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ART. V. Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia and Egypt, in the years 1802, 1803, 1804, 1805, and 1806. By George Viscount Valentia. 3 vol. 4to. pp. 1522. London: Miller. 1809.

[pp. 88-126] [original article in PDF format]

  1. DURING the seventeenth century a number of excellent travellers visited the east, and enriched every language of civilized Europe, with their works. In those days literary pursuits were deemed more compatible with other avocations than they are at present, and travels were alike written by men attached to important embassies, by jewellers, merchants, missionaries, physicians, soldiers, sailors, even by buccaneers. In the last century [88] men no longer journeyed so far for curiosity, and the establishment of our dominion in India enabled adventurers to pursue their main object then with as much regularity as in Europe. The spirit of enterprize seemed to have disappeared; the means which a long and quiet residence in those countries afforded of obtaining more accurate knowledge concerning them than could possibly be acquired by mere travellers however diligently inquisitive, served rather to destroy curiosity than to quicken it. Men lived so long among the Hindoos that they became accustomed to their manners; they appeared to think that what they had acquired so imperceptibly could not be worth imparting, and to imagine that the public could not be curious about things with which they themselves had so long been familiar. Thousands of Englishmen past the main part of their lives in India with every means of information in their power, commanding the services of the natives and speaking their language, and yet nothing was added to our knowledge of the country farther than such historical details as were provoked by political controversy. Of later years, a few valuable journals which would else have remained unpublished, have been preserved in the Asiatic Researches; and the very valuable, though unarranged diary of Dr. Buchanan does honour to its industrious author, and to the governor-general who sent him on his useful mission; but Lord Valentia is the only English traveller who for more than a hundred years has visited India for the purpose of gratifying his own curiosity and imparting his observations to the public.

  2. Lord Valentia left England in 1802, and touched at Madeira. He speaks of the fishermen 'rowing their boats in a perfect state of nakedness, and the women looking out of their windows with a nonchalance which nothing but habit could give.' Yet fishermen in their boats must certainly be so far from the windows that they may throw off their clothes without offending the most squeamish delicacy; and when it is inferred that the lower order of males go naked there 'as is the custom in hot countries,' the inference is certainly erroneous. In no part of the world do men of European extraction cast off their clothing; they let their negroes do so, considering them as inferior beings: but degraded as they themselves are in tropical climates, they have still pride enough to retain the garments of decency. Least of all, would such a custom be found in Madeira, a place differing less from Portugal in all the circumstances and habits of its inhabitants, than any other colony from its mother country. [89]

  3. His Lordship's next halting place was at St. Helena. The first person who took up his abode upon the little island was a Portuguese, by name Fernam Lopez, one of the renegadoes who having deserted from Alboquerque, fell into his power at the capture of Benastarim. The Moorish commander stipulated that the lives of these wretches should be saved, secretly conveyed away one of them who was his favourite, and retired, before the fort was yielded, to avoid the shame of being present when they were given up. The unhappy men fell at the feet of Alboquerque, dreading the punishment which they deserved; he did indeed spare their lives according to the letter of the capitulation, but he sentenced them to have the right hand cut on and the thumb of the left, both ears and the nose, that in this state of mutilation they might live to be dreadful examples of the treason which they had committed against their God and their king. Lopez, after the death of this great but merciless commander, embarked for Portugal, the ship touched at St. Helena, which was at that time uninhabited, and there he preferred remaining with a negro slave who was given him by the captain; he built a hut and a chapel, planted fruit trees, and began to cultivate vegetables, and rear pigs, poultry, and goats, to the great advantage of the homeward-bound ships for ever after. After some years he proceeded to Portugal and went to Rome to be reconciled to the church and receive plenary absolution for his apostacy; that done he returned to his hermitage, and passed the remainder of his days there, living to a good old age.

  4. The goats are now become so numerous as totally to prevent planting without the previous expence of inclosing. They are forbidden to be kept on the side of the island where James town stands, because in climbing along the edge of the two craggy ridges which inclose the valley, they sometimes loosen pieces of rock, which in their descent dislodge others, till a tremendous shower comes rattling down. This island stands in need of many improvements; it is so scantily supplied with live stock that no person may kill one of his own sheep without a permission from the governor, and for great part of the year, the inhabitants live upon salt provisions, issued from the stores of the East India Company at an annual loss of six thousand pounds. No kind of grain can be cultivated, so numerous are the rats.—During the days of the French Republic the magazines were infested by these vermin, and ten thousand cats were immediately put in requisition by the National Convention. Were such an [90] army to be landed 'what an excellent theatre would St. Helena be for a grand Gatomachia! How is it that the story of Whittington should have been read in the nursery for so many centuries to no purpose?—The evils of monopoly are no where more grievously felt than upon this island.

    'I cannot resist (says Lord Valentia) giving the prices of a few articles, as a proof of my assertion: turkeys, two guineas each; a goose, one guinea; small ducks, eight shillings each; fowls, from half a crown to five shillings each; live pigs one shilling per pound; potatoes, eight shillings per bushel; cabbages, eighteen-pence each; lemons, one shilling per dozen; and pumpkins half-a-crown each. Fish, though there are nearly seventy kinds around the island, and most of them in abundance, is immoderately dear. There cannot be the least doubt that all sorts of fruit and vegetables at present cultivated might be brought to market in such abundance as to afford a plentiful supply to the crew of every ship that arrives. At present the farmers combine to keep up the price, and prefer leaving the fruit and vegetables to decay, to selling them for less than they have hitherto demanded. This evil might easily be obviated, and the combination broken, by a public garden, to be cultivated by the Government slaves, the produce of which might be sold to the ships at a price sufficient to clear all the expences, and allow a handsome profit. In this garden might be raised different kinds of fruit-trees, to be afterwards dispersed over the island. The mango, which is now a solitary plant in possession of the Governor, would thrive in the different vallies. The Loquot, and other Chinese fruits, would probably grow in any part of the island. But private individuals, who think only of present profit, will never undertake the necessary experiments. They must be conducted by Government, to answer any good purpose.' Vol. I. p. 20.

  5. The ship touched at the Cape, and his Lordship took as long an excursion into the country as his stay permitted. How must our Barouche-drivers envy the superior attainments of the Cape slaves who drive eight in hand, and kill a bird on the wing with the lash of their long whip! Lord Valentia agrees with Mr. Barrow and all other writers in bearing testimony to the excellent qualities of the Hottentots, who are attached to the English equally by gratitude and interest, and who he says, since they have been embodied and instructed in European tactics, have been proved to be intelligent, active, faithful, and brave.

  6. When the ship reached Bengal, Marquis Wellesley sent one of his state barges to convey Lord Valentia to Calcutta; it was [91] richly ornamented with green and gold; its head a spread eagle gilt; its stern a tiger's head and body, and it was paddled by twenty natives in scarlet habits and rose-coloured turbans. 'The Lord Saheb's (Wellesley) sister's son and the grandson of Mrs. Company,' as the natives called him, travelled in a stile little less magnificent by land,—they gave him these titles believing that the India Company is an old woman, and that the governors general are her children, and that as he did not hold that office, and yet was received with almost equal honours, he must needs stand in this degree of relationship. His first journey was to Benares and Lucknow, and as the scenery in Bengal was supposed to be uninteresting from the uniform flatness of the country, his plan was to travel always during the night and halt in the day. Time may have been saved by this mode of travelling and some fatigue avoided, but much information must be lost. It is not thus that any country can be seen to advantage.

  7. Two Europeans have seen India to the best advantage by travelling through it for the most part on foot. Poor Tom Coriat, the Odcombian, was one; a man, says the old writer who has most fairly appreciated his character, 'of a coveting eye, that could never be satisfied with seeing, though he had seen very much, and who took as much content in seeing, as many others in the enjoying of great and rare things.' His travels, had he lived to publish them, would have been of great value, for he acquired with wonderful facility the languages of all the countries which he visited, and 'as he was a very particular, so was he without question a very faithful relater of things he saw; he ever disclaiming that bold liberty which divers travellers do take, by speaking and writing any thing they please of remote parts, when they cannot easily be contradicted.' Had Coriat reached his home he would no longer have been an object of ridicule, his inordinate and simple vanity would have been forgotten in justice to his acquirements, and his book would probably have been the best that has ever yet appeared concerning India. The other traveller whose indefatigable and most honourable ambition led him to the east even under worse circumstances than the poor Odcombian, was Anquetil du Perron, and yet his journal is perhaps of all that have been written the most meagre and worthless. The real treasures which he brought back atone for this, yet it is impossible not to regret that he did not possess the eye of a traveller, as well as the zeal and perseverance of a scholar. [92] They who travel most at their ease see least of what is before them. The Savoyard who has walked over England leading a dancing bear, could give a better account of its real state to his countrymen, than any ambassador that ever resided at our court.

  8. Our present writer travelled like a lord, that is to say, in the most convenient and least profitable way; and yet his Indian Diary, though the least valuable part of the work, contains sufficient matter of interesting remark. The company have began to make war upon the Tigers,—a wiser warfare than has ever been waged by any former masters of Bengal. Ten rupees are paid for the head of a full-grown one, five for a leopard or tiger's cub; a lack and half has been already paid for this service: no public money could be better employed; in the island of Cossimbusar, these tremendous animals are completely exterminated, and they have been greatly thinned in other parts. This island is one of the chief places where silk is raised. What is meant by saying that there are two kinds of silk-worm which produce eight harvests each in the year? Is it that eight generations are produced and consumed? It cannot be that the same worm should spin more than one cocoon. The roads in Bengal are complained of; they are laid waste by the rains, and a large allowance is made to the Zemindar for repairing them, and re-erecting the wooden bridges, but he generally pockets the money, and most of the highways remain impassable. In the best days of the house of Timour they made magnificent causeys from one end of their dominions to the other, and planted trees along them to shelter travellers from the sun. 'Surely, says Lord Valentia, we ought to follow so good an example now that we are in tranquil possession of the same empire. But alas, its sovereigns are too apt to confine their views to a large investment and an increase of dividend, and have usually opposed every plan for the improvement of the country which has been brought forward by the different Governors General.'

  9. Upon entering the province of Bahar he found convicts working on the public road, which was then formed on a noble scale, raised above the reach of inundations, and with good stone arches to let the torrents pass. The convicts are permitted to have their families with them during the day. About a mile from Bhaugulpore is the monument of Mr. Cleveland, erected to his memory by the chiefs of the hills near Rajamahall, whom he pacified and attached to the British government, by winning their confidence, and treating them with kindness and liberality. Of these people [93] there is an ample account by Lieutenant Thomas Shaw in the Asiatic Researches; they appear to be some of those earlier inhabitants of the country whom their hilly situation secured from the successive tribes of conquerors, and who have retained their old manners without acquiring either the arts or superstition of the Hindoos or Moors. Their form and physiognomy mark them for a different race,—five feet three is their average stature, and they have the flat nose and thick lips of the Mogul Tartars. About a mile from Bhaugulpore are two round towers, so much resembling those in Ireland as to place it beyond a doubt that they were constructed for the same purpose, whatever that may have been. It is remarkable that in neither country is there any tradition concerning them.

  10. Opium is the chief produce of the country about Patna, it is now become a most important article from the great demand in China, where government prohibit it, but connive at smuggling it in, so strongly are the people attached to this most pernicious mode of intoxication. The plant which produces castor oil is raised in this neighbourhood,—and of this the company were so ignorant that till lately they sent that medicine from Europe. It is curious that this oil is in some parts of Hindostan used as food. Lord Valentia questions the policy of destroying the small forts, which might be kept in order at a very trifling expence, which would serve as depots for ammunition, and within which a handful of men might resist a great native force. There is not at present a single fortified place between Calcutta and Alahabad, a distance of eight hundred miles.—A custom similar to the strange one of making April fools prevails during Huli, a festival celebrated both by Hindoos and Moors in honour of the vernal season. 'This, says his lordship, seems to point out a remarkable connection between the ancient religion of Europe and that of this Peninsula, especially as the the Huli is always in March.' This is going a long way for a foolish custom: all nations have their saturnalia, and such follies grow out of the wantonness of mirth. The custom of throwing pellets of yellow or red powder at this festival, with which their dresses are so completely covered as to appear ridiculous, resembles a practice at the Entrudo or Carnival of the Portuguese.

  11. The Bramins believe that Benares is not a part of this sinful earth, but that it is on the outside of it, as it were a jewel, studding it. An earthquake, however, say the Baptist missionaries, [94] which was lately felt there has rather nonplussed them, as it proves that what shakes the earth shakes Benares too. It is so holy a city that many Rajahs have their vakeels, or ambassadors, residing there for the sole purpose of performing for them the requisite sacrifices and ablutions. Yet in this holy city, there appear to be above fifteen hundred persons who are known to support themselves by dishonest means, without including prostitutes, theirs being considered a lawful calling. Here Lord Valentia examined the staircase, which Mr. Davis defended with a spear for upwards of an hour and half, during the insurrection of Vizir Ali, till the troops came to his relief. It is built on a base of about four feet, consequently the ascent is so winding that only one person can go up at a time; the last turn before it reaches the terrace faces the wall; it was therefore impossible for the people below to take aim at him, and he saved the settlement by maintaining his post. Mr. Cherry was less fortunate;—the assassins who murdered him carried with them their winding sheets, which had been dipt in the holy well of Zemzem. A letter of Vizir Ali's found among his papers, proves sufficiently, what no wise man ever could have doubted, that no dependence is to be placed on the gratitude or attachment of the highest Moslem. 'Owing, he says, to the imbecility of the house of Timour, and the contempt into which it has fallen of late years, the powerful have been weakened, and the weak become powerful. Worthless unbelievers and ambitious villains have started up from every corner, boldly conquered all these countries and established themselves here; as the poet observes, "when the lions leave the plain, the jackals become bold." For these reasons, religion which should be so highly prized, is here lost and of no value; nothing of Islamism remains but the mere name. They have so stript and reduced the principal Moslem that they have no resource, and are obliged implicitly to obey their orders. The Moslem are become vile and wretched; the honour of the great men is gone; Christians seize and keep by force the daughters of Syeds and Moslem. Under these circumstances, where we can no longer act openly, it behoves us to exert ourselves secretly in the cause of religion.' Such are, and such ever will be, the feelings of men who believe a different religion from that of their rulers.

  12. Some stones fell from the sky in the province of Benares in the year 1799. Lord Valentia has given the testimony of six witnesses in his appendix. A meteor was passing which gave a great light, three reports were heard like the firing of cannon, [95] afterwards many like the firing of musquets, and it broke into several pieces. Several stones fell in different places, in size from ten pounds to a quarter of a pound; they were black, and smelt like burnt gunpowder,—on being broken they appeared of a crumbling nature like shining sand. This instance is of peculiar importance, because (it is said) a stone of the same kind is not to be found any where, and there can be no doubt of its having proceeded from the meteor. One of the most extraordinary facts of this kind occurred in Spain in the year* 1438, when a shower of stones fell, without any previous explosion, some of them as large as half a bushel, and yet not weighing half a pound; for they resembled indurated foam in the hollowness and lightness of their texture.

  13. Lord Valentia notices two 'very singular vehicles' at Lucknow; they were both on wheels, somewhat resembling large elephant houdahs with coverings, and drawn by those animals, and they went at a considerable rate, though one was as large as a small room. 'I believe,' he says, 'it is the first time elephants have been used in India for draught: artillery they only push along with their trunks. Lord Wellesley has had models sent down, in hopes of applying the idea to a military purpose.' Just such vehicles are represented in one of the prints to Ysbrants Ides's Travels. Linschoten also represents elephants as drawing the chariot of an idol in the kingdom of Narsinga.

  14. At Lucknow the traveller witnessed the effects of a hurricane, the description of which we shall extract as the most remarkable passage in these volumes:—

    'This evening, the heat being very oppressive, I was sitting in my apartment on the terrace-roof of the house, when a sudden gloom and distant thunder induced me to go out on the terrace. The wind, which had been easterly, was now perfectly lulled. A very dark blue cloud arose from the west, and at length covered half the sky. The thunder was not loud, and the air was perfectly still. The birds were flying very high, and making a terrible screaming. At length a dark brown cloud appeared on the western horizon, and came on with considerable rapidity. The whole town of Lucknow, with its numerous minars, was between me and the cloud, and the elevation of my terrace gave me an excellent opportunity of observing it. When at about the distance of a mile, it had all the appearance of a smoke from a vast fire, volume rolling over volume in wild confusion, [96] at the same time raising itself high in the air. As it approached, it had a dingy red appearance; and by concealing the most distant minars from my view, convinced me that it was sand borne along by a whirlwind. The air with us continued perfectly still; the clouds of sand had a defined exterior; nor did the wind a moment precede it. It came on with a rushing sound, and at length reached us with such violence, as to oblige me to take shelter in my eastern verandah. Even there the dust was driven with a force that prevented me from keeping my eyes open. The darkness became every moment greater, and at length it was black as night. It might well be called palpable darkness; for the wind now changing a little to the southward, brought on the storm with tenfold violence, and nearly smothered us with dust. It blew so violently, that the noise of the thunder was frequently drowned by the whistling of the wind in the trees and buildings. The total darkness lasted about ten minutes; when at length it gradually gave way to a terrifically red, but dingy light, which I, at first, attributed to a fire in the town. The rain now poured down in torrents, and the wind changed to due south. In about an hour from its commencement the sky began to clear, the tufaun went off to the eastward, and the wind immediately returned to that quarter. The air was perfectly cool, and free from dust. Although all my windows and doors had been kept closed, and there were tattys on the outside, yet the sand was so penetrating, that it had covered my bed and furniture with a complete coat of dust. Mr. Paul tells me, he once was caught in a north-wester on the banks of the Ganges, when the darkness lasted for several hours. This, however, was one of the most tremendous that had ever been beheld at Lucknow. One person was literally frightened to death. There is, indeed, no danger from the storm itself, but the fires in the houses are in such situations that a blast might easily drive a spark against their thatched roofs, heated already by the sun; in which case, the darkness would probably preclude the possibility of saving any part of the town. It is equally probable that a roof may be blown in, which would have the same melancholy consequences. The long drought had pulverised so much of the country, and so completely annihilated vegetation on the sandy plains, that the tufaun brought with it more sand than usual; and to that alone must be attributed the perfect darkness. It was the most magnificent and awful sight I ever beheld; not even excepting a storm at sea. The wind in both cases was of equal violence, but neither the billows of the ocean, nor the sense of danger, affected my mind so much as this unnatural darkness.' Vol. i. p. l60.

  15. A striking instance of the happy effects of British government has occurred since we took possession of the Nawaub of Furruckabad's country. As soon as the English resident arrived there, about an hundred Patans waited on him, and requested [97] to know whether he really intended to establish a police. He assured them most seriously that he did: upon which they told him it would not suit them, and all immediately departed for the Mahratta country. Seven persons, says Lord Valentia, are now in prison to be tried for murder at the next circuit, but not one offence of that sort has been committed since our police has been established. Heartily do we agree with Lord Valentia, in believing that India has reason to rejoice in coming under the British dominion, but very far are we from agreeing with him concerning the means by which that government is to be upheld.

    'The most rapidly accumulating evil of Bengal is the increase of half-cast children. They are forming the first step to colonization, by creating a link of Union between the English and the natives. In every country where this intermediate cast has been permitted to rise, it has ultimately tended to the ruin of that country. Spanish America and St. Domingo are examples of this fact. Their increase in India is beyond calculation; and though possibly there may be nothing to fear from the sloth of the Hindoos, and the rapidly declining consequence of the Mussulmauns, yet it may be justly apprehended that this tribe may hereafter become too powerful for control. Although they are not permitted to hold offices under the Company, yet they act as clerks in almost every mercantile house, end many of them are annually sent to England to receive the benefit of an European education. With numbers in their favour, with a close relationship to the natives, and without an equal proportion of that pusillanimity and indolence which is natural to them, what may not in time be dreaded from them? I have no hesitation in saying that the evil ought to be stopt; and I know no other way of effecting this object, than by obliging every father of half-cast children, to send them to Europe, prohibiting their return in any capacity whatsoever. The expense that would thus attend upon children, would certainly operate as a check to the extension of zenanas, which are now but too common among the Europeans; and this would be a benefit to the country, no less in a moral, than in a political view.' Vol. i. p. 241.

  16. Little thought can that man have bestowed upon the principles of policy or of human nature, who is capable of recommending a measure so cruel, so preposterous, and so impracticable as this which Lord Valentia advises. The principle which he advances is false, and the examples which he adduces to support it warrant no such conclusion. That of Hayti is inapplicable; first, because the intermediate race was not between the Europeans and the natives, the natives having been exterminated; [98] and secondly, because the work of retribution in that island, where perhaps a greater load of guilt had been accumulated than in any other part of the habitable world, was executed by the negroes, not the mulattos. That of Spanish America is equally fallacious. So far indeed is the existence of a numerous mixed population from proving detrimental to a colony, that the house of Braganza is indebted to such a breed for the most important discoveries, and most valuable parts of its empire in Brazil. But for deeper speculations, and profounder views upon this subject, we refer Lord Valentia to Mr. Bolingbroke's voyage to the Demerary; he will there find, mixed with some great and grievous errors respecting negro-slavery, this question most ably and originally treated. Far different from this policy was that of Alboquerque, the founder of the European dominion in India, and the most far-sighted politician that ever set foot in that country! The cocoa-tree should be the emblem of our empire in the East; it lifts a beautiful head to heaven; it renders an abundant harvest, but it spreads its roots along the surface of the soil, and is therefore at the mercy of the winds; the first hurricane lays it prostrate, and not a sucker springs up to mark the place where it flourished. Lord Valentia calls upon the East India Company to take the alarm, because a race of men is rising there, who inherit from their mothers constitutions adapted to that climate, which (be it remembered) destroys nine Englishmen of every ten who go thither in pursuit of fortune, many of whom are educated in England, all of whom speak the English language, profess the Christian faith, and have one common interest with the English government, because if any revolution should again expose the country to the tyranny of a Hindoo or a Moorish conqueror, they would be involved with it in ruin. If such men are not the bulwarks of a state, where are they to be found?

  17. Lord Valentia agrees with Dr. Buchanan in the fitness of giving an episcopal establishment to British India, and in the earnest wish that it should take place without delay. Respecting the Missionaries, and the history of their various predecessors in the East, he writes with little knowledge of historical [99] circumstances. Upon this question we have elsewhere advanced arguments which it is more easy to rail at than to refute, and we have not leisure now to point out the defects of his lordship's logic and information. It is difficult to discover whether his lordship be most alive to the feelings of the Hindoos or of the Moslem. At Benares his tenderness towards the former predominates. 'It is a pity,' he says, 'that any thing should prevent this noble city from being brought to that perfection of which it is capable; and he feels himself sufficiently a Hindoo, when viewing the lofty minarets, to wish that hereafter government may restore the spot to its original owners, and remove this cruel eye-sore from the holy city.' At Lucknow, where he dines with the Nawaub, and some English ladies are present in company with their husbands, he thinks nothing can be so highly disgusting as to see women mixing in society with Mahomedans; it is so contrary to the principles of the latter, who can only have a contempt for them, and consider them as on a level with the nautch girls—that is to say, with common prostitutes. As if there were any chance that such an opinion could be formed of English women! He talks of the danger of offending religious prejudices, yet tells us that the prejudices of the Moslem are now so weakened in India, that one of their processions was stopped at his request, and the horse of Hosein, which is represented as pierced on every side by arrows, was brought close to his palanquin, that he might see it with more facility. If the grandson of Mrs. Company can stop a procession to gratify his curiosity, he must indeed have felt confident that religious prejudices were not very strong, and that there was little danger of offending them.

  18. His lordship returned to Calcutta, and then embarked for Ceylon; from which island, he says, a fragrant smell was perceptible at the distance of nine leagues. A harsh attack is here made upon a work lately published by an English officer. 'Every observation respecting the Dutch females, it is said, is extracted from Stavorinus's account of the women at Batavia; and that as nearly verbatim as the change of place would admit. He is in other instances under very large, though unacknowledged obligations to Stavorinus.' The only English officer who has written an account of Ceylon is Captain Percival. We have compared his account of the Dutch women with that in Stavorinus, and have no hesitation in saying, that the charge so positively made, appears to be unfounded. Nor is it possible that Captain Percival can have been under great obligation in this work to Stavorinus [100] upon other subjects, for that able writer hardly mentions Ceylon in his voyages. Neither Percival indeed, nor Cordiner, nor Lord Valentia himself have added much to that stock of knowledge respecting Ceylon which we already possessed in the Portugueze and Dutch writers, and the faithful book of our honest old countryman, who says in his epistle dedicatory, that his book was the whole return he made from the Indies after twenty years stay there, having brought back nothing else—but Robert Knox.

  19. Ceylon requires a governor with the ambitious spirit of Marquis Wellesley, who would at once conquer the Candians and the climate, by laying open the interior of the country. Upon an island of this size conquest is a sure game, and what is won can be kept. Under a Roman system the whole country would in fifty years be civilized, and every one of its inhabitants speak the language, profess the religion, and imitate the manners of their rulers. The Missionaries both of the Dutch and Portugueze had great success here. The Lutheran natives have been calculated at above 240,000, the Catholics once at nearly a million. Lord Valentia himself, little as he is a friend to the societies for introducing the gospel into the East, delivers it as his opinion, that if the plans introduced by the Dutch were quietly and steadily pursued, the whole Cingalese nation might in time be converted. There were schools established throughout the country, which Mr. North during his administration restored, increased, and improved. The schoolmasters were bound to act as notaries in their several districts; so that the whole expence of the establishment, amounting to 4,600l. was not to be set down to the account of education solely. 'Had this however been the case,' says his lordship, 'the benefits arising from a plan calculated to improve the morals of the rising generation, to enlighten them in true religion, and attach them to the British government, would have been cheaply purchased at such a moderate expenditure.' Such, however, was not the calculation made at home, for in 1809 Mr. North received orders to limit the expence of the schools to 1500l. per annum, whence those in the country districts were given up. In the same pitiful and short-sighted system of economy all the pensions which had been granted to the Landroosts, or persons who had held high offices in the Dutch service were suspended, and these men even reduced to beggary. It was afterwards, in an ungracious manner, mitigated, by permitting the Governor to grant pensions in his Majesty's name—without such an allowance they must absolutely [101] have perished for want of food—with it, they can just exist; and having been thus injured, they are, as of course they would be after such treatment, our secret and mortal enemies.

  20. There is little worthy of notice in the travels through Mysore and Canara. We have, however, to censure the author for writing oriental names, in a manner sometimes capricious, and sometimes affected: Minars and minarets are written. Seeva, the god whose worship prevails most in Hindostan, is sometimes called by his name of Iswara, sometimes Seva, sometimes Seve; and Ali and Abubeker, personages far too famous in history to have their orthography altered, are called Alli and Abboo Bukker. This fault has never been carried to such excess by any writer as by Mr. Scott Waring, in his Tour to Sheeraz; that gentleman declares in his preface, that though many persons have attached vast importance to the orthography of Indian or Persian words, he attaches none; and that where words have received the sanction of universal usage, he has followed the voice of the public. Yet he writes Ulee for Ali, Ubdool for Abdallah, Ubas for Abbas, Wuzeer for Vizir, and Qajjar, Qooroosh, and Ubrqoovu for—we cannot tell what.

  21. We now come to the most important part of these volumes. 'It had always appeared to me an extraordinary circumstance,' says Lord Valentia, 'that if the western coast of the Red Sea were really as dangerous as the moderns have uniformly represented it, the ancients should invariably have navigated it in preference to the eastern coast. The evils which our fleet experienced there from the want of water, fresh provisions and fuel, made it important to ascertain whether those articles were not attainable at Massowah, Dhalac, or the adjacent islands, where in former times the Egyptian and Roman merchants resided for the purpose of carrying on trade with the interior of Africa. Another object was to open a communication with Abyssinia, with a view to commercial advantages.' Upon these subjects Lord Valentia frequently conversed with Marquis Wellesley, and that able statesman fully entered into his views. 'At length,' says his lordship, 'I proposed to his excellency that he should order one of the Bombay cruizers to be prepared for a voyage to the Red Sea; and I offered my gratuitous services to endeavour to remove our disgraceful ignorance by embarking in her, for the purpose of investigating the eastern shore of Africa, and making the necessary inquiries into the present state of Abyssinia and the neighbouring countries. His excellency approved of the plan, and it was determined, that in order to obviate any difficulties [102] which might arise from the commanding officer differing with me in opinion with respect to the eligibility of going to particular places, he should be placed under my orders.' Accordingly the Antelope, Captain Keys, was made ready, of about 150 tons, mounting 12 eighteen pound carronades, and having on board 41 Europeans, 16 marines, and 30 lascars and servants, with six months rice and salt meat, and 40 days water. In this vessel Lord Valentia embarked with his secretary and draftsman, Mr. Salt, and his attendants, March 13, 1804.

  22. On his arrival at Mocha he learnt that Captain Keys was averse to the service on which he was ordered, and would have given up the command, upon the plea of ill health, if Mr. Pringle, the English agent, had not dissuaded him from so imprudent a step. It was evident, however, that a voyage of discovery, undertaken against the inclination of the captain, was not likely to be executed with zeal. Appearances were in other respects promising; a regular communication existed between Mocha and Massuah, or Massowah, as it is here written conformably to the manner in which the inhabitants pronounce it, and between that place and Suakin: Massowah was said to be by no means the unsafe place which Bruce had represented it in his time, and pilots could be procured for the whole way. A dow was hired to go to Dhalac, Massowah, Suakin, and up to the latitude of the river Farat, where Lord Valentia meant to end his observations and make the best of his way to Cosseir: this vessel was to go a-head and show the way, and it would enable him to visit many islands which the Antelope might not be able to approach. The first discovery they made on stretching over to the African side was, contrary to Bruce's assertion, 'that there was no anchoring ground on the Abyssinian shore, and that you might have your bowsprit over the land without any bottom astern,' that the land gradually shallowed to seven fathoms within a quarter of a mile of the shore. On one of the islands they found the tomb of a chief, within a circle of stones; at one end were the bones and shells of several turtles half burnt, in the middle were several drinking vessels, one was an English china sugar bason. The people on the main land gave a fine sheep for some tobacco, but refused a dollar which was offered for it. They passed within five leagues of some small islands called Miseras by the pilot, of which the curious name of the Great and Little Miscores, as laid down in M. Apres de Menouville's chart, is probably a corruption. In fishing from the ship the hooks caught on some dark brown pieces of coral, from the holes of which [103] issued a great number of living animalculi; each was nearly brown, about a quarter of an inch long, with a black head; when immersed in water they extended themselves directly, when taken out of it they did not retire, but hung close to the sides, one over the other. As they drew near Dhalac, the coast seemed tolerably well inhabited, and there was the appearance of a great deal of trade to Massowah. The pilot, that he might reach Dhalac by day-light, anchored off a very picturesque island, in a fine bay, where they had seventeen fathoms at only three quarters of a mile from the shore. 'As no description of the island,' says his lordship, 'has ever been given, and we were probably the first Europeans that had visited it, we called it Valentia.' On a subsequent investigation, he concludes satisfactorily, that it is the Orine of the Periplus, it would therefore have been better to have restored to it its Greek name. The next day they anchored off Dhalac.

  23. They landed on the island of Nokhara, then the residence of the Dola, who had sub-Dolas at every other station. Dhalac el Kibeer had formerly been the principal residence, but they were told the port was bad and could not admit their ship. All the houses here are built of Madrapore, drawn from the sea. Lord Valentia walked to the well, which he was surprised to find was a natural one, formed by a chasm in the rock, about ten feet long and three wide, lying seven feet below the level of the ground. It never fails in the driest season, and supplies the whole island. Mr. Salt proceeded to Dhalac el Kibeer, where he found sixteen wells of the same kind: two shepherds were drawing water there for their camels, asses, goats, and sheep; and when these were served they supplied the trough with water for the birds, which arrived in vast flights, particularly doves. These are at some distance from the town; near it are some large tanks or cisterns, which the natives say were made by the Parsees, who built more than three hundred such; but when these works were formed, or who the people were whom they call Parsees, it is hopeless to discover from their imperfect traditions.

  24. They proceeded to Massowah; the natives perceiving their approach, took them for the Wahabees, in consequence of which the Nayib came over from Arkeko, and they were all night under arms. The present Nayib is grandson of Achmed, of whom Bruce speaks so favourably. Lord Valentia explained to him, that the object of his coming was to ascertain whether our ships could with safety pass up this coast to Suez, and obtain water and provisions on the way. He was received with great civility, and every thing, both with the rulers and the natives, went on [104] well. The Nayib is in fact independent. The Janizaries, or Ascarri, as they are here called, though they recognize the Sultan as their master, are completely under his influence, and he pays them out of the duties which ought to be remitted to Constantinople. He is on good terms with the king of Abyssinia, from whose dominions a trade is carried on in ghee, hides, gold-dust, civet, sheep, and slaves. Many disputes had already occurred between his lordship and Captain Keys, who was in every respect unfit for the service on which he was employed: the matter here came to an issue. He positively declared that on the 15th of August he would depart on his return to India. To accomplish the object of the voyage by that time was impossible, and Lord Valentia had no alternative but to return to Mocha, from whence he sailed in another vessel for Bombay.

  25. From hence he communicated to Marquis Wellesley the result of his voyage, and urged him to have the survey of the Red Sea continued from Massowah to Cosseir. He himself had now resolved upon returning to Europe by the Persian gulf, and therefore requested letters to the Pacha of Bagdad. As six weeks would elapse before these could be received from Calcutta, he employed the interval in travelling to Poonah. The first object which he saw, on reaching the main land, was the body of a wretch, who had died of hunger, for which the vultures and dogs were disputing. Drought had caused a scarcity, and that had been made a famine by the Mahratta war. Holkar and Scindiah laid waste whole provinces, leaving neither tree nor habitation standing through a vast extent of country. The British Government was never before felt to be so great a blessing; they procured rice from Bengal, with which twelve thousand people were daily fed at the public expence. Yet this (a liberality which never was equalled in the East) extended comparatively but a little way; and their utmost care could only palliate the evil in that narrow circle to which it extended. Lord Valentia describes the children as living skeletons, with scarcely a muscle to be seen. Dead bodies in every state of decay were lying along the road. Even so near the seat of Government as Panwell, Captain Young employed twelve men to bury the victims of this famine, and they sometimes buried thirty in a day. They passed by wretches who were too weak to raise themselves up to receive the food that was offered them. Many were murdered for the rice which they received from British charity. Colonel Close fed fifteen hundred people daily at Poonah, even before he was aided by a subscription collected at Bombay by Lady Mackintosh. [105] The sight of the food rendered them frantic, and he was obliged to distribute his alms in money, which did not operate in the same manner upon their feelings. During the whole of this dreadful visitation, grain passed up to Poonah through villages where the inhabitants were perishing themselves, and seeing their nearest relations perish, and yet not a single tumult took place, nor was one convoy interrupted: such is the resignation of the Hindoos! All that a government could do was done by the government of Bombay. The powers of man are unhappily far less efficient in doing good than evil; enough, however, was done to prove how great a blessing it is for the Hindoos to be under the British dominion: and it may safely be affirmed that the alms thus bestowed have strengthened our empire in that part of Hindostan more than could have been done by the most powerful army that England could send out. Je definis ainsi le droit de conquête, says Montesquieu, un droit necessaire, legitime et malheureux, qui laisse toujours à payer une dette immense, pour s'acquitter envers la nature humaine. Woe be to them who wantonly contract this debt;—it had been better for them never to have been born:—but blessed are they who repay it as our countrymen have repaid it in Bombay.

  26. The trade of Bombay is far inferior to what it has been; this is owing to an indulgence imprudently granted to the Arabs, particularly to the Imaum of Muscat; and it will be well if no other evil arises from it. They enter their vessels as English, and sail from one part of the peninsula to the other without having a single European or a rupee of English property on board: they have a French protection also; and of course are either French or English, as suits their convenience. In fact, much of their trade lies to the Isle of France, where they carry rice, and bring back prize goods at half price; a system every way detrimental to British interests: it injures the regular trade of Surat and Bombay, and it encourages the French privateers, who, but for this vent, would have no means of disposing of the property they capture. Frequently the Muscat flag is only a cover, and the goods exported to Arabia are French property: the Arab navy is in consequence rapidly increasing, while our traders there can hardly find employment for their men.

  27. The Parsees are numerous in Bombay. Lord Valentia considers them as an important barrier against the more powerful casts of India, and bears testimony to their good conduct and superior morality. There is not a single prostitute or concubine of their sect in the settlement. The attack of Sir William Jones [106] upon Anquetil de Perron is here spoken of with censure; and it is alleged that before his death he was convinced of his error. The works indeed which that extraordinary but respectable enthusiast brought home, must be regarded as the most important which we have yet received from the East. Two centuries ago Anquetil du Perron would have been the founder of a new monastic order, or the reformer and saint of a relaxed one: his ardour was more happily directed, yet an age of literature and a country of philosophists could not subdue his innate fanaticism, and he contrived to blend austerities which St. Macarius or St. Romualdo might have admired, with a system of Eastern philosophy. 'Bread and cheese,' he says, 'to the value of the twelfth part of a rupee, and water from the well, are my daily food; I live without fire even in winter; I sleep without bed or bed-clothes; neither do I change or wash my linen: I have neither wife, children, nor servants. Having no estates, I have no tie to this world. Alone and entirely free, I am in friendship with all mankind. In this simple state, at war with my senses, I either triumph over worldly attractions, or I despise them; and, looking up with veneration to the Supreme and Perfect Being, I wait with impatience for the dissolution of my body.'

  28. Lord Valentia's plans were fortunately changed by the arrival of dispatches from Marquis Wellesley, recommending a continuation of the survey of the Red Sea, and expressing a hope that he might be induced to complete what he had so well begun. This was sufficient to renew his lordship's zeal, which was seconded with becoming liberality by Mr. Duncan at Bombay. The Panther cruiser was made ready, and Lieutenant Charles Court appointed to command her, in consequence of the very high character which he bore as a seaman and a man of science. Lord Valentia was properly permitted to chuse his officers; and Lieutenant Maxfield, who had been on the former expedition, and then proved his zeal and ability, was appointed to the Assaye, a small French schooner, which was to accompany them as a tender. Captain Rudland, of the Bombay army, obtained permission to join the party, and proceed by this route to England. Two time-keepers and the other requisite instruments were furnished by Government, and Captain Court was instructed to keep a table for his lordship at the expense of the Company. Private villainy had well nigh frustrated all his zeal and the good intentions of the Government: it was found, after they had put to sea, that in the vessel, which was reported ready for service, there was not a single buoy; and similar deficiencies were daily [107] discovered. On their voyage they injured the capstan; and it appeared, upon examination, that, though newly put together, it was made of old wood, partly consumed by the dry rot: the casks leaked out nearly the whole of their contents, for they were made of old worm-eaten ship timber; yet they had been received into the public stores at Bombay as new, and issued again as such; such is the knavery on one part and the neglect on the ether in the marine department.

  29. During his former visit at Mocha, Lord Valentia had had some disputes with the Dola upon the prevailing system of encouraging our sailors to desert; a system carried on so extensively as to be a very serious inconvenience. This is not done from any religious motive, but from the old notion of the Moors and other Orientals that all Christians understand gunnery. The captain of the renegadoes is an Italian, who came to Mocha many years ago as master of a native vessel from India, turned Mahommedan, sold both ship and cargo, and shared the profits with the Dola. This villain is now the main agent in seducing others; he watches for them on the pier, gets them to the Jews town, where he makes them drunk, then carries them to the Dola, and the temptation of women soon completes the business. Numbers were thus deluded away while our fleet was here: it was then thought expedient to conciliate the Yemen government; and, though threats were used by several officers, nothing was done, and the Arabs were confirmed in their insolence by our forbearance. Such forbearance is always bad policy; it is at much the duty of a great nation never to submit to wrong, as never to offer it. One of these renegadoes sent to beg a bible of Lord Valentia, who accordingly gave him one, and wrote to him upon the criminality of his conduct. He returned a long answer, in which he said that he could now be as good a Christian as before, and indeed that he had more time to pay his respects to God Almighty. It is not a little curious that the very system of procuring converts, which the Dola so anxiously pursued, should now conduce to his greatest danger. All the old renegadoes have deserted to the Wahabees, and were ready to march with them against Mocha, with every foot of which they are well acquainted.

  30. At Mocha they hired a dow to accompany them as far as above Suakin. The Assaye was tent forward to Massowah with letters for the Nayib, informing him of Lord Valentia's intention to visit him, and requesting that two pilots for Suakin might be procured. Dhalac was appointed as the place of meeting. Five [108] days afterwards the Panther sailed with the dow in company. The Assaye joined them at the appointed place. The same friendship on the part of the Nayib existed; and Capt. Court, Mr. Salt, and Capt. Rudland, made a tour of eight days through the southern and eastern parts of the island of Dhalac. The result of their observations, as affecting the veracity of Bruce, will best be given in Lord Valentia's own words.

    'This second tour of Mr. Salt through Dhalac has completely proved that the account of it, as given by Mr. Bruce, is in a great degree false; and leaves it extremely probable, that he never landed on the island. "The three hundred and seventy cisterns, all hewn out of the solid rock," have, after the most minute investigation, been reduced to less than twenty; and of these not one is to be found at Dobelew, where he asserts, as an eye-witness, "that they are neglected, and open to every sort of animal, and half full of the filth that they leave there after drinking and washing in them." If the plan of the island of Dhalac, the harbour of Dobelew, and the surrounding islands, as laid down by that excellent hydrographer Captain Court, and now given to the public in my chart, be compared with the description of Mr. Bruce, hardly one point of resemblance will be found between the two; and I trust there will be no doubt in the public mind to which the credit ought to be given.

    'The round harbour of Dobelew, with its narrow entrance, is no where discoverable; and the town itself, instead of being, as he states, three miles S. W. of the harbour, is, in fact, on a parallel with the northern extremity of Irwee, which forms the harbour, and is an island; a circumstance which ought to have been known to him had he actually been on the spot. It is not however with Captain Court only that Mr. Bruce differs; his bearings, as given by himself, are irreconcilable, and, after several attempts, it was found impossible to lay down the islands between Jibbel Teir and Dhalac from his account; which is much to be regretted, as it is improbable that any other traveller will venture through the shoals on the eastern tide of the island, when so much safer a passage is afforded on the western.

    'The account given by Mr. Bruce of the animals drinking out of the cisterns, and washing in them, is evidently untrue, from the construction of them, as described by Mr. Salt, they being arched, over, with a hole in the centre.

    'The impudence ascribed by Mr. Bruce to the women of Dobelew makes me still more doubtful of his having been at that place; since it is hardly probable that they would have totally changed their habits in a period of thirty years, during which time it is evident that their poverty had not diminished.

    'The errors in Mr. Bruce's account of Dhalac-el-Kibeer, its harbour, and the numerous tanks on the island, might have been excused, [109] had he stated the circumstances less positively, and given them only as he received them by the report of the inhabitants. In Mr. Salt's first visit to Dhalac-el-Kibeer, he heard from several, that there was a tradition among them of three hundred and sixteen tanks: and this tradition was probably mentioned to Mr. Bruce, and, if given by him as such, would have been justifiable. The same observation will hold good respecting the harbour, which, from his journal, it is evident he could not have seen, and to which he only transfers the information that was given him respecting Nokhara. I can by no means extend the same indulgence to his account of the islands, and their relative bearings. When a person attempts to give geographical information to the public, it is necessary that his information should be accurate; and that he should not give, as certain, a single circumstance, of which he has not positively informed himself. That Mr. Bruce, on the contrary, has erred in many points, and falsified in others, must be clear by a comparison of his own bearings with each other, and of the whole with the chart of Captain Court. I feel him to be the less justifiable on this occasion, as he had it in his power to give a true account of the island, and its dependencies; for his having been at anchor somewhere near Dobelew is proved by his knowledge of the name of the numerous islands in its vicinity, and by his having stated its latitude as 15° 42' 22", which is within two miles of its true position, 15º 44'.'—Vol. ii. p. 236.

  31. At Massowah an attempt was made to extort money from them by the brother of the Nayib, who was Dola of Arkeko, and Sirdar or Commander of the Janizaries, here called Askaris. This personage demanded a thousand dollars for the anchorage of the two vessels. It had been settled with the Nayib only the evening before that no English ships should ever pay anchorage; and upon this insolent claim Lord Valentia sent word to the Dola, that his countrymen never paid it any where; that he had no right to demand it; and that if he did not immediately send a man to make an excuse for his insolence, the Panther would sail in the morning for his town of Arkeko, and burn it to the ground. This resolute answer settled the business. The people of Massowah too derived such advantage from the English, that they were unanimous in their favour. This being settled, they proceeded on their survey, (Jan. 21,) lying-to at night, and on the 25th they entered a harbour which Lord Valentia, thinking it the best in the Red Sea, has named Port Mornington, in honour of the Governor General of India, through whose assistance he had been able to pursue his plans of surveying the coast. The discovery of this harbour he considers to be of great importance; for, lying on a most dangerous coast, off which are numerous [110] shoals, low islands, and rocks, it is accessible at any season of the year, and will afford to any ships not only a secure asylum, but a supply of water and fresh provisions. From the number of dows which frequented it, and which sent their boats to land every morning, it was manifest that some trade was carried on here; what it was, they were not able to ascertain. Tortoiseshell was certainly one article which the dows came for; but Lord Valentia thinks that gold is chiefly received in return for Indian goods. The day after their departure from hence, the Panther was in imminent danger of being lost, and they put into another harbour, whose windings and mazes occasioned such confusion, that it is entered in Capt. Court's chart by the name of Bother'em Bay, at Lord Valentia's particular request, as he himself informs us. However appropriate the name may be, we certainly are not disposed to compliment his lordship upon the taste which it displays.

  32. From hence they made for Suakin. The town is nearly in ruins; it covers the whole of a small island, close to which ships may anchor in seven fathom. Its trade, which in the days of Don Joam de Castro, was so considerable, no longer exists; and it is supported by nothing but the annual caravans from the interior of Africa, which come here, by way of Sennaar, on their road to Mecca. The island still belongs to the Turks, but the Dola dares not set foot on the main land, which is possessed by a powerful tribe of Bedowee, who call themselves Suakini, from the town. The people here dress their half woolly hair with pomatum, which Lord Valentia calls fat, because it is worn by barbarians, and sometimes use red powder. Through the top of the hair a convenient skewer is stuck, which serves to scratch the head, to separate the hair into ringlets, and to turn it round the finger. They are a well-looking race, and his lordship says it is impossible not to be struck by the resemblance between them and the Polynesians as represented in Cook's voyages. One piece of useful knowledge he acquired here, which he recommends to the notice of all who shall visit this coast after him—'that all Mahommedan soldiers drink spirits publicly, and many others in private, and therefore ships should be well supplied with it, as the most acceptable present.' Brace's account of the Tsaltsalya or fly, and of the periodical migration which it occasions, was contradicted here.

  33. From Suakin they hired pilots to Macowar; but before they recommenced their voyage, new proofs of the shameful mismanagement of the Bombay marine came to light. It was discovered [111] that there was not a single day's rice on board, though there ought to have been a considerable quantity. The deficiency was owing to fraud. The other stores were examined, and it appeared that only flour enough for a week was left, the cock-roaches having devoured the rest. After many dangers, amid labyrinths of shoals, they got within sight of Macowar; where the open sea commences, and their difficulties would have ended; but it was impossible to reach it, the wind blowing hard against them. Their provisions were now almost exhausted, and their water low, owing to the leaking of the casks: it was therefore determined to return to Mocha. Brace's account of his voyage from Cosseir to Macowar is criticised by Lord Valentia, who agrees with an anonymous writer in the Monthly Magazine, that it is an episodical fiction compiled from information which he had picked up at Jidda. On their way back they again touched at Massowah; and here his lordship attempted to open a communication with the courts of Abyssinia. He had learned from a Banian at Massowah that the Ras Welleta Selasse was anxious to hear from him: accordingly he delivered the Banian a message for that Chief, which he was to write down, and send to Tigre by a special messenger. They landed at Valentia, where his lordship got a good dinner, to his no small satisfaction; for he says it gives him great pleasure to be able to speak favourably of a little island to which he must now naturally be attached! This new sort of natural attachment may fairly be enumerated among his discoveries. If ever a trade is carried on with Abyssinia, this island, he says, will rise into importance: supplies could constantly be procured from the main land; the abundance of water makes it preferable to Massowah, and there is better anchorage than either at that place or at Dhalac. Having escaped more dangers, they reached Mocha in three days, and thus the survey terminated. In its course some light has been thrown upon ancient geography, and some places mentioned in the Periplus ascertained to the satisfaction of its able elucidator Dr. Vincent. Sir Home Popham's chart is pronounced to be in many respects grossly inaccurate. The monsoons appear not to be so regular in the Red Sea as has been hitherto supposed: according to the information now obtained, 'the southerly winds blow there eight months out of the twelve, but never for any length of time without intermission: there is no season in which the winds blow from one point without changing for a few days; and in the middle part of the gulf they may almost be called variable, at least as much so as in the British Channel, where [112] for nine months in the year the wind blows from the westward.' The practical knowledge which has been obtained shows the great facility of a coasting trade on the African shore, and the difficulty of any other: there are numerous little harbours into which coasting vessels may run, and gallies may make their way through inner passages, where reefs or shoals keep off the swell, at a time when contrary winds would be irresistible in the open channel.

  34. They waited something more than three months at Mocha before the expected answer from Abyssinia arrived. Just as was desired, the Ras expressed a wish that Lord Valentia would come and visit him, or send some one in his stead. It was resolved to send Mr. Salt with such presents as could be procured at Mocha, and Captain Rudland and Mr. Carter at their own request accompanied him. A respectable Arab of Mecca was hired as interpreter, and a renegado boy who spoke good English, Hindostané, and tolerable Arabic, went in the like capacity. The party landed at Massowah early in June, they were to be back by the end of October. The interval and the time which he had previously past at Mocha, enabled Lord Valentia to make himself well acquainted with the circumstances of that town, and of the state of Yemen.

  35. Mocha is a place of little strength; toward the sea its wall is not above sixteen feet high, on the land side it may in some places be thirty; but it is every where too thin to resist a cannon ball, and the batteries along shore could not bear the shock of firing the cannon which are upon them. The guns too have been rendered useless for purposes of war, from a singular superstition: having been purchased from the infidels of Europe, the Arabs consider them as Shaitan, that is, as things belonging to the devil,—and they have invented a sort of circumcision to sanctify them, which is enlarging the touch-hole, so that nearly the whole of the powder explodes by it. Part of the space within the walls is not built upon, and is not supposed to contain more than 5000 inhabitants. There are, however, two extensive villages without the walls, one inhabited by Jews, who distil a fiery spirit from the date-tree, and carry on a still more disgraceful trade; the other by the Samaulies, a nation who inhabit the whole coast from Gardafui to the Straits, and through whose territories the produce of the interior of Africa must consequently reach Arabia. They have been represented as a savage race with whom it would be dangerous to deal. Lord Valentia thinks this is sufficiently disproved by [113] the extent of their inland trade, their great fairs, and their large exports in their own vessels. Great numbers of them live close to Mocha, and are a peaceable inoffensive people. In their persons they are neither Negroes nor Arabs,—not improbably therefore an intermediate race. 'I consulted,' says his Lordship, 'several of the respectable merchants of Aden and Mocha, respecting the possibility of penetrating into the interior of Africa by the caravans which return from Berbera, and they uniformly agreed that by securing the friendship of one of the Samauli chiefs, and learning the language, an European might in his own character make the journey in safety.—I think it probable that a trade is carried on westward from Hanim, by which a communication exists with the nations in the vicinity of the mountains of Komri. If so, a traveller might at length reach the sources of the Nile by departing from Berbera, which is the position nearest to them that is accessible to Europeans.'

  36. Mocha has declined in importance as well as in strength; the harbour is gradually filling up, and the Americans are spoiling the road-stead by throwing over their ballast: they have already done so much mischief that there is now no clear spot under four fathom and at a great distance from the shore, and in another season, says Lord Valentia, not a ship will be able to anchor in safety. They have spoilt the market as well as the road. From 36 to 40 dollars per bale was the usual price of coffee before their competition raised it to 50. Our trade there is considered as of so little consequence that the East India Company have lately withdrawn their agent,—but upon the trade of the Red Sea we shall defer Our remarks till the issue of Mr. Salt's journey has been related. Of the Arabs of Yemen the account is, consistently with every fact which we know of them, as unfavourable as it can be. M. Grandpre indeed tells us that they are the only people who practise virtue for their own sake, but if M. Grandpre's ideas of virtue were strictly defined they would amount pretty nearly to what an Englishman calls vice. 'A longer residence among them, says Lord Valentia, has only increased the detestation and contempt with which I behold them. They have all the vices of civilized society without having quitted those of a savage state. They are cowardly, cruel, and revengeful. Superstitious followers of Mahommed they do not obey one moral precept of the Koran,—and I never heard of a vice natural or unnatural which they do not practise and avow.' It would be easy to shew, [114] were this the place for it, that the religion of the Koran necessarily produces this demoralization. On the subject of polygamy, Lord Valentia inquired whether the assertion of Bruce were true, that two females are born to one male in the East: a Mahomedan assured him that it was; the weightier authorities of Dr. Russel and Niebuhr induce him to doubt a fact which we shall presently effectually disprove. Lieutenant Tuckey goes beyond all other advocates for polygamy, and affirms that in Brazil eleven women are born to two men,—the reasoning which follows is as detestable as it is false, and would invalidate his authority, if an assertion so utterly unsupported were worthy of refutation. Two simple arguments will set this question for ever at rest. If from the effects of hot climates more females are born than males, the effect must be the same in one hot climate as in another,—in Malabar, for instance, as on the shores of the Red Sea, but in Malabar the polyandrian system of polygamy prevails; in both cases therefore if there exists any disproportion between the sexes,—if in the one country there are too many males, and in the other too many females,—that disproportion must be the effect of the relative-systems of polygamy and not the cause. And if this disproportion exists, it must go on progressively, doubling in every generation; if the fact were so this must inevitably be the case, but this is not and cannot be the case, and the proposition therefore is false.

  37. Mr. Salt and his companions after many altercations with the Nayib of Massowah and the Ascari, vexatious delays and various impositions, began their journey into Abyssinia. The pass of Taranta which Bruce describes as almost impracticable, was neither dangerous nor difficult,—it occupied only three hours of no extraordinary labour. Having detected Bruce so often, both Mr. Salt and Lord Valentia indulge their resentment sometimes unnecessarily. The journal tells us with a sneer that they did not meet with 'a single trogloditical cave,' yet but a little before mention is made of a cave inhabited by a family of the natives, and presently we are told that the mode of building here is evidently copied from natural or artificial excavations, being 'by raising walls of the required height, adjoining and at right angles to a steep slope on the side of a hill, and then laying on a roof of sods, pitched so as to correspond with the general descent of the hill, which gives the appearance of caves to these habitations.' Many of their churches are half caves, this may be accounted for by imitation, [115] if their first Christian architects came from Egypt; but that the rude hovels of the country should thus be constructed, must probably be for the purpose of concealment,—a mode not less secure than that of burrowing, which, was practised by some of the Brazilian tribes. The travellers were frequently impeded and insulted by the Ascari whom the Nayib sent as their guard, fellows far more dangerous than the savages on the way; but when they met the messenger and beasts whom the Ras had sent to convoy them, their danger ceased. At Dixan they were received by the Baharnegash. Not only when Francisco Alvarez wrote, but even a hundred and twenty years later, when Balthazar Tellez compiled his history of Ethiopia, Axum was the only town or city in the kingdom, and the capital was a camp. The change from an erratic to a settled life is remarkable; it resulted probably from the strength which the crown acquired first by the assistance of the Portugueze, and afterwards by the co-operation of the clergy against them. The houses at Dixan are flat roofed, and instead of chimnies have two pots of earthen-ware fixed in the roof; these apertures are insufficient to let the smoke pass, and to this Mr. Salt attributes the frequency of blindness and complaints of the eyes. A curious cloth is manufactured in the adjoining country,—they spin the wool and hair of their sheep and goats into small ropes, and then sew them together; this is perhaps the earliest stage of the manufacture, before weaving or knitting has been invented. The fashion of mourning is to wear the same clothes unchanged for eighty days.

  38. The Ras was at Antalow, his usual place of residence; they had to pass through at least three thousand people before they reached his house, but this was partly owing to its being market day. He was seated at the farther end of his hall on a couch, with two large pillows upon it covered with rich sattin, his principal chiefs were seated on each side of him upon the floor, which was carpetted. On being ushered with much bustle into his presence according to the custom of the country, they bowed and kissed the back of his hand, and he in return kissed theirs,—this was particularly gracious, as it was placing them on an equality with himself. They had been required to uncover their heads and prostrate themselves before him, but this they properly refused to do. Lord Macartney has set an example how Englishmen ought to behave on such occasions. Mutual compliments were interchanged, but no business was to be entered upon at the first visit. This suppression of curiosity is [116] a curious part of savage and barbarous manners. In the course of the day the Ras sent them plenty of food, and we had a pretty good example of his watchfulness, says Mr. Salt, for about twelve o'clock he sent us some clouted cream, and at four I was called up to receive the compliments of the morning. At ten they breakfasted with him: he fed them very plentifully with eggs, fowl in curry, and balls of a mixed composition of wild celery, curds and ghee; after which they were offered brinde, as the Abyssinians call raw beef; at their request it was broiled; one of the attendants then cut it into small pieces, and the Ras handed it to their mouths 'much in the same way as boys in England feed young magpies.' It is scarcely possible, says the writer, to describe the scene that was going on in the mean time in the hall, where the people were squabbling and almost fighting with their drawn knives for the raw meat that was handed about, and the teff bread that lay heaped up around the table; there were however some masters of the ceremony who carried long white sticks with which they frequently chastised those who were too hasty in seizing their portion. Bruce's assertion that the brinde is cut off from the animal while yet alive is positively denied: the travellers never saw an instance, and all of whom they enquired declared that it never was done. It never therefore can have been the general practice,—yet little as Bruce is to be relied upon, we cannot but think that he had some grounds for his assertion. If the animal can be killed in the presence of the Ras, it is not only considered as more respectful, but the brinde is the more delicious,—these are Mr. Salt's words, and he tells us that a favourite slice was brought to table, the muscles of which continued to quiver till the whole was devoured. Now it does appear to us exceedingly probable, that as it is considered a delicacy to have the flesh quivering, there may sometimes be masters of a feast who chuse to have as much of their meat as possible in this state, and therefore do not begin by cutting the beast's throat. The cruelty of such a practice will not unhappily justify us in disbelieving it; pigs have been whipped to death in England; the Romans killed hedge-hogs by starving them, because they used their skins for clothes-brushes, and it would have injured them to destroy the poor animal in any other way; at this day we roast and boil living shell-fish,—and the last morsel of a turtle lives till it is put into the stew-pan. These instances are sufficient to prove that what Bruce has imputed to the Abyssinians is not too shocking to be believed, and that such a practice has obtained in [117] the East seems clearly to be implied in the Mosaical law (of all laws the most humane) when it is forbidden to eat flesh with the blood therein; 'for the blood is the life thereof.'

  39. Lord Valentia's motive in sending Mr. Salt to the Ras was explained to be an anxious desire to promote an intercourse of friendship between two such powerful countries as England and Abyssinia, the inhabitants of which were of the same religion; and it was represented 'that Abyssinia having hitherto been accustomed to receive all her imports at the third or fourth hand, an immoderate duty had been paid at every separate transfer; whereas an intercourse with the English who are uncontrolled masters of the sea, would enable the Ras to supply himself at once with whatever commodities he might want, and of a quality far superior to any that had hitherto found their way into his country.' To this the Ras listened willingly, and asked Mr. Salt whether Massowah or any other port in the neighbourhood would be the most convenient for English vessels to deliver their cargoes at: he expressed much displeasure at the conduct of the Nayib, and said there was a place on the coast belonging to himself called Buré, not more than four days journey from Antalow, well supplied with water and cattle; the inhabitants of which had often solicited permission to open a trade with the ships that were constantly passing within sight of them,—if this place should be deemed sufficiently convenient, he would immediately turn the trade into that channel. It was agreed that one of the party should go to Buré and examine the spot. A hope was expressed in Lord Valentia's letters, that Mr. Salt might go to Gondar,—this could not be, because Gondar was in possession of Gusmatic Guxo who was on bad terms with the Ras, it was settled however that he should go to Axum; meantime Mr. Carter was to make his journey to Buré, and Captain Rudland to remain with the Ras.

  40. In the church at Muccullah, Mr. Salt observed I. N. R. I. written on a cross in Roman characters, the meaning of which the priests seemed perfectly to comprehend. The shirt or under garment which the priests and all persons about the king wear, seems to be another vestige of the Portugueze, for comice, the name by which they call it, is probably a corruption of camisa. Wherever he went the people had great faith in his extraordinary powers. A woman applied to him to heal a child who was afflicted with an evil spirit; another wanted him to restore one who was deaf and dumb; and on two occasions he, in their opinion, betrayed his proficiency in the black art. The date-tree he found only in the neighbourhood of religious houses of unknown [118] antiquity, and from that circumstance conjectures that it was introduced by the Christian fathers who came from Egypt,—a probable inference. He past through Adowa, where Bruce resided for four months, it is a place of considerable extent; near it are the remains of Fremona, a Jesuit convent. Bruce has 'thought proper' to represent the buttresses as flanking towers, and the belfry as a citadel, but it does not appear to have been ever a place of strength. This is another of those sneers which might have been spared. Bruce only says it has towers in the flanks and angles, by which the round abutments which Mr. Salt mentions are probably meant. The credit of this traveller suffers a ruder shock from Mr. Salt's inquiries at Axum; he has misdrawn the great obelisk there, misrepresented the church, and there seems great reason to conclude that no such inscription as that which he pretends to have restored, could possibly have existed; there is not the least trace of it. Yet the granite stones where he describes it, 'cannot have been much disturbed during the last thirty-five years, as they have not been applied to any purpose, says Mr. Salt, and are rendered nearly inaccessible to the barefooted natives by being surrounded on all sides with nettles of a large species, which sting more than any I have before felt. Nor can I believe that an inscription which had stood for ages, would have totally vanished in so short a period, with leaving even a trace behind. I therefore conceive Bruce's inscription to be altogether fictitious.' But there is an inscription at Axum which Bruce overlooked, though his attention ought to have been directed to it both by the Jesuits* and by Ludolf. This Mr. Salt discovered, and by his indefatigable industry a copy was obtained so perfect, that Dr. Vincent has been enabled completely to explain its contents. It is a monument of singular importance.

    'The parts which are most valuable in this inscription, are the beginning and the end, which establish the fact of Axum having been the capital of a people called the Axomites; and gives great credibility to numerous accounts handed down by several authors of that people, and of different embassies sent to them by the Romans; [119] all of which had before been very dubious, from the want of any known fact or monument existing in Abyssinia in confirmation.

    'It proves the existence of a king called Aeizana, king of the Axomites, who had a brother called Saiazana; which in the most decided way, establishes the authenticity of a letter addressed by the Emperor Constantius to these brothers, under the title of greek.* Now, on this letter, the fact of the introduction of Christianity at that period into Abyssinia in a great measure rests. It farther establishes, that the empire of Abyssinia was even at this early period very powerful, and that their king had already, at least, assumed the sovereignty over a great part of Arabia, which makes the duration of their power in that country, and consequently in the Red Sea, much longer than had ever been before suspected.

    'By being found so far in the interior, we may deduce from it, that the Greek language had become very familiar in the country; and herein it confirms the account given in the Periplûs of the learning of Zoscales. This inscription contains, moreover, the first intimation which we have of the Abyssinians having adopted the Gods of Greece, and as I have before partly stated, sets aside the descent from the Queen of Saba, and the conversion of the nation to Judaism, as also up to the period of its erection, the authenticity of those chronicles, called the Chronicles of Axum, so far at least as they refer to the religion of the country.'—Vol. iii. p. 191.

  41. New light is also thrown by this discovery upon the famous Adulite inscription, which Mr. Salt (differing with great hesitation from Dr. Vincent) supposes to be composed of two distinct ones, hitherto mistaken for one. The arguments are weighty, and to us they appear satisfactory.

  42. At Axum a singular custom was observed. When any person is injured he gets hold if possible of his adversary's garment and ties it to his own,—if he can do this the offender neither attempts to deliver himself, nor to leave the garment behind him, but quietly follows to the presence of his superiors, who are to judge him. Such a respect to the legal form of arrest would hardly have been expected in a country so barbarous as Abyssinia. On his return through Adowa, Mr. Salt had an interview with an Ozoro, or princess, whose manners were very superior to those of her country-women. Having rejoined the Ras, he had the vexation to learn that by some unlucky mistake, Mr. Carter had not taken his expected journey to Buré,—important as that object was. Captain Rudland meantime had been left without an interpreter to be fed by the Ras's own hands;—his journal is very amusing,—when he had eaten enough [120] he was obliged by 'nods, winks, and smiles,' to make it known, lest he should be choaked with kindness,—this however was not understood with respect to drinking, and sleepless nights and morning head-aches were the consequences. Necessity teaches every thing,—having suffered three miserable nights amid swarms of bugs, lice, and fleas, he at last shewed his skin to the Ras, and by dint of winks and gestures acquainted him that he could not get a wink of sleep,—upon which his quarters were bettered. They understood each other at last 'tolerably well in the eating and drinking way,' and the Captain learnt to feed the young ladies, as he was fed by their mothers.

  43. A horrible scene was exhibited soon after Mr. Salt's return: the Ras held a muster of his soldiers, and each man brought in bloody and indubitable tokens of the number of men whom he had slain. There were some savage enough to produce unquestionable evidence that boys not men had been the victims of their fury. At this, says the traveller, I expressed my abhorrence so strongly to the Ras, that actuated by the same feelings, he refused them those marks of his approbation which he had invariably shewn to others,—an interesting fact, for it shews the effect which the expression of European feelings may produce, when they are founded in humanity and truth. Mr. Salt had now given up all thought of farther incursions into the country; want of money compelled him to do this, for a bill of exchange which he had brought from the Banian at Massowah, was of no value,—and besides this cogent reason, the time was fast approaching when the Panther would come for them. It now appeared upon a conference with the Ras, which passed through an honester interpreter than had before been employed, that the motives of this visit had never till now been fully comprehended, and that many attempts had been made to prejudice the Ras against them. It is curious to find the same scene of policy enacted here, which was played against Vasco de Gama three centuries ago at Calicut,—the Moslem about the Ras were in the interest of the sheriffs of Mecca, and they made use of every artifice to injure the English, being fully aware that if a trade were once opened with this country, his gainful traffic would be at an end. Every thing however was now clearly explained and understood,—yet though the Ras entered like an enlightened man into their views, and appeared ready with all his power to facilitate an intercourse so desirable for Abyssinia, his mind was nevertheless so affected by the suspicions which had been instilled into him, as to make Mr. Salt and Captain Rudland swear that whatever physic they left [121] with him should not poison him. Pearce by the Ras's invitation and at his own desire remained in the country,—an excellent man for such a situation, for he knew about as much of physic as a barber-surgeon, and painted saints to the admiration of the priests; besides these accomplishments, he is a man of good sense, and has the right feelings of a Briton. When the Ras told him he need be under no apprehension, for all the chiefs would treat him as a brother, and he would keep him always near his own person,—he made answer that, BEING AN ENGLISHMAN, HE NEVER KNEW WHAT FEAR WAS. The old chief was delighted at this reply, and said that old as he himself was, his own heart was the same. Many Abyssinians, and some among them of considerable consequence, offered to accompany Mr. Salt to England; it is to be wished that it had been prudent in him to have brought over some. The Ras was much affected at parting from his English friends, and could not speak when he took them by the hand.

  44. This good old man is the son of Kefla Yasous, often mentioned by Bruce, whom we here find to have been one of the last and most unfortunate victims of Michael Suhul. That merciless barbarian, the ablest but the most ferocious of the Abyssinians, died at last like Sylla, to the disgrace of human nature, in peace, though dispossessed of his power. His family have been spared, they owe this and whatever they enjoy to the disapprobation which they had the virtue to express at the horrible execution of Kefla Yasous, and to the mild disposition of the present Ras. His power is considerably less than what Michael Suhul possessed, and he has lessened it for the sake of tranquillity, oftentimes remitting a portion of tribute to conciliate a chief. It is still very great,—above 10,000 troops were assembled at the review of which Mr. Salt was a spectator, and it was said that more than double that number could be raised in time of war; but he has no authority at Gondar, for Ayto Gualoo the present king was set on the throne by his enemy Guxo, and the capital is in that chief's possession. Many revolutions have taken place in Abyssinia since Bruce left it. His friend Tecla Haimanout was dethroned by Powussen, in curious conformity with the remarkable prediction which Bruce has recorded in his history of the Black Eagle; the present sovereign is his tenth successor! all have been deposed, and yet not one has either fallen in defending his crown, or been put to death by the opposite party. The old system of confining the prince of the blood is no longer continued,—in fact all laws of succession are at an end,—the king is only the puppet of the [122] ruling chieftains, and the kingdom is in the worst state of anarchy.

  45. Many persons remembered Bruce; some of them spoke of him with regret, and all of them agreed that he had been in great favour with the king, the Iteghé, and Ozoro Esther; but they also uniformly asserted that no land or government had ever been given him, that he never held any command, nor was in any of the battles, at which he declares that he was present. It is said also that he neither understood Amharic or Tigre well, and was far from being a good Arabic scholar;—this we cannot but doubt,—for how could he compile his history of Abyssinia if he did not understand the chronicle which he brought home? That he was at the head of the Abyssinian Nile is admitted, but the whole history of his personal adventures must be considered as so mingled with fiction, that even what may be true must be thought doubtful. Fortunately the more important parts of his work are established by Mr. Salt; his history of the transactions which took place in his own time is accurate, and it excited the utmost astonishment in the people to find the English so well acquainted with it. Every person confirmed the character of Michael Suhul as he has described it.

  46. Mr. Salt has annexed to his journal a dissertation on the history of Abyssinia; it is his opinion that the present race were originally refugees from Egypt, who conquered and mingled with the earlier possessors of their country; and this opinion is well supported. In the sixteenth century they must have sunk under the Mahomedan power, had not the Portugueze come to their assistance: the history of their transactions in this country has been ill-written by Geddes, because he over-hated the Jesuits, and by Bruce because he never looked into some of the Portugueze documents, especially the important work of Diogo de Couto. Abyssinia was saved by these allies, and the improvements adopted from them have been the sole cause of the superiority which it still retains over the surrounding nations. But weakened as they now are by intestine wars, they cannot long hold out against the Galla, unless they receive the assistance of some more enlightened power. So great is this danger, and such the growing predominance of the Galla and Mahomedan tribes, that Mr. Salt says, 'there is reason to fear that in a short time the very name of Christ may be lost among them. Some events have lately occurred likely to hasten their fall, namely, the death of their late Aboona, and the failure of their endeavours to procure another from [123] Egypt. Divisions among the priests have already ensued, the consequence of which is that their most holy rites are likely to become objects of derision from the slovenly manner in which they are performed, and the sacred character of the priesthood to fall into contempt, from the dubious authority by which the priests are now ordained to its duties. To this may be added that the little learning they have among them will soon be exhausted, being cut off entirely from the source that supplied it. It appears to me that these circumstances call for the serious consideration of all Christians.'

  47. The direct communication between Abyssinia and Europe was closed in 1558, when Massowah, Dhalac, and Suakin were conquered by the Turks; that communication Lord Valentia considers as again opened by this visit of Mr. Salt. Its political consequences are greater than may immediately be perceived. In India the French can obtain no footing while we preserve our present superiority; but if they establish themselves, as they are attempting to do in the Persian Gulph and in the Red Sea, this superiority will then indeed be endangered. Let us not deceive ourselves; we are indeed a greater as well as a better people than the French, we have accomplished greater things with less means; in the field we shall always continue to beat them unless the preponderance of numbers on their part be irresistible,—and upon the seas we laugh them to scorn;—but they excel us in policy. They never begin a campaign without a perfect knowledge of the whole country in which it is to be carried on, and in forming their gigantic plans for the future they bring to their aid full information of the past. Their treaty with Persia shews that it is their object to divert the trade of the east into its old channel. Ormuz has lain neglected for two centuries, since in an evil hour we assisted in taking it from the Portugueze to deliver it into the hands of a Barbarian. Should the French succeed in establishing themselves there, or in any part of the Gulph, woe to the trade of India. The same circumstances of rough weather and narrow seas which have made us lords of the ocean, have taught maritime skill both there and in the Red Sea, and in both seas the French, through our imprudence, would find perilous allies. In the Persian Gulph we have submitted to have our merchant vessels plundered, and our cruizers insulted by the piratical states on its shores, especially by the Johesserm Arabs, whose coast extends from Cape Mussendom to Bahrein. 'Through the systematic forbearance of the Bombay Government, says Lord Valentia, they have risen to a great maritime power, and possess at least thirty-five dows of different sizes, [124] carrying from fifty to three hundred men each. They attack chiefly by boarding, stabbing with their crooked daggers every one who resists. The Company's cruizers have positive orders to treat these pirates with civility, never to attack them, but only to act on the defensive; the consequence is that they only look at the stronger vessels, but take every one that has not the power of resistance.'

  48. In the Red Sea the French have secured the Imaun of Sana, who hates the British name, and are securing the Wahabee, to whose growing strength we appear to be insensible. They have already attempted to establish themselves upon the island of Camaram,—the very spot which three centuries ago was occupied by the Turks, for the purpose of securing the Red Sea against the Portuguese: its harbour is excellent,—and they conceive that were they once to fortify themselves there, they would command the passage, and, by the co-operation of their allies, render a continuance in that sea impracticable to any fleet except their own, by cutting off all the necessary supplies. These expectations Lord Valentia thinks are completely annihilated by what he calls the discovery of Dhalac, Valentia and the other islands, and by the connection with Abyssinia, whence the whole British navy might be supplied with provisions. The speediest way of preventing danger is by taking the Isles of France and Bourbon: shut out as our enemy is from the Cape by our arms, and from South America by the effect of his own crimes, he would then have no port upon the way.

  49. It was from Egypt that the Portuguese in India were attacked by the Turks,—from Egypt we have been threatened. France will assuredly never lose sight of that country, and sooner or later will obtain possession of it, unless we secure it for ourselves. It is therefore doubly of importance that we should strengthen ourselves in the Red Sea, both for security against the enemy if we suffer them to obtain so valuable a country, and for our own advantage if the boldest policy be pursued, which is always the best. And were there no farther political views in opening an intercourse with Abyssinia, its trade alone is an object of sufficient importance. The pilgrimage to Mecca is at an end, the conquests of the Wahabee have put a stop to it. This pilgrimage was not only the key-stone of Islamism, but it was the main spring of Arabian commerce. The Africans are now cut off from their old sources of trade, and it is our own fault if English and Indian goods do not find their way to the heart of that continent through Abyssinia. Ivory and gold are the only articles of value which Abyssinia at present produces,—others [125] would doubtless soon be found, but of these the quantity is sufficient to pay for the manufactures at present imported, and gold would increase in proportion as trade extended eastward into those countries where it is found. Impressed by these views, Lord Valentia on his return to England laid a memorial before the Court of Directors; upon them it had no effect, but some private merchants were convinced by his statements, and obtained a license from the Company to trade direct to Abyssinia. They have accordingly sent off a vessel upon this speculation, and we rejoice to say that Mr. Salt is gone in her, charged with a letter and presents from the King to the Neguz of Abyssinia. Two pieces of curricle artillery with all the necessary accompaniments are part of this present; a cannon has not been seen in the country since the time of the Portuguese: if our friend the Ras be living this will insure him the superiority over his enemies, and it may even be hoped that with these means, and the presence of a few Englishmen, the government may recover strength and stability, and the civilization of Africa proceed as rapidly on this side, as these is reason to expect it will on that of Sierra Leona, under the auspices of the African Society.

  50. Before his Lordship departed from the coast, some unlucky hostilities took place with the people of Arkeko, which owing to a succession of bad weather could not be properly terminated. This, however, is of little consequence, for before any regular trade can be established there, those 'gates of Abyssinia' must be thrown open. From thence the Panther, narrowly escaping shipwreck, proceeded to Jedda and Suez, where Lord Valentia and his companions took leave of their excellent and able friend Capt. Court, and made their way to Alexandria, and thence to England. The length to which our remarks have extended, prevents us from following them over this more beaten ground.

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September 2006