« AnteriorContinuar »
authorities, it can scarcely be doubted that the Nile of the Negroes, or, as Abulfeda also calls it, the Nile of Ghana, as well as all the waters falling from the west of Nubia and Sennaar, run to the westward. It is true, as Major Rennel has observed, that these opinions furnish no proofs of continuity of course: certainly not; but they furnish a strong presumption, and go very far to establish the fact, that the Niger, or Nile of the Negroes, has two courses, one from the west to east, by Silla and Tombuctoo; the other from east to west, through Wangara, Ghana and Kassina. If these two courses, which are in fact two distinct rivers, meet at åll, they must meet in some common receptacle, as an inland sea or lake; this is Major Rennel's argument against the course of the river at Kassina being to the westward, because, he says, we have not heard of any such receptacle. By Sidi Hamet's narrative they do not meet on this side Wassanah, and consequently the notion of such a receptacle is rendered unnecessary; it moreover reconciles the contradictory opinions that have been maintained respecting the opposite directions in which the Niger has been represented to flow; by separating the two streams, not with a lake, but by an intermediate ridge of elevated ground; by this interposition of a southcastern range of mountains, the Niger of the West is sent off to the southward, leaving the Niger of the East to find its way on the opposite side of this range, to the sea of Soudan, (if any such exists,) or to the lakes or swamps of Ghana and Wangara, which remain in their conjectural position undisturbed ; and whose waters are as free to escape to the southward, orto be evaporated according to Major Rennel's hypothesis, as if no such chain of mountains existed. Still the important question arises, Where are we to look for the termination of that Niger which flows past Tombuctoo? Sidi Hamet's information, if correct, would also decide that point in the way that Park had determined it in his own mind, from the best information we may be well assured, which he could collect at Sansanding; and which, in our review of his last journey, (No. XXV.) we examined at some length.To that Number we must refer for the arguments made use of to obviate the objections urged against the hypothesis of the identity of the Niger and the Congo; objections which, in our opinion, we there completely over-ruled. The probability, we understand, of this identity has not been weakened, but, on the contrary, very much strengthened by the late Captain Tuckey's discoveries andobservations up the majestic Congo or Zaire, and the information which he obtained from the natives in the interior. That collected at Wassanah by Sidi Hamet goes at once to decide this curious question. He tells us that the boats with slaves go down the river, first to the southward and then to the westward, when in three moons they come to the great water.
The distance is somewhat more than from Tombuctoo to Wassanah; the stop,
pages occupy, at least, one third of the journey; they seldom exceed, in boat navigation, twenty miles a day; and if the river maintains (as described by Sidi Hamet, and, as it is said, also by Captain Tuckey) the same character, of being frequently interrupted by rapids and bristled with rocks, frequent portage is unavoidable. With these allowances, the course and distance of the Niger, Zolibib, or Zadi, would lead to the discharge of its waters into the ocean about the 6th parallel of southern latitude. This is certainly curious, and, at all events, offers a new view of the subject;—whether a true or false one, we were in hopes would soon have been decided by Major Peddie; but be too has fallen a victim to zeal for African discovery: the second in command, Lieutenant Campbell, an inLelligent officer, has however, as we understand, proceeded from the head of the river Nunez across the mountains towards Bammakoo, where Park embarked on the Niger; a hope therefore still remains that the interesting question of the termination of the Niger will yet be solved.
The last extract we shall make from this interesting volume is the account of an attack by Arab robbers of the great united caravan from Tombuctoo to Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli and Fez, which the two brothers accompanied.
“ Our caravan consisted of about fifteen hundred men, most of us well armed with double-barrelled guns and scimitars, and we bad about four thousand camels. It was a long journey to the next well; so we stopped here six days peaceably, having encamped in a valley a little distance west of the pond or lake. We had always made the camels lie down in a circle, placing the goods in the centre, and the men be. tween the camels and the goods ; we had two hundred men on guard, and always ready for any emergency. In the night of the sixth day, about two hours after midnight, we were attacked by a very large body of wandering Arabs: they had got to within a few yards of us betoie they were discovered, and poured in a most destructive fire of musKetry, at the same time running in like kungry tigers, with spears and scimitars in their bands, with dreadful yellings :--they threw the whole caravan into confusion for a moment; but we were in a light circle, fornied by the camels, which with the guards kept them off for a short time, till the whole of our men seized their arms and rallied. The battle now raged most furiously ; it was cloudy and very dark; the blaze of the powder making only a faint light, whilst the cracking of musketry, the clashing of swords, the shouts of the combatants, and the bellowings of the wounded and frightened camels, together with the groans of the wounded and dying men, made the most dreadful and horrid uproar that can be conceived; the fight continued for about two bours, hand to hand, and breast to breast, when the assailants gave way and ran off, leaving their dead and wounded on the field of battle. We remained with our arms in our hands all night. I was wounded with a ball in my thigh, and Seid with a dagger ou bis breast."
They then (Riley says) showed me their scars. in the VOL. XVI, NO, ITXIL.
inorning we numbered our men, and found that two hundred and thirty were killed, and about one hundred wounded; three hundred of the carnels were either slain or so badly wounded, that they could not walk, and so we killed them. We found seven hundred of our enemies lying on the ground, either dead or wounded ;--those that were badly wounded we killed, to put them out of pain, and carried the others that could walk along with us for slaves: of these there were about one hundred. As the enemy fled, they took all their good camels with them, for they had left them at a distance, so that we only found about fifty poor ones, which we killed ; but we picked up two hundred and twenty good double-barrelled guns from the ground. The gun which Seid now uses is one of them :-we got also about four hundred scimitars or long knives. We were told by the prisoners that the company who attacked us was upwards of four thousand, strong, and that they had been preparing for it three moons. We were afraid of another attack, and went off the same day, and travelled all the night, steering to the N. E. (out of the course the caravans commonly take) twenty-three days' journey, when we came to a place called the Éight Wells, where we found plenty of good water. Fifty of our men had died, and twenty-one of the slaves." ?-pp. 343, 9.
Sidi Hamet, who makes so conspicuous a figure in this volume, is no fictitious personage, like his namesake Cid Hamet Benangeli; he is mentioned by Adams and by Dupuis; and, since Riley's release, has to a certain extent redeemed the pledge which he made at parting: “Your friend (Mr. Willshire) has fed me with milk and honey, and I will always in future do what is in my power to redeem Christians from slavery.' Scarcely two months after this, the brig Surprise, of Glasgow, with a crew of seventeen persons and three passengers, was cast away close to Cape Bojador, on the 28th of December, 1815, when the whole, with the exception of two that were drowned, fell into the hands of the Arabs, who marched them, as usual, into the interior, till they met a Moor on horseback, to whom they were delivered, and who took them to Wed-noon. This was no other than Sidi Hamet, who advised them 10 write to Mr. Willshire, English consul at Suara, who having heard of the wreck, had already entered into engagements fortheir ransom with Sidi Ishem, the chief of Wed-noon, and principal owner of the caravan which perished, as we have related, in the Desert. They were ransomed, and sent to England, as was also, at the same time, a lad of the name of Alexander Scott, who was wrecked in the Montezuma, of Liverpool, in 1810, as mentioned by Adams, and who had remained in slavery ever since. His appearance is said to have been most deplorable; though not twenty, he wore the marks of advanced age.-Thus, in a very remarkable manner, have all the statements of Robert Adams been confirmed. We think it is by no means improbable, that Sidi Hamet was on his way to fulfil the oath which he swore to Riley, ' by his right hand,'—that he would bring up the remainder of his crew if they were to be found alive, and God spared his life !
It appears, indeed, from letters which Riley has received in America from Mr. Willshire, that Porter and Burns have been ransomed by him; that two others had been released from further suffering in this world; and that Sidi Ishem had heard some vague rumours of the rest in the southern part of the Desert.
It is to be hoped, indeed, that, since the Arabs of the Desert know that all Christians wrecked on the coast will be purchased immediately at Wed-noon, for the purpose of ohtaining a certain profit by their ransom at Mogadore, the lives of the captives will not only be preserved, but that the certainty of the reward will operate on the avarice of the robbers, and secure to the shipwrecked mariners a treatment less rigorous than that experienced by Mr. Riley and his unfortunate companions. ART. II. 1. M. Tullii Ciceronis Sex Oralionum Fragmenta
inedita, cum Commentariis antiquis etiam ineditis. Invenii, recensuit, nolis illustravit Angelus Maius, Bibliothecæ Ambro
sianæ à Linguis Orientalibus. Mediolani. 1814, 2 tom. Svo. 2. Q. Aurelii Symmachi oclo Orationum ineditarum partes. In
venit, notisque declaravit A. Maius. Mediol. 1815. 8vo. 3. M. Cornelii Frontonis Opera inedita, cum Epistolis item ineditis
Antonini Pii, M. Aurelii, L. Veri, et Appiani. Invenit A.
Maius. Mediol. 1815. 2 tom. 8vo. 4. M. Acci Plauti Fragmenta inedita : item ad P. Terentiun
Commentationes et Picturæ inedita. Inventore A. Maio. Me
diol. 1815. 8vo. 5. Themistič Philosophi Oratio de Prefectura suscepta. Inventore
et interprete A. Maio. Mediol. 1816. 8vo. 6. Dionysü Halicarnassei Romanarum Antiquitatum pars hactenus
desiderata,Nunc denique ope Codicun Ambrosianorum ab Angelo Maio, quantum licuit, restituta. Opus Fruncisco I. Augusto sacrum.
Mediol. 1816. 4to. FOR the last half century a notion has prevailed amongst learned
ladies and half-learned gentlemen, that many valuable remains of antiquity were still concealed in different libraries on the continent, especially in Italy; and that, in all likelihood, the researches of diligent and persevering antiquaries would eventually bring to light some precious relics of Greek and Roman literature. This expectation was more pleasing than reasonable. The unceasing industry with which the great Italian scholars of the 15th and 16th centuries, Petrarca, Boccaccio, Poggio, Aretino, Manuzio, hunted out the manuscripts of classical authors, left but little grounds to hope for any subsequent discovery of importance. It appears from the letters of those times, that no tronble ner expense was spared in the prosecution of such researches, wbich, however, were not a liile impeded by the bigotry and avarice of the monks, whose interest it was to keep the treasures to themselves, not only hecause it was a maxim of their policy to obstruct the diffusion of knowledge, but because the transcribing of MSS. was to them a source of considerable emolument. Erasmus pathetically expostulates with some canons, who could neither use their manuscript books themselves, nor would permit the use of them to others. It is certain, however, that such exertions were made by those scholars who lived about the time when printing was invented, and by the earliest professors of the typographical art, to procure copies of the classical writers, that there was no good reason to expect that much was left to be done in this department of literature.
But by what unfortunate concurrence of events did it happen, that a great part of the ancient authors have come down to us in se imperfect and mutilated a state; and that so many are known only by name, although copies of their entire works must have been liberally dispersed over various parts of Italy, the eastern coasts of Europe, and the shores of Asia Minor? How is it that, of the great tragedians of Greece, only a very few out of many plays survive, and that those of Lalium are known only by some scaitered fragments ? that scarcely any thing remains of the great lyric poets ? that Menander and Philemon, and the host of later dramatists, are lost? and that those who do survive, exist in a mangled and pitiable state,
laceri crudeliter ora,
Auribus, et truncas inhonesto vulnere nares ? These are questions which must frequently have suggested themselves to the mind of every one conversant with such sludies, but which, perhaps, no one has been able to answer to his owul satisfaction. Several circumstances, indeed, may be assigned, which will go some way towards solving the difficulty ; but it is not easy altogether to account for the singular fate which has attended many of the greatest luminaries of antiquity. With respect to the Latin classics, indeed, the matter is more readily explained. The introduction of scholastic theology, and the decline of classical taste, gradually brought the study of the ancient authors into disrepute. Literature was confined almost exclusively 10 ecclesiastics, who found it more profitable to distinguish them. selves in enucleating the subtleties of dialectic divinity, than to waste their time in expounding Cicero or Livy. Joannes Sarisberiensis gives us a brief but forcible description of the state of things in those times : “Sufficiebat ad victoriam verbosus clamor, et qui undecunque aliquid inferebant, ad propositi perveniebant metam. Poetæ et historiographi habebantur infames ; et si quis