Lander's Travels eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,054 pages of information about Lander's Travels.

Adams may be said to have been the first Christian, who ever reached the far-famed city of Timbuctoo, and it must be admitted that many attempts were made to throw a positive degree of discredit upon his narrative, and to consider it more the work of deep contrivance than of actual experience.  It is certain that many difficulties present themselves in the narrative of Adams, which cannot be reconciled with the discoveries subsequently made, but that cannot be argued as a reason for invalidating the whole of his narrative; especially when it is so amply and circumstantially confirmed by the inquiries which were set on foot by Mr. Dupuis, at the instigation of the African Association, and the result of which was, a complete confirmation of all the circumstances, which Adams


It is perhaps not the least of the many extraordinary circumstances attending the city of Timbuctoo, that no two travellers agree in their account of it; and for this reason it is most difficult to decide, to whom the greatest credibility should be awarded, or, on the other hand, whether some of them, who pretend to have resided within its walls, ever visited it at all.  The contradictions of the respective travellers are in many instances so gross, that it is scarcely possible to believe that the description, which they are then giving can apply to one and the same place, and therefore we are entitled to draw the inference, that some of them are practising on our credulity, and are making us the dupes of their imagination, rather than the subjects of their experience.  The expectations of moorish magnificence were raised to a very high pitch, by some of the inflated accounts of the wealth and splendour of the great city of central Africa; but these expectations were considerably abated by the description given of Timbuctoo by Adams and Sidi Hamet, a moorish merchant, who describes that city in the following terms:—­

“Timbuctoo is a very large city, five times as great as Swearah (Suera or Mogadore).  It is built in a level plain surrounded on all sides with hills, except on the south, where the plain continues to the bank of the same river, which is wide and deep, and runs to the east.  We were obliged to go to it to water our camels, and there we saw many boats, made of great trees, some with negroes paddling in them across the river.  The city is strongly walled in with stone laid in clay, like the towns and houses in Suse, only a great deal thicker.”

The latter account is at total variance with both Adams and Caillie, who describe Timbuctoo as a city having no walls, nor any thing resembling fortifications.  “The house of the king is very large and high, like the largest house in Mogadore, but built of the same materials as the walls.  There are a great many more houses in the city, built of stone, with shops on one side, where they sell salt, the staple article, knives, blue cloth, haicks, and an abundance

Project Gutenberg
Lander's Travels from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.