[Footnote 1: Now Lieutenant Colonel Lloyd.]
An Excursion to the Main Land.—Visit to King Marraboo.—Anecdotes of this Chief.—Another Excursion, accompanied by Mr. Hamilton.—A shooting Party, accompanied by Marraboo’s Son, Alexander, and other Chiefs.—Reflections upon Information obtained from them, relative to this Part of the Coast, and at Goree.—Embark in his Majesty’s Sloop of War, the Eugenie, which convoyed Mr. Mungo Park in the Brig Crescent, to the River Gambia, on his late Mission to the Interior of Africa.—Observations on that Subject.—Arrive in Porto Praya Bay, in the Island of St. Jago.—Some Remarks upon that Island.—Departure from thence to England, and safe arrival at Portsmouth.
A few days after the arrival of the Lark at the island of Goree, accompanied by a party of the officers of that ship, I made an excursion upon the main land: we set out from the ship early in the morning, for Decar, the capital of a chief or king, named Marraboo: we arrived before he had moved abroad, and, after going through winding narrow paths or streets, we were conducted by one of his people to his palace, a wretched hovel, built with mud, and thatched with bamboo. In our way to this miserable habitation of royalty, a confused sound of voices issued forth from almost every hut we passed, which originated from their inhabitants vociferating their morning orisons to Allah and Mahomet; their religion being an heterogeneous system of Mahomedanism, associated with superstitious idolatry, incantations, and charms.
We found Marraboo’s head men and priests assembled before his majesty’s dwelling to give him service, and to offer him their morning’s salutation. At length he made his appearance, followed by several of the officers of the palace, carrying skins of wild beasts, and mats, which upon enquiry, I found to have composed the royal bed, spread out upon a little hurdle, erected about a foot and a half high, interwoven with bamboo canes: my attention was much engaged with this novel sight; and I could not contemplate the venerable old man, surrounded by his chiefs, without conceiving I beheld one of the patriarchs of old, in their primaeval state. After his chiefs had paid their obeisance, I presumed, accompanied by my friends, to approach the royal presence; when he discovered us among the group, his countenance underwent an entire change, expressive of reserve and surprise, exclaiming, “What did I want with Marraboo?” With great humility I replied, “I be Englishman, come from King George’s country, his brother, to give him service.” He replied with quickness, “I be very glad to see you, what service have you brought?” I was aware of this tax upon my civility, and replied, that “I make him good service;” which in plain English was, that I shall make you a good present. He then conversed with more freedom relative to his country,