Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

now is. The general impression producerl, is that of a new markable absence of any change, either for the better or worse

The picture of Edrisi equally presents the rich attire and crowl ed retinue of the grandees, contrasted with the rude dress and scanty fare of the body of the people the great caravans traversing the deserts in every direction, the pompous display of their wares in the commercial cities. Already we see, with regret, the full establishment of the horrid system of slave humting, and regular expeditions from all the great states, against their unfortunate brethren in the south, for the purpose of carrying them off as captires, to be transported into the most distant regions of the globe. There appears only one very remarkable change, in the extinction of that immense gold trade which once centered in Ghana, and is described as then the main attraction, which drew thither merchants from the remotest extremities of Africa. In Bornou, Major Denham did not see a particle of gold, though he understood that the Tuarick sometimes carry it northwards from Soudan; but this is not confirmed by his companion, who even observes, in relation to Kano, that though trinkets of silver were exhibited in the market, there were none of gold. Gold, in short, seems to have disappeared as entirely from the trade of Central Africa, as from the currency of Scotland. Yet it is still described as abounding in those southern districts from which it was formerly drawn. Mr Clapperton, not aware apparently that such a trade ever existed, made no inquiries as to its cessation. We can only guess, on finding that the ancient demand was chiefly from the merchants of Sigilmessa, (the Morocco frontier), and those of the remotest west,' that after the rise of Tombuctoo, that city, so much more commodiously situated for these quarters, may have become the exclusive market for gold; while the Tripolitan caravans, as Major Denham informs us, have only one call, which is always for slaves.

We need not dwell long on the subsequent accounts. In the fourteenth century, Leo Africanus published his description, which marks some new places and new names. Of the former, the chief was Tombuctoo, founded in the thirteenth century by an expedition from Morocco, to which he represents all the other states as subject, and which in fact has ever since been the most celebrated of the central emporia. He mentions, for the first time, the names of Kassina, Bornou, and Ghana under its modern appellation of Kano. Leo has strangely puzzled geographers, by stating that Kano was five hundred miles from the Niger; yet if we consider that his Niger, like ours, was the river of Tombyctoo, the statement will prove very nearly cor, rect,

· The moderns were involved in great darkness as to the interior of Africa. Finding, in the same line with the reported Niger, the great estuaries of the Senegal and Gambia, they never doubted that these were the embouchures by which it entered the ocean, and busied themselves in vain efforts to ascend by them to Tombuctoo and Ghana. Yet there occur, in maps of ihe sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, some features with which it is impossible not to be struck. There is an immense lake, with islands, under the name of Guardia, which does not sound very unlike an European corruption of Tchad; also a lake of Bornou, sometimes identified with, sometimes separated from, the Guardia. We have sought in vain for the authority upon which these features are laid down; but suspect that, though not mentioned by Di Barros, they must have originated with the Portuguese, who made at one time great efforts at interior discovery.

In the seventeenth century, Delisle and D'Anville effected a considerable reform, founded upon information derived from the French settlements on the Senegal. They ascertained, as a separate river from it, the greater interior one called the Niger, the latter flowing in a contrary direction. With regard to the positions on its supposed course to Wangara, D'Anville brought out with advantage those of Edrisi and his cotemporaries. Unable, however, to procure any authority for the lakes of Guardia and Bornou, he, after some hesitation, obliterated them from the map, on which they have never again re-appeared.

A material improvement in the maps of Africa was produced by the discoveries of the African Association, and particularly of Park. All the western interior of that continent was then fixed by precise observation; but the eastern, of which we are now treating, depended still on the confused and often misunderstood reports of native travellers. In combining these, all the care and skill of Major Rennell could not escape important errors. These occurred particularly in regard to Bornou, the most unfortunate of countries in regard to geographic delineation. We have seen how it was deprived of its lake; and, from being placed on the line of the central rivers, it was now moved to quite an erroneous position. Yet the route given by the Shreef to Mr Lucas, of fifty days' journey, or six hundred and fifty miles, if it had been extended due south, as the general tenor of the accounts would have dictated, would have come very near to the real position. But this statement was accompanied with another, that Bornou was only twentyfive days' journey west from the Nile. This probably must have meant the upper part of the Bahr-el. Abiad; but Major Rennell, applying the statement to the course through Nubia, could only conciliate the two routes by making the direction southeast, which carried Bornou into the heart of the desert, seven degrees north, and eight degrees east of where it really stood. Major Rennell had also, from the same quarter, an excellent route to Kassina, with a positive assurance that the direction was south-west, which, had it been followed, would have placed that city and Ghana nearly in their true positions; but though this direction was afterwards repeated by Mr Magra, the Major did not venture so far to innovate on D'Anville, who had made it due south. He merely gave it two slight bends westward, quite insufficient to rectify the errors. Ghana thus remained four degrees, and Kassina two and a half degrees, too far east. It is somewhat curious, that Sackatoo is nearly in the precise longitude of Major Rennell's Tocrur. One circumstance indeed appears from the present volume, which must have considerably misled these eminent geographers. The day's journeys of Edrisi, being the rude measurement which he always employs, when calculated along the plain of Soudan, are only about half the length of those extended across the desert. The reason appears to be, that, in the latter case, the caravans pushed across by the most direct line, and with the utmost possible speed; while, in the former, they chose a circuitous route, for the purpose of including the great cities, and often halted a day or two at each.

We had intended to close this article with some observations respecting the future prospects of this part of Africa, whether relating to the commercial intercourse of Britain, or to their own internal improvement and civilization. But we have already passed the limits which we suspect our readers will be disposed to consider reasonable; and may be able to treat the subject with greater advantage, after the issue of the new expeditions under Laing and Clapperton shall present to us a complete and connected view of the entire breadth of this part of the continent.

Art. VII. The Life and Remains of the Rev. EDWARD DANIEL

CLARKE, LL. D., Professor of Mineralogy in the University of Cambridge. pp. 667. 4to. London, Cowie & Co. 1824.

Tn collecting and editing these Memoirs of Dr Clarke, his 1 friend Mr Otter has rendered a most acceptable service to the literary world, while he conferred a real favour upon all who knew, and therefore esteemed, that aimiable and accomplished individual. The great work, indeed, in which Dr Clarke's travels are recorded, preserves a minute account of by far the most interesting portion of his life; but the curiosity is natural and laudable, to learn the rest of a man's history, to whose adventurous spirit and persevering industry, combined, in a rare degree, with quick and lively parts, we are indebted for perhaps the most instructive and engaging book of travels ever published in this country; and many particulars of his personal narrative, even during those travels, omitted in the work, as being perhaps deemed below the dignity of the occasion, are to be gleaned from his correspondence, and must prove attractive to every intelligent reader.

The family of Dr Clarke have for several generations been advantageously known in the republic of letters. The celebrated Dr Wotton was his great-grandfather. His paternal grandfather was William Clarke, author of the valuable work on Saxon Coins, and commonly called • Mild William Clarke,' on account of the extraordinary sweetness of temper which he united with great literary attainments, and (what was perhaps reckoned still more unlikely to be found in such company) considerable church preferment, he having had a prebend and a good living. That this excellent man was far from being so meek as to dislike an epigram, we learn from the admirable one which he wrote on the inscription (Hæc est domus ultima) upon the vault of the Richmond family, in Chichester Cathedral.

• Did he, who thus inscrib'd the wall,
Not read, or not believe, St Paul?
Who says there is, where'er it stands,
Another house not made with hands;
Or may we gather from these words,

That house is not a house of Lords ?' p. 10. His son, Mr Clarke, succeeded him in the rectory of Buxted, and having, in earlier life, passed some time abroad, as chaplain to Lord Bristol's embassy at Madrid, he published Letters on the Spanish Nation, which are favourably spoken of. He was esteemed an excellent scholar, having been a pupil of Mark. land, and had prepared an adaptation of Faber's Thesaurus, by transposing it from the radical arrangement, and a folio edition of the Greek Testament, with prolegomena and notes—the latter of which, Mr Otter informs us, are in the hands of his surviving son, Dr Stanier Clarke, a gentleman well known to the public by his successful cultivation of Letters, and distinguished for the talents and virtues which seem to have adorned all the members of this excellent family,

Edward Daniel, the second son, was born in 1769; and showed, while yet a child, the same adventurous spirit and vehement, but not always discriminating, curiosity, which distinguished him in after life. Every one who has studied the works of the man, will recognise distinct lineaments of his character, in the following anecdotes of the boy.

• Having upon some occasion accompanied his mother on a visit to a relation's house in Surrey, he contrived, before the hour of their return, so completely to stuff every part of the carriage with stones, weeds, and other natural productions of that county, then entirely new to him, that his mother, upon entering, found herself embarrassed how to move ; and, though the most indulgent creature alive to her children, she was constrained, in spite of the remonstrances of the boy, to eject them one by one from the window. For one package, however, carefully wrapped up in many a fold of brown paper, he pleaded so hard, that he at last succeeded in retaining it: and when she opened it at night after he had gone to sleep, it was found to contain several greasy pieces of half-burnt reeds, such as were used at that time in the farmers' kitchens in Surrey, instead of candles ; which, he said, upon inquiry, were specimens of an invention that could not fail of being of service to some poor old women of the parish, to whom he could easily communicate how they were prepared.

Another childish circumstance, which occurred about the same time, is worthy of recital, not only because it indicates strongly the early prevalence of the spirit to which we have alluded, but because it accounts in some measure for the extraordinary interest he took throughout his life in the manners and the fortunes of gypsies. At this period, his eldest brother was residing with his relations at Chi. chester; and, as his father's infirm state of health prevented him from seeing many persons at his house, Edward was permitted frequently to wander alone in the neighbourhood, guarded only by a fac vourite dog, called Keeper. One day, when he had stayed out longer than usual, an alarm was given that he was missing : search was made in every direction, and hour after hour elapsed without any tidings of the child. At last, his old nurse, who was better acquainted with his baunts, succeeded in discovering him in a remote and rocky valley above a mile from his father's house, surrounded by a group of gypsies, and deeply intent upon a story which one of them was relating to him. The boy, it seems, had taken care to secure their good will with some victuals which he had brought from his mother's pantry; and they, in return, had been exerting their talents for his amusement. Many of the stories which he thus obtained were treasured with great delight in his memory, and often brought out, as occasion served, for the amusement of his rustic audience.' p. 26–28.

He received the rudiments of education first at Uckfield, and

« AnteriorContinuar »