« ÖncekiDevam »
and in what degree, these expenses, now paid by the candidate, can be charged upon the borough or county, without involving the constituency in reckless candidateships for its representation.
A considerate reform made at this time will probably save the House of Commons from further reconstruction during this century. The abolition of freemen (if abolished they shall be) will allow a wide scope for a reduction of the 501. franchise in the counties, and for an introduction of the higher intangible qualifications in the boroughs, jointly with the 101. household qualification, without an increase in the aggregate electors of the kingdom. Whether or not the qualification of freeholders be increased, a nullification of the future proceedings of Land Societies, which an amendment in the representation might induce all parties to sanction, would save our territorial constitution from one of the gravest dangers to which it has yet been exposed. An inextensive adjustment of the interests of large and unrepresented towns would also go far to replace dissatisfaction by contentment, and an anomaly by a consistent principle. These are the cardinal elements in a scheme of reform which recognises the truth, that a representation of all classes is as necessary to progress as to knowledge, and that an equitable distribution of power is our best guarantee for a prosperous future.
ART. VI.—Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa : being a Journal of an Expedition undertaken under the
auspices of H.B.M.'s Government in the years 1849—1855. By HENRY BARTH, Ph.D., D.C.L. In 5 Volumes. Vols I., II., III. Long
1857. TIME was—nor was it a very remote time—when our maps of the world were divided between spaces duly filled with mountains and rivers, towns and cities, and those even wider spaces inscribed terra incognita, where the geographer
* Placed elephants for want of towns,' or some nondescript creature supposed to be sole inhabitant of the mysterious region. But little of terra incognita now remains, for within the last eighty years modern discovery has crowded our maps with new-found countries and kingdoms, has. studded the Southern hemisphere—so long a vast blank-with clustering island groups, and has even spread out a fifth conAfrican Discovery strangely neglected. 383 tinent. A far flight must the imagination now-a-days dare to find those golden kingdoms in the midst of inaccessible deserts, those sunny isles, girded round by chafing seas, which our forefathers delighted to dream of, when they set forth to visit the still vexed Bermoothes,' or tracked the wilds of South America to discover El Dorado. And yet, on one large portion of our maps, even in this latter half of the nineteenth century, terra incognita is still inscribed ; and strange, indeed, not upon a region of the New World, but upon the Old-upon that quarter of the globe which boasted a mighty empire and populous cities almost ere the deluge had become a tradition-Africa! Strange does it seem that while its Niger is referred to by Herodotus, two thousand two hundred years should have passed away and the entire course of that river still remain undetermined ; that while flourishing cities arose on the northern coast-commercial cities, too-no adventurous trader should have penetrated to Central Africa ; that even Rome, with her boasted world-wide dominion, should never have sought to cross that belt of scorching sand which has hitherto divided it from the rest of the world.
And our wonder increases when we remember how, during the middle ages, travellers set forth, undeterred by perils, amidst the vast steppes of Tartary, or even by the deadly mists and demon voices of the fearful desert of Lop,' like Marco Polo, to visit the great Khan, or like Mandeville to penetrate to utmost China, while Africa, Central Africa, from whence, in the belief of mediæval Europe, their purest red gold, their choicest spices were brought, still remained unvisited. True, it was believed to be the abode of fearful monsters—but then fable told the same tale of all other unknown regions—while there were myths of ancientest days that strangely pointed to it as a beautiful far-off land. There the blameless Ethiopians' had their abode, and there, were
the gardens fair,
Who sing about the golden tree.' But no adventurous traveller ever set forth to discover them, and Central Africa still stretches out on our maps a vast terra incognita, on which the inscription of the ancient Isis may be written, ‘No man bath ever lifted my veil.'
At length the time arrived when the attention of Europe was to be directed toward this important, but strangely neglected region, and the tide of modern discovery may be considered to have commenced with Bruce, who in 1769 set out to discover the source of the Nile, and on his return, though not until some years after, gave to the world that narrative of his travels in Abyssinia so long believed to be apocryphal. Towards the close of the century Mungo Park landed on the western coast, and making his way eastward determined the eastern course of the Niger; but still, as Dr. Baikie truly remarked in his paper on ‘African Discovery,' read last year at the meeting of the British Association, 'Let a map, constructed about the commencement of the present century, be examined, and attention will be at once arrested by the immense tracts of country marked unexplored. The famous city of Timbuktu was known merely by name—the marshy lake Tsád was then a myth-the mighty * Niger, or Kwára, historical even since the days of Herodotus, 'was inserted without beginning and without termination, save ' when some bold chartographer connected it with the Gambia,
or led it to the Nile or the Congo. Even the numerous streams which enter the Bights of Benin and Biafra, were unknown
save as breaks in the coast line, which were never visited but * by slavers or pirates.' Soon after the commencement of the present century, however, a strong spirit of inquiry was awakened, not improbably, we think, in consequence of the bitter contest waged by the opponents and advocates of the slave trade, inquiry being naturally enough pointed towards those regions where it had its origin, and from whence its supply was derived. Certain is it that from that time we can trace an almost unbroken succession of discoverers. Burckhardt, in 1813, led the way, taking the eastern road; Ritchie and Lyon next, in 1818, took the direct southern course from Tripoli; but by far the most important discoveries were made by Denham and Clapperton, who followed in 1821, and who visited many unknown districts, rediscovered Bornu, and reached the shores of the Lake Tsád. In 1825, the unfortunate Major Laing first reached Timbuktu, that mysterious city about which as many marvels had been told as centuries before were related of Kambalu, or Prester John's kingdom. In 1828, M. Caillie followed in the same track, and gave in his narrative on his return, the first authentic account of that strange and wondrous city. "In 1830, the brothers Richard and John Lander began their adventurous journey, and having made their way from Badágaz on the coast, to the town of Yüiri, descended the Niger in a canoe, and, by discovering its embouchure, 'settled a controversy which had commenced before the Christian era.' From thenceforth attention was directed almost exclusively to this quarter; for to the merchant it seemed to offer a boundless field of enterprise, and to the manufacturer an almost unlimited mart for bis produce.
The first expedition to the Niger was that of Macgregor Laird, Captain Allen, and Mr. Oldfield, who quitted Liverpool in 1832 Progress of African Discovery to 1854.
with their crew of picked men.' Most unfortunate to those engaged in it was this expedition, for within a few short months, out of forty-nine young and hardy men, only Mr. Laird and three others remained alive. Still the expedition had not been wholly fruitless. Some hundreds of miles along the banks of the Kwára had been surveyed, and ample proof was obtained of the astonishing fertility of the country, its great capabilities of cultivation, and the favourable character of the people, who though uncivilized, were remarkably quick and intelligent, and comparatively gentle and peaceful in their habits. This expedition was followed by the one undertaken by the Government in 1811, but which was also attended by severe mortality, although considerably less than in the former case. The last expedition sentthat in 1854-it is gratifying to find, was perfectly successful. Although full four months in the river, not a single death occurred, and very little sickness, while nearly seven hundred miles of river were explored, a chart compiled, the capabilities
of the surrounding country examined, and friendly relations * established with the various tribes. Meanwhile, in 1815, the late Mr. Richardson made another attempt to penetrate into Central Africa, by the old route across the Desert, and the result was narrated in bis interesting Travels in the Great Descrt of Sahara. On his return to England in 1847 he made proposals to Government for an expedition on a larger scale, which, through the introduction of legitimate commerce, should strike a death-blow at the slave trade; and at the close of 1848 he again set ont, accompanied by Dr. Barth and Mr. Overweg. The latest details of African discovery in this quarter, are of a very melancholy character. Mr. Richardson died in Bórnu in 1851, Mr. Overweg followed a year and a half after, and Dr. Vogel, the latest of vur travellers, sent out in 1854, was, as we have just received intelligence, murdered at Wara, the capital of Wadai, having been beheaded by order of the Sultan. Dr. Barth is now the sole survivor, and to his very important work we shall shortly direct the reader's attention.
While so much was doing in Northern Africa, discovery was also extending in the South. Our earlier missionaries, especially Moffat, did much to awaken attention toward the tribes of South Africa, and the general character of the country; while Mr. Gordon Cumming, from 1813 to 1848, exercising his love of adventure among lions and elephants, and such (large) deer, greatly extended our knowledge of the south-eastern regions. Mr. Galton and Mr. Andersson, pursuing a more westerly direction, have given us an interesting account of Lake Ngami and the surrounding district. But Dr. Livingstone, to whom the
original discovery of Lake Ngami is due, has penetrated in his unrivalled journey far beyond the expectation of the most sanguine discoverer, and has traversed the whole continent from east to west. We hoped to have received Dr. Livingstone's work ere now, and we might then have devoted this article to the two great African discoverers, each of whom has approached within nine degrees of the equator, and each of whom has added so largely to our information concerning Central Africa. Before our next issue Dr. Livingstone's publication will be in everyone's hands, our business now is with Dr. Barth.
The qualifications of the traveller for his task are very modestly stated in his preface, and bespeak our favourable anticipations as to the work before us. Devoted to travelling, and well acquainted with eastern languages, Dr. Barth had already wandered round the Mediterranean, and in the course of his long journey had travelled through Barbary, spending nearly his whole time with the Arabs, and familiarizing himself with that state ‘of society where the camel is man's daily companion, and the 'culture of the date tree his chief occupation. During this time he travelled all round the Great Syrtis, and passing through Cyrenäica, traversed the whole country towards Egypt. Then, afterwandering in the desert valleys between Aswán and Kosér,' he pursued his journey by land through Syria and Asia Minor to Constantinople. Thus he had become already familiarized with Africa and its northern inhabitants, and, what was scarcely of less importance, inured to its trying climate. On his return to Berlin, Dr. Barth commenced lecturing, at the University, on Comparative Geography, and the Colonial Commerce of Antiquity, when he was informed that the British Government had offered to allow a German traveller to join Mr. Richardson on his mission to Central Africa. This offer was eagerly accepted by the traveller, who ‘had often cast a wistful look towards those unknown regions of the interior;' and although the offer was not made at Berlin until the 5th of October, 1849, Dr. Barth and the other gentleman who was allowed to accompany the mission, Mr. Overweg, were actually on their journey within a few weeks.
In December, 1849, Dr. Barth and Mr. Overweg arrived at Tunis, and from thence proceeded to Tripoli, from whence, after a short stay, pleasantly occupied by visits to numerous ancient remains in the neighbourhood-among which some curious ruins, greatly resembling the cromlech, seem to point to an era far more remote than that of Roman dominion-they set forth on their long and perilous expedition 'It was late in the afternoon of the 24th of March, 1850, when Overweg and I, seated in solemn state upon our camels, left the town with our train, preceded by the