Five Weeks in a Balloon
Conclusion.--The Certificate.--The French Settlements.--The Post of Medina.--The Basilic.--Saint Louis.--The English Frigate.--The Return to London.
The expedition upon the bank of the river had been sent by the governor of Senegal. It consisted of two officers, Messrs. Dufraisse, lieutenant of marines, and Rodamel, naval ensign, and with these were a sergeant and seven soldiers. For two days they had been engaged in reconnoitring the most favorable situation for a post at Gouina, when they became witnesses of Dr. Ferguson’s arrival.
The warm greetings and felicitations of which our travellers were the recipients may be imagined. The Frenchmen, and they alone, having had ocular proof of the accomplishment of the daring project, naturally became Dr. Ferguson’s witnesses. Hence the doctor at once asked them to give their official testimony of his arrival at the cataracts of Gouina.
“You would have no objection to signing a certificate of the fact, would you?” he inquired of Lieutenant Dufraisse.
“At your orders!” the latter instantly replied.
The Englishmen were escorted to a provisional post established on the bank of the river, where they found the most assiduous attention, and every thing to supply their wants. And there the following certificate was drawn up in the terms in which it appears to-day, in the archives of the Royal Geographical Society of London:
“We, the undersigned, do hereby declare that, on the day herein mentioned, we witnessed the arrival of Dr. Ferguson and his two companions, Richard Kennedy and Joseph Wilson, clinging to the cordage and network of a balloon, and that the said balloon fell at a distance of a few paces from us into the river, and being swept away by the current was lost in the cataracts of Gouina. In testimony whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and seals beside those of the persons hereinabove named, for the information of all whom it may concern.
“Done at the Cataracts of Gouina, on the 24th of May, 1862.
“(Signed), “SAMUEL FERGUSON
“DUFRAISSE, Lieutenant of Marines,
“RODAMEL, Naval Ensign,
“FLIPPEAU, MAYOR, }
“PELISSIER, LOROIS, } Privates.”
RASCAGNET, GUIL- }
LON, LEBEL, }
Here ended the astonishing journey of Dr. Ferguson and his brave companions, as vouched for by undeniable testimony; and they found themselves among friends in the midst of most hospitable tribes, whose relations with the French settlements are frequent and amicable.
They had arrived at Senegal on Saturday, the 24th of May, and on the 27th of the same month they reached the post of Medina, situated a little farther to the north, but on the river.