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Lander's Travels by Robert Huish

Part 3 out of 15

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About four o'clock, they arrived at Moorzan, where Mr. Park was
conveyed across the river to Silla, a large town. Here he remained
under a tree, surrounded by hundreds of people, till it was dark,
when, with a great deal of entreaty, the dooty allowed him to enter
his balloon to avoid the rain, but the place was very damp, and his
fever returned.

The reflections, which now occurred to him, with the determination
those reflections produced, are here given in his own words. "Worn
down by sickness, exhausted with hunger and fatigue, half naked, and
without any article of value, by which I might procure provisions,
clothes, or lodging, I was now convinced, that the obstacles to my
further progress were insurmountable. The tropical rains were already
set in, the rice grounds and swamps were every where overflowed, and
in a few days more, travelling of every kind, except by water, would
be completely obstructed. The kowries, which remained of the king of
Bambarra's present, were not sufficient to enable me to hire a canoe
for any great distance, and I had little hope of subsisting by
charity, in a country where the Moors have such influence. I saw
inevitable destruction in attempting to proceed to the eastward. With
this conviction on my mind, I hope it will be acknowledged, that I
did right in going no further. I had made every effort to execute my
mission in its fullest extent, which prudence could justify. Had
there been the most distant prospect of a successful termination,
neither the unavoidable hardships of the journey, nor the dangers of
a second captivity should have forced me to desist."

Mr. Park now acquainted the dooty with his intention of returning to
Sego, proposing to travel along the southern side of the river, but
the dooty informed him, that from the number of creeks and swamps on
that side, it was impossible to travel by any other route than the
northern bank, and even that route would soon be impassable from the
overflowing of the river. However, by the dooty's recommendation, Mr.
Park was conveyed to Moorzan in a canoe, where he hired another canoe
for thirty kowries, which conveyed him to Kea, where, for forty
kowries more, the dooty permitted him to sleep in the same hut with
one of his slaves. This poor negro, perceiving he was sickly, and his
clothes very ragged, humanely lent him a large cloth to cover him for
the night.

The following day Mr. Park set out for Madiboo, in company with the
dooty's brother, who promised to carry his saddle, which he had
before left at Kea. On their road they observed a great number of
earthen jars, piled up on the bank of the river. As they approached
towards them, the dooty's brother plucked up a large handful of
herbage, which he threw upon them, making signs for Mr. Park to do
the same, which he did. The negro then informed him, that those jars
belonged to some supernatural power, and were found in their present
situation about two years ago, and that every traveller, as he passed
them, from respect to the invisible proprietor, threw some grass upon
the heap to defend them from the rain. Thus conversing, they
travelled on in the most friendly manner, until they perceived the
footsteps of a lion, when the negro insisted that Mr. Park should
walk before. The latter refused, on which the negro, after a few high
words, and menacing looks, threw down the saddle and left him. Mr.
Park having given up all hope of obtaining a horse, took off the
stirrups and girth, and threw the saddle into the river. The negro,
however, when he saw the saddle in the water jumped in, and bringing
it out by the help of his spear, ran away with it.

Mr. Park now continued his course alone, and in the afternoon reached
Madiboo. His guide, who had got there before him, being afraid he
should complain of his conduct, restored the saddle, and Mr. Park
also found his horse alive.

On the 1st of August, Mr. Park proceeded to Nyamere, where he
remained three days, on account of the continual rain. On the 5th, he
again set out, but the country was so deluged, that he had to wade
across creeks for miles together, knee-deep in water. He at length
arrived at Nyara, and on the subsequent day, with great difficulty
reached a small village called Nemaboo.

Mr. Park being assured that in the course of a few days, the country
would be overflowed, was anxious to engage a fellow traveller, when a
Moor and his wife who were going to Sego, riding on bullocks, agreed
to take him along with them; they were, however, unacquainted with
the road, and were very bad travellers. Instead of wading before the
bullocks, to feel if the ground was solid the woman boldly entered
the first swamp, seated upon the top of the load, but when she had
proceeded about two hundred yards the bullock sunk into a hole, and
threw both the load and herself amongst the reeds; she was nearly
drowned before her husband went to her assistance.

At sunset they reached Sibity, but the dooty received Mr. Park very
coolly, and when he solicited a guide to Sansanding, told him his
people were otherwise engaged. Mr. Park passed the night in a damp
old hut, which he expected every moment would fall upon him; for when
the walls of the huts are softened with the rain, they frequently
become too weak to support the roof. Mr Park heard three huts fall in
during the night, and the following morning, saw fourteen in like
manner destroyed. The rain continued with great violence, and Mr.
Park being refused provisions by the dooty, purchased some corn,
which he divided with his horse.

The dooty now compelled Mr. Park to leave Sibity, and accordingly he
set out for Sansanding, with little hope of receiving better
treatment, for he had discovered that it was universally believed, he
had come to Bambarra as a spy; and as Mansong had not admitted him
into his presence, the dooties of the different towns were at liberty
to treat him as they pleased. He arrived at Sansanding at sunset,
where his reception was just what he expected. The dooty, who had
been so kind to him formerly, privately informed him, that Mansong
had sent a canoe to Jenne to bring him back, he therefore advised him
to leave Sansanding before day-break, and not to stop at any town
near Sego. Mr. Park accordingly took his departure from Sansanding,
and proceeded to Kabba. Several people were assembled at the gate,
one of whom running towards him, took his horse by the bridle, and
led him round the walls of the town, then pointing to the west, told
him to go along, or it would fare worse with him. Mr. Park
hesitating, a number of people came up, and urged him in the same
manner, and he now suspected that some of the king's messengers, who
were in search of him, were in the town, and that these negroes from
humanity wished him to escape. He accordingly took the road for Sego,
and having passed a village, the dooty of which refused him
admittance, proceeded to a smaller one, where the dooty permitted him
to sleep in a large balloon.

Leaving his miserable residence by break of day, he arrived in the
afternoon at a small village within half a mile of Sego, where he
endeavoured in vain to procure some provisions. He was again informed
that Mansong had sent people to apprehend him, and the dooty's son
told him he had no time to lose, if he wished to escape. Mr. Park now
fully saw the danger of his situation, and determined to avoid Sego
altogether, and taking the road to Diggani, until he was out of sight
of the village, struck to the westward through high grass and swampy
ground. About noon he stopped under a tree, to consider what course
to take, and at length determined to proceed along the Niger, and
endeavour to ascertain how far the river was navigable. About sunset
he arrived at a village called Sooboo, where, for two hundred
kowries, he procured a lodging for the night.

After passing the villages of Samee and Kaimoo, he arrived at a small
town called Song, the inhabitants of which would not permit him to
enter the gate, but as lions were numerous in the adjoining woods, he
resolved to stay near the town, and accordingly laid down under a
tree by the gate. In the night, a lion kept prowling round the
village, and once advanced so near Mr. Park, that he heard him
rustling amongst the grass, and climbed the tree for safety. He had
before attempted to enter the gate, and on being prevented, informed
the people of his danger. About midnight the dooty, with some of the
inhabitants, desired him to come in; they were convinced, they said,
that he was not a Moor, for no Moor ever waited at the gate of a
village, without cursing the inhabitants.

Mr. Park now proceeded on his journey; the country began to rise into
hills, and he saw the summits of high mountains to the westward. He
had very disagreeable travelling, on account of the overflow of the
river; and in crossing a swamp, his horse sunk suddenly into a deep
pit, and was almost drowned. Both the horse and his rider were so
covered with mud, that in passing a village, the people compared them
to two dirty elephants. Mr, Park stopped at a village near Yamina,
where he purchased some corn, and dried his paper and clothes. As
Yamina is much frequented by the Moors, Mr. Park did not think it
safe to lodge there; he therefore rode briskly through it, and the
people, who looked at him with astonishment, had no time to ask

On the following day, Mr. Park passed a town called Balaba, the
prospect of the country was by no means inviting, for the high grass
and bushes seemed completely to obstruct the road, and the Niger
having flooded the low lands, had the appearance of an extensive

On the following day, Mr. Park took the wrong road, and when he
discovered his error, on coming to an eminence, he observed the Niger
considerably to the left. Directing his course towards it, through
long grass and bushes, he came to a small but rapid stream, which he
took at first for a branch of the Niger, but, on examination, was
convinced it was a distinct river, which the road evidently crossed,
as he saw the pathway on the opposite side. He sat down upon the
bank, in hopes that some traveller might arrive, who could inform him
of the situation of the ford; but none arriving, and there being a
great appearance of rain, he determined to enter the river
considerably above the pathway, in order to reach the other side
before the stream swept him too far down. With this view he fastened
his clothes upon the saddle, and was standing up to the neck in
water, pulling his horse by the bridle to make him follow, when a
man, who came accidentally to the place, called to him with great
vehemence, to come out, or the alligators would destroy both him and
his horse. Mr. Park obeyed, and the stranger who had never before
seen a white man, seemed wonderfully surprised, exclaiming in a low
voice, "God preserve me, who is this?" But when he found Mr. Park
could speak the Bambarra tongue, and was going the same way as
himself, he promised to assist him in crossing the river, which was
named the Frina. He then called to some person, who answered from the
other side, and a canoe with two boys came paddling from amongst the
reeds. Mr. Park gave the boys fifty kowries to ferry himself and his
horse to the opposite shore, and in the evening, arrived at Taffara,
a walled town, where he discovered that the language of the people
was pure Mandingo.

On the 20th, Mr. Park stopped at a village called Sominoo, where he
obtained some coarse food, prepared from the husks of corn, called
_boo_. On the same day he arrived at Sooha, where the dooty refused
either to sell or to give him any provisions. Mr. Park stopped a
while to examine the countenance of this inhospitable man, and
endeavoured to find out the cause of his visible discontent. The
dooty ordered a slave to dig a hole, and while the slave was thus
employed, the dooty kept muttering and talking to himself, repeatedly
pronouncing the words "_Dankatoo'_" (good for nothing), "_jankre
lemen_," (a real plague). These expressions Mr. Park thought could
not apply to any one but himself; and as the pit had much the
appearance of a grave, thought it prudent to mount his horse, and was
about to decamp, when the slave, who had gone into the village,
brought the corpse of a boy by the leg and arm, and threw it into the
pit with savage indifference. As he covered the body with earth, the
dooty often repeated, "_Naphula attiniata_," (money lost;) from which
it appeared that the boy had been one of his slaves.

About sunset Mr. Park came to Kollikorro, a considerable town, and a
great market for salt. Here he lodged with a Bambarran, who had
travelled to many parts of Africa, and who carried on a considerable
trade. His knowledge of the world had not lessened his confidence in
saphies and charms, for when he heard that his guest was a Christian,
he brought out his _walha_, or writing-board, and assured Mr. Park he
would dress him a supper of rice, if he would write him a saphie, to
protect him from wicked men. Mr. Park wrote the board full from top
to bottom on both sides, and his landlord, to possess the full force
of the charm, washed the writing off into a calabash with a little
water, and having said a few prayers over it, drank this powerful
draught, after which he licked the board quite dry. Information being
carried to the dooty that a saphie writer was in the town, he sent
his son with half a sheet of writing paper, desiring Mr. Park to
write him a _naphula saphie_, a charm to procure wealth. He brought,
as a present, some meal and milk, and when the saphie was finished,
and read to him with an audible voice, he promised to bring Mr. Park
some milk in the morning for breakfast.

The following day, Mr. Park proceeded on his journey, and in the
afternoon arrived at Marraboo, where he lodged in the house of a
Kaartan, who, from his hospitality to strangers, was called _Jatee_,
(the landlord,) his house being a sort of public inn for all
travellers. Those who had money were well lodged, for they always
made him some return for his kindness; but those who had nothing to
give were content to accept whatever he thought proper. Mr. Park,
belonging to the latter class, took up his lodging in the same hut
with seven poor fellows, who had come from Kancaba in a canoe, but
their landlord sent them some victuals.

Mr. Park now altered his course from the river to the mountains, and
in the evening arrived at a village, called Frookaboo, from which
place he proceeded on the following day to Bambakoo. This town is not
so large as Marraboo, but the inhabitants are rich; for when the
Moors bring their salt through Kaarta or Barnbarra, they rest at this
place; the negro merchants purchasing the salt by wholesale, and
retailing it to great advantage. Here Mr. Park lodged at the house of
a Serawoolli negro, and was visited by a number of Moors, who treated
him with great civility. A slave-merchant, who had resided many years
on the Gambia, gave Mr. Park an imperfect account of the distance to
that river, but told him the road was impassable at that season of
the year, and added, that it crossed the Joliba at about half a day's
journey westward of Bammakoo; and as there were not any canoes large
enough to receive his horse, he could not possibly get him over for
some months to come. Mr. Park consulted with his landlord how to
surmount this difficulty, who informed him that one road which was
very rocky, and scarcely passable for horses, still remained, but if
he procured a proper guide over the hills to a town called
Sibidooloo, he had no doubt but he might travel forwards through
Manding. Being informed that a _jilli-kea_, or singing-man, was about
to depart for Sibidooloo, Mr. Park set out in company with him; but
when they had proceeded up a rocky glen about two miles, the
singing-man discovered that he had brought him the wrong road, as the
horse-road lay on the other side of the hill. He then threw his drum
upon his back, and mounted up the rocks, where, indeed, no horse
could follow him, leaving Mr. Park to admire his agility, and trace
out a road for himself.

Mr. Park rode back to the level ground, and following a path, on
which he observed the marks of horses' feet, came to some shepherds'
huts, where he was informed that he was on the right road to
Sibidooloo. In the evening he arrived at a village called Kooma,
situated in a delightful valley. This village is the sole property of
a Mandingo merchant, who fled thither with his family during a former
war. The harmless villagers surrounded Mr. Park, asked him a thousand
questions about his country, brought corn and milk for himself, and
grass for his horse, and appeared very anxious to serve him.

On the 25th, he departed from Kooma, in company with two shepherds,
who were going towards Sibidooloo; but as the horse travelled slowly,
and with great difficulty, the shepherds kept walking on at a
considerable distance, when on a sudden Mr. Park heard some people
calling to each other, and presently a loud screaming, as from a
person in great distress. He rode slowly to the place whence the
noise proceeded, and in a little time perceived one of the shepherds
lying among the long grass near the road. When Mr. Park came close to
him, he whispered that a party of armed men had seized his companion,
and shot two arrows at himself, as he was making his escape. Mr. Park
now stopped to consider what course it was most proper for him to
pursue, and looking round, saw, at a small distance, a man sitting on
the stump of a tree, and six or seven more sitting among the grass,
with muskets in their hands. He had now no hopes of escaping, and
therefore rode on towards them, in hopes they were elephant hunters.
On coming up to them, he inquired if they had caught any thing, when
one of them ordered him to dismount, but appearing suddenly to
recollect himself, made signs to him to proceed. He accordingly rode
past, but was soon followed by the men, who ordered him to stop, and
informed him, that the king of the Foulahs had sent them to bring him
his horse, and all that belonged to him, to Fooladoo. Mr. Park turned
round, and went with them, till they came to a dark part of the wood,
when one of them said, "This place will do," and immediately snatched
his hat from his head, another drew a knife, and cut off a metal
button that remained upon his waistcoat, and put it into his pocket.
They then searched Mr. Park's pockets, examined every part of his
apparel, and at length stripped him quite naked. While they were
examining the plunder, he begged them, with great earnestness, to
return his pocket-compass; but when he pointed it out to them, as it
lay on the ground, one of the banditti, thinking he meant to take it
up, cocked his musket, and swore he would lay him dead on the spot,
if he presumed to lay his hand upon it. After this, some went away
with his horse, and the remainder, after some deliberation, returned
him the worst of the two shirts and a pair of trousers; and on going
away, one of them threw back his hat, in the crown of which he kept
his memorandums. After they were gone, Mr. Park sat for some time,
looking around him with amazement and terror. "Whatever way I
turned," says he, "nothing appeared but danger and difficulty. I saw
myself in the midst of a vast wilderness, in the depth of the rainy
season, naked and alone, surrounded by savage animals, and men still
more savage. I was five hundred miles from the nearest European
settlement. All these circumstances crowded at once to my
recollection, and I confess that my spirits began to fail me. I
considered my fate as certain, and that I had no alternative but to
lie down and perish. The influence of religion, however, aided and
supported me. I reflected that no human prudence or foresight could
possibly have averted my present sufferings. I was indeed a stranger
in a strange land, yet I was still under the protecting eye of that
Providence, who has condescended to call himself the stranger's
friend. At this moment, painful as my reflections were, the
extraordinary beauty of a small moss in fructification irresistibly
caught my eye. I mention this, to show from what trifling
circumstances the mind will sometimes derive consolation, for though
the whole plant was not larger than the top of one of my fingers, I
could not contemplate the delicate conformation of its roots, leaves,
and capsules, without admiration. Can that Being, thought I, who
planted, watered, and brought to perfection, in this obscure part of
the world, a thing which appears of so small importance, look with
unconcern upon the situation and sufferings of creatures formed after
his own image? Surely not. Reflections like these would not allow me
to despair. I started up, and disregarding both hunger and fatigue,
travelled forwards, assured that relief was at hand, and I was not

In a short time Mr. Park came to a small village, where he overtook
the two shepherds, who had come with him from Koona. They were much
surprised to see him, as they expected the Foulahs had murdered him.
Departing from this village, they travelled over several rocky
ridges, and at sunset arrived at the town of Sibidooloo.


Sibidooloo is the frontier town of Manding, and is situated in a
fertile valley, surrounded with high rocky hills. The chief man is
here called the mansa, which usually signifies king; but it appear
that the government of Manding is a sort of republic, as every town
has a particular mansa, and the chief power of the state is lodged in
an assembly of the whole body.

Mr. Park related to the mansa the circumstance of the robbery, and
his story was confirmed by the two shepherds. The mansa continued
smoking his pipe while he heard the relation, when, tossing up the
sleeve of his coat with an indignant air, "Sit down," said he to Mr.
Park, "you shall have every thing restored to you. I have sworn it."
Then turning to an attendant, "Give the white man," said he, "a
draught of water, and with the first light of the morning go over the
hills, and inform the dooty of Bammakoo that a poor white man, the
king of Bambarra's stranger, has been robbed by the king of
Fouladoo's people."

He heartily thanked the mansa for his kindness, and accepted his
invitation, but having waited two days without receiving any
intelligence, and there being a great scarcity of provisions, he was
unwilling to trespass further on the generosity of his host, and
begged permission to depart. The mansa told him, he might go as far
as a town called Wonda, and remain there until he heard some account
of his property. Accordingly, departing from that place, he reached
it on the 30th. The mansa of Wonda was a Mahometan and, as well as
chief magistrate of the town, was a schoolmaster. Mr. Park lodged in
the school, which was an open shed; the little raiment upon him could
neither protect him from the sun by day, nor the dews and mosquitoes
by night; his fever returned with great violence, and he could not
procure any medicine wherewith to stop its progress. He remained at
Wonda nine days, endeavouring to conceal his distress from his
landlord, for which purpose, he several times lay down the whole of
the day, out of his sight, in a field of corn, yet he found that the
mansa was apprised of his situation, for one morning as he feigned to
be asleep by the fire, he heard the mansa complain to his wife, that
they were likely to find him a very troublesome guest, as, in his
present sickly state, they should be obliged, for the sake of their
good name, to maintain him till he recovered or died.

The scarcity of provisions was at this time severely felt by the poor
people. Mr. Park, having observed every evening five or six women
come to the mansa's house, and each receive a portion of corn,
inquired of the mansa, whether he maintained these women from
charity, or expected a return from the next harvest. "Observe that
boy," replied the Mansa, pointing to a fine child about five years of
age, "his mother has sold him to me for forty days' provisions for
herself and the rest of the family. I have bought another boy in the
same manner."

Mr. Park was much afflicted with this melancholy circumstance, but he
afterwards observed that the mother, when she had received her corn,
would come and talk to her son with much cheerfulness, as if he had
still been under her care.

On the 6th of September, two people arrived from Sibidooloo with Mr.
Park's horse and clothes; the pocket-compass was, however, broken to
pieces. The horse was now so much reduced, that he saw that it would
be impracticable to travel any further with him; he therefore
presented him to his landlord, and requested him to send the saddle
and bridle to the mansa of Sibidooloo, as an acknowledgment for his
trouble and kindness.

On the morning of September 8th, Mr. Park took leave of his
hospitable landlord, who presented him with a spear, as a token of
remembrance, and a leathern bag to contain his clothes. On the 9th,
he reached Nemacoo, where he could not procure any provisions, as the
people appeared to be actually starving, but in the afternoon of the
10th, a negro trader, named Modi Lemina Taura, brought him some
victuals, promising to conduct him to his house at Kennyetoo on the
following day.

In travelling to Kennyetoo, Mr. Park hurt his ankle, and was unable
to proceed. The trader, in consequence, invited him to stop with him
a few days, and accordingly he remained there until the 14th.

On the 17th, he proceeded to Mansia, a considerable town, where small
quantities of gold are collected. The mansa of this town gave him a
little corn, but demanded something in return, and on Mr. Park's
assuring him that he had not anything in his possession, replied, as
if in jest, that his white skin should not defend him, if he told him
any falsehoods. He then conducted him to the hut wherein he was to
sleep, but took away his spear, saying it should be returned in the
morning. This circumstance raised Mr. Park's suspicions, and he
requested one of the inhabitants, who had a bow and quiver, to sleep
in the hut with him. About midnight a man made several attempts to
enter the hut, but was prevented by Mr. Park and the negro, and the
latter, on looking out, perceived it was the mansa himself. In the
morning, Mr. Park, fearing the mansa might devise some means to
detain him, departed before he was awake, the negro having recovered
the spear.

On the arrival of Mr. Park at Kamalia, a small town, he proceeded to
the house of Karfa Taura, the brother of his hospitable landlord at
Kennyetoo. He was sitting in his balloon, surrounded by several
slatees, to whom he was reading from an Arabic book. He asked Mr.
Park if he understood it, and being answered in the negative, desired
one of the slatees to fetch the little curious book that was brought
from the west country. Mr. Park was surprised and delighted to find
this volume _"The Book of Common Prayer"_ and Karfa expressed great
joy to hear he could read it, as some of the slatees, who had seen
Europeans upon the coast, were unwilling, from his distressed
appearance, to admit that Mr. Park was a white man, but suspected
that he was some Arab in disguise. Karfa, however, perceiving he
could read this book, had no doubt concerning Mr. Park, and promised
him every assistance in his power, at the same time informing him,
that it was impossible to cross the Jallonka wilderness for many
months to come, as eight rapid rivers lay in the way. He added, that
he himself intended to set out for Gambia, with a caravan of slaves,
as soon as the rivers were fordable, and the grass burnt, and invited
Mr. Park to stay and accompany him, remarking that when a caravan
could not travel through the country, it was idle for a single man to
attempt it. Mr. Park admitted the rashness of the attempt, but
assured him that he had no alternative, for not having any money, he
must either beg his subsistence by travelling from place to place, or
perish from want. Karfa now looked at him with great earnestness,
informing him that he had never before seen a white man, and inquired
if he could eat the common victuals of the country. He added, that if
he would remain with him till the rains were over, he would conduct
him in safety to the Gambia, and then he might make him what return
he pleased. Mr. Park having agreed to give him the value of one prime
slave, he ordered a hut to be swept for his accommodation.

Thus was Mr. Park delivered by the friendly care of this benevolent
negro, from a situation truly deplorable, but his fever became daily
more alarming. On the third day after his arrival, as he was going
with Karfa to visit some of his friends, he was so faint that he
staggered and fell into a pit; Karfa endeavoured to console him, and
assured him that if he would not walk out into the wet, he would soon
be well. Mr. Park followed his advice, and in general confined
himself to his hut, but was still tormented with the fever for five
ensuing weeks. His benevolent landlord came every day to inquire
after his health. When the rains became less frequent, the fever left
him, but in so debilitated a condition, that it was with great
difficulty he could get to the shade of a tamarind tree, at a short
distance, to enjoy the refreshing smell of the corn fields, and the
delightful prospect of the country. At length he found himself
recovering, towards which the benevolent manners of the negroes, and
the perusal of Karfa's little volume, greatly contributed.

Meanwhile many of the slatees who resided at Kamalia, having spent
all their money, and become in a great measure dependent on Karfa's
bounty, beheld Mr. Park with envy, and invented many ridiculous
stories to lessen him in his host's esteem, but Karfa paid no
attention to them, and treated him with unabated kindness. As he was
one day conversing with some slaves, which a Serawoolli merchant had
brought from Sego, one of them begged him to give him some victuals,
Mr. Park replied, he was a stranger and had none to give. "I gave
_you_, some victuals" said the slave, "when _you_ were hungry. Have
you forgotten the man who brought you milk at Karrankalla? But,"
added he with a sigh, "_the irons were not then on my legs_." Mr.
Park immediately recollected him, procured for him some ground nuts,
and learned that he had been taken by the Bambarrans, the day after
the battle at Joka, and sent to Sego, where he had been purchased by
his present master, who was carrying him to Kajaaga.

In the middle of December, Karfa, who proposed to complete his
purchase of slaves, departed for Kancaba, a large town on the banks
of the Niger, and a great slave market. It was his intention to
return in a month, and during his absence left Mr. Park to the care
of a good old bushreen, who was schoolmaster at Kamalia. The name of
this schoolmaster was Fankooma, and although a Mahometan, was not
intolerant in his principles. He read much, and took great pleasure
in professional efforts. His school contained seventeen boys, mostly
of pagan parents, and two girls. The girls were taught by daylight,
but the boys were instructed before the dawn and late in the evening;
by being considered, while pupils, as the domestic slaves of the
master, they were employed by him during the day in various
avocations. Emulation is encouraged by their tutor to stimulate his
scholars. When the pupil has read through the Koran, and learned a
certain number of public prayers, he undergoes an examination by the
bushreens, who, when satisfied with his learning and abilities,
desire him to read the last page of the Koran. This being done, the
boy presses the paper to his forehead, and pronounces the word Amen;
upon which the bushreens rise, shake him by the hand, and bestow upon
him the title of bushreen. The parents then redeem their son, by
giving his master the value of a slave; but if they cannot afford it,
the boy continues the slave of the schoolmaster, until he ransoms
himself by his own industry.

On the 24th January, Karfa returned to Kamalia, with thirteen prime
slaves, whom he had purchased. He also brought a young girl for his
fourth wife, whom he had married at Kancaba. She was kindly received
by her colleagues, who had swept and whitewashed one of the best huts
for her accommodation.

On the day after his arrival, Karfa having observed that Mr. Park's
clothes were become very ragged, presented him with a garment and
trousers, the usual dress of the country.

Karfa's slaves were all prisoners of war, who had been taken by the
Bambarran army. Some of them had been kept three years at Sego in
irons, whence they were sent with other captives up the Niger to
Yamina, Bammakoo and Kancaba, where they were sold for gold dust.
Eleven of them confessed that they had been slaves from their birth,
but the other two refused to give any account of themselves to Mr.
Park, whom they at first regarded with looks of horror, and
repeatedly asked _if his countrymen were cannibals_. They were very
desirous to know what became of the slaves after they had crossed the
salt water. Mr. Park told them that they were employed in cultivating
the land, but they would not believe him: and one of them putting his
hand upon the ground, said with great simplicity, "Have you really
got such ground as this to set your feet upon?"

The slaves were constantly kept in irons, and strictly watched. To
secure them, the right leg of one and the left of another were
fastened by the same pair of fetters, by supporting which with a
string, they could walk very slowly. Every four slaves were also
fastened together by a rope of twisted thongs; and during the night
their hands were fettered, and sometimes a light iron chain was put
round their necks. Those who betrayed any symptoms of discontent,
were secured by a thick billet of wood about three feet long, which
was fastened to the ankle by a strong iron staple. All these fetters
were put on as soon as the slaves arrived at Kamalia, and were not
taken off until the morning they set out for the Gambia. In other
respects, the slaves were not harshly treated. In the morning they
were led to the shade of a tamarind tree, where they were encouraged
to keep up their spirits by playing different games of chance, or
singing. Some bore their situation with great fortitude, but the
majority would sit the whole of the day in sullen melancholy, with
their eyes fixed on the ground. In the evening, their irons being
examined, and their hand-fetters put on, they were conducted into two
large huts, and guarded during the night. Notwithstanding this
strictness, however, one of Karfa's slaves, about a week after his
arrival, having procured a small knife, opened the rings of his
fetters, cut the rope, and made his escape, and more might have got
off, had not the slave, when he found himself at liberty, refused to
stop to assist his companions in breaking the chain, which was round
their necks.

All the merchants and slaves who composed the coffle, were now
assembled at Kamalia and its vicinity; the day of departure for the
Gambia was frequently fixed, and afterwards postponed. Some of the
people had not prepared their provisions, others were visiting their
friends, or collecting their debts; thus the departure was delayed
until February was far advanced, when it was determined to wait
_until the fast moon was over_. "Loss of time," observes Mr. Park,
"is of no great importance in the eyes of a negro. If he has any
thing of consequence to perform, it is a matter of indifference to
him whether he does it to-day or to-morrow, or a month or two hence;
so long as he can spend the present moment with any degree of
comfort, he gives himself very little concern for the future."

The Rhamadam was strictly observed by the bushreens, and at the close
of it, they assembled at the Misura to watch for the new moon, but as
the evening was cloudy, they were for some time disappointed, and
several had returned home resolving to fast another day, when
suddenly the object of their wishes appeared from behind a cloud, and
was welcomed by clapping of hands, beating of drums, firing muskets,
and other demonstrations of joy. This moon being accounted extremely
lucky, Karfa gave orders that the people of the coffle should
immediately prepare for their journey, and the slatees having held a
consultation on the 16th of April, fixed on the 19th as the day of

This resolution freed Mr. Park from much uneasiness, as he was
apprehensive, from the departure having been so long deferred, that
the rainy season would again commence before it took place, and
although his landlord behaved with great kindness, his situation was
very disagreeable. The slatees were unfriendly to him, and three
trading Moors, who had arrived at Kamalia during the absence of
Karfa, to dispose of salt procured on credit, had plotted mischief
against him from the day of their arrival; his welfare thus depended
merely upon the good opinion of an individual, who was daily hearing
tales to his prejudice. He was somewhat reconciled by time to their
manner of living, but longed for the blessings of civilized society.

On the morning of April 19th, the coffle assembled and commenced its
journey. When joined by several persons at Maraboo and Bola, it
consisted of seventy-three persons, thirty-five of whom were slaves
for sale. The free men were fourteen in number, but several had wives
and domestic slaves, and the schoolmaster, who was going to his
native country Woradoo, had eight of his scholars. Several of the
inhabitants of Kamalia accompanied the coffle a short way on its
progress, taking leave of their relations and friends. On reaching a
rising ground, from which they had a prospect of the town, the people
of the coffle were desired to sit down facing the west, and the
town's people facing Kamalia. The schoolmaster and two principal
slatees, then placed themselves between the two parties, and repeated
a long and solemn prayer, after this they walked round the coffle
three times, pressing the ground with the end of their spears, and
muttering a charm. All the people of the coffle then sprang up and
set forwards, without formally bidding their friends farewell. The
slaves had all heavy loads upon their heads, and many of them having
been long in irons, the sudden exertion of walking quick, caused
spasmodic contractions of their legs, and they had scarcely proceeded
a mile, when two of them were obliged to be taken from the rope, and
suffered to walk more slowly. The coffle after halting two hours at
Maraboo, proceeded to Bola, thence to Worumbang, the frontier village
of Manding, towards Jallonkadoo.

Here they procured plenty of provisions, as they intended shortly to
enter the Jallonka wilderness, but having on the 21st travelled a
little way through the woods, they determined to take the road to
Kinytakooro, a town in Jallonkadoo, and this being a long day's
journey distant, they halted to take some refreshment. Every person,
says Mr, Park, opened his provision bag, and brought a handful or two
of meal to the place where Karfa and the slatees were sitting. When
every one had brought his quota, and whole was properly arranged in
small gourd shells, the schoolmaster offered up a short prayer, the
substance of which was, that God and the holy prophets might preserve
them from robberies and all bad people, that their provisions might
never fail them, nor their limbs become fatigued. This ceremony being
ended, every one partook of the meal, and drank a little water, after
which they set forward, rather running than walking, until they came
to the river Kokoro.

This river is a branch of the Senegal, its banks are very high, and
from various appearances it was evident, that the water had risen
above twenty feet perpendicular during the rainy season, but it was
then only a small stream sufficient to turn a mill, and abounding in
fish. The coffle proceeded with great expedition until evening, when
they arrived at Kinytakooro, a considerable town, nearly square,
situated in the midst of an extensive and fertile plain.

In this day's journey, a woman and a girl, two slaves belonging to a
slatee of Bola, could not keep up with the coffle from fatigue. They
were dragged along until about four in the afternoon, when being both
affected with vomiting, it was discovered that _they had eaten clay_.
Whether this practice, which is frequent amongst the slaves, proceeds
from a vitiated appetite, or an intention to destroy themselves, is
uncertain. Three people remaining to take care of them, the slaves
were suffered to lie down in the woods until they were somewhat
recovered, but they did not reach the town until past midnight, and
were then so exhausted that their master determined to return with
them to Bola.

Kinytakooro being the first town beyond the limits of Manding, great
ceremony was observed in entering it. The coffle approached it in the
following procession: first went the singing men, followed by the
other free men, then the slaves, fastened as usual by a rope round
their necks, four to a rope, and a man with a spear between each
party, after them the domestic slaves, and in the rear the free
women. When they came within a hundred yards of the gate, the singing
men began a loud song, extolling the hospitality of the inhabitants
towards strangers, and their friendship in particular to the
Mandingos. Arriving at the Bentang, the people assembled to hear
their _dentegi_ (history,) which was publicly recited by two of the
singing men. They began with the events of that day, and enumerated
every circumstance which had befallen the coffle in a backward
series, to their departure from Kamalia. When they had ended, the
chief men of the town gave them a small present, and every person of
the coffle, both free and enslaved, was entertained and lodged by the

On the 22nd of April, the coffle proceeded to a village seven miles
westward. The inhabitants of this village, expecting an attack from
the Foulahs of Fooladoo, were constructing small huts among the
rocks, on the side of a high hill.

The situation was nearly impregnable, high precipices surrounded it
on every side but the eastern, where was left a path broad enough for
one person to ascend. On the brow of the hill were collected heaps of
large stones, to be thrown down upon the enemy, if an attack on the
post was attempted.

The coffle entered the Jallonka wilderness on the 23rd. They passed
the ruins of two small towns, burnt by the Foulahs, and the fire had
been so intense as to vitrify the walls of several huts, which at a
distance appeared as if coloured with red varnish. The coffle crossed
the river Wonda, where fish were seen in great abundance. Karfa now
placed the guides and young men in the front, the women and slaves in
the centre, and the free men in the rear, and in this order they
proceeded through a woody beautiful country, abounding with
partridges, guinea fowls, and deer. At sunset they arrived at a
stream called Comeissang. To diminish the inflammation of his skin,
produced by the friction of his dress from walking, and long exposure
to the heat of the sun, Mr. Park took the benefit of bathing in the
river. They had now travelled about thirty miles, and were greatly
fatigued, but no person complained. Karfa ordered one of his slaves
to prepare for Mr. Park a bed made of branches of trees, and when
they had supped upon kouskous moistened with boiling water, they all
laid down, but were frequently disturbed by the howling of the wild
beasts, and the biting of small brown ants.

The next morning, most of the free people drank some _noening_, a
sort of gruel, which was also given to the slaves that appeared least
able to travel, but a female slave of Karfa's who was called Nealee,
refused to partake of this refreshment, and was very sullen. The
coffle proceeded over a wild and rocky country, and Nealee, soon
overcome by fatigue, lagged behind, complaining dreadfully of pains
in her legs, on which her load was given to another slave, and she
was directed to keep in front. The coffle rested near a small
rivulet, and a hive of bees being discovered in a hollow tree, some
negroes went in quest of the honey, when an enormous swarm flew out,
and attacked the people of the coffle. Mr. Park, who first took the
alarm, alone escaped with impunity. The negroes at length again
collected together at some distance from the place where they were
dispersed, but Nealee was missing, and many of the bundles were left
behind. To recover these, they set fire to the grass eastward of the
hive, and as the wind drove the fire furiously along, they pushed
through the smoke, until they came to the bundles. They also found
poor Nealee lying by the rivulet, she had crept to the stream, hoping
to defend herself from the bees by throwing water over her body, but
she was stung dreadfully. The stings were picked out, and her wounds
washed and anointed, but she refused to proceed further. The slatees
by the whip forced her to proceed about four or five hours longer,
when, attempting to run away, she fell down with extreme weakness.
Again was the whip applied, but ineffectually; the unfortunate slave
was unable to rise. After attempting to place her upon an ass, on
which she could not sit erect, a litter of bamboo canes was made,
upon which she was tied with slips of bark, and carried on the heads
of two slaves for the remainder of the day. The coffle halted at the
foot of a high hill, called Gankaran-kooro. The travellers had only
eaten one handful of meal each during the day's journey, exposed to
the ardour of a tropical sun. The slaves were much fatigued, and
showed great discontent; several _snapt their fingers_, a certain
mark of desperation. They were all immediately put in irons, and
those who had shown signs of despondency were kept apart.

In the morning, however, they were greatly recovered, except poor
Nealee, who could neither walk nor stand, she was accordingly placed
upon an ass, her hands being fastened together under the neck, and
her feet under the belly, to secure her situation. The beast,
however, was unruly, and Nealee was soon thrown off, and one of her
legs was much bruised. As it was found impossible to carry her
forward, the general cry of the coffle was, "_Kang tegi! kang tegi!_"
(Cut her throat! cut her throat!) Mr. Park proceeded forwards with
the foremost of the coffle, to avoid seeing this operation performed,
but soon after he learned that Karfa and the schoolmaster would not
agree to have her killed, but had left her on the road. Her fate
diffused melancholy throughout the whole coffle, notwithstanding the
outcry before mentioned, and the schoolmaster fasted the whole day in
consequence of it. The coffle soon after crossed the Furkoomah, a
river the same size as the Wonda, and travelled so expeditiously,
that Mr. Park with difficulty kept up with it.

On the 26th April, the coffle ascended a rocky hill, called
Bokikooro, and in the afternoon, entering a valley, forded the Bold,
a smooth and clear river. About a mile westward of this river,
discovering the marks of horses' feet, they were afraid that a party
of plunderers were in the neighbourhood; and to avoid discovery and
pursuit, the coffle travelled in a dispersed manner through the high
grass and bushes.

The following day, hoping to reach a town before night, they passed
expeditiously through extensive thickets of bamboos. At a stream
called Nuncolo, each person ate a handful of meal, moistened with
water, in compliance with some superstitious custom. In the
afternoon, they arrived at Sooseta, a Jallonka village, in the
district of Kullo, a tract of country lying along the banks of the
Black River; and the first human habitation they had met with in a
journey of five days, over more than a hundred miles. With much
difficulty they procured huts to sleep in, but could not obtain any
provisions, as there had been a scarcity before the crops were
gathered in, during which all the inhabitants of Kullo had subsisted
upon the yellow powder of the _nitta_, a species of the mimosa, and
the seeds of the bamboo, which, when properly prepared, tastes nearly
similar to rice. As the provisions of the coffle were not exhausted,
kouskous was dressed for supper, and several villagers were invited
to partake; meanwhile one of the schoolmaster's boys, who had fallen
asleep under the bentang, was carried off during the night; but the
thief, finding that his master's residence was only three days'
journey distant, thinking he could not be retained with security,
after stripping him, suffered him to return.

They now crossed the Black River by a bridge of a curious
construction. Several tall trees are fastened together by the tops,
which float on the water, while the roots rest on the rocks on each
side of the river; these are covered with dry bamboos, and the whole
forms a passage, sloping from each end towards the middle, so as to
resemble an inverted arch. In the rainy season the bridge is carried
away, but the natives constantly rebuilt it, and on that account
exact a small tribute from every passenger.

Being informed that, two hundred Jalonkas had assembled to intercept
and plunder the coffle, they altered their course, and about midnight
arrived at a town called Koba. They now discovered that a free man
and three slaves were missing; upon which it was concluded that the
slaves had murdered the free man, and made their escape, and six
people were sent back to the last village to endeavour to procure
information. Meanwhile the people of the coffle were ordered to
conceal themselves in a cotton field, and no person to speak but in a
whisper. Towards morning, the men returned, but without the object of
their pursuit. The coffle then entered the town, and purchased a
quantity of ground nuts, which were roasted for breakfast; and, being
provided with huts, determined to rest there for the day. They were
agreeably surprised by the arrival of their companions. One of the
slaves had hurt his foot, and as the night was dark, they had lost
sight of the coffle, when the free man, who was aware of his danger,
insisted on putting the slaves in irons, and as they were refractory,
threatened to stab them one by one with his spear; they at last
submitted, and in the morning followed the coffle to Koba. In the
course of the day, the intelligence concerning the Jalonka plunderers
was confirmed, on which Karfa, continuing at Koba until the 30th,
hired some persons for protectors, and they proceeded to a village
called Tinkingtang.

On the following day, the slaves being greatly fatigued, the coffle
only proceeded nine miles, where provisions were procured by the
interest of the schoolmaster, who sent a messenger forward to
Malacotta, his native town, to acquaint his friends with his arrival,
and desire them to provide provisions for the entertainment of the
coffle for two or three days.

They halted at another village further on until the return of the
messenger from Malacotta. About two the messenger returned,
accompanied by the schoolmaster's elder brother. "The interview,"
says Mr. Park, "between the two brothers, who had not seen each other
for nine years, was very natural and affecting. They fell upon each
other's neck, and it was some time before either of them could speak.
At length, when the schoolmaster had a little recovered himself, he
took his brother by the hand, and turning round, 'This is the man,'
said he, pointing to Karfa, 'who has been my father in Manding. I
would have pointed him out sooner to you, but my heart was too
full.'" The coffle then proceeded to Malacotta, where they were well
entertained for three days, being each day presented with a bullock
from the schoolmaster.

Malacotta is an unwalled town; the huts are made of unsplit canes
twisted into wicker work, and plastered over with mud. The
inhabitants are active and industrious; they make good soap by
boiling ground nuts in water, and adding a lye of wood ashes. They
also manufacture excellent iron, which they exchange in Bondou for

A party of traders brought intelligence to this town of a war between
the king of Foota Torra and the king of the Jaloffs, which soon
became a favourite subject of conversation in this part of Africa.
Its circumstances were as follow:--Almami Abdulkader, king of Foota
Torra, inflamed with a zeal for propagating the religion of the
prophet, sent an ambassador to Damel, king of the Jaloffs,
accompanied by two principal bushreens, each bearing a long pole, to
the end of which was fixed a large knife. When admitted into the
presence of Damel, the ambassador ordered the bushreens to present
the emblems of his mission, which he thus explained:--"With this
knife," said he, "Abdulkader will condescend to shave the head of
Damel, if Damel will embrace the Mahometan faith; and with the other
knife, Abdulkader will cut the throat of Damel, if Darnel refuses to
embrace it. Take your choice."

The king of the Jaloffs having told the ambassador he chose neither
of his propositions, civilly dismissed him. Abdulkader soon after
invaded Damel's dominions with a powerful army. As he approached, the
towns and villages were abandoned, the wells filled up, and their
effects carried off by the inhabitants. He advanced three days into
the country of the Jaloffs, without opposition; but his army had
suffered so greatly for want of water, that many of his men had died
by the way. This compelled him to march to a watering-place in the
woods, where his men, having quenched their thirst, and being
overcome with fatigue, lay down among the bushes to sleep. Thus
situated, they were attacked by the forces of Damel in the night, and
completely routed. King Abdulkader himself, with a great number of
his followers, being taken prisoners. The behaviour of the king of
the Jaloffs on this occasion we shall relate in Mr. Park's own words.
"When his royal prisoner was brought before him in irons, and thrown
upon the ground, the magnanimous Damel, instead of setting his foot
upon his neck, and stabbing him with his spear, according to custom
in such cases, addressed him as follows:--'Abdulkader, answer me this
question. If the chance of war had placed me in your situation, and
you in mine, how would you have treated me ?'--'I would have thrust
my spear into your heart,' returned Abdulkader, with great firmness,
'and I know that a similar fate awaits me.'--'Not so,' said Damel;
'my spear is indeed red with the blood of your subjects killed in
battle, and I could now give it a deeper stain, by dipping it in your
own; but this would not build up my towns, nor bring to life the
thousands, who fell in the woods; I will not, therefore, kill you in
cold blood, but I will retain you as my slave, until I perceive that
your presence in your own kingdom will be no longer dangerous to your
neighbours, and then I will consider of the proper way of disposing
of you.' Abdulkader was accordingly retained, and worked as a slave
for three months, at the end of which period, Damel listened to the
solicitations of the inhabitants of Foota Torra. and restored to them
their king."

The coffle resumed their journey on the 7th May, and having crossed a
branch of the Senegal, proceeded to a walled town, called Bentingala,
where they rested two days. In one day more, they reached Dindikoo, a
town at the bottom of a high ridge of hills, which gives the name of
Konkodoo to this part of the country; at Dindikoo was a negro of the
sort called in the Spanish West Indies, Albinos, or white negroes.
His hair and skin were of a dull white colour, cadaverous and
unsightly, and considered as the effect of disease.

After a tedious day's journey, the coffle arrived at Satadoo, on the
evening of the 11th. Many inhabitants had quitted this town, on
account of the plundering incursions of the Foulahs of Foota Jalla,
who frequently carried off people from the corn fields and wells near
the town.

The coffle crossed the Faleme river on the 12th, and at night halted
at a village called Medina, the sole property of a Mandingo merchant,
who had adopted many European customs. His victuals were served up in
pewter dishes, and his houses were formed in the mode of the English
houses on the Gambia.

The next morning they departed, in company with another coffle of
slaves, belonging to some Serawoolli traders, and in the evening
arrived at Baniserile, after a very hard day's journey.

Mr. Park was invited by one of the slatees, a native of this place,
to go home to his house. He had been absent three years, and was met
by his friends with many expressions of joy. When he had seated
himself upon a mat near the threshold of his door, a young woman, his
intended bride, brought some water in a calabash, and, kneeling
before him, requested him to wash his hands. This being done, the
young woman drank the water; an action here esteemed as the greatest
proof that can be given of fidelity and affection.

Mr. Park now arrived on the shores of the Gambia, and on the 10th
June 1797 reached Pisania, where he was received as one risen from
the dead; for all the traders from the interior had believed and
reported, that, like Major Houghton, he was murdered by the Moors of
Ludamar. Karfa, his benefactor, received double the stipulated price,
and was overpowered with gratitude; but when he saw the commodious
furniture, the skilful manufactures, the superiority in all the arts
of life, displayed by the Europeans, compared with the attainments of
his countrymen, he was deeply mortified, and exclaimed "Black men are
nothing," expressing, at the same time his surprise, that Park could
find any motive for coming to so miserable a land as Africa.

Mr. Park had some difficulty in reaching home. He was obliged to
embark on the 15th June, in a vessel bound to America, and was
afterwards driven by stress of weather, into the island of Antigua,
whence he sailed on the 24th November, and on the 22nd December
landed at Falmouth. He arrived in London before dawn on the morning
of Christmas day, and in the garden of the British Museum
accidentally met his brother-in-law, Mr. Dickson. Two years having
elapsed since any tidings had reached England, he had been given up
for lost, so that his friends and the public were equally astonished
and delighted by his appearance. The report of his unexpected return,
after making such splendid discoveries, kindled throughout the nation
a higher enthusiasm than had perhaps been excited by the result of
any former mission of the same nature. The Niger had been seen
flowing _eastward_, into the interior of Africa, and hence a still
deeper interest and mystery were suspended over the future course and
termination of this great central stream. Kingdoms had been
discovered, more flourishing and more populous than any formerly
known on that continent; but other kingdoms, still greater and
wealthier, were reported to exist in regions, which Mr. Park had
vainly attempted to reach. The lustre of his achievements had
diffused among the public in general an ardour for discovery, which
was formerly confined to a few enlightened individuals; it was,
however, evident that the efforts of no private association could
penetrate the depths of this vast continent, and overcome the
obstacles presented by its distance, its deserts, and its barbarism.


It was now thought advisable to trace, without interruption the
interesting career of Mr. Park, from its commencement to its close.
The enthusiasm for discovery was, however, not confined solely to
England; for the return of Park had no sooner reached Germany, than
Frederick Horneman, a student of the university of Gottingen,
communicated to Blumenbach, the celebrated professor of natural
history, his ardent desire to explore the interior of Africa under
the auspices of the British African Association. The professor
transmitted to the association a strong recommendation of Horneman,
as a young man, active, athletic, temperate, knowing sickness only by
name, and of respectable literary and scientific attainments. Sir
Joseph Banks immediately wrote, "If Mr. Horneman be really the
character you describe, he is the very person whom we are in search

On receiving this encouragement, Horneman immediately applied his
mind to the study of natural history and the Arabic language, and in
other respects sought to capacitate himself for supporting the
character of an Arab or a Mahometan, under which he flattered himself
that he should escape the effects of that ferocious bigotry, which
had opposed so fatal a bar to the progress of his predecessors.

In May 1797, Horneman repaired to London, where his appointment was
sanctioned by the association, and having obtained a passport from
the Directory, who then governed France, he visited Paris, and was
introduced to some influential members of the National Institute. He
reached Egypt in September, spent ten days at Alexandria, and set out
for Cairo, to wait the departure of the Kashna caravan. The interval
was employed in acquiring the language of the Mograben Arabs, a tribe
bordering on Egypt. While he was at Cairo, intelligence was received
of the landing of Buonaparte in that country, when the just
indignation of the natives vented itself upon all Europeans, and,
amongst others, on Horneman, who was arrested and confined in the
castle. He was relieved upon the victorious entry of the French
commander, who immediately set him at liberty, and very liberally
offered him money, and every other supply which might contribute to
the success of his mission.

It was not before the 5th September 1798, that Horneman could meet
with a caravan proceeding to the westward, when he joined the one
destined for Fezzan. The travellers soon passed the cultivated lands
of Egypt, and entered on an expanse of sandy waste, such as the
bottom of the ocean might exhibit, if the waters were to retire. This
desert was covered with the fragments, as it were, of a petrified
forest; large trunks, branches, twigs, and even pieces of bark, being
scattered over it. Sometimes these stony remains were brought in as
mistake for fuel. When the caravan halted for the night, each
individual dug a hole in the sand, gathered a few sticks, and
prepared his victuals after the African fashion of kouskous, soups,
or puddings. Horneman, according to his European habits, at first
employed the services of another, but finding himself thus exposed to
contempt or suspicion, he soon followed the example of the rest, and
became his own cook.

There are, as usual, oases in this immense waste. Ten days brought
the caravan to Ummesogeir, a village situated upon a rock, with 120
inhabitants, who, separated by deserts, from the rest of the world,
passed a peaceful and hospitable life, subsisting on dates, the chief
produce of their arid and sterile soil.

Another day's journey brought them to Siwah, a much more extensive
oasis, the rocky border of which is estimated by Horneman to be fifty
miles in circumference. It yields, with little culture, various
descriptions of grain and vegetables; but its wealth consists chiefly
in large gardens of dates, baskets of which fruit form here the
standard of value. The government is vested in a very turbulent
aristocracy, of about thirty chiefs, who meet in council in the
vicinity of the town wall, and in the contests which frequently
arise, make violent and sudden appeals to arms. The chief question in
respect to Siwah is, whether it does or does not comprise the site of
the celebrated shrine of Jupiter Ammon, that object of awful
veneration to the nations of antiquity, and which Alexander himself,
the greatest of its heroes, underwent excessive toil and peril to
visit and to associate with his name. This territory does in fact
contain springs, and a small edifice, with walls six feet thick,
partly painted and adorned with hieroglyphics. There are also antique
tombs in the neighbouring mountains, but as the subsequent
discoveries of Belzoni and Edmonstone have proved that all these
features exist in other oases, scattered in different directions
along the desert borders of Egypt, some uncertainty must perhaps for
ever rest on this curious question.

The route now passed through a region still indeed barren, yet not
presenting such a monotonous plain of sand as intervenes between
Egypt and Siwah. It was bordered by precipitous limestone rocks,
often completely filled with shells and marine remains. The caravan,
while proceeding along these wild tracts, were alarmed by a
tremendous braying of asses, and, on looking back, saw several
hundred of the people of Siwah, armed and in full pursuit, mounted on
these useful animals. The scouts, however, soon brought an assurance
that they came with intentions perfectly peaceable, having merely
understood that in the caravan there were two Christians from Cairo,
and on their being allowed to kill them, the others would be
permitted to proceed without molestation. All Horneman's address and
firmness were required in this fearful crisis. He opposed the most
resolute denial to the assertions of the Siwahans, he opened the
Koran, and displayed the facility with which he could read its pages.
He even challenged his adversaries to answer him on points of
mahommedan faith. His companions in the caravan, who took a pride in
defending one of their members, insisted that he had cleared himself
thoroughly from the imputation of being an infidel, and as they were
joined by several of the Siwahans, the whole body finally renounced
their bloody purpose, and returned home.

The travellers next passed through Angila, a town so ancient as to be
mentioned by Herodotus, but now small, dirty, and supported solely by
the passage of the inland trade. They then entered the Black
Harutsch, a long range of dreary mountains, the _mons ater_ of the
ancients, through the successive defiles of which they found only a
narrow track enclosed by rugged steeps, and obstructed by loose
stones. Every valley too and ravine into which they looked, appeared
still more wild and desolate than the road itself. A scene of a more
gay and animated description succeeded, when they entered the
district of Limestone Mountains, called the White Harutsch. The rocks
and stones here appeared as if glazed, and abounded in shells and
other marine petrifactions, which on being broken had a vitrified

After a painful route of sixteen days through this solitary region,
the travellers were cheered by seeing before them the great oasis, or
small kingdom of Fezzan. Both at Temissa, the first frontier town,
and at Zuila, the ancient capital, which is still inhabited by many
rich merchants, they were received with rapturous demonstrations of
joy. The arrival of a caravan is the chief event which diversifies
the existence of the Fezzaners, and diffuses through the country
animation and wealth. At Mourzouk, the modern capital, the reception
was more solemn and pompous. The sultan himself awaited their arrival
on a small eminence, seated in an arm chair, ornamented with cloth of
various colours, and forming a species of throne. Each pilgrim, on
approaching the royal seat, put off his sandals, kissed the
sovereign's hand, and took his station behind, where the whole
assembly joined in a chant of pious gratitude.

Fezzan, according to Horneman, has a length of 300, and a breadth of
200 miles, and is much the largest of all the oases, which enliven
the immense desert of Northern Africa. It relieves, however, in only
an imperfect degree, the parched appearance of the surrounding
region. It is not irrigated by a river, nor even a streamlet of any
dimensions; the grain produced is insufficient for its small
population, supposed to amount to 70,000 or 75,000 inhabitants, and
few animals are reared except the ass, the goat, and the camel.
Dates, as in all this species of territory, form the chief article of
land produce, but Fezzan derives its chief importance from being the
centre of that immense traffic, which gives activity and wealth to
interior Africa. Mourzouk, in the dry season, forms a rendezvous for
the caravans proceeding from Egypt, Morocco and Tripoli, to the great
countries watered by the western river. Yet the trade is carried on
less by the inhabitants themselves, than by the Tibboos, Tuaricks,
and other wandering tribes of the desert, concerning whom Horneman
collected some information, but less ample than Lyon and Denham
afterwards obtained from personal observation. Of Timbuctoo, he did
not obtain much information, Morocco being the chief quarter whence
caravans proceed to that celebrated seat of African commerce. In
regard, however, to the eastern part of Soudan, he received
intelligence more accurate than had hitherto reached Europe. Houssa
was for the first time understood to be, not a single country or
city, but a region comprehending many kingdoms, the people of which
are said to be the handsomest, most industrious, and most intelligent
in that part of Africa, being particularly distinguished for their
manufacture of fine cloths. Amongst the states mentioned, were
Kashna, Kano, Daura, Solan, Noro, Nyffe, Cabi, Zanfara and Guber.
Most or all of these were tributary to Bornou, described as decidedly
the most powerful kingdom in central Africa, and which really was so
regarded before the rise of the Fellatah empire caused in this
respect, a remarkable change. The Niger, according to the unanimous
belief in the northern provinces, was said to flow from Timbuctoo
eastward through Houssa, and holding the same direction till it
joined or rather became the Bahr-elabiad, the main stream of the
Egyptian Nile. Prevalent as this opinion is amongst the Arabs, late
discoveries have proved it to be decidedly erroneous; the river or
rivers which water Houssa, being wholly distinct from that great
stream which flows through Bambarra and Timbuctoo.

Horneman, after remaining some time at Mourzouk, had resolved to join
a caravan about to proceed southwards into the interior, when
observing that the cavalcade consisted almost wholly of black
traders, any connexion or intercourse with whom was likely to afford
him little favour in the eyes of the Moors, he was induced to forego
this purpose; more especially as there was the greatest reason to
apprehend obstruction in passing through the country of the Turiacks,
then at war with Fezzan. He was informed besides, that caravans from
Bornou occasionally terminated their journey at Mourzouk, again
returning south; by which under more propitious circumstances he
hoped to accomplish his object. These considerations determined him
to postpone his departure, resolving in the mean while, with the view
of forwarding his despatches to the association, to visit Tripoli,
where, however, he did not arrive till the 19th August, 1799, having
been detained a considerable time by sickness. After remaining in
this city about three months he returned to Mourzouk, nor was it till
the 6th April, 1800, that he departed thence for the southward, in
company with two shereefs, who had given him assurances of friendship
and protection. His letters were filled with the most sanguine hopes
of success. But the lapse of two years without any tidings, threw a
damp on the cheering expectations then raised in the association and
the public. In September 1803, a Fezzan merchant informed Mr. Nissen,
the Danish consul of Tripoli, that Yussuph, as Horneman had chosen to
designate himself, was seen alive and well on his way to Gondasch,
with the intention of proceeding to the coast, and of returning to
Europe. Another moorish merchant afterwards informed Mr. M'Donogh,
British consul at Tripoli, that Yussuph was in safety at Kashna, in
June 1803, and was there highly respected as a mussulman, marabout or
saint. Major Denham afterwards learned that he had penetrated across
Africa as far as Nyffe, on the Niger, where he fell a victim, not to
any hostility on the part of the natives, but to disease and the
climate. A young man was even met with, who professed to be his son,
though there were some doubt as to the grounds of his claim to that

The association, when their expectations from Horneman had failed,
began to look round for other adventurers, and there were still a
number of active and daring spirits ready to brave the dangers of
this undertaking. Mr. Nicholls, in 1804, repaired to Calabar, in the
Gulf of Benin, with the view of penetrating into the interior by this
route, which appeared shorter than any other, but without any
presentiment that the termination of the Niger was to be found in
that quarter. He was well received by the chiefs on that coast, but
could not gain much information respecting that river, being informed
that most of the slaves came from the west, and that the navigation
of the Calabar stream, at no great distance was interrupted by an
immense waterfall, beyond which the surface of the country became
very elevated. Unfortunately, of all the sickly climates of Africa,
this is perhaps the most pestilential, and Mr. Nicholls, before
commencing his journey, fell a victim to the epidemic fever.

Another German named Roentgen, recommended also by Blumenbach,
undertook to penetrate into the interior of Africa by way of Morocco.
He was described as possessing an unblemished character, ardent zeal
in the cause, with great strength both of mind and body. Like
Horneman, he made himself master of Arabic, and proposed to pass for
a Mahommedan. Having in 1809 arrived at Mogadore, he hired two
guides, and set out to join the Soudan caravan. His career, however,
was short indeed, for soon after his body was found at a little
distance from the place whence he started. No information could ever
be obtained as to the particulars of his death, but it was too
probably conjectured that his guides murdered him for the sake of his


We are now entering upon the narrative of a series of the most
extraordinary adventures which ever befel the African travellers, in
the person of an illiterate and obscure seaman, of the name of Robert
Adams, who was wrecked on the western coast of Africa, in the
American ship Charles, bound to the isle of Mayo, and who may be said
to have been the first traveller who ever reached the far-famed city
of Timbuctoo.

The place where the Charles was wrecked was called Elgazie, and the
captain and the whole of the crew were immediately taken prisoners by
the Moors. On their landing, the Moors stripped the whole of them
naked, and concealed their clothes under ground; being thus exposed
to a scorching sun, their skins became dreadfully blistered, and at
night they were obliged to dig holes in the sand to sleep in, for the
sake of coolness.

About a week after landing, the captain of the ship was put to death
by the Moors, for which the extraordinary reason was given, that he
was extremely dirty, and would not go down to the sea to wash
himself, when the Moors made signs for him to do so.

After they had remained about ten or twelve days, until the ship and
its materials had quite disappeared, the Moors made preparations to
depart, and divided the prisoners amongst them. Robert Adams and two
others of the crew were left in the possession of about twenty Moors,
who quitted the sea coast, having four camels, three of which they
loaded with water, and the other with fish and baggage. At the end of
about thirty days, during which they did not see a human being, they
arrived at a place, the name of which Adams did not hear, where they
found about thirty or forty tents, and a pool of water surrounded by
a few shrubs, which was the only water they had met with since
quitting the coast.

In the first week of their arrival, Adams and his companions being
greatly fatigued, were not required to do any work, but at the end of
that time, they were put to tend some goats and sheep, which were the
first they had seen. About this time, John Stevens arrived, under
charge of a Moor, and was sent to work in company with Adams. Stevens
was a Portuguese, about eighteen years of age. At this place they
remained about a month.

It was now proposed by the Moors to Adams and Stevens, to accompany
them on an expedition to Soudenny to procure slaves. It was with
great difficulty they could be made to understand this proposal, but
the Moors made themselves intelligible by pointing to some negro
boys, who were employed in taking care of sheep and goats. Being in
the power of the Moors, they had no option, and having therefore
signified their consent, the party consisting of about eighteen
Moors, and the two whites, set out for Soudenny.

Soudenny is a small negro village, having grass and shrubs growing
about it, and a small brook of water. For a week or thereabouts,
after arriving in the neighbourhood of this place, the party
concealed themselves amongst the hills and bushes, lying in wait for
the inhabitants, when they seized upon a woman with a child in her
arms, and two children (boys), whom they found walking in the evening
near the town.

During the next four or five days, the party remained concealed, when
one evening, as they were all lying on the ground, a large party of
negroes, consisting of forty or fifty made their appearance, armed
with daggers, and bows and arrows, who surrounded and took them all
prisoners, without the least resistance being attempted, and carried
them into the town; tying the hands of some, and driving the whole
party before them. During the night above one hundred negroes kept
watch over them. The next day they were taken before the governor or
chief person, named Muhamoud, a remarkably ugly negro, who ordered
that they should all be imprisoned. The place of confinement was a
mere mud wall, about six feet high, from whence they might readily
have escaped, though strongly guarded, if the Moors had been
enterprising, but they were a cowardly set. Here they were kept three
or four days, for the purpose, as it afterwards appeared, of being
sent forward to Timbuctoo, which Adams concluded to be the residence
of the king of the country. At Soudenny, the houses have only a
ground floor, and are without furniture or utensils, except wooden
bowls, and mats made of grass. They never make fires in their houses.
After remaining about four days at Soudenny, the prisoners were sent
to Timbuctoo, under an escort of about sixty armed men, having about
eighteen camels and dromedaries.

During the first ten days they proceeded eastward, at the rate of
about fifteen to twenty miles a day, the prisoners and most of the
negroes walking, the officers riding, two upon each camel or
dromedary. As the prisoners were all impressed with the belief that
they were going to execution, several of the Moors attempted to
escape, and in consequence, after a short consultation, fourteen were
put to death by being beheaded, at a small village at which they then
arrived, and as a terror to the rest, the head of one of them was
hung round the neck of a camel for three days, until it became so
putrid, that they were obliged to remove it. At this village, the
natives wore gold rings in their ears, sometimes two rings in each
ear. They had a hole through the cartilage of the nose, wide enough
to admit a thick quill, in which Adams saw some of the natives wear a
large ring of an oval shape, that hung down to the mouth.

They waited, only one day at this place, and then proceeded towards
Timbuctoo. Shaping their course to the northward of east, and
quickening their pace to the rate of twenty miles a day, they
completed their journey in fifteen days.

Upon their arrival at Timbuctoo, the whole party were immediately
taken before the king, who ordered the Moors into prison, but
treated Adams and the Portuguese boy as curiosities; taking them to
his house, they remained there during their residence at Timbuctoo.

For some time after their arrival, the queen and her female
attendants used to sit and look at Adams and his companions for hours
together. She treated them with great kindness, and at the first
interview offered them some bread baked under ashes.

The king and queen, the former of whom was named Woollo, the latter
Fatima, were very old grey-headed people. Fatima was like the
majority of African beauties, extremely fat. Her dress was of blue
nankeen, edged with gold lace round the bosom and on the shoulder,
and having a belt or stripe of the same material, half-way down the
dress, which came only a few inches down the knees. The dress of the
other females of Timbuctoo, though less ornamented than that of the
queen, was in the same sort of fashion, so that as they wore no close
under garments, they might, when sitting on the ground, as far as
decency was concerned, as well have had no covering at all. The
queen's head dress consisted of a blue nankeen turban, but this was
worn only upon occasions of ceremony, or when she walked out. Besides
the turban, she had her hair stuck full of bone ornaments of a square
shape, about the size of dice, extremely white; she had large gold
hoop ear-rings, and many necklaces, some of them of gold, the others
made of beads of various colours. She wore no shoes, and in
consequence, her feet appeared to be as hard and dry "as the hoofs of
an ass."

The king's house or palace, which is built of clay and grass, not
whitewashed, consists of eight or ten small rooms on the ground
floor, and is surrounded by a wall of the same materials, against
part of which the house is built. The space within the wall is about
half an acre. Whenever a trader arrives, he is required to bring his
merchandize into this space, for the inspection of the king, for the
purpose of duties being charged upon it. The king's attendants, who
are with him during the whole of the day, generally consist of about
thirty persons, several of whom are armed with daggers, and bows and
arrows. Adams did not know if the king had any family.

For a considerable time after the arrival of Adams and his companion,
the people used to come in crowds to stare at them, and he afterwards
understood that many persons came several days journey on purpose.
The Moors remained closely confined in prison, but Adams and the
Portuguese boy had permission to visit them. At the end of about six
months, a company of trading Moors arrived with tobacco, who after
some weeks ransomed the whole party.

Timbuctoo is situated on a level plain [*], having a river about two
hundred yards from the town, on the south-east side, named La Mar
Zarah. The town appeared to Adams to cover as much ground as Lisbon.
He was unable to give any account of number of its inhabitants,
estimated by Caillie to amount to 10,000 or 12,000. The houses are
not built in streets, nor with any regularity, its population
therefore, compared with that of European towns, is by no means in
proportion to its size. It has no wall nor any thing resembling
fortification. The houses are square, built of sticks, clay, and
grass, with flat roofs of the same materials. The rooms are all on
the ground-floor, and are without any of furniture, except earthen
jars, wooden bowls, and mats made grass, upon which the people sleep.
He did not observe a houses, or any other buildings, constructed of
stone. The palace of the king he described as having walls of clay,
or clay and sand, rammed into a wooden case or frame, and placed in
layers, one above another, until they attained the height required,
the roof being composed of poles or rafters laid horizontally, and
covered with a cement or plaster, made of clay or sand.

[Footnote: This account of Timbuctoo, as given by Adams, by no means
corresponds with that which was subsequently given by Caillie. The
latter makes it situated on a very elevated site, in the vicinity of
mountains; in fact the whole account of that celebrated city, as
given by Caillie, is very defective.]

The river La Mar Zarah is about three quarters of a mile wide at
Timbuctoo, and appeared in this place to have but little current,
flowing to the south-west. About two miles from the town to the
southward, it runs between two high mountains, apparently as high as
the mountains which Adams saw in Barbary; here the river is about
half a mile wide. The water of La Mar Zarah is rather brackish, but
is commonly drunk by the natives, there not being, according to the
report of Adams, any wells at Timbuctoo.

It must be remarked in this place, that at the time when Adams
related the narrative of his residence in Africa, and particularly in
the city of Timbuctoo, a very considerable degree of distrust was
attached to it; and in order to put the veracity of Adams to a
decisive test, the publication of his adventures was delayed until
the arrival of Mr. Dupuis, then the British vice-consul at Mogadore,
to whose interference Adams acknowledged himself indebted for his
ransom, and who, on account of his long residence in Africa, and his
intimate acquaintance with the manners and customs of the natives,
was fully competent to the detection of any imposition which it might
be the intention of Adams to practise upon those, who undertook the
publication of his adventures. From this severe ordeal Adams came out
fully clear of any intention to impose, and the principal points of
his narrative were corroborated by the knowledge and experience of
Mr. Dupuis. Thus that gentleman, in allusion to the description which
Adams gave of La Mar Zarah, mentions that the Spanish geographer
Marmol, who describes himself to have spent twenty years of warfare
and slavery in Africa, about the middle of the sixteenth century,
mentions the river La-ha-mar as a branch of the Niger, having muddy
and unpalatable waters. By the same authority, the Niger itself is
called Yea, or Issa, at Timbuctoo, a name which D'Anville has adopted
in his map of Africa.

The vessels used by the natives are small canoes for fishing, the
largest of which are about ten feet long, capable of carrying three
men; they are built of fig-trees hollowed out, and caulked with
grass, and are worked with paddles about six feet long.

The natives of Timbuctoo are a stout healthy race, and are seldom
sick, although they expose themselves by lying out in the sun at
mid-day, when the heat is almost insupportable to a white man. It is
the universal practice of both sexes to grease themselves all over
with butter produced from goat's milk, which makes the skin smooth,
and gives it a shining appearance. This is usually renewed every day:
when neglected, the skin becomes rough, greyish, and extremely ugly.
They usually sleep under cover at night, but sometimes, in the
hottest weather, they will lie exposed to the night air, with little
or no covering, notwithstanding that the fog, which rises from the
river, descends like dew, and, in fact, at that season supplies the
want of rain.

All the males of Timbuctoo have an incision on their faces from the
top of the forehead down to the nose, from which proceed other
lateral incisions over the eyebrows, into all of which is inserted a
blue dye, produced from a kind of ore, which is found in the
neighbouring mountains. The women have also incisions on their faces,
but in a different fashion; the lines being from two to five in
number, cut on each cheek bone, from the temple straight down; they
are also stained with blue. These incisions being made on the faces
of both sexes when they are about twelve months old, the dyeing
material, which is inserted in them, becomes scarcely visible as they
grow up.

With the exception of the king and queen, and their immediate
companions, who had a change of dress about once a week, the people
are in general very dirty, sometimes not washing themselves for
twelve or fourteen days together. Besides the queen, who, as has been
already stated, wore a profusion of ivory and bone ornaments in her
hair, some of a square shape, and others about as thick as a
shilling, but rather smaller, strings of which she also wore about
her wrists and ankles; many of the women were decorated in a similar
manner, and they seemed to consider hardly any favour too great to be
conferred on the person who would make them a present of these
precious ornaments. Gold ear-rings were much worn, some of the women
had also rings on their fingers, but these appeared to Adams to be of
brass; and as many of the latter had letters upon them, he concluded,
both from this circumstance and from their workmanship, that they
were not made by the negroes, but obtained from the moorish traders.

The ceremony of marriage amongst the upper ranks at Timbuctoo is, for
the bride to go in the day-time to the king's house, and to remain
there until after sunset, when the man who is to be her husband goes
to fetch her away. This is usually followed by a feast the same
night, and a dance. Adams did not observe what ceremonies were used
in the marriages of the lower classes.

As it is common to have several concubines besides a wife, the women
are continually quarrelling and fighting; there is, however, a marked
difference in the degree of respect with which they are treated by
the husband, the wife always having a decided pre-eminence. The
negroes, however, appeared to Adams to be jealous and severe with all
their women, frequently beating them apparently for very little

The women appear to suffer very little from child-birth, and they
will be seen walking about as usual the day after such an event. It
is their practice to grease a child all over soon after its birth,
and to expose it for about an hour to the sun. The infants at first
are of a reddish colour, but become black in three or four days.

Illicit intercourse appeared to be but little regarded amongst the
lower orders, and chastity among the women in general seemed to be
preserved only so far as their situations or circumstances rendered
it necessary for their personal safety or convenience. In the higher
ranks, if a woman prove with child, the man is punished with slavery,
unless he will take the woman for his wife, and maintain her. Adams
knew an instance of a young man, who, having refused to marry a woman
by whom he had a child, was on that account condemned to slavery. He
afterwards repented, but was not then permitted to retract his
refusal, and was sent away to be sold.

It does not appear that they have any public religion, as they have
not any house of worship; no priest, and, as far as Adams could
discover, never meet together to pray. He had seen some of the
negroes, who were circumcised; but he concluded that they had been in
possession of the Moors, or had been resident at Sudenny. On this
subject Mr. Dupuis says, "I cannot speak with any confidence of the
religion of the negroes of Timbuctoo; I have, however, certainly
heard, and entertain little doubt, that many of the inhabitants are
Mahommedans; it is also generally believed in Barbary, that there are
mosques at Timbuctoo; but, on the other hand, I am confident that the
king is neither an Arab nor a Moor, especially as the traders, from
whom I have collected these accounts, have been either the one or the
other; and I might consequently presume, that, if they did give me
erroneous information on any points, it would at least not be to the
prejudice, both of their national self-conceit, and of the credit and
honour of their religion."

The only ceremony which Adams saw, that appeared like the act of
prayer, was on the occasion of the death of any of the inhabitants,
when the relatives assembled and sat round the corpse. The burial is
not attended with any ceremony whatever; the deceased are buried in
the clothes in which they die, at a small distance to the south-west
of the town.

Their only physicians are old women, who cure diseases and wounds by
the application of simples. Adams had a wen on the back of his right
hand, the size of a large egg, which one of the women cured in about
a month, by rubbing it and applying a plaster of herbs. They cure the
tooth-ache by the application of a liquid prepared from roots, which
frequently causes not only the defective tooth to fall out, but one
or two of the others.

On referring to the notes of Mr. Dupuis on the subject of the cures
performed by the negro women, we read, "I may take this opportunity
of observing that he (Adams) recounted, at Mogadore, several stories
of the supernatural powers or charms possessed by some of the
negroes, and which practised both, defensively to protect their own
persons from harm, and offensively against their enemies. Of these
details I do not remember more than the following circumstance,
which, I think, he told me happened in his presence:--

"A negro slave, the property of a desert Arab, having been threatened
by his master with severe punishment, for some offence, defied his
power to hurt him, in consequence of a charm by which he was
protected. Upon this the Arab seized a gun, which he loaded with a
ball, and fired at only a few paces distant from the negro's breast;
but the negro, instead of being injured by the shot, stooped to the
ground and picked up the ball, which had fallen inoffensive at his

It seems strange that Adams should have omitted their extraordinary
stories in his narrative; for he frequently expressed to Mr. Dupuis a
firm belief, that the negroes were capable of injuring their enemies
by witchcraft; and he once pointed out to him a slave at Mogadore, of
whom on that account he stood particularly in awe. He doubtless
imbibed this belief, and learned the other absurd stories, which he
related, from the Arabs, some of whom profess to be acquainted with
the art themselves, and all of whom are, it is believed, firmly
persuaded of its existence, and of the peculiar proficiency of the
negroes in it.

It is perhaps not unreasonable to suppose, that having found his
miraculous stories, and his belief in witchcraft discredited and
laughed at, both at Mogadore and Cadiz, Adams should have at length
grown ashamed of repeating them, and even outlived his superstitious
credulity. This solitary instance of suppression may rather be
considered as a proof of his good sense, and as the exercise of a
very allowable discretion, than as evidence of an artfulness, of
which not a trace had been detected in any other part of his conduct.

Dancing is the principal and favourite amusement of the natives of
Timbuctoo; it takes place about once a week in the town, when a
hundred dancers or more assemble, men, women, and children, but the
greater number are men. Whilst they are engaged in the dance, they
sing extremely loud to the music of the tambourine, fife, and
bandera, [*] so that the noise they make, may be heard all over the
town; they dance in a circle, and when this amusement continues till
the night, generally round a fire. Their usual time of beginning is
about two hours before sunset, and the dance not unfrequently lasts
all night. The men have the most of the exercise in these sports
while daylight lasts, the women continuing nearly in one spot, and
the men dancing to and from them. During this time, the dance is
conducted with some decency, but when night approaches, and the women
take a more active part in the amusement, their thin and short
dresses, and the agility of their actions are little calculated to
admit of the preservation of any decorum. The following was the
nature of the dance; six or seven men joining hands, surrounded one
in the centre of the ring, who was dressed in a ludicrous manner,
wearing a large black wig stuck full of kowries. This man at
intervals repeated verses, which, from the astonishment and
admiration expressed at them by those in the ring, appeared to be
extempore. Two performers played on the outside of the ring, one on a
large drum, the other on the bandera. The singer in the ring was not
interrupted during his recitations, but at the end of every verse,
the instruments struck up, and the whole party joined in loud chorus,
dancing round the man in the circle, stooping to the ground, and
throwing up their legs alternately. Towards the end of the dance, the
man in the middle of the ring was released from his enclosure, and
danced alone, occasionally reciting verses, whilst the other dancers
begged money from the by-standers.

[Footnote: The bandera is made of several cocoa-nut shells, tied
together with thongs of goat-skin, and covered with the same
material; a hole at the top of the instrument is covered with strings
of leather, or tendons, drawn tightly across it, on which the
performer plays with the fingers, in the manner of a guitar.]

It has been already stated, that Adams could not form any idea of the
population of Timbuctoo, but on one occasion he saw as many as
two-thousand assembled at one place. This happened when a party of
five hundred men were going out to make war on Bambarra [*]. The day
after their departure, they were followed by a great number of
slaves, dromedaries, and heiries laden with previsions. Such of these
people as afterwards returned, came back in parties of forty or
fifty; many of them did not return at all whilst Adams remained at
Timbuctoo; but he never heard that any of them had been killed.

[Footnote: This statement, which is in opposition to the usual
opinion, that Timbuctoo is a dependency of Bambarra, receives some
corroboration from a passage in Isaaco's journal (p. 205.), where a
prince of Timbuctoo is accused by the king of Sego, of having, either
personally, or by his people, plundered two Bambarra caravans, and
taken both merchandise and slaves.]

About once a month, a party of a hundred or more armed men marched
out in a similar manner, to procure slaves. These armed parties were
all on foot, except the officers; they were usually absent from one
week to a month, and at times brought in considerable numbers. The
slaves were generally a different race of people from those of
Timbuctoo, and differently clothed, their dress being for the most
part of coarse white linen or cotton. He once saw amongst them a
woman, who had her teeth filed round, it was supposed, by way of
ornament, and as they were very long, they resembled crow quills. The
greatest number of slaves that Adams recollects to have seen brought
in at one time, were about twenty, and these, he was informed, were
from a place called Bambarra, lying to the southward and westward of
Timbuctoo, which he understood to be the country, whither the
aforesaid parties generally went out in quest of them.

The negro slaves brought to Barbary from Timbuctoo appear to be of
various nations, many of them distinguished by the make of their
persons and features, as well as by their language. Mr. Dupuis
recollects an unusually tall stout negress at Mogadore, whose master
assured him that she belonged to a populous nation of cannibals. He
does not know whether the fact was sufficiently authenticated, but it
is certain that the woman herself declared it, adding some revolting
accounts of her own feasts on human flesh.

Adams never saw any individual put to death at Timbuctoo, the
punishment for heavy offences being generally slavery; for slighter
misdemeanours, the offenders are punished with beating with a stick;
but in no case is this punishment very severe, seldom exceeding two
dozen blows, with a stick of the thickness of a small walking-cane.

The infrequency of the punishment of death in a community, which
counts human life amongst its most valuable objects of trade, is not,
however, very surprising; and considerable influence must be conceded
to the operation of self-interest, as well as to the feelings of
humanity, in accounting for this merciful feature, if it be indeed
merciful, in the criminal code of the negroes of Soudan.

During the whole of the residence of Adams at Timbuctoo, he never saw
any other Moors than those whom he accompanied thither, and the ten
by whom they were ransomed; and he understood from the Moors
themselves, that they were not allowed to go in large bodies to
Timbuctoo. This statement bears on the face of it a certain degree of
improbability; but it loses that character when it is considered that
Timbuctoo, although it is become, in consequence of its frontier
situation, the port, as it were, of the caravans from the north,
which could not return across the desert the same season, if they
were to penetrate deeper into Soudan, is yet, with respect to the
trade itself, probably only the point whence it diverges to Houssa,
Tuarick, &c. on the east, and to Walet, Jinnie, and Sego, on the west
and south, and not the mart where the merchandise of the caravans is
sold in detail. Such Moors, therefore, as did not return to Barbary
with the returning caravan, but remained in Soudan until the
following season, might be expected to follow their trade to the
larger marts of the interior, and to return to Timbuctoo only to meet
the next winter's caravans. Adams arriving at Timbuctoo in February,
and departing in June, might therefore miss both the caravans
themselves and the traders, who remained behind in Soudan; and, on
the same principle, Park might find Moors carrying on an active trade
in the summer at Sansanding, and yet there might not be one at

Adams never proceeded to the southward of Timbuctoo, further than
about two miles from the town, to the mountains before spoken of; he
never saw the river Joliba or Niger, though he had heard mention made
of it. He was told at Tudenny, that the river lay between that place
and Bambarra.

This apparently unimportant passage, affords on examination a strong
presumption in favour of the truth and simplicity of this part of
Adams' narrative.

In the course of his examinations, almost every new inquirer
questioned him respecting the Joliba or Niger, and he could not fail
to observe, that because he had been at Timbuctoo, he was expected,
as a matter of course, either to have seen, or at least frequently to
have heard of that celebrated river. Adams, however, fairly admitted
that he knew nothing about it, and notwithstanding the surprise of
many of his examiners, he could not be brought to acknowledge that he
had heard the name even once mentioned at Timbuctoo. All that he
recollected was, that a river Joliba had been spoken of at Tudenny,
where it was described as lying in the direction of Bambarra.

They who recollect Major Rennell's remarks respecting the Niger, in
his Geographical Illustrations, will not be much surprised that Adams
should not hear of the Joliba, from the natives of Timbuctoo. At that
point of its course, the river is doubtless known by another name,
and if the Joliba were spoken of at all, it would probably be
accompanied, as Adams states, with some mention of Bambarra, which
may be presumed to be the last country eastward, in which the Niger
retains its Mandingo name.


The ten Moors who had arrived with the five camels laden with
tobacco, had been three weeks at Timbuctoo, before Adams learnt that
the ransom of himself, the boy, and the Moors, his former companions,
had been agreed upon. At the end of the first week, he was given to
understand, that himself and the boy would be released, but that the
Moors would be condemned to die; it appeared however afterwards, that
in consideration of all the tobacco being given for the Moors, except
about fifty pounds weight, which was expended for a man slave, the
king had agreed to release all the prisoners.

Two days after their release, the whole party consisting of the ten
moorish traders, fourteen moorish prisoners, two white men and one
slave quitted Timbuctoo, having only the five camels, which belonged
to the traders; those which were seized when Adams and his party were
made prisoners, not having been restored. As they had no means left
of purchasing any other article, the only food they took with them
was a little Guinea corn flour.

On quitting the town they proceeded in an easterly course, inclining
to the north, going along the border of the river, of which they
sometimes lost sight for two days together. Except the two mountains
before spoken of to the southward, between which the river runs,
there are none in the immediate neighbourhood of Timbuctoo, but at a
little distance there are some small ones.

They had travelled eastward about ten days, at the rate of about
fifteen or eighteen miles a day, when they saw the river for the last
time; it then appeared rather narrower than at Timbuctoo. They then
loaded the camels with water, and striking off in a northerly
direction, travelled twelve or thirteen days at about the same pace.

At the end of this time they arrived at a place called Tudenny, or
Taudenny, a large village inhabited by Moors and negroes, in which
there are four wells of very excellent water. In this place there are
large ponds or beds of salt, which both the Moors and negroes come in
great numbers to purchase; in the neighbourhood the ground is
cultivated in the same manner as at Timbuctoo. From the number of
Moors, many, if not all of whom, were residents, it appeared that the
restriction respecting them, which was in force at Timbuctoo, did not
extend to Tudenny.

The Moors here are perfectly black, the only personal distinction
between them and the negroes being, that the Moors had long black
hair, and had no scars on their faces. The negroes are in general
marked in the same manner as those of Timbuctoo. Here the party
stayed fourteen days to give the ransomed Moors, whose long
confinement had made them weak, time to recruit their strength; and
having sold one of the camels for two sacks of dates and a small ass,
and loaded the four remaining camels with water, the dates and the
flour, they set out to cross the desert, taking a north-west

They commenced their journey from Tudenny about four o'clock in the
morning, and having travelled the first day about twenty miles, they
unloaded the camels, and laid down by the side of them to sleep.

The next day they entered the desert, over which they continued to
travel in the same direction nine and twenty days, without meeting a
single human being. The whole way was a sandy plain like the sea,
without either tree, shrub or grass. After travelling in this manner
about fourteen days, at the rate of sixteen or eighteen miles a day,
the people began to grow very weak; their stock of water began to run
short, and their provisions were nearly exhausted. The ass died of
fatigue, and its carcass was immediately cut up and laden on the
camel, where it dried in the sun, and served for food, and had it not
been for this supply, some of the party must have died of hunger.
Being asked if ass's flesh was good eating, Adams replied, "It was as
good to my taste then, as a goose would be now."

In six days afterwards, during which their pace was slackened to not
more than twelve miles a day, they arrived at a place, where it was
expected water would be found; but to their great disappointment,
owing to the dryness of the season, the hollow place, of about thirty
yards in circumference, was found quite dry.

All their stock of water at this time consisted of four goat-skins,
and those not full, holding from one to two gallons each; and it was
known to the Moors, that they had then ten days further to travel
before they could obtain a supply.

In this distressing dilemma it was resolved to mix the remaining
water with camels' urine. The allowance of this mixture to each camel
was only about a quart for the whole ten days; each man was allowed
not more than about half a pint a day.

The Moors, who had been in confinement at Timbuctoo, becoming every
day weaker, three of them in the four following days lay down, unable
to proceed. They were then placed upon the camels, but continual
exposure to the excessive heat of the sun, and the uneasy motion of
the animals, soon rendered them unable to support themselves; and
towards the end of the second day, they made another attempt to
pursue their journey on foot, but could not. The following morning at
day-break, they were found dead on the sand, in the place where they
had lain down at night, and were left behind, without being buried.
The next day, another of them lay down, and, like his late
unfortunate companions, was left to perish; but on the following day,
one of the Moors determined to remain behind, in the hope that he,
who had dropped the day before, might still come up, and be able to
follow the party; some provisions were left with him. At this time it
was expected, what proved to be the fact, that they were within a
day's march of their town, but neither of the men ever after made his
appearance, and Adams has no doubt that they perished.

Vled Duleim, the name of the place at which they now arrived, was a
village of tents, inhabited entirely by Moors, who, from their dress,
manners, and general appearance, seemed to be of the same tribe as
those of the encampment to which Adams was conveyed from El Gazie.
They had numerous flocks of sheep and goats, and two watering places,
near one of which their tents were pitched, but the other lay nearly
five miles off.

Vled, or Woled D'leim, is the douar of a tribe of Arabs inhabiting
the eastern parts of the desert, from the latitude of about twenty
degrees north to the tropic. They are a tribe of great extent and
power, inhabiting detached fertile spots of land, where they find
water and pasturage for their flocks, but are very ignorant of the
commonest principles of agriculture. They are an extremely fine race
of men, their complexion very dark, almost as black as that of the
negroes. They have straight hair, which they wear in large
quantities, aqueline noses, and large eyes. Their behaviour is
haughty and insolent, speaking with fluency and energy, and appearing
to have great powers of rhetoric. Their arms are javelins and swords.

The first fortnight after the arrival of the party was devoted to
their recovery from the fatigues of the journey; but as soon as their
strength was re-established, Adams and his companion were employed in
taking care of goats and sheep. Having now begun to acquire a
knowledge of the moorish tongue, they frequently urged their masters
to take them to Suerra, which the latter promised they would do,
provided they continued attentive to their duty.

Things, however, remained in this state for ten or eleven days,
during which time they were continually occupied in tending the
flocks of the Moors. They suffered severely from exposure to the
scorching sun, in a state almost of utter nakedness, and the miseries
of their situation were aggravated by despair of ever being released
from slavery.

The only food allowed to them was barley-flour and camels' and goats'
milk; of the latter, however, they had abundance. Sometimes they were
treated with a few dates, which were a great rarity, there being
neither date-trees, nor trees of any other kind, in the whole of the
country round. But as the flocks of goats and sheep consisted of a
great number, from one hundred and fifty to two hundred, and as they
were at a distance from the town, Adams and his companion sometimes
ventured to kill a kid for their own eating, and to prevent discovery
of the fire used in cooking it, they dug a cave, in which a fire was
made, covering the ashes with grass and sand.

At length, Adams, after much reflection on the miserable state in
which he had been so long kept, and was likely to pass the remainder
of his life, determined to remonstrate upon the subject. His master,
whose name was Hamet Laubed, frankly replied to him, that as he had
not been successful in procuring slaves, it was now his intention to
keep him, and not, as he had before led him to expect, to take him to
Suerra or Mogadore. Upon hearing this, Adams resolved not to attend
any longer to the duty of watching the goats and sheep; and in
consequence, the following day, several of the young goats were found
to have been killed by the foxes.

This led to an inquiry, whether Adams or the boy was in fault, when
it appearing that the missing goats were a part of Adams' flock, his
master proceeded to beat him with a thick stick; he, however,
resisted, and took away the stick, upon which a dozen Moors,
principally women, attacked him, and gave him a severe beating.

As, notwithstanding what had occurred, Adams persisted in his
determination not to resume his task of tending the goats and sheep,
his master was advised to put him to death, but this he was not
inclined to do, observing to his advisers, that he should thereby
sustain a loss, and that if Adams would not work, it would be better
to sell him. In the mean time, he remained idle in the tent for three
days, when he was asked by his master's wife if he would go to the
distant well, to fetch a couple of skins of water, it being of a
better quality; to which he signified his consent, and went off the
next morning on a camel, with two skins to fetch the water.

On his arrival at the other well, instead of procuring water, he
determined to make his escape; and understanding that the course to a
place called Wadinoon lay in a direction to the northward of west, he
passed the well, and pushing on in a northerly course, travelled the
whole of that day, when the camel, which had been used to rest at
night, and had not been well broken in, would not proceed any
further, and in spite of all the efforts Adams could make, it lay
down with fatigue, having gone upwards of twenty miles without
stopping. Finding there was not any remedy, Adams took off the rope,
with which his clothes were fastened round his body, and as the camel
lay with his fore knee bent, he tied the rope round it in a way to
prevent its rising, and then laid down by the side of it. This rope,
which Adams had brought from Timbuctoo, was made of grass, collected
on the banks of the river.

The next morning, at daylight, he mounted again, and pushed on till
about nine o'clock, when he perceived some smoke in advance of him,
which he approached. There was a small hillock between him and this
place, ascending which, he discovered about forty or fifty tents
pitched, and on looking back, he saw two camels coming towards him,
with a rider on each. Not knowing whether these were in pursuit of
him, or strangers going to the place in view, but being greatly
alarmed, he made the best of his way forward. On drawing near to the
town, a number of women came out, and he observed about a hundred
Moors standing in a row, in the act of prayer, having their faces
towards the east, and at times kneeling down, and leaning their heads
to the ground. On the women discovering Adams, they expressed great
surprise at seeing a white man. He inquired of them the name of the
place, and they told him it was Hilla Gibla. Soon afterwards the two
camels, before spoken of, arriving, the rider of one of them proved
to be the owner of the camel on which Adams had escaped, and the
other his master. At this time Adams was sitting under a tent,
speaking to the governor, whose name was Mahomet, telling him his
story; they were soon joined by his two pursuers, accompanied by a
crowd of people.

Upon his master claiming him, Adams protested that he would not go
back; that his master had frequently promised to take him to Suerra,
but had broken his promises, and that he had made up his mind either
to obtain his liberty or die. Upon hearing both sides, the governor
determined in favour of Adams, and gave his master to understand,
that if he was willing to exchange him for a bushel of dates and a
camel, he should have them; but if not, he should have nothing. As
Adams' master did not approve of these conditions, a violent
altercation arose, but at length, finding the governor determined,
and that better terms were not to be had, he accepted the first
offer, and Adams became the slave of Mahomet.

The natives of Hilla Gibla or El Kabla, appeared to be better
clothed, and a less savage race than those of Woled D'leim, between
whom there appeared to be great enmity. The governor, therefore,
readily interfered in favour of Adams, and at one time threatened to
take away the camel, and to put Mahomet Laubed to death. Another
consideration by which the governor was probably influenced, was a
knowledge of the value of a Christian slave, as an object of ransom,
of which Mahomet Laubed seemed to be wholly ignorant.

On entering the service of his new master, Adams was sent to tend
camels, and had been so employed about a fortnight, when this duty
was exchanged for that of taking care of goats. Mahomet had two
wives, who dwelt in separate tents, one of them an old woman, the
other a young one; the goats which Adams was appointed to take care
of, were the property of the elder one.

Some days after he had been so employed, the younger wife, whose name
was Isha, or Aisha, proposed to him that he should also take charge
of her goats, for which she would remunerate him, and as there was no
more trouble in tending two flocks than one, he readily consented.
Having had charge of the two flocks for several days, without
receiving the promised additional reward, he at length remonstrated,
and after some negotiation on the subject of his claim, the matter
was compromised by the young woman's desiring him, when he returned
from tending the goats at night, to go to rest in her tent. It was
the custom of Mahomet, to sleep two nights with the elder woman, and
one with the other, and this was one of the nights devoted to the
former. Adams accordingly kept the appointment, and about nine
o'clock Aisha came and gave him supper, and he remained in her tent
all night. This was an arrangement which was afterwards continued on
those nights, which she did not pass with her husband.

Things continued in this state for about six months, and as his work
was light, and he experienced nothing but kind treatment, his time
passed pleasantly enough. One night his master's son coming into the
tent, discovered Adams with his mother-in-law, and informed his
father, when a great disturbance took place; but upon the husband
charging his wife with her misconduct, she protested that Adams had
laid down in her tent without her knowledge or consent, and as she
cried bitterly, the old man appeared to be convinced that she was not

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