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all civilization and improvement ultimately depend. In no age or country
have these excellent qualities, the cardinal virtues of the lower orders
of society, been more prevalent than among the peasantry and common
people of Scotland during modern times: in none have the instances been
more frequent of individuals who, by a course of meritorious exertions,
have raised themselves from an inferior condition of life to ease and
competence, and sometimes to riches and distinction.

It is impossible to conceive any situation more happy and respectable
than that of the parent of a well educated family (such as was the
father of the subject of this memoir, and such as there are now many
others among the farmers and peasantry of Scotland) enjoying the just
reward of his paternal cares in the prosperity and success of his
children; each of whom he sees engaged in some beneficial pursuit, each
bettering his condition in life, and each advanced somewhat in the scale
of society above the situation in which he was born. It is this visible
_progress_ and continual _improvement_ in the circumstances and
condition of families, so frequent in the class here particularly
alluded to, which produces the greatest portion of happiness of which
any community is capable; which stimulates to intelligent activity, and
useful, persevering exertions; and which keeps alive and invigorates
that orderly, quiet ambition, which is the foundation of all private and
public prosperity, and the great civilizing principle of individuals and

It is true that there are several other circumstances, besides the
system of public education in Scotland, which have assisted in producing
that extraordinary change of national character which has given occasion
to the present remarks. But of the various causes which have contributed
to this change, education is by far the most important, and that,
without which indeed all the rest would have been comparatively of no
avail. It is to early instruction, most unquestionably, that we must
attribute that general intelligence, and those habits of thoughtfulness,
deliberation, and foresight, which usually distinguish the common people
of Scotland, where-ever they may be found, and whatever may be their
employments and situations; which ensure their success in life under
favourable circumstances; and in adverse fortune serve as a protection
against absolute indigence, and secure to them a certain station above
the lowest condition of life.

The truth of this remark will be apparent from a few practical
instances, drawn from the experience of common life, of that general
superiority which is here attributed to the lower classes of the Scotch,
as the effect of their superior industry and intelligence - 1. Every one
has remarked the great number of professional gardeners from that
country, many of whom have been common labourers, and who if they had
been no better educated than most English labourers, must always have
remained in that situation. Of this numerous class Mr. Dickson, Park's
brother-in law, is a remarkable and most distinguished example. - 2.
Scotland supplies a considerable number of stewards, confidential
clerks, book-keepers, &c. from a class of society, which in most other
countries furnishes only domestic servants. The British Colonies, and
especially the West Indies, are chiefly provided with clerks, overseers
of plantations, &c. from this source. - 3. The prodigious number of
non-commissioned officers in the army, who are natives of Scotland,
having been raised from the ranks in consequence of their knowledge of
reading and writing, and general good conduct, is also very
remarkable. - The recollection of most readers will probably supply them
with other examples; but there are two instances, somewhat out of the
course of ordinary experience, which deserve to be particularly

In the year 1803, Mr. Matthew Martin, a gentleman distinguished for his
active benevolence, having been for some time engaged, under the
sanction of Government, in a laborious enquiry concerning the "State of
Mendicity in the Metropolis," was desired to make a Report upon that
subject for the information of Government. From the statement which Mr.
Martin prepared on that occasion and laid before the Secretary of State,
it appeared that the number of Scotch beggars in London was remarkably
small, especially in proportion to the Irish beggars, with whom it was
most natural to compare them. Of 2000 beggars, whose cases were
investigated by Mr. Martin, the following is a summary.

Belonging to parishes home 570
distant parishes 336
Irish 679
Scotch 65
Foreign 30

The second of the two cases is of a still more uncommon nature. - In the
course of the expedition against Egypt in 1807, the advanced guard of
Major General Fraser's army having taken possession of Rosetta and
occupied a position at El Hamed a few miles from that town, was
surprised by a strong corps of Turkish troops, and after an obstinate
conflict and the loss of many lives, compelled to surrender. According
to the Turkish custom, the prisoners taken were sold as slaves, and
dispersed over the whole country; some of them being sent as far as
Upper Egypt. Great exertions were naturally made by the British
government to redeem those unfortunate persons from captivity; and this
was happily effected as to all the prisoners, except a few who could not
be traced, by the assistance of Signor Petrucci, the Swedish consul at

From the authentic documents relating to this transaction, it appears
that the ransoms paid for the redemption of the captives differed very
considerably; the prices varying from between twenty and thirty pounds
to more than one hundred pounds sterling for each man. But it is
observable, on comparing the different rates, that the highest ransoms
were paid for those, who must be considered, from their names, to have
been natives of Scotland; and who, it may be presumed, were more
_valuable_ than the rest from being more orderly and intelligent. It
could not have been easily anticipated that a soldier, brought up in a
Scotch parish school, was likely, when enslaved by the Turks and a
captive in Egypt, to derive much advantage from his _education_. Yet it
is probable from this circumstance that the intelligence and habits of
good conduct, which he acquired from early instruction, might recommend
him to his master, and as domestic slavery admits of many mitigations,
might procure him kinder and better treatment.


Page xix.

Major Rennell, in his Geographical Illustrations of Park's travels, has
done ample justice to the knowledge and judgment, so eminently displayed
by D'Anville in the investigation of several important points relative
to the geography of North Africa, which have been elucidated by this
writer from very imperfect materials with extraordinary sagacity and
success. In the 26th volume of the Memoirs of the Academy of
Inscriptions, there are two very important Dissertations by this
distinguished Geographer; the first, On the sources of the Nile; and the
second, Concerning the rivers of the interior of Africa, with reference
to the opinions of the ancient and modern writers who have treated on
that subject. The latter is the most immediately connected with the
particular questions alluded to in the text; and it is remarkable that
the principal opinions, or rather conjectures, of D'Anville (of which
the opinion relating to the course of the Niger is the most important),
although deduced from very uncertain and discordant sources of
information, have been confirmed in a great degree by the discoveries of
modern travellers, especially by those of Park. It appears that
D'Anville was well acquainted with the existence of Tombuctoo, and had
even ascertained the situation of that city, as well as the general
course of the Niger with a considerable degree of precision. He had also
formed a plan for sending a person, properly qualified, on an expedition
from the French settlement of St. Joseph on the river Senegal, to
Tombuctoo; but owing to some circumstance which he does not explain, the
scheme did not take effect. As the Dissertation here alluded to may not
be in the hands of every reader, the passage relating to this subject
may be worth transcribing. - After mentioning Ghana as the principal
Mahometan city of Nigritia, spoken of by Edrisi, he says that many of
the Fatimites, who escaped from the power of the Califs, took refuge in
the interior of Africa, where they formed various states. He then
proceeds as follows:

"Tombut ou Tombouctou, est actuellement entre les villes de la Nigritie,
celle dont on parle davantage. On ne doit point être surpris qu'Edrisi
n'en fasse pas mention. Outre qu'elle se peut juger hors des limites de
ce qui lui a été connu, Léon d'Afrique nous apprend que la fondation de
Tombut par un prince de Barbarie, appellé Mensa-Suléiman, est de l'an
610 de l'Hégire, qui repond à l'an 1213 de l'ère Chrétienne, ce qui est
postérieur à la géographie d'Edrisi, composée vers le milieu du douzième
siècle. La situation de cette ville n'est pas précisément sur le Niger;
mais elle y a son port, nommé Cabra, à quelques milles de distance.
Comme aucune des nations commerçantes de l'Europe n'a pénétré aussi
avant dans les terres, en cette partie d'Afrique, que la nation
Françoise, par ses établissemens sur le Sénéga, elle est plus à portée
qu'une autre d'acquérir quelque connoissance de cet intérieur. J'ai
appris, d'une personne qui avoit commandé plusieurs années au fort
Saint-Joseph en Galam, lequel se peut estimer distant en droite ligne de
l'entrée du Sénéga d'environ cent trent lieues françoises; que les
Bambaras, qui du fond du pays amènent des esclaves noirs, comptent
quarante huit journées depuis Tombut jusqu'au fort Saint-Joseph, et que
la mesure commune de la journée s'évalue à environ cinq lieues, d'où il
résulte autour de deux cens quarante lieues. Le moyen d'en savoir
davantage seroit, que quelque personne habituée au climat, comme il y en
a dans le haut du Sénéga, accompagnée d'interprètes, et qu'une
instruction préalable auroit mise au fait d'une partie des choses dont
il seroit à propos de s'informer, fît le voyage de Tombut. Un évènement
a empêché l'exécution d'un projet, auquel j'avois très-volontiers pris
part dans cette vûe."

_Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscriptions_, Tom. xxvi. p. 72.

The above passage was written by D'Anville about the year 1754; and it
is not a little extraordinary that during the sixty years that have
since elapsed, a period so much distinguished for geographical
discovery, Tombuctoo should never have been visited by any European
traveller: and that one of the greatest marts of African commerce, which
is annually resorted to by caravans from various parts of that
continent, should remain at this time entirely unknown to the civilized

In speaking of Tombuctoo as being still entirely unknown, the writer is
aware that a particular description of that city has been given in an
_Account of the Empire of Morocco_ published in the year 1809 by Mr.
James Grey Jackson, who resided in that part of Africa during many
years. But Mr. Jackson derived his whole knowledge of Tombuctoo from the
accounts of native traders; upon whose unsupported testimony very little
reliance can be placed; especially as to matters of detail, or such
facts as require to be stated with any degree of exactness. Considering
that Mr. Jackson's information was obtained from this source, the very
minuteness and apparent precision of his account, are circumstances
highly unfavourable to its authenticity.

With reference to the internal geography of Africa, the writer may take
this opportunity of observing, that next to the African Association, to
whom we are indebted for almost all the authentic information which we
possess upon this subject, [Footnote: The valuable discoveries of the
late Mr. Browne (whose death must be lamented as a public loss) form an
exception to this general remark; but perhaps the only exception.]
considerable praise is due to the Sierra Leone Company; under whose
auspices, during the time they were in possession of that colony,
several important journies into the interior were judiciously undertaken
and successfully executed. Among these may be mentioned an expedition in
1794 by Mr. Watt and Mr. Winterbottom (being a land journey of near five
hundred miles, in going and returning by different routes) to Laby and
Teembo, both of them considerable towns, and the latter the capital of
the Foulah country. Tombuctoo appeared, from the enquiries made by the
travellers, to be well known at both those places; and the communication
with that city from Laby, though it was spoken of as a journey of four
moons, was represented to be open, and they were furnished with many
particulars of the route. Shortly afterwards, in consequence perhaps of
this information, a project was formed at Sierra Leone of sending out a
mission to Tombuctoo; but Mr. Watt, who was to have undertaken the
journey, died; and the invasion of the colony by the French in September
1794, together with the destruction which followed, seems to have put a
stop to expeditions of this nature.

The editor has been favoured by Mr. Macaulay, late Secretary of the
Sierra Leone Company and formerly Governor of the Colony, with a sight
of the Journals of the expedition to Teembo as well as of some other
missions from Sierra Leone of inferior importance. They do great credit
to the writers (especially the Journal to Teembo) and contain many
valuable and interesting particulars; several of which have been given
to the public in the Reports of the Sierra Leone Company, and in Dr.
Winterbottom's judicious account of the native Africans in the
neighbourhood of that colony. But there is still room for a compilation
or selection from these Journals, which, if well executed, would be an
instructive and interesting publication.


Page xxix.

Soon after Mr. Edwards's death several letters passed between Park and
Sir William Young, now Governor of Tobago, upon a subject immediately
connected with the question, considered in the memoir, relative to the
assistance afforded by Mr. Edwards in preparing Park's travels for the
press. Copies of these letters having been transmitted to the editor by
Park's family, he thinks it right on the present occasion to lay them
before the public; remarking at the same time that, after due
consideration of their contents, he continues to be of the opinion which
he has expressed in the text.

The occasion of this correspondence appears to have been as follows. Mr.
Edwards was engaged, at the time of his death, in preparing for the
press an enlarged and corrected edition of his _History of the West
Indies_; but as he did not live to complete it, his friend Sir William
Young superintended the publication of the work, and added a short
preface; in which, speaking of Mr. Edwards's literary merits, he
mentioned "the judicious compilation and elegant recital of the travels
of Mungo Park". This produced a letter of expostulation from Park to Sir
William Young, of which either no copy was kept, or it has been since
lost or mislaid; but the nature of its contents will be seen from the
sequel of the correspondence.

_Sir William Young to Mr. Park._

_59 Harley-street, November 9th, 1803._

"The day before yesterday I received your letter dated so far back as
August 25th. It appears to have been put into the London post, addressed
to my clerk's lodgings, only last week, and reached me in the country
November the 7th. I am thus particular as to dates, as I could not bear
the imputation of having so long neglected the due acknowledgment of a
letter from one whom I so highly esteem and respect. In regard to the
question you state, I understood from the late Mr. Edwards, that he
assisted in the general arrangement of the materials you supplied, as
Dr. Hawkesworth did, in the case of a voyage by the great navigator
Captain Cooke; and that the previous Account or Summary of your Travels
delivered into the African Association was written by him; to which your
fuller Account of your Travels in detail was subsequent. The word
"author," I believe, does not occur in the passage you refer to; and if
the words "compilation and recital" seem to bear any application beyond
the prospectus before adverted to, or in any way to trench on your just
pretensions as a writer, I truly lament the inaccuracy, and will take
the most immediate means of rectifying the error, which circumstances
may place within my reach; either by present correction or on a new
edition of the work. My situation as Secretary of the African
Association furnishes me with documents from which I have learned so
highly to appreciate your character and to entertain so grateful a sense
of your public services, that it would be painful in me, in the smallest
degree to have stated any thing that might be so construed as to affect
your just literary pretensions; although it is difficult to add to the
just and high reputation you held independently, from the fortitude,
discretion, and resource so eminently shewn in your distinguished and
successful enterprise."

_Mr. Park to Sir William Young._

_Fowlshiels, 14th May, 1804._

"I perceive by your letter, that you meant the words 'compilation' and
'recital,' to refer entirely to the Abridgment of my Travels, which was
written for the perusal of the gentlemen of the African Association, by
Mr. Edwards, their Secretary.

"A printed copy of this Abridgment was delivered to each of the
gentlemen at their annual meeting, but I believe it was never publicly
sold. The greater number of readers are therefore but slightly
acquainted with it; and to such, the words above-mentioned will naturally
convey a very different meaning. Having thus explained myself to you, I
hope you will see the propriety of correcting the passage
above-mentioned as soon as possible. I must therefore request you will
permit me to insert your letter in any of the periodical publications,
or favour me with a correction of the passage, as you may think proper."

_Extract from a letter of Sir William Young to Mr. Park_

_May 25, 1804._

"The letter which I wrote on the subject of the publication of your
travels in Africa, is perfectly at your service to make any use of,
which you may think proper. No measure can be more satisfactory and
agreeable to myself, than that which may most fully render justice to
your high and well earned reputation in every point of view."


The question regarding the termination of the Niger is one of the most
doubtful and obscure in modern geography, and in the present defective
state of our information with regard to the interior of Africa, seems
hardly to admit of a clear and satisfactory solution. Of the difficulties
with which the subject is attended, some judgment may be formed from the
various and even opposite opinions which have been maintained relative to
the course of the Niger, since Park's discoveries have ascertained that
it flows from west to east. As the enquiry is somewhat curious, a summary
view of these different opinions, and of the principal arguments by which
they are supported, may not be uninteresting to the readers of Park's
life. To investigate the question with the accuracy and minuteness which
it deserves, would not only very far exceed the limits of a note, but
would require much more information upon this subject than the editor
possesses, united with some previous habits of geographical disquisition.

I. According to the oldest of these opinions, and that which is supported
by the greatest authorities (being the opinion not only of some of the
principal Geographers of antiquity, but of D'Anville and Rennell among
the moderns), it is supposed, that the Niger has an inland termination
somewhere in the eastern part of Africa, probably in Wangara or Ghana:
and that it is partly discharged into inland lakes, which have no
communication with the sea, and partly spread over a wide extent of level
country, and lost in sands or evaporated by the heat of the sun.

[Footnote: Proceedings of the African Association, vol. i. p. 535.]

The principal ground of this supposition is, the opinion of some of the
best informed writers of antiquity on the geography of Africa, and a sort
of general persuasion prevalent among the ancients to the same effect;
circumstances, it must be acknowledged, of considerable weight in
determining this question: since there is good reason to believe, that
the knowledge of the ancients concerning the interior of Africa was much
more extensive and accurate than that of the moderns. It is justly
observed by Dr. Robertson, that the geographical discoveries of the
ancients were made chiefly by land, those of the moderns by sea; the
progress of conquest having led to the former, that of commerce to the
latter. (Hist. Of America, vol. ii. p. 3l6, 8vo.) Besides which, there
are several distinct and peculiar causes which have essentially
contributed to our present ignorance respecting the interior of Africa;
namely, the great prevalence of the slave trade, which has confined the
attention of European adventurers exclusively to the coast; the small
temptation which the continent of Africa held out, during the continuance
of that trade, to internal commerce; and the almost impenetrable barrier
raised up against Europeans in modern times, by the savage intolerance of
the Moors.

The ancient opinion, respecting the termination of the Niger which has
just been alluded to, receives a certain degree of confirmation from the
best and most authentic accounts concerning that part of Africa, in which
the Niger is supposed to disappear. This is represented by various
concurrent testimonies to be a great tract of alluvial country, having
several permanent lakes, and being annually overflowed for three months
during the rainy season.

Against the hypothesis of an inland termination of the Niger, several
objections have been urged, which are well deserving of attention. They
are principally founded on a consideration of the vast magnitude which
the Niger must have attained after a course of more than 1600
geographical miles, and the difficulty of conceiving so prodigious a
stream to be discharged into lakes, and evaporated even by an African
sun. To account for such a phenomenon, a great inland sea, bearing some
resemblance to the Caspian or the Aral, appears to be necessary. But,
besides that the existence of so vast a body of water without any outlet
into the ocean, is in itself an improbable circumstance, and not to be
lightly admitted; such a sea, if it really existed, could hardly have
remained a secret to the ancients, and entirely unknown at the present

It may just be observed, that D'Anville, following Ptolemy and other
writers whom he considers as the best informed on the internal geography
of Africa, is satisfied that there are _two_ considerable rivers,
the Niger and the _Gir_; both of which are said to terminate in the
same quarter of Africa, and precisely in the same manner. The Gir,
totally unknown at the present day, is familiarly mentioned by Claudian,
who, however, it may be recollected, was a native of Africa: -

'_Gir_, ditissimus amnis
'Aethiopum, simili mentitus gurgite Nilum.'
Carm. 21. v. 252.

In some MSS. it is _notissimus_ amnis; but the other reading is more

'Domitorque ferarum
'Girrhaeus, qui vasta colit sub rupibus antra,
'Qui ramos ebeni, qui dentes vellit eburnos.'
Carm. 47. v. 20.

II. The second opinion respecting the Niger is, that it terminates in the
Nile. In other words, this hypothesis identifies the Niger with the great
western branch of the Nile, called the _White River_, which
D'Anville traces from a source very far SS.W. to its junction with the
Nile near Sennaar. He likewise accurately distinguishes this stream from
the eastern branch, which is much shorter and of inferior magnitude, and
which takes its rise in the mountains of Abyssinia. This opinion is
maintained by Mr. Horneman, Mr. Grey Jackson, and several other modern
travellers; and it is slightly sanctioned by Strabo and Pliny, who speak

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