inhabitants.

Their course from Zalee was in a south-easterly direction, and
shortly after leaving the town, they came to a fine extensive plain,
on which stood a few venerable and magnificent trees. Numerous herds
of antelopes were feeding, which on hearing the report of their guns,
bounded over the plain in all directions. From this place they beheld
the city of Boossa, which lay directly before them at the distance of
two or three miles, and appeared to be formed of straggling clusters
of huts. To their great astonishment, however, on a nearer approach,
Boossa was found to be standing on the _main land_, and not on an
island in the Niger, as described by Captain Clapperton. Nothing
could be discovered, which could warrant the assertion as laid down
by that traveller. At ten o'clock they entered the city by the
western gateway, and discharged their pieces as the signal of their

After waiting a few minutes, they were introduced to the king, whom
they found in an interior apartment of his residence, in company with
the _Midilie_, the title bestowed on his principal wife or queen.
They welcomed the travellers to Boossa, with every appearance of
cordiality. They told them very gravely, and with rueful
countenances, that they had both been weeping in the morning for the
death of Captain Clapperton, whose untimely end they would never
cease to lament. It is true, they might have been so engaged, but as
on their entrance, no outward signs of tears appeared, they rather
mistrusted the information which had been imparted to them.

On the day subsequently to their arrival, they were visited by the
noted widow Zuma, who presented herself to them without the slightest
pretensions to finery of any kind, either in her dress or ornaments,
for she was clad in very humble apparel of country cloth. She related
to them with great good humour, her quarrels with her prince, the
ruler of Wowow, and her consequent flight from that city to escape
his resentment. It appeared that in order to effect this, she was
actually obliged to climb over the city wall in the night, and travel
on foot to Boossa, which was a very long journey, and to a woman of
her size, must have been an arduous task. She alleged that she had
done nothing whatever to merit the displeasure of the Wowow chief,
notwithstanding which, he had robbed her of all her household
furniture and a number of her slaves. But from another quarter, they
learnt that one of her sons had committed a theft in the city, for
which he would have suffered death, if he had not made his escape
with his mother, who, it was said, had instigated him to the deed.
The widow complained sadly of poverty and the hardness of the times;
she had fought with the Youribeans against Alorie, but instead of
receiving a recompense for her bravery; she had lost half of her
slaves in an engagement, which so disgusted her with the military
profession, that she immediately abandoned it and returned home. Yet
in spite of all her losses and misfortunes, she had gained so much in
corpulency, that it was with the utmost difficulty she could squeeze
herself into the doorway of their hut, although it was by no means
small. The widow Zuma was a very good-looking person of matronly
appearance, and her skin of a light copper colour.

After the widow had left them, Richard carried the presents which had
been selected for the king and queen. Each appeared delighted with
them, and the former more especially was extravagant in his
expressions of admiration and thankfulness. A pair of silver
bracelets, a tobacco pipe, and a looking-glass, seemed to rivet the
attention of the king, who could not take his eyes off them for a
full half hour, so much was he pleased with them.

The Landers now visited the far famed Niger or Quorra, which flowed
by the city about a mile from their residence, and were greatly
disappointed at the appearance of this celebrated river. In its
widest part it was not more than a stone's throw across. The rock on
which Richard Lander sat, overlooked the spot where Mr. Park and his
associates met their untimely fate; he could not help meditating on
that circumstance, and on the number of valuable lives that had been
sacrificed in attempting to explore that river, and he secretly
implored the Almighty, that he might be the humble means of setting
at rest for ever the great question of its source and termination.

The queen of a country is generally the standard of fashion, and
therefore some idea may be formed of the fashions of Boossa, by the
following description of the dress in which the Midikie or queen of
Boossa paid a visit to the Landers. Her majesty was clad in a common
check shirt of Nooffie manufacture, a plain piece of blue cotton was
fastened round her head, wholly concealing the hair, a larger piece
of the same kind was thrown over her left shoulder, and a third tied
round her waist, reached so far as the middle of the leg. Her feet
were bare, as were likewise her arms up to the elbow; a brass ring
ornamented each great toe, and eight silver bracelets each wrist, the
least of them weighing little less than a quarter of a pound. Besides
these ornaments, the queen wore a necklace of coral and bits of gold,
and small pieces of pipe coral were stuck in the lobe of each ear.

It was the opinion of Lander that it would have been bad policy on
his part, to have stated the true reason of his visiting this
country, knowing the jealousy of most of the people with regard to
the Niger; and, therefore, in answer to the king's inquiries, he was
obliged to deceive him with the assertion, that his object was to go
to Bornou, by way of Yaoorie, requesting at the same time, a safe
conveyance through his territories. This answer satisfied the king,
and he promised them every assistance in his power. In the course of
conversation the king observed that he had in his possession a tobe,
which belonged to a white man, who came from the north many years
ago, and from whom it had been purchased by the king's father. The
Landers expressed a great curiosity to see this tobe, and in a very
short time after the departure of the king, it was sent to them as a
present. Contrary to their expectations, they found it to be made of
rich crimson damask, and very heavy from the immense quantity of gold
embroidery with which it was covered. As the time, when the late king
is said to have purchased this tobe, corresponds very nearly to the
supposed period of Mr. Park's death, and as they never heard of any
other white man having come from the north so far south as Boossa,
they were inclined to believe it part of the spoil obtained from the
canoe of that ill-fated traveller. Whether Mr. Park wore the tobe
himself, which was scarcely possible on account of its weight, or
whether he intended it as a present to a native chief, they were at a
loss to determine. The king himself had never worn the tobe, nor did
his predecessor, from a superstitious feeling; besides, observed the
king, "it might excite the cupidity of the neighbouring powers."

King George the Third of England was a button-maker, and therefore no
wonder need be excited at the information which was sent to the
Landers from the king of Boossa, announcing to them that his majesty
was a tailor, and that he would thank them much for some thread and a
few needles for his own private use; the king also took it into his
head that as he was a tailor, the Landers must be gunsmiths, and
therefore he sent them his muskets to repair, but it being Sunday
when the guns were sent, they declined the job until the following

Eager as they were to obtain even the slightest information relative
to the unhappy fate of Mr. Park and his companions, as well as to
ascertain if any of their books or papers were then in existence at
that place, still they had almost made up their minds to refrain from
asking him any questions on the subject, because they were
apprehensive that it might be displeasing to the king, and involve
them in many perplexities. Finding the king, however, to be an
affable, obliging, and good-natured personage, they were emboldened
to send Pascoe to him with a message expressive of the interest they
felt on the subject, in common with all their countrymen, and saying,
that if any books or papers which belonged to Mr. Park were yet in
his possession, he would do them a great service by delivering them
into their hands, or at least granting them permission to see them.
To this, the king returned for answer, that when Mr. Park was lost on
the Niger, he, the king, was a very little boy, and that he knew not
what had become of his effects; that the deplorable event had
occurred in the reign of the late king's predecessor, who died
shortly after, and that all traces of the white men had been lost
with him.

This answer disappointed the hopes of the Landers, for to them it
appeared final and decisive. But in the evening their hopes were
again excited by a hint from their host, who was the king's drummer,
and one of the principal men in the country; he assured them, that
there was at least one book saved from Mr. Park's canoe, which was
then in the possession of a very poor man in the service of his
master, to whom it had been entrusted by the late king during his
last illness. He said moreover, that if but _one_ application were
made to the king on any subject whatever, very little was thought of
it, but if a second were made, the matter would be considered of
sufficient importance to demand his whole attention; such being the
custom of the country. The drummer therefore recommended them to
persevere in their inquiries, for he had no doubt that something to
their satisfaction would be elicited. At his own request, they sent
him to the king immediately, desiring him to repeat their former
statement, and to assure the king, that should he be successful in
recovering the book they wanted, their monarch would reward him
handsomely. The king desired the drummer to inform them, that he
would use every exertion, and examine the man, who was reported to
have the white man's book in his possession.

On the following day, the king came to see them, followed by a man
with a book under his arm, which was said to have been picked up in
the Niger after the loss of their countrymen. It was enveloped in a
large cotton cloth, and their hearts beat high with expectation, as
the man was slowly unfolding it, for by its size they guessed it to
be Mr. Park's journal, but their disappointment and chagrin were
great, when on opening the book, they discovered it to be an old
nautical publication of the last century. The title page was missing,
but its contents were chiefly tables of logarithms. It was a thick
royal quarto, which led them to conjecture that it was a journal.
Between the leaves they found a few loose papers of very little
consequence indeed; one of them contained two or three observations
on the height of the water in the Gambia; one was a tailor's bill on
a Mr. Anderson, and another was addressed to Mr. Mungo Park, and
contained an invitation to dine. The following is a copy of it:

"Mr. and Mrs. Watson would be happy to have the pleasure of Mr.
Park's company at dinner on Tuesday next, at half past five o'clock.

An answer is requested.

Strand, 9th Nov. 1804."

The king, as well as the owner of the book, looked as greatly
mortified as they themselves did, when they were told that the one
produced, was not that of which they were in quest, because the
reward promised would not of course be obtained. As soon as their
curiosity had been fully satisfied, the papers were carefully
collected and placed again between the leaves, and the book as
carefully folded in its envelope as before, and taken away by its
owner, who valued it as much as a household god. Thus all their hopes
of obtaining Mr. Park's journal or papers in the city of Boossa were
entirely defeated.

At an early hour of Wednesday June 23rd, the king and queen paid the
travellers a farewell visit, when the former particularly cautioned
them against poison. They then expressed their acknowledgements to
both the royal personages for all their favours and an hour or two
after they had taken their departure, the Landers rode out of the
city, accompanied by two horsemen as an escort, and a foot messenger
to the sultan of Yaoorie. They journied along the banks of the Niger
at an easy pace, and two hours afterwards entered a pleasant little
walled town called where they were desired to halt until the
following day the governor of Kagogie had been made acquainted with
their intention, no less than three days before their arrival, yet no
canoe had been got ready for their use, and when they expected to
embark, "the king of the canoe," as the person who has the care of
it, is ridiculously styled, informed them with the utmost unconcern,
that it was out of repair, and that it would not be fit for their
reception for some hours at least. In the course of the afternoon
they repaired to the side of the river, for the purpose of
endeavouring to encourage and hurry the workmen in their labour about
the canoe. Promises and threats were employed to effect this object,
but the men would neither be coaxed nor intimidated--they would not
overwork themselves, they said, for all the riches in their
possession, so that they were obliged to leave them and exercise
their patience. The branch of the Niger which flows by Kagogie, is
about a mile in width, but it is rendered so shallow by large sand
banks, that except in one very narrow place, a child might wade
across it without difficulty.

About mid-day the workmen having finished the canoe, the luggage was
presently put into it, and between twelve and one they embarked with
their people, and were launched out into the river. The direction of
this branch was nearly east and west, and they proceeded some
distance down the stream for the purpose of getting into the main
branch of the Niger, where there was deeper water.

Having encountered a dreadful storm, which threatened to swamp the
canoe, and which obliged them ultimately to take refuge on land, for
the purpose of sheltering themselves from the violence of the
tornado, they came to a place, where, a short distance from the
water's edge, the country was thickly studded with clusters of huts,
which altogether are called the village of Sooloo. They took up their
quarters in a large hut, which was nearest the landing place. They
were treated with much hospitality by the natives, who did all in
their power to render their short stay as agreeable as possible. The
old chief of the village accompanied them to the water's edge, when
they quitted their hut for the purpose of embarking, and enjoined
"the king of the canoe," to be particularly careful of his charge.
"Careful," answered the man, "to be sure I will, do I not know that
white men are more precious than a boat load of eggs, and require as
much care to be taken of them." The Landers entreated the same man a
short time afterwards, to be more active and diligent in the
management of his canoe, for he was rather inclined to be lazy, and
suffered every canoe to go before their own, but he replied gravely,
"Kings do not travel so fast as common men, I must convey you along as
slowly as possible."

About eleven a.m. on the following day, they landed at the foot of a
small village, on the east bank of the river, where the horses and
men had arrived before them. They rested under a large tree an hour
or two, awaiting the arrival of the carriers from the city of
Yaoorie, who had been sent for on the preceding day, by one of the
Boossa messengers that had charge of their horses. These men arrived
at the village, between one and two o'clock in the afternoon, and
they immediately mounted and rode onwards. On attaining the summit of
a steep hill, they rode over a very narrow pathway so much overhung
by an impenetrable thorny shrub, that there was no room for more than
one man to walk. This led them to the wall of Yaoorie, and they
entered the city through an amazingly strong passage, in which was an
immense iron door, covered with plates of iron, rudely fastened to
the woodwork. They were almost exhausted with fatigue on their
arrival, insomuch that they excused themselves from visiting and
paying their respects to the sultan, and they were conducted to a
convenient habitation, which had been prepared for them. They soon
obtained an introduction to the prince, whom they had been so
desirous to visit. After passing through a low dark avenue, and being
kept long standing in a yard, they were conducted into another area,
resembling that of a farm establishment. Here they discovered the
sultan sitting alone in the centre of the square, on a plain piece of
carpeting, with a pillow on each side of him, and a neat brass pan in
front. His appearance was not only mean, but absolutely squalid and
dirty. He was a big-headed, corpulent, jolly-looking man, well
stricken in years, and though there was something harsh and
forbidding in his countenance, yet he was generally smiling during
the conference. He showed considerable dissatisfaction, because
neither Clapperton nor Lander had paid their court to him on their
previous journey, and still more on being informed that their means
of making a present had been reduced very low by the rapacity of the
chiefs already visited. In regard to Park's papers, he merely
replied, with an affected laugh, "How do you think that I could have
the books of a person that was lost at Boossa?" Afterwards being
pressed upon the subject, he despatched an Arab to inform them, that
he declared to God in the most solemn manner, that he had never had
in his possession, nor seen any books or papers of the white
travellers that perished at Boossa. Thus it appeared, that his
overture upon that subject to Clapperton, by which the Landers had
been so unguardedly lured, was a mere pretext to induce them to visit
him, and bestow a portion of the valuable articles with which they
were understood to be provided. His whole conduct was in perfect
unison with this first specimen of it. He did not, indeed, absolutely
rob them, but there was no artifice so petty that he did not employ
it, in order to obtain the few commodities which still remained in
their possession. Wishing to purchase some things, he induced the
Landers to send them, desiring that they should affix their own
price; he then said they asked too much, on which pretext he delayed,
and in a great measure evaded paying for them at all. The travellers,
in their ill-judged confidence in his friendship, requested him to
furnish a boat, in which they might descend the Niger. He replied,
they might have one for a hundred dollars, but being unable to
command that sum they were finally obliged to apply to their friend,
the king of Boossa, whom they had so unreasonably distrusted, and who
cheerfully undertook to supply their wants.

The city of Yaoorie is of prodigious extent, and is supposed to be as
populous as any other in the whole continent, or at least that part
of it which is visited by the trading Arabs. Its wall is high and
very excellent, though made of clay alone, and may be between twenty
and thirty miles in circuit, and it has eight vast entrance gates or
doors, which were well fortified after the manner of the country. The
residence of the sultan, as well as the houses of many of the
principal inhabitants of the city, are two stories in height, having
thick and clumsy stairs of clay, leading to the upper apartments,
which are rather lofty, and, together with rooms on the ground floor,
have door-ways sufficiently large to enable a person to enter without
putting himself to the inconvenience of stooping. The principal part
of the houses is built in the circular or coozie fashion, but the
inhabitants have a few square ones, and the sultan's are of no
regular form whatever. It may be considered somewhat singular, that
the majority of the natives of western and central, and it may be
said, also of northern Africa, moisten the floors of their huts, and
the inside of their walls with a solution of cow dung and water, two
or three times a day, or as often as they can find the materials.
Though disagreeable to the smell of an European, this keeps the
interior of a dwelling as cool as it is dark.

The Landers were anxious to expedite their departure, but the sultan
sent word to inform them that he would be occupied _three days_ in
writing to the king of England, and he would, therefore, thank them
to remain in Yaoorie till the expiration of that period. On the
following day, however, the sultan told them in plain and decisive
terms, that he could not send them either by way of Koolfu or Guarie,
because the Fellatas were in both of those places, and their fate
then would soon be decided. He wished, however, to be expressly
understood, that it was from no disinclination on his part to send
them to either of those places, but that his great regard for them
would not permit him to lead them into danger. Now the Landers knew
very well that the Fellatas had not the superiority either in Koolfu
or Guarie; the natives of the latter place, in particular, having
long since cut off the heads of all the Fellatas that could be found
in their country, and from that time they had enjoyed the most
perfect independence. The sultan of Yaoorie further said, that the
best thing he could do, was to send them back again to Boossa, and
from thence he was certain they might have liberty to go anywhere.
The moment they found this to be his intention, they returned to
their house, and having formed their resolution, they instantly
despatched one of their men with a message to the king of Boossa, to
the following effect:

"That finding their presents insufficient to defray their expenses on
the road to Guarie and Bornou, they were under the necessity of
returning to the salt water to obtain more. That the chief of
Badagry, who is governor of that part of the coast, at which they had
landed, had treated them so very ill, while they were with him, that
he would detain them in his town for the remainder of their lives, if
they were to return by the way they had come, and by so doing, that
they should be unable to avoid falling into his power. Besides which,
the journey thither was so long that they should experience the same,
or even greater inconvenience than if they were to proceed to Bornou
through Catsheenah. Under these circumstances, they were extremely
desirous of travelling to the salt water by a shorter and safer
route, and would therefore prefer going by Fundah, as the easiest and
likeliest means of accomplishing that end. But as they had heard that
the road to that kingdom by land was infested with Fellatas, who live
by plunder and violence, they should feel infinitely obliged to him
(the king of Boossa,) if he could either sell or lend them a canoe to
proceed thither by water, and if so, that they would remunerate him
to the utmost of their ability."

They awaited the return of their messenger With considerable anxiety,
and if an unfavourable answer were returned, they were resolved,
instead of proceeding to Boossa, to push on to Guarie, and thence to
Funda, as they originally intended, whatever might be the

After the usual lapse of time, the Boossa messenger returned, and to
their unspeakable joy, informed them that the king had consented to
procure for them a canoe, to proceed to Funda, provided the road by
land could not be depended on. He, however, candidly stated his
inability to protect their persons from insult and danger beyond his
own territories, and that they must solicit the good will of the
prince of Wowow, and the other rulers on the banks of the Niger, and
further, that their own men alone must manage the canoe, because no
one at Boossa would be willing, for various reasons, to accompany
them on the journey. They were, therefore, in a fair way of
accomplishing the object of the expedition. The sultan of Yaoorie,
however, put off their departure from day to day, and from week to
week, under a variety of nonsensical excuses, and they were persuaded
that it was his intention to detain them, until he had drained them
of every thing that was valuable. On Monday the 26th of July,
however, to their surprise and pleasure, a messenger from the king
of Boossa arrived, to ascertain the reason of such unwarrantable
conduct on the part of the sultan, and to request their immediate
release. One of the inducements urged by this monarch for their
longer stay with him, was rather whimsical. He had made them a
present of a quantity of worthless feathers, which he had caused to
be plucked from the body of a live ostrich, and because he
entertained an opinion that if others were added to them, they would
altogether form a very acceptable present to the king of England, he
informed them that it would be necessary they should wait till such
time as the ostrich should regain its plumage, in order for that part
of its body, which had not been previously plucked, to undergo a
similar operation, for the weather, he asserted, was much too cold
for the bird to lose all its feathers at one and the same time, and
further to encourage their growth, he would order that two thousand
kowries worth of butter, (about twelve pounds weight,) should be
diligently rubbed into the skin of the animal. This was, however, an
arch trick on the part of the sultan, for he was indebted to the
Landers in a considerable sum for some buttons, which he had
purchased of them, and this butter affair was intended as a kind of
set-off, as the sultan said he did not approve of paying for the
butter out of his own pocket. On the 1st August, the sultan sent a
messenger to inform them that they were at liberty to pay their
respects, and take their farewell of him previously to their
departure from the city, which they were assured should take place on
the following day, without any further procrastination or delay. They
were glad to obey the summons, for such they considered it, and on
their arrival at his residence, they were introduced into a large,
gloomy, uncomfortable apartment; a number of swallows' nests were
attached to the ceiling of the room, and their twittering owners,
which were flying about in all directions, fed their young without
interruption, and added not a little to the filthiness of the unswept
and unclean apartment. The conversation during the interview was as
uninteresting and spiritless, as their conversations with other
native rulers had always been. The sultan, however, could not pay his
debt, but by way of another set-off he offered them a female slave,
which was just as much use to them as the ostrich feathers, however,
the sultan was resolved to pay them in that species of coin, and
therefore they took the lady, and old Pascoe immediately adopted her
as his wife.

On Monday the 2nd, all was hurry, bustle, and confusion, in getting
their things ready for their departure, and after the beasts had been
laden, and the people had their burdens on their head, they had to
wait for the sultan's long expected letter to the king of England. A
mallam was at length perceived hurrying towards them with it, and
after him came the venerable Arab chief, to honour them with his
company a little way on their journey. This crafty old man was not
their friend, for he had used them deceitfully, and misrepresented
them and their goods to his master, and they enjoyed an innocent kind
of revenge, in administering to him, after repeated applications, a
powerful dose of medicine, which though harmless in its effects, had
yet been very troublesome to him. Indeed it was not till they had
"jalaped" the sultan, his sister, and all the royal family, that they
were permitted to take their farewell of Yaoorie.

The following is the letter of the sultan of Yaoorie, as it was
translated into English by A. O. Salame:

"Praise be to God, and blessings and salutations be unto that
(prophet), since whom there has been no other prophet.

"To our friend in God, and his apostle (Mahommed), the prince of the
English Christians; salutation and mercy, and blessings of God, be
unto you, from your friend, the sultan of Yaouri, whose name is
Mahommed Ebsheer. Perfect salutation be unto you, (and) may God cause
your mornings and evenings to be most happy, with multiplied
salutations (from us).

"After our salutation unto you (some) ostrich feathers will reach
you, (as a present,) from the bounty and blessings of God (we have in
our country), and we, together with you, thank God (for what he has
bestowed). And salutation be unto your hired people, (your suite) and
peace be unto our people, who praise God.

(Signed,) From the

Of this letter, Mr. Salame says, that it is the worst of the African
papers which he had seen, both as to its ungrammatical and
unintelligible character. Indeed, his Yaourick majesty seemed to be
sadly in need of words to make himself intelligible. It must be
remarked, that the words between parentheses are not in the original,
but supplied by the translator for the purpose of reducing the letter
to some kind of meaning.


Owing to the reputed badness of the path, that by which the Landers
had entered Yaoorie, was rejected for a more northerly one, leading
in almost a direct line to the river Cubbie. About mid-day they
arrived at the walls of a pretty considerable town, called Guada, and
halted near a small creek of a river flowing from Cubbie, and
entering the Niger a little lower down. Here, as soon as they had
taken a slight refreshment, they sent their beasts across the Niger
to proceed by land to Boossa, and embarked in two canoes, which were
each paddled by four men. On entering the Niger, they found it
running from two to three miles an hour, and they proceeded down the
river till the sun had set; and the moon was shining beautifully on
the water, as they drew near to a small Cumbrie village on the
borders of the river, where they landed and pitched their tent. The
inhabitants of many of the numerous walled towns and open villages on
the banks of the Niger, and also of the islands, were found to be for
the most part Cumbrie people, a poor, despised, and abused, but
industrious and hard-working race. Inheriting from their ancestors a
peaceful, timid, passionless, incurious disposition, they fall an
easy prey to all who choose to molest them; they bow their necks to
the yoke of slavery without a murmur, and think it a matter of
course; and perhaps no people in the world are to be found who are
less susceptible of intense feeling, and the finer emotions of the
human mind, on being stolen away from their favourite amusements and
pursuits, and from the bosom of their wives and families, than these
Cumbrie people, who are held in general disesteem. Thousands of them
reside in the kingdom of Yaoorie, and its province of Engarski, and
most of the slaves in the capital have been taken from them.

As they proceeded down the Niger by a different channel from that by
which they had ascended it to Yaoorie, they had fresh opportunities
of remarking the more striking features on its banks. The river, as
might naturally be expected, was much swollen, and its current more
impetuous, than when they passed upon their voyage to Yaoorie. In the
earlier part of the evening they landed at a small Cumbrie village,
and their canoes were pulled upon a sandy beach for the night in

At seven o'clock on the following morning, they were once more upon
the Niger, and about noon they observed a herd of Fellata cows
grazing on the banks of the river, and a very short distance from
them, they saw an immense crocodile floating on the surface like a
long canoe, for which it was at first mistaken, and watching an
opportunity to seize one of the cows, and destroy it by dragging it
into the river. As soon as the terrific reptile was perceived by the
canoemen, they paddled as softly as possible towards him, intending
to wait at a short distance till the crocodile should have
accomplished his object, when they agreed to pull rapidly towards the
shore, and reap the fruit of the reptile's amazing strength, by
scaring him off from his prey, or destroying him with harpoons, for
the skin of the crocodile is not in this country considered
impenetrable. Their intentions were, however, frustrated by the
sudden disappearance of the crocodile, which dived the moment he
perceived the canoe so near him, making a loud plashing noise, and
agitating the water in a remarkable manner in his descent. They
waited some time, in hopes he would rise again, but they were not
again gratified with the sight of the monster.

A short time afterwards, they landed at Warree, which is the most
celebrated market town in the dependency of Engarski, and consists,
of several clusters of huts, encircled by a dwarf clay wall. The
market was attended by many thousands of people from different parts
of the country. Vast numbers of canoes, filled with people and goods,
were passing from one side of the Niger to the other, and the
countenances of both buyers and sellers betrayed a very anxious and
business-like expression. As soon as the curiosity of the Landers was
fully satisfied, they crossed over to the Boossa side of the river,
and landed at a small walled town called Garnicassa, which was
inhabited by the Cumbrie people, and situated about five miles north
of Boossa. At no great distance from this place, and within sight of
it, all the branches of the Niger meet, and form a beautiful and
magnificent sheet of water, at least seven or eight miles in breadth,
and it excited the surprise of the Landers, to know what became of so
extraordinary a body of water, for at Boossa, the river is no more
than a stone's throw across, and its depth is in proportion to its
narrowness, but about an hour's walk from thence, it again becomes a
noble river, and maintains its width, it was reported, even to Funda.
This singular fact favours the opinion, that a large portion of the
waters of the Niger is conveyed by subterraneous passages from the
town of Garnicassa to a few miles below Boossa.

The travellers pursued their journey along the banks of the Niger,
although the path was filled with water, and broken up by the force
of the rains. After an hour's ride they drew near to the walls of
Boossa, and soon arrived at the drummer's house, which had been their
former residence. Here they found the midiki on her knees to receive
and welcome them back again to Boossa in the name of the king, but
they were not permitted to enter and take possession of their old
apartments, for the queen conducted them to other huts, which formed
part of the cluster inhabited by the Fellatas. In the evening they
were visited by the king, who said, he had been apprehensive that
they required a little repose and quietness after their journey, and
therefore he did not like to intrude on them before. They were not
long domiciliated in their new dwelling, before they were informed
that the drummer's wife had excited the envy of the queen, by wearing
round her neck a smart gilt button, which had been given to her, and
that was the only reason why they were not allowed to occupy their
former lodgings in her house. Yet to be even with her _fair_ rival,
the queen had extracted from her little sheep-skin box, wherein they
had been confined for a quarter of a century, a small number of round
and flat golden ornaments, with which she adorned her sable bosom,
and thereby totally eclipsed the transitory splendour of the button
belonging to the drummer's wife.

In a conversation with the king, he intimated to them that it would
be necessary for them to visit Wowow, previously to their going to
Funda, because the prince of that state had already made war on Kiama
on their account, and captured a few of the people. The king,
himself, repeated to them the promise which he had made to their
messenger, that he would furnish them with a canoe sufficiently large
to contain the whole of their people and themselves; but still some
doubts arose in their minds, and should a canoe be denied them, after
all that the monarch had said, it was their determination to take a
canoe of their own accord, and steal away from Boossa by night. The
king expressed his fears that the personal safety of the travellers
would be endangered by the Fellatas, who resided on each side of the
river; but Pascoe answered his majesty by telling him, that the
English were the gods of the waters, and no evil could befal them in
boats, even though all Africa, or the whole world should fight
against them. "I will, however," said the king, in reply, "go down
and ask the _Becken ronah_ (dark or black water, which the Niger is
every where emphatically styled) whether it will be prudent and safe
for the white men to embark on it or not, and I will be sure to
acquaint you and them of my success, be it good or bad."

The following day the king intended to question the Niger, and the
great hope of the Landers was, that the river would return a
favourable answer.

The Landers were not ignorant that a present to an African king will
generally effect wonders, it will even make the Niger return a
favourable answer to an inquiry which, but for the present, would
have been adverse. They therefore acted politically, and sent the
king as a present, one of those beautiful silver medals which were
cast during the American war, to which, was attached a large and
valuable chain of the same metal; assuring the sable king at the same
time, that he might now consider himself as the king of England's
most particular friend, and that he could not make a more suitable
return, than by assisting them them in their plan of journeying to
the salt water by way of the Niger.

The present had the desired effect, for on the following day the king
came to them with great joy, and informed them that he had been down
to the Niger with his mallam, and that the result of his visit was
highly favourable to their wishes as well as to his own, the river
having promised to conduct them in safety its termination.

The Landers during their stay at Boossa, had to depend in great
measure upon their own resources for their maintenance, their chief
food consisting of guinea fowls and partridges, for their stock of
articles, wherewith they could barter for provisions, was nearly
exhausted. The market was already overstocked with buttons, needles
were unsaleable; all their bits of coloured cloth were disposed of,
and indeed almost every thing that _would_ sell, reserving to
themselves a few articles of some value as presents to the different
chiefs along the banks of the Niger. Amongst other trifles disposed
of, were several tin cases, which contained worthless and unpalatable
portable soups, &c. These were labelled with slips of tin, which
though rather dull and dirty, nevertheless attracted the admiration
of many, and they were highly diverted to see one man in particular
walking at large, and strutting about with "concentrated gravy,"
stuck on his head in no less than four places. He appeared quite
proud of these ornaments, and was simpering with pleasure wherever he

The travellers left Boossa on the 11th August, and directed their
course for Wowow, and having travelled a few miles, they crossed in a
canoe a branch of the Niger, forming a pretty little river, and
running nearly west, and is said to encompass the whole of Wowow.
After a journey of about twelve miles, they entered the city of Wowow
through the western entrance, and by desire, they galloped swiftly
towards the king's residence, and fired off a couple of pistols as a
signal of their arrival. The customs of this monarch were the most
singular that had been yet observed in Africa. He came out to welcome
the travellers, but it was contrary to etiquette for him to speak, or
to enter into any kind of conversation, nor is any foreigner
permitted to speak, whatever might be his rank, unless in presence of
the representative of the chief from whom he last came. In the wall
on each side of the entrance of the town was a large niche, in one of
which the king stood fixed and motionless, with his hands clasped
under his tobe, and supported on his bosom; and round a pole, which
had been placed erect in the other niche, a naked youth had entwined
his legs, remaining in breathless anxiety to be a spectator of the
approaching interview.

While the king remained in the above position, without moving a
single muscle, and which lasted till the Boossa messenger made his
appearance, a singing woman drew near the person of her sovereign,
and began to exercise her vocation in a tone of voice that displayed
any thing but sweetness or melody, and so loud and shrill as to
frighten away the birds from the trees near the spot.

The Boossa messenger, who had been so anxiously expected, at length
arrived, and the spell, which had bound every one to the spot was
dissolved in a moment; they were then conducted to the king, and
formally introduced to him, but the grave eccentric old man shook
hands with them, without taking them from the tobe in which they had
been enveloped, or even condescending to look in their faces, for he
never made it a practice to raise his head above a certain height,
fearing that he should discover the person to whom he might be
conversing gazing full in his countenance, to which he had a very
strange, but unconquerable antipathy; the interview lasted but a
moment, and they were hastily conducted to the house which was
occupied by the late Captain Clapperton.

On the following morning, Richard Lander carried the presents to the
king. The monarch appeared well pleased and cheerful, and expressed
himself perfectly satisfied, though in a few minutes afterwards he
despatched a messenger to inquire if they had not brought any coral
beads with them from England. In compliance with the request which
Richard Lander made to him, the king informed him, that he would sell
them a canoe with the greatest pleasure. He was convinced, he said,
that they would return in safety to their country by way of the
Niger, which did not contain a single rock from Inguazhilligee to

It was the earnest, and oft repeated desire of the chief of Wowow,
while they resided in the town, that they should return from Boossa,
and spend the approaching holidays with him, to which they thought
proper to accede, indeed the old man had behaved so well to them,
that they did not like to make an ungrateful return. But his sister,
the midiki, was jealous of her brother, because they had given him so
good a character, and she said, she was apprehensive he might obtain
from them more than she was willing he should have, and, therefore,
she not only set her husband's mind against the measure, but she
slandered and defamed his character most shamefully. This despicable
vice of slander is universal in Africa, the people all speak ill of
each other, from the monarch to the slave. They now found that they
should be compelled to remain in Boossa, till the period arrived for
their final departure from the country.

The expected messenger arrived from Wowow, with full power to treat
with the midiki for the purchase of the canoe, and although the
Landers were the parties most concerned in the business, they were
not allowed to say anything about it. The bargain was, however, soon
concluded; they were to give both their horses for the canoe, and if
the king of Wowow should fancy the animals to be more than equivalent
to the value of the boat, he promised to send them the balance in
money (kowries). This was infinitely better than they could have
managed the business themselves, indeed they could not have contrived
matters half so well, for they had previously made a present of the
youngest of the horses to the king of Boossa, but most likely, owing
to Pascoe's misrepresentation, or rather his misinterpretation, the
monarch was not made sensible of the circumstance. The canoe was to
be sent to them in a day or two, when they determined to prepare her
for the water without delay.

On Wednesday, August 25th, they despatched one of their men, named
Ibrahim, to Coulfo, with their ass and a number of needles to sell.
The king also sent a messenger with him, who was commissioned to
visit all the towns and villages on the Nouffie side of the river, as
far as the Fellata town of Rabba, and to request their chiefs and
governors, in the name of the king of Boossa, to suffer them to pass
down the river without injury or molestation.

The following is a singular trait in the African character. Not
having any good salt, they sent Pascoe's wife to the king to request
the favour of a little unadulterated salt, because there were such a
great quantity of ashes, and other spurious ingredients, mixed up
with that which is publicly sold in the markets, that they never
could eat it with pleasure. Both the king and queen embraced the
opportunity of admiring the shape and beauty of the salt box, and
spoke in rapturous terms of the lustre of its appearance, and the
ingenuity of its contrivance. "Allah! how wonderful," said they,
"even the most trifling articles belonging to the white men, are fit
for the use of the mightiest kings. Alas! Allah has given them all
the glory and riches of the world, and its knowledge, and left none
whatever for black men."

The king was affected! He thrust the vessel into the pocket of his
tobe, smoothed it down with his hand, looked melancholy, and said,
"How nicely it fits! what a beautiful thing! how convenient it would
be in travelling." He then took it out again, turned it round and
round, opened and shut it repeatedly, and then bestowing on it a last
commendation, as outrageously as any of the former, it was returned
filled with genuine salt. Who could not understand the meaning of all
this? Now this handsome salt cellar was of latten, and was formerly a
common round tinder box, and because they had nothing better for the
purpose, they deprived it of the candlestick on its cover a short
time before, and converted it to its present use. The tin, moreover,
had been burnt off from many parts of it, and Pascoe's wife not being
an admirer of cleanliness, it had lost much of its original
brightness. The king's encomiums were nothing more than an indirect
and ingenious solicitation of the article for his own use; which was
further apparent by desiring the woman to relate to the Landers, no
part of the conversation that had passed between them: or in other
words, that she should tell them every syllable. They could not help
admiring the delicacy of the king, and sent back the tinder box to
him immediately. The bearer was rewarded handsomely for his trouble,
and they received as many thanks, as when he accepted the silver
medal and chain which they had presented to him.

It is by such means as this, that the chiefs and rulers of this
country, ashamed of making a direct application for any thing in the
possession of the travellers, to which they may have taken a fancy,
endeavour to obtain it. If, however, the hint does not succeed in
making a visible impression, less delicate measures are presently
resorted to, and when every other expedient fails, they cast aside
the reserve and bashfulness which had influenced them at first, and
express their meaning in language which cannot be misunderstood. In
this respect, the chiefs and governors are all alike, from Badagry to
the metropolis of Yaoorie.

On the 31st, a messenger with a canoe arrived from the king of Wowow,
but it was so very small, that it was wholly inadequate for their
purpose. This was a most provoking circumstance, because a larger
canoe was to be procured, which could not be done without a
considerable loss of time. In fact, between the chief of Wowow and
his sister, the midiki, the travellers were completely taken in. The
horses given in exchange to the prince of Wowow for this sorry canoe,
were large, handsome, and superior animals, worth in England at least
sixty pounds, and the article they got in exchange for them was not
worth so many pence. They heard that boats of a considerable size
were kept at a small town on the banks of the Niger called Lever, and
thither they resolved to proceed as soon as the Boossa messenger
should have returned from Rabba, and get a canoe prepared with as
much expedition as possible.

The Landers were now weary of their protracted stay at Boossa, and
urged the king to hasten their departure, and after many scruples and
much hesitation, he at length appointed the second day of the moon,
that being, according to his opinion, the happiest and luckiest of
all days. He could not, however, forbear expressing his deep regret
at their determination to leave Boossa before the return of his
messenger from Nouffie, as it might be detrimental to their own
personal interests, and his own reputation also might suffer, if any
thing should befal them on the river, but he had already given his
word for their departure, and from that promise he would not swerve.
On the same afternoon they wished to pay their respects to the king,
previously to their departure, which they understood was to take
place on the following morning; but to their surprise, he asserted
that the moon would not be discernible that evening, and, therefore,
that the following Monday would be the day of their departure. The
moon, however, _did_ shine fairly in sight of all the people;
nevertheless, they made no further remark to the prince on the
subject, thinking it might confuse and irritate him.

Every thing was now got ready for starting. As it was not their
intention to call at many inhabited places on the banks of the Niger,
they provided themselves with a great quantity of provisions, which
consisted chiefly of three large bags of corn, and one of beans.
They had likewise a couple of fowls and two sheep, so that they were
of opinion, they should have food enough for all hands for three
weeks or a month at least. To add to their stock, the king and
midiki between them, gave them a considerable quantity of rice,
honey, corn, and onions, and two large pots of vegetable butter,
weighing not less than a hundred pounds.

To their now unspeakable joy, the long expected and wished for
messenger arrived from Rabba, accompanied by two messengers from the
king of Nouffie, who were to be their guides as far as Rabba, after
passing which city, all the Nouffie territory to the southward, was
under the government of Ederesa and his partisans. "The magia," said
the Boossa ambassador, "was delighted with the intelligence, that
white men were to honour his dominions with their presence, and as a
proof of his friendly disposition towards you, and his interest in
your welfare, he has not only sent his son as your companion and
guide, but he has likewise despatched a messenger to every town on
the banks of the Niger, either considerable or unimportant, even as
far as Funda, which is beyond the limits of the empire, and he is
commissioned to acquaint their inhabitants of the fact of your
intention of proceeding down the river, and to desire them to assist
you with their encouragement and support, as far as it lies in their
power to do."

After some little consideration, the Landers knew not whether they
ought to feel pleasure or regret, thankfulness or indifference, at
the arrival of these men, and the occasion which brought them
thither; at the time, they could only foresee that they would be a
heavy burden on their funds, and as it happened, that they had the
utmost difficulty in the world to support themselves, it would cause
them additional trouble, expense, and uneasiness, to provide them
with the bare necessaries of life. The king, however, had but one
feeling on the subject, and that was unbounded delight; he capered
round his hut with transport, when he saw their guides, and heard
the message which they had to deliver, and after a burst of joy, he
began to cry like a child, his heart was so full. "Now," said he,
when he had become more composed, "whatever may happen to the white
men, my neighbours cannot but acknowledge that I have taken every
care of them, treated them as became a king, and done my best to
promote their happiness and interests. They will not be able,"
continued the monarch with exultation, "they dare not have the
effrontery to cast at me a reproach, like that which they bestowed on
my ancestor; I can now safely entrust the white men to the care,
protection, and hospitality of a neighbouring monarch, who, I am
convinced, if not for my sake, at least for his own, will receive and
entertain them with every mark of distinction and kindness, and feel
that towards them I have done my duty, and let my neighbours see to
it, that they do theirs."

On Monday, the 20th September, all were on the _qui vine_ at a very
early hour, ransacking their lumber, packing it up, and turning it
out into the yard, whence it was conveyed to the water side. About
breakfast time, the king and queen arrived at their hut, to pay them
a farewell visit, and bestow upon them their last blessing. They
brought with them two pots of honey, and a large quantity of goora
nuts, strongly recommending them to present the latter to the Rabba
chieftain, for that nothing which they might have in their
possession, could so effectually conciliate his favour, procure them
his friendship, and command his confidence.

It was nine o'clock in the morning when they arrived at the river
side, where they found two canoes lying to receive their goods, which
were quickly loaded. They had, however, been but a short time on the
water, when they discovered that the smaller canoe, in which were six
individuals and a number of sheep belonging to the Nouffie
messengers, was over-laden, and in danger of sinking, and that both
were very leaky, insomuch that it required three men to be constantly
employed in baling out the water to keep them afloat. To lighten the
smaller canoe, they took a man from her into their own, and
afterwards they proceeded more safely, and with less apprehension,
yet they were obliged to put into a small island, called Malalie, to
get it repaired, for they were afraid to proceed any further with the
small canoe, on account of the rocks, and the velocity of the

According to their estimation, the current was here running at the
rate of five or six miles in an hour, and the bed of the river was
full of rocks, some of which were only a few inches below the surface
of the water, which occasioned it to make a loud rushing noise, and
forewarn the canoe man of his danger. They now passed the boundaries
of Boossa, on the eastern side of the river, and entered the
dominions of the king of Nouffie. Towards evening they came to
Inguazhilligee, having passed just before, a very large and pleasant,
but straggling town, called Congie. Inguazhilligee is the first town
on the Wowow ground, all above, on the western bank of the Niger,
belonging to Boossa. Journeying along for a quarter of an hour
without stopping at any place, they put into a market town, on a
large and beautiful island, called Patashie, just in time to save
themselves from a heavy shower. Here they were obliged to remain
until the return of the messenger, whom they landed in the middle of
the day, and sent to Wowow, for the purpose of informing the king of
their departure from Boossa, and their intention to reside at
Patashie till it might please him to send the large canoe, which they
had purchased of him. They were now out of the protection of the
friendly monarch of Boossa, who would have nothing further to do with

Patashie is a large, rich island, unspeakably beautiful, and is
embellished with various groves of palm and other noble trees. It is
tributary to Wowow, though it is inhabited solely by Nouffie people,
who are considered honest, active, laborious, and wealthy. The hut in
which they resided, exhibited a scene of revelry and mirth more
becoming a native inn than a private dwelling.

The chief of the island, accompanied by the four messengers from
Boossa and Nouffie, and several of his own people, all dressed "in
their holiday best," paid them a visit in the earlier part of the
morning, and out of compliment, it was supposed, remained with them
till the evening, with the exception of a short absence in the middle
of the day, during all which time they were employed in swallowing
palm wine, which is procured in the island in great plenty, and in
telling nonsensical stories. The Landers were heartily glad when they
said it was time to depart, and having shaken hands with the ardour
of drunkards, they took their leave, staggered out of the hut, and
all went laughing away.

They were about to close their hut for the night, when a messenger
arrived from the king of Wowow, with news not at all to their liking.
He informed them that they were anxiously expected in that city from
Boossa at the time of the holidays, and because they did not come
agreeably to their promise, the prince could not conceal his chagrin,
and was exceedingly angry, not only with the king of Boossa, who was
the cause of their absence, but also with themselves. The messenger
informed them that his sovereign had most certainly procured for them
a canoe, which was laid up at Lever, but that if they wished, or
rather if they were determined to have their horses back again, the
king would send them in compliance to their wishes, "for who," said
he, with much emphasis, "would presume to assert that the monarch of
Wowow would keep the property of others? It would not be paying him
that respect," he continued, which his rank and situation demanded,
were the white men to leave his dominions and the country altogether,
without first coming to pay him their respects, and he would
therefore entreat them to pay a visit to Wowow for that purpose, or
if both of them could not leave Patashie, he requested that Richard
Lander would come and bid him adieu, because he had not done so when
his illness compelled him to leave his city.

The monarchs of Boossa and Wowow seemed to entertain very different
opinions regarding the journey of the Landers. The former insisting
on the necessity of their proceeding down the Niger on the eastern or
Nouffie side, and the latter making use of strong language to
persuade them that the Yarriba side of the river would be the most
convenient, the most agreeable, and the safest; and if they would
make up their minds not to attend to the king of Boossa's advice, he
would send a messenger with them, who should protect them even to the
sea. This difference of opinion, they were apprehensive would involve
them in a thousand perplexities, yet they could only be guided by

At Boossa, they experienced the greatest difficulty and trouble in
procuring the bare necessaries of life, but in the flourishing
Patashie, provisions were sent to them from the chiefs of the two
islands in such abundance, that half of them were thrown to the dogs.
The natives of all ages displayed the greatest anxiety to see the
white men, and large crowds assembled every day, and waited from
morning to night patiently till they had gained the object of their
visit. However, they were all as timid as hares, and if the Landers
happened to look fixedly in their faces for a moment, most of them,
more especially the females and the junior classes of both sexes,
started back with terror, as if they had seen a serpent in the grass;
and when the Landers attempted to walk near any of them, they ran
screaming away, as though they had been pursued by a lion, or were in
danger of falling into the jaws of a crocodile, so horrified were
these poor people at the bare sight of a white man, and so frightful
did their imaginations picture him to be.

On Friday, September 24th, Richard Lander landed for the purpose of
proceeding to Wowow, and took possession of a house on the banks of
the river, which had been prepared for him. The king of Wowow's
messenger accompanied him, and having got everything ready as soon as
he could, he commenced his journey to the city.

On his arrival at Wowow, he was too much fatigued to pay his respects
to the sovereign, but on the following day, he had prepared himself
for the visit to the king's house, but to his great surprise the
eccentric old man excused himself from being seen on that day, on the
plea that he had taken a ride in the morning to see his gardens, and
the exercise had so much tired him, that he felt no inclination
whatever to receive his visitors till the following day. It was,
therefore, not until the 26th, that he granted Lander an audience,
and he then said with the greatest indifference, "I have not yet been
able to procure you the canoe which I promised to get, but I have no
doubt that the ruler of Patashie will have it in his power to supply
you with one to your satisfaction, for which purpose I will send an
express to that island without delay, whom I will furnish with the
necessary instructions to effect an immediate purchase."

Finding that nothing definitive could be arranged relative to the
canoe, Lander prepared to take his departure, but previously to his
setting out, he requested the monarch to show him his collection of
charms, which were written on sheets of paper, glued or pasted
together. Amongst them he discovered a small edition of Watts' Hymns
on one of the blank leaves of which was written, _Alexander Anderson,
Royal Military Hospital, Gosport_, 1804. From the Wowow chieftain, as
well as from his good old brother, and their quondam Abba, Richard
and his attendants received the most liberal hospitality, and on his
taking his leave of them, they wished him farewell in the most
cordial and affectionate manner.

On the return of Richard Lander to Patashie, preparations were
instantly made for their departure, but after all their luggage had
been packed up in readiness, information was brought them from the
chief, that they could not start until to-morrow, because the Niger
would receive a great influx of water during the night, which would
be considerably in their favour. To raise any objection to this
arrangement was considered as wholly useless, and therefore they
quietly awaited the coming of the following day.

Between eight and nine in the morning, horses were brought from the
chief and his nephew to take the Landers to the water side, where
their luggage had been previously conveyed. Here they had to wait a
considerable time till the canoes were brought from another part of
the island, there being but one got ready at the time of their
arrival. On the arrival of the canoes, and all their things had been
removed into them from the beach, they were desired to ride to a
landing place further down the island, because of the rocks, which
were reported to intercept the stream at a little distance from the
place whereon they stood, and to be very dangerous for canoes that
were heavily laden. The venerable governor of Patashie, to whom they
were under so many obligations, preceded them on the footpath,
walking with a staff, and they reached the appointed place of
embarkation exactly at the same moment as the canoes. After thanking
all the friends that had accompanied them, they jumped on board, and
pushed off from the shore, cheered by the natives that were present.

The current bore them rapidly along, and having passed down in front
of one or two towns on the banks of the river, they came in sight of
Lever, which was the place of their destination, it being about
twenty miles from Patashie.

Their surprise was, however, great indeed, when instead of the proper
person whom they expected would have received them, they were
welcomed on shore by a man called Ducoo, who represented himself as
the agent and confidential friend of the prince of Rabba, but their
surprise was not a little increased on learning that a party of forty
or fifty armed Fellata soldiers were also in the town. Ducoo treated
them with the courtly politeness of a Frenchman, and was equally
lavish in his compliments and offers of service; he walked with them
to the chief of the town, to whom he took the liberty of introducing
them, almost before he knew himself who or what they were; went
himself and procured excellent lodgings for them, returned and sat
down in their company to tell them some droll stories, and impart to
them in confidence some very disagreeable news; then hastily arose,
went out, and came back again with a sheep and other provisions,
which he had obtained by compulsion from the chief, and finally
remained with them till long after the moon had risen, when he left
them to their repose.

The Landers now began to discover that they had been egregiously
imposed upon, for in the first place they found, after all, that
Lever did not belong to the king of Wowow, though it stands on his
dominions, nor had that monarch a single subject here, or a single
canoe, so that they were as far as ever they were from getting one,
and with the loss of their horses to boot. They now found to their
cost that they had been cajoled and out-manoeuvred by those fellows
of Boossa and its adjoining state, whom they falsely conceived to be
their dearest and best black friends. They had played with them as if
they were great dolls; they had been driven about like shuttlecocks;
they had been to them first a gazing stock, and afterwards were their
laughing stock, and, perhaps, not unlikely their mockery; they had
been their admiration, their buffoons, their wonder and their scorn,
a by-word and a jest. Else why this double dealing, this deceit,
this chicanery, these hollow professions? "Why," as Richard Lander
says, "did they entrap us in this manner? Why have they led us about
as though we had been blind, only to place us in the very lap of what
they imagine to be danger? For can it be possible that the monarchs
of Wowow and Boossa were ignorant of the state of things here, which
is in their own immediate neighbourhood, and which have continued the
same essentially for these three years? Surely," concludes Lander,
"they have knowingly deceived us."

The Landers were now placed in a most unpleasant predicament; they
could not possibly obtain a canoe according to the promise of the
king of Wowow, and to take those which had been lent them by the
chief of Patashie, appeared such a breach of confidence, that they
could not prevail upon themselves to commit it, but the necessity of
the case pleaded strongly in their favour. They had not the means of
purchasing the canoes of the chief of Patashie, as the king of Wowow
had adroitly managed to exhaust them of nearly all their resources;
but when they began to talk of prosecuting their journey in the
canoes belonging to the chief of Patashie, the canoe men stoutly
resisted their right: fortunately, however, for them, their busy,
restless friend Ducoo interfered on their behalf, and soon silenced
their remarks, by threatening to cut off the head of him who should
presume from that time to set foot in either of the canoes; and in
order to give his menace the greater weight, he stationed two of his
men to guard the forbidden boats till the sun went down, with drawn
swords, and during the greater part of the night, another of his men
paraded up and down the banks of the river near the spot as a watch,
and this man kept up a noise by continually playing on a drum.

The four messengers, who had accompanied them from Wowow and Boossa,
had hitherto been a great encumbrance upon the Landers, as their
maintenance was by no means inconsiderable, at the same time, they
were themselves in some measure dependent upon the native chiefs for
their support. They were, therefore, heartily rejoiced to get rid of
them, and having been paid their stipulated wages, they left the town
in company to proceed to Wowow.

The question of the canoes was, however, by no means settled, for the
Landers were on a sudden surprised by the arrival of a small party of
men, who arrived in a canoe, from the chief of the island of Teah,
with a message to them, purporting that the canoes which they had, to
the infinite surprise of the chief, detained at Lever, did not belong
as was supposed, to his friend, the chief of Patashie, but were his
own property, and as he did not acknowledge the authority of Wowow,
but had ever been subject to the king of Nouffie, he considered that
they could have no right whatever to the canoes in question, and,
therefore, he entreated them to return the canoes by the hands of his
messengers. The chief of Teah asserted, that he had lent them,
because he was willing to oblige the white men and his own neighbour,
but he did not conceive it possible that they could make so
ungrateful and unkind a return for his hospitality, and the respect
and attention which it had been his pride and pleasure to show them.
For their own parts, they could not forbear acknowledging the truth
and justice of the observations of the Teah chieftain, and blaming
themselves for the step they had taken. They said further, that
whatever might be the consequence, they had not the slightest
objection to restore the canoes to their rightful owner; and provided
the men from Teah could obtain the consent of Ducoo, the priest, to
take them away, they were at liberty to do so whenever they might
think proper. But this, they were by no means disposed to do, for
they both feared and hated Ducoo, and, therefore, they bribed the
Nouffie messenger with a large sum of money to assist them in their
project, and purposed taking away both canoes in the night time by
stealth. These intentions were, however, frustrated by the watchful
vigilence of Ducoo, who had mistrusted them long before they were
made known to the Landers, and when he had actually detected their
plans, he ordered the canoes to be pulled up on shore, two hundred
yards at least from the water's edge, and observed with vehemence,
"That after what he had done, should they again be launched into the
water and taken away, he would instantly tie a rope round the necks
of the chief of the town, and the Nouffie messenger that had accepted
the bribe, and in that humiliating state, they should be driven like
beasts to their sovereign, the magia."

On Friday the 3rd October, they were desired to get their things
packed up, for that they would be allowed to proceed on their journey
on the following morning. In pursuance of that arrangement, they had
got all their luggage in readiness, and only waited the coming of the
chief to take their departure, when to their great regret, one of his
messengers entered their hut to apprise them, that they would be
unable to depart until to-morrow, his master having been dissuaded
from his original purpose by the officious, bustling priest, their
friend and enemy. They submitted to their disappointment as patiently
and silently as they could, and in the evening they obtained a solemn
promise, that whatever might be the consequence, no one should divert
him from the resolution he had formed of detaining them longer than
that day, and that early on the following morning they should
certainly depart.

Their surprise and displeasure may, however, be guessed, when after
their goods had been removed from the hut into the yard, they were
informed, that they would be compelled to remain in the town yet
another day, notwithstanding all that the chief had told them on the
day preceding. Their patience was now completely exhausted, and they
were in great anger, for it was disheartening to be always deceived
and trifled with by such scoundrels. Repairing, therefore, to a hut,
in which they knew the chief passed the greater part of his time,
they discovered him sitting on the ground in company with the artful
Ducoo and the Nouffie messenger, and engaged in a very high dispute
with both of them. Their unexpected and abrupt intrusion, in a moment
cut short their wrangling, and they spoke with much emphasis of the
shameful manner in which they had been treated, and expressed their
determination of leaving Lever in a few hours, in defiance of them
and all their power. With the most insolent effrontery in the world,
Ducoo smiled at them, and replied, that they were entirely in his
power--that they should do as _he_ liked, and quit the town whenever
he thought proper.

Such language as this they thought rather too bold, and they
pretended to be in a violent passion, and quickly undeceived him on
that point, threatening that if either he or any of his men, should
presume to interfere with them in their intention; or proceedings
or attempt to hinder them from getting away from the town, they would
feel no more hesitation nor reluctance in shooting him, than if he
had been a partridge or a guinea hen. The priest, who had never
before seen any thing in them but mildness, was intimidated at the
determined and resolute behaviour they had found it necessary to
adopt; in a moment he was crest-fallen, and from being one of the
most boisterous and consequential fellows in the world, became quite
passive: yet his presence of mind did not forsake him, he stammered
out a kind of apology, attempted to soothe them by soft language and
submission, in which he found little difficulty, and did all in his
power to effect a reconciliation. Having settled this business, the
Landers went out, and assembling their men, attempted to draw their
canoe to the river side, but the ground was even, and the boat so
long and heavy, that notwithstanding all their exertions, they could
move her only a few inches towards the river. The people were ashamed
of themselves to see them labouring so hard, and to so little
purpose, and Ducoo likewise, observing them, was convinced that they
were in earnest, therefore, whispering a few words in the ear of the
chief, they both came down to the spot, where they were toiling at
the canoe, followed by a number of men; these, with the priest at
their head, took the work out of their hands, and in less than two
minutes the boat was floating on the water. Their luggage was then
conveyed into the two canoes, and shortly afterwards they were
supplied with three men to paddle them, with the assistance of their
own. Here they took their farewell of the chief and the priest, the
latter begging them very anxiously to speak well of him to his
sovereign at Rabba.

It was not till after they were all in the canoes, and ready to push
off, that those on shore discovered them to be overladen, and
recommended them to hire one of immense size, which was lying
alongside. Without stopping to make them any reply, or listen to any
further nonsense, they desired their own men to push the boats out
into the middle of the current, which was done very promptly, and the
town of Lever, with its chief and inhabitants, was speedily out of
sight and soon forgotten.

About one o'clock they landed at a considerable large and spacious
town, called Bajiebo, inhabited by Nouffie people, although, it is
situated on the Yarriba, or western side of the river. For dirt,
bustle, and nastiness of all kinds, this place exceeded anything they
had ever seen before. For two hours after their arrival they were
obliged to wait in a close diminutive hut, till a more convenient and
becoming habitation could be procured for their reception, and the
pleasure of the chief with regard to them should be known. They were
much incommoded by visitors, who scarcely allowed them to move or
breathe, which, joined to the heat of the weather and the
insufferable stench, rendered their situation truly comfortless and

They were at length removed from this horrible hole, and conducted to
a hut in the heart of the town, in which wood fires had been burning
the whole of the day, so that the wall was almost as warm as the
sides of a heated oven, insomuch that it could scarcely be endured.
Yet, to render it more unpleasant still, a large closely woven mat
was placed before the door way, in order to prevent a thousand eyes
from staring in upon them, and which excluded every breath of air.
Their feelings during the whole of the night, were more distressing
than could be conceived; they were almost suffocated with the
closeness and intense heat of the room, and dreamt that they were
being baked alive in an oven.

Bajiebo is a flourishing and important trading town, although not
walled, and one of the largest and most populous that they had yet
seen. The huts are erected so close to each other, and with so little
regard to comfort, and a free circulation of air, that there is
scarcely a foot path in the town wide enough for more than one man to
walk on at a time, and not having the advantage of shady trees, the
heat of the town was excessive and distressing.

The power of the Fellatas was here evidently very great. One of their
number was styled chief, and had more authority and influence than
the native ruler. They were obliged to make a present to each of
these individuals, and other high and mighty personages were likewise
desirous of obtaining a similar favour at their hands, but they made
light of their conversation, and would not understand their enigmas.
Before sunrise on the 5th October, their luggage was removed
to the beach, and between six and seven o'clock they were once more
upon the water. In the course of an hour after leaving Bajiebo, they
passed by two towns of considerable extent, and in about an hour
afterwards they arrived at an extensive town called Lechee, inhabited
by Noufanchie, and said to be a place of considerable rank and
consequence. Here they landed by express desire, and finding an empty
grass hut near the spot, they entered and took possession of it, till
such time as the chief should be made acquainted with their arrival.
Here also their canoe men left them and returned to Bajiebo, where
they had hired them.

They were not suffered to wait long, but in a few minutes received an
invitation from the chief to come and see him; and having walked
through a good part of the town, they at length approached his
residence, and were introduced without ceremony or hindrance, into a
large and lofty hut, where they discovered the chief sitting on a
platform of mud, in great state, with about forty natives and
Fellatas in earnest conversation on each side of him. He received
them with great civility, and many demonstrations of gladness, and
desired them to draw near his person, that he might have a better
opportunity of looking at and talking to them. He appeared, however,
unwilling for them to quit Lechee till the following day, and pressed
them strongly to remain with him for the day, which, however, not all
his solicitations nor importunities could induce them to accede to.
After some trifling conversation, and a long and pithy harangue from
a Fellata, they took their leave of him and his people, and instantly
made their way back to the water side, where they waited in the grass
hut for the appearance of the canoe men, with whom the chief had
promised to supply them. After a considerable delay, a man for each
canoe could only be procured, so that two of their own people were
obliged to supply the place of others, as well as they could. Having
got into their canoes, they pushed off from the shore, and proceeded
at a good rate down the stream, along the side of a considerable
island, which was within gunshot of the town, and after passing a
large open village of respectable appearance, which was on the
western bank, they put in at a small town, a few miles below, also on
the Yarriba side of the river, where they were constrained to go in
quest of other canoe men, because those from Lechee, though they had
been with them only forty minutes, and had certainly not laboured
very hard, had refused to proceed with them any further, nor could
all their enticements induce them to forego the resolution which they
had taken. The Landers were detained in their canoes for an hour and
a half, exposed to a scorching sun, in order to obtain fresh canoe
men. They at last proceeded on their journey, and in the evening
arrived at a fishing town on a small island, which was called Madjie,
and belonged to the Noufanchie. Here they were received with
cheerfulness by the chief, who accommodated them with a roomy hut,
sent them a quantity of dressed provisions, and otherwise treated
them in the most hospitable manner.

At nine in the following morning, they landed near a small town to
procure a fresh supply of canoe men, and having obtained them, they
journeyed along the eastern side of the river, and in a few hours
afterwards, they perceived the smoke of the far-famed Rabba ascending
many miles before them. They stopped for a short time at a low, flat,
swampy island called Belee, and visited a mean, dirty-looking town,
where they were in a short time introduced to the chief, who,
according to the report of their messenger, was a great, rich, and
important personage. He informed them, that Mohammed, the magia's
son, who had left them at Patashie, had returned from his father, in
pursuance of his agreement, but instead of remaining at Rabba, as
they had expected, he had come over to Belee, and had been waiting
three days on the island in expectation of their arrival. The
governor further informed them, that they would be obliged to remain
at Belee, till the return of Mohammed to the island, for he had news
of importance to communicate to them. "To-morrow," he said, "you will
leave hence, and proceed to another island, which is further down the
river, wherein it is arranged that you shall abide till your affairs
be finally adjusted." There was some mystery about this information,
which was unexpected by the Landers, and not very gratifying to them.

It was the evening before Mohammed returned to Belee, and he
presented himself before them in a dripping state, with an excuse,
that he had been upset in a canoe two or three times. After the first
salutation was over, he informed them of his visit to his father, and
its result. The magia had desired him to assure them of his best
wishes in their welfare, and his determination to protect, support,
and encourage them, as far as he was able. Mohammed then drew their
attention to a young man, who had entered the hut with him, but whom
they had not before observed, and introduced him as a messenger sent
to them by the Fellata prince of Rabba. This man said, that his
master, named Mallam Dendo, had commissioned him to acquaint them,
that he heartily concurred with the king of Nouffie in the favourable
opinions and sentiments which the latter entertained for them. With
respect to their visiting Rabba, which he understood they were very
much disinclined to do, he should not urge them, and rather imagined
that they would be more comfortable and enjoy greater tranquillity,
on an inland on the opposite side of the river, where he would
recommend them to stop. The Fellata messenger concluded by observing,
that they would be visited on the morrow by _the king of the dark
water_, who would escort them to the island in question, of which he
was the governor.

As early as five o'clock on the following morning, their canoes were
loaded, and having breakfasted on a slice of yam, they were fully
prepared to quit the island. But as it was not deemed either politic
or proper to go away till the arrival of the great _king of the dark
water_, who was hourly expected, and who might be inclined to
construe their departure into contempt, they consented to await his
coming. Rather, however, than remain in a close black hut, full of
men, whose garments were generally covered with vermin, and rarely if
ever cleaned, and who made it a common practice to sit on the mat
where the two Landers slept, rather than undergo such a nuisance,
they stepped into their canoes, and having pushed off from the land,
they waited the arrival of the king of the dark water under the
branches of a large tree, at a little distance from the town.

Between nine and ten, they heard a number of men singing, and keeping
time to the motion of many paddles, and in a very few minutes, a
canoe, which was paddled by a few men only, came in sight, and they
knew by this that the water king was approaching. It was instantly
followed by another, and much larger one, propelled by above twenty
very fine young men, whose voices they had been listening to just
before, and who were still continuing their song. The king of the
dark water was with them. As the canoe drew nearer, they were not
only surprised at its extraordinary length and uncommon neatness, but
likewise at the unusual display of pomp and show which were
observable in her. In the centre a mat awning was erected, which was
variously decorated, and on the front of it hung a large piece of
scarlet cloth, ornamented with bits of gold lace stitched on
different parts of it. In the bow of the canoe were three or four
little boys of equal size, who were clad with neatness and propriety;
and in the stern sat a number of comely looking musicians, consisting
of several drummers and a trumpeter, whilst the young men, who had
the management of the boat, were not inferior to their companions
either in decency of apparel or respectability of appearance.

As soon as their canoe arrived at the landing place, the water king
came out from beneath the awning, and followed by the musicians and a
suite of attendants, walked to the hut, in which all public matters
were transacted, and whither in a few minutes the Landers were
desired to repair. The chief of the island, with his elders and the
more respectable of the people were seated, on their entrance, on
each side of their important visitor, and the two Landers, as a mark
of distinction, were invited to place themselves in front of him.
When the usual compliments had passed on both sides, he informed
them, with much solemnity, of his rank and title, he then alluded to
the cause of his coming, which he said, was to do them honour, and
repeated what had been previously told them by the king's son. This
being done, he presented them with a pot of excellent honey, and two
thousand cowries in money, with a large quantity of goora nuts, and
which are held in such high esteem that the opulent and powerful
alone have the means of procuring them. Having nothing further to say
or do, they shook hands with his sable majesty, whose name was
Suliken Rouah, expressed their acknowledgement for his handsome
present, and returned to their boats.

It was exactly mid-day when Suliken Rouah re-embarked in his princely
canoe, and quitted the island of Belee. Determined for once to make
an attempt at a more respectable appearance, for heretofore it had
been extremely mean and homely, they hastily constructed an awning of
their sheets. It was the first time they had made use of such a
thing, though they were without umbrellas, and till then had nothing
but slight straw hats to protect their heads from the sun. Above the
awning, they elevated a slender staff, on the top of which they
fastened the national colours, the union flag, which was kindly given
them by a gentleman on the coast, who was commandant of Anamaboo.
When unfurled and waving in the wind, it looked extremely pretty, and
it made their hearts glow with pride and enthusiasm as they looked on
this solitary little banner. They thought it would also be of service
to them, if they made as gay an appearance as the king and his
followers, and accordingly Richard Lander put on an old naval uniform
coat, which he had with him for state occasions, and John Lander
dressed himself in as grotesque and gaudy a manner as their resources
would afford. Their eight attendants also put on new white mahommedan
tobes, so that their canoe, with its white awning, surmounted by the
union flag, their canoe men in new dresses, and themselves appearing
as officers, contributed not a little to the effect of the whole
scene. The august king of the dark water, with his retinue in twenty
canoes, condescendingly gave them the precedence, and theirs was the
first that moved off from land, and led the way down the river
towards Rabba.

For a little while, they continued to take the lead, but the chief
soon went before them for two reasons, first, that he might have an
opportunity of looking at them, and secondly, that they might have a
fairer chance of seeing him in all his state, for which purpose, he
had placed himself outside his awning, on an elevated and conspicuous
seat. However, he only wished to get a few yards before them, for his
canoe men soon lifted their paddles out of the water, and the boat
fell back to its former situation. The musicians in the large canoe
performed merrily on their instruments, and about twenty persons now
sung at intervals in recitative, keeping excellent time with their

A brisk wind sprung up the river full in their faces, relieving them
from the extreme heat of the weather, which was remarkably fine; the
scene before them was very animating, and the whole of them were in
high glee and spirits. Other canoes joined them, and never did the
British flag lead so extraordinary a squadron. The king of the dark
water might have been mistaken for a river god, and his wives, now
and then showing their pretty black faces from under the awning, cast
many an arch look at them with their sparkling, jetty eyes.

It was not long before their reverie was interrupted by a great noise
from the adjacent land, and on turning, they perceived the banks of
an island, called Zagozhi, which was lined with numbers of people,
admiring their flag, and watching them very earnestly, by which they
guessed that this was the place of their destination. The island was
so uncommonly low that the houses and trees appeared as if they were
standing in the water, as indeed many of them actually were. Theirs
being the first canoe, before they landed on the island, they waited
for the king to precede them, and the moment he set his foot on
shore, they fired a salute of four muskets and three pistols. The
king of the dark water was rather alarmed at this, and demanded
whether they were going to make war on him, but he was soon relieved
from his fear, by being told that it was an honour that they had been
in the habit of paying to all the princes, whom they had met in their
travels; which he no sooner understood, than he expressed himself
much gratified by their attention.

The king himself went in quest of a dwelling house, and conducted
them to one of the best which the island afforded; it was, however,
miserably bad, for as the town was built on a marsh, every hut in it
had the disadvantage, during the whole of the rainy season, of soft
damp floors, and uncomfortable roofs. Their own hut had positively
pools of water springing up out of the ground. The walls of the hut
were built of mud from the river, strengthened and supported by
wooden pillars, and ribs of the same materials; however, these do not
prevent them from cracking in a hundred different places, and large
chinks, admitting wind and rain, may be observed in the walls of
every hut. They have all a very dirty and wretched appearance,
although their inmates, generally speaking, were understood to be
clean, opulent, and respectable. Having conducted them to the hut,
the chief of the island shook hands with them very heartily, and
assured them they should want for nothing. He soon provided them with
doors of bamboo for their hut, and a number of mats to spread on the
floor, which made it tolerably comfortable. In the evening, four
large calabashes of stewed rice with fowls, and no less than ten
gallons of _petto_ or country beer were sent them.

About seven in the evening, messengers arrived from Rabba, to inform
them that they should come early in the morning for the presents
intended for their chief. They said that the king would not put them
to the trouble of going to see him, as the town was full of Arabs,
whose begging propensities would be very inconvenient to them. The
Landers were much pleased with this intelligence, knowing very well
the character of the Arabs, and they sent back word, that they would
be still more obliged to him, if he would dispense with their going
to the sansan, or camp, at a short distance from the town, to visit
the king of Nouffie.

Rabba stands in an opposite direction to Zagozhi, and appears at the
distance of about two miles, to be an immensely large, populous, and
flourishing town. It is built on the slope of a gentle hill, and on a
spot almost entirely bare of trees; the Niger here flowed in a
direction to the south of east.


According to their announcement on the preceding day, the messengers
from the chiefs arrived, bringing with them two fine sheep and a
great quantity of rice, and it appeared that they would be required
to give presents to nine people, before they should be able to get
away from the place.

Having prepared the presents, the messengers were collected, and
Richard Lander laid before each of them those that were intended for
their masters, and in order to make them some reward, and secure
their good will, he gave something to each of them, and dismissed

On the following morning they were visited by two young men, Arabs,
from Rabba, one of whom was very eager to claim acquaintance with
Richard Lander, and to bring to his memory certain scenes which had
taken place on his former journey to Houssa. Having in some degree
recovered from his surprise at his salutation, on looking at him more
attentively, he recognized in him the very same individual, that had
been employed by Captain Clapperton, whom he had abused and cheated,
and who was subsequently engaged by Lander himself as a guide from
Kano. He was the same person also, who decamped with Captain Pearce's
sword, and a large sum of money in kowries. The fellow, however, on
being taxed with his dishonesty, made very light of his offence, and
with the utmost effrontery begged every thing that he saw, so that
the Landers lost their temper with the scoundrel, and turned him out
of the hut in disgust. He, however, could not believe that they were
in earnest with him, "Oh, it must be all sport," said he, but at last
they threatened to shoot him, if ho did not go about his business,
and being apprehensive that they would put their threats into
execution, he ran off as fast as he could.

The market at Rabba is very celebrated, and considered by traders as
one of the largest and best in the whole country, of which it may be
styled the emporium. On one market day, between one and two hundred
men, women, and children were exposed for sale in ranks and lines,
like the oxen at Smithfield. These poor creatures had for the most
part been captured in war. The price of a strong healthy lad was
about forty thousand kowries, (L8 sterling,) a girl fetches about
fifty thousand, and perhaps more, if she be at all interesting. The
value of men and women varies according to their age, and abilities.

The situation of the travellers now assumed a critical aspect, for
early one morning, Mallam Dendo, the old king of Rabba sent for
Pascoe in a great hurry, with a message that he was waiting
impatiently his arrival at Rabba, having something of the utmost
consequence to communicate. As may be easily conjectured, the Landers
were rather surprised at this unexpected summons, and waited Pascoe's
return with much anxiety, for they had no doubt whatever, that
themselves were principally concerned in it. When, however, he _did_
come back, and entered the hut, he looked very wistfully, and
informed them with considerable agitation both of voice and manner,
that Mallam Dendo had expressed to him the greatest dissatisfaction
at the things which he had received from them as presents, declaring
them to be perfectly worthless, and with the exception of the
looking-glass, "fit only for a child," that he well knew they could
have sent him something more useful and of greater value, if they had
thought proper; but that if they persisted in their refusal to do so,
he should demand of them their guns, pistols, and powder, before he
would consent or permit them to leave Zagozhi.

This news made them very uneasy and unhappy, and they sat down in
gloom and thoughtfulness without uttering a word, for they believed
this to be a death-blow to all their hones. To part with the only
defensive weapons in their possession, they felt determined not to
do, for they knew if they were to be deprived of them, they should be
entirely in the power of a set of fellows remarkable neither for
generosity nor nobleness of principle, without the means of helping
themselves, and they resolved never to part with their guns, unless
compelled to do so by the most urgent necessity. Having reflected
deliberately on their situation, they felt convinced that something
on their part must be done by way of conciliation, if they had any
intention of quitting the country, and of prosecuting their
enterprise. On a sudden, they thought of Mr. Park's tobe, which was
given to them by the king of Boossa, and they hoped that in
consequence of the splendour of its appearance, and its intrinsic
value, it might prove an acceptable present to the covetous prince,
and be the means of effecting a perfect reconciliation between them.
They therefore immediately despatched Ibrahim with it to Rabba,
although their hearts misgave them at the time, that it would, after
all, be thought lightly of, as an excuse for further extortions.

In this, however, they were agreeably disappointed, for in less than
two hours after his departure, Ibrahim returned from his errand with
a quick step and cheerful looks, and informed them that the tobe was
accepted by the prince with rapturous admiration. By this present
they had made him their friend for ever. "Ask the white men," said
he, "what they would desire, and if Rabba can supply them with it,
tell them they shall always have it. Well," he continued, "I must
purchase this tobe, I will not accept it as a gift; that would be
against my principles, and besides, it would be wrong for me to be
guilty of such injustice. Now I shall be something like a king," he
added, turning the tobe inside and out; "let no man know of it, my
neighbours will behold me with envy, and as for my own people, I will
surprise them some morning by putting it on when they are going to
war: it will dazzle their eyes. How great will be their
astonishment?" In this manner the king of the Fellatas talked to

On the following day, Pascoe was sent to Rabba, well tutored by his
masters, and in consequence of the offer made by the king to make
them any compensation for the handsome tobe, Pascoe informed him,
that the first wish of the white men was to obtain a large canoe, and
to pursue their journey on the Niger as fast as possible. He promised
to settle the business of the canoe, and sent some presents to the
Landers, which at the time were very acceptable.

They had, however, scarcely got over the dilemma with the king of
Rabba, than a messenger arrived to that monarch from the king of
Nouffie, who had despatched him privately to Mallam Dendo, with an
intimation to him, that if it met with his approbation, he (the
magia) would order the white men to be detained at Zagozhi, until
they would consent to make him a present of a certain number of
dollars, or something equivalent to them in value; that he
disbelieved the story of their poverty altogether, and would
therefore search their luggage, in order to discover whether their
assertion were true or false, that they had no greater presents to

So much dissimulation, meanness, and rapacity, which this trait in
his character exhibited, they had little reason to expect from the
king of Nouffie, after expressing for them so warmly and repeatedly
as he had done, protestations of the most cordial, candid, and
lasting friendship. They could not forbear feeling very indignant at
this foul breach of the laws of hospitality and good faith, which
previously to this act, they had experienced in every part of the
country. Perhaps it was well that they had presented the prince of
Rabba with Mr. Park's tobe, for he treated the message and its bearer
with contempt, and answered energetically, "Tell the magia, your
sovereign, that I would rebuke him for this expression of his
sentiments, and that I detest his base insinuations; that I will
never consent to his wishes, and that I reject his proposal with
disdain. What! shall the white men, who have come from such distant
lands to visit our country, who have spent their substance amongst
us, and made us presents before we had leisure to do any good for
them, shall they be treated so inhumanly? never! They have worn their
shoes from their feet, and their clothes from their persons, by the
length and tediousness of their journeys; they have thrown themselves
into our hands, to claim our protection and partake of our
hospitality; shall we treat them as robbers, and cast them from us
like dogs? Surely not. What would our neighbours, what would our
friends--our foes say to this? What could be a greater reproach than
the infamy, which would attach itself to our characters, and to our
name, should we treat these poor, unprotected, wandering strangers,
and white men too, in the manner your monarch, the king of Nouffie
proposes? After they have been received and entertained with so much
hospitality and honour in Yarriba, at Wowow, and at Boossa, shall it
be said that Rabba treated them badly? that she shut her doors upon
them and plundered them? No, never! I have already given my word to
protect them, and I will not forfeit that sacred pledge for all the
guns and swords in the world." Such was the answer of a man whom we
call a savage--it was worthy of a prince and a Christian.

It was now high time that their journey should be completed, for
their goods were very nearly exhausted, and so far from being in a
condition to make further presents, their means were scarcely
adequate to procure the bare necessaries of life. Their stock of
cloth, looking-glasses, snuff-boxes, knives, scissors, razors, and
tobacco pipes, had been already given away, and they had only needles
and a few silver bracelets left, to present to the chiefs whom they
might reasonably expect to fall in with on their voyage down the

The population of Zagozhi cannot well be estimated on account of its
lowness, and the prevailing flatness of the country round, on which
neither a hillock nor eminence of any kind can be discerned. However,
it must be immense, and the Landers considered it to be one of the
most extensive and thickly inhabited towns, as well as one of the
most important trading places in the whole kingdom of Nouffie, not
excepting even Coulfoo.

Having at length received permission to quit Zagozhi on the following
day, to pursue their journey down the Niger, they made the necessary
preparations for their departure. They were in hope of obtaining a
canoe capable of holding the whole of their party, as it would be a
much more satisfactory arrangement for them, and more convenient than
two small ones. The chief of the island promised to send a messenger
with them as far as Egga, which was the last town down the river
belonging to the Nouffie territory. The chief was, however, unwilling
to part with a canoe under any consideration, yet as a token of his
friendship and regard, he offered to spare them one for twenty
thousand kowries, in addition to their own canoe, which they had
brought from Patashie. A messenger from the prince of Rabba arrived
just after this proposal had been made to them, with full powers to
treat with the "King of the dark water" for the canoe. In a short
time, he returned from his errand, with the pleasing intelligence of
his having succeeded in obtaining the long-talked-of canoe, and which
was to be in readiness to receive them on board at an early hour on
the following morning.

On Friday, October 16th, they rose at an early hour, to pack up their
clothes, and to get their luggage ready for embarkation. But when
this was all done, they met with a sudden and unforeseen
embarrassment, for the sable king of the dark water laughed at the
idea of giving them a canoe on the faith of receiving payment from
the prince of the Fellatas, and at first, he even refused to deliver
up their own canoe, which they had brought from Patashie, and which
they had kept with so much anxiety and trouble. At length, however,
he consented to restore to them all their property, and the whole of
the articles were accordingly moved into the canoes.

When all this was done, and they were quite ready to start, the old
chief came down to the water side to bid them farewell, according to
his avowed purpose, but in reality to offer them a commodious canoe
in exchange for their own, if they would consent to give him ten
thousand kowries in addition to them. They had fortunately realized a
sufficient number of kowries from the sale of needles at Rabba, and
while Richard Lander was shifting the things from their own canoe
into another, John Lander walked back with the old chief to his
residence, where he found all the people of the house gathered round
the trunk of a large tree, which was burning in the hut. Here he paid
the chief ten thousand kowries for the canoe, which having done, he
rejoined his brother at the water side.

The canoes made here are of a particular description, very much
resembling what are called punts in England, but are perfectly
straight and flat bottomed. They are generally formed out of one log
of wood, and are of an immense size; that which the Landers
purchased, was about fifteen feet in length and four in breadth, but
they are sometimes made nearly as large again. To this offer the
Landers most willingly acceded, and as soon as all the goods were
transferred into the purchased canoe, they found, after all, that it
was not nearly large enough for their purpose, independently of its
being extremely leaky, and patched up in a thousand places; they had
been prevented from perceiving the canoe's defect before, by the
excitement of preparation, and the hurry of departure. They now saw
that they had been cheated by the artful king of the dark water, but
rather than enter into an interminable dispute on the subject, which
might involve them in further difficulties, they held their peace and
put up with the imposition without a murmur; after, getting all their
luggage into her, they waited for the arrival of a messenger, who was
to have accompanied them a little way on their journey, but as he did
not come, they resolved to depart without him, so bidding farewell to
the king of the dark water, and hundreds of spectators who were
gazing at them, they fired two muskets, and launching out into the
river, they were soon out of sight of Zagozhi.


They paddled along the banks at a distance of not less than thirty
miles, every inch of which they had attentively examined, but not a
bit of dry land could anywhere be discovered, which was firm enough
to bear their weight. Therefore, they resigned themselves to
circumstances, and all of them having been refreshed with a little
cold rice and honey, and water from the stream, they permitted the
canoe to drive down with the current, for their men were too much
fatigued with the labours of the day to work any longer. But here a
fresh evil arose, which they were unprepared to meet. An incredible
number of hippopotami arose very near them, and came plashing and
snorting and plunging all round the canoe, and placed them in
imminent danger. Thinking to frighten them off, they fired a shot or
two at them, but the noise only called up from the water, and out of
the fens, about as many more of their unwieldy companions, and they
were more closely beset than before. Their people, who had never in
all their lives 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, which rattled over their heads, and by the awful darkness
which prevailed, broken at intervals by flashes of lightning, whose
powerful glare was truly awful.

However, the hippopotami did them no kind of mischief whatever; no
doubt at first when they interrupted them, they were only sporting
and wallowing in the river for their own amusement, but had they
upset the canoe, the travellers would have paid dearly for it.

Having travelled, according to their own computation, a distance
little short of a hundred miles, they stopped at a small
insignificant fishing village called _Dacannie_, where they were very
glad to land. The Niger here presented a very magnificent appearance;
and was reckoned to be nearly eight miles in breadth.

Whilst they were at breakfast, under the shelter of a tree, the
promised messenger from Zagozhi arrived, and introduced himself to
them. He said that he had followed their track during the night, and
had heard the report of their guns, but though he strove to come up
with them, yet he had not been able.

It was between nine and ten in the morning, that the guide desired
them to proceed onwards, promising to follow them in a few minutes.
With this arrangement they cheerfully complied, and instantly pushed
off the shore, for of all persons, a messenger is the most unpleasant
companion; he is fond of procrastination, sullen when rebuked, and
stops at every paltry village wherein he fancies that he can levy his
contributions without the fear of interruption.

The messenger, whom they had left at Dacannie, soon overtook them,
and kept company with them till they drew near to two cities of
prodigious extent, one on each side of the river, and directly
opposite each other. To that lying on the right, the guide expressed
his intention of going, and endeavoured to entice the Landers with
many promises to accompany him there, but they refused, for they had
formed a resolution to husband their resources to the utmost of their
ability, and consequently to land at little hamlets only, where they
might do just as they pleased, without being amenable for their
actions to those powerful beings, who are styled "the mighty" of the

They now took leave of the Zagozhi messenger, who promised to follow
them as before, and in an hour afterwards they put into a small
village, situated on an island called Gungo, the natives of which
appeared to be a mild, inoffensive, quiet, and good-natured people.
About sunset, the inhabitants of the whole island, amounting to about
a hundred men, women, and children, dressed in very decent apparel,
and headed by their chief, a venerable old man, paid them a visit.
The chief was dressed in the mahommedan costume, and he arranged his
people, and made them sit down round the hut which the Landers
occupied, in the most orderly manner. The men evinced no alarm, but
the women and pretty little plump-faced children were much frightened
at their white faces, and seemed not a little glad to get away.
Before they retired, they distributed about two hundred needles among
them, and they went away highly pleased with their present.

At Zagozhi, they had been strongly recommended to put into a large
and important trading town called _Egga_, which was reported to be
three days journey down the river from thence, and they had been
promised a guide or messenger to accompany them thither, but they had
neither heard nor seen any thing of him since the preceding day. From
motives of prudence, however, they thought proper to make inquiries
concerning the Egga, of which they had been told, lest by any means,
they should pass it without seeing it.

About mid-day they touched at a large village to inquire whereabouts
Egga lay, and they were informed that they had not a long way to go.
They journeyed onwards for about an hour, when they perceived a
large, handsome town, behind a deep morass. It was the
long-sought-for Egga, and they instantly proceeded up a creek to the
landing place. The town was upwards of two miles in length, they
halted a few minutes before landing, no one having conveyed
intelligence of their arrival to the chief. A young Fellata was the
first who invited them on shore, and they despatched Pascoe to the
chief to tell him who they were, and what they wanted. He quickly
returned, saying that the old chief was ready to receive them, and
they immediately proceeded to his residence.

In a few minutes, they arrived at the Zollahe or entrance hut, in
which they found the old man ready to receive them. They discovered
him squatting on a cow's hide, spread on the ground, smoking from a
pipe of about three yards long, and surrounded by a number of
Fellatas, and several old mallams. They were welcomed in the most
friendly and cordial manner, and as a mark of peculiar distinction,
they were invited to seat themselves near the person of the chief. He
looked at them with surprise from head to foot, and told them that
they were strange-looking people, and well worth seeing. Having
satisfied his curiosity, he sent for all his old wives, that they
might do the same; but as they did not altogether relish so much
quizzing, they requested to be shown to a hut. A house, "fit for a
king," to use his own expression, was speedily got ready for their
reception, and as soon as he had learnt with surprise, that they
subsisted on the same kind of food as himself, they were led to their
dwelling, and before evening received a bowl of tuah and gravy from
his wives. They were soon pestered with the visits of the mallams and
the chief's wives, the latter of whom brought them presents of goora
nuts as a sort of introduction to see them. As soon as the news of
their arrival spread through the town, the people flocked by hundreds
to their hut, for the purpose of satisfying their curiosity with a
sight of the white people. The mallams and the king's wives had given
them trouble enough, but the whole population of Egga was too much
for them, so that they were literally obliged to blockade the
doorways, and station three of their people at each to keep them

The Landers were extremely anxious to expedite their departure from
Egga, for although the old chief was extremely kind and hospitable,
yet the annoyance from the natives was more than could be borne; for
they never could have a moment of rest, their windows and doorways
being blocked up by visitors, so that they were literally prevented
from inhaling the fresh air, but were like prisoners in a cage to be
examined and quizzed by every one, who thought they could pass their
jokes with impunity.

Having expressed their intention of continuing their journey, the
elders of the town remonstrated with them, that it would be highly
dangerous to go by themselves, and endeavoured to persuade them to
alter the arrangement for their own sakes. They promised to procure
them a convoy of traders, if they would consent to wait three days
longer, which was to leave Egga at the end of that time to attend a
famous market called Bocqua. When they sent word to the chief that
they intended departing on the following day, he begged of them to
remain a few days longer, declaring the banks of the river to be
inhabited by people, who were little better than savages, and
plundered every one that came near them. He was then asked, if he
would send a messenger with them, but he refused, saying, that the
Fellata power and his own extended no further down the river; that
Egga was the last town of Nouffie, and that none of his people traded
below it. "If that be the case," said Richard Lander, "it will be as
safe for us to go to-morrow as any other day," and with this
determination he left him.

He then proceeded to give directions for his people to prepare
themselves for starting, when to the great astonishment of himself

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