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Together with Other Documents, Official And Private,

Relating To The Same Mission, to Which Is Prefixed

an Account of the Life off Mr. Park.



Edited and Commentary by John Whishaw

The original documents relating to Mr. Mungo Park's last mission into
Africa having been entrusted to the Directors of the African Institution
by the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, with liberty to
publish them, in case they should deem it expedient; the Directors now
avail themselves of this permission, by publishing the papers for the
benefit of Mr. Park's family.

These documents, together with other papers furnished by Mr. Park's
connections and friends, which also form a part of the present
publication, consist of the following particulars:

1. The original Journal of the expedition, officially transmitted by Mr.
Park to the Secretary of State; containing several of Mr. Park's
drawings and sketches, illustrative of particular descriptions, which
are copied in this publication.

2. The Journal, as translated from the Arabic language, in which it was
originally composed, of Isaaco, a native African, commissioned in the
year 1810, by the Governor of Senegal, to go in search of Mr. Park and
ascertain his fate; which Journal was likewise officially transmitted to
the Secretary of State.

3. A Memoir delivered by Mr. Park at the Colonial Office in the year
1804, relative to the plan and objects of the intended expedition into
Africa; together with the Official Instructions which he received for
his guidance; and two letters addressed by him to the Secretary of
State, one, written shortly after his arrival at the Coast of Africa,
and the other, at the time of transmitting his Journal, previously to
his final embarkation on the Niger.

4. Several private letters of Mr. Park, principally written during the
time he was engaged in this mission; which, together with the documents
included under the last mentioned head, have been incorporated into the
Account of Mr. Park's Life, which is prefixed to the Journal.

It has before been stated, that the official papers are published under
the authority of the Directors of the African Institution. It may be
proper to add, that the individual, who has undertaken to prepare this
work for the press, is alone responsible for the publication of the
private letters, and for whatever else is contained in this volume,
besides the official documents.

Of the papers before enumerated, the most important, and the only one
which calls for any particular observation, is Mr. Park's own Journal;
respecting which, it may be necessary to apprize the reader that it was
written without the slightest view to publication, being intended only
(as he informed the Secretary of State, by his letter of the 17th of
November, 1805) "to recall to his own recollection _other_ particulars
illustrative of the manners and customs of the natives, which would have
swelled the communication to a most unreasonable size." The work,
therefore, which is now submitted to the public, can be considered in no
other light than as the mere outline of a much more extended and
detailed narrative, which it was the author's intention to prepare for
the press after his return to England.

A work, thus imperfect, and which the unfortunate fate of its author has
prevented from being brought to a completion, is entitled to peculiar
indulgence; and if those allowances are made, which candour and justice
require, the editor confidently hopes, that Mr. Park's Journal will not
disappoint the public expectation. It will be found to contain several
interesting particulars concerning Africa, not hitherto known, and to
illustrate and confirm, in various material respects, some of the most
important discoveries communicated in Mr. Park's former Travels. It
bears strong internal marks of truth and fidelity; and, perhaps, the
very nakedness and simplicity of its descriptions and its minute details
of petty circumstances, may be thought by some readers to convey a more
accurate and distinct conception of the process of an African journey,
and of the difficulties with which such expeditions are attended, than a
more elaborate and polished narrative.

With a view of rendering the present publication more complete, and of
gratifying in a certain degree that reasonable curiosity, which will
naturally be felt by many readers of this Journal and the former
Travels, it has been thought advisable to add a biographical Memoir of
the Author. But as the events of Mr. Park's life, with the exception of
those contained in the works just alluded to, are few and unimportant,
the editor has been induced, in the course of this undertaking, to
deviate occasionally into other topics, more or less connected with the
principal subject; in the discussion of which he has inadvertently
exceeded the limits which he had originally assigned to himself. This
circumstance has added considerably to the length of the Memoir and its
Appendix; for which, he would willingly believe, that the interest
belonging to the topics themselves, will be deemed a sufficient apology.

In preparing this Memoir, the editor naturally applied for information
to Mr. Park's family, and was much gratified by discovering, that some
materials, with a view to a similar undertaking, had been collected by a
brother-in-law of Mr. Park, Mr. Archibald Buchanan of Glasgow; who, on
being made acquainted with the editor's intention, immediately and with
the greatest candour, transmitted to him the whole of his papers.

These materials have been of great use in preparing the Memoir; in which
the editor has likewise been assisted by much useful information which
he has received from another brother-in-law of Mr. Park, Mr. James
Dickson, whose name will occur in the course of the ensuing Memoir; and
also from Mr. Park's two brothers, Mr. Adam Park of Gravesend, and Mr.
Alexander Park of Selkirk, the latter of whom is unfortunately since

The editor is likewise greatly indebted to Major Rennell and to Zachary
Macaulay, Esq. for several interesting particulars concerning Mr. Park;
and to the latter in particular, for much valuable information relative
to the trade of this country with Africa, which will be found in the
Appendix to the Memoir.

But his acknowledgments are due, in an especial manner, to Sir Joseph
Banks; who has not only favoured the editor with the fullest
communication of his correspondence with Mr. Park, and of his papers
relating to this subject, but has in every other respect assisted and
promoted the present undertaking with a kindness and liberality,
proportioned to his sincere and constant friendship for Mr. Park, and to
his uniform zeal for whatever he considers to be in any degree connected
with useful knowledge and scientific discovery.

* * * * *

It remains only to say a few words respecting the Map, which is prefixed
to this publication. The readers of Mr. Park's former Travels are
already apprized, that the map which accompanied that work, was
constructed by Major Rennell, whose interesting Geographical Memoir in
illustration of Mr. Park's first journey, was also annexed to the quarto
edition. It would have been highly gratifying to the editor of this
work, and most satisfactory to the public, if the same valuable
assistance could have been obtained on the present occasion. But
unfortunately, Major Rennell's other engagements rendered this wholly
impracticable. He had the kindness, however, to furnish the editor with
some notes which he had taken, and with a construction of part of Mr.
Park's route in 1805, which he had traced out from the Journal now
published, when it was formerly submitted to his inspection.

These papers together with Mr. Park's Journal, were placed in the hands
of a respectable artist, employed by the publisher to construct the map
intended to illustrate the present work; at whose request the following
statement respecting certain difficulties which have occurred in its
construction, is subjoined.

"In compiling the map of Mr. Park's route in 1805, much difficulty has
arisen from the bearings of places not being mentioned in the Journal;
and also in consequence of there being occasionally great differences
between the latitudes and longitudes of places according to the
astronomical observations, and the distances computed according to the
journies. Considerable pains have been taken to reconcile these
differences; but the general result has been, that it was found
necessary in adhering to the astronomical observations, to carry Mr.
Park's former route in 1796 farther north, and to place it in a higher
latitude than that in which it appears in Major Rennell's map annexed to
the former volume of Travels."

London, March 1, 1815.


* * * * *

Appendix, No. I.
No. II.
No. III.
No. IV.
No. V.
No. VI.

Explanation of African Words

* * * * *



Departure from Kayee - Arrival at Pisania - Preparations there, and
departure into the Interior - Samee - Payment to Mumbo Jumbo - Reach
Jindey; process of dying cottons at that place - Departure from
Jindey - Cross the Wallia Creek - Kootakunda - Madina - Tabajang - Kingdom of
Jamberoo - Visit from the King's son - Tatticonda - Visit from the son of
the former King of Woolli - Reach Madina, the capital of Woolli - Audience
of the King; his unfriendly conduct - Presents made to him and his
courtiers - Barraconda - Bambakoo - Kanipe; inhospitable conduct of its
inhabitants - Kussai - Nittatrees; restrictions relating to them - Enter
the Simbani Woods - precautions thereon, and sacrifice and prayers for
success - Banks of the Gambia - Crocodiles and hippopotami - Reach
Faraba - Loss of one of the soldiers - Rivers Neaulico and
Nerico - Astronomical observations.


Arrival at Jallacotta - Maheena - Tambico - Bady; hostile conduct of the
Faranba, or Chief, and its consequences - Reach Jeningalla -
Iron-furnaces - Mansafard - Attacked by wolves - Enter the
Tenda Wilderness - Ruins and Plain of Doofroo - Attacked by a swarm of
bees - Astronomical observations - Arrival at Sibikillin - Shea
trees - Badoo; presents made to the King - Tambacunda - Ba Deema
River - Tabba Gee - Mambari - Julifunda; unfriendly conduct of its Chief;
and presents sent to him and the King - Visit from the latter - Reach
Eercella - Baniserite - Celebrate his Majesty's birthday - Mode of fluxing
iron - Madina - Falema river - Satadoo - Sickness and death of the
Carpenter - Arrival at Shrondo; commencement of the rainy season; and
alarming sickness amongst the soldiers - Gold mines; process for
procuring the gold - Dindikoo; gold pits - Cultivation - Arrival at Fankia.


Departure from Fankia - Tambaura mountains, and difficulties in ascending
the Pass - Toombin - Great embarrassments on the road - Serimanna - Fajemmia
Astronomical observations - Increase of the sick - Nealakatla - Balee
River - Boontoonkooran - Doggikotta - Falifing - Losses on the road - Gimbia;
inhospitable treatment - Sullo - Face of the country - Secoba
Konkromo - Passage of the Ba Fing - Mode of smelting and working
gold - Fatal accident in crossing the Ba Fing - Hippopotami - Deaths and
losses on the route - Increase of sickness - Reach Viandry - Koeena - Danger
from young lions - Koombandi - Great embarrassments on the
road - Fonilla - Ba Woolima River; difficulties in crossing it - Isaaco
seized by a crocodile - Boolinkoonbo - Distressing situation of the whole
of the party - Reach Serrababoo-Saboseera.


Arrival at Keminoom, or Manniakorro, on the Ba lee river. - Visit to the
Chief - Depredations upon the coffle by the inhabitants - Continued
attacks from banditti as far as the Ba Woolima river. - Difficulties in
passing it - Temporary bridge made by the natives. - Astronomical
observations - Arrival at Mareena; inhospitable conduct of its
inhabitants - Bangassi; interview with the King - Continued sickness, and
deaths among the soldiers. - Arrival at Nummasoolo - Obliged to leave five
of the sick behind - reach Surtaboo - Sobee - Affray between Isaaco and two
soldiers - Balanding - Balandoo - More of the soldiers fall
behind - Koolihori - Greatly annoyed by wolves.


Departure from Koolihori - Ganifarra - Scarcity of provisions - Distressing
situation of the Author from deaths and sickness of the party - Escapes
from three lions - Intricate route to Koomikoomi - Dombila - Visit from
Karfa Taura - View of the Niger - Reduced state of the party - Bambakoo -
Losses from wolves - Bosradoo; embark on the Niger; incidents in the
voyage to Marraboo - Isaaco sent to Sego with presents for Mansong -
Message from Mansong - Course to Koolikorro - Deena - Yamina - Samee -
Return of Isaaco; account of his interview with Mansong - Messengers
sent by Mansong, and enquiries respecting the Author's journey - Quit
Samee - Excessive heat - Reach Sansanding - Account of that city and its
trade - Death of Mr. Anderson - Preparations for continuing the voyage
eastward - Information collected respecting various districts.





Mungo Park was born on the 10th of September 1771, at Fowlshiels, a farm
occupied by his father, under the duke of Buccleugh, on the banks of the
Yarrow not far from the town of Selkirk. His father, who bore the same
name, was a respectable yeoman of Ettrick Forest. His mother, who is
still living, is the daughter of the late Mr. John Hislop, of Tennis, a
few miles higher up on the same river. The subject of this Memoir was
the seventh child, and third son of the family, which consisted of
thirteen children, eight of whom attained to years of maturity.

Prior to the time of Mungo Park's birth, the father had for many years
practised farming with assiduity and success on the estate at
Fowlshiels, where he died in 1792, after a long and exemplary life, at
the age of seventy-seven.

Among other estimable qualities which distinguished the father's
character, was a constant and unremitting attention to the education of
his children; a species of merit, which is indeed of common occurrence
among the Scottish farmers and peasantry, but which appears to have been
exemplary and remarkable in the present instance. His family being
numerous, he did not content himself with personally superintending
every part of their education; but, though far from being in affluent
circumstances, engaged a private teacher to reside in his house and
assist in their early instruction.

It is most satisfactory to add, that these paternal cares were followed
by the happiest results, and received their appropriate reward. Mr. Park
had the gratification of seeing the greater part of his children
respectably settled during his life, and of witnessing their success and

After having received the first rudiments of education in his father's
family, Mungo Park was in due time removed to the Grammar School at
Selkirk, where he remained a considerable number of years. He had shewn
a great love of reading from his childhood, and was indefatigable in his
application at school, where he was much distinguished and always at the
head of his class. Even at that early age, he was remarked for being
silent, studious and thoughtful: but some sparks of latent ambition
occasionally broke forth: and indications might even then be discovered
of that ardent and adventurous turn of mind, which distinguished him in
after life, and which often lies concealed under a cold and reserved

It was the original intention of Park's father to educate him for the
Scottish church, for which he appeared to be well fitted by his studious
habits and the serious turn of his mind; but, his son having made choice
of the medical profession, he was readily induced to acquiesce. In
consequence of this determination, Mungo Park was bound apprentice at
the age of fifteen to Mr. Thomas Anderson, a respectable surgeon in
Selkirk, with whom he resided three years; continuing, at the same time,
to pursue his classical studies and to attend occasionally at the
grammar school. In the year 1789, he quitted Mr. Anderson, and removed
to the University of Edinburgh, where he pursued the course which is
common to medical students, and attended the usual Lectures during three
successive sessions.

Nothing particular is recorded of his academical life. He appears,
however, to have applied to the studies connected with the science of
medicine with his accustomed ardour and assiduity, and to have been
distinguished among his fellow-students. During his summer vacations he
paid great attention to botanical pursuits, for which he seems always to
have had a great predilection; and a tour which he made, about this time
to the Highlands, in company with his brother-in-law, Mr. James Dickson,
a distinguished Botanist, contributed greatly to his improvement in this

After having completed his studies at Edinburgh, Park removed to London
in search of some medical employment. In this pursuit he was much
assisted by his relation Mr. Dickson, to whom he had before been
indebted in his botanical studies. By his means Park was now introduced
to Sir Joseph Banks; whose interest or recommendation shortly afterwards
procured for him the appointment of Assistant Surgeon to the Worcester
East Indiaman.

From this period Park was honoured with the patronage, and indeed with
the constant friendship, of Sir Joseph Banks, from which he derived many
important advantages, and which had a material influence on the
subsequent events of his life. For this highly valuable friendship he
was originally indebted to a connection which had subsisted for many
years between Sir Joseph and Mr. Dickson: and it may not therefore be
improper, to describe shortly the origin and nature of this connection;
which, besides its immediate influence on Park's fortunes, was attended
with several characteristic circumstances highly honourable to the
parties concerned, and in themselves not uninteresting.

Mr. Dickson was born of humble parents, and came early in life, from
Scotland, his native country, to London. For some time he worked as a
gardener in the grounds of a considerable nurseryman at Hammersmith,
where he was occasionally seen by Sir Joseph Banks, who took notice of
him as an intelligent young man. Quitting this situation he lived for
some years as gardener in several considerable families: after which he
established himself in London as a seedsman; and has ever since followed
that business with unremitting diligence and success. Having an ardent
passion for botany, which he had always cultivated according to the best
of his means and opportunities; he lost no time in presenting himself to
Sir Joseph Banks, who received him with great kindness, encouraged him
in his pursuits, and gave him access to his valuable library. He thus
obtained the free use of one of the most complete collections on Botany
and Natural History, which has perhaps, ever yet been formed; and which,
through the liberality of its possessor, has contributed in a greater
degree to the accommodation of scientific men, and the general
advancement of science than many public establishments. Such leisure
hours as Mr. Dickson could command from his business, he devoted to an
assiduous attendance in this library or to the perusal of scientific
books obtained from thence. In process of time he acquired great
knowledge and became eminent among the English Botanists; and is now
known in Europe among the proficients in that science as one of its most
successful cultivators, and the author of some distinguished Works. At
an advanced period of life he is still active in business, and continues
to pursue his botanical studies with unabated ardour and assiduity.
[Footnote: Mr. Dickson is a Fellow of the Linnæan Society, of which he
was one of the original founders: and also Fellow and Vice President of
the Horticultural Society. Several communications from him, appear in
different volumes of the Linnæan Transactions; but he is principally
known among Botanists by a work entitled, "Fasciculi Quatuor Plantarum,
Cryptogamicarum Britanniæ." _Lond._ 1785-93; in which he has described
upwards of four hundred plants not before noticed. He has the merit of
having directed the attention of the Botanists of this country to one of
the most abstruse and difficult parts of that science; to the
advancement of which he has himself, very greatly contributed.]

Such an instance of successful industry united with a taste for
intellectual pursuits, deserves to be recorded; not only on account of
its relation to the subject of this narrative, but because, it
illustrates in a very striking and pleasing manner, the advantages of
education in the lower classes of life. The attention of the Scottish
farmers and peasantry to the early instruction of their children has
been already remarked, and is strongly exemplified in the history of Mr.
Park's family. The diffusion of knowledge among the natives of that part
of the kingdom, and their general intelligence, must be admitted by
every unprejudiced observer; nor is there any country in which the
effects of education are so conspicuous in promoting industry and good
conduct, and in producing useful and respectable men of the inferior and
middle classes, admirably fitted for all the important offices of common
life. [Footnote: See Appendix, No. I.]

* * * * *

In consequence of the appointment which Mungo Park had obtained as
surgeon in the East India Company's service, by the interest of Sir
Joseph Banks, he sailed for the East Indies in the Worcester in the
month of February, 1792; and having made a voyage to Bencoolen, in the
island of Sumatra, returned to England in the following year. Nothing
material occurred during this voyage: but he availed himself of all the
opportunities which it afforded to obtain information in his favourite
scientific pursuits, and appears to have made many observations, and
collected many specimens, in Botany and Natural History. Several of
these were the subjects of a communication made by him to the Linnæan
Society, which was afterwards published in their printed Transactions.
[Footnote: In the Third Volume of the Linnæan Transactions, p. 83, is a
paper by Park, read Nov. 4,1794, containing descriptions of eight new
fishes from Sumatra; which he represents to be the fruit of his leisure
hours during his stay on that coast.]

It does not sufficiently appear, whether Mr. Park, after his return from
the East Indies, came to any final resolution with regard to his
continuing as a surgeon in the Company's service. But whatever might be
his intention in this respect, new prospects now opened upon him, and a
scene of action far more congenial to his taste and feelings, was
presented to his ambition.

Some years prior to this period, a few distinguished individuals,
induced by a very liberal spirit of curiosity, had formed themselves
into an Association for promoting discoveries in the Interior of Africa,
and were now prosecuting their researches with great activity and
success. In the course of a few years they had investigated, and placed
in a clearer point of view than had hitherto been done by geographers,
some of the leading facts relative to the Northern part of that
Continent; the characteristic differences of the principal tribes, their
commercial relations, the routes of the great caravans, the general
diffusion of the Mahomedan religion, and the consequent prevalence of
the Arabic language throughout a considerable part of that vast
continent. [Footnote: See Vol. I. of the Proceedings of African
Association. London, 1810.] With the assistance of their distinguished
Associate, Major Rennell, they were now proceeding to trace the
principal geographical outlines of Northern Africa; and were
endeavouring to ascertain the course of the great inland river Joliba or
Niger, and to obtain some authentic information concerning Tombuctoo, a
principal city of the interior and one of the great marts of African

In the course of these enquiries, the Association, since their first
establishment in 1788, had employed several persons, well qualified for
such undertakings, upon missions into various parts of the African
Continent. Several of these were known to have perished, either as

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