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very judicioufly extended this sield of science, and has discovered another planet belonging to our system. This gentleman's application to the science, and the liberal manner in which he has transmitted his observations, deserve great commendation.
"I trust this short sketch ofthe origin and progress of astronomy, aud of the advantages it has procured for us, has not been unpleasing or useless, as the human mind must always fcel satisfaction in tracing such things from their source to their utmost range; and no doubt but the important inferences, Reducible from this epitome of ancient knowledge, must tend to enlarge the minds of those who have not been previoufly acquainted with these circumstances.
"To preclude criticism, I must beg the historian to observe, seat I did not think it necessary to my plan to introduce any thing of those times in which this science was not cultivated or improved; as to have related all the false systems that prevailed at different times, would have afforded but a mortifying retrospect, not tending to promote my grand design, in recording the speculations and works of past ages, which was, to excite in my dear pupils a spirit of inquiry from the instances I produced of the advantages resulting from investigation; which rule of selection has occafioned that want of connection necessary in writing the history of past ages, but not, I presume, in relating the history of the rife and advancement of astronomical knowledge, as it must necessarily have included matter foreign to the subject of these lectures."
An elegant engraving of Mrs. Bryan, and her two children, forms the frontispiece; and this ingenious female astronomer informs the public.that she receives young ladies, for the purpose of education, at Bryan House, Black heath. We wish her every possible success in her laudable undertaking. It is greatly to the praise of the fair sex, that they are in the present age so disposed to improve their minds—they may rest assured that intellectual improvement in conjunction with moral excellence, forms the truest and most permanent basis of their respectability.
j x Travels
Travels in tie Interior of Africa; in the Years 1795, 1796, and 1797- By Mango Park. Abridged from the Original Work. Crosby and Letterman.
A FRICA, the most barbarous and uncivilised part cf the globe, is become the subject of enquiry, and by far the greatest part of it still remains unknown. The dangers attendant on its examination must at least, for the present, preclude any considerable acquaintance with it; but the time may come when it may be equally known with the other quarters of the globe.
From this narrative it appears that Mr. Park has, with incredible labour and perseverance penetrated into this barbarous country, observed their customs and manners, and, after subjecting himself to a variety of dangers, has returned to F.ngland. His peregrinations are here detailed, and asford no small amusement.
The second chapter conveys much curious information, and mail be inserted in its entire form ; it will enable the reader to form a just opinion of the remaining part of the work.
"Description of the Feloops, the Jaloffs, the Foulahs, and Mandingoes—Account of the Trade between the Nations of Europe and the Natives of Africa, by the way of the Gambia; and between the native Inhabitants of the Coast and the Natives of the Interior Countries—Their Mode of Selling, Buying, &c.
"The natives of the country bordering on the Gambia, though distributed into many distinct governments, may be divided into four great classes. The Feloops, the [aloffs, the Foulahs, and the Mandingoes. Among all these nations, the religion of Mahomet has made, and continues to make, considerable progress; but the body of the people still maintain the blind, but inoffensive, superstition of their ancestors, and arc still filled by the Mahometans, Kasirs, or Insidels.
"The Fcloops are of a gloomy disposition, and are supposed never to forgive an injury: they arc even faid to transmit their quarrels as deadly feuds to their posterity; so that a son views it as incumbent upon him to revenge his deceased sather's wrongs. Isa man loses his lise in one of those quarrels, -which continually happen at their feasts, his son endeavours to procure his father's fandals, which he wears once a year at the anniverfary of his father's death, until a sit opportunity occurs of revenging his fate, by faerrsicing the object of his resentment. This sierce and cruel temper is, notwithstanding, counterbalanced by many good qualities. They possess gratitude and affection to their benefactors, and are singular in their sidelity in every trust committed to them.
"During the present war, they have more than once taken up arms to defend our merchant's vessels from French privateers; and English property, to a considerable amount, has been left at Vintain, entirely under the care of the Feloops; who have manisested, on such occasions, the most scrupulous honour and punctuality. How greatly is it to be wished, that the minds of a people, so determined and faithsul, should be softened and civilized by the mild and benevolent spirit os Christianity!
""The Jalosfs are an active, powersul, and warlike people; inheriting great part of the tract which lies between the river Senegal and the Mandingo states on the Gambia: yet they difser from the Mandingoes, not only in language, but likeWise in complexion and features. The noses of the Jaloffs are not so much .depressed, nor the lips so protuberant as among the generality of Africans; and, although their Ikin is of the deepest black, they are considered by the white traders as the handsomest negroes in this part of the continent. They are divided into several independent states or kingdoms, which are frequently at war, either with their neighbours or with each other. In their manners, superstitions, and form of government, they have a great resemblance to the Mandingoes; but excel them in their manufactures. Their language is copious and signisicant. The Foolahs, such of them as reside near the Gambia, are chiefly of a tawny complexion, with soft silky hair, and pleasing features. They are much attached to a pastoral lise, and have introduced themselves into all the kingdoms on the windward coast as herdsmen and husbandmen, paying a tribute to the sovereign of the country for the lands which they hold. The Mandingoes constitute the bulk of the inhabitants of most of the districts of the interior of Africa* Their language is universally understood, and vety generally spoken. They are called Mandingoes, having originally emigrated from the interior state of Manding; bur, contrary to the present constitution of their parent-country, which is republ ican, the government in all the Mandingo states, near the Gambia, is monarchical.
"The power of the sovereign is, however, by no means unlimited. In all a(fairs of importance, an assembly of the principal men or elders, is called, by whose councils the king is dhected, and without whose advice he can neither declare war, nor conclude peace. In every considerable town there is a chief magistrate, called the Alkaid, whose office is hereditary, and whose business it is to preserve order, to levy duties upon travellers, and to president the administration of justice.
"The negroes have no written language; their general rule of decision is, an appeal to ancient custom; but, since the system of Mahomet has made so great a progress among them, the Koran converts have introduced many of the civil institutions of the prophet; and where the Koran is not found sufsiciently explicit, reference is made to a commentary, called Allharra, containing a complete digest of the laws of Mahomet, civil and criminal. This appeal to written laws has given rife in Africa to proscssional advocates or expounders of the law, who are allowed to appear and plead for the plaintiff and defendant, nearly the fame as in the courts of Great Britain. There are Mahometan negroes, who affect to have made the laws of their prophet their especial study ; and in the arts of perplexing and confounding a cause, they arc not surpassed by the ablest pleaders in Europe. At Pisania a cause was tried, which furnished the Mahometan lawyers with a sine opportunity of displaying their talents. An ass, belonging to a Serawoolli negro, (a native of an interior country near the river Senegal,) had broke into a Held of corn belonging to one of the Mandingo inhabitants, and destroyed great part of it. The Mandingo having caught the animal in his sield, immediately drew his knife and cut its throat. The Serawoolli thereupon called a palaver, similar to bringing an action in £urope, to recover damages for the loss of his beast on which . 1 he he set a high value. The defendant confessed he had killed the ass, but pleaded a set off, insilling that the loss he had sustained in his corn, was equal to the sum demanded forthe animal. To ascertain this fact was the point at issue, and the learned advocates contrived to puzzle the cause in such a manner, that, after a hearing of three day*, the court broke up without coming to any determination upon it.
"The Mandingoes are ofa mild, sociahle, and obliging disposition. The men are commonly above the middle size, well shaped, stiong, and capable of enduring great labour; the women are goad natured, sprightly, and agreeable. The dress of b^th sexes is comprised of cotton cloth of their own manufacture: that of the men is a loose frock, not unlike a surplice, with drawers which reach down half the legs; they wear fandals on their feet and white cotton caps on their heads. The womens' dress consists of two pieces of cloth, each of which it about six feet long and three broad; one of these they wrap round the waist, which, hanging down to the ancles, answers the purpose of a petticoat; the other is thrown negligently over the bosom and shoulders. The head dress of the African women, is diversisied in different countries. Near the Gambia, the females wear a fort of bandage, consisting ofa narrow stripe of cotton cloth, wrapped many times round immediately over the forehead- In Bondou, the head is encircled with strings of white beads, and a small pl.ite of gold is worn in the middle of the forchead. In Kasson, the ladies decorate their heads in a very tastesul manner, with white sea-shells. In Kaarta and Ludemar, the women raise their hair to a great height hv the addition of a pad, (as the ladies did formerly in Giest Britain,) which they decorate with a species of coralt brought from the Red Sea, by the pilgrims returning from Mecca, and fold at a great price. In the construction of their dwelling-houses, the Mandingoes also conform to the general practice of the African nations on this part of the continent, contenting themselves with small and incommodious hovels. A circular mud wall, about four seet high, above which is placed a conical roof, composed of the bamboo cane, and thatched with grass, soims alike the palaco of the king and the hovel of the stave. Their houschold surniture is equally simple, a hurdle or canes placed upon upright stakes, about two feet from the ground, upon which is spread a mat or bul