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قراءة كتاب The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 17, No. 495, June 25, 1831

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‏اللغة: English
The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction
Volume 17, No. 495, June 25, 1831

The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 17, No. 495, June 25, 1831

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 4

amounted to near 1,800,000l., which, according to our former conjectures, would be equivalent to about 16,000,000l.; an amount of specie so immense as to warrant a suspicion of exaggeration, in an age when there was no control from public documents on a matter of which the writers of history were ignorant. Our doubts of the amount amassed by Henry are considerably warranted by the computation of Sir W. Petty, who, a century and a half later, calculated the whole specie of England at only 6,000,000l.—This hoard, whatever may have been its precise extent, was too great to be formed by frugality, even under the penurious and niggardly Henry. A system of extortion was employed, which "the people, into whom there is infused for the preservation of monarchies a natural desire to discharge their princes, though it be with the unjust charge of their counsellors, did impute unto Cardinal Morton and Sir Reginald Bray, who, as it after appeared, as counsellors of ancient authority with him, did so second his humours as nevertheless they did temper them. Whereas Empson and Dudley, that followed, being persons that had no reputation with him, otherwise than by the servile following of his bent, did not give way only as the first did, but shaped his way to those extremities for which himself was touched with remorse at his death."4 The means of exaction chiefly consisted in the fines incurred by slumbering laws, in commuting for money other penalties which fell on unknown offenders, and in the sale of pardons and amnesties. Every revolt was a fruitful source of profit. When the great confiscations had ceased, much remained to be gleaned by true or false imputations of participation in treason. To be a dweller in a disaffected district, was, for the purposes of the king's treasure, to be a rebel. No man could be sure that he had not incurred mulcts, or other grievous penalties, by some of those numerous laws which had so fallen into disuse by their frivolous and vexatious nature as to strike before they warned. It was often more prudent to compound by money, even in false accusations, than to brave the rapacity and resentment of the king and his tools. Of his chief instruments, "Dudley was a man of good family, eloquent, and one that could put hateful business into good language; Empson, the son of a sieve-maker, of Towcester, triumphed in his deeds, putting off all other respects. They were privy counsellors and lawyers, who turned law and justice into wormwood and rapine."5 They threw into prison every man whom they could indict, and confined him, without any intention to prosecute, till he ransomed himself. They prosecuted the mayors and other magistrates of the city of London, for pretended or trivial neglects of duty, long after the time of the alleged offences; subservient judges imposed enormous fines, and the king imprisoned during his own life some of the contumacious offenders. Alderman Hawes is said to have died heartbroken by the terror and anguish of these proceedings. 6 They imprisoned and fined juries who hesitated to lend their aid when it was deemed convenient to seek it. To these, Lord Bacon tells us, were added "other courses fitter to be buried than repeated."7 Emboldened by long success, they at last disdained to observe "the half face of justice,"8 but summoning the wealthy and timid before them in private houses, "shuffled up" a summary examination without a jury, and levied such exactions as were measured only by the fears and fortunes of their victims.—Mackintosh's England, Vol. 2.



The discovery of the termination of the course of the Niger, will be of the greatest importance to geography, to our political power, and to civilization.

With regard to geography, perhaps the contradiction which was afforded by the various sources whence we derived our knowledge of the character of the interior of Africa, and of the course of, next to the Nile, the most renowned, and, as was considered from the same accounts, the greatest river of that country, have in late times given unlimited zest in the pursuit of further information, and has not in the least detracted from the pleasure with which we find that we are indebted to our countrymen for the solution of this all-absorbing problem. It appears, that among the ancients many facts connected with the geography of the interior of Africa were well known, which have still been an object of discussion among the moderns; and of these, we may enumerate the occurrence of a large lake or marsh (for it is either, at different seasons of the year), whose real existence, beyond the speculations of geographers, was very unsatisfactorily established, until the journey of Denham and Clapperton; and the fact of the occurrence of a great river in the west, emptying itself into the ocean, though many were of opinion that it lost itself in an inland marsh, or in the desert, while others supported the opinion of its identity with the Nile of the Egyptians. The researches of Ptolemy and the Arabian geographers on the Nile of the Negroes, and in later times the travels of Leo Africanus, who was a Moor of Grenada, demonstrated the absurdity of this opinion; and how extraordinary that, in the boasted perfection of human intellect, it should have been broached several centuries afterwards, and that the barometric levellings of Bruce should have been necessary to enforce conviction! It is not at all improbable that Hanno, the Carthaginian, as advanced by Macqueen, reached the Bight of Benin, or of Biafra; and certainly the geographical information obtained on these countries by Herodotus and Edrisi was more accurate than the speculations of many modern geographers.

Observation had demonstrated to the moderns that no large river emptied itself into the ocean on the north-west coast, though it required a more accurate acquaintance with the Senegal and the Gambia before it was fully ascertained that they were not the outlets of this great stream. The progress of navigation along the south-eastern shores of Africa also showed that no large river emptied itself into the sea along that coast; while the settlements of the Portuguese on the coast to the south of Cape Lopez, led them, at an early period, to adopt the opinion afterwards supported by Mungo Park and Mr. Barrow, that one or more of the rivers in their vicinity were the outlets of the great river of the interior of Africa. Two celebrated geographers, D'Anville and Major Rennell, however, espoused the theory of the waters emptying themselves into the Wangara, or great marsh; which argument underwent various modifications in the hands of different geographers; and though the probability of its emptying itself into the Gulf of Guinea had been pointed out on the continent, and vigorously supported in this country, an expedition was fitted out to explore the Congo or Zaire, which, though unfortunate to the individuals concerned, was yet satisfactory in a geographical point of view, and demonstrated that the rivers south of Cape Lopez were not the outlets of the waters of the Niger, and gave origin to a speculation which partook of all the characters of a romance of the desert, beneath the sands of which its author buried the gigantic stream, loaded with the waters of the Wangara or Lake Tchad, to make it flow into the Mediterranean at the Syrtis of the ancients.

In the history of geography there are no examples of greater perseverance and courageous determination than in the efforts made to triumph over the difficulties presented in the solution of this important question. Since 1815, there has scarcely a year passed in which a new attempt has not been made; and of these, if we recede a little farther back, twenty-five were made by our countrymen, fourteen by Frenchmen, two by Americans, and one by a German; of which but a small number, since the days of Houghton, have not fallen victims to their heroic devotion.

Mungo Park first observed the direction of the stream which had become as much an object of discussion as its termination; and, strange to say, after the present discovery, it will, in some parts of its course, still remain so. The unfortunate traveller just alluded to, previous to his descent of the river, obtained some information from Moors and from negroes, on its course by Timbuctoo. The Jinnie of Park is synonymous with Jenné, Giné, Dhjenné, of other writers, as Jenné has again been confounded with Kano or Kanno. It may be a figurative term—for the Jinnie of Park was on an island, as was the Jenné of the Moorish reports, while the Jenné of some travellers is at a short distance from the river. This cannot be the case with regard to Timbuctoo, which is visited by caravans twice a year from Morocco; nor is the name met with any where, except the two first syllables in the town of Timbo, which cannot be mistaken for Timbuctoo.

Major Laing had discovered the source of the Niger to be in the mountains of Loma, in 9 deg. 15 min. west latitude, and had ascertained its course for a short distance from its source. We were also aware of the existence of one or two streams joining the great river, or branching from it near Timbuctoo. De Lisle had marked a river Gambarra, on his maps drawn up for Louis XV., and not without good authority. This is the river coming from Houssa; and the Joliba of modern travellers is a river, we could prove, from the concurring testimony of a variety of sources, coming from the north-west, and joining its waters with, that is to say flowing into the Niger, in the immediate neighbourhood of Timbuctoo; still at that point the Kowarra, or Quorra of the Moors, or Quolla of the Negroes, who always change the r for l a name which, according to Laing, it has at its sources—according to Clapperton, it preserves beyond Timbuctoo, and is probably still the name of the same stream at its embouchure in the Bight of Biafra. The Quarrama is another tributary stream which passes by Saccatoo, and falls into the Quorra above Youri, and above the point where Mungo Park was wrecked; and the line of country between this river and the Shashum, comprising the hills of Doochee, of Naroo, and of Dull, is the line of water-shed to the rivers joining the Quorra on the one hand, and those emptying themselves into the Wangara on the other. The course given by Sultan Bello, and the information obtained by Major Denham, both pointed out a river coursing to the east, which is probably the branch followed by the Landers: for its termination in Lake Tchad had not even the air of probability; though it is not, on the other-hand, at all improbable that other branches empty themselves into the Bight of Benin, by the rivers Formosa or Volta, according to information given to Captain Clapperton and Major Laing.

We had intended to embody some remarks upon the pretended journey of Caillié; but we find we have already occupied too much space in details necessary to make the geographical nature of the question well understood; and we shall content ourselves with remarking, that the discovery of the termination of the Quorra, or Niger, tends to throw a degree of improbability upon the narrative of that individual, which it will require much ingenuity to explain away. It is certain that the latitude given to Timbuctoo by the editor of those travels, and upon which sufficient ridicule has already been thrown in the Edinburgh Geographical Journal, may be considered as an error entirely of the editor's, who, by taking it upon himself, will relieve the burden of the mistake from the traveller, and thus lighten the weighty doubts which might in consequence bear upon the remainder of the details; for the situation of that city, as given by Jomard, is quite inconsistent with the situation it must be in, from the ascertained source, direction, and termination of the river. There can be no doubt but that a portion of the labours presented to the public as the travels of Caillié are founded upon valid documents, wherever obtained, and probably most of the errors are those of the editor. But though authorities can be found in support of the division of the Quorra into two branches; one of which, the Joliba, flows to the north-west, and the other in an almost opposite direction,—fact which has no analogy in geography, and, what is better, no existence in nature; yet no authority can be found for placing Timbuctoo on a river flowing north from the Niger.

The details which will be given to us by the results of this successful expedition will, then, not only be of assistance in allying the existing condition of things with the knowledge of the ancients, but it will enable us to reduce to a few facts the many contradictory statements which have originated in the variety of the sources of information, and the individual and national rivalry which the interest of the question gave birth to among the geographers of the present day. It will also be of importance, as it was connected with a great question, as to the possibility of a large river traversing an extensive continent, or losing itself in a marsh or lake, or being buried in the extensive sands of the desert. By laying open the interior of Africa to us, it will increase our political strength and commercial advantages on those coasts;—it will enable us to put into practice an amelioration long contemplated by Mr. Barrow, in the choice of our settlements on those coasts;—it will place the greatest and most important vent of the barbarous and inhuman traffic of negroes in our possession; and it will enable us to diffuse the benefits of superior intelligence among an ignorant and suffering people.—Literary Gazette.




"For four things the earth is disquieted, and five which it cannot bear."      AGUR.

This world is a delightful place to dwell in,

And many sweet and lovely things are in it;

Yet there are sundry, at the which I have

A natural dislike, against all reason.

I never like A TAILOR. Yet no man

Likes a new coat or inexpressibles

Better than I do—few, I think, so well:

I can't account for this. The tailor is,

A far more useful member of society

Than is a poet;—then his sprightly wit,

His glee, his humour, and his happy mind

Entitle him to fair esteem. Allowed.

But then, his self-sufficiency;—his shape

So like a frame, whereon to hang a suit

Of dandy clothes;—his small straight back and arms,

His thick bluff ankles, and his supple knees,

Plague on't!—'Tis wrong—I do not like a tailor.

AN OLD BLUE-STOCKING MAID! Oh! that's a being,

That's hardly to be borne. Her saffron hue,

Her thinnish lips, close primmed as