On the ensuing morning Mr. Park went to have an audience of King Demba Sego Jalla, but the crowd of people that were assembled to see him was so great, that he could scarcely gain admittance; he at length arrived in the presence of the monarch, whom he found sitting upon a mat in a large hut: he appeared to be about sixty years of age. He surveyed Mr. Park with great attention, and on being made acquainted with the object of his journey, the good old king was perfectly satisfied, and promised him every assistance in his power. He said that he had seen Major Houghton, and presented him with a white horse, but that after passing the kingdom of Kaarta, he had lost his life among the moors, but in what manner he was utterly ignorant. The audience being ended, Mr. Park returned to his lodging, where he made up a small present for the king, who sent him in return a large white bullock.
Although the king was well disposed towards Mr. Park, the latter soon discovered that very great and unexpected obstacles were likely to impede his progress. A war was on the eve of breaking out between Kasson and Kajaaga; the kingdom of Kaarta, through which his route lay, being involved in the issue, and was also threatened with hostilities by Bambarra. Taking these circumstances into consideration, the king advised Mr. Park to remain in the vicinity of Kooniakary, till some decisive information could be obtained of the state of the belligerents, which was expected to be received in four or live days. Mr. Park readily submitted to this proposal, and returned to Soolo, where he received from Salim Daucari, on Dr. Laidley’s account, the value of three slaves, chiefly in gold dust.
Being anxious to proceed as soon as possible, Mr. Park begged Daucari to use his interest with the king, to procure him a guide by the way of Foolado, as it was reported that the war had commenced. Daucari accordingly set out for Kooniakary on the morning of the 20th, and the same evening returned with an answer from the king, stating that his majesty had made an agreement with the king of Kaarta, to send all merchants and travellers through his dominions, but if Mr. Park wished to take the route of Foolado, the king gave him permission to do so, though he could not consistently with his agreement send him a guide. In consequence of this answer, Mr. Park determined to wait till he could pass through Kaarta without danger.
In the interim, however, it was whispered abroad, that the white man had received abundance of gold from Salim Daucari, and on the morning of the 23rd, Sambo Sego paid Mr. Park a visit, attended by a party of horsemen, and insisted upon knowing the exact amount of the money which he had received, declaring at the same time, that one half of it must go to the king; that he himself must have a handsome present, as being the king’s son, and his attendants, as being the king’s relations. Mr. Park was preparing to submit to this arbitrary exaction, when Salim Daucari interposed, and at last prevailed upon Sambo to accept sixteen bars of European merchandize, and some powder and ball, as a complete payment of every demand that could be made in the kingdom of Kasson.