I wrote to him to desire that he would use his interest
with the slatees, or slave-merchants, to procure me the company and
protection of the first coffle (or caravan) that might leave Gambia
for the interior country; and, in the meantime, I requested him to
purchase for me a horse and two asses. A few days afterwards the
Doctor returned to Pisania, and informed me that a coffle would
certainly go for the interior in the course of the dry season; but
that, as many of the merchants belonging to it had not yet completed
their assortment of goods, he could not say at what time they would
As the characters and dispositions of the slatees, and people that
composed the caravan, were entirely unknown to me - and as they
seemed rather averse to my purpose, and unwilling to enter into any
positive engagements on my account - and the time of their departure
being withal very uncertain, I resolved, on further deliberation, to
avail myself of the dry season, and proceed without them.
Dr. Laidley approved my determination, and promised me every
assistance in his power to enable me to prosecute my journey with
comfort and safety.
This resolution having been formed, I made preparations accordingly.
And now, being about to take leave of my hospitable friend (whose
kindness and solicitude continued to the moment of my departure),
and to quit for many months the countries bordering on the Gambia,
it seems proper, before I proceed with my narrative, that I should
in this place give some account of the several negro nations which
inhabit the banks of this celebrated river, and the commercial
intercourse that subsists between them, and such of the nations of
Europe as find their advantage in trading to this part of Africa.
The observations which have occurred to me on both these subjects
will be found in the following chapter.