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

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that they had made a vain attempt; and the Dooty desired me to tell the
men to go forward with the asses. As I did not know but perhaps some of
the sick might be under the necessity of returning this way, I thought it
adviseable to part on friendly terms; and therefore gave the Dooty four
bars of amber, and told him that we did not come to make war; but if any
person made war on us, we would defend ourselves to the last.

Set forwards, and half a mile to the East descended into a rocky valley:
many of the asses fell in going down the steep. About noon reached
_Sullo_, an unwalled village at the bottom of a rocky hill. Shortly
after we halted Lieutenant Martyn's horse died. This was a _God
send_ to the people of Sullo, who cut him up as if he had been a
bullock, and had almost come to _blows_ about the division of him;
so much is horse-flesh esteemed at this place. Numbers of large monkies
on the rocks over the town.

June 24th. - Left Sullo, and travelled through a country beautiful beyond
imagination, with all the possible diversities of _rock_, sometimes
towering up like ruined castles, spires, pyramids, &c. We passed one
place so like a ruined Gothic abbey, that we halted a little, before we
could satisfy ourselves that the niches, windows, ruined staircase, &c.
were all natural rock. A faithful description of this place would
certainly be deemed a fiction.

Passed a hill composed of one homogeneous mass of solid rock (red
granite) without a detached stone or blade of grass; never saw such a
hill in my life. In the course of the march saw several villages
romantically situated in the crescents formed by the rocky precipices;
the medium height of these precipices is from one hundred to five or six
hundred feet perpendicular. The whole country between the Ba fing and Ba
lee is rugged and grand beyond any thing I have seen.

We reached _Secoba_ at noon. The Dooty of this town is Fajemmia's
younger brother. Presented him with goods to the amount of 50 bars; he
was so much pleased that he said he would go with us till we had crossed
the _Ba fing_, and see that the canoe people did not impose on us.

Obser. Mer. Alt. of Jupiter ' "
115 28 0
- - - - -
57 44 0
0 0 36
- - - - -
57 43 24
- - - - -
32 16 36
18 49 10
- - - - -
Latitude 13 27 26

June 25th. - Halted at _Secoba_, in order to refresh the sick; bought
plenty of fowls and milk for them.

June 26th. - Departed from Secoba, accompanied by the Dooty and several
people. Hired three of the Dooty's friends, as guides to Kandy, in that
district of Fooladoo called Gangaran. About seven miles East of Secoba
came to the village of Konkromo, where we pitched our tents by the river
side. The day was too far spent before we had agreed with the canoe
people, and, as we could not possibly carry all the loads over, thought
it best to wait till next morning. As I thought it probable that we
should have an opportunity of observing an eclipse of Jupiter's first
satellite, I took the following altitudes for the time.

H. M. S. ' H. M. S. ' H. M. S. '
5 25 55 | 45 36 5 30 2 | 43 47 5 36 22 | 40 55
0 26 53 | 45 13 0 30 42 | 43 28 0 37 3 | 40 35
0 27 37 | 44 55 0 31 25 | 43 10 0 37 44 | 40 17

Observed the emersion of the first satellite of Jupiter.

H. M. S.
By watch - - - - 9 26 20

Time by Nautical Almanack - 9 24 53
Equation - - - 0 2 15
- - - -
Mean time at Greenwich 9 27 8
9 27 8
- - - -
Watch too slow 0 0 48

Longitude 32 m. 24 sec. or 8° 6' W.

June 27th. - Early in the morning paid the canoe people 50 bars to carry
over all our baggage and cattle, and likewise presented the Dooty of
_Secoba_ with some beads.

Four canoes sufficient to carry only an ass load and an half at a time,
were provided for this purpose. Sent over Mr. Anderson and six men with
their arms to receive the loads from the canoes and carry them into the
tents. The asses were made to swim over, one on each side of the canoe,
two boys sitting in the canoe and holding them by the ears.

At this place I had an opportunity of seeing their mode of smelting gold.
Isaaco had purchased some gold in coming through Konkodoo, and here he
had it made into a large ring. The smith made a crucible of common red
clay and dried it in the sun: into this he put the gold, without any flux
or mixture whatever; he then put charcoal under and over it, and blowing
the fire with the common double bellows of the country, soon produced
such a heat as to bring the gold into a state of fusion. He then made a
small furrow in the ground, into which he poured the melted gold; when it
was cold he took it up, and heating it again, soon hammered it into a
square bar. Then heating it again, he twisted it by means of two pairs of
pincers into a sort of screw; and lengthening out the ends, turned them
up so as to form a massy and precious ring.

When the baggage and cattle were all transported over, I sent over the
men, and embarked myself in the last canoe; but as one of the soldiers in
the other canoe had gone out to purchase something, I made the canoe in
which I was shove off, telling the men to come off the moment the man
returned. I found it difficult to sit in the canoe so as to balance it,
though it contained only three people besides the rower. We had just
landed on the East bank, when we observed the canoe, in which were the
three soldiers, pushing off from the opposite bank. It shortly after
overset, and though the natives from the shore swam in to their
assistance, yet J. Cartwright was unfortunately drowned. The natives
dived and recovered two of the muskets, and Cartwright's body; they put
the body in the canoe and brought it over. I used the means recommended
by the Humane Society, but in vain. We buried him in the evening on the
bank of the river.

The Ba fing is here a large river quite navigable; it is swelled at this
time about two feet, and flows at the rate of three knots per hour. The
people here are _all thieves:_ they attempted to steal several of
our loads, and we detected one carrying away the bundle in which was all
our medicines. We could not sleep with the noise of the hippopotami,
which came close to the bank and kept snorting and blowing all night. The
night being clear, observed the emersion of Jupiter's second satellite;
it emerged

H. M. S.
By watch - - - - 11 25 55
Time by Nautical Almanack 11 24 40
Equation - - - 0 1 53
- - - -
Mean time at Greenwich 11 26 33
11 26 33
- - - -
Watch too slow 0 0 38

June 28th. - Purchased an ass for four minkallis of gold, and a horse for
45 bars. Set forwards about seven o'clock. After travelling four miles,
the ass I had purchased lay down, and I found it impossible to raise him.
Took off the load and left him. At ten o'clock came close to the bottom
of a high rocky hill, which rises like an immense castle from the level
plain: it is called _Sankaree_: and on enquiring about a large heap
of stones near the foot of the precipice, I was told that the town of
Madina, which was in the vicinity, was some years ago stormed by the
Kaartans, and that the greater part of the inhabitants fled towards this
hill. Some however were killed on the road, and these stones were
collected over the grave of one of them. He said there were five more
such near the hill, and that every person in passing, if he belongs to
the same family or _contong_, thinks himself bound to throw a stone
on the heap to perpetuate the memory of their friend. These heaps are
precisely what in Scotland are called _Cairns_. This hill is
accessible only by one very narrow and difficult path. They assured me
that there was abundance of water on the summit at all seasons, and that
the huts built by the Madina people were still standing on the summit,
though out of repair.

At eleven o'clock crossed a stream, like a mill stream, running North. We
halted on the East side of it; found that one of the asses with a load of
beads had not come up. The soldier who drove it (Bloore), without
acquainting any person, returned to look for it. Shortly after the ass
and load were found in the woods. Sent the serjeant after Bloore on one
of the horses; he rode back as far as Sankaree without seeing him, and
concluded he had lost the path. He found one of the sick (Walter) who had
wandered from the track (for there was no road); and had laid himself
down among the bushes till some of the natives discovered him. Paid the
natives ten bars of amber, and desired them to look for Bloore.

In the afternoon collected the asses for marching. Had great difficulty
in finding the horses, one of which (the serjeant's), after all our
search could not be found. As it was in vain to wait for Bloore, put on
the loads and departed. It is to be observed that there is no path-way in
these woods, and we found much difficulty in keeping together: fired
muskets frequently to give intimation of our line of march. After
travelling about four miles, Shaddy Walter, the sick man before
mentioned, became so exhausted that he could not sit on the ass. He was
fastened on it, and held upright; he became more and more faint, and
shortly after died. He was brought forwards to a place where the front of
the coffle had halted, to allow the rear to come up. Here when the coffle
had set forwards, two of the soldiers with their bayonets, and myself
with my sword, dug his grave in the wild desert; and a few branches were
the only laurels which covered the tomb of the brave.

We did not come up to the coffle till they had halted for the night near
a pool of water shaded with ground palm-trees. Here I was informed that
two of the soldiers were not come up; one (Baron) was seen about a mile
from the halting place; the other (Hill) was supposed to be three or four
miles behind. Fired two muskets every quarter of an hour; one to call
their attention, and the other about half a minute after to give the
direction. At half past seven Hill came up, being directed entirely by
the sound of the muskets. At eleven o'clock saw some lights in the woods,
and heard people holla: in a little time five people came, bringing with
them Bloore, the man who had gone in quest of the ass. He had gone back
as far as the Black River, crossed it and made signs to the people about
the ass and the load. As they did not rightly understand him, they
thought that some party had fallen on the coffle, and that this soldier
had run away. They therefore came with him to see if they could come in
for their share, or at least receive some reward for coming along with
the man. Paid them ten bars of amber, and desired them to look for Baron,
and I would give them ten bars more if they found him.

June 29th. - At day-break fired muskets for Baron; and as it was evident
he must have wandered from the track made by the asses, and it was in
vain to look for him in so extensive a wilderness, at half past six
o'clock loaded the asses and set out. Two more of the soldiers affected
with the fever. Route in the morning rocky. Traveled twelve miles without
halting, in order to reach a watering place. About two miles before we
came to the watering place, Bloore, the soldier who had come up during
the night, sat down under the shade of a tree; and when I desired him to
proceed, he said he was rather fatigued, and when he had cooled himself,
he would follow. I assured him that the halting place was only a very
little way off, and advised him by all means not to fall asleep. We
halted on an elevated table land: the water was only rain collected in
the hollow places of the rock. At half past four o'clock, as Bloore had
not come up, I sent the Sergeant on one of the horses to bring him
forward; he returned at sun-set, having seen nothing of him, and having
rode several miles past the place. I suspected that the serjeant might
have rode past him asleep under the tree; I therefore got three
volunteers to go with me, and look for him. It was now quite dark. We
collected a large bundle of dry grassland taking out a handful at a time,
kept up a constant light, in order to frighten the lions which are very
numerous in these woods. When we reached the tree under which he lay
down, we made a fire. Saw the place where he had pressed down the grass,
and the marks of his feet: went to the west along the pathway, and
examined for the marks of his feet, thinking he might possibly have
mistaken the direction. Found none: fired several muskets. Hollowed, and
set fire to the grass. Returned to the tree and examined all round; saw
no blood nor the foot marks of any wild beasts. Fired six muskets more.
As any further search was likely to be fruitless, (for we did not dare to
walk far from the track for fear of losing ourselves) we returned to the
tents. One of Isaaco's people shot an antelope in the evening, which more
than supplied us all with meat. Much troubled in the night with wolves.

June 30th. - Early in the morning set forwards, and descended from the
table land into a more fertile plain. Vast numbers of monkies on the
rocks. Reached Kandy after a march of ten miles, all very much fatigued.
This is but a small town; the large town having been taken and burnt by
Daisy's son about two years ago, and all the people carried away. Mr.
Anderson and Mr. Scott sick of the lever.

July 1st. - Covered a load of beads with the skin of the antelope. One of
the bundles containing all our small _seed beads_ stolen during the
night; made all the search I could, but in vain: I could not recover it.
As we were short of rice, and none could be purchased here, determined to
push on as quick as possible; but the men were so very sickly, that I
judged it imprudent to trust the baggage and asses without proper
drivers. Employed in dividing the asses amongst the healthy men.

July 2d. - Set forwards. Two more of the soldiers sick of the fever. When
we had travelled about three miles, one of the soldiers (Roger M'Millan)
became so delirious, that it was found impossible to carry him forwards.
Left him at a village called _Sanjeekotta_. I regretted much being
under the necessity of leaving in the hour of sickness and distress, a
man who had grown old in the service of his country. He had been
thirty-one years a soldier, twelve times a corporal, nine times a
serjeant; but an unfortunate attachment to the _bottle_ always
returned him into the ranks.

We reached _Koeena_ about three o'clock, all very much fatigued. I
felt myself very sickly, having lifted up and reloaded a great many asses
on the road. The village of _Koeena_ is walled round, and it is
surrounded on three sides with rocky precipices. Had a severe tornado at
seven o'clock, which put out the watch-fire and made us all crowd into
the tents. When the violence of the squall was over, we heard a
particular sort of roaring or growling, not unlike the noise of a wild
boar; there seemed to be more than one of them, and they went all round
our cattle. Fired two muskets to make them keep at a distance; but as
they still kept prowling round us, we collected a bunch of withered
grass, and went with Lieutenant Martyn in search of the animals,
suspecting them to be wild boars. We got near one of them, and fired
several shots into the bush, and one at him as he went off among the long
grass. When we returned to the tents, I learned by enquiring of the
natives that the animals we had been in search of were not boars, but
young lions; and they assured me that unless we kept a very good look out
they would probably kill some of our cattle during the night. About
midnight these young lions attempted to seize one of the asses, which so
much alarmed the rest that they broke their ropes, and came at full
gallop in amongst the tent ropes. Two of the lions followed them, and
came so close to us that the sentry cut at one of them with his sword,
but did not dare to fire for fear of killing the asses. Neglected to wind
up the watch.

July 3d. - Departed from Koeena, and halted during the heat of the day at
Koombandi, distant six miles. Here the guides that I had hired from
Kandy, were to return; and I had agreed with them to carry back
M'Millan's knapsack, and some amber and beads to purchase provisions for
him; but three people came up to us with two asses for sale, and they
informed me that they left Sanjeekotta early in the morning; that the
soldier who was left there, had died during the night, and the natives
had buried him in a corn field near the town. Purchased the asses in
order to carry forwards the sick.

About three o'clock left Koombandi. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Scott were so
sick, that they wished to remain here for the night; with much
entreating, persuaded them to mount their horses and go on. Three miles
east of the village, William Alston, one of the seamen whom I received
from His Majesty's ship Squirrel, became so faint that he fell from his
ass, and allowed the ass to run away. Set him on my horse, but found he
could not sit without holding him. Replaced him on the ass, but he still
tumbled off: put him again on the horse, and made one man keep him
upright, while I led the horse. But as he made no exertion to keep
himself erect, it was impossible to hold him on the horse, and after
repeated tumbles he begged to be left in the woods till morning. I left a
loaded pistol with him, and put some cartridges into the crown of his
hat. At sun-set reached Fonilla, a small walled village on the banks of
the Wonda, which is here called _Ba Woolima_ (Red river), and
towards its source it has the name of _Ba qui_ (White river), the
middle part of its course being called _Wonda._ It had swelled two
feet perpendicular by the rains which had fallen to the southward, and
was very muddy; but cannot even in its present state be reckoned a large

July 4th - Agreed with the canoe people to carry over our baggage and
cattle for sixty bars. There being but one canoe, it was near noon before
all the bundles were carried over. The transporting of the asses was very
difficult. The river being shallow and rocky; whenever their feet touched
the bottom they generally stood still. Our guide, Isaaco, was very active
in pushing the asses into the water, and shoving along the canoe; but as
he was afraid that we could not have them all carried over in the course
of the day he attempted to drive six of the asses across the river
farther down where the water was shallower. When he had reached the
middle of the river a crocodile rose close to him, and instantly seizing
him by the left thigh, pulled him under water. With wonderful presence of
mind he felt the head of the animal, and thrust his finger into its eye;
on which it quitted its hold, and Isaaco attempted to reach the further
shore, calling out for a knife. But the crocodile returned and seized him
by the other thigh, and again pulled him under water; he had recourse to
the same expedient, and thrust his fingers into its eyes with such
violence that it again quitted him; and when it rose, flounced about on
the surface of the water as if stupid, and then swam down the middle of
the river. Isaaco proceeded to the other side, bleeding very much. As
soon as the canoe returned I went over, and found him very much
lacerated. The wound on the left thigh was four inches in length: that on
the right not quite so large, but very deep; besides several single teeth
wounds on his back. Drew the lips of the wounds together with slips of
adhesive plaister secured with a roller; and as we were not far from a
village, he thought it best for him to go forwards before his wounds had
become very painful. He accordingly rode forwards to the village of
Boolinkoomboo on one of our horses. Found myself very sick, and unable to
stand erect without feeling a tendency to faint; the people so sickly
that it was with some difficulty we got the loads put into the tents,
though it threatened rain. To my great astonishment, _Ashton_, the
sailor whom I had left in the woods the evening before, came up quite
naked, having been stripped of his clothes by three of the natives during
the night. Found his fever much abated.

[Footnote: The name is thus written in Mr. Park's MS.; but it seems to be
a mistake for _Alston_, v. ante p. 87.]

July 5th. - With great difficulty got the asses loaded, but had not a
sufficient number of spare asses for the sick. Set one of them on my
horse, and walked, feeling a remission of the fever, though still very
giddy and unwell. We soon reached Boolinkoomboo, it being only two miles
from the landing place. This village is sometimes called Moiaharra: it
does not contain above one hundred people. On collecting the asses, found
that three were missing, besides a sickly one, which was too weak to
cross the river, and was eaten by the people of Fonilla. All this
diminished our means of carrying forward the sick.

I now found my situation very perplexing. To go forward without Isaaco to
Keminoom, I knew would involve us in difficulties; as Keminoom's sons are
reckoned the greatest thieves and blackguards on the whole route. To stop
till Isaaco recovered (an event which seemed very doubtful), would throw
us into the violence of the rains. There was no other person that I could
trust; and, what was worst of all, we had only _two days rice_, and
a great scarcity prevailed in the country. I determined to wait three
days, to see how Isaaco's wounds looked, and in the mean time sent two of
his people away to Serracorra with an ass and three strings of No. 5.
amber to purchase rice.

July 6th. - All the people either sick, or in a state of great debility,
except one. Bought all the milk I could find, and boiled a camp kettle
full of strong decoction of barks every day.

July 7th. - Dressed Isaaco's wounds: they looked remarkably well.

July 8th. - Waiting very anxiously for the return of Isaaco's people with
the rice, being now on very short allowance.

July 9th. - In the afternoon Isaaco's people returned, bringing with them
l23 lbs. of clean rice; Isaaco's wounds looking well, and beginning to
discharge good pus. Latitude by uncertain obs. mer. alt. of the sun 13

July 10th. - Departed from Boolinkoomboo, and eight miles N.E. passed the
village of Serrababoo; close to which is a stream called Kinyaco, about
knee deep, running to the N.W. It was very difficult to cross, on account
of the fissures in the rocks which form its bed. Several of the asses
fell, and their loads were of course wet. From this we travelled due
North, over a ridge of rocks, which formed the only passage across a
chain of hills. When we had crossed this, we travelled six miles on a
rocky and almost impassable road, and a little before sun-set, to our
great joy, reached Sabooseera (Dooty Matta). This is a scattered unwalled
village. Latitude by mer. alt. of moon 13° 50'.

Chapter IV.

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 his
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.


July 11th. - From Sabooseera, or Mallaboo, we travelled towards the West
and North West till noon, when we arrived at Keminoom, or Maniakorro.
This is a walled town fortified in the strongest manner I have yet seen
in Africa; a section of the walls and ditch would have nearly the

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Online LibraryMungo ParkThe Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa, in the Year 1805 → online text (page 14 of 21)