A sentence of death seemed pronounced against all, who should attempt to penetrate the African continent, and yet were still some, daring spirits, who did not shrink from the undertaking. Captain Gray, of the Royal African corps, who had accompanied the last-mentioned expedition, under Major Peddie and Captain Campbell, undertook, in 1818, to perform a journey by Park’s old route along the Gambia. He reached, without any obstacle, Boolibani, the capital of Bondou, where he remained from the 20th June 1818 to the 22nd May 1819; but, owing to the jealousy of the monarch, he was not permitted to proceed any further. With some difficulty he reached Gallam, where he met Staff-surgeon Dockard, who had gone forward to Sego, to ask permission to proceed through Bambarra, a request which had also been evaded. The whole party then returned to Senegal.
In 1821, Major Laing was sent on a mission from Sierra Leone, through the Timannee, Kooranko, and Soolima countries, with the view of forming some commercial arrangements. On this journey he found reason to believe, that the source of the Niger lay much further to the south than was supposed by Park. At Falabo he was assured that it might have been reached in three days, had not the Kissi nation, in whose territory it was situated, been at war with the Soolimanas, with whom Major Laing then resided. He was inclined to fix the source of this great river a very little above the ninth degree of latitude.
The British government was in the mean time indefatigable in their endeavours to find out the channels for exploring the interior of Africa. The pashaw of Tripoli, although he had usurped the throne by violent means, showed a disposition to improve his country, by admitting the arts and learning of Europe, while the judicious conduct of Consul Warrington inclined him to cultivate the friendship of Britain. Through his tributary kingdom of Fezzan, he held close and constant communication with Bornou, and the other leading states of central Africa, and he readily undertook to promote the views of any English expedition in that direction. The usual means were supplied by the government, and the ordinary inducements held forth by the association.