Travels in the Interior of Africa — Volume 02 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 166 pages of information about Travels in the Interior of Africa — Volume 02.


The first of the two volumes which contain Mungo Park’s “Travels in the Interior of Africa” brought him through many perils to the first sight of the Niger, and left him sick and solitary, stripped of nearly all that he possessed, a half-starved white man on a half-starved horse.  He was helped on by a bag of cowries from a kindly chief; but in this volume he has not advanced far before he is stripped of all.

There is not in the range of English literature a more interesting traveller’s tale than was given to the world in this book which this volume completes.  It took the deeper hold upon its readers, because it appeared at a time when English hearts began to be stirred by the wrongs of slavery.  But at any time there would be strong human interest in the unconscious painting of the writer’s character, as he makes his way over far regions in which no white man had before been seen, with firm resolve and with good temper as well as courage and prudence, which bring him safe through many a hair-breadth escape.  There was a true kindness in Mungo Park that found answering kindness and brought out the spirit of humanity in those upon whose goodwill his life depends; in the negroes often, although never in the Moors.  There was no flinching in the man, who, when robbed of his horse, stripped to the shirt in a forest and left upon a lion’s track, looked down with a botanist’s eye on the beauty of a tiny moss at his feet, drew comfort from it, and laboured on with quiet faith in God.  The same eye was as quick to recognise the diverse characters of men.  In Mungo Park shrewd humour and right feeling went together.  Whatever he had to say he said clearly and simply; and it went straight home.  He had the good fortune to be born before “picturesque writing” was invented.  When we return to the Gambia with Mungo Park under the same escort with a coffle of slaves on their way to be shipped for the use of Christians, from the strength of his unlaboured narrative we get clear knowledge unclouded by a rainbow mist of words.  He is of one blood with the sailors in whom Hakluyt delighted.


Being, in the manner that has been related, compelled to leave Sego, I was conducted the same evening to a village about seven miles to the eastward, with some of the inhabitants of which my guide was acquainted, and by whom we were well received. {1} He was very friendly and communicative, and spoke highly of the hospitality of his countrymen, but withal told me that if Jenne was the place of my destination, which he seemed to have hitherto doubted, I had undertaken an enterprise of greater danger than probably I was apprised of; for, although the town of Jenne was nominally a part of the king of Bambarra’s dominions, it was in fact, he said, a city of the Moors—­the

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Travels in the Interior of Africa — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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