Imatges de pÓgina

along the Gambia, till he saw it flowing from the south between the hills of Foota Jalla and a high mountain called Muianta. Turning his face almost due west, he passed the streams of the Ba Lee, the Ba Fing, and the Ba Woollima, the three principal tributaries of the Senegal. This change of direction led him through a tract much more pleasing than that which he passed in his dreary return through Jallonka and its wilderness. The villages, built in delightful mountain-glens, and looking from their elevated precipices over a great extent of wooded plain, appeared romantic beyond any thing he had ever seen. The rocks near Sullo assumed every possible diversity of form, towering like ruined castles, spires, and pyramids. One mass of granite so strongly resembled the remains of a Gothic abbey, with its niches and ruined staircase, that it required some time to satisfy him that it was composed wholly of natural stone. The crossing of the rivers, now swelled to a considerable magnitude, was attended with many difficulties; and in one of them Isaaco the guide was nearly devoured by a crocodile.

It was near Satadoo, soon after passing the Falene, that the party experienced the first tornado, which, marking the commencement of the rainy season, proved for them "the beginning of sorrows." In these tornadoes, violent storms of thunder and lightning are followed by deluges of rain, which cover the ground three feet deep, and have a peculiarly malignant influence on European constitutions. In three days twelve men were on the sick list. The natives, as they saw the strength of the expedition decline, became more bold and frequent in their predatory attacks. At Gimbia attempts were made to overpower, by main force, the whole party, and seize all they possessed; but the assault was repelled without bloodshed, by their merely presenting their muskets. At Maniakarro the whole population hung on their rear for a considerable time, headed by thirty of the king's sons; and great delicacy was felt as to the mode of dealing with these august thieves, so long as their proceedings were not quite intolerable. One of them came up, and engaged Mr. Park in conversation, while another ran off with his fowling-piece; and, on his attempting pursuit, the first took the opportunity of seizing his great coat. Orders were now given to fire on all depredators, royal or plebeian ;

and, after a few shots had been discharged without producing any fatal effects, the thieves hid themselves among the rocks, and were merely seen peeping through the crevices.

The expedition continued to melt away beneath the deadly influence of an African climate. Every day added to the list of sick or dead, or of those who declared themselves unable to proceed. Near Bangassi, four men lay down at once; it was even with difficulty that Mr. Park dragged forward his brother-in-law, Mr. Anderson, while he himself felt very sick and faint. His spirits were about to sink entirely, when, coming to an eminence, he obtained a distant view of the mountains, the southern base of which he knew to be watered by the Niger. Then indeed he forgot his fever, and thought only of climbing the blue hills which delighted his eyes.

But three weeks, during which he experienced the greatest difficulty and suffering, elapsed before he could arrive at that desired point. At length he reached the summit of the ridge which divides the Senegal from the Niger, and coming to the brow of the hill, saw again this majestic river rolling its immense stream along the plain. Yet his situation and prospects were gloomy indeed, when compared to those with which he had left the banks of the Gambia. Of thirty-eight men whom he then had with him, there survived only seven, all suffering from severe sickness, and some nearly at the last extremity. Still his mind was full of the most sanguine hope, especially when, on the 22d August, he felt himself floating on the waters of the Niger, and advancing towards the ultimate object of his ambition. He hired canoes to convey his party to Marraboo; and the river, here a mile in breadth, was so full and so deep, that its current carried him easily over the rapids, but with a rapidity which was even in a certain degree painful.

At Marraboo he sent forward the interpreter Isaaco to Mansong with part of the presents, and to treat with that monarch for protection, as well as for permission to build a boat. This envoy was absent several days, during which great anxiety was felt, heightened by several unfa vourable rumours, among which was, that the king had killed him with his own hand and announced his purpose

to do the same to every white man that should come within his reach. These fears were dispelled by the appearance of the royal singing man, who brought a message of welcome, with an invitation to repair to Sego, and deliver in person the remaining presents intended for the monarch. At Samee the party met Isaaco, who reported that there was something very odd in the reception which he had received from Mansong. That prince assured him, in general, that the expedition would be allowed to pass down the Niger; but whenever the latter came to particulars, and proposed an interview with Mr. Park, the king began to draw squares and triangles with his finger on the sand; and in this geometrical operation his mind seemed wholly absorbed. Isaaco suspected that he laboured under some superstitious dread of white men, and sought by these figures to defend himself against their magic influence. It was finally arranged that the presents should be delivered, not to Mansong in person, but to Modibinne, his prime minister, who was to come to Samee for that purpose. He accordingly appeared, and began by requiring, in the king's name, an explanation why Park had come to Bambarra with so great a train from so distant a country,-allowing him a day to prepare his reply. Next morning the traveller gave an answer in form, representing his mission as chiefly commercial, and holding forth the advantages which Bambarra might reap by receiving European goods directly from the coast, instead of circuitously, as now, through Morocco, the Desert, Timbuctoo, and Jenne, having a profit levied upon them at every transfer. Modibinne expressed satisfaction both with the reasons and with the presents; and on his return next day offered, on the part of Mansong, the option of building a boat either at Samee, Sego, Sansanding, or Jenne. Park chose Sansanding, thus enabling the king to avoid a personal interview with the Europeans, of which he seemed to entertain so mysterious a dread.

The voyage down the river was distressing; for, though the fatigue of travelling was avoided, the heat was so intense that it was thought sufficient to have roasted a sirloin : and the sick had thus no chance of recovery. Sansanding was found a prosperous and flourishing town, with a crowded market remarkably well-arranged. The leading articles,

which were cloth of Houssa or Jenne, antimony, beads, and indigo, were each arranged in stalls, shaded by mats from the heat of the sun. There was a separate market for salt, the main staple of their trade. The whole presented a scene of commercial order and activity totally unlooked for in the interior of Africa.

Mansong had promised to furnish two boats; but they were late in arriving, and proved very defective. In order to raise money, it was necessary to sell a considerable quantity of goods. Nor was it without much trouble that the two skiffs were finally converted into the schooner Joliba, forty feet long, six broad, and drawing only one foot of water, the fittest form for navigating the Niger downward to the ocean.

During Park's stay at Sansanding he had the misfortune to lose his brother-in-law, Mr. Anderson, to whom his attachment was so strong as to make him say,—" No event which took place during the journey ever threw the smallest gloom over my mind till I laid Mr. Anderson in the grave. I then felt myself as if left a second time lonely and friendless amid the wilds of Africa." Though the party was now reduced to five Europeans, one of whom was deranged, and though the most gloomy anticipations could not fail to arise in the mind of our traveller, his firmness was in no degree shaken. He announced to Lord Camden his fixed purpose to discover the termination of the Niger, or to perish in the attempt; adding, "Though all the Europeans who are with me should die, and though I were myself half-dead, I would still persevere." To Mrs. Park he announced the same determination, combined with an undoubting confidence of success; and the commencement of his voyage down the Niger, through the vast unknown regions of Interior Africa, he called "turning his face towards England."

It was on the 17th November, 1805, that Park set sail on his last and fatal voyage. A long interval elapsed without any tidings, which, considering the great distance and the many causes of delay, did not at first excite alarm in his friends. As the following year, however, passed on, rumours of an unpleasant nature began to prevail. Alarmed by these, and feeling a deep interest in his fate, Governor Maxwell of Sierra Leone engaged Isaaco the guide, who

had been sent to the Gambia with despatches from the Niger, to undertake a fresh journey to inquire after him. At Sansanding, Isaaco was so far fortunate as to meet Amadi Fatouma, who had been engaged to succeed himself as interpreter. From him he received a journal purporting to contain the narrative of the voyage down the river, and of its final issue. The party, it would appear, had purchased three slaves, who, with the five Europeans and Fatouma, increased their number to nine. They passed Silla and Jenne in a friendly manner; but at Rakbara (Kabra) and Timbuctoo several armed parties came out to attack them, who were repelled only by a smart and destructive fire. No particulars are given of any of those important places; nor of Kaffo, Gotoijege, and others, which the discoverers are represented as having afterward passed. At length they came to the village (more properly city) of Yaour, where Amadi Fatouma left the party, his services having been engaged only to that point. He had, however, scarcely taken his leave, when he was summoned before the king, who bitterly complained that the white men, though they brought many valuable commodities with them, had passed without giving him any presents. He therefore ordered that Fatouma should be thrown into irons, and a body of troops sent in pursuit of the English. These men reached Boussa, and took possession of a pass, where rocks, hemming in the river, allow only a narrow channel for vessels to descend. When Park arrived, he found the passage thus obstructed, but attempted, nevertheless, to push his way through. "The people began to attack him, throwing lances, pikes, arrows, and stones. He defended himself for a long time; when two of his slaves at the stern of the canoe were killed. The crew threw every thing they had into the river, and kept firing; but being overpowered by numbers and fatigue, and unable to keep up the canoe against the current, and seeing no probability of escaping, Mr. Park took hold of one of the white men, and jumped into the water. Martyn did the same, and they were all drowned in the stream in attempting to escape. The only slave that remained in the boat, seeing the natives persist in throwing weapons into it without ceasing, stood up and said to them,-Stop throwing now; you see nothing in the canoe, and nobody but

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