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The first volume of these anecdotes was noticed in our Number for December 1797; the second differs not materially in character. Its contents are also very amusing: but they may also require occasional correction. A less sparing citation of authorities would better have enabled the critical reader to estimate the authenticity of the facts related. A collection so various in style is probably the work of various pens. Many articles, as those respecting Brissot, Condorcet, Mirabeau, Roland, &c. are drawn up with superior information and ability :-but too many personages are introduced. Where the public importance of a character is small, and where individual peculiarities are not prominent, as in the case of Poggé, Chalier, Cochan, &c. it is most convenient in a foreign country wholly to forget,
Art. 52. Provincial Copper Coins, or Tokens, issued between the
These engravings are offered to the public as a substitute for a
In our Review for February last, p. 231, we gave some account
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 government 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 Comforts of the Poor. Vol. I. 12mo. 2s. Becket, &c. 1798. In our account 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 pur chased 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 octavo edition. The seventh and eighth Numbers, in part of the second volume, have also made their appearance.
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 an nounce 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.
In the last Appendix, p. 490. 1. 22. for i2i+ read :: i : 2 x i + ; 507. 1. 8. for build,' r. built; 572. 1. 8. for vary then' r. vary; then,
For JULY, 1799.
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. 450. 11. 11s. 6d. Boards. Nicol.
A 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 travels 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 suspecting 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: human fortitude and sagacity are limited in their operation; cruelties 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 the undertaking
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 probable, since we discover no remarkable deviation from the manners 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 readers, 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 inhabit ants of Africa, possessing few arts, could have few of the conveniences of life; and without books, they must be without any stores of imagery, principles of science, and compre hension 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 Euro pean. 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