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and treacherous French. The letter is well adapted to the occasion : but whether HIS SUBLIME HIGHNESS will fully confirm and substantiate the promise made (in his name) by the good Metropolitan, that the inhabitants of the Archipelago “shall have full power to select whatever form of govern:nent they shall judge most conducive to the benefit of their country,-either the aristocratical constitution of Ragusa, or any other that may please them better,”—is a matter which must be left to the manifestation of time. Art. 54. Reports of the Society for bettering the Condition and increasing
the Cornforis of the Poor. Vol. I. 12mo. 25. Becket, &c. 1798.
In our acconnt of the second Number of the Reports here collectively republished, it was observed that tracts relating to matters so uncommonly useful and interesting, especially to the poor, should be published at the cheapest rate, so that they might be conveniently circulated among that class of readers who were concerned in their contents.—In a word, that the poor might read them.
It is possible that the hint then thrown out may have, in some degree, attracted the notice of the gentlemen who superintend the business of the society. Accordingly, we here see an edition of the separate Reports, which constitute the first volume, and which may be purchased for one third of the cost of the original publications.
This instance of judicious attention to the proper management of the concerns of the society merits our due approbation ; yet, still, we fear that our wish is not fully accomplished; for can it be supposed that readers, circumstanced as are those here described, can always, till their condition is bettered, well afford to purchase a book at even so moderate a price as two shillings?'-We spoke of three-penny pamphlets, as more suitable to the circumstances of the labouring classes.
In the mean time, the benevolent, the charitable, and the patriotic may have opportunities of distributing the present edition of the first volume ; which contains the first Six Reports, re-printed from the large octayo edition. The seventh and eighth Numbers, in part of the second volume, have also made their appearance.
CORRESPONDENCE. We do not at present recollect any work which we could mention in answer to the inquiries of our correspondent Clara.
F. P. is not perfectly correct in saying that it is our custom to announce works which are yet in the press. We rarely do it, and only in cases of large, important, or foreign publications. In the present instance, we must beg to decline the insertion of F. P.'s advertisement.
We have received Mr. Ashdowne's letter, but must refrain from any farther discussion of the subject.
An Old Friend is, received, and transmitted to the gentleman to whose remark it bears reference.
Qt In the last Appendix, p. 490. I. 22. for :: 1:2 it read :: 1:2 xit ; 507. l. 8. for • build,' r. built ; 572. l. 8. for vary then' 1. vary ; then,
Art. I. Travels in the interior Districts of Africa : performed under
the Direction and Patronage of the African Association, in the Years 1795, 1796, and 1797. By Mungo Park, Surgeon. With an Appendix, containing Geographical Illustrations of Africa, by Major Rennell.
4to. pp. 460. 11. 118. 6d. Boards. Nicol. 1799 A T length the narrative of Mr. Park has appeared ; and
public curiosity, which has been highly excited, will now seek its gratification. Yet, what has happened in similar cases, when expectation has been immoderately raised, will happen in this; and we shall hear of hopes un-realized, and curiosity disappointed : hopes which had perhaps no distinct object of completion, and curiosity which required to be gratified with the narration of events stupendous in their magnitude, or improbable in their strangeness.-Among those, however, who balanced the difficulties of an undertaking like that of Mr.Park, and the means by which those difficulties were to be encountered ; who, putting aside childish or inordinate expectations, calmly computed the result of the undertaking, if successful;- there will be no complaint of disappointment. The countries, through which the iravels were to be made, had been rarely and imperfectly explored : the little that was known of them proved that they were full of various and great obstacles : though the history of the manners and dispositions of the people, at whose mercy the traveller must be, slightly depended on vague, scanty, or suspicious accounts, yet there was sufficient ground for sus. pecting that some of these people were inhospitable, cruel, and rapacious; and if physical and moral impediments oppose the solitary traveller, with what arms can he meet them? The mind may rise superior to all circumstances of distress, yet the body must at length yield to continued hunger and toil: hue man fortitude and sagacity are limited in their operation; cru. ellies may be borne, and the snares, of designing malice may be avoided : but what escape is there from a foe who strikes without mercy, without provocation, and without restraint ?
Dismissing, however, the question whether the expectation of those who previously estimated the success of che undertaking VOL. XXIX. S
be disappointed, or not, every one must allow that it was prosecuted with a most rare perseverance, in despite of obstacles which really presented themselves, and which were unforeseen in their nature, number, and magnitude. Common evils had been calculated : but Mr. Park was exposed to some which were beyond the apprehension of terror or the conception of despondency. The people among whom he was to travel were known to be poor, and were therefore justly suspected to be thievish: but it was scarcely to be imagined that they would plunder openly, with impunity, and with insult. The disposition of the Moors was said to be cruel : but it might be presumed that they would not be cruel without incentive. Could the traveller be in a more calamitous situation than when at the mercy of a needy and ferocious people, among whom he might be plundered at leisure and at will, and with whom even the assasination of him would be a meritorious act? In such circumstances, enterprize was useless, or led to destruction.
• My instructions * (says Mr. Park) were very plain and concise. I was directed, on my arrival in Africa, “ to pass on to the river Niger, either by the
way of Bambouk, or by such other route as should be found most convenient. That I should ascertain the course, and, if possible, the rise and termination of that river. That I should use my utmost exertions to visit the principal towns or cities in its neighbourhood, particularly Tombuctoo and Houssa ; and that I should be afterwards at liberty to return to Europe, either by the way of the Gambia, or by such other route, as, under all the then existing circumstances of my situation and prospects, should appear to me to be most advisable."
These instructions were not completely fulfilled, but the mission of Mr. Park is not therefore to be deemed fruitless. Those who sent him were aware that many difficulties were likely to attend the undertaking : but the obstacles of penetrating into Africa might possibly have been exaggerated, or a fortunate combination of circumstances might diminish them ; in which cases, the adventurer must be provided with instructions to direct his farther researches. Tombuctoo and Houssa were, if possible, to be visited : but, if that were impracticable, the undertaking was not to be supposed to have failed: they were rather proposed as terms or limits to the expedition ; sufficiently distant indeed under the most fortunate union of circumstances. Of the rise, course, and termination of the
* For our account of this laudable Association, and of its early proceedings, see M. R. N. S. vol. ii. (1790) p. 60.-See also Mr. Edwards's abstract of Mr. Park's account of his Travels, M. R, vol. xxvi. p. 436.
Niger, the course only has been ascertained; and a most im. portant determination it is, confirming the assertions of antient writers, and preventing all farther controversy.
The narrative of Mr. Park is simple : he seems to have de. scribed things as he saw them, and to have consulted his senses rather than his imagination; he is unwilling to glut credulity by the narration of wonders; he draws no exaggerated picture of his sufferings and dangers; nor does he ascribe to his own sagacity any event which resulted from chance or accident. The manners, dispositions, and customs of the people are detailed fully and (we believe) faithfully: for if what is described be not real, at least that which is invented is prokable, since we discover no remarkable deviation from the mamers which have been observed to prevail among other people in like circumstances :-- they are what we should have supposed them to be, from the light which former travels afford. Human nature, in its general characters, is nearly the same in all times and in all places; admitting modifications from the influence of climate, and from arbitrary regulations, which it is the business of the traveller to note; and which Mr. Park has noted. Those reiders, then, who seek in the present work for what is marvellous and anomalous, will seek in vain. The author found, on the borders of the Desert and on the banks of the Niger, what has been found in all countries, a mixture of good and evil; he saw no people exempted from the influence of passion, and solely guided by a predominating reason ; no consummate polity and pure religion : but forms of government, weak, imperfect, or oppressive; the wildest fanaticism and the most debasing superstition. The inhabite ants of Africa, possessing fe'w arts, could have few of the conveniences of life; and without books, they must be without any stores of imagery, principles of science, and comprehension of knowlege. Their wants were found to be few, yet their means scarcely adequate to supply them; and their vices and virtues were gross, simple, and circumscribed in their operation. Their schemes of invention, and their scenes of happiness, are beneath the envy or the imitation of an European. Human nature is shewn in Africa nearly in its lowest scale; and, after having learnt what its inhabitants think, enjoy, and can do, we must exclaim, with Kafra the slave-driver, « Black men are nothing *.
Two descriptions of readers, however, may possibly complain of disappointment, after the perusal of Mr. Park's Travels : but they are such as no author will be very ambitious to
satisfy; the one, those who purposely ask too much ; the other, those who are indefinite in the object of their expectations, and know not what it is which they demand. To all other persons, who, by a sense of the obstacles and the means of combating them, tempered the zeal of hope; or who saw a distinct object in it, by the light of other Travels; the present work will appear important, as having considerably augmented the knowlege of what its most learned commentator calls the moral and physical geography of Africa.
We now proceed to take more particular notice of the contents of this volume; and in doing this, we shall endeavour to present our readers with a variety of particulars, in addition to tlie brief abstract which we made of Mr.'Edwards's epitome of Mr. Park's Travels, in our Review, vol. xxvi. p. 436, already cited. We shall also perhaps, unavoidably, repeat some circumstances which were before mentioned: but this, if it should so happen, the reader will excuse.
The instructions given to Mr. P. have already been men. tioned. In consequence of them, he left England for Africa, 224 May 1795, and arrived at Pisania, a British factory on the river Gambia, gth July. The first object of the author, on his arrival at this place, was to learn the Mandingo language, as being generally spoken in the parts through which he was to travel. On the 2d of December, he left Pisania, accompanied by a Negroe servant who spoke both the English and the Mandingo tongues, and by a Negroe boy who spoke the language of the Serawoollies, an inland people. His baggage consisted of provisions for two days, linen, a small assortment of beads, amber, and tobacco, an umbrella, a pocket sextant, a magnetic compays, a thermometer, two fowling pieces, two pair of pistols, and other small articles. His course was easterly towards the kingdom of Woolli ; the capital of which, Medina, he reached on the 5th December. He stopped here a day, and was kindly treated by the King; who tried to dissuade him from the journey; warning him of the fate of Major Houghton. On the next day, however, having procured a guide, the traveller pursued his journey, and on the 8th reached Kolor. On the oth he proceeded, and on the with arrived at Koojar, the frontier town of Woollii Here he drank a liquor resembling þeer, and in fact made from corn previously malted, with bitter roots instead of hops. - To reach the kingdom of Bondou, he was obliged to pass a wilderness of two days' journey; in crossing which he was accompanied by three Negroes, elephant hunters. On the 1zth he reached Tallika the frontier town of Bondou, the inhabitants of which are Mohammedan Foulahs ; one of the four great classes into which the inhabitants on the