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Alfred's, King, Anglo-Saxon version of Boethius 398
Americans as they are. By the author of Austria as it is . . . . 365
Notions of the. By a travelling Bachelor 865
Amulet, the 436
Annuals, the ............ ib.
Bailey's Exposition of the Parables 820
Belfour's Translation of the Travels of Macarius, Patriarch of Aleppo . . 419
Bird's Original Psalmody 362
Blunt's Lectures upon the History of Jacob 540
Peter ...... '*.
Brand's Journal of a Voyage to Peru 93
Brown's Biographical Sketches and authentic Anecdotes of Dogs . . . £59
X)obson's Discourse on the Advantages and Deficiencies of the'^Protestant Re-
Evangelische-Rischen Zeitung, May 1829. Art Wyss' Sermon on Religious
For JULY, 1829.
Art. I. 1. A Dissertation on the Course and probable Termination of the Niger. By Lieut. Gen. Sir Rufane Donkin, G.C.H. K.C.B. and F.R.S. 8vo. pp. 192. Maps. Price 9*. 6U London, 1829.
2. North Africa. Correspondence on the ^Ethiopian Sea and the ancient Atlantide Island. Part I. 8vo. pp. 16. London, 1829.
much does science owe to sheer curiosity! For the last forty years, we have been actively endeavouring to discover the solution of this great geographical riddle, the course of the Niger ; and traveller after traveller has fallen a victim to the African Sphinx. Yet still, this enigmatic river continues to lure the adventurer to pursue her mysterious course; and, having reluctantly disclosed her origin, obstinately conceals the sequel of the secret, as if daring the traveller to come and see. It must be allowed, that there is something strangely adapted to excite the imagination, in the idea of a mighty river totally secluded within the recesses of an unexplored continent, without any known outlet, — inaccessible, therefore, to navigation, — sullenly withholding its tribute from the ocean, its lawful liege,— and, if certain theorists are right, who make it terminate in sands or swamps, discharging its waters as it were into the atmosphere. The present dissertation, however, assigns to this river a still more unique and romantic character. 'If my hypo'thesis ', says General Donkin, 'as to the final disposal of the 'Niger, be sound ; '—
'if I have completed what Ptolemy left incomplete, namely, the connexion between his Geir and Ni-Geir; if I have identified these two great streams after they become one, with the Nile of Bornou; if I have placed and established in the course of my Niger the long-disputed position of Ulil; if I have then traced the same Niger travelling for hundreds of miles under the Libyan sands; if I have for a moment disinterred, as it were, to the mind's eye, the cities, and towns, and people which once probably animated its banks; and, if I have laid
voL. II. — N.S. B
bare to the imagination for an instant, the now buried valleys which once smiled on its course; if I have finally shewn the "unique and peculiar" Niger to be the cause of the long renowned and fatal Syrtis;—I think, that if I have been successful in doing these, or some of these things, the Niger will not have suffered in my hands. I do indeed feel that the attempt I have made to unveil the mysteries which have hung over the Niger in its passage through western ^Ethiopia, and the sands of the Libyan desert, is a bold attempt, but I hope it will not be called a presumptuous one;—nor could I deny to myself an indulgence in the dream, if dream it be,—which presented to me the great Nile of central Africa rolling forwards majestically to the shores of the Mediterranean, through countries then swarming with people, and animated by intelligence; and through valleys either bespangled by cities, or enamelled by the varied productions of a luxurious soil, fertilized by the waters of a noble stream whose very existence has been for centuries forgotten; in a climate too, where nature was ever bursting with spontaneousness, and yielding forth a perpetual round of productions, combining, throughout the year, the infant delicacy of vernal freshness, with the luscious fulness of autumnal maturity.'
This may fairly be styled, we think, a literary mirage; not the first instance of the kind that has occurred in traversing the barren regions of science. And it is singular enough, that while the gallant General's fancy has embellished the map of Africa with a new river, a veteran Admiral has done us the favour of chalking out a new sea.
'To revert to the geology of the coast', says Sir Sidney Smith, in a letter to the British Consul at Mogadore, 'pray inquire particulars as to the districts in the Desert where shells and rounded pebbles are found ; and whether there are any of the latter at the edge of, or under the vegetable earth washed down from the southern slope of Mount Atlas, all the way to Gadames, or further, from Benioleed to the now dry Ba/iar bla Ma (water-less sea) south-east of the Great Syrtis, beyond the Fezzan hills and the table land of Barka or Cyrene. If so, we shall acquire a knowledge of the Ethiopic Sea, which Isaiah describes as existing in his time (chap, xviii); and the waters of which were to fail from the sea (chap. xix. 5); which I interpret as having been realized by the growing up of the two bars at the two entrances at the extremes of the Atlas chain, from the effect of surf, under the impulse of constantly prevailing winds and currents in the same direction.' Correspondence, &c. p. 3.
If the Prophet was acquainted with any Ethiopian Sea, such a designation would be much more likely to denote the sea of Bab el Mandeb, or some pail of the Indian Ocean, than any inland sea or gulf communicating with the Mediterranean; supposing such a sea to exist. The truth is, however, that two different countries are evidently intended in the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of Isaiah. In ver. 1. of the former chapter, a people arc addressed, whether 'beyond' or 'bordering on' the rivers of Ethiopia, who were accustomed to send embassies by the sea,—a nation of skilful mariners, such as were the Abyssinian and Arab traders, who appear to have carried on the ancient commerce between the eastern shores of Africa and the Indus; and such as the Egyptians were not. These 'swift 'messengers' are directed to bear the prophetic message to another nation, somewhat obscurely characterized, but whose land is described as subject to inundation,—whether 'spoiled' (according to the C. V.) or ' nourished' (as Lowth renders) by the rivers which water it. That by this land, Egypt is not intended, is, we think, very clear; first, because a land communication with that country was the more swift and direct from Judea; and secondly, because the burden or oracle of Egypt is the subject of the ensuing chapter. With still less propriety can the description be applied to Nubia, or any inland territory. But what nation is really meant, which was to send the timely present or gift to Mount Zion, we profess ourselves unable to decide: only, it seems as if it were to be from a remote region beyond seas, and one from which no similar present had been received. The whole oracle is, as Bishop Lowth remarks, one of the most obscure prophecies in the whole book of Isaiah; and we shall be thought, perhaps, to have gone a little out of our track, in thus incidentally commenting upon it. But, as the worthy Admiral has led the way, we could not choose but follow him. Having disposed of this matter of the Ethiopic Sea, we return to Sir Rufane Donkin and his great central Nile rolling through the deserts of Libya into the Syrtic Gulf.
There is something so bold and pleasant in this geographical fiction, that it seems almost a pity tn submit it to the rude test of fact. Africa is the very land of mystery and romance, 'monstrorumferax', in which, secure against detection, the ancient poets delighted to lay the scene of their fictions,—their Atlantis or their Hesperides; and from the earliest ages to the present times, curiosity and imagination have 'claimed a sort of 'right of common to its unexplored wastes.' In the very map of Africa, in its broad, white spaces of terra incognita, and its deserts spotted with oases, there is something that strangely excites while it appals the fancy. And illusive objects of pious adventure or sordid speculation have not been wanting in modern times, to stimulate the passion for discovery. Putting aside the wonders of Egypt, which scarcely belong to Africa, and the Abyssinian romance of Bruce, the realm of Prester John and the African El Dorado have succeeded to the Islands of the Blessed and the Hesperian Gardens, while the Niger has formed a central object towards which, as a magnetic pole, every adventure has pointed. At the rate, however, at which discovery