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Lander's Travels The Travels of Richard Lander into the Interior of Africa   By: (1777-1850)

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TRAVELS OF RICHARD AND JOHN LANDER, INTO THE INTERIOR OF AFRICA, FOR THE DISCOVERY OF THE COURSE AND TERMINATION OF THE NIGER;

FROM

UNPUBLISHED DOCUMENTS IN THE POSSESSION OF THE LATE CAPT. JOHN WILLIAM BARBER FULLERTON, Employed in the African Service:

WITH A Prefatory Analysis of the Previous Travels OF PARK, DENHAM, CLAPPERTON, ADAMS, LYON, RITCHIE, &c. Into the hitherto unexplored Countries of Africa.

BY ROBERT HUISH, ESQ.

Author of the "Last Voyage of Capt. Sir John Ross, to the Arctic Regions," "Memoirs of W. Cobbett, Esq." "Private and Political Life of the late Henry Hunt, Esq." &c. &c. &c.

LONDON:

(Printed for the Proprietors,)

PUBLISHED BY JOHN SAUNDERS, 25, NEWGATE STREET.

1836.

INTRODUCTION.

Many are the acquisitions which geography has made since the boundaries of commerce have been extended, and the spirit of enterprise has carried our adventurous countrymen into countries which had never yet been indented by a European foot; and which, in the great map of the world, appeared as barren and uninhabitable places, destitute of all resources from which the traveller could derive a subsistence. It must, however, on the other hand, be admitted, that design has frequently had little to do in the discovery of those countries, however well it may have been conceived, and however great the perseverance may have been, which was exhibited in the pursuit. The discovery of America was, indeed, a splendid example of an enlightened conception, and an undaunted heroism, crowned with the most complete success; and the laudable and unabated ardour which this country, in despite of the most appalling obstacles, has persisted in solving the great geographical problem of the Course and Termination of the Niger, may be placed second in rank to the discovery of America.

As long as any fact is shut out from the knowledge of man, he who is in search of it will supply the deficiency by his own conclusions, which will be more or less removed from the object of his pursuit, according to the previous opinions which he may have formed, or to the credit which he may have placed on the reports of others. These remarks cannot be better illustrated, than in the case furnished by the Joliba, the Quorra, or Niger, the termination of which river was utterly unknown until Richard and John Lander, braving difficulties which would have broken any other hearts than theirs, succeeded in navigating the river until its conflux with the ocean. Since Park's first discovery of the Joliba, every point of the compass has been assumed for the ulterior course and termination of that river, and however wrong subsequent discovery has proved this speculative geography to have been, it is not to be regarded as useless. Theories may be far short of the truth, but while they display the ingenuity and reasoning powers of their authors, they tend to keep alive that spirit of inquiry and thirst for knowledge which terminates in discovery.

Various accounts of this river had been gradually collected from different sources, which afforded grounds for fresh theories respecting its termination. That of Reichard was the favourite, he supposing that it assumed a southwest course, and terminated in the gulph of Guinea. It was observed at the time, that there was neither evidence on which such an opinion could be supported, nor any by which it could be refuted. Discovery has proved him to be right in respect to its ultimate disposal; but at the same time, he participated in the general error regarding its course to Wangara. These different opinions appeared in several publications, in which, as might be expected, much error was mixed up with the general correctness. That the river flowed into the sea at Funda, was the principal and chief point that was gained; but the most extraordinary circumstance attending this discovery, was, that no one knew where Funda was. The only exception to these was the theory of Major Denham, supported by Sultan Bello's information, who continued its easterly course below Boossa, and ended it in Lake Tchad... Continue reading book >>




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