The town of Sibidooloo is situated in a fertile valley, surrounded with high, rocky hills. It is scarcely accessible for horses, and during the frequent wars between the Bambarrans, Foulahs, and Mandingoes has never once been plundered by an enemy. When I entered the town, the people gathered round me and followed me into the baloon, where I was presented to the dooty or chief man, who is here called mansa, which usually signifies king. Nevertheless, it appeared to me that the government of Manding was a sort of republic, or rather an oligarchy—every town having a particular mansa, and the chief power of the state, in the last resort, being lodged in the assembly of the whole body. I related to the mansa the circumstances of my having been robbed of my horse and apparel; and my story was confirmed by the two shepherds. He continued smoking his pipe all the time I was speaking; but I had no sooner finished, than, taking his pipe from his mouth, and tossing up the sleeve of his cloak with an indignant air—“Sit down,” said he; “you shall have everything restored to you; I have sworn it:”—and then turning to an attendant, “Give the white man,” said he, “a draught of water; and with the first light of the morning go over the hills, and inform the dooty of Bammakoo that a poor white man, the king of Bambarra’s stranger, has been robbed by the king of Fooladoo’s people.”
I little expected, in my forlorn condition, to meet with a man who could thus feel for my sufferings. I heartily thanked the mansa for his kindness, and accepted his invitation to remain with him until the return of the messenger. I was conducted into a hut and had some victuals sent me, but the crowd of people which assembled to see me—all of whom commiserated my misfortunes, and vented imprecations against the Foulahs—prevented me from sleeping until past midnight. Two days I remained without hearing any intelligence of my horse or clothes; and as there was at this time a great scarcity of provisions, approaching even to famine, all over this part of the country, I was unwilling to trespass any farther on the mansa’s generosity, and begged permission to depart to the next village. Finding me very anxious to proceed, he told me that I might go as far as a town called Wonda, where he hoped I would remain a few days until I heard some account of my horse, etc.