Mungo Park.

The Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa, in the Year 1805 online

. (page 12 of 21)
Online LibraryMungo ParkThe Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa, in the Year 1805 → online text (page 12 of 21)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

due south. Bought corn for the asses in crossing the Samakara woods, and
a bullock for the people. Much lightning to the south-east, and thunder.
Got all the bundles covered with grass, &c. During the night the wolves
killed one of our best asses within twenty yards of the place where Mr.
Anderson and I slept.

May 25th. - Left Mansafara, and entered the Tenda or Samakara wilderness.
About four miles to the east passed the ruins of _Koba_, where I
formerly slept. The town was destroyed by the Bondou people about two
years ago, and the Bentang tree burnt down. At ten passed a stream like
the Neaulico, running to the Gambia; and shortly after came in sight of
the first range of hills, running from S. S. W. to N. N. E., we came near
them; and at half past eleven halted at Sooteetabba, a watering place
within a mile of the hills.

[Footnote: Called Koba Tenda in Park's Travels, p. 353.]

' "
Obser. Merid. Alt. 164 45 0
- - - - -
82 22 30
0 16 0
- - - - -
82 38 30
Diff. par. and ref. 0 0 7
- - - - -
82 38 23

' "
Zenith Distance 7 21 37
Decl. 20 65 10
Latitude 13 33 33

Departing from Sooteetabba as soon as the heat of the day was over, we
crossed the first range of hills. Mr. Anderson and I ascended the top of
one of the hills, which from the amazing fine prospect all round, I have
named Panorama Hill; it has a sugar-loaf looking top, with a number of
wolf-holes in it. The route across the hill, though very difficult for
the asses, was extremely beautiful. In the evening we descended into a
romantic valley, where we found plenty of water, being one of the remote
branches of Nealo Koba. There was plenty of fish in the pools; but they
were too deep to catch them with the hands. Close to the stream are the
ruins of the village of Doofroo, destroyed by the Dentila people some
time ago. This is considered as an excellent place for shooting
elephants; we saw the fresh dung and feet marks of many of them near the
stream. Watched for an eclipse of Jupiter's first satellite, but the
planet became clouded.

May 26th. - At day-break ascended from the plain of Doofroo, and travelled
over a rugged country, till ten o'clock, when we met a coffle (at a
watering place called _Sootinimma_) bound for Gambia to redeem a
person who had been caught for a debt, and was to be sold for a slave, if
not ransomed in a few months. There being no water here, we did not halt;
but continued our march, two of the soldiers being unable to keep up. The
main body of the coffle still kept going on, and at half past twelve
reached Bee Creek; from whence we sent back an ass and two Negroes to
bring up the two fatigued soldiers.

We had no sooner unloaded the asses at the Creek, than some of Isaaco's
people, being in search of honey, unfortunately disturbed a large swarm
of bees near where the coffle had halted. The bees came out in immense
numbers, and attacked men and beasts at the same time. Luckily most of
the asses were loose, and gallopped up the valley; but the horses and
people were very much stung, and obliged to scamper in all directions.
The fire which had been kindled for cooking being deserted, spread, and
set fire to the bamboos; and our baggage had like to have been burnt. In
fact, for half an hour the bees seemed to have completely put an end to
our journey.

In the evening, when the bees became less troublesome, and we could
venture to collect our cattle, we found that many of them were very much
stung and swelled about the head. Three asses were missing; one died in
the evening, and one next morning, and we were forced to leave one at
Sibikillin; in all six: besides which, our guide lost his horse, and many
of the people were very much stung about the face and hands.

During the night got the telescope ready in order to set the watch to
Greenwich time by observing an emersion of the second satellite of
Jupiter. Mr. Anderson took the time, and I was seated at the telescope
half an hour before it happened, in order to be sure of observing it. The
satellite emerged by

' "
_Watch_ 11 49 16
Greenwich 11 46 30
- - - - -
Watch too fast 0 2 46
- - - - -
Emersion by Nautical Almanack 11 49 51
Equation 0 3 21
- - - - -
Mean time at Greenwich 11 46 30

Observations of the sun taken with artificial horizon and the watch the
same evening, to determine the apparent time.

H. M. S. | '
5 57 15 | 30 24
0 58 0 | 30 14
0 58 42 | 29 43

H. M. S. | '
6 4 15 | 27 11
0 5 0 | 26 51
0 5 35 | 26 36

H. M. S. | '
6 6 54 | 25 56
0 7 34 | 25 38
0 8 13 | 25 20

Observed the meridian altitude of the sun within a mile of Bee Creek the
same day;

' "
Altitude 164 21 0
- - - - -
82 10 30
0 16 0
- - - - -
82 26 30
- - - - -
Z.D. 7 33 23
D. 21 6 8
- - - - -
Latitude 13 32 45

Longitude 43 min. 56 sec. of time, or 10 59' West.

May 27th. - Early in the morning we set forwards, and after travelling
four miles arrived at Sibikillin. Here the water which supplies the town,
is collected in a deep rocky hollow. There are plenty of fish in the
pool, but the natives will not eat any of them, nor allow them to be
taken, imagining that the water would immediately dry up. Cautioned the
soldiers against catching any of them. At night one of the town's-people
found our guide's horse in the woods, and brought it to the town. Gave
him fifteen bars of amber, and a Barraloolo, &c.

[Footnote: _Shea_, or vegetable Butter-tree. See Park's Travels, p.
203, 352.]

May 28th. - At day-break set forwards, and about three miles east of
Sibikillin descended into a valley, where I saw the first _Shea_
trees, some of them loaded with fruit, but not ripe. About eleven o'clock
arrived at Badoo, a small town consisting of about three hundred huts. A
little north of this is another town, called likewise Badoo; but they
distinguish them by the names of Sansanding and Sansanba. The Slatee or
governor of each of these towns exacts customs to a great amount from all
coffles, and if refused, they join together and plunder them. Judging it
best to settle matters amicably, if possible, I gave him during the day
the following articles; viz.

To Amar, the king's younger brother, Bars.
Amber No. 2. 10
Coral 5

To the King of Sansanding,
Amber 10
Coral 5
Scarlet 5
Barraloolo 5
Two mirrors 2
Scarlet 5
Amber 6

To the King of Sansanba,
Amber 10
Coral 5
Scarlet 5

Barraloolo 5
To different people, Grandees 20
- -
- -
[Footnote: Here is a mistake of Mr. Park. The total is really 98.]

Bought a bullock for 12
And a sheep for 5

' "
Mer. Alt. 163 17 0
- - - - - -
81 38 30
0 16 0
- - - - - -
81 54 30
- - - - - -
Z.D. 8 5 30
D. 21 37 30
- - - - - -
Latitude 13 32 0

May 29th. - In the forenoon had an opportunity of sending two letters home
to England, viâ Gambia.

In the evening left Badoo, and went to Tambacunda, about four miles east
of Badoo. The river Gambia is only four miles distant, South of Badoo.
Mr. Anderson and Mr. Scott went up a hill near the town, and had a fine
view of it. The course is from the South-East, till it reaches the hills
near Badoo; it then turns towards the South. It is called _Ba
Deema_, or the river which is _always a river_, i.e. it never
dries. The distance between Badoo and Laby in Foota Jalla is five days

Purchased two asses.

May 30th. - Left Tambacunda, and entered the woods. Travelled very
expeditiously till eleven o'clock, when we reached a watering place
called Fatifing, where we found some green dirty water, so bad that
nothing but necessity would have made us drink it. Halted here till half
past two o'clock, when we again set forward and reached _Tabba Gee_
just at dark: found no water. During the afternoon the country to the
South hilly and beautiful. A little before we reached the halting place
some drops of rain fell.

May 31st. - Left Tabba Gee at day break, and a few miles to the east
passed a round lump of quartz, called by the natives _Ta Kooro_, or
the traveller's stone; all travellers lift up this stone and turn it
round. The stone is worn quite smooth, and the iron rock on which it
rests is worn hollow by this constant motion. Halted during the heat of
the day at Mambari, where there is a small village built this season; the
former one having been destroyed by war many years ago. Passed in the
course of the forenoon two streams running towards Gambia.

' "
Obser. Mer. Alt. - - 162 43 0
1/2 81 21 30
0 16 0
81 37 30
Z.D. - 8 23 30
D. - 21 46 10
Latitude - - - 13 22 40

_Muianta_, a hill resembling a castle, bearing by compass S. by E.
is distant sixteen miles; _Sambankalla_ bearing S., the hills of
Foota Jalla bearing by compass SW. by W. SW. and SW. by S. - The town of
Laby is immediately beyond those hills, which are three days travel from
this place. The river Gambia comes down the opening SSW. between Muianta
and the hills of Foota Jalla. The latter have nearly the appearance of
Madeira when seen from the sea, but the hills are not so sharp-pointed as
those of Madeira.

In the afternoon again set forwards, and four miles to the East passed
the dry bed of a torrent course towards Gambia; road rocky; plenty of
white quartz in detached lumps and small pieces. Travelled till quite
dark, when we were forced to halt for the night at a place where there
was no water; and of course we all slept supperless.

June 1st. - At day break set forwards, and at ten o'clock arrived at
Julifunda, a considerable town founded by people who formerly received
goods in advance from the European traders on the Gambia, Rio Nunez, and
Kajaaga; the road to Bambara from these places frequently leading through
this place when the other routes were stopped by war. These people, who
trade on credit, are called _Juli_ in distinction from the Slatee
who trades with his own capital. Julifunda was formerly inhabited
entirely by Soninkees; but the King of Foota Jalla made war on them, and
obliged them, as a condition of peace, to embrace the Mahomedan religion.
The town contains, I suppose, about two thousand people, including the

In the evening sent our guide to the chief man, who is termed _Mansa
Kussan_, and is reckoned one of the most avaricious chiefs in the
whole of the road. Sent him some amber and scarlet as a present, and told
him that I intended to remain one day at Julifunda in order to purchase

June 2d. - Bought some corn and two ass loads of rice; presented Mansa
Kussan with some amber, coral, and scarlet, with which he appeared to be
perfectly satisfied, and sent a bullock in return; he even prayed for my
safety, and told me that he would do his utmost to get us forwards.
Bought an ass for twenty bars of amber. At four o'clock put on the loads
and departed for Baniserile.

The whole of the asses were gone, and only Mr. Anderson and myself
remained, having sent our guide to inform Mansa Kussan of our departure.
Our guide returned, and told us that Mansa Kussan had said that, unless I
gave him ten bars of all the different sorts of merchandise, he would not
allow us to pass farther up the country; and if we attempted to pass
without his consent, he would do his utmost to plunder us in the woods.

Recalled the people and asses, and endeavoured to settle matters in a
friendly manner. Suspecting that he would not have used such language
unless he had received assurances from some other towns that they would
join him in attacking us, sent him some more scarlet and amber by our
guide; being unwilling to go singly into the town, having received
information that it was the intention of the king to detain me, with a
view to make me pay handsomely for my release.

Mansa Kussan seized the money which I paid for the ass in the seller's
hands, and what evinced his hostile intentions still more, he seized the
ass till such time as the palaver should be settled. I shall here give a
list of the different articles of trade paid by me at different times, to
Mansa Kussan at Julifunda.

Sent at first,

Amber 16
Scarlet 10
Barraloolo 10

Sent afterwards,

Amber 4
Barraloolo 5
Amber No. 1. 10

To Kussan's brothers

Amber 2
Scarlet 2

Took with me when I went to pay my respects to him,

Amber 23
Beads 5
Looking-glass 1
[table ends]

Sent after the asses turned back,

Amber 23
Coral 10
Beads 10
Swords 15

Sent on the morning of the 3d of June,

A pair of pistols 20
Scarlet 10
Barraloolo 15
- -
Bars 200
- -

[Footnote 1: Here too there is some mistake in Park's MS. the true total
being 191.]

o ' "
Observed Mer. Alt. 162 11 0
81 5 30
0 16 0
81 21 30
Z.D. 8 38 30
D. 22 11 29
Latitude 13 33 0

June 3d - Having sent him the last present mentioned in the above list, I
concluded, and was assured by the king's brothers, that no further
demands would be made; but was much surprised when our guide and the
king's brothers told me on their return that I must send ten bars of
gunpowder and ten of flints. Here I determined to put an end to the
business; and told the king's brothers that I considered myself as having
paid the king very well for passing through his territory; that I would
neither give him a single charge of gunpowder nor a flint; and if he
refused to allow me to pass, I would go without his permission; and if
his people attempted to obstruct us we would do our utmost to defend
ourselves. The king's brothers and some of the old Bushreens insisted on
my sending the gunpowder or some other goods of equal value; but I
assured them that Europeans would much rather run the risque of being
plundered in a hostile manner than have their goods (which were brought
to purchase provisions) extorted from them by such exorbitant demands.
After going backwards and forwards to the king, his Majesty was pleased
to say he was satisfied; and what surprised me, said that he was coming
to pay us a friendly visit in the afternoon. He accordingly paid us a
visit, attended by a parcel of parasites and singing women. Offered me a
few Cola nuts, which I desired our guide to take and eat; he likewise
told me that I should have a guide to Baniserile.

June 4th. - Early in the morning departed, and having passed the village
Eercella, remarkable for a grove of large _Sitta_ trees, about one
o'clock arrived at Baniserile, and halted under a tree near the wells.
This being His Majesty's birth day, pitched one of the tents, purchased a
bullock and a calf for the soldiers: in the afternoon had them drawn up,
and fired; and made it as much a day of festivity as our circumstances
would permit; and though we were under the necessity of drinking His
Majesty's health in water from our canteens, yet few of his subjects
wished more earnestly for the continuance of his life and the prosperity
of his reign.

Baniserile is a Mahometan town; the chief man, _Fodi_ Braheima, is
one of the most friendly men I have met with. I gave him a copy of the
New Testament in Arabic, with which he seemed very much pleased.

June 5th. - Employed in purchasing rice, having received information that
there was a great scarcity of that article to the eastwards. Bought the
rice both here and at Julifunda with small amber No. 5; and I found that
though a scarcity existed almost to famine, I could purchase a pound of
clean rice for one bead of amber, value 2d. sterling.

Purchased three ass loads, and on the 6th purchased two ass loads more,
making in all 750lb. of rice. This day one of our guide's people went
away to purchase slaves at Laby in Foota Jalla, distant three long days
travel. The people here assured me it was only three days travel from
Badoo to Laby. Had a squall with thunder and rain during the night. As
the loads were put into the tent, they were not wetted, but one of our
carpenters, (old James,) who had been sick of the dysentery ever since we
crossed the Nerico, and was recovering, became greatly worse. Observed
mer. alt. of 0 161 8' latitude 13 35'.

Dentila is famous for its iron; the flux used for smelting the iron is
the ashes of the bark of the _Kino_ tree. These ashes are as white
as flour: they are not used in dying blue, and must therefore have
something peculiar in them. I tasted them: they did not appear to me to
have so much alkali as the mimosa ashes, but had an austere taste. The
people told me, if I eat them, I would certainly die.

June 7th. - Departed early in the morning, and as the carpenter before
mentioned was very weak, appointed two soldiers to stay by him, and
assist him in mounting, and to drive his ass. Four miles east of
Baniserile came to the brow of a hill, from which we had an extensive
prospect eastwards. A square looking hill, supposed to be the hill near
Dindikoo, in Konkodoo, bore by compass due _East_.

[Illustration: Untitled cut]

Shortly after crossed the bed of a stream running towards the
_Faleme_ river, called _Samakoo_ on account of the vast herds
of elephants which wash themselves in it during the rains.

[Illustration: Map]

Saw their foot marks very frequently, and fresh dung. Heard a lion roar
not far from us. This day the asses travelled very ill on account of
their having eaten fresh grass, as we supposed.

Obliged to load the horses, and at noon halted at a large _pool_ of
water in the bed of the Samakoo, called _Jananga_.

From the time of our crossing the Samakoo to our halting place, we
travelled without any road; our guide being apprehensive that as there
existed a war a little to the south, and the people were in arms; they
might attempt to cut off some of the fatigued asses in our rear.

In the afternoon resumed our march, and travelled without any road over a
wild and rocky country. Obliged to leave two of the asses on the road,
and load all the horses. We did not reach the watering place till quite
dark, and were obliged to fire muskets frequently to prevent us from
straying from each other.

June 8th. - Early in the morning resumed our march, and about two miles to
the east came to the brow of a hill, from whence we could distinguish the
course of the Faleme river by the range of dark green trees which grew on
its borders. The carpenter unable to sit upright, and frequently threw
himself from the ass, wishing to be left to die. Made two of the soldiers
carry him by force and hold him on the ass. At noon reached Madina, and
halted by the side of the Faleme river; which at this season is a little
discoloured by the rain, but not sensibly swelled. The general course of
this river as pointed out by the natives is from the south-east quarter;
the distance to its source is six ordinary days travel. The bed of the
river here is rocky, except at the crossing place, where it is a mixture
of sand and gravel. The river abounds in fish, some of them very large:
we saw several plunge and leap that appeared to be so large as to weigh
60 or 70 lb. The velocity of the stream is about four knots per hour.

In the afternoon got all the bundles carried over, and up the opposite
bank, which very much fatigued the soldiers. When every thing was carried
over, I found the carpenter still more weakly and apparently dying. I
therefore thought it best to leave him at Madina till the morning
following. Went to the village, and hired a hut for him for six bars of
amber, and gave the Dooty four bars, desiring him to make some of his
people assist the soldier (whom I left to take care of the sick person)
in burying him, if he died during the night. In the evening went to
Satadoo, which is only one mile east of the river. As there was great
appearance of rain, put all the baggage into one, and slept on the top of
the bundles, leaving the other tent for the soldiers. We had a heavy
tornado with much thunder and lightning.

June 9th. - In the morning the soldier, who had been left to take care of
the sick man, returned; and informed us that he died at eight o'clock the
preceding evening; and that with the assistance of the Negroes he had
buried him in the place where the people of the village bury their dead.
Purchased corn for the asses, and a large bullock for the people;
likewise one ass.

Went into the town in the evening, and presented the Dooty with six bars,
requesting a guide to Shrondo, which he readily granted. Satadoo is
walled round, and contains about three hundred huts: it was formerly much
larger. Observed mer. alt. sun 160° 6'; observed mer. alt. Jupiter 116

Five of the soldiers, who did not go into the tent, but staid under the
tree during the rain, complained much of headache and uneasiness at

June 10th. The soldiers still sickly. Left Satadoo at sun-rise: several
of our canteens stolen during the night. This forenoon we travelled for
more than two miles over white quartz, large lumps of which were lying
all round; no other stone to be seen. Carried forwards a large skinful of
water, being uncertain whether we should find any on the road. At eleven
o'clock reached the bed of a stream flowing to the left, called Billalla,
where we found some muddy water.

Resumed our journey at half past three o'clock, and travelled over a hard
rocky soil towards the mountains; many of the asses very much fatigued.
The front of the coffle reached Shrondo at sunset; but being in the rear
I had to mount one of the sick men on my horse, and assist in driving the
fatigued asses: so that I did not reach the halting place till eight
o'clock, and was forced to leave four asses in the woods. Shrondo is but
a small town. We halted as usual under a tree at a little distance; and
before we could pitch one of the tents, we were overtaken by a very heavy
tornado, which wet us all completely. In attempting to fasten up one of
the tents to a branch of the tree, had my hat blown away, and lost. The
ground all round was covered with water about three inches deep. We had
another tornado about two o'clock in the morning. The tornado which took
place on our arrival, had an instant effect on the health of the

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryMungo ParkThe Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa, in the Year 1805 → online text (page 12 of 21)