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arrived at a city, all the inhabitants of which were black, and of the same size as those who had conducted them thither. A great river, in which there were crocodiles, ran through this city from west to east. With regard to this river, Etearchus conjectured that it was the Nile; and this seems reasonable, for the Nile comes from Lybia, and intersects it through the middle.
The first subject worthy of remark in the above statement, is, that the adventurous young Cyreneans who undertook this expedition into Central Africa, proceeded from the same point (and in a similar direction) as the expedition under Lieutenant Clapperton. With regard to the men of small stature who seized the adventurers, they are not described as dwarfs, but as men under the middle size. The existence of such a nation has generally been considered as a fable; but we know that a dwarfish people (the Bosseinans) exist in Africa at the present day. As to the great river, which Etearchus conjectured was the Nile, there can scarcely be a doubt that it is the river Timbuctoo, or Cashnah of our old maps, and which we call the Niger.
The French geographer, Delisle, determines the sources of the Niger in his map. He represents it discharging itself into the ocean; but near it he places the sources of another river, which he also calls Niger, but the course of which is different. This river augments itself by passing through several marshes, and afterwards runs eastward as far as the lake Bournou, where it is supposed to be lost. The great difficulty is to discover whether it re-appears again, and joins the Nile, or forms the body of that river. If the story of Etearchus be worthy of credit, this is the case, and the Niger and the Nile are The lake Bournou may probably be that which Strabo calls the lake Psébo, which was, as he says in his 17th Book, a great lake beyond the isle of Meroë, and which is no great distance from the lake of Bournou. The above river is clearly the same as Juba, king of Mauritania, also took for the Nile, and the source of which was called Nigris (whence Niger). The manner in which Pliny speaks of it, scarcely admits of a doubt on this point, and merits some reflection:
The Nile has its source (says this naturalist, lib. 5, c. 9,) as far as Juba could discover it, at the foot of a mountain of Lower Mauritania, and this source is a great lake called Nilidia. What has occasioned the lake to be taken for the source of the Nile, is, that the same fish which are found in the Nile are observed here, and, amongst others, crocodiles; and likewise, at the time of the overflowing of the Nile, there are incessant rains in Mauritania. The river which issues from this lake is very soon concealed from view; and, for the same reasons, it is supposed to be the same which afterwards issues from a still larger lake in Cæsarian Mauritania. It then disappears from sight a second time, and is seen again only after twenty days' journey, issuing from a source called Nigris. It then separates Africa from Ethiopia, and continues to flow through the middle of the Ethiopian country, where it is called Astapus.
Pliny, shortly afterwards, adds, that the Nile separates into two branches, the left one of which is called Astaboras, and the right Astorabas, between which is the isle of Meroë. This last circumstance bears more strongly on the question than might at first view be ima
gined. Pliny makes a true island of Meroë. We are pretty certain that in this he is mistaken; but if we are led to conclude that he has mistaken the meaning of the Greek writers in what they have said of the Astaboras, and the Astorabas, we should certainly receive with doubt his inference, that the Astapus, of which, according to him, these two rivers are but branches, is the Nile. But the sources of the Astapus were known to antient authors. It is this river, said they, as we learn from Eratosthenes, (as quoted by Strabo,) which, flowing from a lake on the south, forms the body of the Nile in a direct line. If they had taken it for the Nile itself, they would have expressed themselves differently. Besides, having travelled so far, and in boats, they must have known that there was another river to the west of the Astapus, and which received it as it flowed towards Egypt. It is this western river then, the sources of which the antients sought, and which we at this day must seek, if we would discover those of the Nile. It was this which, Herodotus was told, had so long a course, that it flowed from the regions where the sun sets. It is this of which Etearchus understood the Cyreneans were seeking the source, when they sought that of the Nile; and whatever doubt may be entertained as to all the information required in the times antecedent to the discovery · of the Astapus, it may at least be inferred, that when it was discovered, no further search would be made for the sources of the Nile, if it had been considered to be the Nile, as Pliny would have us believe.
But having shown that the testimony of the naturalist does not authorize the moderns to take the Astapus for the Nile, it may be affirmed, that the river which Etearchus took for the Nile, appears to be the same concerning which King Juba, after the most exact researches, came to the same conclusion, and which is at this day taken for the second Niger; the marshes, of which Etearchus was told, still subsist near its source. The name of Nigris, which was then given to that source, still attaches to it; and this second Niger separates Ethiopia from Africa, like that which Juba took for the Nile, and like that which the Nasamones informed Etearchus flows from west to east. Pliny speaks again in another place (lib. viii. 21) of the lake Nigris, and says, that it is "apud hesperios Ethiopas," (the western Ethiopians,) which agrees with what has been above remarked.
The result of Mr. Bruce's discovery is, that he mistakes the sources of the Astapus for those of the Nile. In doing this, moreover, he has merely copied the theory of the Portuguese Jesuit missionaries, who placed those sources in the territory of Sacala in Abyssinia. If he, therefore, be right, the merit is due to those missionaries, and the plume which his bulky volumes have snatched from their brows ought to be restored. He places the sources of the Nile near Geesh, in Sacala, in 10° 59′ south latitude. Thence the river runs westward; afterwards to the north; then towards the east; crosses the lake Dembea, or Fazna. On issuing from this lake, it takes a long bend to the south-east, returns much below its source, reaches Cattemæ, near which, the river Belo joins it, and thence continuing its course
towards the north-west, it passes near Sennaar, which is on the left in descending.
The modern name of the river which passes near Sennaar is, according to Bruce, Bahr el Azergue; and, according to Browne, Bahr el Asrek; but this difference consists perhaps only in the pronunciation. It seems, however, that its real modern name is Abawi. This is the Astapus of the antients. According to Ptolemy, this river crosses the lake Coloë, which is the lake Dembea, or Tzana Bahr Dembea. It is on the western bank of this river that Sennaar stands, and not on the Nile, as Bruce and some other geographers have placed it. It is in about 15 deg. south latitude, though Bruce and Browne concur in placing it in 13 deg. Thence the Astapus, or Abawi, runs to Harbagi, and, near Toutti, falls into the Bahr el Abiad, or White River. Bruce and Browne call the place of the junction Halfeia. It is this latter river which is the true Nile, the source of which has so long been sought in vain, as Browne clearly perceived. That writer says," "the opinion of several authors, and the information I received from several experienced persons, having convinced me that the source described by Bruce was not that of the true Nile, it appeared to me important to seek the source of the more western river.'
Whether this latter river, (the Bahr el Abiad,) is identical with the great western river described by Etearchus and Juba, and which may, as is alleged, flow through Timbuctoo, from a lake in Western Africa, is the great question now to be decided. All the probabilities appear to be in favour of the affirmative.
A PERSIAN LOVE SONG.
LOVELIER art thou than the rose,
I am languishing for thee
With thy dark blue swimming eye
I am languishing for thee
3 New Voyage into Upper and Lower Egypt, Vol. I. p. 269.
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF
THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE BRITISH POWER IN INDIA.
THE Company, whose affairs now commanded considerable attention in England, grew at length exceedingly jealous of the interference of Parliament with their concerns. They considered as dangerous and unjust, the act which, in 1767, had limited the amount of dividend, and when it was expired, vehemently petitioned Parliament against its renewal. However, notwithstanding that they had powerful advocates in both houses, another act was passed, which fixed the dividend at ten per cent. till February 1769. Meanwhile, sedulously avoiding to agitate the question respecting the sovereignty of India, they found means to procure, in April 1769, an act to be passed, conferring upon them the territorial revenues of that country for five years; in consideration of which they were to pay into the Exchequer 400,000l. annually. By the same act, the amount of dividend, and of the Company's exports to the East, was regulated; and it was also determined that, under certain circumstances specified, they should add to the loans already advanced to Government, the surplus of their receipts, at two per cent. interest.
Both the Company and the nation had been led by false statements to anticipate vast riches from their Indian possessions; of course disappointment followed upon the heels of these foolish hopes, and to disappointment succeeded resentment against their servants abroad, and a vigorous disposition to reform: for it may be observed, that even the East India Company, as often as it has suffered palpably from the mismanagement of its servants, has shown as violent a propensity to repress abuses as can be conceived. However destitute of humanity, honour, and justice it may be, it always calculates, with great nicety, its profit and loss, and feels extreme anger at missing any expected gain. On the present occasion, so great were the folly and madness of the Directors and Proprietors, that they resolved, after great debate and clamour, to send out to India three dictators, under the name of supervisors, in whose presence the authority of presidents and councils was to be suspended, to whose investigation every department of Government was to be submitted, and who were, by their mere will and pleasure, to regulate the Company's future interests in the East.
This extraordinary commission the Government considered illegal; and as the Company had applied for certain king's ships to protect their commerce in the East, it was replied, that the chief naval officer sent out by Government must be empowered to settle all maritime affairs, to treat with the Native princes, and, in reality, to exercise the principal authority in the political concerns of the country. In general, the Company are violent supporters of legiti
mate rule, or, in fact, of rule of any kind; but on the present occasion, so far were they from entertaining any veneration for king or country, that they averred it would be better to surrender all their acquisitions into the hands of the Native princes, Hindoos and Mohammedans, than to be subjected to an officer of the British crown. Ignorant and insensible of the absurdity, the Court of Proprietors ventured to resist the claims of the Government; and, what is more extraordinary, ministers were weak enough to succumb to their paltry opposition. The supervisors, therefore, were sent out; but it is a singular fact, that neither they, nor the ship in which they were embarked, were ever heard of afterwards.
In 1770, the year in which Mr. Cartier assumed the government of Bengal, a dreadful famine happened in that Presidency, and cut off a third of the population. The Nuwaub Syef ul Dowla also died in the spring of the same year, and was succeeded by his brother Mubarek ul Dowla, a minor. To this prince, the same honours and revenues enjoyed by his predecessor were allowed by the President and Council. But the Directors disapproved of this: they thought that, considering he was as yet a defenceless child, their servants might have taken what advantage they pleased of him; and actually taunted the Bengal Government with an adherence to principle, which was quite unintelligible in the India House. In conclusion, they ordered that his pension, during non-age, should be reduced to sixteen lacs of rupees annually, lest, as they expressed themselves, the surplus should be wasted on " parasites and sycophants," or be hoarded up"a consequence still more pernicious to the Company." They now thought proper also to abrogate the regulations by which they had formerly reserved the inland trade to the Natives, and laid it open with equal privileges to individuals of all nations.
Meanwhile, the Government of Bengal, through improvidence or necessity, was contracting enormous debts, of which full intelligence was conveyed to the Directors. In spite, however, of this, and with the knowledge that large bills were drawn upon them, for which they could not provide, the Directors, seconded by the stupid avarice of the Proprietors, raised the dividend to twelve, and afterwards to twelve and a half per cent., the highest amount allowed by act of parliament in the case of a surplus revenue. These proceedings naturally led to the greatest embarrassments. Upon calculation, it was found, in July 1772, that, making an exact estimate of the payments to be made in the course of the next three months, and the cash that could be provided for the purpose, there would be found in the Company's treasury a deficiency of 1,293,0007. sterling. Having gratified their own insatiable cupidity by fraudulently increasing the dividend, the Directors now applied to the Bank for loans, one of 400,000l., and a second of 300,000l. Of the latter they could obtain no more than 200,0007.; but, possessing so much, they became bolder, and in the August of the same year applied to ministers, representing the lamentable condition of the Company, and petitioning for a loan of at least a million sterling from the public.