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the inquirer Nothing is more difficult to forge beyond detection, than celestial observations. It is true that those which are genuine may be vitiated by error, or communications may suffer by transcription, yet their general truth will remain, and the correctness of such may be investigated as scrupulously at Flamstead-House, or elsewhere, as if the investigator had assisted on the spot. We proceed to select a few specimens of Mr. Bruce's style, and of the information contained in the work under perusal. The following extracts are parts of a letter written to the celebrated Mr. Wood, while Mr. B. was consul at Algiers.
“I began my journey by land the middle of September by Keff to Constantina; but the Moors between those two places being then in rebellion, after having the mortification of seeing part of the frize of the temple of Venus (Keff, as you know, was the Sicca Venerea), so mutilated, that no idea could be formed of it, and having delineated the only three figures that remained on a part of the frize of the temple of Hercules, I turned eastward to Spaitla, the ancient Sufetula, where I knew there was what would occupy me for some time, and I was not mistaken. Having delineated, measured, and minuted every thing of any worth, as. well there as in all the other places of the neighbourhood, I returned, and proceeded to Constantina, where I arrived safely, but with difficulty enough. ." The Bey was gone out with his camp; but, having advice of my coming from Algier, he had left orders to have every thing ready for my reception. We were lodged iu his own palace, and treated with the utmost magnificence, as well as the greatest attention, and six chosen Moorish horse well acquainted with the language and the country, for the language is in many places difficult, appointed to accompany me wherever I intended to go. With these I went to every place of note through that province, even through the mountainous, and hitherto thought inacessible parts of it; and advanced into the desert to the southward, till we wanted water, and, indeed, every thing else. I then turned N. E. and coasted along the desert to the frontiers of Tunis, resting a little at Cafsa, one of the principal cities of Jugurtha. From this I again took to the desert standing due south east, steering always in a sea of land by compass and observation, intending to have fetched Tripoly; but we were here again obstructed by the Moors, and not knowing the wells which are kept always covered with camel's hides, we were obliged to cross the mountains of Atlas, and continue our course to Girba, a fruitful island of Tunis, the Meninx of the Lotophagi, three days journey distance, but then in sight.
“ Here I was surprised to find myself among men of a different species, not living in tents, or in mud-walled cottages, as the Arabs do ; but in caves under ground as the Troglodytes of old. Mela says of these that they lived in caves, and fed upon serpents; if he had said fed togeiher with serpents, his descriptioa had been just; for these are so many in every habitation, and so familiar, that at each meal they come and pick up what falls from the dish, like dogs. Some of them are seven feet in length; but to these people so harmless that, even trod upon accidentally, they do not sting, and there is not any person of the family who will not with their hands lift them out of their way, when sleeping, or in any mian.
ner troublesome. No persuasion nor reward could induce them to let me carry away one of them ; it being universally believed that they are a kind of good angels, whom it would be the highest impropriety, and of the worst consequence to the community, to remove from their dwelling.
“ At Girba I staid a month with an intention to proceed to Tripoly. The Bey being on ill terms with the consul, though he promised, he would not send any escort. Myself and servants did indeed most rashly attempt to pass the desert, inhabited only by ruffians and assassins, who pay no sort of acknowledgement to any sovereign, and where the caravan from Morocco to Mecca, which we found near Tripoly, had been defeated and plundered, though they amounted to upwards of 3000 men. Nor did we escape ; for the night of the third day we were attacked by a number of horsemen, and four of our men killed upon the spot. Providence, the prodigious resolution of our little company, and the night, saved the remainder, and we arrived at Tripoly, when given over by every body for lost. After which I returned along the coasts of the lesser Syrtis down to Cape Bon, the Promontorium Mercurii ; from thence again arrived at Tunis, after an absence of more than six months constantly encamped.
“ It is now time to mention how that space has been employed, and whether my expectations have been answered by the antiquities I have found in my journey. The principal are these : eight triumphal arches of the Corinthian order, mostly of different plans and designs, and little ruined ; seven Corinthian temples in great preservation, all highly ornamented and of the very best ages, whose plans, parts, and decorations, I have by very laborious searches and excavations made myself entirely master of; add to these one large temple of the Composite order, in its best age; one part of which is so perfectly preserved, that it must be looked upon as un unexceptionable example of the manner in which the ancients disposed and proportioned the constituent parts of that order, and two large aqueducts, the smallest of which exceeds by forty-two feet in perpendicular height the remains of the highest aqueduct in Rome. In these designs are included the ruins of the three principal cities of Africa, namely, lol, or Julia Caesarea the capital of Juba, Cirta, and Carthage; the last of which, I hope, will be found to make a better figure than it does in the accounts of some travellers, who would persuade us there are no traces of that city remaining. The drawings are 16 inches by 12.
“ I have corrected and cleared up many passages of the Antonine Itinerary, Peutinger's tables and Ptolemy, as well as of Sanson, Nollin, and Dibbler's French maps, all by actual observation; and, if ever I have time, hope to give a large map of Africa, that will show how much the . gentlemen above-mentioned have wrote by hearsay, or imagination.
“I have collected about three hundred medals of all kinds, many of which are curious, though I have not had time to consider them; some large medallion vases and statues of bronze, all in good taste; and have copied about one thousand inscriptions.
" And, lastly, I have not entirely neglected, but have made about thirty drawings of the rarest animals, insects, birds, and plants of this country, particularly the interior and remote parts of it, all in their natural colours. “ As soon as Mr. Harrison has obtained leave for me, I return to Tri
poly; froin thence I intend to visit the ruins of Leptis Magna; go round the gulf of Sidra, or Syrtis Major, to Berenice, Arsinoe, Cyrene, Ptolemais, Barca, Apollonia, down to Darne.
"My excursions though terminated to my satisfaction, have been so continually attended with every kind of danger, hardship, and difficalty, that no consideration possible would make me again repeat the journey I have now finished. Often beset with, and constantly in fear of, the wandering Arabs, the most brutal set of barbarous wretches ever I believe existed; constantly parched with heat, or dying with extreme cold; exposed many times to the risk of dying with thirst, though perpetually in view of large quantities of water, equal in saltness to the sea; in the northern parts in constant danger from tigers, lions, and panthers; in the south afraid of every creature, where the smallest insect is endowed with some noxious quality : scorpions and horned vipers are in such abundance that of the former thirty-five were killed in and about my tent an hour after it was pitched. And when, in the evening of a sultry day, we had the comfort of a fresh breeze, we were hindered from enjoying it, by reflecting, that if it increased we might, while asleep, be buried in the showers of sand it carries along with it.” Vol. I. pp. 246–252.. · The following is Mr. B.'s description of Massowa, and of his journey from thence to Gondar, the capital of Abyssinia.
" It has excellent ports for the largest vessels, is a small barren island, scarce 300 yards Jong, without any water, but that fetched from Arkika in the main land. It was once, together with Suaken, a place of the greatest trade. The cruelties exercised upon the Banian merchants have ruined all. The Indian trade and pearl fishery all are gone, and the place is now occupied by one called the Naibe, an Arab sheriffe, who commands a parcel of robbers and pirates. I never, I think, was in more imminent danger of being robbed and murdered than here. We escaped, thank God, by a kind of miracle, without either. Massowa is the entrance of Abyssinia, beyond which no Europeans, all called Franks here, are allowed to pass ; it is in lat. 15° 35' 5" and 38° 48' 45" E. long. from London. After having suffered a thousand vexations and difficulties, we were at last allowed to enter Abyssinia; we were all along dressed as Greeks; as such we have passed till this day. We arrived at Gondar, the capital, in the end of February. I cannot give you a better idea of the difficulty of travelling in this country than in informing you, that I was about sixty-one days between Massowa and Gondar, which may be about 200 miles, part of which I have performed on foot ; my telescopes; pendulum, and quadrant, being the heavy part of my baggage, have given me great trouble. It cost me ten men to carry my quadrant on their shoulders, and often I have been obliged to assist them, to give them courage. We have passed all that time in our tent lying on the ground, with seldom any provisions but bread and water ; sometimes a little honey and coffee, for all this country is as it were a desert. In our way to Gondar we passed through Axum, the ancient capital of this country, now reduced to a large village ; it is in lat. 14° 6' 36"." Vol. I. p. 279.
Translation of the account of the fountains of the Nile, from the Italian of Luigi Balugani, Mr. B.'s assistant, who kept the journals. The original Italian is also given in this edition. .
- The “ The sum of the whole way from Gondar to the fountains of the Nile, is about 111 miles.
" The fountains of the Nile are three. One of them will be 4 palms in diameter; but it is all full of rushes, and shews neither its depth nor ti ue extent, it not being possible to introduce into it any sounding instrument.
“ The second will be 5 paces distant from the first to the south, a little west : and will be about 12 inches diameter at the mouth, but within about 4 palms, and it is 8 feet 3 inches deep.
* The third will be 12 paces distant from the first, to S. S. W.; its mouth is somewhat larger than that of the second, but it is only 5 feet 8 inches deep. The first being the lowest, the water is seen at the level of the earth ; but in the other two, the ground being a little raised, the wa. ter remains about 8 inches lower than the level of the mouth. All the three may be observed to spring (the word bollire signifies to boil or bubble), but so imperceptibly that it can scarcely be discerned by great attention; and it is false what is said by some, that they spring with a noise out of the ground, rising above it.
“ All this place near the fountains produces only grass and rushes ; trees are not found, to the distance at least of half a mile on every side.
“ The latitude of the fountains is 10. 58. 58.” Vol. V. p. 437.
In volume VII., p. 348, we have the particulars of certain antidotes used by the Nuba against serpents and scorpions; and these are said to be so powerful, that a person who has chewed them often in a morning, will not be injured by either of those venomous animals. We cannot transcribe the description of these plants; but we recommend to some of our medical friends, in the East Indies, the endeavour to ascertain whether plants of a like kind, or equally efficacious though of different kinds, may .not be discovered in that country. • The additional plates are, a bandsomne portrait of the author : of whom there is, as we recollect, a whole length, in Zoffanij's Picture of the Florentine Gallery, now in her Majesty's collection. This has been considered as the best likeness of Mr. Bruce. Portraits of Ozoro Esther, Tecla Marjam, Kefla Yasous, Woodage Asahel, and an Abyssinian Lady of Quality, are also given: these are highly finished; but on the authority of original sketches, only. We are of opinion that this addition is injudicious ; correct fac similes of the originals, in whatever state they were, would have pleased us much better. The editor appears to have been sensible of this in propriety; but his apology is unavailing. We are, however, obliged to him for the additional subjects of Natural History: which are, the Houbaara, infinitely superior to that given by Dr. Shaw: the Madoqua Antelope, supposed to be the Grimme, of Buffon: the Cassia Fistula, and seven or eight other plants. A figure of Kelfa Abay, High Priest of the Nile, closes these novelties, The maps are the same as before; with some additional names, and positions, of places, by the editor.
It apphat the plat, 1764.) justice and
We learn with regret that a volume of Mr. Bruce's drawings, highly finished, is missing: whoever has it in possession should obey the call of private honour and public duty, by producing it to the world : even negligence, or forgetfulness, in this case is criminal. It appears, also, that Mr. Bruce intended a work on Pestum, and that the plates were executed for it; for so Mr.Strange writes, (January 31, 1764.) · The ruins of Pæsto interest me equally, with the figures of Justice and Meekness,' and, (July 25, 1766.) Your work of Pastoh as been long executed.' What is become of these plates ?
Bruce's Travels, is one of those few publications which at its first appearance engaged our incessant perusal: and we then thought it a very useful entertaining and interesting work. The present edition is greatly superior to the former, in accuracy, in variety, and in that kind of authenticity, in minor particulars, which cannot be too scrupulously maintained, when unknown countries with their inhabitants and manners are the subject Whether Mr. B. himself would have condescended to, gratify the inquisitive, by the publication of his private papers, we cannot determine; but, we are of opinion, that in this, as also in the general discharge of his office, the editor has erected a truly honourable monument to the memory of his principal, and has laid the literary world under considerable obligations to his own assiduity and intelligence.
Art. VIII. Essays on various Subjects. By J. Bigland. 2 Vols. 8vo.
pp. 516. Price 12s. Longman and Co. Cundee, Williams and Smith, London 1805. A Writer of short essays does not labour under the difficulties h which those have to encounter, who compose works of connected discussion, or close argumentation. It is not required of him to exhaust the subject of which he treats, nor to preserve an unbroken chain of compact and vigorous reasoning. The world, physical and moral, lies before him; and, like the bee, he is at liberty to select the flowers from which he extracts his stores, lo stay while they afford him an agreeable repast, and to quit them at pleasure for others more delicious. Every thing relative to man, his virtues, vices, habits, maxims, occupations, and amusements, are especially within his province, and he needs be at no loss for a subject for his pen, whether he be inclined to laugh with Democritus, or cry with Heraclitus.
It must not be understood, however, that the writing of Essays” is the easiest species of composition. The rarity of the instances of complete success, is a proof that, what every Tyro thinks he may undertake, no one but a man of real genius can successfully perform. Depth and justness of observation must be added to liveliness of conception, and purity of stile, in the writer.who