Jobson, Richard (DNB00)

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JOBSON, RICHARD (fl. 1620–1623), traveller, was appointed in 1620 to command an expedition to explore the river Gambia, in the interests of ‘the gentlemen adventurers for the countries of Guinea and Benin.’ Former attempts in 1618 and 1619 had failed, in consequence of the hostility of the Portuguese and the unhealthiness of the climate. Jobson, sailing from England on 25 Oct. 1620, and arriving at the mouth of the Gambia on 17 Nov., succeeded in ascending the river as high as Tenda, though he did not meet with the gold which was the principal object in view. After his return to England in 1621, he published ‘The Golden Trade, or a Discovery of the River Gambra and the Golden Trade of the Æthiopians; also the Commerce with a great blacke merchant called Buckor Sano, and his report of the houses covered with gold, and other strange observations for the good of our owne countrey, set downe as they were collected in travelling part of the yeares 1620 and 1621; by Richard Jobson, gentleman,’ small 4to, 1623. It does not appear that he was a seaman (p. 39), or had any previous experience of travel beyond Ireland, where he had formed a very unflattering estimate of the Irish (p. 37). He may have been a merchant; he writes as a man of education, though without any literary ability, and of intelligence, though he admits a partial belief in the black man's devil. He gives interesting accounts of the natives, till then unvisited by Europeans, though they had already an overland trade with the Moors of the North coast.

[An Account of the Voyage and Expedition extracted from Jobson's Journal, as well as an abridgment of Jobson's Narrative, was published in Purchas his Pilgrimes, pt. ii. pp. 921, 1567. There is no other original authority; but from these the story has been repeated in Astley's Collection of Voyages and Travels, 1745, ii. 174.]

J. K. L.