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

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fellow travellers; not hearing any thing of him, I sent a man after him,
because I had lent him my mare and a musket. The man brought me back my
mare and musket. I was there well treated by the Chief and village
people, who gave me five sheep. I gave them in return one bottle of
powder, and one and a half bars. I bought a sheep. This completed the
three moons from my departure from Montogou.

We departed early, and crossed Kirgout, a river full of hippopotami and
alligators. At noon arrived at Cougnacary, formerly the metropolis of
the kingdom of Casso, but now occupied by Bambarras. Received one sheep,
and gave one bottle of powder and five flints. We slept there, and next
day early went round and crossed the river Kirgout again. At nine A.M.
passed Maretoumane; farther on, passed a large rock called Tap-pa.
Arrived at noon at Camatingue, after crossing five rivers; we staid
there two days; received a bullock and a sheep from the Seracoolies
residing in Casso. I gave to Nare-Moussa, the Chief, half a bottle of
powder, and ten grains of amber. One of my slaves was there redeemed,
and I received another in exchange. I met there the King of Bambarra's
messenger; I gave him half a bottle of powder. We departed early,
crossed Garry between two rocks; arrived at noon at Lambatara; slept
there. We were all the way surrounded by mountains and rocks. We started
early, after taking water for our provisions, and had to ascend high
mountains. About noon we arrived at the top of one of them; a part of my
people went forward. When on the very top of the hill, they were
surrounded and attacked by such a quantity of bees, that my people and
beasts of burden were scattered; [Footnote: The bees in those parts of
the country are very numerous, especially on the tops of the mountains.
A similar accident from the attack of bees is mentioned by Park in his
Journal, p. 37. See also Vol. I. p. 331.] when they were a little
appeased, we went after our beasts, who had thrown away every thing they
had on their backs. I found one of my asses dead, being stifled by the
bees getting into its nostrils, and one of my men almost dead by their
stings. I had to give him something to bring him to life, and that with
a great deal of pains. We slept at the foot of that mountain, under a
monkey-bread tree.

Departed early; at nine A.M. we met on the road one of the King of
Bambarra's messengers, who was sent after me; we stopped and sat under a
tree together; he told me he was sent by his master, to let me know if
he met me at Cougnacary, he was ordered to procure me plenty of
provisions, and keep me there to rest myself; but as he had met me on
the road, and a long way past Cougnacary, he would lead me to the first
village, would get me some provisions, and that I might stay there to
rest myself; to which I agreed. We passed Goundouguédé and arrived at
four P.M. at Jyggiting Yalla; on my arrival I told the messenger my
intention of sending somebody to the King, to let him know of my being
in his dominions, and near him. I then sent Saloumon my friend to
Giocha, where the King resided. I told him on his arrival at Giocha, to
go to Sabila, the chief of all the King's slaves, and a confident of
his, to give him thirteen grains of amber No. 1, one pair of scissars,
one snuff-box, and one looking-glass; and tell him I sent him those
things as a present, and let him know of my arrival. After this man's
departure, I sent another messenger, and desired him to go to Giocha, to
endeavour to see my old friend Allasana-Bociara, one of the King of
Sego's messengers, who were sent as ambassadors, and tell him that I
send him this grain of amber, and that piece [Footnote: One round half
dollar.] of silver, as a mark of my being near him, and not to leave
Giocha before he saw me. I had learnt his arrival there by a caravan of
slaves I met on the road.

After I had sent these two messengers unknown to one another, the King's
messenger came in the evening, and told me he was going away, but should
give orders to the first village he should come to, to receive me well
and give me provisions and all assistance; and that I should wait there
for further orders. I then slept there: in the course of the night, the
Chief of the village where I was ordered to go and stop for further
orders, sent a messenger to his son here, where I was, desiring him to
stop me here. Next morning his son came to me, and said it was useless
for me to go any farther; that his father had sent to him and desired he
would furnish me with whatever I wanted and keep me here. I told him, if
I staid where I was, I should die with all my family, of hunger and
thirst; and that I would go on where I was ordered, unless I was stopped
by force. I immediately got every thing ready and departed.

At noon, we arrived at Maribougou, where I was ordered to stop. Foula
Massa, the Chief, sent me to his brother to take up lodgings. When I
came to his brother's house I was refused lodgings; I then went under a
large monkey-bread tree and made halt there. The Chief came and told me
to stay here; I said I could not, as water was very scarce, and my
company very numerous. He immediately gave orders that no one in the
village should draw water, so that I might not want, and that I should
have no excuse. I took that opportunity to give drink to all my people
and cattle, and filled my skins. Being ready to depart from thence, the
two men I had sent to Giocha from Jyggiting Yalla, arrived; one told me
he had seen Sabila, and delivered my message and present to him; that
Sabila said, he perceived I wanted to be his friend, to which he had no
objection; the other messenger told me, that the King of Sego's
ambassador said I might be assured he would not leave Giocha before he
saw me, according to my desire.

I had in my caravan a merchant I met at Dramana; he came from Senegal,
and had some friends in this village, who sent to tell him to take away
his goods from mine and put them aside, as I was in great danger of
being plundered, and his goods would be lost to him if found amongst
mine; to which he objected; which gave me a proof of his good
intentions, and of his friendship to me. I was then convinced something
unpleasant was planning against me. I therefore forced this merchant to
take away his goods from mine; as it would be unjust he should suffer on
my account. I then placed myself and people against the tree, well
armed. I had two double-barrelled guns and a musket in good order, and
well loaded; and waited for what should happen.

While I was in this state of defence, a messenger from the King came to
me, the same man I had met first, who told me, that as I was complaining
of want of water, he would conduct me to another village. We accordingly
departed, and arrived at Wassaba; when there, the messenger shewed me a
house where I was to take up my lodging, and have my things in safety.
He then wanted to separate my people from me and scatter them in the
village, so as to have a better chance to plunder me; to which I
strongly objected. I went with my people, baggage, &c. into the middle
of the yard of the house appointed for my lodging, and staid there.

The Chief of the village came to me, and desired I should give him my
people to go and fetch me a bullock: the King's messenger took him aside
and spoke a little while to him: he came again and told me he could not
give me now the bullock, as his cattle were too far off among the King's
herd. When the messenger saw me settle in the yard, and disposed to
spend the evening there, he left me and went away.

When I was sure of his departure, I sent another man to Giocha, and
ordered him to go to Madiguijou Marabou, who would introduce him to
Sabila; and when there, to give Sabila seven grains of amber, and tell
him to go and let the King know, that wherever I went, I met some of his
people who stopped me from one place to another; and my intention was
positively to go to him, and to beg Sabila to obtain my request. My
courier came back the next day, and told me that Sabila said, the King,
his master's pleasure was, that I should stay where I was, and come to
see him (the King) on the next day, with which I complied.

Next day the King sent a messenger to me with orders to lead me to him.
I left my family and baggage, taking three horsemen of my people with me
and four footmen, and departed with the messenger. I had, previous to
that, sent a man before me with five grains of the largest amber No. 1.
with orders to wait at Giocha for me. We arrived at the back of the
village at three P.M. on Tuesday; the man I had sent before me, was
there waiting for me; he told me softly that where I was going we were
betrayed; and not to let the King know of my going to Sego, as our lives
depended upon it. I told him, that he well knew, I was sent by the
Governor of Senegal to Sego; and to Sego I must go, unless I was
prevented by death or force. I then entered the village and went
straight to the King's door, followed by his messenger, I there
alighted; the messenger made me wait at the door, and went in to take
the King's orders. He came back immediately and told me the King was
sleeping; the guard took possession of my people and me, and lodged us
in the guard-room with them. It was then about sunset, and not a single
soul of my friends and acquaintances or relations came to see me. I then
began to think seriously what was to be done. A griot [Footnote: Ballad
singer and dancer.] woman was the only person who came to comfort me in
my distress.

This woman on leaving me went immediately to the ambassadors of Sego
(which I afterwards learnt), and said to them, "Oh me, oh me, my back is
broke." [Footnote: An expression of sorrow among the cassonkes.] The
ambassadors asked her the reason; she said, "Because Isaaco our friend
is here, and they are going to kill him." Sabila being a very powerful
man, and not hearing from him, I sent my boy to Madiguijou; and begged
he would introduce the boy to Sabila, and when there, to give him the
five grains of amber. Not being well guarded, I sent another man to my
landlord where I always resided when I passed in this village, with my
compliments, and my surprise at not seeing him since my arrival. He sent
me word that he was happy to hear of my being so near him and in good
health, and that nobody had given him any notice of my arrival: which
last words I attributed to his being afraid to meddle with me while in
the King's hands. I sent in the night the merchant who was advised to
draw his goods from mine at Maribougou, to the Sego ambassadors; and
informed them of my being here.

Seeing the guards' carelessness, I went (still in the night) to my
landlord, who had still some influence near the king, and gave him one
of my wives necklaces, nine grains of amber, and seven grains of coral.
From thence I went to Madiguijou, and told him I was sent on a mission
to the King of Sego, with some papers; in order to facilitate me on my
voyage in search of a white man gone in the interior of this country
long ago. I went from there to Sabila and told him the same thing.
Afterwards I went back to the guard-house, and laid myself down to
sleep; while the guards were amusing themselves in dancing, singing, and
drinking. My slumber being disturbed by my uneasy mind, I awoke and
found all the guards gone.

I went to take the air, and returned again to sleep, but could not. I
heard the feet of several horsemen in the street, going, I presumed, to
Sabila's house. Early in the morning I sent another message to the
ambassadors, to let them know how critically I was situated; that I
heard they were going away to Sego without me; and my uneasiness at not
hearing a word from them. They sent to ask me why I did not follow this
time the same road I had followed on my other voyage. I sent back the
man to let them know as the two kingdoms were at peace, I thought it
secure and safe to travel through this part; that Mungo Park had
promised King Mansong a present; and Mungo Park not returning, the
Governor of Senegal had entrusted this same present to me for Mansong,
and that I was now the bearer of it. However, since they were determined
to go without me, they might do so, and whether I should be released or
die; they should hear it soon enough at Sego. They sent to
Tiguing-Coroba [Footnote: Vulgarly Tiguing-coro.] (the King) a message
saying; We have heard that Isaaco our friend is at Giocha, bearer of a
present to Dacha (King of Sego) which Mr. Park had promised to Mansong
(Dacha's father); that Mr. Park not returning in time to his country,
his friends had appointed Isaaco to be the bearer of that present, which
is with him now, and is destined for Sego, to the King our master. In
case Isaaco wishes to go back, we beg you will not let him do so; but if
he wishes to go on, on his mission to Sego, we also beg and hope you
will give him all assistance, and some trusty persons to conduct him to
Sego. [Footnote: This equivocal invitation was given to the King, who
well knew that the King of Sego was more powerful than him; and if he
should injure Isaaco in any manner, he would be driven from his

Then came Massatan Wague, a Marabou, who told me what I have above
related, and how I had been arrested with an intention to destroy me,
and take what I had; that Sibila had been the means of my escaping such
danger, and had saved my life; to which story I gave little credit,
knowing well the reason why they shewed me such mercy; but I thanked God
alone for my preservation. Massatan Wague advised me to give the King's
only son something. I went to that prince, and gave him half a piece of
white baft, and two grains of amber No. 1. I went back to the
guard-house, where I passed the following night.

Next morning my landlord went to the King to beg (as every thing was
settled and appeared favourable on my side) that he might take me to his
lodging; to which the King consented. He immediately came and took me
away to his house with my people. I went with my land-lord
(Tong-Manchong) and my people to the King: on arriving, after the usual
salutations, I presented him with a fine tin box. The King addressed
Sabila, and said with a nod, "Here is the business." Sabila said, "This
man is our old friend, and is a good man." My landlord said the same.
The King turned to me and said, "No; here is your box and keep it; what
else you have brought in my country I shall keep; you may return to the
place you first started from, and travel on your mission by the same
road you travelled first, with the white men; but your goods, and every
thing else you have with you, I shall keep. I know what you have is
destined to the King of Sego." I said, "I might, it is true, have
traveiled by other roads, and you would never have heard of me; but in
my way, I heard you lived in peace and friendship with the King of Sego;
I therefore thought I might with security travel through your country."
He stopped me, saying, "What I have said to you is enough."

I left the house with part of his slaves. I went to my lodging, and
immediately completed the amount of sixty bars in powder, amber, &c. I
took the horse Robert Ainsley had bought for me, three ducks, and the
tin box he refused. I gathered all these things, and went with my
landlord and offered them as presents to the King, which he accepted: in
his presence I gave Sabila one bottle of powder; to the King's singer
one snuff-box. The King, on seeing these presents, (the only thing to
cool his anger) told me he would lend me somebody who would conduct me
straight to Sego. I said, "I could not go so soon; because if I did,
whoever would see me would think I deserted from him; and I therefore
thought proper to stay where I was and rest myself awhile." The King
said to Sabila, "You see Isaaco appears to be a courageous man; if he
had been of a weak-spirited mind, he would have run away, and left his
things in my hands." I went home, and spent the rest of the day and the

In the morning I departed with my people to Wassaba, to fetch my family
and things; I staid there two days; but being uneasy in my mind, and
being afraid of something planning against me, and as I had good reason
to think so by the few words I heard at different times, I went back to
Giocha, presented myself to the King; and told him that before I left
his dominions, I had thought proper to come and swear fidelity and
friendship to him; and that whenever I should go backwards or forwards
from Senegal to Sego, I should always pass through his country and see
him; but that I should wish also at the same time that he would swear to
protect and treat me well, and be my friend; even should he be at war
with the King of Sego. He sent for Chiaman, the eldest son of the royal
family, who swore the same to me in his and the King's name. I likewise
swore before them what I related above. After swearing, Chiaman told me
to give him a handsome gun or a coussabi (shirt) by way of cementing our
oaths. I told him, I had none at present fit to present to him, but gave
him my word, that if I should go back to the white men's country, on my
return I would bring him one of those two objects.

I staid in the village until the next morning. I had in the mean while
wrote a prayer (Grisgris) or amulet, to a man who gave me a bullock,
which I carried to Wassaba; I slept there. Next morning I had the
bullock killed. The next day Iaque, Chiaman's brother, sent me word to
wait there for him. I immediately sent my family and things by another
road, and waited for Iaque. He came and presented me with an ass loaded
with kouskous to help me in my travels. I gave him half a piece of fine
white baft, five bottles of powder, two looking-glasses, and two
snuff-boxes. He then left me, and I went the same day to Giocha, to take
leave of the King, and beg he would let me have the promised conductor
(between Wassaba and Giocha there being seven rivulets to cross.) He
gave me a man named Mourocouro, who went on foot. He then shook hands
with me, saying, "Isaaco, I bear you no malice now; but did so once,
because you conducted white men to Sego; and never passed here to let me
have something from them, whilst every body else shared their
generosity." I took my leave of him and went to Chicouray, Chiaman's
village, where I met my family and things safe. I staid there two days.
Chaiman killed me a bullock, and I gave him one pagne, worth two pieces
of bafts, one bottle of powder, twenty flints, and one bar of scarlet

We started in the evening and arrived at Chicouray. [Footnote: These two
last villages bear the same name.] Sambabile (Chiaman's other brother)
gave me some corn and a sheep. I gave him a blue pagne, a striped ditto,
one bottle of powder, twenty flints, and one bar of scarlet cloth; which
pagnes I got by the sale of three slaves I was obliged to sell to help
me in my expenses. I staid there two days; in the morning I started, and
arrived at noon at Jyallacoro; where resided Madifoutane, the King's
son, to whom I had given half a piece of fine cotton and two grains of
amber; he gave me some corn. Madimarian, a Marabou, killed me a bullock;
I give him one bottle of powder.

Next morning I started from thence, passed three villages, and arrived
at three P.M. at Cobla. I received cooked victuals from the village; I
gave two flints. We departed next morning early, and arrived at noon at
Amadifalouma bougou, the last village belonging to King Tiguing-coro, it
being on Wednesday, and six moons [Footnote: July 2, 1810.] after my
departure from Senegal. I bought there an ass.

Having before me a large forest to cross, and uncertain of the right
road, I hired four men to conduct me. I departed next morning, and
crossed a small river near the village. We entered the forest at noon,
and came to a large muddy pond, where the hogs could not pass safely;
our guides shewed us a better road, where we crossed easily. At two P.M.
we stopped where had been formerly a village. We found in our way after
sun-set, a large land turtle, which we killed; and passed the night
there. Departed early; at ten A.M. passed Sarina, formerly a village;
stopped awhile. The four men I had charged to go as guides, wished to go
back; they were afraid to go on further. I was much disappointed at such
behaviour, and got angry with them, and said I would sooner go back than
be left in such a forest. They shewed me a road, and told me to follow
it straight along, and to be careful not to turn either to the right or
left, and that I should soon find a village inhabited. I gave them half
a bottle of powder and ten flints, and let them go, as I could not do

I went on, and found the road the King of Sego's army had taken nine
years ago. [Footnote: When at war with Tiguing-coro.] Farther on we met
a small pond; being very thirsty, we spent there the best part of the
day; a little farther we found a large pond, where we made a halt, and
past the night under a tree. Departed early; arrived at noon at the
lakes of Chinchare and Tirinn. These lakes are never dry; and the King's
army always stops at them to take water. After dinner we started, and at
five P.M. arrived at another lake. We went on, and came to the village
of Giangounte after sun-set; where we stopped five days, on account of
one of my people being sick; received the first night a few provisions;
next day they killed me a bullock. Here I thanked God for my escape.

On the third day the King's people came; the village gave them a bullock
and a sheep, which I killed myself; they gave me a quarter of each for
my share. This village is surrounded by a mud wall, is well fortified,
and I presume is well secured against any attack. One of the hogs being
very large and fat, I could not carry it any farther, but with great
difficulty: I told the Chief of the village to take charge of the hog,
and have it conveyed to the King his master; to which he objected, being
afraid to take charge of an unknown animal, and the additional
responsibility of taking charge of it for his master. I told him I found
it impossible for me to carry it any farther; I should therefore leave
it with him, and he might do with it as he pleased. That the village
belonged to his master, so did the hog, and I was sure he would take
good care of it.

We departed early and arrived at noon at Fabougou. After dinner we went
to Giongoey, where we arrived after sun-set; we staid there two days.
Early in the morning we departed, and at ten A.M. arrived at the lake
Sonne; stopped a little under a tree; crossed the lake; stopped awhile
at Tonneguela; arrived and stopped at Gommingtora, where we spent the
night; received a sheep. Departed early, and at ten A. M. arrived at
Wattere. Departed in the evening and came to a large open field, very
dangerous for travellers, on account of the Moors passing there very
often. We therefore travelled during the day and all the night.

At three A.M. came to Toucha. On my way from Gommingtora here, I saw a
tree grown on the top of the dried stump of another large tree; the wood
of the above tree is employed in the composition of our gunpowder. There
is also near the tree a large and high rock, forming a pyramid, and a
large stone on the top of its head. On my arrival at Toucha, I missed a
chest which my nephew carried, and which contained some looking glasses,
beads, my fine coussabi, and my wife's bracelets, which were given me by
Governor Maxwell. I asked the boy what was become of it; he said, that
being fatigued on the way, he had given the chest to a man who had
followed our caravan from Giocha. I suspected the man had stolen it, by
not seeing him with us. I left my family and things there, and went
immediately with some of the King's people to Wattera in search of the
thief. I had the Chief of Toucha's son and the son of the Chief of
Wattera with me. From Wattera we went to Tagoubou, where we found the
thief, who had broken the chest and taken away the things; he had on my
coussabi, had sold some things, and had in hand the remainder, looking
after a slave to purchase. We seized him. The Chief of Tagoubou begged
me not to hurt him in his village, but to carry him to Dinghang. Arrived
at Dinghang. Maineoro, the Chief, told me, since I caught the thief, I
might take him away, and do as I thought proper with him.

We went and slept at Togouboo, and next morning went to Wattera.
Departed in the evening and arrived at night at Toucha, and joined my
family. On our way the thief shewed me where he had destroyed the chest.

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