Lander's Travels eBook

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


There is no Chapter IV as the following chapter was numbered Chapter V by mistake.


The death of Major Houghton left the African Association without a single individual employed in the particular service, for which the company was originally established.  On a sudden, Mr. Mungo Park, a native of Scotland, offered himself to the society, and the committee having made such inquiries as they thought necessary, accepted him for the service.

His instructions were very plain and concise.  He was directed, on his arrival in Africa, to pass on to the river Niger, either by the way of Bambouk, or by such other route as should be most convenient; that he should ascertain the cause, and if possible, the rise and termination of that river; that he should use his utmost exertion to visit the principal towns or cities in its neighbourhood, particularly Timbuctoo and Houssa, and that he should afterwards return to Europe, by such route as, under the then existing circumstances of his situation, should appear to him most advisable.

He sailed from Portsmouth on the 22nd of May, 1793, and on the 4th June, he saw the mountains over Mogadore, on the coast of Africa, and on the 21st, after a pleasant voyage, he anchored at Jillifree, a town on the northern bank of the Gambia, opposite to James’ Island, where the English had formerly a small fort.

On the 23rd, he proceeded to Vintain, a town situated about two miles up a creek, on the southern side of the river.  Here he continued till the 26th, when he continued his course up the river, which is deep and muddy.  The banks are covered with impenetrable thickets of mangrove, and the whole of the adjacent country appears to be flat and swampy.  The Gambia abounds with fish, but none of them are known in Europe.  In six days after leaving Vintain, he reached Jonkakonda, a place of considerable trade, where the vessel was to take in part of her lading.  The next morning the European traders came from their different factories, to receive their letters, and learn the nature and amount of the cargo; whilst the captain despatched a letter to Dr. Laidley, with the information of Mr. Park’s arrival.  Dr. Laidley came to Jonkakonda the morning following, when he delivered to him Mr. Beaufoy’s letter, when the doctor gave him a kind invitation to spend his time at his house at Pisania, until an opportunity should offer of prosecuting his journey.  This invitation was too acceptable to be refused.

Pisania is a small village in the king of Yany’s dominions, established by British subjects, as a factory for trade, and inhabited solely by them and their black servants.  The white residents at the time of Mr. Park’s arrival, consisted only of Dr. Laidley and two gentlemen of the name of Ainsley, but their domestics were numerous.  They enjoyed perfect security, and being highly respected by the natives at large, wanted no accommodation the country could supply, and the greatest part of the trade in slaves; ivory, and gold was in their hands.

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Lander's Travels from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.