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I TRUST it will not be disagreeable to many of the readers of my former tours*, to have some further account of the Middleton family, after Arthur's return from America, and to accompany him in the prosecution of his design of visiting Africa, Asia, and South America. In compliance with his mother's wish, he entered, as a fellow commoner, at Cambridge, and pursued his studies, for about three years, so assiduously, that she began to entertain hopes that he would settle quietly, on an estate in Worcestershire, left him by his father's elder brother; but, whatever restraint he might have put on his own inclinations, whilst he continued under the guidance of this wise monitress, his good resolutions, of leading the private life of a country gentleman, active in good works in his own neighbourhood, and the promoter of order and
* See Family Tour, Excursions in North America, Peregrinations in London, &c.
happiness amongst his dependants, failed, from an event that left him free to follow the dictates of his taste, and dissolved the strong, bonds of attachment. A fever deprived him of his mother, and the family of that domestic establishment, that no longer subsists, when the parent is removed. It happened, fortunately for her daughters, that Catharine was married, a few months before her death, to a man of excellent character, who immediately, on this misfortune, offered an asylum to Louisa in his house, where she lived happily under the protection of her sister. Edwin pursued the study of the law with an earnestness and stability, consistent with his character, and a pledge for future success. Arthur, being thus left alone, and having, as it were, no social hearth to invite him to domestic pleasures, determined to yield to inclination, by bidding adieu to his friends in England, and following whatever course his curiosity might direct. Just as he had come to this decision, an American vessel brought a letter from Sancho, the Negro, whom he had liberated at Charlestown*, and settled at Nantucket, informing him, that he had lost his wife; and that, finding a solitary home insupportable, he had converted his property into money, and should take his passage in the next ship to England, that he might devote the rest of his life to the service of his master and benefactor. Nothing could be more congenial to Arthur's feelings, at this moment, than the intelligence this letter contained;
* See Excursions in North America, Letter XI.
he was immediately struck with the advantage of an attendant, at once so faithful, and, from having endured many hardships, in different climates, so well qualified for such a hazardous enterprize. The necessary preparations for a journey, that was likely to detain him from his native country for several years, took up a considerable time; in the interim, Sancho arrived, and expressed a perfect willingness to accompany his master to the end of the world, if he required it.
From the time that Arthur had resolved up devoting the prime of his life to explore distant regions, he had turned his attention to the acquisition of the oriental languages, particularly the Arabic, as a necessary assistance to his present design, of beginning his career by visiting the interior parts of Africa.
As the time for departure approached, the dangers of the undertaking became more striking to his family; his sisters, especially, recited all the dreadful narratives they had read of travellers through the interior of Africa, who had been subjected to the horrors of slavery, swallowed up in showers of sand, torn to pieces by wild beasts, carried off by pestilential fevers, or fallen victims to the savage ferocity of the inhabitants. Their remonstrances were enforced by their tears and entreaties; but all in vain, his resolution was not to be shaken; he tried to calm their apprehensions, by representing, that his ardour, activity, and health, added to the habit of enduring fatigue and difficulty, eminently qualified him to sustain and
overcome these obstacles. He assured them, that he was not led to direct his course to Africa by mere curiosity, but was animated by the hope of facilitating a communication between the Africans and Europeans, that would be likely to promote the improvement and increase the comforts of the former, and prove beneficial to both. Finding persuasion ineffectual, his brother and sisters took an affectionate leave of him, urging, as a last request, that he would keep a regular account of the circumstances of his journey, with a description of the places and things most interesting, and forward it to England, whenever he had the opportunity of a safe conveyance. He readily promised to comply with their wishes, and strictly adhered to his engagement, as will appear in the following pages, which contain the narrative of his adven
DEAR BROTHER AND SISTERS,
SEPARATED from you by a vast distance, I have no other means of testifying my affection, than by the observation of your request, made at parting; but I ought to premise, that I do not intend writing a formal journal of the transactions of every day, but shall mark such events only as are striking or characteristic of the different regions I pass through, or their inhabitants.
I left my native country, as you may remember, in the beginning of December, in a merchantman, destined for Sierra Leone. For the first twenty days, the passage was agreeable, the winds favourable, and every thing promised a successful voyage; but, whether the captain was unacquainted with the dangers of the coast, or blindly partial to the merit of his son, a rash, inconsiderate youth of nineteen, I cannot determine, he intrusted the management of the ship to his diree. tion, and, in consequence of his ignorance, we ran aground, far north of our destination, on one of those long sand-banks that are numerous on the western coast of Africa. The shock was great, and the consternation general; the roaring of the sea, the dark