Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 665 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 02.
of the tempestuous weather, I was under the necessity of travelling back by land to the river Senegal.  For, finding it impossible to get on board at the coast by reason of the surf, I had to order the ship to return to that river, and went there by land to re-embark.  On this occasion, being very desirous to transmit instructions to those on board the ship to meet me at the river Senegal, I inquired among the negroes if any one would undertake to carry a letter from the shore.  Several of them readily offered their services, though the ship lay three miles from the shore, and, owing to a strong wind, the sea broke on the shore with a tremendous surf, insomuch that I thought it impossible for any one to succeed in the attempt.  Besides the surf, there were several sand banks near the shore, and other banks about half way to the ship, between which there ran a strong current, sometimes one way and sometimes the other, along shore, so that it was extremely difficult for any one to swim through without infinite danger of being carried away by the stream; and the sea broke with such violence on the banks, that it seemed quite impossible to surmount such complicated obstacles.  Yet two of the negroes offered to go, and only demanded two mavulgies of tin for each of them, one mavulgi being worth no more than a grosso[2], at which price they engaged to carry my letter in safety to the ship.  I cannot express the difficulties which they encountered in passing the sand bank.  They were sometimes out of sight for a considerable space, so that I often thought they were both drowned.  At last, one of them, finding himself unable to resist the violence with which the waves broke over him, turned back; but the other, being stronger, got over the bank after struggling a whole hour, and, having carried the letter to the caravel, returned with an answer.  This seemed to me very wonderful, and made me conclude that the negroes of this coast must be the most expert swimmers in the world.

It has been already observed, that those who are called lords in this country have neither castles nor cities, the king even having nothing but villages with thatched houses.  Budomel is lord of one part of this kingdom, yet his place of residence was not a palace, nor even a walled house.  These great men are not lords on account of their riches or treasure, as they possess neither, nor have they any coin in use among them; but they are considered as such out of courtesy, and on account of the great retinues by which they are always attended, being more feared and respected by their subjects than any of the lords in Italy.  Budomel has several villages appointed for his own habitation and that of his wives, as he never fixes in one place.  The village in which I resided with Bisboror was one of his habitations, containing between forty and fifty thatched cottages, built near one another, and surrounded with ditches and strong pallisades, having only one or two passages left for entering;

Follow Us on Facebook