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that the author must really have visited distant regions, and that those regions are Abyssinia itself, where the head of every Frank is devoted the moment he crosses the fatal boundary, and from ( whose bourne,' according to another ufage, no traveller re" turns,' without great difficulty, even of those who are permitted to enter the country. It was therefore doubly improbable that any European should bring back an account of the spot where the Nile has for ages concealed his long-fought head. M. de Buffon, in the advertisement prefixed to the third volume of his Natural History of Birds, acknowledges, in strong terms, the advantage he had derived from our traveller's communications. I have,' says he, to mention fome affiftance I have very lately received ; it is the open
generous communica« tion of Mr. Bruce's observations and information. In survey• ing the immense collection of drawings which he himself bad ( taken and coloured, I was struck with astonishment; he has
made perfect representations of animals, birds, fishes, plants,
buildings, arms, dress, &c. of the different nations; no object " has escaped his curiosity, and every thing has been grasped by s his talents.' This illustrious testimony, however it may have contributed ftill more to raise curiosity, already at an high pitch, feems not so much to our purpose as some other information of a later date.
The Baron de Tott having insinuated that Mr. Bruce was never at the sources of the Nile, because Mr. Bruce's servant (who was with him in Abyssinia) faid at Cairo that he never accompanied his master to any such spot, a warm defence, attributed' to Mr. D. Barrington, appeared in the Review of the late Mr. Maty for March 1786. The material part of this defence is a letter from Mr. Antes at Cairo, which states that • Mr. Bruce left Cairo in 1768, and proceeded thence into
Abyssinia, by way of Jedda, Mafuah, and Arquico; that in $ 1771 a Greek came from Gondar with a draft from Mr. Bruce
a French merchant at Cairo, for several hundred German crowns,
and a letter ; that Mr. Antes was present at a conversation between Mr. Bruce and two Armenians from Abyfw ç finia, who seemed glad to see him again; that the Franciscan < friars at Affouan, the highest town in Upper Egypt, are
ready to atteft his return by Nubia and Upper Egypt ; that
Mr. Antes often conversed with Michael, Mr. Bruce's Greek ' servant, who is stated to have by no means had a lively ima
gination, and who always agreed with the circumstances men
tioned by his master, and more particular, in relation to their ? having visited the sources of the Nile, which the Baron Tott ť doubts of, from having had a conversation with this fame | Greek servant; that Baron Tott stayed but a few days at
Cairo; and, from his short residence in that country, has 'given several erroneous accounts relative to Egypt; that Mr, « Antes conversed with others who had known Mr. Bruce in • Abyffinia.' Upon the force and tendency of this evidence, which we have given nearly in the words of Mr. Antes, no commentary is necessary. It must needs be admitted, unless we wantonly suppose a combination to propagate falsehood where there could be no inducement on the part of Mr. Antes.
But nothing rendered us so eagerly desirous of the prefent publication, or predisposed us so much in its favour, as some information lately communicated by a person inceffantly watchful to promote the interests of every kind of learning. This information may be found in a conversation between Sir William Jones and Abram, an Abyffinian, as it is 'inserted in the Asiatic Researches, Vol. I. p. 383. Sir William having made several inquiries, is thus answered by Abram : “ All these matters are, I suppose, explained in the writings of YAKUB, whom I saw thirteen years ago at • Gwender; he was a physician, and had attended the king's • brother, who was also a vazir, in his last illness. The prince
died; yet the king loved YAKUB; and indeed all the court and people loved him. The king received him in his palace as a
guest, fupplied him with every thing he could want, and when • he went to see the sources of the Nile and other curiosities, « for he was extremely curious, he received every poffible affiftance and accommodation from the royal favour; he ( understood the languages, and wrote and collected many . books, which he carried'. away with him.' It was impossible, adds the celebrated orientalist, for me to doubt, efpecially when he described the person of YAKUB, that he meant James Bruce, Esq. who travelled in the dress of a Syrian phy fician, and probably affumed with judgment a name well known in Abyssinia, &c. Yagoubé is the way Mr. Bruce spells the name; not assumed, as the president of the Asiatic Society ima gines, but his own name of baptism, James, Jacobus, Yakub, Yagoubé. Sir William Jones adds that he has seen our tra veller mentioned with great regard in a letter from an Arabian merchant at Mokha, and rightly conjectures that he entered Abyffinia by the way of Musuwwa, or, according to Mr. Bruce's orthography, Masuah.
Having thus settled with the reader so much of our preliminaries as relates to the general authenticity of Mr. Bruce's narrative, our estimate of the credibility of particulars must be given as we find them occurring in different parts of his extensive journal : and let it not be supposed that in this previous declaration of suspiciousness and scrupulofity, there is any thing dif. paraging to the relater. We have to peruse the description of a country extremely dissimilar to our own, and having many peculiarities of climate, foil, and surface; of a people cut off from mankind, and therefore offering many temptations to him who delineates them to employ too bold strokes, and colours too glaring. We are taught by examples, far too frequent, how common it is to give to the public erroneous accounts of adjacent countries, notwithstanding a wrong representation must endanger the author's reputation, either for good faith or judgment, where it is so easy to compare the copy with the original, or with other copies. But, in a distant and inaccessible country, how easily may fatigue or listlessness persuade the artist to content himself with a rough and imperfect sketch, when he is not likely to be reproached for his carelessness. Then behold another powerful cause of misrepresentation: for who can bear his mind so even and composed that strange and unexpected appearances and cuftoms shall raise neither admiration nor disgust? Who can restrain his busy imagination from altering, in any shape, the pure and natural picture formed upon his eye? This praise, of all modern travellers, belongs almost exclusively to Niebuhr. That cold and sedate geographer succeeded perfectly in subduing this intrusive faculty, he alone could always keep his eye open, and his attention alive. Refolute and courageous, prudent and full of address as he was, he is never the hero of his own tale ; his conduct seems always to arise from circumstances, and every reader thinks he could have done as well'; he never surveys himself but as another man would survey him. Thus modest and dispaffionate, he imposed not on himself, nor suffered others to impose upon him. Always zealous to discharge his commiffion faithfully, and bearing up against fatigue, he brought back a more valuable stock of information than could reasonably have been expected from the whole society of which he was the only survivor. · He scarce enters a town without giving a plan of it, fees an inscription without copying it, and how much his maps have added to geographical knowledge need not now be told. Mr. Bruce and this accurate and veracious traveller sometimes traverse the same ground; and there cannot be a more agreeable task than to compare them. Of books relating to Abyssinia itself, at least of such as contain any information that can gratify rational curiosity, the penury is well known. We have several written by the Jesuits; but the philosophy of mankind was a science as yet unknown; and at no time likely to be fostered by the care of a Jesuit. Intent upon extending the infuence of their order, and blinded by bigotry and superstition, their writings contain little but an account of their good or ill success in imposing the wretched and contemptible dogmas of their scholastic theology upon ignorant favages, or making them repeat
founds which pass all undersanding. The voyage of Jerome Lobo is juftly degraded by Mr. Bruce to a rank much below that which it has held in this country; he scruples not to call him the greatest liar among the Jefirits.' Towards the end of the last century Leutholl, or Ludolph, had, by incessant labour and admirable fagacity, extracted from the motley mass of materials fupplied by the ignorance and superstition of the missionaries, together with the affiftance of a native Abyssinian, of whom the reader will find a portrait, and a curious and entertaining account in Ludolf's second voluine, and some other helps, every thing that is worth the notice of a philosophical inquirer. This work of grammar, history natural and civil, and geography, was without a rival at the time of its publication, and is mentioned by Mr. Bruce with due respect.
To many readers, both of Mr. Bruce's Travels and our ab. stract, a few words on the nature and importance of such intelligence as may be expected from those travels, may afford some atlistance in estimating their value. . The scene of the narrative is laid principally in Africa, on the eastern confines of that quarter of the globe. Now there are few who are not apprised of the fcantiness of our information concerning the interior parts, and indeed the whole of this broad tract of dry land, except the western and northern margin, and the southern point. * And when the moderns plume themselves upon that superior knowJedge of man and nature which they owe to the civilisation of Germany, and the ancient Scandinavia, or countries north of the Baltic, the discovery of America, the several expeditions sent from Petersburgh to explore the vast regions subject to the Empress of Ruffia, the Danish mission, and the late British navigators; they seem not sufficiently to recollect how much the ignorance of all these regions was compenfated to the ancients by their more intimate acquaintance with Africa. We may venture to advar ca that, among the remains only of the monuments of ancient science, more information is to be found than in all the numerous productions of modern prefies concerning the country of which we are speaking; and of this, much that occurs in Diodorus Siculus, and nearly every thing in Strabo, may be received as equally credible and authentic with the best modern narratives. If Great Britain and Denniark now send out armaments and bodies of learned men to explore the other hemisphere, the North Pacific Ocean, and both the desert and cultivated provinces of Arabia, Egypt was not always crushed under the iron rod of her present rulers, or rather distracted and helpless under her present anarchy. When the face of Britain and Denmark prefented only thickets and bogs, Egypt was vigorous and enterprising, especially under the Prolomies. The Greeks
at least were active and adventurous; and why should we sup-
Of the latter defideratum a private affociation in this country
In the title-page of the present work we have the engraving of a medal, representing on one side the discoverer, on the other the detected head of the divinity of the Nile, from which Apollo lifts the veil, and looks towards the traveller; the reading is,
Nec contigit ulli
Hoc vidiffe caput.
Sum pius Æneas fumâ fuper æthera nofus.