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During the tumult of these congratulations, I had seated myself apart, by the side of one of the huts, being unwilling to interrupt the flow of filial and parental tenderness; and the attention of the company was so entirely taken up with the blacksmith, that I believe none of his friends had observed me. When all the people present had seated themselves, the blacksmith was desired by his father to give them some account of his adventures; and silence being commanded, he began; and after repeatedly thanking God for the success that had attended him, related every material occurrence that had happened to him from his leaving Kasson to his arrival at the Gambia; his employment and success in those parts; and the dangers he had escaped in returning to his native country. In the latter part of his narration, he had frequently occasion to mention me; and after many strong expressions concerning my kindness to him, he pointed to the place where I sat, and exclaimed, affille ibi siring, see him sitting there." In a moment all eyes were turned upon me; I appeared like a being dropped from the clouds; every one was surprised that they had not observed me before; and a few women and children expressed great uneasiness at being so near a man of such an uncommon appearance. By degrees, however, their apprehensions subsided; and when the blacksmith assured them that I was perfectly inoffensive, and would hurt nobody, some of them ventured so far as to examine the texture of my clothes; but many of them were still very suspicious; and when by accident I happened to move myself, or look at the young children, their nothers would scamper off with them with the greatest precipitation, In a few hours, however, they all became reconciled to me.'
At Kooniakary, the author was treated kindly by the King, who had seen Major Houghton and had presented him with a horse. On account of an impending war, which was likely to involve the kingdoms of Kasson, Kajaaga, Kaarta, and Bambarra, the traveller remained in Kasson till the 3d of February, when he resumed his journey, and arrived on the 12th at Kemmoo, the capital of Kaarta. Here he was introduced to the King, Daisy, who advised him to return to Kasson, or, if he was determined to proceed, to take a circuitous route through the Moorish kingdom of Ludamar, into Bambarra. From Kaarta to Bambarra he could not immediately proceed, without the danger of being apprehended as a spy. As Mr. Park was unwilling to spend the rainy season in the interior, he resolved to follow the route through Ludamar, which Daisy prescribed; and accordingly, on 13th February, he left Kemmoo, and arrived on the 14th at Marina; near to which place he saw two Negroes gathering what they called tomberongs. As the account of these tomberongs is important, we shall extract it:
These are smail farinaceous berries, of a yellow colour and delicious taste, which I knew to be the fruit of the rhamnus lotus of
Linnæus. The Negroes shewed us two large baskets full, which they had collected in the course of the day. These berries are much esteemed by the natives, who convert them into a sort of bread, by exposing them for some days to the sun, and afterwards pounding them gently in a wooden mortar, until the farinaceous part of the berry is separated from the stone. This meal is then mixed with a little water, and formed into cakes; which, when dried in the sun, resemble in colour and flavour the sweetest gingerbread. The stones are afterwards put into a vessel of water, and shaken about so as to separate the meal which may still adhere to them: this communicates a sweet and agreeable taste to the water, and with the addition of a little pounded millet, forms a pleasant gruel called fondi, which is the common breakfast in many parts of Ludamar, during the months of February and March. The fruit is collected by spreading a cloth upon the ground, and beating the branches with a stick..
The lotus is very common in all the kingdoms which I visited; but is found in the greatest plenty on the sandy soil of Kaarta, Ludamar, and the northern parts of Bambarra, where it is one of the most common shrubs of the country. I had observed the same species at Gambia, and had an opportunity to make a drawing of a branch in flower, of which an engraving is given.. The leaves of the desert shrub are, however, much smaller; and more resembling, in that particular, those represented in the engraving given by Desfontaines, in the Mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences, 1788, P. 443.
As this shrub is found in Tunis, and also in the Negro kingdoms, and as it furnishes the natives of the latter with a food resembling bread, and also with a sweet liquor, which is much relished by them, there can be little doubt of its being the lotus mentioned by Pliny, as the food of the Lybian Lotophagi. An army may very well have been fed with the bread I have tasted, made of the meal of the fruit, as is said by Pliny to have been done in Lybia; and as the taste of the bread is sweet and agreeable, it is not likely that the soldiers would complain of it.'..
On the 18th, Mr. P. arrived at Simbing, the frontier town of Ludamar. It was from this village, he says, that Major Houghton, deserted by his Negroe servants, wrote his last letter with a pencil to Dr. Laidley.
This brave but unfortunate man, having surmounted many dif ficulties, had taken a northerly direction, and endeavoured to pass through the kingdom of Ludamar, where 1 afterwards learned the following particulars concerning his melancholy fate. On his ar rival at Jarra, he got acquainted with certain. Moorish merchants who were travelling to Tisheet (a place near the salt, pits, in the Great Desert, ten days' journey to the northward) to purchase salt; and the Major, at the expense of a musket and some tobacco, engaged them to convey him thither. It is impossible to form any other opinion on this determination, than that the Moors intentionally deceived him, either with regard to the route that he wished to pursue, or the state of the intermediate country between Jarra and Tombuctoo.
buctoo. Their intention probably was to rob and leave him in the Desert. At the end of two days he suspected their treachery, and insisted on returning to Jarra. Finding him perist in this determi nation, the Moors robbed him of every thing he possessed, and went off with their camels; the poor Major being thus deserted, returned on foot to a watering place in possession of the Moors, called Tarra, He had been some days without food, and the unfeeling Moors refusing to give him any, he sunk at last under his distresses. Whether he actually perished of hunger, or was murdered outright by the savage Mahomedans, is not certainly known; his body was dragged into the woods, and I was shewn at a distance, the spot where his remains were left to perish.'
The war, which obliged Mr. P. to deviate into Ludamar, arose from the circumstance of a few bullocks having been stolen from the Bambarrans by the Moors, and sold to the Dooty, or chief man of a town in Kaarta; the cattle were claimed, but in vain; and, in his method of declaring war, and of announcing the fate of his enemy, the King of Bambarra re sembled the Scythians who sent to Alexander a mole and a bundle of arrows, as emblems of their arts and prowess:
With this view he sent a messenger and a party of horsemen to Daisy King of Kaarta, to inform him that the King of Bambarra, with nine thousand men, would visit Kemmoo in the course of the dry season; and to desire that he (Daisy) would direct his slaves to sweep the houses, and have every thing ready for their accommodation. The messenger concluded this insulting notification by presenting the King with a pair of iron sandals; at the same time adding, that "until such time as Daisy had worn out these sandals in his flight, he should never be secure from the arrows of Bam
Of the origin of the Moorish tribes who inhabit the borders of the Great Desert, little more seems to be known than what is related by Leo the African, whose abridged account is as follows:
Before the Arabian Conquest, about the middle of the seventh century, all the inhabitants of Africa, whether they were descended from Numidians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, or Goths, were comprehended under the general name of Mauri, or Moors. All these nations were converted to the religion of Mahomet, during the Arabian empire under the Kaliphs. About this time many of the Numidian tribes, who led a wandering life in the Desert, and supported themselves upon the produce of their cattle, retired southward across the Great Desert, to avoid the fury of the Arabians; and by one of those tribes, says Leo, (that of Zanhaga) were discovered and conquered the Negro nations on the Niger. By the Niger, is here undoubtedly meant the river of Senegal, which in the Mandingo language is called Bafing, or the Black River.
To what extent these people are now spread over the African continent, it is difficult to ascertain. There is reason to believe, that their dominion stretches from West to East, in a narrow line or belt from the mouth of the Senegal (on the northern side of that river,) to the confines of Abyssinia. They are a subtle and treacherous race of people; and take every opportunity of cheating and plundering the credulous and unsuspecting Negroes. But their manners and general habits of life will be best explained, as incidents occur in the course of my narrative.'
On Mr. Park's arrival at Jarra, the frontier town of the Moorish kingdom of Ludamar, he solicited by presents the leave of Ali, the King, to pass through his territories; which was granted. The author accordingly left Jarra on the 27th of February; and here began his misfortunes. The Moors, unfeeling, proud, ignorant, and fanatical, hissed, shouted at, and abused him; they plundered him, and openly; for it was lawful, they said, for a Mohammedan to plunder a Christian. Mr. P. however pursued his journey, and on March 14th reached Sampaka, a large town; where he lodged at the house of a Negroe who made gunpowder.
The nitre is procured in considerable quantities from the ponds which are filled in the rainy season, and to which the cattle resort for coolness during the heat of the day. When the water is evaporated, a white efflorescence is observed on the mud, which the natives collect and purify in such a manner as to answer their purpose. The Moors supply them with sulphur from the Mediterranean; and the process is completed by pounding the different articles together in a wooden mortar. The grains are very unequal, and the sound of its explosion is by no means so sharp as that produced by European gunpowder.'
At the village of Samee, Mr. Park was seized by a party of Moors, and conducted back to Benown, the residence of Ali. He suffered here all that religious hatred and sportive cruelty could inflict; solitude and confinement were punishments too light for a forlorn traveller and a Christian; and except the persecution was continual, the malice of the Moors was not satisfied. His eyes were to have been put out merely because they looked like cat's eyes, and he escaped death only by the circumstance of a pistol twice missing fire.
At length, after a variety of hardships, Mr. Park was fortunate enough on the 2d of July to escape from the Moors. Traversing the wilderness, in which he suffered exceedingly from hunger and thirst, on the 5th July he reached a Negroe town. called Wawra, belonging to Mansong King of Bambarra. Continuing his journey from this place, in company with some inhabitants of Kaarta, he passed through several towns of
Bambarra; and on the 21st of July he came in sight of Sego, and of the great object of his mission; the loug sought-for Niger, glittering to the morning sun, as broad as the Thames at Westminster, and flowing slowly to the eastward.'—' I hastened to the brink,' says Mr. Park, and, having drank of the water, lifted up my fervent thanks in prayer, to the great Ruler of all things, for having thus far crowned my endeavours with success.'
The city of Sego, the capital of Bambarra, consists of four distinct towns, two on the northern and two on the southern side of the Niger. These are surrounded with high mud walls; the houses are built of clay, and are of a square form, with flat roofs; the number of inhabitants is nearly thirty thousand. The boats here used for crossing the Niger, or Joliba, (great waters,) are composed of the trunks of two large trees joined together, not side by side, but endways. Mr. Park was prevented from crossing over to the southern bank of the Niger, by an order from Mansong King of Bambarra, and was advised to spend the night in a distant village. At this village, however, no one would receive him; and he was preparing to pass the night on the branches of a tree, in hunger and amid a storm, when he was relieved by a woman who was returning from the labours of the field. It was at the hut of this female that his wants were relieved and his sorrows sung.. The female part of the family lightened their labour by songs, one of which was composed extempore; for I was myself the subject of it. It was sung by one of the young women, the rest joining in a sort of chorus. The air was sweet and plaintive, and the words, literally translated, were these. The winds roared, and the rains fell.-The poor white man, faint and weary, came and sat under our tree.-He has no mother to bring him milk; no wife to grind his corn. Chorus. Let us pity the white man; no mother has he, &c. &c.”—At the end of the volume, we find these words formed into verse by the Duchess of Devonshire, and set to music by Ferrari. The song is as follows: