Imágenes de páginas


evident from its having occupied only one single In the evening of the day before we passed the night. At the spot where it is supposed to have straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, the hills of Arabia were taken place, the gulf of Suez is about 12 miles visible on one bow of our vessel, and the hills of

Abyssinia on the other. The principal port is We found at Kossier, the Palinurus, Capt. Massowah, and is supported by a trade in slaves, Moresby. She has been employed some years by cattle, and ivory. It was offered to the British the Bombay government in surveying the northern government some years ago, on certain conditions, coasts of the Red Sea. The officers are attentive with an expressed desire that the slave trade and intelligent, and have made some interesting should cease, but the offer was declined, probably discoveries upon the shores. They were kind from the known unsettled state of the people. enough to show us several of their drawings. The civil wars, which have been waged for so They have visited Sinai, and reject the opinion of great a number of years, still continue, and there Burckhardt, who would place the sacred mount in is at present no acknowledged ras. The coasts another direction. The Benares has been employ- of Arabia are supplied with cattle from this couned upon a similar survey towards the south, and try. The sheep are small, with large tails, but it was expected that the whole would be finished the mutton is extremely delicious. in a few months. The wind most frequently blows When we approached the port of Djuddah, from the north-west, and at times with great vio- there came from the shore in the same boat with lence. The waves are short and troubled, and the pilot, a tall man, with a flowing beard, in the the vessel that has to brave them seems to trem costume of the country, and of an appearance so ble like a frightened steed. The great number interesting, that we all crowded to the gangway of reefs adds to the danger of the navigation, and of the ship to gaze upon the stranger. He stepsome of them are almost in the centre of the sea; ped upon deck, and after making a salaam, we but many of these difficulties will now be removed were surprised to hear him address us in English, by the great care and accuracy with which it is though with a foreign accent. He informed us intended that the new charts shall be completed. that he had come from Abyssinia, and as I soon

The steamer was much longer than usual in discovered that he was a missionary, our mutual de performing the voyage, the stipulated period being light in meeting a Christian brother at such a time, 22 days, including the necessary stoppages. From and in such a place, may be more easily conceiv. Bombay we steamed 2,727 miles, and were 22 ed than described. I gained from this excellent days, 7 hours, in actual progress, being an average inan, the Rev. J. Gobat, some information conof little more than five miles per hour. The tim- cerning the present state of religion in Abyssinia. bers of the Hugh Lindsay are of teak, which has He is a native of Switzerland, and was sent out become heavy from constant saturation. This by the Church Missionary society about five years prevents her from making much way; nor are ago. He speaks Arabic like a native, as well as her build or engines at all adapted to the purpose Tigre and Amharic, and several European lanfor which she is used. It seems desirable that guages. He visited the country at first to see the Red Sea should again become the usual route what prospects there might be for the establishto India, the saving of distance being so great; ment of a permanent mission, and not having and though I fear that the schemes at present on heard from his committee for two years, in consefoot will prove abortive, I look foward with confi- quence of the difficulty of communication, he prodence to the period when British skill and capital ceeded by the steamer to Suez, from thence inshall be allowed to exercise themselves in a free tending to make the best of his way to England. trade with the eastern portions of our empire. Mr. Kugler, his only fellow laborer, died from a

mortification in the arm, produced by the bursting of a gun, and departed happy in Christ. Mr.

Gobat reported favorably of the people, and lived ABYSSINIA.

among them in perfect security, though Gondar,

the place at which he principally resided, was the This country is in the Scriptures denominated seat of war. There are some in whose hearts he Cush and Ethiopia, though the same names trusts a work of grace is begun. The principal appear to be used with great latitude of meaning access to the people is by means of familiar conand refer sometimes to places far distant from versation, as they know nothing of regular preach. each other. It was from hence that the eunuch ing. The priests administer the sacrament daily, baptized by Philip, treasurer of Candace, queen of and in this consists nearly the whole of their reliEthiopia, went up to Jerusalem. There is a gion. They refuse it to the people for the most strange mixture of Jewish rites observed among frivolous reasons, and as the poor creatures imagine the customs of this people, and some of them pre- themselves to be under excommunication when tend to derive their origin from Solomon and the this rite is refused, they suppose it is little matter queen of Sheba. The church of Abyssinia is of what additional sin they commit, and thus give high antiquity. In the 15th century attempts themselves up to the commission of many crimes were made by the Jesuits to establish themselves they might otherwise avoid. It is not given to in the country, but after various successes and soldiers when they have killed an enemy. The reverses, and after the sword of persecution had Abyssinian church has hitherto acknowledged the been reddened with blood, they were finally ba- supremacy of the patriarch of Egypt, from whom nished by command of the king. The Scriptures they have always received their abuna, or head, have been published by the British and Foreign and it is an established law that he shall be a Bible Society in the vernacular languages of the foreigner. It is a natural consequence, that as he country.

| has to govern a people whose language and customs he does not understand, he is little more than major, a doctor, and myself. The town of Kosseir a mere cypher, and can exercise no proper author- is destitute of good water, and would soon be ity. Since the death of the last abuna they have abandoned were it not for its advantages as a seanot applied to Egypt for a successor, and it is not port. The pilgrims for Mecca embark from hence, improbable that they will choose one from among and it is from this place the grain is shipped, by themselves. Bruce is correct in his general state- which the coast of Arabia is principally supplied. ments, but not even the oldest inhabitant can be It is said that the summit of Mount Sinai may brought to say, that he ever heard of the cruel sometimes be distinguished from the shore : it is practice of cutting steaks from the living animal. often covered with snow. The English agent, a They eat raw flesh at their brind feasts, and in stout Arab, is an excellent representative of his the way they prepare it, with a large quantity of nation. To every thing he replied, “ It is good;" pepper and spices, it is said not to be very unpa- but threw constant obstacles in our way, that he lateable even to an European.

might extort from us more money. I was obliged to apply to the governor to procure a servant, though hundreds were ready at call, who would have been glad of the situation.

We saw a EGYPT.

prince from near Bornou, in the interior of Africa,

who had come on a pilgrimage, and was attended The first mention of Egypt in the Old Testament, by a great number of slaves. He was an old man, except as a comparison, occurs Gen. xv. 18, where and was approached by his people on their knees, it is referred to as being one boundary of the land though his personal appearance was mean. promised unto Abraham; and it is more or less Feb. 12. The camels were brought, and we intimately connected with Scripture history from prepared to cross the desert, but the tumult that that passage to the book of Revelation. Its name ensued was such as to lead us to expect that the in Hebrew is Mizraim, supposed to have been consequences would be serious. The camels and received from Mizraim, the son of Ham, by whom men were all screaming at the full pitch of their it was originally peopled. It is still called Masr voices, the narrow street was crowded with aniby the Arabs. It is in vain to seek for the origin mals and Arabs, and cries and blows were reof the word Egypt among the conflicting opinions sounding in every direction: it seemed like “conof the learned, nor will those at all wonder at the fusion worse confounded.” The Arabs can do circumstance who have had an opportunity of nothing without noise, and it is the wisest method marking the modern perversions of native names. to leave them to their own way, as in a little time It contains at present less than 3,000,000 inhabi- they work themselves into quietness, and have all tants. Its extent, from Assouan to the Mediter- things ready for departure." I had heard so much ranean sea, is about 500 miles. The whole of the of the difficulty of first mounting a camel, that I land now under cultivation is said to be less than almost dreaded to make the attempt, and tried to half of the whole area of Ireland.

procure a donkey in its place, but was not able to succeed. To increase the excitement, I was told that all the saddles in the place were in use, and

that only a common pack-saddle could be given THE DESERT.

On looking at it, it appeared almost impos

sible to ride upon it, as there were two pieces of We entered upon the desert immediately after wood, placed as if on purpose to goad me; but leaving Kosseir, the port at which we landed.- there being no remedy, I threw my boat-cloak In Hebrew, the word desert, or wilderness, does over the saddle, mustered all my courage, and not always mean a waste of sand, but is equiva- placed myself in my seat: the camel gradually lent to our moor or common. The Psalmist rose, and I found myself actually mounted, with. speaks of "the pastures of the wilderness :” and out the slightest difficulty. The animal kneels it was in a desert that Moses fed the flocks of down to receive its burden, and the knee is tied, Jethro. In other places the same word means that it may not rise before the proper time : it first literally a sandy plain, dry and barren. The de- half raises its fore legs, then its hinder ones, then sert to which we now addressed ourselves is situat- the fore legs again, and it is necessary to know ed between the Red Sea and the Nile, and is the this that the rider may not be precipitated to a same as that which the Israelites entered upon distance. My companions had by this time startimmediately after their dismissal . by Pharaoh ; ed, and as I knew nothing of the language of the and though the track to be described is upwards country, I made the people understand by signy of 200 miles from the one taken by Moses and his that I wanted some rope of which to make stirpeople, as the general character of one route may rups, as my legs were hanging down in a position be considered as equally applicable to the other, that I knew would soon be painful. Without my the reason will soon be discovered why the child-perceiving it, they took for this purpose the ropo ren of Israel murmured against their leader, when that fastened the saddle to the animal

, and I had he had brought them far away from the rich pro- not gone far before some Arabs in the street callducts of the cultivated valley, and there appeared ed out to me, but as I did not understand them, I to be no other prospect before them, but “to die went on. I soon found out what they intended, in the wilderness."

as I slipped from the camel behind, and came to The steamer proceeded forward to Suez, leav- the ground, but without sustaining any eight of her passengers at Kosseir, who di- My stirrups were returned to their original occuvided themselves into two parties. The party to pation, and I again mounted. When I had got which I was attached consisted of a colonel, a well into the desert my camel stopped, and would


not move a step further. The rest of the party we arrived at Hammanat. Our guide had rewere by this time nearly out of sight, and as I mained behind, and we could only see a woman was afraid lest I should lose the road, I dismount- tending a few sheep, though what they could get ed and ran towards them, half determined rather to eat we were unable to discover. We made to walk the whole way than to have any more several ineffectual attempts to cause our animals annoyance from camels. My animal was how- to kneel down, that we might alight, but at last ever soon caught, and brought up, proper rope succeeded. We sheltered ourselves under the was procured, I ventured once more upon its back, shade of a rock. When the other camels came and in a few minutes found myself as comfortable up, we were told that we must proceed two hours as I could wish. We had in all 20 camels, and further, to Jeyf-al-Ujul, and were by no means gave about three shillings each as the hire from pleased with the intelligence, as we were already Kosseir to the Nile. We pitched our tents for much fatigued. We passed, during the day, the night near Bier Inglis, or the English Well. several caravans on their way to Kosseir with

13. We set off at sunrise, and after four hours provisions. Near the rock, where we encamped, arrived at Seid Suleyman, where we halted for a there were numerous hieroglyphics, but rude both little time. The well is deep, and has been re- in design and execution. cently dug, apparently at the expense of three 15. We set off a little earlier than usual, and English gentlemen, as their names are cut upon passed through a plain several miles in length. a stone at the entrance, but the water is not good. We had a fine specimen of the mirage, and could After four hours more we arrived about sunset scarcely persuade ourselves that there were not at Abul Zeeran. We rode at a quicker pace before us streams of water, and islands and trees. than the camels with the tents and provisions, In five hours we arrived at Legatta. In the evenand usually arrived at our station about an hour ing we walked over to an Ababdie village. The before them. The camel drivers collected the dwellings of this wretched people were made of a dung of their animals for fuel, which may explain few mats, and were quite open on one side, but a passage in Ezekiel, and take away from the they said this was their only home. seeming harshness of the command given to the 16. In three hours from Legatta we had the prophet. The country through which we passed grateful sight of verdure in the distance. The consisted of plains varying in extent from a hun- camels walked well, as our guide said they scentdred yards to two or three miles, bounded by ed the waters of the river, and a cool breeze had ranges of hills, of different forms and elevation, sprung up, which added to the delight. It was but composed principally of sandstone. In what- near noon when we arrived at Bier Amber. The ever direction the eye wandered, it was met by women brought milk, bread, and fowls for sale, a picture of complete desolation, unrelieved by a and were very importunate that we should pursingle blade of grass. In some of these plains chase. Their manners form a striking contrast to there are perhaps as many as four little stunted those of the females in Arabia. They have no trees, half covered with sand, and in perfect keep- covering for the face, but their features are coarse. ing as trees of the desert. There are marks of We saw the Nile from the summit of a low hill torrents, though rain falls only after intervals of that we ascended. There could not be a greater years. The ground is hard, with stony places contrast than was formed by the luxuriance before here and there, and as the camels are tied to each us, and the sterility we had left. other, and follow their leader in the same path, 17. We rode along the skirt of the valley, and there are from ten to twenty narrow tracks pa- all nature seemed to be keeping one glad holirallel to each other, worn smooth by their feet.- day. There were camels, horses, buffaloes, catThe bones of dead camels that have perished in tle, sheep, and goats, all feeding in the richest the road, are very frequent. Near all the passes, pasturage, and the air was almost alive with the on the summit of the rocks, are little watch-towers, many flights of birds that were darting through it nearly all of them in ruins. We passed several in the full enjoyment of existence. We passed large heaps of stones, that have formerly been several villages, and in five hours arrived at Kencaravanseras, but we could not learn by whom nah, on the banks of the Nile. We did not meet they were built. There was one at the place with the least difficulty during the whole of our where we halted for the night, with many ruined journey across the desert, and my old pack-saddle apartments, and a well in the centre, now filled up. proved at last to be so comfortable, that my comTherm. at noon 76o.

panions adopted it in preference to their own more 14. The thermometer was as low as 35o a lit- elegant furniture. I shall not soon forget the tle before sunrise, and we felt the cold to be ex- nearness of access to the throne of grace I was treme, as I never saw it in Ceylon at a lower permitted to enjoy, in passing through some of range than 69°, except upon the mountains.- these mighty solitudes. "The passage of the deAfter a hasty breakfast of biscuit and eggs we sert might easily be accomplished in a little more mounted our camels, and in three hours passed than three days, and as the camels travel at the the well Seid, in a rocky defile. Soon afterwards rate of three miles and three quarters an hour, we observed for the first time hieroglyphics cut in the whole distance may be stated at 106 miles. the rock, and they had so fresh an appearance that one of our party supposed they were the work of some passing traveller, who had wished to puzzle the learned; but in a little time they

THE NILE. became too numerous for this position to be tenable. They appeared as if eaten into the rock by The Nile is called “the river," and sometimes some chemical preparation. In three hours more “the sea," by the inspired penmen. In some of

the most ancient languages the word nil

, signifies the silence was the cry of a distant hyæna. On blue, and it may thus have been denominated the passing a boat deeply laden with slaves, one of the Blue River. It rises in the mountains near Abys- men, who appeared to have been ill-used, appealsinia, but it is thought that the place about which ed to us most vehemently, but we could not unBruce writes with so much eloquence, is not the derstand what he said. Near Siout the wind and source of its principal branch. It was the largest stream were both in our favor, and as we flitted river known to the ancients, and flows upwards of along at a delightful rate, the objects upon shore, 1200 miles without receiving a tributary stream. as they receded from us, appeared like the moving The rise of the Nile is occasioned by the heavy scenes of an endless panorama. Soon afterwards rains that fall in Abyssinia, and commence in June: the wind changed, increasing in violence, the air it reaches the maximum about the time of the became darkened by the clouds of sand, and long autumnal equinox, and then gradually decreases before the sun had sunk below the horizon, the until April, from which time it remains at nearly atmosphere assumed an appearance like that the same level until again renovated by the Ethio- which the imagination forms over the dark waters pic floods. The color of the waters varies at of the Dead Sea. It was no small punishment different seasons of the year. In Upper Egypt threatened against the Israelites that the rain of the average rise is about 35 feet, but at Cairo not the land should be powder and dust, and not many more than 24 feet, and near the sea still less. In sorer trials can be conceived than that inflicted those years in which the waters do not rise to a upon the Egyptians, when the dust became lice certain elevation, a famine is the necessary con- throughout all the land. Below Manfaloot the sequence. It is difficult to make a comparison of river passes under a range of hills, elevated and the present rise with the ancient, from the differ- precipitous, and as we sailed slowly by them, the ence of the standard measures in the two periods, different birds by which they are inhabited came and it has always been the policy of the govern- forth and flew at a little distance from their clefts, ment to deceive the people in the accounts that round and round, as if on sentry, until they deemed have been officially published. The bed of the that we intruders were too far distant to injure river has risen considerably, from the deposit it is them. Those more bold than the rest dashed constantly receiving, or the old monuments and down to the water, almost close to the oars, to temples would be admirable criterions by which pick up little substances floating down the stream. to decide the matter: we can tell how much Upon a bank formed by the falling of the earth higher the water rises than it did in the ancient from above, we found several crocodiles basking times, but what part of the rise is formed by de- in the sun, though it is said they are never seen posit, and what by water, we are unable to ascer- below Girge. They differ from the Indian alliga. tain. The water is clear, and its taste excellent, tors, which I was accustomed to see almost daily, after it has been allowed to settle, and it is com- the tail being more stunted, and not so round. pared by the Mussulmans to the well of Paradise. We saw two eagles upon a shoal near the same The stream is not rapid, even when the water is place, perhaps male and female, as one of them at the greatest elevation, compared with the rivers was much larger than the other, with its legs feaof India. The ancients speak of seven principal thered. They were magnificent creatures. Semouths, but there are now only two, and these veral birds of a small size were near them, probaare constantly changing their position. The divi- bly waiting to partake of the remains when their sion of the waters takes place a little below Cairo, majesties had finished their repast. A party of and the expanse of land between the streams was Algerines at a village where we purchased some compared by the ancients to the figure of the bread asked us to give them a passage to Cairo Greek delta 4, but by the moderns, more properly, in our boat, and when we refused they threatened to that of a pear. The mud brought down by the to shoot us, but we knew they would not dare to stream is continually adding to the extent of the put their threats into execution. Our canja freDelta, and is found as far as 24 leagues out at quently struck upon sand-banks; sometimes they

were above water, and when so, were in general We embarked for Thebes at Kennah in a canja, covered with birds, some kinds of which I often with two immense lateen sails, striped blue. It saw stand in rows, and in one particular position, had two apartments and a bath, and was rowed perhaps upon one leg, or with the head under the by six men, but rather required twelve men from its wing, with as much formality as the hieroglyphics

It had been sunk some time under water upon the walls of the temples. before we entered it, to free it from vermin. From The valley of the Nile, which includes nearly Thebes we proceeded to Grand Cairo, visiting all the whole of cultivated Egypt, is in few instances the principal antiquities by the way, and our voy- more than 20 miles broad, will in general average age occupied nine days. Near Denderah the less than one-half of that extent, and in many wind blew against us with such strength, that the places the sands or mountains approach close to boatmen were unable to keep the prow of the the banks. The produce is entirely from irrigacanja to windward, so they put down their oars, tion, and where this ends verdure ends, and the and allowed her to float with the stream. desert in all its sterility commences. The vilThe mountains in some places run parallel with lages are numerous, and by continued waste are a the river, at a few miles distance, but near Girge little more elevated than the surrounding plain. they come close to the water, and seem as if reel. They are usually surrounded by a mud wall. The ingin drunkenness, from the singular confusion houses are built of mud bricks, and many of them manifested in the dip of their strata. The even have small turrets, with sticks at the outside, in ing we were off Ekmim was one of the stillest I which pigeons are reared, principally to procure ever remember, and the only sound that disturbed their dung for manure. The whole of the valley



is never covered by the Nile, and to the higher surface. In places where a human being never grounds the water is raised by artificial means. yet breathed there may thus arise a countless The wheels for this purpose on the banks of the ri- population, and winds that have never yet been ver are numberless, and are turned round by oxen. charged with any sound but the groan of the wanIn some instances a lever, to one end of which a derer as he ventures to cross its parched wilds, skin is attached, is used for the same purpose, may convey the praises of the Lord from the glad worked by men; and in places where the banks and grateful hearts of many worshippers. are steep, I have seen four pairs of these instru- It was from the river Nile that “the seven well. ments, one above the other. The water falls into favored kine, and the seven other kine" came up, a canal, and is from thence conveyed at will in all of which Pharaoh dreamed : in the flags of the directions, at every division the stream becoming river's brink, Moses was placed in an ark of bulless, until the little rill can be guided to each sepa- rushes: and into this river the Israelites were rate plant, and the peasant, making a line with his commanded to cast their male children by the king foot, thus waters the garden of herbs. Deut. xi. 10. “ who knew not Joseph ;" but the river thus polThe food of the people is still the same as that which luted, though worshipped by the Egyptians as a was remembered with weeping by the children of god, manifested the anger of the Lord against the Israel,“the cucumbers, and the leeks, and the sins of the people, when its waters were turned inelons, and the onions, and the garlic." into blood, its fish died, and it brought forth frogs

It is wonderful that the Egyptians in ancient abundantly. The “seven streams are referred days did not make the Nile their sole deity, in to in the prophecy of Isaiah. In the same book, preference to the multitude of bulls, birds, beetles, chap. xix. 7, it is said; “the reeds and flags shall cats, crocodiles, and onions, that they adored. wither; the paper reeds by the brook, by the They had no blessing that did not come imme- mouth of the brooks, and every thing sown by diately or otherwise from this beneficent source : the brooks, shall wither, be driven away, and be when its supplies were withheld the whole land no more." There is at present a remarkable deswas a desert ; when it poured forth its riches, the titution of reeds throughout Egypt, though we same land was the garden of the world. It must might suppose the country admirably adapted to have puzzled them sorely to know from whence it their production, and we know that they were originated, as, year by year, it came in kindness, once so plentiful as to supply the world with papyand irrigated their fields, and left upon them a rus, and so large as to supply materials for the rich deposit to receive the seeds of life and in due making of ships, naves. It was in one of these time smile with the ripened grain. It were hard "arks of bulrushes" that the mother of Moses to attribute to mere chance this admirable adap- placed the goodly child. It is said again in the tation of river to country, and country to river. following verses, “ the fishers also shall mourn, The river overflows, and there is no rain, because and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall rain would be an injury: in other countries there lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters is rain, and the rivers overflow not like this river, shall languish: moreover they that work in fine because were they to do so it would be an equal flax, and they that weave networks, shall be coninjury. These events may be added to the other founded : and they shall be broken in the purposes instances of design, wisdom, and goodness, that are thereof, all that make sluices and ponds for fish." constantly manifested in the works of God. The There are now very few fish in the river, and rise of the waters is watched by the peasant with those of an inferior quality, which is another congreat impatience, and when the elevation is ac- trast to the abundance of ancient times; and that cording to his wishes, with his flocks safe folded they were abundant we have evidence in the murand the former harvest secured, he looks around murings of the children of Israel, who rememberupon the extended sea, and rejoices in his confine-ed the fish as well as the vegetables, so that it ment: then the palm that spreads its grateful must then have been the common food of slaves. shade over his dwelling-place exhibits its richest In these lands, many passages of Scripture appear green, and the villages of the neighborhood are to be invested with a peculiar beauty, and none converted into islands that appear in the distance more so than those which compare the condition verdant and beautiful. The Nile may be design of the righteous to “a tree planted by the rivers of ed to impart far greater blessings to the world waters. “ Blessed is the man that trusteth in than have yet been drawn from its beneficence. the Lord, whose hope the Lord is; for he shall be The desert that commences on its western bank as a tree planted by the waters and that spreadeth extends nearly to the Atlantic ocean, a distance out her roots by the river, and shall not see when of more than 3000 miles. The waters of the Nile heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and and of the Niger may in part be one day turned shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither upon this desert; that which is now lost in the sea shall cease from yielding fruit.”—Jer. xvii. 7. may supply nourishment to millions; and Egypt may still be “as the garden of the Lord,” from the advantages that will be derived from new improvements in machinery and new discoveries in

NO, OR THEBES. hydraulics. These two rivers, the sources which have been an object of equal interest fron. The city which in our version is rendered No, is time immemorial, and have alike eluded the search by the LXX. called Diospolis, or the city of Jupiof every traveller, appear as if formed for the ex- ter. It is called Amon No in the Hebrew, impress purpose of bringing into cultivation the properly translated "the multitude of No." It is largest desert in the world, when the exigencies supposed to be the same city as the Thebes of the of mankind may require an extension of habitable ancients. Its description inay not only be consi

« AnteriorContinuar »