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

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had never said he wished to see me, and because I could live quieter and
freer from begging than at Sego. I therefore sent down the bullocks by
land to Sansanding.

September 26th. We departed from Samee. The canoes were not covered with
mats; and there being no wind, the sun became insufferably hot. I felt
myself affected with a violent head-ach, which encreased to such a
degree as to make me almost delirious. I never felt so hot a day; there
was _sensible heat_ sufficient to have roasted a _sirloin_; but the
thermometer was in a bundle in the other canoe, so that I could not
ascertain the _actual_ heat. We passed down a small stream to the north
of Sego Korro, and halted opposite to _Segosee Korro_, near the sand
hills, where I formerly waited for a passage. We waited here about an
hour for Isaaco, who had gone to Segosee Korro to inform Mansong of our
passing. When Isaaco returned, he made a sort of shade over our canoe
with four sticks and a couple of cloaks; and in the evening I found
myself more collected and less feverish. At sun-set we rowed towards the
north bank, where there are some flat rocks, on which passengers by
water often sleep. We found the place occupied by a number of people. I
counted between thirty and forty fires; we therefore passed on a little
to the Eastwards, and slept on a sand bank covered with verdure.

September 27th. - At day-break we again proceeded, and in stretching over
to gain the middle of the river, we passed a Somoni fishing village on
an island; the huts occupied the whole of the dry ground, and it
appeared, even when close to it, like a floating village. We reached
Sansanding at ten o'clock. Such crowds of people came to the shore to
see us, that we could not land our baggage till the people were beaten
away with sticks, by Koontie Mamadie's orders, on whose premises we were
accommodated with a large hut for sitting in, having another hut opening
into it, in which we deposited our baggage.

October 2d. - _Marshall_ and _W. Garland_ (privates) died; one of the
fever, the other of the dysentery. During the night the wolves carried
away Garland, the door of the hut where he died being left open. Buried
Marshall on the morning following, in a corn field near the church.

October 4th. - Mansong sent down two broken gunlocks, and a large pewter
plate with a hole in the bottom of it, for me to repair; and it was with
much difficulty that I could persuade the messenger that none of us knew
any thing about such occupations.

October 6th. - _Da_, Mansong's eldest son, sent one canoe as a present,
and requested me to sell him a bunderbuss, and three swords, with some
blue and yellow broad cloth. Sent him three swords, and ten spans of
yellow cloth; received in return six thousand cowries.

Sansanding contains, according to Koontie Mamadie's account, eleven
thousand inhabitants. It has no public buildings, except the mosques,
two of which, though built of mud, are by no means inelegant. The market
place is a large square, and the different articles of merchandize are
exposed for sale on stalls covered with mats, to shade them from the
sun. The market is crowded with people from morning to night: some of
the stalls contain nothing but beads; others indigo in balls; others
wood-ashes in balls; others Houssa and Jinnie cloth. I observed one
stall with nothing but antimony in small bits; another with sulphur, and
a third with copper and silver rings and bracelets. In the houses
fronting the square is sold, scarlet, amber, silks from Morocco, and
tobacco, which looks like Levant tobacco, and comes by way of Tombuctoo.
Adjoining this is the salt market, part of which occupies one corner of
the square. A slab of salt is sold commonly for eight thousand cowries;
a large butcher's stall, or shade, is in the centre of the square, and
as good and fat meat sold every day as any in England. The beer market
is at a little distance, under two large trees; and there are often
exposed for sale from eighty to one hundred calabashes of beer, each
containing about two gallons. Near the beer market is the place where
red and yellow leather is sold.

Besides these market-places, there is a very large space, which is
appropriated for the great market every Tuesday. On this day astonishing
crowds of people come from the country to purchase articles in
wholesale, and retail them in the different villages, &c. There are
commonly from sixteen to twenty large fat Moorish bullocks killed on the
market morning.

October 8th. - As Mansong had delayed much longer in sending the canoes
he promised, than I expected, I thought it best to be provided with a
sufficient quantity of shells to purchase two; particularly when I
reflected that the river would subside in the course of a few days,
having sunk this morning about four inches by the shore. I therefore
opened shop in great style, and exhibited a choice assortment of
European articles to be sold in wholesale or retail. I had of course a
_great run_, which I suppose drew on me the envy of my brother
merchants; for the Jinnie people, the Moors, and the merchants here
joined with those of the same description at Sego, and (in presence of
Modibinne, from whose mouth I had it) offered to give Mansong a quantity
of merchandize of greater value than all the presents I had made him, if
he would seize our baggage, and either kill us, or send us back again
out of Bambarra. They alleged, that my object was to kill Mansong and
his sons by means of charms, that the white people might come and seize
on the country. Mansong, much to his honour, rejected the proposal,
though it was seconded by two-thirds of the people of Sego, and almost
all Sansanding.

From the 8th to the 16th nothing of consequence occurred, I found my
shop every day more and more crowded with customers; and such was my run
of business, that I was sometimes forced to employ _three tellers at
once_ to count my cash. I turned one market day twenty-five thousand
seven hundred and fifty-six pieces of money (cowries.)

The second day after my arrival at Marraboo, as no accounts whatever had
arrived concerning Mr. Scott, I sent a messenger to Koomikoomi, desiring
him to bring Mr. Scott, or some account of him. He returned in four
days, and told us that _Mr. Scott was dead_, and that the natives had
stolen the pistols out of the holsters; but he had brought the horse to

When Modibinne enquired of Isaaco what sort of a _return of presents_
would be most agreeable to me, Isaaco (being instructed before) said he
believed two large canoes, and Modibinne assured me, that the canoes
would be sent down to Sansanding immediately on our arrival there.

In order to give a just idea of the trade and profits on different
articles sold at Sansanding, I have annexed a list of _European_ and
_African_ articles, with their respective values in _cowries_, the great
medium of exchange and the general currency of Bambarra.


Value in Cowries.

A musket - - - - - - 6 to 7000

A cutlass - - - - - - 1500 to 2000

A flint - - - - - - - - 40

Gunpowder, one bottle - - - - 3000

Amber No. 1. - - - - - - - - 1000

Ditto No. 2. - - - - - - - - 800

Ditto No. 3. - - - - - - - - 400

Amber No. 4. - - - - - - - - 160

Ditto No. 5. - - - - - - - - 80

Ditto No. 6. - - - - - - - - 60

Coral No. 4. each stone - - - - 60

Black points, per bead - - - - 20

Red garnets, per string - - - - 40

White ditto, per string - - - - 40

Blue agates, per string - - - - 100

Round rock coral, per bead - - 5

Long ditto, per bead - - - - 5

Short arrangoes, per bead - - 40

Gold beads, per bead - - - - 10

An Indian baft - - - - 20,000

A barraloolo, or five-bar piece 8,000

Scarlet cloth 10 spans - - 20,000

If sold to the Karankeas _in retail_ 30,000

_Light yellow_ cloth nearly the same as scarlet;

_blue_ not so high

Paper per sheet - - - - 40

A dollar - - - - from 6 to 12,000

Or from 1£. 5s. to 2£. 10s


A _minkalli_ of gold (12s. 6d. sterling) - - 3000

Four minkallies are equal to £3. 3s. Value in Cowries.

_Ivory_, the very largest teeth, each - - 10,000

The medium size - - - - - - - - - - 7,000

The smaller - - - - - - - - - - - - 3 or 4000

_Indigo leaves_ beat and dried in lumps larger

than ones fist, each - - - - - - - - - - 40

A prime slave, (male) - - - - - - - - 40,000

A ditto, (female) - - - - - - from 80 to 100,000

A girl - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 40,000

A horse from two to ten prime male slaves

A cow (fat) - - - - - - - - - - - - 15,000

An ass - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 17,000

A sheep - - - - - - - - - - - - 3 to 5,000

A fowl - - - - - - - - - - - - 250 to 300

As much _excellent fat beef_ as will be sufficient

for seven men one day - - - - - - - - 620

As much _good beer_ as the same number can

drink in one day - - - - - - - - - - 300

October 16th. - Modibinne and Jower arrived, and told me that they had
brought a canoe from Mansong. I went to see it, and objected to one half
of it, which was quite rotten. They sent up to Sego for another half;
but when it arrived, it would not fit the one already sent. I was
therefore forced to send Isaaco again to Sego; and as Mansong had
requested me by Modibinne to sell him any spare arms I might have, I
sent two blunderbusses, two fowling pieces, two pair of pistols, and
five unserviceable muskets; requesting in return that Mansong would
either send a proper canoe, or permit me to purchase one that I might
proceed on my journey. Isaaco returned on the 20th with a large canoe;
but half of it was very much decayed and patched, I therefore set about
joining the best half to the half formerly sent; and with the assistance
of Abraham Bolton (private) took out all the rotten pieces; and repaired
all the holes, and sewed places; and with eighteen days _hard labour,
changed the_ Bambarra canoe into _His Majesty's schooner Joliba_; the
length forty feet, breadth six feet; being flat bottomed, draws only one
foot water when loaded.

October 28th. - At a quarter past five o'clock in the morning my dear
friend Mr. Alexander Anderson died after a sickness of four months. I
feel much inclined to speak of his merits; but as his worth was known
only to a few friends, I will rather cherish his memory in silence, and
imitate his cool and steady conduct, than weary my friends with a
panegyric in which they cannot be supposed to join. I shall only observe
that 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 amidst
the wilds of Africa.

November 14th. - The schooner is now nearly ready for our departure; I
only wait for Isaaco's return from Sego, that I may give him this paper
in charge.

November 15th. - Isaaco returned; and told us that Mansong was anxious
that I should depart as soon as possible, before the Moors to the East
had intimation of my coming. Bought bullock hides to form an awning to
secure us from the spears and arrows of the _Surka_ or _Soorka_ and
_Mahinga_ who inhabit the North bank of the river betwixt Jinnie and

November 16. - All ready and we sail to-morrow morning, or evening. I
will therefore conclude this long epistle with some miscellaneous

_Variation_ of the compass.

West of the Faleme river - - - - 14 11 West.

At Badoo, near Sibikillin - - - - 14 56

Near the _Bafing_ - - - - - - 16 30

At Marraboo on the Niger - - - - 16 36

At Yamina - - - - - - - - - - 17 11

At Sansanding - - - - - - - - 17 40

In case any one should be inclined to doubt the accuracy of the
latitudes taken by the back observation with Troughton's pocket sextant;
I think it proper to mention that I have observed at Sansanding
alternately with the _horizon of the river_, and the _back observation_
in water and the artificial horizon; and never found them to vary more
than four minutes, but generally much nearer.

A fac-simile sketch of the course of the Niger, made by an old Somonie,
who had been seven times at Tombuctoo, and is now going the eighth.

_Ba Nimma_ rises in the Kong mountains South of Marraboo; it passes one
day's journey South of Sego; and having received a branch from Miniana,
empties itself into the lake Dibbie. It is not quite half so large as
the Niger. I have not the least doubt of the truth of this, having heard
it from so many people. We shall not see Jinnie in going to Tombuctoo.

_Route from Sego to Miniana._

From Sego in one day,

Deena, across the Ba Nimma in canoes, and halt on
the south side; thence in one day,
Mullo Soo,
Billi Soo;
In all seven days.

The inhabitants of Miniana eat their enemies, and strangers, if they die
in the country. They eat the flesh of horses; but such is their
veneration for the cow that she is never killed; when she dies, they eat
the flesh. Miniana is hilly; all the grains are cultivated the same as
in Bambarra.

_Route from Sego to Badoo_.
From Sego in one day.
N. goi, [Footnote: Thus written in Park's MS.]
Guandoo on the banks of the Badingfing, a small
river from Miniana.
N. jeera,
Teng: gera, a great Juli town; a Juli is called in
Baedoo, Kirko Bimba;
Jondoo; Juli town,
N. Kannoo, Juli town.

The whole of the foregoing places are in Bambarra.

Totti, a town in Baedoo.
Baedoo, the capital.

The Julis are people who understand the language of Baedoo and Miniana,
and are employed as interpreters and brokers by the salt merchants. One
month's travel South of Baedoo through the kingdom of Gotto, will bring
the traveller to the country of the Christians, who have their houses on
the banks of the _Ba Sea feena_; this water they represent as being
imcomparably larger than the lake Dibbie, and that the water sometimes
flows one way, sometimes another. There are no Shea trees in Kong or
Gotto, and very few in Baedoo.



_Government House

Sierra Leone, 10th December, 1811._


"With reference to my letter of the 8th of March 1810, communicating
having engaged a person to go in search, and ascertain the fate of the
late Mr. Mungo Park; I have the honour to communicate to Your Lordship,
that this person returned to Senegal on the 1st of September; but I am
concerned to state that his information confirms the various reports of
Mr. Park's death.

"I have enclosed a copy of the Journal of the person whom I sent, which
was kept in Arabic, and has been translated into English by a person
resident in Senegal.

"Isaaco has been paid the promised reward, which I hope will be approved
by your Lordship.

"I have the honour to be,


"Your Lordship's most obedient

"humble Servant,



_To the Right Honourable
The Earl of Liverpool._


I, Isaaco, left Senegal on Sunday, the 22d day of the moon Tabasky;
[Footnote: Seventh of January, 1810.] in the afternoon we came to an
anchor at the foot of the bar. We passed the bar next morning, and had
like to have lost ourselves; we got on board the George. Weighed anchor
in the night of the 23d, from the roads, and anchored at Goree the 24th
at about 4 P.M. [Footnote: These times of the day are not very exact,
being regulated by the Mahometan times of prayer.] On my arrival there,
I found some of my effects had been stolen; I signified to the
commandant of Goree my intention to postpone my voyage, until my stolen
goods were found. The commandant sent me back on board the George, and
ordered the vessel to return to Senegal, that I might make there my
complaint to Governor Maxwell. We were nine days at sea with heavy
weather, and could not fetch; we were obliged to return to Goree on the
tenth day.

The commandant next day (Friday) after my arrival, sent a courier to
Senegal to the Governor, with the account of my goods being stolen; and
on the Friday following the courier brought me my effects. [Footnote:
These goods had been stolen in the lighter outside of the bar.] The same
day in the afternoon, I left Goree in the George, and arrived in Gambia,
the night after at Yoummy. We left Yoummy on the Sunday following, and
arrived on Monday at Jilifrey. We left Jilifrey the same day; passed
Tancrowaly, in the night, and on Tuesday came opposite a forest. Passed
this spot, and came to anchor at Baling. From Baling came to an anchor
opposite a forest at four P.M. We got under weigh in the night and came
to in the morning. Departed after breakfast, and came to at noon.
Departed immediately after, and came to after sunset. Passed Caour in
the night, and came to anchor at four A.M. (Thursday). Weighed in the
evening and came to Yanimmarou at noon. We left Yanimmarou in the
morning of Friday, and came to Mongha. Left the Mongha the same day at
sunset, and came to Mariancounda late in the evening, and Robert Ainsley
being there, I landed and presented to him the Governor's letter; making
in all eight days from Goree to my arrival at Mariancounda.

Robert Ainsley kept me five days with him. He gave me, by the Governor's
desire, one horse, one ass, and twenty bars of beads. I left Robert
Ainsley on Wednesday morning, and went to the village of the king of
Cataba to pay my respects. I had previously sent the same day, my
baggage and people, to Giammalocoto. On my arrival before Cataba, I gave
him one musket, and one string of amber No. 4. which he distributed to
his attendants. In the evening of the same day, I took leave of the
king, and arrived at Giammalocoto, after sunset, where I met my people
and effects. I left Giammalocoto, on Friday morning, and slept at
Tandacounda. I departed next morning (Saturday) and slept at Guenda. On
Sunday crossed a rivulet and slept under a tamarind tree close to the
village of Sandougoumanna. I sent to Sallatigua-koura, king of that
country, five bars of tobacco (ten heads). I went and slept at
Woullimanna. I gave to Mansancoije, the chief, two bars of scarlet cloth
and two bars of tobacco, and to his son, one bar of scarlet cloth. I
also gave to my landlord three bars of tobacco. Departed next day early;
stopped at Carropa at noon, and went to Coussage, where we slept. I
there found my family, who had been driven away by the Bambarra army. I
staid at Coussage two days and gave Maitafodey, chief of the village,
three bottles of powder. [Footnote: One bottle of powder passes for five
bars.] We left Coussage in the evening, with all my family; arrived at
Montogou in the morning, where my family resided before the Bambarra
army entered this country. I here found my mother. I staid at Montogou
about one month and a half, or forty-six days.

Having disposed of such of my property as I could not carry with me, I
left Montogou at about nine A.M. with my family and people, stopped at
Moundoundon, having crossed three rivulets; slept there. Mamadou, the
chief, killed me a sheep: I gave him one bottle of powder. We departed
in the morning, stopped at Couchiar at noon, under a bark-tree, where we
passed the rest of the day. We filled our leather bags with water and
departed about four P.M. We travelled all night and came to Saabie at
three A.M. This village is inhabited by Marabous (priests). We stayed
there two days. I found there a relation of one of my wives. I gave him
one bottle of powder and three pagnes (a piece of cloth the natives make
use of in their dresses). We left Saabie in the morning, stopped at noon
at Joumajaoury, and arrived at Tallimangoly. I there met a relation who
killed a sheep. I gave him three grains of amber. We slept there. Next
morning we departed, and arrived at midnight at Baniscrilla, where I
found the King of Bondou with the Bambarra army. I went to pay my
respects to him, and gave him ten bottles of powder, thirteen grains of
amber No. 1, two grains of coral No. 1, and one handsome tin box. To his
first valet one pagne, worth one piece of baft; to his goldsmith four
pagnes; to the Chief of the village two bottles of powder. (Ten bars.)
Slept there two nights; departed early, so did the army on their way to
Gambia. We stopped at noon at Cambaya, being very hungry: we departed in
the evening; and slept on the road. At about eight A.M. on the next day,
we passed Gnary and Sangnongagy; received at this last village some peas
without stopping. We stopped at noon at Dougay. Next morning early we
departed, and stopped at noon at Daacada; in the evening we stopped and
slept at Bougoldanda. Next day we stopped at noon at Saamcolo. Some
singers of the village paid me a visit; I gave them a few trinkets. I
had here a grand palaver (dispute) about one of my dogs, who had, as was
said, bit a man; with great difficulty I prevented the animal from being

Departed next day early; arrived at noon at Soumbourdaga, and slept
there. Next morning at nine A.M. arrived at Debbou; my friend Saloumou
gave me two sheep; I gave him two bottles of powder. Saloumou told me he
would keep me company to Sego if I pleased; I readily agreed, and gave
him ten pagnes to give to his wife to support her until his return. Next
morning, Saloumou being ready, we departed from Debbou: we crossed the
Faleme, and stopped on the other side at a village also called Debbou. I
bought there two sheep and some corn; we staid there three days, and had
our corn converted into kouskous. We departed from Debbou early on
Monday, the first day of Raky Gamon, [Footnote: May 4, 1810.] and
arrived at noon at the village of Diggichoucoumee, the residence of the
King of Bondou: we stayed there four days and killed two sheep. I gave
to Almami Sega two bottles of powder; bought one sheep. Departed early
and went to Sabcouria, where we slept; it is the last village of Bondou
to the northward.

Left Sabcouria early, and passed Gouloumbo: we slept on the road. Next
morning at nine A. M. we stopt at Dramana, in sight of Saint Joseph, the
Fort of Galam; we staid there five days. I was forced to stay there so
long, on account of a palaver I had with the family of one of my wives,
who opposed her going on the voyage with me: I was divorced, and she had
to give me what she had received at our marriage, which is the law among
us Mahomedans. I received one bullock and four sheep. I gave the Chief
Euchoumana fourteen bars in amber and powder; to the people one bottle
and a half of powder, and two bars of amber; to the Chief of Galam two
bottles of powder and twenty flints.

We departed early; crossed _Choligota_ [Footnote: The Ch must be
pronounced through the throat.] and Taning_ch_olee, two rivulets, and
arrived at noon at Moussala; slept there. We were well treated by the
Chief. I gave him two flints and thirty loads of powder. Departed very
early, and arrived at Tambouncana on the Senegal River. I there saw a
Moor who had a very fine mare, which I bought with the goods which were
returned to me in my palaver at Dramana. The King of Bambarra built
there a large fort. We departed, and arrived at noon at Samicouta; we
then went to Gui_ch_alel, where we slept at the house of Amady face,
Chief of the village. We stopt there the next day, owing to one of my
slaves running away, whom I got back again. Early in the morning we
crossed the Senegal River at Settoucoule, on the Moors' side. I bought
one sheep; slept there, and was well treated.

Departed early; stopt at nine A.M. at Coulou, and slept there; we found
there only the women, the men had followed the Bambarra army. Departed
early, crossed _Ch_olibinne and arrived at Challimancounna, where I
staid two days. Ourigiague, the Chief, received me well, and killed a
bullock. I gave him one bottle of powder. We departed long before
day-break, crossed Fallaou, stopt at day-break at the Lake of Douro to
take water; we went on, and arrived at nine A.M. at Medina. I was
obliged to stay there twelve days, to wait the return of one of my

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