[PARK, Mungo (1771-1806)]. Three manuscript copies in contemporary hands of correspondence relating to Mungo Park's final expedition in Africa and the search to establish the circumstances of his death, including:
'Copy of a letter to the R.H. Sir Joseph Banks from Mungo Park', Sansanding, 16 November 1805, 1½ pages, folio. Park informs Banks that he has sent him an account of his progress by way of Lord Camden, and gives news of his intention to 'reach the termination of this mysterious stream'; Park has hired a guide, 'one of the greatest travellers in this part of Africa' to go with him to Kashna, speculates on the course of the Niger and the peoples along its banks, describes his preparations for the journey, and expects to reach the sea in three months time. Published in M. Park, The Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa in the year 1805, London: John Murray, 1815, p.60. The copy here omits the postscript concerning Major Rennell, present in the published letter; Gazette', Sierra Leone, 14 March 1810, 2 pages, 4to, reporting on his findings regarding Mungo Park's fate, obtained from a 'Mahomidan, whom I met at Goree, and who had acted as guide to Mr Park from the time of his landing on the continent of Africa, till his embarkation on the Niger'; his letter states that 'the report of his being assassinated ... was untrue', Park journeying along the Niger without any attacks from the natives, he took four months provisions, and mentions Park's being scorched by a blast when firing his gun at birds; with a note in a different hand from the brother of Mungo Park, stating that [Zachary] Macaulay, Secretary to the African Institution, had informed him that the letter had been 'collected & sent by his brother -- and ... is of the opinion that this is the same person who had been examined & despatched in quest of my brother by Lt. Col. Maxwell', commenting on the report's inaccuracies and Park's 'determination to lay in a stash for 4 months at least -- concerning the River to make a circuit of 3000 miles ... not to proceed by night unless the weather was fine and the country uninteresting';
[and] an 'Extract of a letter from Colonel Maxewell Governor of Senegal to Z. Macaulay dated 6 July 1810', 2 pages, 4to, on reports from Goree of a sighting of Mungo Park.
The fate of Mungo Park's expedition was never fully resolved; early reports of Park's death were contradictory, so that in 1810, Lt. Col. Maxwell, then Governor of Senegal (later Governor of Sierra Leone), engaged Isaaco to return to the Interior to search for evidence of Park. Isaaco returned in September 1811, having met Park's guide, Amadi Fatouma, and their narratives, translated from the Arabic, were published in 1815, along with Park's journal and a memoir by John Whishaw. The African Institute, who held the original documents relating to Park's final expedition, provided them for publication, and Sir Joseph Banks also made his correspondence with Park available. Zachary Macaulay (1768-1838) served as Secretary to the African Institute 1807-1812.