The first person who brought home any accounts of French Africa, was Jannequin, a young man of some rank, who, as he was walking along the quay at Dieppe, saw a vessel bound for this unknown continent, and took a sudden fancy to embark and make the voyage. He was landed at a part of the Sahara, near Cane Blanco. He was struck in an extraordinary degree with the desolate aspect of the region. In ascending the river, however, he was delighted with the brilliant verdure of the banks, the majestic beauty of the trees, and the thick impenetrable underwood. The natives received him hospitably, and he was much struck by their strength and courage, decidedly surpassing similar qualities in Europeans. He saw a moorish chief, called the Kamalingo, who, mounting on horseback, and brandishing three javelins and a cutlass, engaged a lion in single combat, and vanquished that mighty king of the desert. Flat noses and thick lips, so remote from his own ideas of the beautiful, were considered on the Senegal, as forming the perfection of the human visage; nay, he even fancies that they were produced by artificial means. Of actual discovery, little transpired worthy of record in the travels of Jannequin, and his enthusiasm became soon daunted by the perils which at every step beset him.
Nearly seventy years had elapsed, and the spirit of African discovery had remained dormant, whilst in the mean time the remotest quarters of the globe had been reached by British enterprise; the vast region of Africa still remaining an unseemly blank in the map of the earth. To a great and maritime nation as England then was, and to the cause of the sciences in general, particularly that of geography, it was considered as highly discreditable, that no step should be taken to obtain a correct knowledge of the geographical situation of the interior of Africa, from which continual reports arrived of the existence of great commercial cities, and the advantages which the Arabs derived from their intercourse with them. For the purpose of promoting this great national undertaking, a small number of highly-spirited individuals formed themselves into what was termed the African Association, A sum of money was subscribed, and individuals were sought for, who were qualified to undertake such arduous and dangerous enterprises. Lord Rawdon, afterwards the Marquess of Hastings, Sir Joseph Banks, the Bishop of Llandaff, Mr. Beaufoy, and Mr. Stuart, were nominated managers.
The first adventurer was Mr. Ledyard, who, from his earliest age, had been a traveller from one extremity of the earth to the other. He had circumnavigated the globe with Capt. Cook, had resided for several years amongst the American indians, and had travelled with the most scanty means from Stockholm round the Gulf of Bothnia, and thence to the remotest parts of Asiatic Russia. On his return from his last journey, Sir Joseph Banks was then just looking out