Travels in Nubia

John Lewis Burckhardt


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Table of Contents

Memoir on the Life and Travels of John Lewis Burckhardt

Journey along the Banks of the Nile, from Assouan to Mahass, on the Frontiers of Dongola.

Description of a Journey from Upper Egypt through the Deserts of Nubia to Berber and Suakin, and from thence to Djidda in Arabia.

Memoir on the Life and Travels of John Lewis Burckhardt

JOHN LEWIS BURCKHARDT was of an eminent family of Basle, but born at Lausanne. He was the eighth child of John Rodolph Burckhardt, commonly called Burckhardt of Kirshgarten from the name of his mansion in the city of Basle.

Burckhardt of Kirshgarten began life with the best prospects, but they were soon blighted by the French revolution; from the very beginning of which he became involved in a series of dangers and difficulties, which at one time had nearly brought him to the scaffold. On the accusation of having been concerned in betraying the Tête-de-pont at Huningen to the Austrians, when they besieged that fortress in the year 1796-7, he was tried for his life by the French party at Basle; and although, in consequence of the undoubted proofs of his innocence brought forward upon his trial, he was released from prison, he found it impossible to remain in the power of the French, as he had certain information of his being upon the list of those who were to be destroyed either by open or secret means. He entered into a Swiss corps in English pay, but was under the necessity of leaving his wife and children at Basle, to save the family if possible from total ruin. Here his son Lewis Burckhardt was a daily witness of the misery suffered under the republican French, and here he imbibed, at a very early age, a detestation of their principles, and a resolution never to bend under their yoke. It was his wish to serve in the armies of some nation which should be at war with France; but he was first desirous of completing his education, which with the exception of two years in an establishment at Neuchatel, had been hitherto under the care of a person residing in his father’s house.

In the year 1800, being then 16 years of age, he was carried by his father, Colonel Burckhardt, to the university of Leipzig, from whence after a stay of near four years he was removed to Göttingen. In both places his exemplary conduct and high feelings of honour, his distinguished talents and ardent zeal for knowledge, ensured him universal esteem and respect; while a remarkable frankness, cheerfulness, kindness, and evenness of temper, made him particularly beloved by his more intimate acquaintance. After leaving Göttingen in 1805, he returned to his father, and remained also a short time with his mother at Basle. Uncertain what plan to pursue, unable to find upon the continent any nation which was not either subject to the French or in alliance with them, and having for these reasons rejected an offer made to him by one of the royal courts of Germany to enter the diplomatic line, he resolved at length upon proceeding to England, in the hope of meeting some opening to his wishes in the service of this country. He arrived in London in the month of July, 1806, bringing with him several excellent letters of introduction, among which was one to Sir Joseph Banks, from Professor Blumenbach of Göttingen. The President of the Royal Society had long been an active member of the Committee of the African Association, which at that time had more than begun to despair of any further intelligence from Mr. Horneman, and in the following year received an account of the death of another of their travellers, Mr. Henry Nicholls, at Old Calabar, in the bight of Benin, where he was preparing himself for an expedition into the interior country.

The result of the information obtained by the travellers of the Association on the Western side of Africa, compared with that transmitted by Mr. Horneman from the North, had now rendered it advisable to make a new attempt in the latter direction. These wishes of the Association soon became known to Burckhardt, through his acquaintance with some of the leading members. To a mind equally characterised by courage, a love of science and a spirit of enterprise, such an undertaking afforded peculiar attractions, and accordingly it was not long before Burckhardt made an offer of his services to Sir Joseph Banks and the Rev. Dr. Hamilton. The latter, who was at that time Treasurer and acting Secretary of the Association, perceiving him to be undismayed by the strong representations of danger, which it was peculiarly right to make to a person of his birth and education, and having found him admirably adapted to the undertaking by his natural and acquired talents, as well as by the vigour of his constitution, laid his offer before the Association at the next general meeting in May, 1808. The offer was willingly accepted, and Burckhardt received his instructions on the 25th of January, 1809, having diligently employed the interval in London and Cambridge in the study of the Arabic language, and of those branches of science which were most necessary in the situation wherein he was about to be placed. He allowed his beard to grow and assumed the Oriental dress: he attended lectures on chemistry, astronomy, mineralogy, medicine and surgery, and in the intervals of his studies he exercised himself by long journeys on foot, bareheaded, in the heat of the sun, sleeping upon the ground, and living upon vegetables and water.

As an intimate knowledge of Arabic was the most important of all acquirements, our traveller was instructed to proceed in the first instance to Syria, where at the same time that he studied the language in one of its purest schools, he might acquire a habitude of Oriental manners at a distance from those countries which were to be the scene of his researches, and consequently without much risque of being afterwards recognised. After a stay of two years in Syria, he was instructed to proceed to Cairo, from whence, accompanying the Fezzan caravan to Mourzouk by the same route traversed by Horneman, he was directed to make that town the point of his departure for the interior countries.

On the 2d of March, 1809, Burckhardt sailed from Cowes on board of a merchant ship, proceeding with convoy to the Mediterranean, and he arrived at Malta in the middle of April, from whence he addressed two letters to Sir Joseph Banks, of which the following are extracts:

You will be much interested in hearing that at this moment an attempt is making to explore the Interior of Africa; and that I have, unknowingly, entered upon my expedition as rival to a gentleman who is probably by this time in the scene of action. I was allowed the perusal of a letter from Dr. Seetzen to Mr. Barker, who is a merchant of Malta, and brother to the British Consul at Aleppo. Dr. Seetzen is a German physician, who was sent five or six years ago by the Duke of Saxe-Gotha into the Levant, to collect manuscripts and Eastern curiosities. He has resided for a considerable length of time at Constantinople, at Smyrna, at Aleppo, at Damascus, and for the last eighteen months at Cairo, from whence his letter to Mr. Barker is dated on the 9th of February last. After remarking that he had sent off from Cairo to Gotha a collection of fifteen hundred manuscripts and three thousand different objects of antiquity, he informs Mr. Barker that he is waiting for the next caravan to set out for Suez; that he means to go down the eastern coast of the Red Sea, and then entering Africa to the southward of the line, to explore its interior parts. Such are his expressions.

The late Bey of Tripoli is at present a fugitive at Malta: he is a much respected old man; his name Akhmed Karamaly: five or six years ago he was dispossessed of his throne by his brother, the present reigning Bey. I take Akhmed to be the Bey mentioned in Horneman’s letters. He has at length come to a compromise with his brother, who has ceded to him the province of Derna, and promises not to molest him there, provided he keeps quiet himself; and Akhmed is now going to take possession of his new territory. I had never heard before that Derna was a dependency of Tripoli; the country was generally, I think, supposed to be inhabited by free tribes of Arabs. It is much to be regretted that the whole extent of that coast, from Mesurata to Derna, and almost as far as Alexandria, should still remain unsurveyed; no accurate soundings have been taken along the shore, and its inland parts, even those nearest the sea, are totally unknown. I am assured that there are three safe anchoring places between Derna and Alexandria; the harbour of Bomba, formed by an island lying across the bay, is particularly spoken of as able to contain almost any number of ships and of any size. When the French fleet, under Admiral Gantheaume victualled Corfu last year, and escaped the vigilance of Lord Collingwood’s cruising squadrons, they were hid for some time, with their fore and top masts struck, behind the island of Bomba, and were passed unnoticed. The Malta pilots are perfectly well acquainted with all the inlets of the coast, but their intelligence is little to be depended upon, because the safety of many of their privateers depends upon an exclusive knowledge of that part of the Mediterranean. An English traveller might, under the protection of the governor of Malta, and of the new sovereign of Derna, who is said to be very much attached to this country, visit with great personal safety, the ancient site of Berenice, Cyrene, and the gardens of the Hesperides.

Some account of the recent eruption of Mount Ætna has probably already reached you; until you receive a detailed description of it, even such a superficial account as I have received from different quarters may perhaps prove acceptable to you. It was from the letter of an English gentleman who was on the spot, that I obtained the following account.

The time of the first eruption is not mentioned, but on the 27th of March, Messina was covered with ashes and cinders early in the morning. The children said it rained black snow. No earthquake seems to have been felt. A new crater, approaching in size to that of the Monti Rossi, had been formed; and in the neighbourhood of it, seven or eight small ones; they lie in the direction of Lingua-grossa, about three or four miles from that place, and at an equal distance from Castiglione. On the other side of the mountain, over Nicolosi and over Randazzo, two other craters have opened; the old crater at the summit was also smoking, so that the whole mountain seems to have been in combustion. The principal stream of lava took the slope towards Franca Villa and Castiglione; its breadth varied, according to the shape of the country, from twenty yards to one mile. On the steepest part where the lava was most liquid, it flowed between three and four miles an hour; at other places, and particularly where it approached the vineyards of Franca Villa, its rate was only about fifty yards during the same space of time. As it ran down a very woody country, the breaking down of the forest and its ingulphing in the fiery waves are described as a most sublime spectacle. On the 12th of April the eruption had nearly subsided, but the inhabitants, for whose relief the English had raised a subscription, were in dread of new eruptions.

I am proceeding from hence to Aleppo as an Indian Mohammedan merchant, the supposed bearer of dispatches from the East India Company to Mr. Barker, British Consul, and the Company’s well known Agent at Aleppo. As such I am recommended to the British Consul at Cyprus, a Greek; and as such I shall find means to excuse my present irregularity of speech and manners. I shall escape the exaction of the custom-house officers, be protected on the road, even by the country authorities, and shall soon be lost in the crowds of Aleppo.

During my stay here, I have succeeded in equipping myself thoroughly in the Oriental fashion. The dress I have taken is somewhat Syrian, yet sufficiently differing from the real Syrian costume, to shew that I have no wish of passing for a native. I have practised as much as was in my power the speaking of Arabic, and have reason to believe that none of my secrets have transpired. I have lived out of the way of intruders, and of being taken notice of, in the lodgings of Lieutenant Corner of the navy, Harbour-master, to whom, as well to Mr. Chapman, the Public Secretary, and Mr. Peter Lee, I am under infinite obligations for the help and advice which they have given me. Sir Alexander Ball has been very kind to me upon every occasion, and seemed much interested in the success of my travels. Circumstances would not allow me often to call at the palace, which his friendly and instructive conversation, whenever I did call, rendered a matter of great regret to me. * * * * * *

A singular misrepresentation prevails in Europe respecting this island, namely, that the greater part of the soil is imported from Sicily; and it has even been said, that by these importations the soil is completely renewed every ten years. I believe it would be difficult to produce a single instance of earth having been brought over from Sicily. To make the soft and friable limestone, of which the island consists, fit for agriculture, they break through it to the depth of twelve or fifteen feet. A sort of rough cistern from six to eight feet high, often running under the whole length of the field, is then constructed with part of the stones which have been taken out; large fissures are found in the rocks full of earth; this is taken out, and is sufficient to cover the cistern to the height of four or five feet; the rest of the stones are used for buildings, and to construct a wall round the field, which prevents the soil from being washed away by the torrents of rain in the rainy season, at the same time that it shelters the fig and olive trees planted within the wall from the violence of the wind. The whole island is covered with these enclosed fields, whose soil is very fertile. The mistaken notion alluded to, may arise perhaps from the following circumstances. Ships and boats coming here from Sicily often take in ballast at that island, consisting of sand, mixed perhaps with some earth, which, when they arrive here, they are obliged to carry to a particular part of the harbour, to prevent its being thrown overboard and choaking the anchorage. Or perhaps the frequent importation of terra puzzolana, which is in common use to make cement, and which when landed may have been mistaken for earth, may have given rise to the assertion.

The government of Malta is at this moment a curious mixture of English and Maltese authority. As yet the island does not belong to England. The islanders having, with the assistance of Sir Alexander Ball, who was then a captain, obliged the French garrison at Valetta to surrender, applied to the British government for assistance in the further defence of their island, against the attempts that might be made by the French, and the Knights; and they offered in return, to give up the government and the revenue.

In consequence of this proposal, Sir Alexander was sent to them soon afterwards, as his Majesty’s Civil Commissioner. After the peace of Amiens, when the island was to be restored to the Order, he was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of the Grand Master. The Court however never resumed its existence, though it is still nominally recognised; all the English resident here, excepting of course the military, are judged by Maltese laws and courts of justice, at the head of which is a Maltese president, but the decisions are submitted to the approbation of the civil governor, who in capital cases may reprieve the criminal. All civil situations, except three or four, appointed from home, are in the patronage of the governor, but are exclusively held by natives. It is by this policy, and by totally excluding military law, that the hearts of the people have been gained. It may well be worth while to do so, for the Maltese are an independent high spirited people, however they may have been represented by the Knights. In the time of their rising against the French, they formed a well disciplined corps of 15,000 men, the greater part of whom were expert sharp-shooters.

The port of Valetta has lately been declared a free port, and this will render it for a long time to come the centre of trade from Gibraltar as far as Odessa. The numerous Greek traders find themselves better protected here than in their own islands. Here are no greedy custom-house officers nor interested kadis to share their profits, but they find that justice is dealt to them with the same equity as to the first London merchants, and that even the England home trade does not enjoy greater privileges than their own. The island of the Archipelago which sends out the greatest number of ships is Ydra; they are well built, armed and manned.

Government monopolizes the corn trade of the island, and engages in return to sell the corn at a fixed price. A supply for two or three years consumption for the whole population is always kept in the fortress.

The former Pasha of Tripoli, whom I spoke of in my last letter, is gone to Derna, under convoy of a brig which Sir Alexander sent with him. His ship was moored for a whole day close under my window, which afforded me a fortunate opportunity of prying unobserved into the Moors’ private manners, and behaviour to each other; and even the short history of one day became very instructive to me.

You may well conceive that I avoided all intercourse with these persons from Barbary. I often met parties of them in the streets, but the “Salem aleik” given and returned, was all that passed between us. The trade between Malta and Barbary, especially that with Tripoli and Tunis, acquires daily more vigour and stability. Even the English merchants begin to enter into it; hitherto the Moors and the Maltese have chiefly had it in their hands. The Tunisians, besides bartering in the Mediterranean for themselves, are also shippers for others, and enterprising smugglers with the enemy’s ports. During my passage from Gibraltar, being above six miles to the westward of Cape Toro in Sardinia, five Tunisian vessels passed in the night close to our ship, standing right over for the coast of France. Our Commodore was not near enough to see them, nor was it thought advisable to make any signals.

It happens rather unfortunately, that a Swiss regiment in the English service is in garrison here, to many of the officers of which I am personally known: this has made me very cautious in going abroad, and now, after a seven weeks residence, I have the satisfaction to find that I have succeeded in passing unknown, and unnoticed. The great intercourse between the Moorish merchants and Malta, made it absolutely necessary for me to keep my travelling plans very secret.

The next intelligence which the Association received from their traveller was a detailed account of his progress from Malta to Aleppo, in a letter dated from the latter place on the 2d of October, 1809. The following copious extract contains all the most interesting parts of it.

I have already had the honour to inform you, that I had settled at Malta with a Greek, for my passage to Cyprus on board his ship. A few hours before my departure, the captain called upon me to tell me that the owner of the ship had changed his mind as to its destination, that he himself had been ordered to go to Tripoly, but that a friend of his, whom at the same time he introduced to me, was on the point of sailing in his stead for Cyprus, and that he had already put my baggage on board this other ship. Though displeased with so preremptory a proceeding, I had no objection to change my conveyance, both captains being known to Mr. Lee; but the very moment I was embarking, the new captain told me that he was not quite sure whether he should touch at Cyprus, his ship being properly bound for Acre. I had now the option to wait at Malta, perhaps another month or two, for an opportunity for Cyprus or the coast of Syria, or to run the chance of disembarking at a place where there was no person whatever to whom I could apply for advice or protection. Luckily an Arab of Acre, then at Malta, happened to be known to Mr. Barker, jun.; in half an hour’s time a letter for a merchant at Acre, with another, in case of need, for the Pasha, were procured, and I embarked and sailed the same morning, in the hope of finding, when arrived at Acre, a passage for Tripoly (Syria), or for Latikia. However, we were no sooner out of sight of the island, than it was made known to me that the real destination of the ship was the coast of Caramania, that the captain had orders to touch first at the port of Satalia, then at that of Tarsus; and that if grain could not be purchased at an advantageous price at either of these places, in that case only he was to proceed to Acre. My remonstrances with the captain would have been vain: nothing was left to me but to cultivate his good graces, and those of my fellow travellers, as the progress of my journey must depend greatly upon their good offices. The passengers consisted, to my astonishment, of a rich Tripolitan merchant, who owned part of the ship, two other Tripolines, and two Negroe slaves. I introduced myself amongst them as an Indian Mohammedan merchant, who had been from early years in England, and was now on his way home; and I had the good fortune to make my story credible enough to the passengers, as well as to the ship’s company. During the course of our voyage numerous questions were put to me relative to India, its inhabitants, and its language, which I answered as well as I could: whenever I was asked for a specimen of the Hindu language, I answered in the worst dialect of the Swiss German, almost unintelligible even to a German, and which, in its guttural sounds, may fairly rival the harshest utterance of Arabic. Every evening we assembled upon deck to enjoy the cooling sea breeze, and to smoke our pipes. While one of the sailors was amusing his companions with story-telling, I was called upon to relate to my companions the wonders of the farthest east; of the Grand Mogul, and the riches of his court: of the widows in Hindostan burning themselves: of the Chinese, their wall and great porcelane tower, &c. &c. The Tripolitan merchant, in his turn, regaled us with the wonders of Soudan, of one nation which is in continual warfare with their neighbours, of a nation of speaking sheep, of another of necromancers, who lately defeated a whole army which the King of Bornou had sent against them, &c. &c. Still there was something instructive in his tales, as I learnt with certainty that the yearly caravan intercourse between Fezzan and Tripoly is still uninterrupted; in February 1809, a caravan from thence had arrived at Tripoly; but the pilgrim caravans from Fezzan to Cairo and Mekka have suffered greatly by the irruptions of the Wahabi. In a short time I got upon a very friendly footing with the Tripolines. I had taken but a scanty provision of eatables on board, consisting of bread, rice, oil, dates, vegetables, and coffee. After the second day, the wealthy Moor would not allow me to mess by myself; he insisted upon my joining his mess, which was plentifully supplied with all sorts of Barbary dainties. In return for his hospitality, I was not backward with my manual labour whenever he wanted it. One day we cleared one of his coffee bags of its rotten beans, to prepare it for being shewn at Satalia to the buyers as a sample of the whole stock: another day we killed a sheep, and made Barbary sausages and Kuskusey; and among other things, we refitted the foremast, which had been carried away off Candia. Provided there was something to divert the passengers’ thoughts from my person and affairs, I was contented. We made Candia on the 15th; sailed on the 15th and 16th along the southern coast, about ten leagues distant from it: saw on the 17th Rhodes, at a great distance: entered the next day the bay of Satalia, and anchored on the 19th in the port of Satalia.

The bay is an inlet into the mountains of Caramania, which surround it on the east and west side. Towards the north, where a cliff about fifty feet high overhangs the bay, the country is level. The port of Satalia is at the foot of the cliff, in the bottom of the bay. The mountains on the western side, which we passed very near, are of considerable height. Their highest ridge was on the top covered with snow. I observed one of those mountains apparently higher than the rest, whose foot touched the sea, on the sides of which the snow was sparingly spread down to one third of the mountain’s height; and this was on the 18th of June. They are all barren; their shape and whole appearance is much the same as that of the African mountains in the Straits of Gibraltar. The town of Satalia is built partly upon the cliff, partly in the plain which the cliff terminates; its gardens extend to about three or four miles along the rocky shore. The town is separated from the port and the few buildings which surround the landing place, by a wall constructed on the top of the cliff; a narrow passage leads from the beach up to the town, the gate of which is regularly shut at sunset. The entrance of the harbour seems to have been defended formerly by two towers, the ruins of which are still extant. The inner harbour is small; a Turkish guard ship, four Arab vessels from Damiat, five or six small country sailing boats, and our own ship, crowded the whole space between the two ruined towers. There is good anchorage in the larger outer bay, but no shelter against the southerly winds. Two fine streams of spring water descend the cliff on both sides of the landing place. As soon as we approached the harbour a Turkish police boat came alongside of us, and the Tripoline immediately went with the officer on shore. After we had come to anchor we were informed that the plague was in the town, and that the watch ship moored near us had two sick on board; and though nobody had died in the town within the last fortnight, yet all the principal Christian and Turkish merchants had left their town houses, and were still living in their gardens. Of course our captain would not allow any body to go on shore, and pressed the Tripoline to return on board; but the latter having already recovered once from the plague, thought himself quite secure from any second attack, and treated the captain’s remonstrances very lightly. He remained four days on shore, trading all the while for his own account, without finding grain to purchase for the ship’s cargo. During that time I went once on shore to see two bullocks killed and weighed, which had been bought for the ship’s company; we purchased besides some other fresh provisions, the whole at very low prices: the two bullocks at fifty-five piastres, fowls at eight parts, or about two-pence halfpenny each; seven eggs for one penny, &c. &c. The Turks laughed much at the captain’s continually warning them off from our persons, (yet it seems that both at Satalia and here at Aleppo, the more prudent amongst them adopt measures of precaution against the plague. I am told that at Smyrna also they have followed the Franks’ example). On the evening of the 23d, having sold for his private account all the merchandize he had on board, the Tripoline, accompanied by several Turks, made his re-appearance along side our ship, and demanded forthwith to be taken on board. A very ridiculous scene then took place. The captain required that he should undress and wash himself in the sea, and that his clothes should undergo a similar operation; the Moor, on his side, insisted on washing only part of his clothes and his body; and all his Turkish friends were of the same opinion; (an aged Musselman thinks it a great shame to expose his body naked except in the bath). The contention lasted upwards of half an hour: it being now dark he was at last prevailed upon to jump into the sea, but nothing could pers[ua]de him to allow his clothes to be washed, for fear of having them spoiled; they were afterwards suspended at the rigging of the foremast, that the air might purify them, and he recovered them after a three days quarantine. Our captain thought he had now done his duty. He told me that upon his return to Malta he should think himself justified in taking the usual oath, that he had had no communication with any infected place; and instead of a three months quarantine, which the ship ought properly to undergo, he will only have to perform a quarantine of forty days, like all other ships which come from healthy parts of the Levant. We left Satalia the same evening. Satalia is governed by a Pasha: the greater half of the population consists of Greeks, who have got almost all the commerce into their hands. Till three or four years ago there was a French Consul resident in the town; in consequence of an avanie practised upon a merchant under his protection he left it, and no European power has since appointed a Consul at this place. The export trade consists chiefly in corn, oil, and cotton. The country boats trade to Cyprus and the coast of Syria. The Arabs of Damiat and Alexandria bring rice, Mocha coffee, and sugar; those who were then lying in the harbour purchased from us with great eagerness some coarse English pocket handkerchiefs.

After we had left Satalia, we sailed for three days along the coast of Caramania, and kept our course constantly ten leagues distant from the shore. The chain of snowy mountains seems to continue in a direction parallel with the shore. At the foot of these mountains I observed every evening thunder clouds and lightning; during our stay to the port of Satalia we were twice refreshed by heavy showers, though it was now the season when it very seldom rains in other parts of the Levant. I suppose that the vicinity of the snowy mountains, which rapidly condense the copious vapours arising from the heated earth, give rise to these clouds. On the 26th, late at night, we anchored in the roads of Mersin, a collection of villages so called, situated to the west of Tarsus, about fourteen miles distant from it. The next morning some of us went with the Tripoline on shore, where we found a party of about twenty Turkmans, encamped under and around a single tent; they were selling grain, with which the buyers loaded several camels. After a short parley the chief of the party led us to his village, about two miles distant. We remained there the whole day in the chief’s house, couched upon carpets, which were spread upon a terrace sheltered from the sun by the shade of two large mulberry trees. We returned to our ship in the evening; and spent the next four days in the same manner with these hospitable people.

An Aga is at the head of this Turkman tribe; he commands about twenty-five villages, over each of which he appoints a chief to collect the revenue, which is equally divided be[tween] the Chief and the Aga. Many of these chiefs are Greeks, who by their long residence with the Turkmans have completely adopted their manners. Their dress is the same, excepting the red cap, which the Greeks do not wear; and but for that mark it would be impossible for a stranger to distinguish them from their masters. The Turkmans are continually moving about on horseback from one village to another; they are tolerably well mounted and well armed, each with a gun, two pistols, a poignard, and a sabre. They never go but armed, but it seems to be chiefly from ostentation, for they live at peace with the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages, have nothing to fear from straggling Arab tribes, and have no opportunity of attacking travellers or caravans, which never pass this way. They occupy the whole plain, which extends in length from Cape Bajarre to beyond Tarsus; its breadth extends from the sea to the lowest ridge of the mountains of Caramania, and varies from four to five or ten miles. This plain, at least as much as I saw of it in my way to Tarsus, is for the greater part sown with barley and wheat; where it is left uncultivated, numerous herds of buffaloes and fine cattle feed upon the wild grass. Wild capers grow in great abundance. I found in several rivulets small tortoises, and amongst the ruins of deserted houses we got here and there sight of a zerboa. The Tripoline having made his purchase of grain from the Aga, the latter sent on board our ship three fat sheep in earnest of his engagements. In six days the ship was to begin loading. The Tripoline being at leisure during this time, I persuaded him to go with me to Tarsus, in search of a further conveyance for me by sea or land; one of the other Tripolines was likewise desirous of looking out for a passage for Beirout; the excursion was therefore soon agreed upon. We formed a small caravan, and set out on horseback on the morning of the 30th. The road from our anchoring place to Tarsus crosses the above mentioned plain in an easterly direction: we passed several small rivulets which empty themselves into the sea, and which, to judge from the size of their beds, swell in the rainy season to considerable torrents. We had rode about an hour, when I saw at half an hour’s distance to the north of our route, the ruins of a large castle, upon a hill of a regular shape in the plain; half an hour further towards Tarsus, at an equal distance from our road, upon a second tumulus, were ruins resembling the former; a third insulated hillock, close to which we passed midway of our route, was overgrown with grass, without any ruins or traces of them. I did not see in the whole plain any other elevations of ground but the three just mentioned. Not far from the first ruins, stands in the plain an insulated column. Large groups of trees shew from afar the site of Tarsus. We passed a small river before we entered the town, larger than those we had met on the road. The western outer gate of the town, through which we entered, is of ancient structure; it is a fine arch, the interior vault of which is in perfect preservation: on the outside are some remains of a sculptured frieze. I did not see any inscriptions. To the right and left of this gateway are seen the ancient ruined walls of the city, which extended in this direction farther than the town at present does. From the outer gateway, it is about four hundred paces to the modern entrance of the city; the intermediate ground is filled up by a burying ground on one side of the road, and several gardens with some miserable huts on the other. We led our horses to the Khan of the muleteers, and went ourselves to the Khan of the merchants, where we found tolerable accommodation, the brother of the Tripoline being known here. Our room was soon filled with all the foreign merchants who lived in the Khan, and the principal town merchants; we sold to them a few silk handkerchiefs and coarse cambrick, and were plagued with their company for the whole remaining part of the day. The foreign merchants were a party of Kahines, several Aleppines, and some Constantinopolitans. In the evening the alley at the gate of the Khan was transformed into a dark coffee room, where every body went to smoke a pipe. As we were strangers, we were greeted at our entrance with the usual politeness of Orientals towards travellers; “Peace be with you, you are welcome among us, how are you? God send you a happy evening, &c. &c.” were compliments which every one whom we approached addressed to us. We were treated by several merchants with pipes, coffee, ice-water, and Bour, which latter drink is water mixed with the juice of liquorice. The ice is brought from the mountains three days journey distant, at the price of three piastres for about five pounds. A tolerable singer sung some Turkish airs, and accompanied himself upon a sort of mandoline. Many questions were addressed to me about my person and affairs: my neighbour the Tripoline took the trouble of answering them to the satisfaction of the company. “Allah Kerim,” “God is great,” was their usual exclamation at hearing that I came from so far. We retired rather late: for my part I had been much entertained with the party. We went to sleep before the door of our room, upon a covered terrace built of wood, which runs along the interior circuit of the Khan. Before sun rise every body was up; some of the merchants descended into the court yard to perform at the fountain the ablutions which are prescribed to the Musselman after his night’s rest. But in this part of their religious rites, as well as in the performance of their daily prayers, I observed much indifference amongst the plurality of the Turks I saw here, as well as of those with whom I travelled afterwards from Suedieh to Aleppo. Amongst the latter were many who, during eight days, did not pray once: even two Hadjis, who had performed the Mekka pilgrimage, were of that number. Some would pray once, others twice a day, before sun rise, and after sun set; only three or four of the caravan were strict in regularly chaunting the three daily prayers, to which number the Koran limits the duty of travellers; but I did not find that more respect or deference was paid to them than to the others.

We remained in the Khan that morning, and quitted the town at noon to return to our ship, leaving the Tripoline behind to settle our affairs. The little I saw of Tarsus did not allow me to estimate its extent; the streets through which I passed were all built of wood, and badly; some well furnished bazars, and a large and handsome mosque in the vicinity of the Khan, make up the whole register of curiosities which I am able to relate of Tarsus. Upon several maps Tarsus is marked as a sea town: this is incorrect; the sea is above three miles distant from it. On our return home we started in a S.W. direction, and passed, after two hours and a half’s march, Casal, a large village, half a mile distant from the sea shore, called the Port of Tarsus, because vessels freighted for Tarsus usually come to anchor in its neighbourhood. From thence turning towards the west, we arrived at our ship at the end of two hours. The merchants of Tarsus trade principally with the Syrian coast and Cyprus: Imperial ships arrive there from time to time to load grain. The land trade is of very little consequence, as the caravans from Smyrna arrive very seldom. There is no land communication at all between Tarsus and Aleppo, which is at ten journeys (caravan travelling) distant from it. The road has been rendered unsafe, especially in later times, by the depredations of Kutshuk Ali, a savage rebel, who has established himself in the mountains to the north of Alexandretta. Tarsus is governed by an Aga, who I have reason to believe is almost independent. The French have an agent there, who is a rich Greek merchant.

On the following day the Tripoline rejoined us; he had taken, to my great satisfaction, a passage for me on board a Greek sailing boat from Tripoli of Syria. That vessel was at anchor at Casal, and according to its master’s affirmation was bound for Latikia, which was exactly the place where I wished to land. I left our ship on the second of July; in taking leave of the Tripoline I took off my sash, a sort of red cambric shawl, of Glasgow manufacture, which he had always much admired, thinking it to be Indian stuff, and presented it to him as a keepsake or reward for his good services. He immediately unloosened his turban, and twisted the shawl in its stead round his head: making me many professions of friendship, and assuring me of his hospitality, if ever the chance of mercantile pursuits should again engage me to visit the Mediterranean, and perhaps Tripoli in Barbary. The time I hope may come, when I shall be enabled to put his assurances to the test. (I think I forgot to mention, that the Tripoline was much skilled in languages, which enabled me freely to converse with him; besides his native Arabic tongue, he spoke Turkish, Greek, and Italian.) The vessel on board of which I now embarked, was an open boat with three masts, about thirty-five feet long, and nine broad, much resembling the representation of the Germs of the Nile, which Bruce and other travellers have given. These vessels are very common on the Syrian coast; where they are called Jackdur. I had engaged to pay for my passage twenty-five piastres, at my arrival in Latikia, but was no sooner with my baggage on board, than the master informed me that he meant to proceed to Antakia (Antiochia) not to Latikia, and that I was at liberty to return to my own ship, if I did not choose to go his way. I thus found myself duped a second time, though I had most distinctly agreed for my passage to Latikia. However, there being no other conveyance to the coast of Syria at hand, I resolved to remain on board. I was afraid of being kept in these parts, until after the return of my old ship for Malta; when I should have nobody to recommend me to those, in whose company I might continue my way; I knew moreover, that there was a brisk intercourse between Antakia and Aleppo. There had not been for some time, any opportunity from Tarsus to the opposite coast. A crowd of passengers came therefore on board. I counted fifty-six men and women lying upon deck, besides six sailors, and six horses in the ship’s hold. We had each just as much space allowed, as the body covered, and remained in this state two nights and one day. In general the passage is performed within the twenty-four hours.

On the morning of the 5th, we entered the bay of Suedieh, which is formed on one side by the promontory called Ras Khanzir, on the other by another projecting rocky mountain; both are the extremities of chains of barren rocks, which I conceive to be the remotest branches of the Libanus. These mountains come down to the water’s edge on both sides of the bay; in the bottom of it, where the Orontes now called Aasi empties itself into the sea, begins a level country of four or five miles in width and length. It is to the whole of this tract of level land, which contains several villages, that the name of Suedieh is applied, though that appellation is also given sometimes exclusively to the port.

The wind being favourable we entered the river, and anchored, after half an hour’s sailing through its sinuosities, at Mina, the port of Antakia, where the ship was laid close to the shore, where the elevated banks of the river form a kind of quay. Mina is a miserable village built close to the river’s right bank, consisting of about seven or eight houses, the best of which serves as a place of residence to the Aga, whom the Aga of Antakia appoints to receive the duties upon exports and imports. Higher up than Mina the Aasi is not navigated; the navigation is rendered impracticable by rocks, though there is plenty of water. Here, at the last stage of its course, it is a fine slow-flowing river, much about the size of the Thames beyond Richmond bridge; its waters are muddy, and this being the case in the month of June, three or four months after the rainy season, I suppose they can hardly be clear during any other part of the year.

Arrived at Suedieh, I found myself very uncomfortably situated. I had lost my friend the Tripoline, and though he had warmly recommended me to the master of the Jackdur, yet I found the crew of the vessel to be thievous and treacherous; they spread the rumour amongst the people of Suedieh that I was a Frank, and as the ship was immediately to return to Tarsus, I expected to find myself completely at the mercy of the inhabitants; amongst whom, as well as amongst the crew, there was nobody who understood the Italian, or, as they called it, the Latin tongue. I remained on board the ship that day and the following; and was bargaining for a horse and mules to take me to Antakia, when, to my great satisfaction, a caravan from Aleppo came down to the coast with Indian goods; I soon got acquainted with the muleteers, and made my bargain with one of them for the whole journey, from Suedieh to Aleppo. He first asked fifty piastres per Kantar قنطار (about five-hundred pounds English weight). I got him down to thirty, and was afterwards informed at Aleppo, that I should not have paid more than twenty-five. It is a great point gained by travellers in these countries, if they can make with their mule or camel drivers the usual bargain of the country. If the muleteer overcharges them, he makes a boast of it wherever he goes, the traveller is immediately known to be a person little conversant with the customs of the country, and he may be sure to be dealt with accordingly, in every respect, whereever the mule-driver accompanies him. I was helping the servants to distribute my baggage into mules loads, and to tie it round with cords, when the Aga sent for me. I found him smoking his pipe in a miserable room, surrounded by his people; entering the room I pulled off my slippers, and sat down on the floor before him. I shall here remark that it is a custom most strictly adhered to, never to sit down upon a carpet, or even a mat, and in presence of a man of rank, not even upon the bare floor, without pulling off the slippers, and if a person has but one pair on his feet, which is the Moggrebyn and the Greek fashion, he must sit down bare footed.

After I had drank a dish of coffee, I asked the Aga what his pleasure was; he answered me, by making a sign with his thumb and forefinger, like a person counting money. I had several chests for the British Consul at Aleppo with me, and had also marked my own baggage with the Consul’s name, thinking by these means to prevent its being examined. He asked me what the chests contained, I expressed my ignorance about it, telling him only, that I thought there was a sort of Frank drink (beer), and some eatables, which I had been charged with at Malta, for the Consul, on my way home. He sent one of his people to look over their contents; a bottle of beer had been broken in loading, the man tasted it by putting his finger into the liquor, and found it abominably bitter: such was his report to the Aga. As a sample of the eatables, he produced a potatoe which he had taken out of one of the barrels, and that noble root excited a general laughter in the room, “It is well worth while,” they said, “to send such stuff to such a distance.” The Aga tasted of the raw potatoe, and spitting it out again, swore at the Frank’s stomach which could bear such food. The other trunks were now left unexamined; and I was asked fifteen piastres for the permission to depart with them. I gave him ten piastres, and received from him a sort of receipt for that money, because I told him that without it, the Consul would never believe that I had really paid down the money as duty upon his effects. The Aga was very high in his expressions, talking of his grandeur, how little he cared about the Sultan, and still less for any Consul, &c. He laughed a great deal at my Arabic, which certainly was hardly intelligible; but he did not much trouble himself with questions about my affairs, his mind seeming now solely taken up by the hope of extorting money from the Aleppine merchants, and so I left him, and soon afterwards, about an hour before sunset, departed from Suedieh, with part of the caravan, the rest intending to pass the night there. The road from Suedieh to Antakia crosses the plain for about one hour’s distance. On the right runs in a deep bed a branch of the Aasi, and forms in this place several islands; on your left extends the well cultivated plain of Suedieh.

As we approached the mountains which inclose the plain on the western side, we passed several extensive and regularly planted orchards, belonging to the Aga of Antakia; the road now lay through lanes thickly overhung on both sides with shrubs, and I was entering a country famous for the beauties of its landscape scenery, when the sun shed its last rays. We continued our way in the dark for about one hour and a half longer, and halted near a rivulet, at the entrance of the hills, where men and horses were fed: we remained there till about two hours after midnight.

From thence the road leads over a mountainous and rocky ground, abounding with trees and springs. At the break of day we passed a village and a considerable rivulet flowing towards our right; one hour’s march further another rivulet; the country then opens, and the traveller finds himself upon the ridge of a high plain, encompassed by the two beforementioned chains of mountains, from which he descends into the valley which the Aasi waters, and where he finds Antakia very picturesquely situated, near the foot of the southern chain of mountains, surrounded with gardens and well sown fields. It was yet early in the morning when we passed the river and entered the town; a strong built bridge leads over the river immediately into the town gate. I was stopped at the gate, and asked for one of the two pistols, which I wore in my girdle; I had told the people of the caravan that they belonged to the English Consul. My muleteer assured me that the pistol would be restored, I therefore gave it up voluntarily, well convinced it would have been forced from me against my will. The Aga’s man brought it back in the evening. I was asked two piastres for the returning of it; they had taken the flint, and the powder from the pan. Arrived at Antakia, the muleteer led his mules to the Khan of the muleteers; I might have gone to the Khan of the merchants, but having no body to accompany me and introduce me there, I preferred staying with the muleteers, whose way of living I also wished to see. The Khan is a large court yard built in a triangular shape: the basis of the triangle is distributed on both sides of the entrance door into small dark cells, which serve as magazines for the goods, and as places to cook in. On another side are the stables; and the whole length of the third side is taken up by a terrace built of stone, about four feet elevated from the ground, and eight feet broad, where the muleteers eat, sleep, and pray, that side of the Khan being built in the direction of Mecca. In the midst of the yard is a large water bason, which affords drink to men and beasts indiscriminately.

My entrance into the Khan excited considerable curiosity, and the little cell I took possession of was soon beset by troublesome enquirers, who unanimously declared that I was a Frank come to the country for evil purposes. I had nobody to take my part except my muleteer, whose remonstrances in my behalf were soon lost in the general cry of Djaour (infidel) raised by the other inhabitants of the Khan and by the town’s people, who came to visit their friends.

Whenever I could get any of them to listen to me for half an hour, I found means to appease them, but the town’s people did not even condescend to speak to me, and I evidently saw that their plan was to make religion a pretext, for practising an avanie upon me. My property fortunately was mixed with that of the Consul; a spare shirt and a carpet constituted my whole baggage; besides a pocket purse, containing the money necessary for my daily expenses, I had about twenty sequins hidden upon me. The Aga of Antakia sent his Dragoman to get something out of me. This was a wretched Frank, who pretended to be a Frenchman, but whom I should rather suppose to be a Piemontese. I pretended complete ignorance of the French language, he therefore asked me in Italian minutely about my affairs, and how I could attempt to travel home without any money or goods, to defray the expenses of the journey. I answered that I hoped the Consul, in remuneration of my having carefully watched his effects, would pay the expense of a camel from Aleppo to Bagdad, and that at the latter place I was sure of finding friends to facilitate my farther journey. When the man saw that nothing in my manners betrayed my Frank origin, he made a last trial, and pulling my beard a little with his hand, asked me familiarly “Why I had let such a thing grow?” I answered him with a blow upon his face, to convince the by-standing Turks, how deeply I resented the received insult; and the laugh now turned against the poor Dragoman, who did not trouble me any farther. I am at a loss to state how far I succeeded in sustaining my assumed character; I thought that the major part of the caravan people were gained over to my side, but the town’s people were constant in their imprecations against me. I had been flattered with an immediate departure for Aleppo, but the caravan was detained four days in the Khan. During the whole time of our stay, I spent the day time in the cell of the goods, amusing myself with cooking our victuals; the town’s people, though often assembled before the door of the room, never entered it; in the evening the gates of the Khan were shut, and I then went to sleep with the muleteers upon the terrace.

I was relieved from this unpleasant situation on the 10th, when it was decided that the caravan should depart. The muleteers began preparing for their departure by dividing the whole court into squares of different sizes, by means of ropes, at the end of which iron wedges are fastened, which are driven into the earth up to their heads; each muleteer takes one of these squares proportionate in size to the number of his beasts; and loads them in it. Though the ropes are little more than one inch above ground, the animals never move out of the square assigned to them, and thus great order prevailed in the Khan, though it was dark when we loaded, and the whole court crowded with beasts and bales. At halting places when the beasts are fed, the same ropes are extended in front of them, to prevent their getting amongst the baggage.

I cannot say much of Antakia, having seen nothing of it but the streets through which I entered. It looks like a neat town, at least in comparison to Tarsus: living is only half as dear as it is in Aleppo. This circumstance, joined to the beauty of the surrounding country, and the proximity of the sea would make it a desirable place for Franks to live in, were it not for the fanaticism of its inhabitants, who pride themselves upon being descendants from the Osmanlis the conquerors of Syria. Last year at a tumult raised at Suedieh, these Osmanlis murdered the Greek Aga of Suedieh with his whole family, and a young French physician, who had come to his house to cure his son. The Aga of Antakia is appointed by the Grand Signior, and is independent of any Pasha.

We marched the whole night of the 10th over a plain country, and reached early the next morning Hamsin, a village situated at nine hours march from Antakia, on the right bank of the Orontes. We passed the river in a ferry boat: its banks on both sides are about forty feet high at this place; its breadth is near fifty yards, the depth no where more than five feet. On a little eminence a few hundred paces from the ground on the river’s side where we encamped, rises a spring of excellent water; my companions however, drank of the muddy water of the Orontes, in preference to taking the trouble of filling their flasks at the spring. One of the merchants had a tent with him, under the shade of which we passed the whole day. In the evening the village youths kindled a large fire, and amused themselves with music and dancing. The next day we passed a chain of calcareous mountains planted here and there with olives; on the top of one of these mountains lives a custom-house officer, who exacted a toll from each individual, as it was said, in the name of the Grand Signior. The descent on the eastern side is steep, but the mules walked with the greatest firmness. In the valley into which we descended lies the town of Ermenaz (ارمناز,) watered by several streams. Though small, it is one of the best towns in this part of Syria; its gardens are cultivated with great care, and its inhabitants are industrious, because they are out of the immediate reach of rapacious Pashas and Janisaries. They work a glass manufacture which supplies Aleppo. The olives of the country round Aleppo are, next to those of Tripoly, the best in Syria: its grapes are likewise much esteemed. As we rode by, I saw lying on the right hand side of the road near the town, a broken ancient column of about four feet in diameter, and I was told afterwards in Aleppo, that many like remains of antiquity are to be met with in the neighbourhood of Ermenaz. At half an hour’s distance from this latter place we again began to mount, and the path became difficult and tiresome for the beasts, from the number of detached rocks with which it is overspread. After nearly eight hours march (meaning the whole day’s work), we descended into the eastern plain of Syria, and encamped at the foot of the mountains, round a large tree in the vicinity of a copious spring. Whenever the beasts were unloaden, it was with much difficulty that I could prevent my luggage from being thrown upon the ground The caravan people in this country, and I should suppose every where else in the East, are accustomed to loads of bales of goods, which do not receive any injury from letting them fall to the ground. The loads on each side of the beast are tied together over its back, by a cord. Arrived at the halting place, the first thing the muleteer does, is to go from mule to mule to unloosen that cord; the loads then fall to the ground. This mode of unloading, and the great carelessness of these people, render the transport of many European commodities utterly impracticable, without their being accompanied by a servant sent along with them, for the express purpose of taking off the loads. A Frank merchant of Aleppo received some years ago a load of Venetian looking-glasses which were all dashed to pieces. Provided the chests which contain the merchandize be entire, the muleteer thinks himself free from responsibility. We were joined in the evening by some other travellers, whose curiosity led them to new inquiries about my person and affairs. None of my companions had till now found out any thing which could have directly inculpated myself; they however kept a strict watch over all my motions: being obliged at night to go aside, two of the travellers last arrived followed me unseen, and pretended afterwards to have observed some irregularities in the ablutions necessary to be performed on such occasions; in consequence of which, I was told that I was “Harām,” or in a forbidden unclean state, and notwithstanding every thing I said to defend and excuse myself, I found that from that time I had lost the good opinion of all my companions. We marched the next day six hours, and halted at Mart Mesrin, a village belonging to Ibrahim Pasha, who in the time of Djezar was Pasha of Aleppo, afterwards Pasha of Damascus, and who lives now in disgrace and poverty at this place, the whole appearance of which makes it probable, that in a few years hence it will be deserted by its inhabitants. The wide extended plain over which we marched this day consists almost throughout of a fertile soil, but without any trees, and in most places uncultivated, but where a number of ruined and deserted villages, indicate that many parts of it must have formerly been cultivated. Having been much plagued during this whole day by my fellow travellers, and in the evening also by the peasants, who had collected round the caravan, I swore that I would not eat any more with any of them. This declaration being somewhat in the Arab style, they were startled at it; and my muleteer especially much pressed me to rejoin their mess; I assured him that I would rather eat nothing and starve, than have any further friendly dealings with men who professed themselves my friends one day, and proved my enemies the next, (it should be observed that this was the last stage of our journey, I therefore did not run great risk in making good my words). The tract of country over which we passed on the following day was similar in appearance to that which we had seen on the preceding. The number of deserted and ruined villages increased the nearer we approached Aleppo; we had marched about eight hours when we discerned the castle of Aleppo, at the sight of which the armed horsemen of the caravan set off at a gallop, and repeatedly fired off their guns; the merchants put themselves ahead of the caravan and after one hour’s march farther, we entered the town. All merchandizes coming to Aleppo must be taken to the custom-house Khan خان ترك; they are weighed there to determine the amount of the sum due to the muleteer for freight, and a duty must be paid for them to the Grand Signior, which together with the taxation money of the Christians and Jews, is the only branch of revenue which the Janissaries, the present masters of the town, still allow the Porte to retain. The English consular house is in that very Khan.

I was now arrived at Aleppo in a shape which entirely left it to my option, either to continue in my disguise, or to avow my European origin. After a long conversation on that subject with Mr. Barker, I was convinced that it would better answer the purpose of my stay in Aleppo to choose the latter, and my reasons for it were the following: at the time I left England and Malta, I imagined that the intercourse between Cairo and Aleppo was frequent, and that it might easily happen, that Cairine merchants might see me here and recognise me afterwards at home, or that travelling Aleppines who knew me here, might afterwards see me again in Egypt. The departure of the Syrian pilgrim caravan to Mecca, not having taken place for the last three years, has almost annihilated the commercial intercourse overland between the two countries. At the meeting of the Syrian and African caravan near Mecca, Egyptian merchants used formerly to join the former, and return with them to Damascus and Aleppo, and vice versa; at present the little commerce carried on between Cairo and Aleppo, is entirely in the hands of a few Turkish and Greek houses at Tripoli, Latikia, and Alexandria, and the Egyptian merchants themselves never come to Aleppo. Had I continued in my disguise, and continued to live exclusively amongst the Turks, opportunities would have frequently happened to put the veracity of my story to the test. East Indians come from time to time to Aleppo with the Bagdad caravan, and many of the Bagdad and Bassorah merchants established at Aleppo have been in India. My person would have been infinitely more noticed than it now is, if taking a shop in the bazar, as I first intended, I should have exposed myself to the curiosity of the whole town; I should have entirely foregone the instruction to be derived from books and masters skilled in the language; and moreover I have no doubt that the French Consul residing here would have heard of my arrival, and have done every thing to put my pursuits in a dubious light. These are the reasons which convinced me, that for the present time it was more advisable to appear in a shape which would preclude the intrusion of curious inquirers; and afford more facility to my studies. I continue my name of Ibrahim, and pass in my Turkish dress unnoticed in the crowds of the street and the bazars. The Consul receives me at his house as a travelling country merchant of his; and as it frequently happens that people coming into the Levant change their names; nobody wonders at my being called with an oriental name. I had first my doubts whether my fellow caravan travellers might not be over inquisitive here; but such of them as I have since met, greeted me without further questions, and the government of the city is now such, that a man picking a quarrel with me about what I might have told him at Antakia, would only expose himself to be fined for a sum of money by the Janissaries, the masters of the town, for their trouble to settle the business with the Consul.

My plans for the present are to remain at Aleppo the whole of the winter and part of next summer. I have been fortunate enough to find a good and willing master of Arabic, and I hope to make progress in the study of the literal as well as vulgar language. As soon as I shall be able to express myself with some precision in the vulgar dialect, and perfectly to understand it, I shall visit the Bedouin Arabs in the Desert, and live with them some months. I can do this in perfect security; and I have no doubt that you will approve of it, as it will afford me the best opportunity of practising the manners and becoming acquainted with the character of a class of people who are the same, whether they over-run the deserts of Arabia or those of Africa.

You need not be afraid that the history of my own person, which has taken up so considerable a portion of the preceding pages, will any more be exhibited before you at such a length. I thought it might be of some interest to the Association, to see how far I was able to succeed in making good my way to Aleppo in the disguise in which I left London; unaided as I was by a knowledge of Eastern languages, or a familiarity with Eastern manners. This trial has so far been satisfactory to me, that, in the first place, I am persuaded that nothing of my pursuits has transpired at Malta, which will always be of material consequence to me; secondly, in being landed at a remote corner of Syria, I have avoided the general intercourse of a mercantile seaport, such as Acre, Beirout, Tripoly, or Latakia; and finally, it has created within me the confidence that whenever I may be able to call in support of a similar disguise, a fluent utterance of Arabic, and a habitude of Oriental manners, I shall easily find means to triumph over such obstacles as those I met with in the Khan at Antakia.

A few days after my arrival at Aleppo, I was attacked by a strong inflammatory fever which lasted a fortnight. The want of night’s rest occasioned by the quantity of vermin which had collected upon my person, principally during my stay in the Khan of Antakia, was, as I thought, the cause of it. I have enjoyed perfect health since that time, and the climate agrees with me better than I expected.

Mr. Burckhardt remained two years and a half in Syria, making daily additions to his practical knowledge of the Arabic language, and to his experience of the character of Orientals, and of Mohammedan society and manners. His principal residence was at Aleppo. Having assumed the name of Ibrahim Ibn Abdallah at Malta, he continued to bear it in Syria; but apprehensive of not having yet had sufficient experience, thoroughly to act the part of a Mussulman, and finding no necessity for such a disguise at Aleppo, he was not studious to conceal his European origin, and wore only such a Turkish dress, as is often assumed in Syria by English travellers, less for the sake of concealment than to avoid occasional insult. Thus he had the benefit of an unmolested intercourse with the Mussulman population of Aleppo, at the same time that he was not prevented from openly accepting the friendship and protection of Mr. Barker, the British Consul, nor under the necessity of denying himself the social resources afforded by the houses of the European residents; especially those of Mr. Barker, and of Mr. Masseyk, formerly Dutch Consul. Of his obligations to the former of these gentlemen, he omitted no opportunity of bearing testimony.

Besides two short tours which he made from Aleppo, he was absent from thence in the year 1810, for six months, during which time he visited Palmyra, remained three months at Damascus, and from thence made two journeys into the neighbouring districts; one through the Libanus and Anti-Libanus, and the other through the unexplored country of the Haouran, or Auranitis. After his final departure from Aleppo, in February 1812, he again made some stay at Damascus, and performed a second journey in the Haouran, including a part of the ancient Decapolis. Upon quitting Damascus for Egypt, he visited Tiberias and Nazareth, and from thence having crossed to the Eastern side of the Jordan, proceeded through the countries to the East and South of the Dead Sea, until he arrived at Wady Mousa, where he had the satisfaction of discovering the remains of a large ancient city, consisting of a great number of buildings and monuments excavated in the rocks, a singularity which, added to the testimony of ancient history, marks the place for the site of Petra, the capital of Arabia Petræa. From Wady Mousa he pursued a westerly course towards the capital of Egypt, across the valley of Araba, and the desert of El Tyh.

A sketch of his travels in Syria is communicated in letters which he addressed from time to time to Sir Joseph Banks, or to Mr. Hamilton, Secretary of the Association. The following are extracts of the most interesting parts of this correspondence.

With the present I transmit to you in duplicate a short sketch of the recent history of Aleppo, and some notices concerning the Turkmans Rihanli, which I collected during a visit to them in the beginning of March last. They are a tribe of Nomade Turkmans, who encamp in winter time at one day’s journey from Aleppo. I got myself introduced to one of their chiefs as a physician in search of medicinal herbs, and spent a fortnight amongst them.

I am now so far advanced in the knowledge of Arabic, that I understand almost every thing that is said in common conversation, and am able to make myself understood on most subjects, although sometimes with difficulty. I have made acquaintance with some Shikhs, and some of the first literati amongst the Turks of Aleppo, who from time to time visit me. I owe this favour principally to Mr. Wilkins’s Arabic and Persian Dictionary. The common manuscript dictionaries, or Kamus, being generally very defective, the learned Turks are often very glad to consult Wilkins, and never do it without exclaiming “How wonderful that a Frank should know more of our language than our first Ulemas.” Learning at Aleppo is in a very low state; no science, the Turkish law excepted, is properly cultivated; not even that of Arabic grammar, which is so necessary to the interpretation of the Koran. I am assured by the best authority, that there are now in this town only three men, (two Turks and a Christian) who know this language grammatically. The chief quality of a literary man is that of getting by heart a great number of verses made upon different occasions, and of knowing the proper opportunity of reciting them; to this must be added, a knowledge of the different learned significations of one and the same word, and of the words which express the same idea. For example, the word Adjuz, which in common language means a decrepid old man, has in the learned language about sixty other different significations; and there are in Arabian poetry about one hundred and fifty different words for wine. But to interpret passages of difficult grammatical construction, or rationally to amend errors, or even to compose prose or verse free from grammatical blunders, is a task much above the capacity of an Aleppine Ulema.

Two Persian Dervishes arrived here about two months ago, who had lived upwards of two years at the Wahabi court of Derayeh. I got acquainted with one of them, a young man of twenty-two; the other has gone to Mosul, from whence his companion shortly expects his return. The latter has been in the habit, singular enough for a Mohammedan traveller, of keeping a regular journal of his travels, describing whatever struck his inquisitive mind, and abounding, as I understand, with geographical notices. Another traveller of a singular description passed here two years ago. He called himself Aly Bey, and professed to be born of Tunisian parents in Spain, and to have received his education in that country. Spanish appears to be his native language, besides which he spoke French, a little Italian, and the Moggrebyn dialect of Arabic, but badly. He came to Aleppo by the way of Cairo, Yaffa, and Damascus, with the strongest letters of recommendation from the Spanish Government to all its agents, and an open credit upon them. He seemed to be a particular friend of the Prince of the Peace, for whom he was collecting antiques; and from the manner in which it was known that he was afterwards received by the Spanish ambassador at his arrival in Constantinople, he must have been a men of distinction. The description of his figure, and what he related of his travels, called to my recollection the Spaniard Badia and his miniature in your library. He was a man of middling size, long thin head, black eyes, large nose, long black beard, and feet that indicated the former wearing of tight shoes. He professed to have travelled in Barbary, to have crossed the Lybian Desert between Barbary and Egypt, and from Cairo to have gone to Mekka, and back. He travelled with Eastern magnificence, but here he was rather shy of shewing himself out of doors; he never walked out but on Fridays to the prayers of noon, in the great mosque. One of the beforementioned Dervishes told me that there had been a great deal of talking about this Aly Bey, at Damascus and Hama; they suspected him of being a Christian, but his great liberality and the pressing letters which he brought to all the people of consequence, stopped all further enquiry. He was busily employed in arranging and putting in order his journal during the two months of his stay at Aleppo.

My long stay in Syria having been determined upon, in consequence of the absolute necessity of my familiarising myself with the idiom of these countries, I shall deem it my duty to send you from time to time some vouchers of my application to Arabic literature. I have for some time past been engaged in an Arabic exercise, which has proved of great utility to me; it is the metamorphosis of the well known novel of Robinson Crusoe into an Arabian tale, adapted to Eastern taste and manners. A young Frank born at Aleppo, who speaks Arabic like a native, but who neither reads nor writes it, has been my assistant in the undertaking. I take the liberty of sending you here inclosed a copy of this travestied Robinson, or as I call the book in Arabic, Dur el Bahur, the Pearl of the Seas. Of the merits or defects of the translation I can claim at most forty per cent.; the handwriting excepted, which is my own.

I am on the eve of leaving Aleppo for an excursion into the Desert, and shall probably set out the day after to-morrow. My good luck conducted some days ago an Arab Shikh to town, who is the mightiest chief of all the Arabs between Aleppo, Damascus, and Bagdad. He came for the purpose of receiving in person the passage duties upon certain goods which are shortly to be sent by means of a great caravan to Bagdad. He belongs to the wide extended tribe of the Aenezy, who have all become Wahabi; his own very powerful tribe is called the Tedhan, and his name is Duehy Ibn Ryeiben. I easily got acquainted with him; we ate and drank together, and I succeeded in making an agreement with him, that he should take me by way of Tedmor or Palmyra home to his family and tents, which he says are not far from Damascus in the plain of Haouran; he himself came to Aleppo accompanied only by a few people upon dromedaries. He is to shew me his tents and horses, of which latter I told him the English Consul here might be perhaps induced to buy some upon my recommendation; and he is then to set me down at Damascus.

He is known to all the principal Bagdad merchants of this town, and my agreement with him has been made in writing, signed by the most respectable of these merchants, as witnesses; I am so far in perfect tranquillity as to the security of my person under his protection. He is indeed a famous robber, but the Shikhs of the Desert have never been known to withdraw their protection from those to whom they have promised it.

The Arab Shikh mentioned in my last kept true to his engagements only during the two first days of our journey. Instead of conducting me, on the third day, in person, to Hamah, he gave me one of his men as a guide. Returning the next day towards the watering place seven hours east of Hamah, where we had left the Shikh, we were attacked and stript by a party of Manali Arabs, who, unfortunately for me, happened to be engaged in a quarrel with the Aenezy tribe of the Shikh. A watch and compass were the only articles I regretted to have lost; as to cash, I had not a single farthing in my pocket. We returned to the town, to refit ourselves as well as possible, and then set out again the next night, to rejoin our chief. The latter had however in the interval left the watering-place; we were obliged to run after him in the Desert for thirty-six hours, and finding him at last at another watering-place he declared to me that he could not possibly conduct me himself any further, because his people had very much pressed his return, afraid as they were of the approaching Wahabi. In reply to my remonstrances, he offered me another guide to take me to Tedmor, and from thence to the Haouran. With this guide I reached Tedmor after a march of thirty hours, and contemplated the wonders of the Palm city for nearly two days. The Shikh of Tedmor, in consideration of my empty purse, contented himself with taking my saddle from me. Leaving Tedmor we reached by a forced march Kariatein in one day, and from thence Yerud, a village about twelve hours to the N.E. of Damascus. Duehy, the Arab chief, had passed there a few clays before, and knowing that my guide would likewise take that route, he had left at the village-Shikh’s house, an open letter to my address, in which he peremptorily told me not to proceed any farther in my journey towards the Haouran, but to go direct to Damascus, because he was determined to fly with his tribe away from the Wahabi. The fact was, that he did not wish to feed me under his tents for two months, according to our contract. Convinced that the whole was but a trick, I insisted upon proceeding in the original direction. My guide, however, refused to accompany me; he even left me in the evening; there were no other trusty people present to guide my steps through the Desert, I was therefore at last obliged to follow Duehy’s advice, and came to this place with a salt caravan from Tedmor, which I had found at Yerud. Two days after my arrival Duehy likewise made his appearance, and there being nobody present to take up my cause against him, I was obliged strictly to fulfil the stipulations of our contract, which he on his side had thus shamefully eluded.

Notwithstanding these disappointments, which often occur to travellers in these countries, my tour to Tedmor has given me much satisfaction. Besides the pleasure of seeing those interesting ruins, I have had some good opportunities of observing the Bedouins under their own tents; we alighted every day at different encampments, and were every where received with hospitality and kindness.

I should have put my project of visiting the Haouran in execution, even before now, had not the recent changes in the government of this city, and the state of suspense which it naturally occasions, in the districts depending upon it, rendered the roads insecure, and the inhabitants more than usually suspicious of strangers, until the new Pasha shall have had time firmly to establish himself in his newly acquired territory. A few days after my arrival at Damascus, Yussef Pasha, who had governed the town and its territory for the last four years, was turned out, and his place occupied by Soleiman Pasha of Akke (Acre.) This change being connected with the interruption of the pilgrim caravan to Mekka, and with the late Wahabi affairs, some details concerning it may perhaps be thought acceptable. As to the state of the Wahabi power in the southern parts of Arabia, I must confess that I am in perfect ignorance of it. Without being an eye witness, or meeting by chance with a credible eye witness, it is impossible to guide oneself through the labyrinth of false reports, which policy, fanaticism, and party spirit spread on their account. To mention but one instance: at my leaving Aleppo the general voice was, that the Wahabi were at the gates of Damascus.

It is now the sixth year since the Damascus pilgrim caravan, which included the Hadjis of the greatest part of the Turkish dominions, has not been able to reach Mekka. In 1805, Abdallah Pasha, then Pasha of Damascus, set out at the head of a caravan; having arrived in the neighbourhood of Medineh, the Wahabi governor of that city, by orders of Ibn el Saoud the great Wahabi chief, refused entrance to the caravan. The Hadjis were obliged to pass on the outside of the walls, and thus continued their way towards the Kaaba. They were yet three days journey from it, when they found themselves surrounded by the innumerable host of Saoud’s army. The two parties came to a parley, when Saoud declared to the Pasha, that he should thenceforward suffer no Turkish army to march through his territory, and that the army must therefore immediately return; but that those Hadjis who were determined to complete their pilgrimage might continue their way in safety, on condition that they should go unarmed, and promise to stay only three days at the holy city. None of the pilgrims were tempted to accept the offer of a free passage. Abdallah himself, frightened by the Wahabi numbers, made Saoud conceive hopes that he would be a convert to the new religion. Before he returned, it was stipulated that in case of any caravan taking its departure the following year, there should be neither Pasha nor army to convoy it; that all the Hadjis should be unarmed and without ammunition; that there should be no Mahmal (the camel which carries the new carpet for the decoration of the Kaaba); and that arrived at the same place where they then were, Saoud should have the right of selecting the individuals who were to proceed, while the others should wait there for the speedy return of their brethren. It is said that Abdallah Pasha was obliged by his officers to give his consent to these shameful articles. He insisted upon their attesting with their signatures that he had declared his determination to appeal to the sword, but that he was prevented from doing so, by their unanimous opinion that it was better not to shed blood. The Hadj returned to Damascus and Constantinople, and Abdallah sent the attestation of his officers to Constantinople, to excuse his retreat. Instead of recruiting and strengthening his forces, and protecting the next year the caravan with an army capable of forcing its way through the Wahabi tribes, Abdallah set out in 1806, with a corps not exceeding 8000 men, and a very small caravan of Hadjis. They were met, at three days journey from Mekka, by the Sherif of Mekka, who is a subject of the Wahabi. He told them that he had positive orders to refuse to any armed force the entrance into the holy city; but he again offered to let the unarmed Hadjis complete their pilgrimage. It is said that Abdallah had beforehand entered into some secret negotiations with the Sherif, and that the latter had declared his wish to join the Pasha, with the Mekka people, against the Wahabi; thinking, of course, that the Pasha would not hazard the Hadj, without being accompanied by a considerable force; but that when he saw the small number of the troops and the mutinous spirit which reigned amongst them, he remained true to his former engagements with Ibn Saoud.

Abdallah returned to Damascus a second time, without having been able to accomplish the pilgrimage, which he had formerly led fifteen times to Mekka and back to Damascus. He soon afterwards fell, into disgrace with the Grand Signor, when Yussef Aga, an upstart, who from the rank of a simple soldier, had raised himself to the first dignities in the town, was named Pasha of Damascus. His military temper and courage were known, and he had promised to conduct the Hadj. It may be necessary to explain here the policy of the Pasha of Damascus and of the Porte respecting the Hadj. The Miri, or land tax, of the Pashaliks of Damascus and Tripoli, which, according to the original assessment amounted to about 3500 purses, (it is now worth more than triple that sum,) has been abandoned to the Pasha of Damascus for the necessary expense of the Hadj; and to the Pasha of Tripoli for the expense of the Djerde, or caravan of provisions, which meets the Hadjis on their return. Besides these 3500 purses, the Pasha of Damascus contributes at least 1000 more, out of his own treasury, because the expenses, particularly the tribute paid to the Arab tribes on the pilgrim route, are yearly increasing. Abdallah Pasha, who had already given apparent proofs of his zeal for the Hadj, seeing the power of the Porte daily decreasing, and knowing the terror which the Wahabi name had inspired, thought that the time was come, when, without inculpating himself, he might at last put a stop to the Hadj, and add its expenses to the revenue of the Pashalik. For this reason, he neglected to recruit the forces, which were to accompany the pilgrims, as he might have done, if it had been his real intention to favour the Hadj, and he returned the second year to prove to the country that if he himself, who had so often led the Hadj to Mekka, was no longer able to do so, certainly any other person who should attempt it, would be equally unsuccessful. The Porte however prevented his design; before the conclusion of 1806, Yussef Pasha was named to the command of Damascus, and Abdallah Pasha, who was much disliked in the town, peacefully retired to Aleppo, where he lives now as a private grandee. Yussef Pasha governed the territory of Damascus and Tripoli for four years, without once conducting the caravan. What Abdallah had projected his successor executed; the Miri, instead of defraying the expenses of the Hadj, or being accounted for to the Porte, entered into the Pasha’s chests. In the present degenerate and tottering state of the empire, the Porte has forgot that the religious and fanatical spirit which is diffused over its subjects by the visitors of the Kaaba, is perhaps the last supporter of its political existence. She thinks no longer of the religious importance of the pilgrimage; her troubles and cares are all for money; as if money alone would uphold an empire.

Yussef Pasha was the best Pasha Damascus ever had; his firmness and justice kept the turbulent Damascenes in order; he never committed avanies upon the inhabitants and was respected and even liked by every honest man. He had one vice however which the Porte never forgives in its officers, that of avarice. Instead of transmitting the greater part of the Miri to the Porte, who had a claim to it all, as not being employed in the expense of the Hadj, the sums carried by his yearly envoys to Constantinople, every thing included, did not amount to more than fifteen hundred purses; he thought himself sure of the attachment of his troops and the country people; and slighted the Porte’s remonstrances.

It was under these circumstances that in May last the news spread over the country, that Ibn Saoud, the chief of the Wahabi, had left his head quarters at Derayeh at the head of an immense army, with hostile intentions against Syria. Their arrival spread general terror; the rich caravans which were expected from Bagdad at Aleppo and Damascus were immediately countermanded; and although there was no certain intelligence of the intended route of the Wahabi, it was supposed that their first attempt would be upon Damascus. Others, and perhaps better informed people, were of opinion, that Saoud came to punish the Aenezy, who, divided into more than one hundred and fifty different tribes, people the desert as far as ten journeys to the east of Aleppo, Hamah, Homs, and Damascus. The Aenezy had long ago been converted to the Wahabi faith, but had for the last three years neglected to pay the fifth or tribute, which Saoud exacts from all his followers. At the same time, there were still several tribes of Arabs, inhabiting the plains and mountains on both sides of the Hadj route, as far as the eighth stage from Damascus, who were not yet Wahabi, and their conversion might likewise enter into Saoud’s plan. The Pasha of Damascus was glad to see fresh obstacles arise to prevent the pilgrims from proceeding, and have a new excuse to the Porte, for not transmitting the Miri, which he might now be supposed to employ for his preparations against the approaching enemy. The month of June passed away, and nothing sure was yet known of the direction which Saoud had taken. In the beginning of July, intelligence reached the town from Mezerib, a castle on the third stage of the pilgrims route, that the Aga commanding in the place had been attacked by swarms of Wahabi. Yussef Pasha immediately left the town at the head of above 1,000 men. Arrived at Mezerib he found that his officer had already repulsed the attack, and that twelve of the enemy had been killed; their heads were forthwith dispatched to Constantinople, and this insignificant skirmish blazoned forth as an important victory. A person who was at that time with the Pasha at Mezerib has assured me, that the corps of Arabs which attacked the castle consisted of about 800 men, mounted upon camels and armed with lances. Saoud, it was said, had fixed his head-quarters, with the great body of his army, at about two days journey from Damascus, amongst the encampments of a Wahabi tribe called Shammar. The Pasha of Acre was now required to send troops in aid of Yussef Pasha; the Emir Beshir, or chief of the Druses, was addressed to the same effect, and Yussef Pasha remained from the 9th of July till the 26th at Mezerib without so much as seeing an enemy; but he had the mortification to hear that Saoud’s vanguard had plundered and entirely destroyed seventeen of the best villages of the Haouran, and massacred all the inhabitants. Soleiman Pasha of Acre had meanwhile encamped with about three thousand men at Tabaria, and the Emir Beshir had joined him there with as many more Druses. The town of Damascus was in perfect tranquillity, the fear of the Wahabis having already subsided, when on the 25th a civil officer came to town with a letter from Soleiman Pasha, addressed to the Kadi, Ulemas, and Grandees of Damascus, including the copy of a Firman from the Porte, by which Yussef Pasha was deposed, and Soleiman Pasha named Pasha of Damascus. Soleiman had obtained his Firman by transmitting considerable sums of money to Constantinople, by promising to conduct the Hadj, or in case it should be absolutely impossible, to remit the Miri, and at all events to send Yussefs accumulated treasures to the Grand Signor. Nothing was done in his favour at Damascus but to deposit, as usual, a copy of the Firman in the registers of the Mehkemeh, or court of justice. Yussef Pasha, by forced marches, arrived three days after with his army, and ordered several heads to be struck off. Soleiman Pasha with the Emir Beshir likewise advanced, and the town was in expectation of some great event. Luckily for its inhabitants Yussef Pasha’s avarice prevented a civil war; instead of liberally distributing his treasures amongst his troops, he only paid them a part of their arrears, upon which the emissaries of Soleiman fomented the dissatisfaction which began to break out, the principal officers were bought over, and in a little skirmish that happened on the 31st, the troops of Yussef loudly expressed their disinclination to fight their master’s rival. By the sacrifice of his treasures Yussef Pasha might perhaps have been able to sustain his cause. Being informed that Soleiman was in possession of a second Firman which demanded his head, he determined suddenly to fly. He was preparing to leave his Seraglio in the night of the 1st of August, accompanied by about eight-hundred chosen horsemen, with his treasure loaded upon seventy mules, when his Arnauts, who were to have been left behind, fell upon the loaded mules, part of which had already nearly gained the town-gates, forced open the money chests and pillaged the whole. The guard of eight hundred men, seeing there was now nothing more to be gained in the Pasha’s service, deserted him, and the broken hearted Pasha, who during four years had been the benefactor of Damascus, was lucky in securing his retreat, with six or seven of his suite, amongst a friendly tribe of Arabs in the neighbourhood of the city. Soleiman made his solemn entrance into Damascus on the 5th of August, and is now joint Pasha of three Pashaliks: Damascus, Acre, and Tripoli, that is to say, he is in possession of almost the whole of Syria, from Gaza to the vicinity of Aleppo and Antioch. Soleiman Pasha is by birth a Georgian Christian; he was brought up by Djezzar as a Turkish slave, and was much liked by his master, who elevated him to the first situations, in his Pashalik of Acre. After the death of Djezzar, Soleiman made himself master of Acre, by expelling Ismael Pasha, who had succeeded Djezzar, and the Porte soon after recognised him. He bears a good character, at least as good as any Pasha can sustain without being made a fool of. His principal favourite and counsellor is a rich Jew, named Haym, whose talents had already been acknowledged by Djezzar. After having cut off his nose and ears, and torn out one of his eyes, that monster kept him for ten years a prisoner in his Seraglio, obliging him during the whole time to conduct all his most important affairs. Under Soleiman Pasha, Haym has governed Acre, and it is worthy of remark, that at the very same time, the principal men of business of Soleiman’s rival Yussef, were the two brothers and the cousin of Haym, who are supposed to be the richest house in Damascus. Now that Soleiman is Pasha of both places, the whole fraternity is here, and the Jews of Syria may flatter themselves (as the Christians here say) that Israel reigns again in his ancient limits.

Nothing farther has transpired of the Wahabi; but it is easy to foresee that Soleiman Pasha will soon raise again the Wahabi war-cry.

Having had frequent occasions during my stay at Aleppo to observe the deplorable state of the whole country round it, it has been a very gratifying sight to me to witness the comparative ease and I might even say wealth of the inhabitants of the territory of Damascus. The neighbourhood of the city in particular is in a very prosperous state, owing partly to the richness of the ground, which is no where equalled in Syria, partly to the effect of Yussef Pasha’s government, who during his whole reign never extorted any extraordinary contributions from the peasant, and protected him against the oppressions of minor tyrants. It is the misfortune of the Turkish government, at least in its present decayed state, that popular virtues in the persons of its governors are quite incompatible with the Porte’s own views. The Porte demands supplies, and nothing but supplies; and the Pasha, to satisfy her, must press upon the industry of his subjects. He who is the well-wisher of his people, who contents himself with the ordinary revenue, and who lets justice preside in his councils, will undoubtedly incur his sovereigns displeasure, not because he is just, but because his justice prevents him from plundering and transmitting a portion of the acquired plunder to the Diwan. To save his existence he has nothing left but silently to resign his unhappy subjects to the rod of a succeeding despot, or to declare himself a rebel and to contend with his rival until the Porte, convinced of the difficulty of deposing him, patiently waits for a more favourable opportunity of effecting her purposes. These principles are applicable to all persons in office, from the Pasha down to the Shikh of the smallest village; and it is to them that the rapid decay of Turkey is chiefly to be ascribed. It requires but one year’s reign of a man like Djezzar to destroy the benefits of the four years government of a Yussef. The rapidity however, with which ease and wealth are seen to reflow into the reopened channels of industry, prove that Syria, on the downfall of the Turkish empire, would soon regain its former lustre.

My last letter, of the 4th of July, from Aleppo, was accompanied by an Arabic imitation of the well known novel of Robinson Crusoe, arranged so as to suit the Arabian taste. I was desirous of giving some proof of my application to the study of that language. I can conscientiously say, that I have done, and still do, every thing in my power to make myself master of it, but I must confess that I find its difficulties out of proportion to the time which has been allotted to me, to surmount them. I have no other motives in this confession than the sincerest zeal to succeed in my travels to the fullest expectations of the African Association. A two years residence in Syria was thought sufficient to enable me to speak with fluency. After one year’s stay, I think I may be allowed to be able to calculate what remains yet to be done, and I conclude that a twelve month more of study and practice is not sufficient for the remaining task. I therefore take the liberty to entreat the Committee to allow me six months more, over the already granted two years, before I proceed to Egypt. If the Committee is persuaded of the truth of what I advance, a delay of six months and the expense accompanying it, will not be thought an object, nor will it, I trust, be believed, that after the expiration of the prolonged term, I shall again demand a farther delay. The additional six months, however, is of the greatest importance to me, because I know from experience that when once tolerably conversant with a language, a short practice has a more rapid effect than triple the time employed in getting over the first difficulties. In case no distinct answer to this application should arrive before next July, I shall look upon my proposition as rejected, and strictly follow the tenour of my former instructions.

I had the honour of writing to you from Damascus on the 15th of August, 1810; soon after my arrival in that city from Palmyra. The unsettled state of the government of Damascus obliged me to prolong my stay there for upwards of six weeks. I again left it in the middle of September to visit Baalbec and the Libanus. My route lay through Zahle, a small but prosperous town on the western side of the valley Bekaa, the ancient Coelosyria, and from thence to Baalbec, where I remained three days; then to the top of the Libanus, the Cedars and Kannobin, from whence following the highest summits of the mountain, I returned to Zahle by the villages called Akoura and Afka. Descending the Bekaa I proceeded to the Druse territory of Hasbeya; this village is at the foot of Djebel el Shikh, or Mount Hermon, and is famous for its wells of bitumen judaicum and for the cinnabar found near it; from thence I went to Banias, the ancient Cæsarea Philippi, where I saw some ruins, and copied some inscriptions. At an hour’s distance from it is the source of the river El Dhan (Jordan), in the plain of the Houle, or lake Samachonitis. Three hours from it, upon the top of a mountain, are the ruins of the ancient city of Boustra, mentioned in the holy scriptures. I returned to Damascus over the chain of mountains called Djebel Heish, which under the different names of Djebel Adjoulan and Djebel Belkaa continues southerly along the eastern borders of the Dead Sea. I remained this time only a fortnight at Damascus; it was preparatory to an excursion into a region which till a few years ago had never been visited by European travellers; I mean the country called Haouran, the patrimony of Abraham, of which Dr. Seetzen, the German traveller, had seen a part four years ago, previous to his memorable tour round the Dead Sea. During a fatiguing journey of twenty-six days I explored this country as far as a five days journey to the south and south-east of Damascus; I went over the whole of the Djebel Haouran, or mountain of the Druses, who have in these parts a settlement of about twenty villages; I passed Boszra (بصرة), a place likewise mentioned in the books of Moses, and not to be confounded with Boustra, (بسترة) then entered the desert to the south-east of it, and returned afterwards to Damascus through the rocky district on the foot of the Djebel Haouran, called El Ledja. At every step I found vestiges of ancient cities, saw the remains of many temples, public edifices, and Greek churches, met at Shohbe with a well-preserved amphitheatre, at other places with numbers of still standing columns, and had opportunities of copying many Greek inscriptions which may serve to throw some light upon the history of this almost forgotten corner. The inscriptions are for the greater part of the Lower Empire, but some of the most elegant ruins have their inscriptions dated from the reigns of Trajan and M. Aurelius. The Haouran with its adjacent districts is the spring and summer rendezvous of most of the Arab tribes who inhabit in winter-time the great Syrian desert called by them El Hammad (الحماد). They approach the cultivated lands in search of grass, water, and corn, of which last they buy up in the Haouran their yearly provision.

In my last letter from Damascus, I gave you some details concerning the invasion of the Wababi in July last, observing at the same time that many people at Damascus were still in doubt whether it was really a Wahabi corps, which had penetrated so near to the principal seat of the Turkish power in Syria. My inquiries upon the spots where they passed, place it beyond any doubt that Ibn Saoud himself, the Wahabi chief, accompanied by the Sherif of Mekka, headed the expedition, which consisted of about six thousand men, mounted upon camels, together with about four hundred horsemen. The camels were all females, whose milk afforded drink to men and horses during their march from the Djof (an assemblage of Wahabi villages, twelve days journey from Boszra) to the Haouran, at a time of the year when no water is met with in the desert. Ibn Saoud executed his plans in the true Arab style. He remained only two days and a half in the cultivated districts of the Haouran, over-ran in that short time a space of at least one hundred and twenty miles, burnt and plundered near thirty villages, and returned flying, loaded with booty, into the heart of his dominions. The terror of his name was so great, that Yussef, the Pasha of Damascus, did not dare to attack him while he defiled with his loaded camels before the Pasha’s troops; but contented himself with aukwardly firing off his field artillery. Many of the Wahabi were armed with musquets. It is probable that Ibn Saoud will return next year; an expedition conducted as the former was, will always be successful, if no other means of defence are employed; the Haouran people entertain great apprehensions of his return; a few successful attacks will render the eastern borders of Syria deserted, and the great Desert, which already daily gains ground upon the inhabited districts, will soon swallow up the remaining parts of the eastern plain.

After a short excursion to the Djebel el Shikh to the west of Damascus, I returned from thence by Homs and Hamah to Aleppo, where I arrived on the new year’s day.

During this six months journey I have gained some experience in acting as well as in speaking. This indeed was the motive which principally induced me to it, and although disappointed on my first outset, yet I have no reason to be dissatisfied with the remaining part of the journey. I am now occupied in working up my journal, of which I shall send you the first part by the next opportunity for Malta. It will contain my observations among the Arabs, and the classification of about one hundred and fifty of their tribes. The journal of my Haouran tour shall follow as soon as possible.

I am at last under the disagreeable necessity of telling you that notwithstanding every economy in expense I have spent my last farthing. I performed my travels throughout in the garb of a pauper, (the Haouran tour for instance only cost me four pounds sterling), yet some expense in feeding myself and my horse, together with some occasional presents were unavoidable. I should less regret the want of remittances if it was not for the consideration that my stay in Syria might have afforded me opportunities of laying out whatever I might have spared of my appointments in manuscripts or objects of antiquity, an opportunity which if lost now, may be lost for ever. I have lived for nineteen months, since my leaving Malta, upon £170. the remainder of my credit upon Mr. Lee, and I shall now be obliged to accept Mr. Barker’s kind offers, gradually to advance me the sums necessary for my livelihood, until I may be enabled to reimburse him by the receipt of my salary from the Committee.

I am sincerely obliged to the Committee for having granted me a six months prolongation of my stay in Syria.

I have the honour to transmit to you a parcel of papers containing: 1. a classification of the principal Arab tribes near the confines of Syria. 2. A treatise on Bedouin customs and manners. 3. The journal of my tour into the Haouran. 4. The journal of my tour over part of the Syrian mountains. 5. Some geographical notices concerning the Desert. The geographical part of my journey to Palmyra is too insignificant to lie laid before you, as I was deprived by the Arab robbers of the aid of my watch and compass; my observations made among the Bedouins on my way to and from Palmyra, you will find dispersed in my treatise on their manners; and any researches at Palmyra itself, must be superfluous after the excellent and most correct work of Wood and Dawkins. My tour into the country of the Haouran might have been interesting on account of its novelty, were it not for the account which the indefatigable German traveller, Dr. Seetzen, must ere now have published of his travels in these parts. As I have had opportunities of copying, in the Haouran villages, many Greek inscriptions, it will be necessary to tell the reader of my journal that the author’s knowledge of Greek is very superficial. The excursion to Baalbec and over Mount Libanus towards the lake Houle, was undertaken rather to gratify my own curiosity, than in the hope of being able to gather new information in a country so often travelled over by Europeans. The investigation of Bedouin customs was a favourite object of mine, being convinced that their civil institutions are still very imperfectly known in Europe, although their social manners have often been described. In my treatise on Bedouin customs I thought it necessary, frequently, to subjoin the Arabic names, and sometimes, likewise the Bedouin phraseology; because both greatly differ from the Syrian language. If I had been in possession of some books descriptive of Arab manners before Mohammed, such as Pococke, Schultens, &c. I might have rendered my inquiries among the Arabs more useful, and might have drawn some interesting parallels. Not having met with any such works in Syria, I was contented faithfully to note down what I myself saw or what I heard related by competent witnesses.

Since the late change in the government of Damascus, Syria enjoys perfect tranquillity, the whole of the country, excepting only the territory of Aleppo, being now in the hands of Soleiman Pasha of Damascus. It is said, that he is determined to set out next winter with the Hadj, but I very much doubt whether he will be able to make good this promise to the Porte. The Wahabi chief has been for some time past embarrased by domestic dissensions. Three of his sons have become rebels; in December last they plundered a part of their father’s treasures at Derayeh, while the latter was sacrificing upon Mount Arafat near Mekka, and they have now retired to the city of El Hassa, near the Persian gulf, where Ibn Saoud is preparing to besiege them. At Aleppo the power is still in the hands of the rebellious Janissaries. A few hundred of them set out last summer to join the grand Vizier’s army before Adrianople, but they returned at the approach of winter; these are the only troops which the Sultan has been able to draw from Syria.

The most untoward circumstances have prevented until now my long projected excursion into the desert towards the Euphrates. Since my last, I have been continually endeavouring to find means to re-enter the desert, with some degree of security, but the state of the country has always thrown insurmountable obstacles in my way. The neighbourhood of Aleppo has been infested since spring, until about a month ago, by great numbers of Aenezy Arabs, who had declared war against the towns people as well as against the Manali Arabs, who are looked upon as the hereditary friends of the Aleppo government. The Aenezy have ruined about forty villages, have eaten up the whole harvest of the open country, and have rendered the roads so insecure that nobody dares travel but in the company of a large caravan. I repeatedly tried to take some of the Aenezy for my guides, and had chosen one from each of the principal tribes who surrounded Aleppo, as the only means left to me to execute my design; but the exorbitant demands of these people greatly exceeded my powers, and I was moreover informed that the Aenezy had declared war upon the Arabs of the Zor, or valley of Euphrates, which was exactly the country I wished to visit; I was therefore obliged to wait till the Aenezy should have retired from this neighbourhood. It is now about a month since they returned into the interior of the desert, to meet the autumnal rains; and I am now on the point of setting out. A caravan arrived here a few days ago from Sokhne, a village in the desert, five days journey from hence on the Bagdad route. The people of that village, together with the inhabitants of Tedmor or Palmyra, bring to Aleppo once or twice every year alcali, which they collect in the desert. The day after tomorrow the caravan is to return to Sokhne, and I intend to proceed with it in order to visit from thence Deir, the ancient Thapsacus, and several ruined places which I have heard much spoken of. I intend to return if possible along the shores of the Euphrates, although I am afraid that the eternal quarrels of the Arabs of the Zor may put many obstacles in my stay. The Shikh of Sokhne, to whom I am strongly recommended, and to whom I carry some small presents, is a powerful man in those parts, and will certainly take care of my safe return to Aleppo; I shall then only remain as long in Aleppo as will be necessary to copy my Journal and put it in order, and proceed to Damascus, to trace my way from thence into Egypt round the Dead Sea. My present tour will take up about seven or eight weeks.

My time at Aleppo has been exclusively taken up in endeavours to enlarge my knowledge of Arabic. I have completed the perusal of several of the best Arabic authors, prosaic writers as well as poets; I have read over the Koran twice, and have got by heart several of its chapters and many of its sentences; I am likewise nearly finishing a thorough course of the precepts of the Mohammedan religion, a learned Effendi having taken upon himself the task of explaining to me the book of Ibrahim Halebi on the religious laws of the Turks. This is the book upon which D’Ohsson has grounded his excellent work.

There is no kind of political news in these parts. It is a long time since we have heard of the Wahabi. Aleppo continues in the hands of the Janissaries, but it is said that Gharib Pasha, whom the Porte has lately named Pasha of Aleppo, is collecting in Anatolia a considerable force to subdue these rebels. Damascus, Tripoli, and Acre, are completely under the dominion of Soleiman Pasha, but it is known that Mohammed Aly, Pasha of Egypt, spares neither intrigues nor money to dispossess Soleiman at least of one of his Pashaliks. The pilgrimage from Damascus to Mecca is again put off for another year. There is a great scarcity all over Syria; wheat has risen to an exorbitant price, and the two last years having been remarkably dry, almost every kind of vegetable has failed. The same quantity of wheat which at the time of my arrival at Aleppo sold for six piastres and a half, is now worth twenty-seven. Such scarcity makes travelling much less pleasant, and the natives much less inclined to forward the stranger’s purposes.

The last, which I had the honour to address you, was from Aleppo. It was accompanied by a large chest of Arabic manuscripts. Incessant rains delayed my departure from Aleppo, until the 14th of February. I arrived on the 3d of March at Tripoli, and on the 22d at Damascus. Being very desirous of visiting the Haouran once more before I should leave Syria, in order to examine those parts which I had not been able to see during my first tour through that country, I set out with this object, as soon as I was satisfied of the tranquil state of the Pashalik. I left this city on the 21st April, and returned to it on the 9th May. One of the packets of papers herewith inclosed contains my notes on this journey through the Haouran, and part of the ancient Decapolis; the second consists of my observations during the previous journey from Aleppo to Damascus. The third paper contains corrections and annotations to the description of Bedouin manners, which I hope has long since reached you.

I intend to set out from hence in a few days. It is my wish to proceed along the eastern borders of the Dead Sea into Arabia Petræa, to visit there if possible, some unknown districts, and to make my way from thence straight to Cairo.

Although my arrival in Egypt will thus be still further delayed, I trust that the Committee will not be displeased at this delay. The countries I have seen, and am now about to visit, are of difficult access, and not without interest to literature; and without going to great expense, or knowing the language and manners of the country, European travellers cannot expect to be able to explore them. Thinking myself in some measure qualified for the journey, I perform it, as a general would take possession of any strong post on his way, even without any express commands to that purpose. Such, indeed, have been my only motives for undertaking these journies, which are sufficiently laborious and hazardous, not to be mistaken for tours of pleasure. That which I am now entering upon is certainly subjected to almost as many difficulties as any African travels can be. In performing it, I hope to complete my preliminary exercises, and at the same time to obtain some information upon the geography of an unknown region. The Committee will decide whether I do right or wrong. Their disapproval indeed would far outweigh any satisfaction I may derive from the success of the journey.

I cannot quit Syria without repeating that the kind services and most friendly treatment of Mr. Barker, the British Consul at Aleppo, have put me under everlasting obligations to him. He is a most worthy man and of very superior talents. Being at present the only Englishman established in these countries, the important care of the English interests in Syria is exclusively confided to him; and the reputation which he has acquired in every part of the country by his prudent and generous conduct proves him fully equal to the charge.

Syria still enjoys perfect tranquillity, although the governors of the country are continually changing. A new Pasha has been named for Aleppo, who is at present intriguing there to get the better of the Janissaries. The day before my arrival at this place, the news had reached the town of the dismissal of Suleiman Pasha from the Pashalik of Damascus; but he has been permitted to keep his seat at Acre. There are some reports, of its being the intention of Mohammed Aly Pasha to invade Syria. His ill success against the Wahabi may have hitherto prevented him, but if he lives, and is successful in Arabia, he may still execute his designs, for he is a man of vast ambition, and great energy of character.

There is no news from the desert; the Wahabi, being fully occupied in opposing the forces of Mohammed Aly, have been obliged to give up for the present their plundering expeditions against Syria. The hopes of re-establishing the pilgrim caravan to Mekka is entertained only by those fanatic Turks, who, from the discontinuance of it, prognosticate the fall of the empire. The important English coffee trade, opened within the last twelve months, between Malta and the Levant, considerably lessens the desire of the Hadj in the minds of all those who were in the habit of performing the pilgrimage merely in order to buy up Mocha coffee at Mekka, which they sold with great profits at Damascus, Aleppo, and Constantinople. The greater half of the pilgrims were merchants of coffee and India goods. At present American coffee has entirely supplanted that of Yemen all over Syria and the Syrian desert.

7th of June. I have tarried so long at Damascus principally in order to get a letter of recommendation for Kerek, from a Damascene, who was out of town. Kerek is a considerable village to the east of the Dead Sea, where I shall probably stay a few days, for it is from thence that I must look for a conveyance to Suez. I hope to be at Cairo about the 20th of July.

I hasten to announce to you my arrival at Cairo. The last letter I had the honour of addressing to you was from Damascus, of the 30th of May; I did not leave that city until the 18th of June, and arrived here on the 9th of September, in perfect health, but considerably worn by the fatigues of the road and the intense heat of the season. The following is a short sketch of my journey, the further details of which I shall transmit to you in a short time.

My first station from Damascus was Saffad, (Japhet) a few hours distant from Djessr Beni Yakoub, a bridge over the Jordan to the south of the lake Samachonitis. From thence I descended to the shore of the Lake of Tabarya (Tiberias), visited Tabarya, and its neighbouring districts, ascended Mount Tabor, and tarried a few days at Nazareth. I met here a couple of petty merchants from Szalt, a castle in the mountains of Balka, which I had not been able to see during my late tour, and which lies on the road I had pointed out to myself for passing into the Egyptian deserts. I joined their caravan; after eight hours march, we descended into the valley of the Jordan, called El Ghor, near Bysan (Scythopolis); crossed the river, and continued along its verdant banks for about ten hours, until we reached the river Zerka (Jabbok), near the place where it empties itself into the Jordan. Turning then to our left, we ascended the eastern chain, formerly part of the district of Balka, and arrived at Szalt, two long days journey from Nazareth. The inhabitants of Szalt are entirely independent of the Turkish government; they cultivate the ground for a considerable distance round their habitations, and part of them live the whole year round in tents, to watch their harvest and to pasture their cattle. Many ruined places and mountains in the district of Balka preserve the names of the Old Testament, and elucidate the topography of the provinces that fell to the share of the tribes of Gad and Reuben. Szalt is at present the only inhabited place in the Balka, but numerous Arab tribes pasture there their camels and sheep. I visited from thence the ruins of Aman or Philadelphia, five hours and a half distant from Szalt. They are situated in a valley on both sides of a rivulet, which empties itself into the Zerka. A large ampitheatre is the most remarkable of these ruins, which are much decayed, and in every respect inferior to those of Djerash. At four or five hours south-east of Aman, are the ruins of Om Erresas and El Kotif, which I could not see, but which, according to report, are more considerable than those of Philadelphia. The want of communication between Szalt and the southern countries delayed my departure for upwards of a week; I found at last a guide, and we reached Kerek in two days and a half, after having passed the deep beds of the torrents El Wale and El Modjeb, which I suppose to be the Nahaliel and Arnon. The Modjeb divides the district of Balka from that of Kerek, as it formerly divided the Moabites from the Amorites. The ruins of Eleale, Hesebon, Meon, Medaba, Dibon, Arver, all situated on the north side of the Arnon, still subsist to illustrate the history of the Beni Israel. To the south of the wild torrent Modjeb I found the considerable ruins of Rabbat Moab, and, three hours distant from them, the town of Kerek, situated at about twelve hours distance to the east of the southern extremity of the Dead Sea. Kerek is an important position, and its chief is a leading character in the affairs of the deserts of southern Syria; he commands about 1200 match-locks, which are the terror of the neighbouring Arab tribes. About 200 families of Greek Christians, of whom one third have entirely embraced the nomade life, live here distinguished only from their Arab brethren by the sign of the cross. The treachery of the Shikh of Kerek, to whom I had been particularly recommended by a grandee of Damascus, obliged me to stay at Kerek above twenty days. After having annoyed me in different ways, he permitted me to accompany him southward, as he had himself business in the mountains of Djebal, a district which is divided from that of Kerek by the deep bed of the torrent El Ansa or El Kahary, eight hours distant from Kerek. We remained for ten days in the villages to the north and south of El Ansa, which are inhabited by Arabs, who have become cultivators, and who sell the produce of their fields to the Bedouins. The Shikh having finished his business, left me at Beszeyra, a village about sixteen hours south of Kerek, to shift for myself, after having maliciously recommended me to the care of a Bedouin, with whose character he must have been acquainted, and who nearly stripped me of the remainder of my money. I encountered here many difficulties, was obliged to walk from one encampment to another, until I found at last a Bedouin, who engaged to carry me to Egypt. In his company I continued southward, in the mountains of Shera, which are divided from the north of Djebal by the broad valley called Ghoseyr, at about five hours distance from Beszeyra. The chief place in Djebal is Tafyle, and in Shera the castle of Shobak. This chain of mountains is a continuation of the eastern Syrian chain, which begins with the Anti-Libanus, joins the Djebel el Shikh, forms the valley of Ghor, and borders the Dead Sea. The valley of Ghor is continued to the south of the Dead Sea; at about sixteen hours distance from the extremity of the Dead Sea, its name is changed into that of Araba, and it runs in almost a straight line, declining somewhat to the west, as far as Akaba, at the extremity of the eastern branch of the Red Sea. The existence of this valley appears to have been unknown to ancient as well as modern geographers, although it is a very remarkable feature in the geography of Syria, and Arabia Petræa, and is still more interesting for its productions. In this valley the manna is still found; it drops from the sprigs of several trees, but principally from the Gharrab; it is collected by the Arabs, who make cakes of it, and who eat it with butter; they call it Assal Beyrouk, or the honey of Beyrouk. Indigo, gum arabic, the silk tree called Asheyr, whose fruit encloses a white silky substance, of which the Arabs twist their matches, grow in this valley. It is inhabited near the Dead Sea in summer-time by a few Bedouin peasants only, but during the winter months it becomes the meeting place of upwards of a dozen powerful Arab tribes. It is probable that the trade between Jerusalem and the Red Sea was carried on through this valley. The caravan, loaded at Eziongeber with the treasures of Ophir, might, after a march of six or seven days, deposit its loads in the warehouses of Solomon. This valley deserves to be thoroughly known; its examination will lead to many interesting discoveries and would be one of the most important objects of a Palestine traveller. At the distance of a two long days journey north-east from Akaba, is a rivulet and valley in the Djebel Shera, on the east side of the Araba, called Wady Mousa. This place is very interesting for its antiquities and the remains of an ancient city, which I conjecture to be Petra, the capital of Arabia Petræa, a place which, as far as I know, no European traveller has ever visited. In the red sand stone of which the valley is composed, are upwards of two hundred and fifty sepulchres entirely cut out of the rock, the greater part of them with Grecian ornaments. There is a mausoleum in the shape of a temple, of colossal dimensions, likewise cut out of the rock, with all its apartments, its vestibule, peristyle, &c. It is a most beautiful specimen of Grecian architecture, and in perfect preservation. There are other mausolea with obelisks, apparently in the Egyptian style, a whole amphitheatre cut out of the rock with the remains of a palace and of several temples. Upon the summit of the mountain which closes the narrow valley on its western side, is the tomb of Haroun (Aaron, brother of Moses). It is held in great veneration by the Arabs. (If I recollect right, there is a passage in Eusebius, in which he says that the tomb of Aaron was situated near Petra) The information of Pliny and Strabo upon the site of Petra, agree with the position of Wady Mousa. I regretted most sensibly that I was not in circumstances that admitted of my observing these antiquities in all their details, but it was necessary for my safety not to inspire the Arabs with suspicions that might probably have impeded the progress of my journey, for I was an unprotected stranger, known to be a townsman, and thus an object of constant curiosity to the Bedouins, who watched all my steps in order to know why I had preferred that road to Egypt, to the shorter one along the Mediterranean coast. It was the intention of my guide to conduct me to Akaba, where we might hope to meet with some caravan for Egypt. On our way to Akaba we were however informed that a few Arabs were preparing to cross the desert direct to Cairo, and I preferred that route, because I had reason to apprehend some disagreeable adventures at Akaba, where the Pasha of Egypt keeps a garrison to watch the Wahabi. His officers I knew to be extremely jealous of Arabian as well as Syrian strangers, and I had nothing with me by which I might have proved the nature of my business in these remote districts, nor even my Frank origin. We therefore joined the caravan of Arabs Allowein, who were carrying a few camels to the Cairo market. We crossed the valley of Araba, ascended on the other side of it the barren mountains of Beyane, and entered the desert called El Ty, which is the most barren and horrid tract of country I have ever seen; black flints cover the chalky or sandy ground, which in most places is without any vegetation. The tree which produces the gum arabic grows in some spots: and the tamarisk is met with here and there, but the scarcity of water forbids much extent of vegetation, and the hungry camels are obliged to go in the evening for whole hours out of the road in order to find some withered shrubs upon which to feed. During ten days forced marches, we passed only four springs or wells, of which one only, at about eight hours east of Suez, was of sweet water. The others were brackish and sulphureous. We passed at a short distance to the north of Suez, and arrived at Cairo by the pilgrim road.

The first employment of Mr. Burckhardt upon his arrival at Cairo, was to draw up a detailed account of his journey from Damascus, which he soon afterwards transmitted to the Association.

There happened at the moment of his arrival, to be a small caravan on the point of returning from Cairo, into some of the northern countries of the Great Desert. This was precisely the route in which it was intended that Mr. Burckhardt should commence his travels, towards the countries of the Niger: the Committee nevertheless perfectly approved of the determination of their traveller, not to risk his own hopes and those of the Association upon such a precarious prospect of success, as this caravan would have afforded. Unless an opportunity offered in every respect favourable, it was not desired that he should enter upon his undertaking, until a residence of several months in Egypt had made him familiar with a dialect and with a system of manners, and of policy differing considerably from those to which he had been accustomed in Syria. It was far from the wish of the Committee, that he should leap over such an important step in that preparatory course of experience which had been thought advisable for him; and nothing was more to be avoided than the hazarding of his personal safety, together with that of the success of his mission, by the irretrievable imprudence of an ill prepared and hasty departure from Egypt.

His own sentiments upon this subject are conveyed to the Secretary of the Association in a letter from Cairo, which announces also his intention of undertaking a journey into Nubia. Of this letter the following is an extract.

There will be no opportunity of proceding into Africa by the road to Fezzan, before next year. A small caravan of Twatees from Augila was at Cairo at the moment of my arrival, and left it three weeks afterwards; but it would not have been advisable for me to have made any attempt to accompany it. I should hardly have had time to prepare for setting out with them; I knew no body to whom to address myself for introduction to the caravan; I had no funds to equip myself; and I was as yet too little acquainted with the Egyptian and African world to suppose that I should be able to take my measures in such a way as to remain undiscovered. I am moreover extremely averse to any hasty steps; they are the ruin of the traveller’s health as well as of his plans; and a hasty proceeding it would have been to set out upon such a journey, without having recovered from the fatigues of the former one, and without being in the least acquainted with the people, to whom I was to have intrusted my fortunes.

The delay thus occasioned in my Fezzan expedition, I shall endeavour to make profitable to African geography, in another quarter. I mean to set out next month, by land, for Upper Egypt, as soon as the state of the Nile renders the voyage practicable. I shall push on beyond the first cataract, and follow the course of the river by the second and third cataract, towards Dóngola. That country, farther up than Derr, has never been visited by any travellers; yet I am informed by many of the natives, that the borders of the river are full of ancient temples and other antiquities; resembling those of Luxor, and the Isle of Philæ. The present tranquil state of Egypt renders such a voyage of much less danger than it might have been during the whole of the last century; for the Pasha is completely master of the country, and is in friendly intercourse with the princes of Nubia. Were it not for the Mamlouks who have settled at Dóngola, and taken possession of the country, I might hope to reach that point. But I shall not expose myself to their treachery, and shall be contented with approaching to within a journey of five or six days from Dóngola, and with making perhaps some lateral excursions into the Nubian desert. This journey will, I hope, make me acquainted with the character of the Negroe nations, and of those who traffic for slaves, and will thus facilitate my travels in the interior of the continent. It will take me about five months to perform this tour. The Fezzan caravan is not expected to arrive till June next, I shall therefore be in full time to join it after my return to Cairo.

The first part of the intended journey, which Mr. Burckhardt here announces, was performed to the exact amount of his expectations, but his “lateral excursion into the Nubian desert” was much more extensive than his most sanguine hopes had anticipated, for he succeeded in penetrating to the banks of the Astaboras; and from thence crossed the desert to Souakin on the shore of the Red Sea. This and the former journey along the Nile towards Dóngola, were the only travels in the unexplored regions of the interior of Africa, which he was destined to accomplish, but they led to a tour in Arabia, which was productive of information not less interesting, and scarcely less original than that which he collected in his Nubian journeys.

No less than two years and an half were spent in these travels, and in a long residence in Upper Egypt, during the interval which occurred between his two Nubian journeys; but no opportunity of forwarding the main object, of penetrating into the interior of Africa in the intended direction, was lost by the delay, as no caravan departed from Egypt to the westward during the whole period of his absence from Cairo.

As Mr. Burckhardt’s description of his two journeys to Nubia forms the subject of the present volume, it will be unnecessary to detain the reader with the outline or abridgement of them, which his letters contained: it will be sufficient to insert a few extracts from those letters, for the sake of connecting the several occurrences of his travels in their order of time.

The first letter which the Association received from their traveller; after his departure from Cairo, was dated from Esne, in Upper Egypt, soon after his return from his first journey into Nubia.

I am returned to this place from a journey up the Nile, which has carried me into the vicinity of Dóngola. In my last letter from Cairo, I informed you of my projects relative to this excursion, and I am now happy to say, that I have succeeded almost to the full extent of my wishes. I left Cairo on the 11th of January, accompanied by a trusty servant, a native of Siout. We were both mounted upon asses which, besides our persons, carried the little baggage I thought necessary to take with me. I was furnished with the strongest letters of recommendation to all the governors of Upper Egypt, besides which, Mohammed Aly Pasha had given me a private letter of introduction to his son Ibrahim Beg, who commands in Upper Egypt. I was, however, so lucky as never to have occasion to make use of these letters; nothing unpleasant occurred to me during my route through Egypt, and when such is the case it is always better to keep clear of Turkish governors. The canals of Egypt were dried up; I therefore prosecuted my journey without any difficulty along the Nile’s western bank, sometimes crossing over to the opposite side; and I arrived after twelve days at Siout, having seen on my way the southern pyramids, and the antiquities of Beni Hassan, Shikh Abade and Aslimouneyn. It had been my intention to make from Siout an excursion into the Great Oasis, which is not thoroughly known yet. Several circumstances impeded my project; I should however have persisted had I not been informed that the Siwah people are continually visiting the Oasis, and I should not like to be afterwards recognised by them on my way to Fezzan. I remained ten days at Siout, and continued then my journey southwards; visiting on my way Gaou, Akhmym, Farshiout, Dendera, Kenne, and Goft; and after four days stay at the different villages, situated within the precincts of Thebes, I arrived at Esne sixteen days after having left Siout. Esne is the last place of note in Upper Egypt, it was therefore here that I. was to make the necessary preparation[n]s for my journey into Nubia. * * * * * * * I arrived at Assouan on the 22nd of February. The Aga of Assouan procured me a guide up to Derr, the chief place in Nubia. * * * * * * * It took me four days and an half to reach Derr, which is about one hundred and forty miles distant from Assouan. About fifty miles below that place I fell in with two English gentlemen, Messrs. Legh and Smelt, who had been up to Ibrim and were returning to Assouan, on board a small ship they had hired there. I had already had the pleasure of seeing them at Cairo and at Siout. * * * * * * * After three days journey from Ibrim (which is only five hours distant from Derr), I reached the second cataract at Wady Haifa. From thence in three days more Sukkot, in travelling along the mountainous district called Batn el Hadjar. * * * * * * * I passed the large island called Say, and from thence, at the end of two days more, arrived at Tinareh, a small castle, the chief place in the country of Mahass, which I calculate to be at four hundred and thirty or four hundred and fifty miles above Assollan. (The above mentioned distances are dromedary’s days of thirty miles each.) From Tinareh to the northern limits of Dóngola are two and a half days journey. * * * * * * * I returned by the same way to Sukkot, swam here my camels across the river, in order to see the western bank, which I continued to follow until I again crossed to the eastern bank, a few miles above Philæ.

I returned to Assouan on the 31st of March, seventeen days after my departure from Tinareh, and thirty-five days after my setting out from Assouan; during which time I had only allowed myself a single half day’s rest at Derr. So far my personal story through Nubia. The enclosed journal contains my observations during the journey; I must solicit your indulgence for the rude manner in which it is written. It is certainly not as I wish it to be, nor as it should have been, had I been at my leisure and ease. It has been written in a miserable court-yard, on the side of my camel, under the influence of the hot Kamsin winds, which now reign in Upper Egypt. I have suffered also from a strong inflammation in my left eye, which has become still worse by writing, and which makes writing painful to me.

I have been now for these last three weeks at Esne, waiting for the departure of a Sennaar caravan, which is to set out in a few days from Daraou, about sixty miles south of this place, whither I shall without delay proceed. For I have conceived the project of making a journey on that side of Africa, before I begin my western tour. I wish to visit the shores of the Astapus or Astaboras, on my way from Gous towards Massuah; which harbour I should thus reach by a northern road, different from that of Bruce. The road from Egypt to Gous is perfectly safe. I am well recommended to the people in power at Gous and Damer; from whence there is a practicable road eastward into Abyssinia. It is not my intention to make any stay in Abyssinia whatever; not holding myself at all qualified for travels in those parts; but up to the frontiers of Abyssinia Arabic is spoken, and wherever that is the case I hope to be able to penetrate with some advantage to science. From Massuah I shall proceed to Djidda, or to Mokka, and return without delay, by land, along the eastern shore of the Red Sea, to Cairo. I hope to be in Cairo again in ten months. If I supposed that this journey presented great risks I should not undertake it; for I wish to expose myself to hazards only on the western side of Africa, but there is only a distance of twenty days (from Gous to Massuah), which presents any difficulties; of these twenty days, fourteen (from Gous to Taka) are by caravan routes; there remain six days from Taka to Massuah, where it will be necessary to join the Bedouins, in order to have any security on the road. Travelling in Arabia, few parts excepted, is as safe as travelling in Egypt; and it will not be less so to me, as I shall have recommendations to all the officers of Mohammed Aly who garrison the cities of the Hedjaz, since the complete defeat of the Wahabis, who have retired to their native seats in the Nedjed. I repeat to you that I look with confidence upon the success of my projected journey. As to health, I am in the perfect enjoyment of it, my eye excepted, which I hope will be cured by the pure air of the desert. According to the directions I have given I hope to find money supplies either at Mokka or at Djidda. I proceed from hence, as a Derwish, having nothing with me but a camel, some provisions, and about four guineas in sequins, hidden in my woollen cloak. This will carry me, I hope, as far as Massuah, where, in case of need, a free passage is easily obtained from the charity of the Turkish merchants.

I cannot help feeling some apprehensions lest this project should not meet with the entire approbation of the Committee: as it will defer again for a twelvemonth my grand journey. As for myself, as long as I have any vigour of mind and body left, I shall look upon time as a very secondary consideration, and subservient only to objects of science; and I am indifferent to what extent my absence from Europe is prolonged, provided my final object of visiting as much of the unknown countries of Soudan as I possibly can, is obtained. If I am not to be tired with respect to time it is hardly to be supposed that my employers should; but other considerations may certainly make them desire a more prompt conclusion of my journey. And for this reason I am extremely anxious to know what opinion they entertain of my conduct.

Postscript, dated from Siout in Upper Egypt, 12th of July, 1813.

I am sorry to say that I have not been able to set out with the Sennaar caravan as soon as I expected. A small caravan, coming from the south, arrived at Daraou at the end of May. The merchants had been stripped on the road by the chief of Mograt, through whose territory they are obliged to pass. That chief had espoused the cause of the Mamelouks, and declared war against the Egyptian slave-traders. The party of the latter, with whom I intended to set out from Daraou, where they had already assembled, were now afraid to proceed on their journey in small numbers, and they put off their departure, until they might be joined by several other parties, in order to form a large caravan, capable of fighting its way through, if the robber of Mograt should attack them. I profited by the interval to return to Siout, from whence I sent a messenger to Cairo, for my purse was almost exhausted.

I shall write to you once more before I set out from hence, which I hope will be in three weeks. If the departure and arrival of the caravans, were as well regulated in Africa, as they are in Syria, this vast continent would soon be explored. But the difficulties and delays are great, and can only be overcome by patience.

The plague is said to have ceased at Cairo, but it still continues in some parts of Lower Egypt, after having almost depopulated Alexandria and Damietta. It had reached a village only two hours distant from here, but made no farther progress. But great fears are entertained that it will increase and spread next winter, over the whole country, which is generally the case whenever it has not completely subsided towards the end of June.

Extract of a letter from Esne, October 14th, 1813.

The great Djelabe traders from Sennaar who have just arrived here, have at length put an end to the impediment caused by the chief of Mograt, by killing him and his principal men in his own house at Mograt. But another difficulty has occurred. There is a great scarcity of provisions in the Nile countries, from Gous up to Sennaar, occasioned by the locusts, who devoured entirely the last winter crops. The envoys sent last year by Mohammed Aly, to the King of Sennaar, who have returned with the late caravans, describe the state of the inhabitants as most deplorable; they kill each other for a measure of Dhourra, and neither law nor government is any more attended to. Under such circumstances the caravans assembled at Daraou, in the neighbourhood of Assouan, have not thought proper to leave Egypt, where every kind of provision is at the lowest price. They have wisely resolved to defer their departure until the new Dhourra grain should have been reaped in the southern countries, when as the inundation of the Nile has been very copious this year, plenty will have returned to those districts. I shall thus start in their company in about three weeks from this time, and have little doubt, provided I remain in good health, that I shall reach Massuah in safety, by taking my road straight across the mountains from Damer towards Massuah.

From Massuah I mean to cross over to the Arabian coast, and to return to Cairo by the Hedjaz; I hope the Committee of the African Association will not object to this extension of my travels. I keep my ultimate object well in view, and after my return to Cairo, I shall be ready to put it in execution. But I think that the discovery of the interior parts of Nubia is well worth a year’s labour and the expense attending it. My journey through Arabia may probably qualify me better than any thing else, to future perilous travels in the Mohammedan world, nor will it, I hope, be devoid of some advantages to science.

I have collected some information on the interior parts of Africa, from the Soudan pilgrims, of whom I have seen great numbers in Upper Egypt. But I wish to improve upon it, before I transmit it to the Association. These pilgrims go here by the name of Tekayrne (sing. Tekroury, from the verb تكرر:meaning to renew, improve and purify, that is to say, their faith and learning by the pilgrimage. It is probably from this name of Tekroury, that the Arabian geographers have placed a country called Tekrour, between Timbuctou and Kashna; none of these travellers knew of any such country) Such of them as are most distinguished for skill in writing and reading, style themselves “Fokara,” (from فقير::poor man, i. e. before the Lord) which name is given in Upper Egypt to the whole class of learned men. Most of the Tekayrne come from Darfour; some from Bornou and the country of Wady el Ghazal, between Bornou and Darfour; others from Bagherme and Borgho. I have not met with a single man from Wangara, nor could I ever find any whose native country was west of Wangara. The road they take is from Darfour to Kordofan and Sennaar, from whence they follow the course of the Nile through Dóngola and Nubia, to Egypt. Those only who can afford to buy camels and provisions, cross the desert from the Nile to Souakin, the others live upon alms, and upon the selling of amulets. I understand that there is a still more frequented pilgrim road from Sennaar through Abyssinia to Massuah.

Upper Egypt enjoys at present perfect tranquillity, under the severe but equitable government of Ibrahim Pasha, son of Mohammed Aly. The taxes are moderate and the whole country is equally assessed; no avanies are practised, and the soldiery is kept in strict order. By secularizing a part of the revenues of the church, such as the superfluous income of mosques, schools, public cisterns, Olemas, village Shikhs, &c. the Pasha has of late considerably enriched his treasury. The clerical interest is of course now in opposition, although the Pasha has become the restorer of the faith, by delivering the holy cities. The Mamelouks have no chance of succeeding in any attempt upon Egypt, as long as Mohammed Aly keeps in power; but if he should happen to fall, I conceive that although their number is now reduced to three hundred fighting men only, they would forthwith regain their lost seat in Egypt, where their friends are still very numerous, especially among the most daring adventurers, who greatly dislike the just and vigorous measures of the actual government.

P.S. I am in good health, but have gone during the course of the summer and autumn, through two very painful ophthalmic attacks, from the latter of which I have just recovered.

The cause of delay mentioned in the preceding letter continued to operate during the next four months, and it was not until the 2nd of March, 1814, that the caravan finally quitted upper Egypt. During the tedious intervals, which Mr. Burckhardt was under the necessity of passing at Esne, he continued to wear his usual disguise of a poor Mohammedan trader; taking care to be as little known or noticed as possible. Among the jealous, treacherous, and cruel Mussulman nations which he traversed, after leaving Daraou, it was with difficulty that he seized opportunities of continuing the journal of his remarks and proceedings. Still less was it in his power to transmit any intelligence to the Association, until after having arrived in safety at Souakin, a port of considerable traffic on the African coast of the Red Sea, he crossed over from thence to Djidda, in Arabia.

The following extract of a letter from Djidda will put the reader in possession of the general direction of the route, together with the most important heads of information acquired by Mr. Burckhardt in his second Nubian journey. The detailed account of it, which was not transmitted to the Association until the year 1816, forms the subject of the greater part of the present volume.

Extract of a Letter from Mr. Burckhardt to Sir Joseph Banks, dated Djidda, 7th August, 1814.

I left Upper Egypt on the 2nd of March, and crossed the Nubian desert during a journey of twenty three days, slow travelling; nearly in the same route, by which Bruce returned from Abyssinia, fifty years ago. Our caravan rejoined the Nile at Berber, in the vicinity of Bruce’s Gooz, and after a fortnight’s stay among the Arabs Meyrifab, and as much at Damer (two days south of Berber), we reached Shendy, which is at present the principal market for the slave-traders, from Egypt, Darfour, Kordofan, and Sennaar.

Its King is tributary to the King of Sennaar, as are likewise all the petty rulers down the river as far as Dongola; it would have been easy for me to proceed to Sennaar, nine days journey distant from Shendy, and from thence into Abyssinia, following Bruce’s track. But I wished to visit unknown districts, and I was convinced, from what I had already experienced, that a tour through those countries would be attended with expenses, which I was little able to bear. When I left Egypt, I had only sixty dollars, and an ass to carry me; not having thought proper to lose the opportunity of the caravan, for the sake of the supply of money which I expected from Cairo. Twenty-five dollars were spent in the way to Shendy. I was thus much straitened, and I had scarcely enough left to buy a slave, a camel, and the necessary provisions for my journey to the Red Sea. From Shendy I proceeded towards the river Atbara (Astaboras), whose fertile banks are cultivated by the Arabs Bisharein. I followed that river in a S.S.E. direction for about one hundred and twenty miles as far as Goz-Radjeb, a place under the dominion of Sennaar, five days journey distant from it. The course of the Astaboras, as well as that of the Astapus (now called Mogren), is very erroneously laid down upon the maps. From Goz I reached the country of Taka, a low ground of four or five days journey in length; and two days in breadth, which is regularly inundated by torrents, rushing down from the Abyssinian mountains; and which produces a rich crop of Dhourra. I had hoped to cross the mountains from hence to Massuah, on the Abyssinian sea coast; but I found, notwithstanding the information given to me at Shendy, that there is no commercial intercourse between the two places. The infamous treachery of the Arabs Hadendoa, Melykenab, and Hallenga, who inhabit Taka and the southern mountains, renders it impossible to proceed alone, with any baggage of the smallest value, and the total want of hospitality among all the Arabs of these parts forbids any attempt to travel as a Derwish or beggar. After a ten days stay amongst the Arabs Hadendoa, I left Taka for Souakin, which place draws its whole supply of corn from Taka. The rains began to set in; a high chain of mountains, midway between Taka and Souakin, divides the climate; to the south of this chain, we had every night heavy showers, to the north, the season of the hot winds had begun, and, the rains were not expected until September. Thirteen days from Taka we reached Souakin. The Turkish governor of that place was going to seize me, supposing me to belong to the Mamelouks of Dóngola; fortunately I had an old Firman of the Pasha of Egypt with me, the producing of which saved me from prison, and procured me a free passage on board a country boat to Djidda, where I arrived in good health on the 20th of July.

It is now my intention to visit the principal places of the Hedjaz, to perform the Hadj, or pilgrimage to Mekka, and then to return to Cairo by land. I shall send to England the journal of my late tour, together with that of the Hedjaz, after my return to Cairo, not being at present at liberty to write much.

The Pasha of Egypt is in possession of all the principal towns of the Hedjaz, but whenever he has endeavoured to push on into the interior, he has constantly been defeated by the Wahabi Arabs, amongst whom a female chief, called Ghalye, whose residence is in Taraba, eight days journey S.E. of Mekka, has particularly distinguished herself. The chances however seem at present to be greatly in favour of the Pasha. Saoud, the Wahabi chief, died three months ago of illness; His son Abdallah, and his brother of the same name, have been fighting for the succession, and have both been killed in the civil war. The treasure of Saoud is now in possession of the younger sons of Saoud, who are besieged at Derayeh, the capital of Nedjed, by other branches of their family, and several great Arab Shikhs. Many powerful Wahabi chiefs have come over to the Pasha, who has thus been led to undertake an expedition against Derayeh, and the Nedjed itself. At the moment I am writing, Tousoun Pasha, the son of Mohammed Aly, is proceeding from hence to Medina, in order to command the expedition which will take place as soon as the rains have set in, and there is some reason to believe that he will succeed in his project, although it is hardly to be expected that the Turkish troops will be able to keep possession, for any length of time, of those inland countries.

I am under great difficulties for a supply of money, the letter of credit which I brought from Cairo not having been honoured, under the pretext that it was dated eighteen months ago; it must be confessed also that my torn clothes did not speak much in my favour. Disappointed in all my endeavours to sell a bill upon Cairo, I have addressed myself to the Pasha, Mohammed Aly himself, who is now at Tayf, five days journey from hence. He knows me well, and when at Cairo had often expressed himself in my favour. If he does not comply with my wishes I shall be obliged to return forthwith to Egypt, without performing the Hadj: which will not take place for three months, for the Hedjaz is not the country where a man can hope to travel gratis. Every thing is enormously dear at all times, and in the time of the pilgrimage the prices are still higher.

P.S. August 9th. I have been so fortunate as to procure a supply of money, by the means of Yahya Effendi, the physician of Tousoun Pasha, a man educated in Europe, and who had known me at Cairo. He received me with singular kindness, and as he was departing with the Pasha for Medina, he was anxious to see me furnished with money before he set out. The answer from Mohammed Aly has not yet arrived.

Nearly a year elapsed before the Association received any further advices from their traveller, his next letter being dated from Cairo, upon his arrival in Egypt from Arabia. As the unfortunate state of his health prevented him, upon this occasion, from entering into any particulars of his Arabian journey, it is right to inform the reader, that in the following year he transmitted to the Association the most accurate and complete account of the Hedjaz, including the cities of Mekka, and Medina, which has ever been received in Europe. His knowledge of the Arabic language and of Mohammedan manners had now enabled him to assume the Mussulman character with such success, that he resided at Mekka, during the whole time of the pilgrimage, and passed through the various ceremonies of the occasion, without the smallest suspicion having arisen as to his real character. Upon one occasion, when the Pasha of Egypt, Mohammed Aly, then holding his head quarters at Tayf, to the eastward of Mekka, and who was not altogether ignorant of Burckhardt’s connexion with England, thought proper to put his qualifications as a Mussulman to the test, by directing the two most learned professors of the law, then in Arabia, to examine him upon his knowledge of the Koran, and of the practical as well as doctrinal precepts of their faith, the result was a complete conviction upon the minds of his hearers, or at least of his two examiners, of his being not only a true but a very learned Mussulman. It was his firm conviction, that the title of Hadji, which his pilgrimage gave him the right to assume, would be of the greatest use to him in his future travels in the interior of Africa. Important however as were the experience and information acquired by his journey in Arabia they were too dearly purchased; for there can be little doubt, that his constitution never recovered from the effects of that fatal climate, which has always proved pernicious to Europeans. The severe attacks of fever and dysentery, which he suffered in Arabia, appear to have been the ultimate cause of the fatal termination of the disorder which, two years afterwards, in closing at once his labours and his existence, destroyed the best founded hopes of success, in exploring the unknown regions of Africa, which the Association had ever formed.

The following is an extract of the letter from Cairo, already alluded to. It was dated the 25th June, 1815, and addressed to Sir Joseph Banks.

A long interval has elapsed since I gave you in my letter of August 1814, the news of my happy arrival at Djidda from my Nubian journey. The difficulty of correspondence between the Hedjaz and Egypt, arising from the jealous policy of the newly established Turkish government, is one of the reasons which have prevented me from sending you any account of the journey, which I have just accomplished. Another is, I am sorry to say, repeated and long continued attacks of illness. It is now eight days since I am returned to this city, in a weak state of health, still suffering from the effects of a fever which detained me three months at Medina, and had nearly put a stop to all further travels. The receipt of your obliging favour of the 10th September, 1814, and of a letter from Mr. Hamilton, of the 4th June, of the same year, have contributed more than medicines can do to revive my strength, and to exhilarate my spirits. Indeed the assurance which these letters contain, of my former labours having met with the approbation of my employers, has been to me the source of most heartfelt joy, and the encouragement which I have derived from it, has entirely banished from my mind that despondency, which my bodily sufferings had caused.

My physicians will not permit me to write much, I can therefore give you but a short sketch of my travels in the Hedjaz. On my arrival at Djidda in August 1814, I remained there about a month, principally employed in endeavouring to procure a supply of money, a bill I had taken with me from Cairo, upon a person residing there, not having been honoured. Having at last succeeded in obtaining a temporary supply, sufficient until I should receive answers from Egypt, I went to Tayf, five days journeys east of Djidda, where I spent the Ramadhan and met the Pasha of Egypt, Mohammed Aly, who gave me the most polite reception, having already seen me at Cairo. It had been my wish to push on farther into the mountains of the Hedjaz, but the whole country was over-run by parties of hostile Wahabi, and the road itself from Tayf to Kolatsh, eight hours distant, where the Turkish head quarters were, was continually infested by them. I returned therefore from Tayf to Mekka, where I past the months of September, October, and November, and after recovering from a violent attack of dysentery, I performed on the 25th of November, in the company of more than eighty thousand pilgrims, the Hadj to Mount Arafat. In the beginning of January, I set out from Mekka to Medina, a journey of ten or eleven days, mostly through deserts. My project was to remain about three weeks at Medina, and to return from thence over land to Egypt, in the hopes of being able to visit on my road, some ruins at a place called Hedjer, six days north of Medina, where I expected to meet with some specimens of the most ancient Arabian monuments. Six days after my arrival at Medina, I was attacked by a fever which kept me chained to my carpet until April. The state of weakness to which I was then reduced obliged me to give up all attempts to travel by land; fatigue would have brought on a relapse, and I should have perished in some Bedouin hut on the road. As soon as I could support the motion of a camel, I left Medina and descended to the sea coast at Yembo. The plague, an evil hitherto unknown to Arabia, had lately made its appearance here as well as at Djidda, and its ravages soon became so great that all the inhabitants left these towns, and I found Yembo almost deserted; after a stay of fifteen days I embarked on board a country ship, landed at the promontory of Ras Mohammed in the peninsula of Mount Sinai, from whence I reached Tor, where I had a relapse of my fever, which obliged me to remain there near a fortnight. I then took the road of Suez, and arrived at Cairo on the nineteenth of June, after an absence of nearly two years and a half.

I ascribe my bad health in the Hedjaz to the climate and water; the latter, which in these countries is so important an article of diet, is every where brackish and of bad taste, much endangering the health of all strangers.

In a letter to the Secretary of the Association he adds,

Of the prosecution of my travels into the interior of Africa through the Lybian deserts, I shall say nothing at present. Some time will be required to recover my strength and to complete my journals; when these are accomplished there will, I hope, be nothing to prevent me from speedily commencing my final journey, for which I trust that I am now qualified in such a manner as to authorise my entertaining some hopes of success.

It is impossible for me to express the satisfaction I felt at being apprized by you, that my labours had hitherto met with the approbation of the African Association. I hope my employers will not be disappointed in the favourable hopes they have conceived of my future proceedings, and that the sense of gratitude which I entertain for their having so liberally left to my entire disposal a school time of upwards of six years, will be a pledge that I shall use my utmost exertions in the final execution of those projects for which I have been so long preparing myself.

My convalescence goes on slowly; the great heat of the present season does not per­mit a rapid return of strength, and I can for the same reason work only a few hours du­ring the day.

The following is extracted from a private letter, written about the same time, and obligingly communicated to the Association.

I returned to Egypt last month, in very bad health, for the Arabian climate is of the worst kind, and has proved much more dangerous to Mohammed Aly’s army than all the forces of the Wahabi. Mohammed Aly himself, who had been in the Hedjaz for twenty months, returned at the same time to his capital, after having completely defeated and destroyed the power of his enemy from Medina southward as far as Arabia Felix. Tousoun Pasha remains in the neighbourhood of Medina to finish the war by taking Derayeh, the Wahabi capital; he has with him about twenty-five hundred or three thousand Turks, and eight or ten thousand Arabs. The hasty return of the Pasha to his capital was probably owing in some measure to the great fears lately prevailing at Cairo and Alexandria, of an expedition of the Sultan against Egypt. The Kapoudan Pasha was equipping his fleet, had taken on board a numerous corps of soldiers, and issued from the Dardanelles without any body knowing the destination of his expedition. Mohammed Aly continues to improve the state of Egypt, and that of his finances. He has begun to exercise his troops in the European manner, has established a large fabric of muskets at Cairo, and possesses also two thousand muskets bought in London. An Italian has set up a gunpowder manufactory where he has constantly two hundred men at work: an Englishman is beginning to establish a distillery of rum at the Pasha’s expense upon a very large scale. About twenty ships belonging to the Pasha are trading to Italy and Spain six ships in the Red Sea trade to Yemen, and it is in view to establish a direct commerce with the East Indies. Immense sums have been spent during the last two years in fortifying Alexandria and the Castle of Cairo, together with the mountain behind it. But what secures to the Pasha the possession of Egypt more than any thing else, is the death of three or four thousand soldiers, the most rebellions and fiercest of his troops, whom he constantly placed as vanguards against the Wahabi, and of whom very few returned to Cairo.

I doubt not that your Syrian correspondent has informed you of the changes which have taken place in that country. Ibn Djassau Oglu has been raised to the Pashalik of Aleppo; he approached that town with a large army, and promised safe conduct to all the Janissaries, on condition, that they should give him up Ibrahim Aga Herbily. The latter in vain offered to his comrades to defray all the expenses of the war; they themselves laid hold of him and delivered him to the Pasha, who soon afterwards found means to entice also the other chiefs to his palace, where he had them all massacred. In the possession of Ibrahim Herbily, who was cruelly tortured before his death, forty thousand purses were found, the greater part of which were hidden in the house of Raphael P--. Five hundred Janissaries were killed. Mamuel, one of Mr. Barker’s, shared the same fate. The Pasha has been quarrelling with all the Consuls and has behaved extremely ill to the Franks, Soleyman Pasha still keeps Acre, and has now the whole sea coast up to Latikia under his orders. Soleyman Pasha of Damascus has already twice conducted the Syrian war to Mekka, and remains in his government.

I hope that you have found Sir Joseph Banks in good health. That venerable and noble minded patron of science has written me a letter containing expressions which I could expect only from a parent. As such I really revere him, and my gratitude towards him would alone be sufficient to induce me to pursue my task, even if so many other considerations of honour and duty did not concur in demanding from me every exertion of my faculties towards this object.

During the succeeding nine months, the attention of Mr. Burckhardt was almost entirely devoted to the regaining of his impaired strength, and to the preparation of his Nubian and Arabian journals for the Association. The following are extracts from three letters addressed by him to the Secretary of the Association during this period.

I am sorry to say that the cure of my long protracted illness was not so expeditious as the assurances of my physicians at Cairo led me to expect. I had several relapses of my fever; the intense heat contributed to weaken my system still more, nor was my remaining strength supported by any confidence in the medical skill of the persons who attended me: I determined therefore to go to Alexandria, fully persuaded that the sea-breeze, and the society of Col. Missett would powerfully co-operate to the re-establishment of my health. I have now been here for the last sixteen days. Col. Missett’s kind and generous hospitality is too well known to all Eastern travellers, to stand in need of my commendations; the deplorable state of his own health did not prevent him from watching with the liveliest interest over the recovery of mine, and it is to his attentions and the friendly assistance of Dr. Meryon, physician of Lady H. Stanhope, whom her Ladyship had sent here to attend the Colonel, that I attribute my present convalescence. Lady Hester has been occupied travelling over Syria for the last three years, and has established herself at Mar Elias, a convent above Seyda.

I shall leave Alexandria next week and return by way of Damietta to Cairo, where I hope to finish my journals. The worst effects of my fever were shewn in a depression and listlessness which seldom permitted me to take up the pen. I hope however soon to make amends, and to be able to put a speedy term to my stay in Egypt. Convinced as I still am, that the Fezzan route presents fewer difficulties for penetrating into Africa from the East, than any other, my departure from Cairo must depend upon the arrival and redeparture of a Fezzan caravan. I trust that I shall have a less severe trial of patience than that which made me lose nearly a twelve month in Upper Egypt, before I could find an eligible conveyance into Nubia; yet it was to that patience that I owed the success of my journey, and I have laid it down as an invariable rule never to sacrifice security to time, however reluctantly I may submit to the privation of almost every means of instruction, and to the total want of rational society. The latter, which is but feebly felt in travelling, engrosses all one’s leisure thoughts during the tediousness of a long protracted fixed residence in any part of these uncivilised countries.

The city of Cairo has been lately exposed to serious disturbances. The Pasha, after his return from Arabia, attempted to introduce the Nizam Djedid, and began to drill both his infantry and cavalry according to European tactics. The discontent of the troops soon broke out into open rebellion, and Mohammed Aly, who had carried his victorious arms to the remotest parts of the Turkish empire, had the mortification to see his capital exposed to the fury and avidity of his own soldiers, who stripped the greater part of the shops, and sacked all the principal Bazars of the town, after which they retreated quietly to their quarters, having in vain endeavoured to break open the gate of the Frank street. The Nizam Djedid has now been given up, and the Pasha, conscious of the strength of the rebels, has not deemed it advisable to adopt any strong measures of punishment; but in order to conciliate the good will, and in case of need the assistance, of the town’s people, he has reimbursed to them, out of his own pocket, the whole amount of their loss, which has been calculated at four millions of piastres. The rebellion happened during the first days of last month. Many Franks have left Cairo. Several of them have been much ill treated, and shot at by the soldiers, even after the two days of plunder. It was the vulgar belief that the Franks had persuaded the Pasha to the adoption of European tactics.

The Wahabi war draws to a conclusion. The Pasha on quitting Arabia left his son Tousoun Pasha, at the head of his small army, in the northern parts of the country. In April last, during the time of my residence at Medina, Tousoun took possession of the province of Kasyne, a fertile district between Medina and Derayeh, the chief seat of the Wahabi; he fought there several battles with the Wahabi, in one of which Ibrahim Aga, his treasurer, the first officer of his court, was killed after a desperate resistance. This man, who was Governor of Medina during the latter part of my stay there, was a Scotchman, who had been taken at the battle of Rosetta, and who had turned Turk and was become the favourite of Tousoun Pasha, whose life he had once saved in an engagement with the Bedouins. His determined bravery, and faithful attachment to the cause of the Pasha would probably have procured him the rank of a Pasha of two tails, if he had had the good fortune to return to Egypt. Before he fell under the lances of the Wahabi he killed five of them with his own hand. The Chief of the Wahabi, Abdallah Ibn Saoud, was apprehensive that the repeated advantages gained by Tousoun Pasha might cause the principal of his adherents to join his enemy; he therefore commenced negotiations. In the month of June he paid a visit to Tousoun Pasha, and although the articles of peace were not ultimately settled during their conferences, yet little doubt was entertained when the last dispatches were sent off from Arabia that they would soon be concluded. Abdallah Ibn Saoud, in returning to Derayeh, left his own child, two of his brothers, and upwards of thirty of the principal Shikhs of Derayeh in the hands of Tousoun Pasha, as hostages for his good behaviour. Mohammed Aly demands from the Wahabi Chief an enormous sum in retribution of his pillaging the temple of the Prophet at Medina; he endeavours to prevail upon him to do hommage to the grand Signior for the possessions of the Wahabi in Arabia, but leaves him in the exercise of his new religion, provided he takes no further steps for propagating it.

I have the honour of enclosing herewith the journal of my tour through Nubia, fro[m] Upper Egypt to Souakin and Djidda. It has been ready for some time, but the hope of the arrival of a slave caravan which is daily expected, had made me delay its dispatch, in order to be able to clear up some doubts from the testimony of these traders, whom I might have examined here with much more leisure and safety than I could do in their own country. The caravan however is not yet arrived, and as I wish this to reach you before the yearly meeting of the African Association, I send it off at present, reserving the additional remarks and notes for a future period. I am busy now in arranging my Arabian journals, which are more voluminous than the enclosed, because I found myself more at liberty, and much less observed at Mekka and Medina than I was in Soudan.

I am sorry to say that my hopes of departing from Cairo are not likely to be quickly realised. No Moggrebyn caravan has arrived, although the yearly epoch of its arrival in Egypt has long passed by. Almost out of patience myself, I am little able to intreat my employers not to lose theirs; but if my former labours have convinced them that I am averse from trusting my hopes to the chances of rash and ill-prepared measures they will also (I hope) have experienced that I am not likely to give up projects to which I have once pledged myself. My success must be the fruit of patience and caution, and I should be wanting in duty both to my employers and myself, as well as in the gratitude which I owe to providence for having hitherto bestowed success upon my patience, if I were now to lose it. I am far from feeling myself comfortable in Egypt, and every private motive engages me to wish for a speedy departure from this country.

Tousoun Pasha, left by his father Aly as governor of Arabia, concluded, in June, 1815, a treaty of peace with the Wahabi. The possession of the whole desert and the far greater part of the Bedouin tribes were given up to them, while the holy cities with their territories were acknowledged as dependencies of the Sultan. The Wahabi promised to put no obstacles in the way of the great pilgrim caravans. But it is contrary to the politics of Mohammed Aly to quell that war entirely, for he knows that as long as Arabia is in an unsettled state, and Mekka in danger, he becomes necessary to the Mussulman world in his governorship of Egypt, of which he might possibly be soon deprived if the Hedjaz was quiet; he has therefore refused to ratify the treaty, and his younger son, Ibrahim Pasha, is now proceeding to Arabia with a new armament of troops. The expenses of the war are covered by the income of Djidda and the great profits accruing to the Pasha from his monopolies in the trade of the Arabian coast. A lucky chance has put me in possession of very interesting papers concerning this Wahabi war, which together with the information I collected in the Hedjaz, will enable me to throw considerable light upon the whole Wahabi sect and their affairs.

For three successive years the plague has raged at Cairo, and great apprehensions are entertained of its return this spring. If it be so I shall neither imitate my Mussulman neighbours in taking no precaution whatever against its attacks, nor the Greeks and Franks who shut themselves up for three or four months in their houses as close prisoners; but I shall leave the infected borders of the Nile, and seek for refuge among the Bedouins. As I have at present completely recovered my health, which I principally ascribe to an excursion through the Delta, after my visit to Alexandria, I do not despair, provided my health keeps pace with my spirits for the next three or four years, to bring my labours to a successful completion.

I send this with a messenger to Alexandria, from whence it will be forwarded by Col. Missett. It has been my peculiar good fortune to have met in Syria and in Egypt with such men as Mr. Barker and Col. Missett. The latter is now on the point of retiring from office, for his infirmities increase rapidly, and the climate of Egypt is little calculated to remove them. His public and private virtues are such as will ever make him regretted by the Europeans of this country, whose zealous protector he has often been, in most trying circumstances, and to many a kind benefactor. I have known few men who treat and know Turks so well as he does. His rigid integrity, his accuracy in business, and his inflexible firmness, are the only checks which Mohammed Aly has experienced in his relations with European governments, for the other Consuls are under such great obligations to him that they never dare uphold their nation’s interests when they are in opposition to those of the Pasha. Nevertheless, the urbanity and generosity of the Colonel’s character conciliated the friendship of all the Turks who were known to him, and he departs sincerely regretted both by Egyptians and Europeans, but particularly by myself, who have always experienced from him the most friendly solicitude.

I depart the day after to morrow for Mount Sinai. The plague has declared itself in this town, and all the Franks are shut up. I should not like to imitate them, and still less to expose myself to the infection. As the disorder is likely to spread among the villages on the Nile, I have thought that I could not do better than retire while it lasts to the Bedouins, who among their many advantages over the settled Arabs, enjoy a total exemption from the plague. I shall endeavour to push on as far as Akaba, and trace the direction of the eastern gulf of the Red Sea, which, as far as I know, has never been seen by European travellers.

In the following letter Mr. Burckhardt furnishes the Association with a short account of the result of his journey in the peninsula of Mount Sinai.

I acquainted you in a former letter with my intention to pass the time of the plague in the desert of Sinai. My return to Cairo was about the time when the infection usually ceases. From the convent of Mount Sinai I made an excursion towards the eastern gulf of the Red Sea, which I followed up nearly in its whole length, till I came within sight of Akaba (Elana, not Ezion Geber). Circumstances did not permit me to visit that spot itself, but I could see enough to trace the direction of the gulf as well as of the chains of mountains by which this part of Arabia is linked to Syria. The sea of Elana is much narrower than that of Suez. Close to the shore, on both sides, are high mountains; its main direction is more easterly than is generally laid down upon the maps. Bedouin of the Arabian coast navigate it, in open boats, in which they carry their cattle to the inhabitants of the peninsula for sale, and they fish for pearls in several parts of it. Excepting a small island, called El Deyr, not far west of Akaba, where some ruins are seen, no vestiges of ancient settlers, which could be attributed to the Israelites, fell under my observation. At Wady Fizan (one day and a half S.W. of the convent of Sinai), are some remains of small towns, of the date of the Lower Empire, erected at the time when the monastic order had spread over the whole peninsula, which appears to have contained at that time a great number of convents, forming an establishment much resembling that existing now at Mount Athos. The most interesting antiquities are the celebrated inscriptions of Wady Mekatteb, which have never been fully copied yet; and which are so numerous, that they would afford several days labour even to an experienced draughtsman. I have met with similar inscriptions in many other parts of the mountain, but invariably to the West of Djebel Mousa, which is a strong argument in favour of the belief, that the authors of them were pilgrims coming from Egypt; and not Israelite shepherds, as many have supposed. They evidently appear to be mere names, to which the sign [not included] is always prefixed. I saw no inscriptions of more than a line of two; it appears that each pilgrim in passing wrote his name, and the inscribed rocks are constantly found on the side of the different great roads, leading from Suez to Djebel Sinai, usually near the resting places, which were chosen where some impending rock afforded shelter from the sun; and where the same convenience still induces travellers to halt. In the lower part of the mountains the inscriptions are cut in sand stone, in the higher upon granite; the characters have no depth, but upon granite even this would be a labour exceeding the strength and leisure of ordinary pilgrims. The want of water, especially about Wady Mekatteb, precludes the idea of an army having passed that way, the soldiers of which might have wished to perpetuate their names. Perhaps some of the drawings of animals, particularly those of camels and mountain goats, (in Arabic “Beden,” which are to this day very common in the mountain) may have been done by the Israelite shepherds; I saw similar drawings, without inscriptions, upon rocks not far from Akaba. Upon the whole these inscriptions appear to me to have a strong resemblance to some I have seen in Nubia, written in the ancient Egyptian current character; some letters at least appear to be common to both. My opinion is that they were the work of Egyptian Christians, or perhaps Jews, during the first centuries of our era. Besides those of Wad Mekatteb, the most numerous and well written, are those at the foot, on the declivity, and at the summit of Djebel Serbal, a high mountain, apparently the highest of the whole chain, situated S.W. b. W. from the convent about forty miles distant, and which, as far as I know, has not been ascended by any former traveller. Many circumstances indicate that its pointed summit was once the object of a pilgrimage. Artificial steps lead up to it, and the inscriptions about the top are innumerable. From what causes this mountain derived its sanctity, I could not learn, neither from the Arabs nor the priests of the convent, who were even ignorant of the ruins of a large convent, situated near the foot of Djebel Serbal.

A botanist would find a rich harvest in these high regions, in the most elevated parts of which, a variety of sweet scented herbs grow. The Bedouins collect to this day the manna, under the very same circumstances described in the books of Moses. Whenever the rains have been plentiful during the winter, it drops abundantly from the tamarisk (in Arabic Tarfa); a tree very common in the Syrian and Arabian deserts, but producing, as far as I know, no mania any where else. They gather it before sunrise, because if left in the sun it melts; its taste is very sweet, much resembling honey; they use it as we do sugar, principally in their dishes composed of flour. When purified over the fire, it keeps for many months; the quantity collected is inconsiderable, because it is exclusively the produce of the Tarfa, which tree is met with only in a few valleys at the foot of the highest granite chain. The inhabitants of the Peninsula, amounting to almost four thousand, complain of the want of rain and of pasturage; the state of the country must therefore be much altered from what it was in the time of Moses, when all the tribes of Beni Israel found food here for their cattle. About the highest part of the peninsula, springs and wells are in plenty; in the middle parts and near the shore water is scarce. The present inhabitants are a motley crowd of Bedouins from all quarters, Arabians, Syrians, Egyptians, Moggrebyns, united at present in three tribes, who are called masters of Sina, and who live like true Bedouins. They are in possession of several fruitful valleys where date trees grow, and where agriculture is practised by a minor set of Arabs, the descendants of Christian families, servants of the convents, who turned Mussulmans in the sixteenth century, and are no logger to be distinguished from their neighbours. To trace the route of the Israelites in this desert becomes very difficult, from the change which the proper names seem to have undergone. I could find very few watering places, whose names correspond with those in the Arabic version of the scriptures, although there are several principal valleys and watering places, which must have been in the time of Moses, as they are now, the main places of resort of the shepherds of this province. About half way from Ras Abou Mohammed to Akaba, lies Dahab. (Deuter. I. i.), an anchoring place, with date plantations, and several mounds of rubbish covering perhaps ancient Hebrew habitations; five hours north of Ras Abou Mohammed lies the harbour of Sherm, the only one on this coast frequented by large ships. In its neighbourhood are volcanic rocks; I could find no others of that description in any part of the Sinai deserts, although the Arabs as well as the priests of the convent, pretend that from the mountain of Om Shommar (about eight hours S.S.W. from Djebel Mousa), loud explosions are sometimes heard, accompanied with smoke. I visited that mountain, but searched in vain for any traces indicating a volcano. The library of the convent of Mount Sinai contains a vast number of Arabic MSS. and Greek books; the former are of little literary value; of the latter I brought away two beautiful Aldine editions, a Homer, and an Anthology. The priests would not show me their Arabic memorandum books, previous to the fifteenth century. From those I saw, I copied some very interesting documents concerning the former state of the country, and their quarrels with the Bedouins.

On my return to Cairo, on the 14th of June, Mr. Salt delivered to me a couple of pocket compasses, and a letter, to my address, which you had ordered to be forwarded to him. This letter was from my mother; and I can find no terms adequate to express my thanks for your kindness in informing my mother of my welfare, and of the satisfaction which my services have caused to my employers. Next to the desire of contenting the latter, that of contributing to the happiness of my mother is the most fervent I have in this world. So flattering a testimony as that which came from you, could not fail to excite in her heart very lively emotions, and has created in mine sentiments of lasting and heartfelt gratitude towards their authors.

I can still give you no hopes of my speedy departure from hence. The time has gone by when the Fezzan caravan might have arrived at Cairo, and I am left in a state of suspense in which I master with difficulty my impatience. My uneasiness encreases by the reflection that this prolonged stay in Egypt may be falsely interpreted in England, by those who do not know me personally. Yet I cannot prevail upon myself to take a false inconsiderate step; and however acute my feelings may be on that score, I will rather expose myself to the temporary imputation of a neglect of duty, than act with rashness and against my conviction. Futurity alone can shew whether I was worthy of the full confidence of my employers, or not. If, as it is said, the great Moggrebyn pilgrim caravan is to pass here on its way to Mekka in October, I may perhaps join it on its return, if no earlier occasion offers. I shall thus be enabled to reach Fezzan by a circuitous route. Of this I shall of course give the African Association further advice, if I should resolve upon it.

Mr. Salt I believe has already acquainted you with our project of conveying the fine granite head of the Memnonium to Alexandria, with the intention of sending it to England, and of offering it in our joint names to the British Museum. You know that beautiful specimen of Egyptian workmanship; the impression which it made upon you and your travelling companions in Upper Egypt, was the chief incitement to Mr. Salt, who had not yet seen it, to engage in the proposed scheme. Mr. Belzoni, a Roman, lately in the service of the Pasha, who is a good mechanician, has had proper machines made here for its transport, and is gone to Gorne to fetch it. Mr. Salt and myself have made a common purse to defray the expenses of the land and water carriage, &c. and have given Mr. Belzoni the necessary instructions. If we do not succeed, our intentions at least were too good to be laughed at, but should the head reach its destination, and become as it deserves to be, an object of general admiration, it will afford me infinite satisfaction to have been a promoter of this enterprize. The heads of the colossi, at Ebsambal (See my journal in Nubia.) bear a great likeness to this, with the difference that they are of sand stone. The expression of the face is the same; perhaps a little more gravity is perceived in those of Nubia, but the incomparable serenity, and godlike mildness are remarkable in both.

The excursion to Mount Sinai was the last journey which Mr. Burckhardt accomplished. From the time of his return to Cairo in June 1816, to that of his death in October 1817, he continued to reside in the Egyptian capital, occupied in preparing various papers for the Association; and in other employments connected with Arabic literature, and his travelling pursuits. The letters which he addressed during this period to the Committee, shew how deeply he felt the disappointment, caused by the nonarrival of any caravan from the interior, by the return of which, he might have proceeded upon the ultimate object of his mission. His letters contain also a series of valuable observations upon the events which occurred about that time in Egypt and Arabia, together with many remarks upon the manners and government of Egypt, and upon those subjects which were his principal objects of enquiry, as an agent of the African Association. The remarks of a person who unites good sense and judgment to local knowledge and experience, are of the highest value in countries where every branch of enquiry presents results so different from our preconceived notions, founded upon what we have been accustomed to in Europe; where accurate information is very difficult to acquire; and where, consequently, the remarks of the transient traveller are often replete with error. These considerations are a sufficient excuse for laying before the reader the most interesting parts of the last epistolary communications of Mr. Burckhardt to the Association. They are contained in the following extract from his letters, all of which, except the last, are addressed to Mr. Hamilton, the Secretary.

I have the honour of transmitting to the Committee of the African Association some papers, forming part of the information obtained by me, during my journey through Arabia. They consist of, 1st. Some further fragments on the Bedouins of Arabia, in sequel to those forwarded on former occasions. 2nd. A history of the Wahabi, and principally of Mohammed Aly’s late campaign in the Hedjaz. 3rd. A few notes to my former journals.

The repeated notices I have transmitted concerning the Bedouins of Arabia, will show how much I am interested about them. I believe that very little of their real state is known in Europe, either because travellers have not sufficiently distinguished Bedouins from Arabs in general, or because they have attempted to describe them without having had the advantage of seeing them at leisure in their own tents, in the interior of the desert. Their nation is the original stock, from which Syria, Egypt, and Barbary derive their present population, and for this reason alone they deserve to be enquired into; but they acquire a still greater interest when we consider, that amidst the utter depravity of manners and morals, and the decline of laws and civil institutions throughout the Mohammedan world, the Bedouins are the only Eastern nation who have preserved unchanged their ancient customs, and the manners of their forefathers and who still continue to be what they were twelve hundred years ago, when their emigrating tribes conquered part of Asia, Africa, and Europe. I am aware that my description of the Bedouins is not calculated to be acceptable to the public in general, as it contains nothing but dry facts: my only object has been to fill up a vacuity in our knowledge of the East, and I flatter myself that those who are interested in obtaining a knowledge of this part of the world will not be displeased at what I have done.

You will forgive my having forwarded the papers in so imperfect a state. Although my general health is at present very good, my eyes are far from being as I wish them to be; and since my severe ophthalmic attacks in Upper Egypt, I have repeatedly suffered from them, and have lately had again a severe inflammation.

I see that Aly Bey el Abbasi has got the start of me in his description of Mekka, but I hope to be able to give some information in addition to his. I have lately had an opportunity of perusing his work; little as I like the style in which it is written and the pretensions of its author, yet I find it incumbent upon me to state, that after a minute examination of it, I find no reason to doubt the general veracity of Aly Bey; what he says of himself in Syria, Egypt, and the Hedjaz, I know to be true, although he has not always thought proper to state the whole truth. I could tell you many anecdotes to prove how little he imposed, with his almost utter ignorance of Arabic, upon the sharp-sighted natives of these countries; but he was perhaps to be excused in fancying that he did, as those who partook of his bounty would be the last to hint to him their real thoughts on this subject, and whether Bey or not, he was a Mussulman, and that was sufficient. His method of travelling was very injudicious; surrounded with so much pomp, it was almost impossible for him to make many interesting observations, for a Turkish grandee is never left alone, and his numerous dependents are spies upon all his actions. The plan which he gives of the mosque at Mekka is very correct; that of the town is much less so, as you will see by comparing it with that which accompanies my description of the city. All his views of Hedjaz and Syria are drawn from memory; that of Wady Muna is the only one slightly resembling the reality. He has made one very curious mistake, which is, that he persuades himself that he was at Mekka, when the Wahabi took possession of that town, an event which happened three years before his arrival there. I am indignant at his daring to question the veracity of Mr. Browne, (by whose side he is a mere pigmy,) upon so trivial a fact as that of the existence of carpets in one of the mosques of Cairo, where I actually saw carpets spread not longer ago than yesterday.

To advert to another more humble African adventurer — I have lately seen the Quarterly Review of the Travels of Adams to Tombuctou, (which the Africans call Timbuctou,) but not the work itself. From what I have heard related in Egypt, and the Hedjaz, by several Felata Bedouins coming as Hadjis, from the neighbourhood of Timbuctou, by the way of Tunis, I believe that Adams’s description of that town is correct. One of them told me it was half as large as Cairo, and built of low mud houses, such I believe as are common all over Soudan. As to his river, I likewise heard that the Timbuctou river flows westward. The old story, that it is the same river with the Egyptian Nile was also repeated, which of course is in direct contradiction to the former supposition. The truth seems to be, that the ignorant Africans finding the two rivers to resemble each other, in size, in productions, and in the regularity of their inundation, conclude them to be the same. The name of La Mar Zarah, which he ascribes to the river of Timbuctou, I believe to be misspelt for Bahr El Ahmar El Sahára; (بحر الاحمر الصحرا) or the Red River of the Desert. This epithet is perhaps applied to it in the same manner, as Abiadh, Azrak, Akhdar, “white, blue, green,” are given to the different branches of the Nile. La Mar Zarah is said to be of a muddy colour, and the Egyptians describe the Nile by the word Ahmar, at the time when it first begins to rise and to become muddy.

The names of the King and Queen of Timbuctou seem to shew that they are Mohammedans. Woolo seems to be Wouli, which in Arabic, means Governor or Ruler (والي),The names of the King and Queen of Timbuctou seem to shew that they are Mohammedans. Woolo seems to be Wouli, which in Arabic, means Governor or Ruler and is given to all their governors, and Fatima is evidently a Moslim name. That Adams did not see them pray, is no proof to the contrary; he might reside for months at Berber or Shendy without witnessing any sort of public worship. There are however some of his statements which struck me as quite impossible, and convinced me of his want of veracity, at least with regard to them. I can never believe that twenty-three persons travelling on foot, with women and children, can cross a waterless desert of thirty days journey, without any other supply of water than what was loaded upon four camels; nor again, that twenty eight persons could travel in the same manner, for twenty-nine days, with four camels only partly loaded with water. Such powers of abstinence, neither Arabs nor Nubians, nor their camels possess; every person who has travelled in a caravan of camels, will disbelieve such assertions. After eight days the water kept in the best Soudan water skins is partly evaporated, and the remainder, from the continual shaking, is reduced to a thick black mud, which extreme necessity alone can make one swallow. The best camels for transport, known in the countries which I have visited, are the Darfour breed. They are never longer than ten or twelve days on their road to Egypt, without water, and even in that journey many of them perish of thirst. The daily supply of one quart would afford little relief to an animal which when thirsty swallows fifty or sixty, and after several days thirst, one hundred pounds of water. Four camel loads of water would in North-eastern Africa, even among the Nubian merchants, who carefully reckon every pound weight to be loaded upon their camels, be thought a scanty allowance for twenty-eight persons, even if they were mounted on camels, for a journey of five or six days. It is not by a daily allowance of half a pint mixed with urine, that a pedestrian traveller in the sands of Africa can hope to support his strength, through the continued exertions of such a journey; nor shall I ever believe that the Moors are so much superior to the Nubians, although they may be rather stronger than Aly Bey el Abbassi, who was perishing with thirst in a desert of Barbary, of one day’s journey across, fainting at four P.M. after having drank at noon a large draught. Stories of long journeys without water are to be placed in the same class with those of hot winds, overwhelming sands, and the miraculous swiftness of camels, &c. &c. They all originate in the fancy of Bedouins, who at the expense of truth, thus indulge the curiosity of the inhabitants of the towns, gaping at the wonders of the desert. They can be contradicted only by the few who have actually crossed the deserts, while they will be constantly corroborated by those who draw their information only from bragging Arabians or Moors.

I am certain that you take a lively interest in the travels of the unfortunate Seetzen, who was poisoned five years ago in Yemen. His labours, I can assure you, have been very extensive, and conducted in a most enlightened manner. His intimate acquaintance with all branches of natural history was applied with indefatigable zeal to countries the most difficult of access, and he had many times nearly become a martyr to those pursuits, before he met with his ultimate fate. It has fallen to my lot to trace his footsteps, in many hitherto unknown parts of Syria and Arabia. Petræa, and again in the Hedjaz; these, together with what I heard from the Europeans who knew him at Aleppo, Damascus, and Cairo, as well as from many Arabs on the road, have inspired me with as great a respect for his private character, as the dispersed memoirs of his researches already published, must give every reader for his literary acquirements. Although endowed with a lively fancy, and even with considerable poetical talents, he was a man of plain truth. If sometimes over fond of speculating upon the facts which he had collected, yet I am certain that in stating those facts, he observed the strictest adherence to truth, and I have not the smallest doubt, that if he had lived to publish the mass of knowledge which he had acquired during his travels, he would have far excelled all travellers, who ever wrote on the same countries. Mr. Salt has lately shewn me a letter which he received in 1811, from Mr. Rutland, then factor at Mokha, acquainting him with the death of Seetzen, which had just taken place, and making mention, at the same time, of several papers which he had left as a present to Mr. Rutland, who adds that as they are in German he cannot read them. As Mr. Seetzen would hardly have thought it worth while to make such a present to a person who could so little appreciate its value, I am much inclined to suspect they were only left in his hands as a deposit. Exact designs and descriptions of Mekka and other places, vocabularies of eighteen. African languages, &c. are stated to be among the number. Seetzen’s friends at Cairo, according to the common practice of Levantines, amongst whom most of the pseudo Franks established in these parts must be classed, entirely forgot him as soon as he was beyond their threshold, and it thus happened that although his death took place as far back as September, 1811, in the vicinity of Mokha, where it was of public notoriety, and that although since the beginning of 1811, no news whatever had been heard of him at Cairo, yet nobody thought proper to write to Mokha, for further enquiry, and as late as July 1815, nothing was known here of his fate. I then received a letter from Mokha, giving some details of the death of Mr. Seetzen, which I forwarded immediately to Vienna, accompanying it with a letter of my own to Mr. Hammer, which he, without being authorized to it, abridged and published, together with the other paper.

An Italian physician of the name of Cervelli, now established as a merchant at Alexandria, made four years ago some interesting travels in the North of Africa; he was attached to the son of Yousef Pasha of Tripoli, in the capacity of physician, and his patron being sent by his father to reduce Fezzan, the chief of which had been dilatory in the payment of the tribute, Cervelli accompanied the Pasha’s son upon that expedition; they first went from Tripoli by land to Derne, near to which Mr. Cervelli saw the splendid ruins of Cyrene, at least what he supposed to be the remains of that town; they went from Derne to Augila, and from thence to Fezzan, where they remained about six weeks, and then returned over a chain of mountains, where he found snow, (for it was in winter,) by Sokhne to Tripoli.

He heard of two English travellers having been at Fezzan, of whom one died, and the other was never heard of after his departure for Soudan; the name of Hornemann was unknown to Mr. Cervelli. This gentleman, although not a man of letters, possesses natural talents, and a good deal of vivacity and good nature; he told me that he took many notes, that he has not yet drawn up a journal, but that he has some intention of publishing his travels: I never could get him to shew me any of his papers, but I know that he possesses some, together with a few sketches of drawings; as his time is now totally occupied by commercial pursuits, I doubt, whether he will ever have leisure to work up his journal, and therefore, being well persuaded of the interest which his tour would excite, I have done my best to get possession of his papers, and offered him a thousand piastres for them, under the formal promise that if ever they should be published, it should be under his own name. Since his departure for Alexandria, I have charged Mr. Thurburn, formerly secretary to Colonel Missett, and now a partner in the house of Briggs and Co. a gentleman of much information, to renew the negotiation with Mr. Cervelli. He has lately informed me, that Mr. Cervelli refuses to part with his papers; but has promised to employ his evenings in arranging them, as he wishes to publish them himself.

I feel the greatest regret, in being obliged to inform you, in closing this letter, that I have no well founded hopes of being able to leave Egypt before next spring. It would be tedious to enter into all the disappointments I have experienced, by the non-arrival of the western caravan. If the Committee believes that I am not a trifler in my duty, they will not doubt that nothing but imperious circumstances could so long detain me at Cairo. If, on the contrary, my prolonged stay in this city should give rise to any doubts of the sincerity of my intentions, I feel that nothing that I could say on the subject could possibly remove them[.]

By the present conveyance, I have the honour of transmitting to the Committee, my journals in the Hedjaz, together with some notices on the interior of Africa, and a translation from Macrizi, containing some documents on the history and geography of Nubia and the Nile countries; which may serve to illustrate my travels in Nubia.

You will be pleased to hear that the colossal head from Thebes has at last, after many difficulties, safely arrived at Alexandria. Mr. Belzoni, who offered himself to undertake this commission, has executed it with great spirit, intelligence, and perseverance. The head is waiting now at Alexandria for a proper conveyance to Malta. Mr. Salt and myself have borne the expenses jointly, and the trouble of the undertaking has devolved upon Mr. Belzoni, whose name I wish to be mentioned, if ever ours shall on this occasion, because he was actuated by public spirit fully as much as ourselves. The Committee need not be under any apprehension, that this transaction has caused my name to become of public notoriety in Egypt; which would certainly have been the case, if it had been known that I had a hand in the business, for during the fortnight the head remained at Boulak, the vessel was constantly crowded by swarms of visitors, of all classes. Nobody knows that I have had any thing to do with it. The Kahirines ascribe it entirely to Mr. Salt and Mr. Belzoni, who, they say, send it to England to have it taken to pieces, in order to find the invaluable jewel which it contains. The residence of the French Savans in Egypt has not taught them to form better notions, and the same kind of belief which caused the Shikh of Tedmor to resist my carrying off a small mutilated bust, found near the portico at Palmyra, still operates in every part of Egypt.

The peasants of Gourne reported to me, that the French had in vain endeavoured to carry off this head: and that they had even cut a hole in the lower part of the bust, to blow off part of the stone, and render it thus more transportable. I am ignorant for what reason they relinquished that scheme, but it is somewhat curious to find that in the drawing which they have given of that head, in their great work, they have represented it as it would probably have been, after the lower part should have been destroyed.

The discoveries of Mr. Belzoni in Upper Egypt, are too interesting not to deserve notice here. He has half cleared the temple of Ebsambal in Nubia, of the sands that obstructed it. The frontispiece of the temple, which has thus been discovered, is full of hieroglyphics; of the four colossi which stand before it, the face of one only (which I have mentioned in my journal), remains perfect; one of the three others has been reduced by mutilation to a mere lump of rock.

Behind Gourne he has discovered a new tomb of the kings, about one mile distant from the most western “insulated tomb,” as the French laid it down in their map. He says it is beautiful, and larger than any of the others, with a sarcophagus in it. All the paintings are done upon a while stucco, adhering loosely to the wall, and thus easily to be removed.

By digging at Gourne, in the plain between the Memnonium, and Medinet Habou, in a western direction from the two sitting colossi, about half a mile distant from them, he found a mutilated colossal head of granite, of much larger dimensions than the one he carried off, or any other at Thebes, being from ten to twelve feet across the front.

You remember the small pond, within the enclosure of the interior part of the temple of Karnak, towards the side of Luxor, which encircles on three sides an elevated ground. A row of Andro-sphynxes, or whatever they may be called, stand there, which the French had dug up, and of which Mr. William Banks carried off last year the two best. In digging farther on in the line in which these statues stood, Mr. Belzoni has discovered eighteen others, of similar shape, but of much superior workmanship, all in beautiful preservation; he has brought down six of them to Mr. Salt, who had furnished him with money for the express purpose of procuring antiquities; besides the commission to carry off the head. By the side of these figures he has found another statue, of a hard, large grained sand stone: it is a whole length naked figure, sitting upon a chair, with a ram’s head upon the knees; the face and body entire; with plaited hair falling down to the shoulders. This is one of the finest, I should say the finest Egyptian statue I have seen; the expression of the face is exquisite, and I believe it to be a portrait. From the beautiful preservation of all these figures, which is so rare in Egypt, Mr. Belzoni argues, that the Egyptians used this place to hide their idols, when the Persians came to destroy them, and he hopes, in going up a second time to Thebes, to find at the same place other treasures. He has likewise found at Karnak, the four sided monument, with figures in high relief on three sides of it, of which the French talk so highly in their work, and of which they have given a drawing. But it was in quite a different place from that indicated by them, for Mr. Belzoni found it under ground far to the east of the adytum of Karnak. This, with a dozen of Sphinxes, he has been obliged to leave on the shore of the river near Karnak, the boat being already overloaded. The head alone weighs, I believe, from twelve to fifteen tons.

Mr. Belzoni, who is as enterprising as he is intelligent, high-minded, and disinterested, further informs us, that he has dug up the colossus, indicated by the French upon their map of Karnak, as laying on the N.W. side of the abovementioned pond, under the name of “Colosse renversé.” He has turned it up, and finds it to be a torso without head, or feet, about thirty feet in length, of beautiful workmanship; he says that he has seen nothing in Egypt, not even excepting our head, that can be compared to it, as it is a true imitation of nature, not done in the usual hard style, but according to the best rules of art.

If Mr. Belzoni had had a flat bottomed boat at his command, he is confident that he should have been able to float down one of the small obelisks of Philæ, about twenty five feet in length. He handles masses of this kind with as much facility as others handle pebbles, and the Egyptians who see him a giant in figure, for he is six feet and a half high, believe him to be a sorcerer. Manual labour is so very cheap in Upper Egypt, that a little money goes a great way: the hire for a Fellah per day, is about four-pence; although upwards of one hundred Fellahs were occupied for many days with our head, and that we paid one hundred pounds for the boat only, and made a present to Mr. Belzoni, small indeed, but as much as our circumstances permitted, the total expense incurred by us, as far as Alexandria, does not amount to more than three hundred pounds, and Mr. Belzoni’s whole expedition, to about four hundred and fifty pounds. The Pasha of Egypt is luckily not yet aware of the value of these statues; if he was, he would probably imitate Wely Pasha of the Mores, and ask for passage money, for he extends his extortions over every article of Egyptian produce, and condescends even to farm out the trade of camel and sheep’s dung. Mr. Belzoni, who is known in England as a hydraulic engineer, and is married to an English woman, who has accompanied him to Egypt, entered last year the service of the Pasha, as a mechanic, but not being able to contend with the intrigues of a Turkish court, and too honourable to participate in them, he was dismissed as unfit for his business, and five months of pay still remain due to him. So much for the Pasha’s encouragement of European artists. They are enticed into his service by his emissaries in the Mediterranean, but are soon left to bewail their credulity.

You will find in the notes accompanying my translation of Macrizi, the account of some other very interesting discoveries, in the Eastern mountains of Upper Egypt; and last month, the old and so often visited pyramid of Djize was so well rummaged, that much curious new matter has come to light. Mr. Caviglia, an Italian, and Mr. Kabitch, a German, settled here, formed the project of exploring the well in the great pyramid. In the course of the operation, they have discovered that a continuation of the descending passage leads to a chamber under the centre of the pyramid, and they find that no other well descends into the passage.

I have been led to believe from various circumstances, that this new discovered continuation of the entrance passage was opened in the time of the Khalif who opened the pyramid, and that it has been choaked up ever since. If I am to believe Sherif Edrys, the author of a history of the Pyramids, a book, I believe, unknown in Europe, and which I have lately purchased here, the interior of the pyramid is full of passages and rooms, and several sarcophagi are yet to be discovered. This author wrote in the twelfth century, and himself minutely examined the pyramid.

I cannot dismiss the subject of Egyptian antiquities, without saying a word of Mr. Drovetti’s collection. It is certainly at present the finest of all those extant, in Italy, France, and England. There are few large statues, but great numbers of middle sized, and an innumerable series of idols, scarabees, medals, intaglios, and other articles illustrative of the religion and domestic life of the Egyptians, their dress, furniture, &c. &c. His rolls of papyrus are particularly valuable. He has ten quite entire, three of which are, I believe, the largest ever found in this country, together with a great number of smaller ones; and a large Coptic manuscript, written upon gazelle skin, found in the island of Omke, above the cataract of Wady Halfa. Many large specimens of Egyptian sculpture may yet be obtained, but it will be long before so complete a collection of smaller articles will be collected by one person. Mr. Drovetti has been for twelve years a person of great influence, and even power in Egypt; and his great object has been, to augment his collection, for which purpose he employed people in every part of the country. As it often happens in the Levant, with Europeans, long settled there, mercantile and pecuniary interests have at last got the better of his love for antiquity, and Mr. Drovetti having now turned corn-dealer, is desirous of converting his collection into cash. It would certainly be most desirable to have the collection in England. I believe that it has cost him about fifteen hundred pounds, and is certainly worth three or four times that sum in Europe.

I am in anxious expectation of a caravan for Lybia, and I have been long prepared to start at the shortest notice; I shall now leave Egypt with the more pleasure, because I shall not have to regret the abandoning of my journals in a rude state, which would have been the case if I had departed last year; for it will afford me no small consolation in my future travels, to think that whatever may be my fate, some fruit has been reaped from my pursuits, and that the Association is now in possession of several journals, containing new information upon very interesting countries.

If any thing can give me pleasure, it is the information which you give me, that my employers are contented with me, and I beg you to assure them, that as long as I shall have the honour to be in their service, no efforts shall be left untried by me to deserve their approbation. I fully appreciate the permission they have given me, to pass so long a time out of the intended direction of my labours. If some credit be due to me for the manner in which I have spent this time, no less is due to their liberality, in affording me the means of applying my exertions to countries and subjects, that fell not within the immediate scope of my mission; although I flatter myself, that the purposes of the latter were at the same time considerably advanced.

It affords me much satisfaction to understand that what I have written on the Bedouins has been found of interest. My last additions to those papers, which complete all the information I possess on that nation, have perhaps not reached you. I have illustrated their manners, laws, and character, with much pleasure, because I hold them to be infinitely superior to their neighbours the Turks. They have happily escaped the corruption of Levantine manners and morals, and this alone entitles them to the attention of the European public, although few travellers have thought them worth noticing, otherwise than as a nation of bloody, savage, and faithless robbers.

When you ask me whether I know Antar, you probably forget that the first knowledge I gained of that author, was from an odd volume in your own library. I fully agree with you in your sentiments concerning it; it has certainly every characteristic of an epic poem; it is throughout of high interest, and often sublime. I have attentively read little more than one twelfth part of it; the copy I bought at Aleppo is among the MSS. which I sent to England from Syria. Its style is very remarkable; without descending to the tone of common conversation, as the One Thousand and one Nights often do, it is simple, and natural, and clear of that bombast, and those forced expressions, and far-fetched metaphors, which the Orientals admire even in their prosaists, but which can never be to the taste of an European critic. The poetry appears almost every where to be the effusion of real sentiment, and the heroic strain of Antar’s war and love songs, his satires and bursts of self-praise, are as exalted as they are natural. You are no doubt informed that this same Antar was one of the poets of the Moallakat, and that Osmay, who relates his life in this work, occupied a high rank among the poets at the court of Haroun er-Rashid, and his son Mamoun. I believe Sir William Jones was the first to call the attention of the public to this romantic poem, in his Comment. Poes. Asiat. He possessed only one or two volumes of it, yet enough to convince him of the excellence of the whole performance, of which he speaks in terms of the highest praise.

Having occasion to write to your brother not long since, I suggested to him the expediency of making some abridgement, in case of his publishing a translation of any part of Antar, for there are many repetitions, in which the Arabs delight, but which lessen the general interest of the work. I am confident that the translation of the abridged Antar would extremely gratify the public, and nothing would give me greater pleasure, than to see the noble Bedouin romance ushered into the world.

By the present opportunity I transmit to Sir Joseph Banks, my journal in the peninsula of Sinai, and to you, a volume of proverbs and popular sayings current at Cairo. I am afraid the Committee will be startled at all the Arabic it contains, and exclaim that the writer was sent to these countries not to become a translator but a discoverer. I can only say in excuse, that as my stay in this city has been unfortunately, but necessarily, so much prolonged, I thought that with a view to forward my future designs, I could not do better than pursue my study of Arabic, and in so far I can assure you, that I have derived essential benefit from this compilation, while at the same time I hope that a knowledge of the Arab nation, and of their present language, may be somewhat advanced by it, and facilitated to others. In translating and explaining these sayings, I have been actuated by another motive; I wished to leave a memorial with my employers, as well as with the public, that I had acquired a competent knowledge of the vulgar dialect of the people whom I have described in my journals. The simple assurance to that effect, would go very little way with those, who know that for the last fifty years few Europeans have published their travels among Arabs, without pretending to be familiar with their language, and at the same time giving proofs of gross ignorance of it. It is true that from the perusal of my journals, and from the information which I collected in the course of my travels without the help of interpreters, the reader will probably infer that I must have understood something of this language; but he would still be left in utter ignorance whether that acquaintance was such, as to confirm or detract from the veracity of the stated facts; the latter being often applicable to those, who hear and understand only by halves, yet enough to make them believe that they are not in want of a Dragoman. I have therefore thought it incumbent upon me, to give some clear proof how far I really possess that knowledge, and cannot help flattering myself that by this little work I have given a greater degree of authenticity to my journals. If I am not able to display the learning of a profound Arabic scholar, I trust at least that those who take the trouble to peruse this volume, will give me credit for understanding the language of the bazar, and of the peasants, and that is all I wish for at present.

From what I have just said, you will perceive that I am desirous of having these sheets published. The number of amateurs of Arabic is so very small in Europe, and the printing of Arabic is so expensive, that even the advantageous sale of such a work would, I believe, hardly defray one third of the expenses. It is reasonable to doubt whether the African Association would like to engage in an undertaking, so foreign to its avowed pursuits, although I shall be very happy to find that I am mistaken in this surmise. But it strikes me that the Directors of the East India Company, who patronise so liberally every branch of Oriental learning, may perhaps be willing to lend their assistance to this publication.

Mr. Salt has already acquainted you with the further discoveries near the pyramids. He and Mr. Briggs made a common purse to enable Captain Caviglia, whose pecuniary resources were exhausted by his works, in the interior of the pyramid, to pursue his labours under their directions in its neighbourhood, and especially near the Sphinx. The small temple which the Sphinx holds between its monstrous paws, is certainly very interesting, and of the best Egyptian workmanship. The hieroglyphics upon its walls are beautifully cut, and belong to the best period of Egyptian art. The many fragments of sculpture found between the paws are of a less remote period, and seem to have been placed there as offerings by the Greek Egyptians, who wrote the Greek inscriptions found on one of the paws and upon a large detached slab of stone; they belong to the reigns of Claudius, and Adrian, &c. The flight of steps cut out of the rock, that lead down to the avenue in front of the paws about sixty feet distant from them, and which describe a curve, bear likewise more resemblance to Greek than to Egyptian work. The designs which Mr. Salt has made are strikingly correct, and will indemnify future travellers, for having missed the opportunity of inspecting these curious monuments. Very few of them can have the satisfaction to admire these beautiful ornaments of the Sphinx, a colossus that is to me more imposing even than the pyramids, for the latter, after all, appear like small mountains while the former is a gigantic animal. The labourers will no sooner quit the place, than the sands will return to their former situation, and few people will have the courage to dig them out again. Captain Caviglia, who continues at the work with incredible ardour, says that with two thousand pounds he should be able to clear the whole Sphinx, from top to bottom on all sides, and little doubt can be entertained of his finding in that case, other important monuments of antiquity; perhaps large temples or grottos cut out of the rock, below and on the sides of the Sphinx, which appears to stand in a hollow.

Our colossal head is to leave Alexandria very soon, on board a transport which Admiral Penrose has sent to load corn. Mr. Belzoni, who is at present with Mr. Beechy, the secretary of Mr. Salt, at Thebes, has made many excavations there, and has found at Karnak a colossal head very little injured equal in beauty and size to ours, and in the highest preservation. Among other things he has found two large bronze vases covered with hieroglyphics.

As soon as the plague is over at Alexandria, I shall transmit to England a large chest of Arabic manuscripts. My whole collection, including two chests already sent to England, amounts to about four hundred volumes, composed principally of historical books, among which are many not found in Europe, and very scarce even in the East.

I have still to regret the non-arrival of caravans from the west, and I can only repeat that whenever one arrives, I shall certainly accompany it, on its return to Fezzan. In the meanwhile I must rely on the justice of the Association, not to put any other construction on my delay than those which I have stated. I am conscious that I subject their patience to a very severe trial, but mine at the same time is put to the torture.

Did I not indulge the reasonable hope that my conduct, since I have been in their service, entitles me to the confidence of my employers, I should be inclined to load my camel, and enter Lybia alone, to prove to them that it is neither want of courage, nor of zeal, that keeps me so long in inaction.

My journal in the peninsula of Sinai has grown to such a bulky volume, that I am somewhat apprehensive, of its being less acceptable on that account, but as there is no necessity for its being published at full length, the editor may cut off at pleasure all the less interesting matter. I had more liberty to write during the greater part of this journey, than I possessed in several former ones. This small country so important to the history of mankind, has never before been described in detail. The commentary on the route of the Israelites, which I have annexed to it, I submit with much diffidence to the perusal of the Committee, as I cannot but feel apprehensive that what strikes me to be correct, may not appear equally so to persons who have not visited the desert, and have not travelled with Bedouins. Should my opinions meet with approbation, I shall be particularly gratified, in having been able to elucidate some obscure points of early history, and to vindicate the authenticity of the sacred historian of the Beni Israel, who will be never thoroughly understood, as long as we are not minutely informed of every thing relative to the Arabian Bedouins, and the country in which they move and pasture.

There was a time when I never wrote to you, without being able to acquaint you either with the termination of some interesting excursion, or with my being just upon the start for another. Instead of which, I have been obliged to content myself now for nearly two years, with comments upon former journeys, or to offer you of future ones, the promise instead of the deed.

I cannot yet move from hence as no caravan has yet arrived from the west; it is indeed expected, but so it has been for a length of time, and that very expectation prevents me from undertaking any other journey, and chains me to this town, the air of which presses more heavily upon my lungs than did the pestilential exhalations of the saltmarshes of Medina. Had I any reasonable hope of being able to reach my destination by any other route, than that of Fezzan, believe me, not a moment’s delay should he incurred, to relieve myself from the most painful sensation I have felt since I left England, that of being more or less exposed to the blame of relaxation or want of spirit, in the performance of my duty. Had I less at stake I should perhaps be less prudent, but when I consider that during eight years, I have done my best to acquire the proper qualifications for the undertaking, I am unwilling to risk the prospect of success now in my hands, while if I can finally set out upon my journey in an eligible manner, I have some well founded expectations of bringing it to a happy issue. If I fail, it must cost my successor many years of apprenticeship, to be able to enter the gates of Libya, with as much confidence, as I shall now be able to do. I believe that the non-arrival of the Fezzan caravan is to be ascribed to the encreased demands of black slaves on the coast of Barbary, to replace the white slaves so gloriously delivered by the English fleet, for I have understood that the intercourse between Tripoly and Fezzan has been very brisk for the last twelvemonth. The demand for slaves, however, is no less great in Egypt, where the plague has made for the last four years, great ravages among the black species, which it appears to attack in preference even to the white; and if the Barbary market is glutted, which already must be the case, the Fezzan traders will again drive their human cattle to the slave folds of this town.

Mohammed Aly has within the last month begun a work for which he would deserve great credit, were it not clear that far from its being made subservient to the benefit of his subjects, it will only furnish him with pretexts for new extortions. He is re-opening the ancient canal from Rahmanye to Alexandria, a measure that becomes from year to year more necessary, as the bar of Rosetta is almost choaked up by sand; and has been during this winter for four months quite impassable, even to the flat bottomed boats of this country. Already last year the Pasha had caused a causeway to be carried across the mouth of the lake of Madye, and thus stopped the communication of that lake with the Sea, establishing by these means, a land-road all the way from Rosetta to Alexandria. But the Lybian Bedouins who were called with their camels, to transport the corn collected at Rosettes from all Egypt, by this new road to Alexandria, were so ill-treated by the Turkish officers, and so much curtailed of their freight, that they soon fled back to the desert, and thus the trade has as yet derived very little profit from that road. The opening of the canal, which is calculated to be a work of two years, for sixty thousand men, at an expense of about two millions of dollars, will open a water communication from all parts of Egypt to Alexandria, uninterrupted through the whole year, but such imposts will be levied, as will soon cause the native merchants to regret the ancient passage by the bar of Rosettes; the Fellahs meantime employed in this and the other public works, are treated much in the same manner as were the Israelites by Pharoah. The income of the Pasha, which upon a moderate calculation is two and a half or three millions sterling, per annum, (and of which he spends at most half,) added to the low price of labour, and the abundance of hands, render similar undertakings in Egypt much less difficult than they would be in other parts of the Turkish dominions. Perhaps the canal between the Nile and the Red Sea will be opened afterwards; if the direct intercourse with India, which the Pasha has already set on foot, succeeds according to his wishes, and is not opposed by the East India Company. Such enterprises might cause any other country to flourish, and to increase in wealth and industry; but here, none will benefit by them but the Pasha himself, and those employed by him in lucrative situations, while the mass of the people bewail the long duration of these works, in the execution of which they are in every instance defrauded of their dues; they are forced by government to attend to the labour, and are obliged to accept two thirds, and sometimes only half of the price that labour holds in the country.

We are left without precise news from the seat of the war which Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Mohammed Aly, conducts in the Hedjaz against the Wahabi. Until within the last two months, he had not pushed on farther than Hanakye, a station three days journeys in advance of Medina, towards the interior of the Wahabi country. He is reported to have obtained several advantages over small corps of the enemy, and to have defeated them even in a more important battle, but his success appears not to have been decisive, as he has not advanced. Meantime reinforcements are continually sent to Arabia. Three Frenchmen who are in the suits of Ibrahim Pasha, have written lamentable letters to Cairo, stating that they were one night robbed of their whole baggage, and left in their shirts, while sleeping in a tent adjoining to that of the Pasha, whose military chest was carried off on the same occasion. A frigate is building at this moment at Bombay, for Mohammed Aly, with which he intends to harass his enemy in the Persian gulf; and to protect his commerce in the Red Sea which he daily extends, and from which he will succeed to shut out in a short time all private adventurers from Egypt and the Hedjaz.

5th of June. I have sent off by this opportunity, a packet to Mr. Hamilton, containing a collection of popular sayings of the Arabs of Cairo, written in the vulgar dialect of the city. Captain Gambier, of the Myrmidon, who has come here for a few days, and who departs immediately for Malta, has promised to forward both packets from thence. I hope that within a few weeks, the colossal head will also be embarked at Alexandria.

In the Hadj of the year 1817, among the pilgrims collected at Mekka from every part of the Mussulman world, was a party of Moggrebyns, or western Africans, who were expected to return home as usual, by the way of Cairo and the Fezzan; it was believed that the caravan would take its departure from Egypt in the month of December. As Mr. Burckhardt had now transmitted to England the last of his papers relating to his former journeys, it was with the utmost satisfaction, that he contemplated the prospect, which at length so opportunely offered, of putting the great purpose of his mission into execution. Feeling strongly armed, in his long previous course of study and experience, he entertained hopes, not more sanguine, than reasonable, of being able to penetrate in safety from Fezzan to the countries of the Niger; and of at last receiving the reward of his long perseverance, in the acquirement for the public of some authentic information, upon the unknown regions of Africa. But the Divine Providence ordained otherwise. On the 4th of October, he found the symptoms of dysentery, which had for several days incommoded him, so much encreased, that he applied for relief to Dr. Richardson, an English physician, who fortunately happened at that time to be at Cairo, travelling in the company of Lord Belmore. Thus it is a satisfaction to know, that our lamented traveller, in his last illness, had as good advice and assistance as medicine could supply. The disease however, in spite of all the remedies administered, continued its progress from bad to worse, with fatal obstinacy, and without any favourable remission. On the morning of the 15th, conscious of his danger, he proposed and obtained the consent of his physician, that Mr. Salt, His Majesty’s Consul General, should be sent for. “I went over immediately,” says Mr. Salt, in a letter to the Secretary of the Association, and cannot describe how shocked I was, to see the change which had taken place in so short a time. On the Tuesday before, he had been walking in my garden with every appearance of health, and conversing with his usual liveliness and vigour; now he could scarcely articulate his words, often made use of one for another, was of a ghastly hue, and had all the appearance of approaching death. Yet he perfectly retained his senses, and was surprisingly firm and collected. He desired that I would take pen and paper, and write down what he should dictate. The following is nearly word for word what he said: ‘If I should now die, I wish you to draw upon Mr. Hamilton for two hundred and fifty pounds, for money due to me from the Association, and together with what I have in the hands of Mr. Boghoz, (two thousand piastres), I make the following disposition of it. Pay up my share of the Memnon head,’ (this he afterwards repeated, as if afraid that I should think he had already contributed enough, as I had once hinted to him). ‘Give two thousand piastres to Osman’ (an Englishman, whom at Shikh Ibrahim’s particular request, I had persuaded the Pasha to release from slavery). ‘Give four hundred piastres to Shaharti my servant. Let my male and female slaves, and whatever I have in the house, which is little, go to Osman. Send one thousand piastres to the poor at Zurich. Let my whole library, with the exception of my European books, go to the University of Cambridge, to the care of Dr. Clarke, the librarian; comprising also the manuscripts in the hands of Sir Joseph Banks. My European books’ (they were only eight in number) ‘I leave to you’ (Mr. Salt). ‘Of my papers make such a selection as you think fit, and send them to Mr. Hamilton for the African Association; there is nothing on Africa. I was starting in two months time with the caravan returning from Mekka, and going to Fezzan, thence to Tombuctou, but it is otherwise disposed. For my affairs in Europe, Mr. Rapp has my will. Give my love to my friends,’ (enumerating several persons, with whom he was living upon terms of intimacy at Cairo). ‘Write to Mr. Barker.’ (He then paused, and seemed troubled, and at length with great exertion said,) ‘Let Mr. Hamilton acquaint my mother with my death, and say that my last thoughts have been with her.’ (This subject he had evidently kept back, as not trusting himself with the mention of it until the last). ‘The Turks,’ he added, I will take my body, I know it, perhaps you had better let them.’ When I tell you that he lived only six hours after this conversation, you will easily conceive what an effort it must have been. The expression of his countenance when he noticed his intended journey, was an evident struggle between disappointed hopes, and manly resignation. Less of the weakness of human nature was perhaps never exhibited upon a death bed. Dr. Richardson and Osman, who has for some time lived with him, were both present at this conversation. He ended by expressing a wish that I should retire, and shook my hand at parting as taking a final leave. So unhappily it proved; he died at a quarter before twelve the same night, without a groan. The funeral, as he desired, was Mohammedan, conducted with all proper regard to the respectable rank which he had held in the eyes of the natives. Upon this point I had no difficulty in deciding, after his own expression on the subject. The Arabic manuscripts for the University of Cambridge are in a large chest, and shall be forwarded by the first safe opportunity, together with his papers, which are few, and appear to be chiefly copies of what I believe him to have already transmitted.”

To those who have perused the preceding extracts from Mr. Burckhardt’s correspondence, it will be almost superfluous to add any remarks upon his character. As a traveller, he possessed talents and acquirements, which were rendered doubly useful, by his qualities as a man. To the fortitude and ardour of mind, which had stimulated him to devote his life to the advancement of science, in the paths of geographical discovery, he joined a temper and prudence, well calculated to ensure his triumph over every difficulty. His liberality and high principles of honour, his admiration of those generous qualities in others, his detestation of injustice and fraud, his disinterestedness and keen sense of gratitude were no less remarkable, than his warmth of heart and active benevolence, which he often exercised towards persons in distress, to the great prejudice of his limited means. No stronger example can easily be given of sensibility united with greatness of mind, than the feelings which he evinced on his death bed, when his mother’s name, and the failure of the great object of his travels, were the only subjects upon which he could not speak without hesitation. By the African Association his loss is severely felt, nor can they easily hope to supply the place of one whom birth, education, genius, and industry, conspired to render well adapted to whatever great enterprise his fortitude and honourable ambition might have prompted him to undertake. The strongest testimony of their approbation of his zealous services is due from his employers, to their late regretted traveller; but it is from the public and from posterity, that his memory will receive its due reward of fame; for it cannot be doubted that his name will be held in honourable remembrance, as long as any credit is given to those who have fallen in the cause of science.

Although the journeys of Mr. Burckhardt in the parts of Africa, to the southward of Egypt, together with the oral information which he obtained, relative to the interior regions situated to the westward of those countries, are the only parts of his transmitted papers, which belong in strictness to the objects of an Association for promoting the discovery of the interior parts of Africa; yet his remarks upon several parts of Syria, the Holy Land, and Arabia, are so replete with new and accurate information, that the Association cannot think itself justified in withholding them from the public. His travels in Nubia, and all his information upon the north-eastern parts of Africa, have therefore been selected for a first volume, and it is in the contemplation of the Association, to continue the publication of his remarks upon the other countries described by him, in the order of precedence to which they shall appear to be entitled, by the novelty or importance of their matter.

There remains only one observation to be made by the member of the Committee, upon whom has devolved the task of editing the present volume. Although Mr. Burckhardt was gifted by nature with sagacity and memory.for making accurate observations, and with taste and imagination to give a lively description of them, it must not be forgotten, that he wrote in a language which was not his native tongue, which he did not learn until he was twenty-five years of age, and in the writing of which he had little exercise, until he had arrived in those countries, where he very seldom heard it spoken, and where he had still more rarely any opportunities of referring to English models of composition. When, in addition to these great disadvantages, it is considered that the journal which forms the contents of this volume, was only once transcribed from his collection of daily notes, and was written, as the traveller himself states, in the corner of an open court, by the side of his camels, under the influence of the hot winds of the Desert, and under the sufferings of an ophthalmia, the reader will easily believe that the Editor has found it necessary to make some alterations in the diction of the original manuscript. Some changes of arrangement have also been occasionally required, in order to bring together dispersed observations upon the same subject, which, having been noticed as they occurred, are, as usual in the first transcription of a traveller’s journal, found in such a desultory and unconnected state, as could not be agreeable to the reader. In these attempts of the Editor to present the work to the public in a more perspicuous form, it has at the same time been his most studious endeavour to make as few changes as possible; for he would much rather expose himself to the imputation of having left passages liable to be criticized for inelegance and an idiom not English, than to that of having, in the remotest manner, injured the spirit and originality of the Author’s thoughts and expressions, by an ill-judged attempt to polish or correct them.

Journey along the Banks of the Nile, from Assouan to Mahass, on the Frontiers of Dongola.

AFTER having visited most of the celebrated ruins in the valley of the Nile, I arrived at Assouan on the 22d of February, 1813, being actuated by a strong desire of continuing my journey up the river, as far as I should be able to do it, without exposing myself to imminent danger. During a week’s stay at Esne, the last town of note in Upper Egypt, I had collected a good deal of information concerning the state of Nubia, and had taken my measures accordingly. Amongst other arrangements, it became necessary for me to purchase a pair of good dromedaries, one for myself, and another for the guides, whom I might hire at the several places I should pass through in Nubia; I therefore sold the two asses, which had carried me from Cairo to Esne, and bought, for about 22l., two dromedaries which proved upon trial, to be excellent animals; for during a journey of thirty-five days, from Assouan to Mahass, and back again, I allowed them only one day’s rest, and generally rode them ten hours per day. There is a market for camels in Esne, famous all over Egypt, from being frequented by the Arabs Bishárye and Ababde, who possess the best breed of camels in these parts of Africa. The Turkish governor of Esne, Hassan Beg, a native of Cyprus, furnished me, at my request, with a strong letter of recommendation to the three brothers, sons of Soleyman Kashef, who at present govern Nubia: and it was hoped that the increasing power of Mohammed Aly, the Pasha of Egypt, would render such a letter from one of his principal officers, of some weight. I had, besides, a firman from the Pasha himself, but as it was written in Turkish, which nobody reads in Nubia, and of a general nature, I placed little reliance upon it, further than as it contained among other names, those of the castle of Ibrim, and of its governor, which might be distinguished even by an Arab reader. The letter upon which I principally founded my hopes of success, was from the house of Habater, the principal merchants in Esne, to whom I had been recommended by a friend at Cairo. The Habater have almost monopolized the Nubian trade in dates; they act as the chargés d’affaires of the Nubian princes in all their political transactions with Egypt, and being also Sherifs, or descendants of the Prophet, and men of large fortunes, they enjoy great credit, and their recommendation may be useful to travellers and merchants in the whole route up the Nile, as far as Sennaar.

After an easy journey of four days from Esne, I reached Assouan, the most romantic spot in Egypt, but little deserving the lofty praises which some travellers have bestowed on it for its antiquities, and those of the neighbouring island of Elephantine. Hassan Beg, of Esne, had, given me a letter to the Aga of Assouan, to whom I applied for a guide to conduct me as far as Derr, where Hassan Kashef, one of the Nubian chiefs, resides: an old Arab, a native of Nubia, was soon found for this purpose, and after bargaining a long while, I at last agreed to give him one Spanish dollar for his services to Derr, which was considered an ample payment for a journey of 140 miles. I left at Assouan my servant, with the little baggage I had; and after purchasing some provisions, started, with my guide, on the 24th of February, carrying nothing with me but my gun, sabre, and pistol, a provision bag, and a woollen mantle (Heram) of Moggrebyn manufacture, which served either for a carpet, or a covering during the night. I was dressed in the Thabaut, or blue gown, of the merchants of Upper Egypt, having quitted my common Turkish travelling dress at Esne. After estimating the expenses which I was likely to incur in Nubia, I put eight Spanish dollars into my purse, in conformity with the principle I have constantly acted upon during my travels, namely, that the less the traveller spends while on his march, and the less money he carries with him, the less likely are his travelling projects to miscarry. After a journey of 450 miles up the Nile, from Assouan, and the same distance down again, I returned with three dollars, having spent about five dollars, including every expense, except the present to Hassan Kashef. This must not be attributed to parsimony; I mention it here as a part of my plan of travelling, and by way of advice to all travellers who visit unknown and dangerous countries in the East.

February 24th, 1813. I left Assouan at noon, and proceeded by the tombs of the ancient Saracen town of Assouan, on the east side of the hill where the French under Desaix raised a bastion. A high brick tower, dedicated to the memory of the Turkish saint, Shikh Wanes (شيخ وانس), stands near it. The Turkish sepulchres cover a space of nearly three miles in circumference. Here a great number of highly esteemed saints are buried, whose tombs are visited by devotees from all parts of Egypt. The Cufic tombstones are innumerable, but the inscriptions upon them are not of a remote date: and the letters are badly shaped. Makrizi, the Egyptian historian, relates, that in the year 806 of the Mohammedan æra, 21,000 persons died of the plague at Assouan; a fact by which we may estimate the importance of the town in those times. About one mile distant from the tombs begins the brick wall mentioned by Denon, called Hayt el Adjour (حيط العجور) which continues along the sandy plain between the granite rocks, as far as the neighbourhood of the island of Philæ. The inhabitants say that this wall was built by a king of the name of Adjour. I think it was intended as a defence against the inroads of the Bedouins of the eastern mountain, at the time when a brisk overland transport trade existed between Philæ and Syene. The natives say that it was originally the embankment of a canal; and Norden is of opinion that in ancient times, the bed of the Nile was on this side. But this seems impossible, as the ground evidently rises from Philæ towards Assouan. On the granite rocks along the road, hieroglyphic inscriptions are met with, which increase in numbers as we approach the island. There are also some illegible Greek inscriptions, which probably once recorded the names of curious Greek travellers. There is another and longer road from Assouan to Philæ, along the side of the river, by the Cataract.

After riding about four miles from Assouan, we reached an open plain, free from rocks, on the west side of which the river flows: here the ruins of the island of Philæ (اَنس الوجود), Anas el Wodjoud presented themselves to my view. As there was no vessel at hand to convey me over to the island, and knowing that I should pass this way on my return to Assouan, I did not stop any longer than was necessary to look at the granite rocks, on the banks of the river, where the famous seat, of which many travellers have given drawings, principally attracts notice. The small village opposite Philæ is called Birbe; and is the boundary of Egypt. The different hamlets, from hence down the river, as far as Assouan, form part of the territory of Birbe; which, in consequence of old firmans from the Porte, enjoys an entire exemption from all kinds of land tax. On the south side of Birbe commences the territory of the Nubian princes, to which Philæ belongs. The natives, in the invirons of the Cataract, are an independent race, and boast of the security which the nature of the ground affords to their homes; many of them inhabit the islands, and support their families principally by fishing in the river.

At the time of my visit, the Nubians belonging to Assouan were at war with their southern neighbours, occasioned by the latter having intercepted a vesel laden with dates, knowing it to belong to a merchant of Assouan. A battle had been fought opposite Philæ, a few days before my arrival, in which a pregnant woman was killed by a stone; for whenever the Nubians are engaged in skirmishes, their women join the party, and furiously attach each other, armed with slings. The southern party, to whom the deceased belonged, was now demanding from their enemies the debt of blood, not only of the woman, but of the child also, which she bore in her womb at the time of her death. This the latter refused to pay, and being the weaker in numbers, and there being no garrison at Assouan to support them, the men thought proper to retire from the field; they abandoned the villages nearest to Philæ, leaving only their women and female children, and retired with the males to Assouan. On my return from Mahass, peace had not yet been restored; the Nubians were still at Assouan, where a caravan of women arrived daily, with provisions for their husbands.

We recrossed the before mentioned plain, opposite the island, where I observed numerous fragments of pottery, and then ascended the mountain to the south of it, there being no road fit for camels by the side of the river. We traversed the deep valleys of this mountain for about two hours. The rocks present an endless variety of granite, among which a rose-coloured species is particularly beautiful. Sienite, and red feldspath, together with granite, compose this chain. We afterwards descended again to the side of the river, near one of the small hamlets which compose the district of Shamet el Wah (شعامت الواح). The bed of the river here is free from rocks and islands, but its banks, on both sides, are so narrow, that there is hardly a hundred yards of cultivable ground. Half an hour farther, we reached the village of Sak el Djemel (ساق الجمل), belonging to the district called Wady Debot, and alighted at the Shikh’s house, where we passed the night. Here I first tasted the country dish which, during a journey of five weeks, became my constant food; thin, unleavened, and slightly baked cakes of Dhourra, served up with sweet or sour milk. From the Dhourra being badly ground, this food is very coarse, and nothing but absolute hunger could have tempted me to taste it.

February 25. I continued along the east bank of the river. The road the whole of the way to Derr is perfectly safe, provided one of the natives accompanies the traveller. I every where found the people to be possessed of a degree of curiosity which I had never met with before. Whenever we passed a village, often at a full trot, the men came running out of their houses, and across the fields, to ask my guide who I was, and what was the object of my journey. The answer was, that I was sent from Esne to Derr, with letters from the governor to the Nubian chiefs. They would then enquire after the contents of the letters, and, that they might do this more at their ease, would press me to alight, and breakfast with them. One hour and a half brought us to Wady Syale (وادي سياله). Two hours and a half, Wady Abdoun (وادي عبدون). Four hours, Wady Dehmyt, (وادي دهميت). All the villages, as far as Dóngola, are called Wady, or valley. There are always three or four of them comprised under one general name: thus, Wady Dehmyt extends about four miles along the bank of the river, and includes upwards of half a dozen hamlets, each of which has its particular name. Travellers, therefore, who note down the names of villages in these parts, will easily be led into mistakes, by confounding the collective appellation with that of the single hamlet. There are few large villages; but groups of five or six houses are met with wherever a few palm trees grow on the banks of the stream, or wherever the breadth of the soil is sufficient to admit of cultivation.

I found Daoud Kashef, the son of Hosseyn Kashef, encamped with a party of men at Dehmyt, in huts constructed of Dhourra stalks. I alighted at his own hut, and breakfasted there, informing him, that I was sent on business to his father and uncles. The governors of Nubia are continually moving from one part of their dominions to another, to collect the tribute from their subjects, and are always accompanied by a guard of forty or fifty men, in order to levy it by force, wherever necessary, and to be the better able to commit depredations. On the night preceding my arrival at Dehmyt, a Nubian came to me at Sak el Djemel, to complain of Daoud’s tyranny; it had been reported to the latter, that this man, with his family, was secretly indulging in bread made from wheat, a sufficient proof of great wealth. Daoud’s people, in consequence, surrounded his house during the night, and demanded from him a camel, as a present to their master: on his refusal to comply, they attacked the house; and as the owner had no near neighbours, he in vain attempted to defend himself: he was severely wounded, and the whole of his property fell a prey to the aggressors. Daoud was but poorly equipped; he was dressed in the common white shirt of the country. He asked me for some gunpowder, and, on my telling him that the supply I had of that article was scarcely sufficient for myself, he did not appear at all offended by the refusal. Several hundred peasants were assembled round the camp, with herds of cows and sheep, with which they pay their land tax.

We quitted Dehmyt, and in five hours from our departure from Wady Debot, reached Wady Kardassy (وادي كردسه), where I passed the ruin of a small temple, of which one corner of the wall only remains standing. I saw no fragments of columns; but, on some of the stones which lay scattered about, hieroglyphic figures are sculptured; and the winged globe appears upon several of them. On the west side of the river, opposite to this place, is a large ruin. My guide told me, that, at a long day’s journey from hence, in the eastern mountain, are the ruins of a city called Kamle. In five hours and a half, we came to Djama (جمع); and in six hours, to Tafa (تافه); the villages so named lying on both sides of the river. The plain between the banks of the river and the foot of the mountain is about a quarter of a mile in breadth. Here are the ruins of two buildings, standing near each other, of which nothing now remains but the foundations; they are constructed of sand-stone, in a very rude manner, and are about forty feet square. There are no fragments of columns, nor of sculptured stones of any kind. There are also some ruins on the opposite side. These are undoubtedly the remains of Taphis and Contra Taphis. Immediately to the south of the ruins, the mountains on both sides of the river prevent all passage along its banks; the road, in consequence, lies, for one hour, across the mountain, which I again found to be composed of rocks of granite. The granite chain had been uninterrupted from Assouan to Dehmyt. To the south of Dehmyt, the mountain which borders the river is composed of sand-stone, and continues thus as far as the second Cataract, at Wady Halfa, with the exception only of the granite rocks above Tafa, which extend as far as Kalabshe.

We descended again to the bank of the river in one hour, and passed the village of Darmout (درموت) built partly upon a rocky island, and partly upon the high rocks of the eastern shore. The effect of the evening sun upon the black granite islands, surrounded by the pure stream, and the verdant banks, was very beautiful From hence to Tafa the river is studded with numerous islands. Seven hours and three quarters brought us to El Kalabshe (القلابشه), the largest Wady, or assemblage of villages, we had yet passed. Although the plain is very narrow, there are nevertheless considerable mounds of rubbish and broken pottery, along the foot of the mountain, indicating the site of an ancient town; and as there is a large ruin opposite to this place, on the western bank, we may safely conjecture these to be Talmis and Contra Talmis[.] There are no remains of any edifice on the eastern side. The two hundred houses which compose the village on that bank occupy a space of about half an hour in length. In eight hours and a half we came to El Shekeyk(الشقيق); in eight hours and three quarters, to Abou Hor (ابو هور). In the course of this day, I passed several beds of torrents. When the rains are copious in the mountain, torrents occasionally rush down into the river, but they never continue longer than two days. These torrents account for the momentary increase of the Nile in Egypt, during the winter, when the river is at its lowest. Throughout Nubia, rain never falls in the valley, some light showers excepted; but there is a regular rainy season in the eastern mountains, as far as Suez, which produces abundant crops of wild herbs, and pasturage for the cattle of the Bedouins who inhabit those districts. I had occasion to mention a similar phenomenon, in my former Journals, in the mountains of Eastern Palestine. In the Ghor, or valley of the Jordan, rain seldom falls, while the mountains on either side have their regular rainy season. Our host at Abou Hor served us this evening with the dish called Asyde, which consists of the green ears of barley boiled in water, and mixed with milk.

Feb. 26th. The Wady Abou Hor is about three quarters of an hour in length. After a ride of two hours we passed the village Dandour (دندور); three hours and a half, Wady Abyadh (وادي ابيض). the plain still continuing very narrow. In order to gain some soil from the river, the ancient inhabitants of Nubia had erected numerous piers or jetties of stone, extending for twenty or thirty yards into the river; which, by breaking the force of the stream, would leave, on their northern side, a small extent of land free from water. Many of the piers still remain, but in a decayed state. I generally observed, on the western side of the river, a similar structure, exactly opposite to that on the eastern. In four hours and a half, Merye (مريه); five hours, Gyrshe (كرشه). I passed the ruins of an ancient town, probably Saracen, built partly of bricks, and partly of small stones. The natives say that a king of the name of Dabagora reigned here. The plain at Gyrshe is broader than I had any where yet seen it, to the south of Assouan, being about a mile. Like all the villages I had hitherto passed, Gyrshe is but poorly inhabited, two-thirds of the houses being abandoned. The country had been ruined by the Mamelouks, who remained here several months, when on their retreat before the Turkish troops of Mohammed Aly; and the little they left behind was consumed by the Turks under Ibrahim Beg, Mohammed Aly’ son, who finally succeeded in driving the Mamelouks out of Nubia, and across the mountains, into the plains of Dóngola. A terrible famine broke out after their retreat, in which one-third of the population of Nubia perished through absolute want; the remainder retired into Egypt, and settled in the villages between Assouan and Esne, where numbers of them were carried off by the small-pox. The present inhabitants had returned only a few months before my visit to these parts, and had begun to sow the fields after the inundation had subsided; but many of their brethren still con tinued in Egypt. The great number of newly-dug graves which I observed near each village, were too convincing proofs of the truth of the melancholy accounts which the natives gave me.

In six hours I came to Wady Kostamne (قُستَمنه) well built village. Here the Mamelouks fought a battle with the troops of Ibrahim Beg, and were routed. They retreated to the eastern mountains, where they remained for several months, till their enemies retired to Assouan; when the greater part of the Begs descended to the banks of the Nile, and as the stream happened at that moment (May, 1812) to be extremely low, they crossed it at a ford near Kostamne, with all their women and baggage. Some of them continued their route southward along the western bank, plundering in their way all the villages of Derr, Wady Halfa, Sukkot, and Mahass; while the chief Begs, with their Mamelouks, made a shortcut through the western desert; and the whole party united again on the banks of the Nile, near Argo, one of the principal places within the dominions of the King of Dongola; mustering in the whole about three hundred white Mamelouks, and as many armed slaves, the wretched remains of upwards of four thousand, against whom Mohammed Aly had begun his contest for the possession of Egypt. The fate of about twelve hundred of them, who, with their chief, Shahin Beg, were treacherously slaughtered in the castle of Cairo, notwithstanding the most solemn promises of personal security had been given to them, is too well known to be repeated here; but a similar massacre, which took place at Esne, is less known, and may here be related, as serving to prove the stupidity and infatuation which have always presided over the councils of the Mamelouks. These fierce horsemen had sought refuge in the mountains inhabited by the Ababde and Bisharye Arabs, where all their horses died from want of food, and where even the richest Begs had been obliged to expend their last farthing, in order to feed their troops, provisions being sold to them by the Arabs at the most exorbitant prices. Thus cut off from all the comforts, and luxuries of Egypt, to which they had been accustomed from their infancy, Ibrahim Beg thought it a propitious moment to ensnare them, as his father had done their brethren at Cairo. With this design, he sent them the most solemn promises of safe conduct, if they would descend from the mountain, and pledged himself that they should be all placed in situations under the government of Mohammed Aly, corresponding with the rank which each individual then held amongst themselves. It will hardly be believed that, well acquainted as they were with the massacre at Cairo in the preceding year, more than four hundred Mamelouks, headed by several Begs, accepted the delusive offer, and descended in small parties from the mountains. They were stripped in the way by faithless guides, so that, with the exception of about thirty, the whole reached the camp of Ibrahim Beg, then near Esne, in a state of nakedness. After the different parties had all joined, and it was ascertained that no others were ready to follow them, the signal of carnage was given, and the whole of them, with about two hundred black slaves, were unmercifully slaughtered in one night. Two French Mamelouks only were saved, through the interest of the physician of Ibrahim Beg. Similar instances of perfidy daily occur among the Turks; and it is matter of astonishment, that men should still be found stupid enough to allow themselves to be thus ensnared by them.

Eight hours and a quarter brought us to Djebel Heyaty (جبل حياتي) eight hours and a half to Kobban (قبّان), opposite the fine temple of Dakke, which stands on the western bank.

February 27. Near Kobban are the remains of an ancient town, enclosed by a wall of bricks burnt in the sun, much resembling that of Eleithias, to the north of Edfou in Egypt. The length of the oblong square is about 150 paces, its breadth 100 paces. The wall is upwards of 20 feet in thickness, and in several places more than 30 feet in height. Within its area are ruins of private habitations, partly constructed of stone, and partly of bricks. Some capitals of small columns of the Egyptian order lay about. On the S.E. corner of the wall, beyond its precincts, is the ruin of a very small Egyptian chapel, of a rude construction, with a few stones only remaining above the foundations. There are several hieroglyphic figures: a chariot sculptured on a stone indicates that a battle was represented. It appears that this enclosure, which stands close to the river, was meant as a castle. Large mounds of rubbish, the ruins of the ancient town, continue for about five minutes walk further. In one hour, I reached Oellaky (علاقي), having passed, close to it, a broad canal: similar canals are met with in almost every part of Nubia, where the extent of the shore, and its height above the level of the river, rendered artificial irrigation necessary; but they are now no longer taken care of, and are gradually choaking up. The plain here is a mile in breadth. Oellaky has given its name to a chain of mountains, which begins to the east of it, and runs quite across the high hills of the eastern desert, towards the shores of the Red Sea. If I am not mistaken, Bruce passed this chain. According to the reports of the natives, and the unanimous testimony of all the Arabian geographers, this mountain, called Djebel Oellaky, contains gold mines; I am inclined to believe, however, that the Bedouins, who alone wander about in those districts, and who must therefore be the authors of such reports, have mistaken yellow mica for gold; for the river carries down with it through the whole of Nubia a great deal of micaceous sand. Hassan Beg, the governor of Esne, who is fond of mineralogy, as far as it relates to precious stones and metals, had read in some book, of the mines of Oellaky; and being desirous to ascertain whether the report was true, sent four of his soldiers to escort a Greek, who pretends to a knowledge in stones, with an order to make researches in the mountain. They reached the village of Oellaky, and proceeded from thence about two hours to the eastward; but being frightened by a report that a large party of Mamelouks was descending from the mountain, they immediately returned, throwing the whole country into an alarm. I had met them at Dehmyt, when they earnestly pressed me to return with them, assuring me that the Mamelouks would certainly strike off my head, if they learnt that I was the bearer of letters from Hassan Beg. There was some truth in the report; for two Mamelouk Begs, Ibrahim Beg Djezayrly, and Osman Beg Bouhanes, who had remained in these mountains with the Arabs, after the departure of their companions for Dongola, in order to be as near at hand as possible, in the event of a change taking place in Egypt, had at last, with five of their women, and two servants only, been obliged, through absolute want, to rejoin their brethren. All the money and valuables which they possessed had been extorted from them by the Arabs, as the price of provisions; their horses had died; their Mamelouks had deserted them; and their clothes and equipages were in rags; in this state, they abandoned for the present all ideas of the re-conquest of Egypt, and quitting their station near the shores of the Red Sea opposite Djidda, they took the road to Derr. The arrival of the Greek and the four soldiers above mentioned drove them back one day’s journey into the mountain, until their spies informed them of their departure; they then returned, and arrived at Derr one day before me.

I travelled from two to three hours along a rocky shore, opposite the island Derar (درار), which is well cultivated, and about three quarters of an hour in length. On the western bank is the village of Korty. From three to four hours the Wady Meharraka (وادي محرقّه) extends; and farther south, from four to five hours, the Wady Thyale (وادي ثياله). I had here the pleasure of falling in with two English travellers, Messrs. Legh and Smelt, and Captain Barthod, an American; I had already seen the two former at Cairo, and at Siout. They had left Cairo on board a country ship, two days after my departure from thence, and on reaching Assouan, had hired a large boat to carry them up to Derr, from whence they had visited Ibrim, being the first Europeans who had reached that place, and examined the antiquities between it and the island of Philæ; for Norden saw them only through his telescope. I hailed their boat as I rode along the bank of the river, and we passed a few hours together, after which they pursued their course down to Assouan. In five hours and a half, I came to Wady Name (وادي نعمه); in six hours, Bareda (بارده); six and a half, Kokan (قوكان); here I saw a great number of crocodiles, the first I had seen since leaving Cairo, my road through Egypt having seldom been close along the river. Here also I observed stone piers in the river at several places. Seven hours and a half, Wady Nasrellab (وادي نصر الاب). South of Kokan, for two hours, the mountains come down so close to the river as to leave no space for a passage along its banks, and of course none for cultivation. We passed several beds of torrents. Eight hours and a half brought me to Wady Medyk (وادي مديك) where I slept.

February 28th. One hour from Wady Medyk is Wady Seboua (وادي سبوع), or the Lion’s Wady, so called from the figures of sphynxes with the bodies of lions, which stand before the ruined temple on the west side of the river, opposite to Seboua. This is the best cultivated part of the country which I met with, between Assouan and Derr. The inhabitants of Seboua, and those of Wady el Arab, to the south of them, are active merchants, and possessed of considerable wealth. They travel across the mountain to Berber (where Bruce’s Goos lies), eight days journies distant, and import from thence all the different articles of the Sennaar trade. This route is so perfectly secure that parties with four or five laden camels arrive almost weekly; but the character of these Arab merchants themselves is very indifferent; they are treacherous, and despised for their want of hospitality. The inhabitants of Seboua and Wady el Arab are not, like all their neighbours, of the tribe of Kenous, but belong to the Arabs Aleykat (عليقات), who are originally from the Hedjaz. Some of them wander about in the eastern mountains, like Bedouins; they all speak exclusively Arabic, and the greater part of them are ignorant of the language of the Kenous. The governors of Nubia levy a tribute from all the goods imported from the south by the Aleykat; but the latter being numerous, and well armed, seldom submit to any extra exactions from the governors, and have thus acquired considerable property. They dispose of the slaves, ivory, gum arabic, ostrich feathers, and camels, which they bring from Berber, in Upper Egypt, where they purchase the merchandize necessary for the southern market.

Two hours and a half from Wady Medyk is Wady el Arab (وادي العرب), where, besides the Aleykat, Arabs of the tribe of Gharbye (غربي) have been settled since the period of the Mohammedan conquest of Nubia. The shore is every where well cultivated. From three hours and a half, till five hours and a half, the rock is close to the river, with a narrow footpath on the bank; the road for camels traverses the rugged sand-rocks and deep valleys of the mountain. Five hours and a half brought us to Wady Songary (وادي سنكاري); six hours and a half, to Korosko (قرسكو). Here the shore widens, and a grove of date-trees begins, which lines the banks of the river as far as Ibrim. Groups of houses are now met with at every hundred yards, which render it difficult to determine the exact limits of each village. At seven hours, is Beshyra Nerke (بشير نرقه); seven and a quarter, Shakke (شقّه); eight hours, Kherab (خراب). Here are some heaps of hewn stones, the remains of ancient edifices, from which the village has taken its name (Kherab signifying ruined). Nine hours, Wady Ueshra (وادي عشرا). Nine and a half, Wady Diwan (ديوان). Ten and a half, Derr, (الدر), the chief place between Egypt and Dongola. I do not remember to have seen, in any part of Egypt, fields more carefully cultivated than are those between Korosko and Derr. The peasants houses too are larger, and more cleanly, than those of the Egyptian Felah.

March 1st. I had reached Derr late in the evening, and alighted at the house of Hassan Kashef, as do all travellers of respectability, and where the two Mamelouk Begs above mentioned were also quartered. As the governor had retired to his women’s apartments, I did not wait upon him, but went to rest, having refused to answer all the inquisitive questions put to me as well by his people, as by the servants of the Begs; but the next morning, Hassan, after having visited the Mamelouks, surprised me in the open hall where I was lodged, before I had risen, and immediately asked me what was the object of my arrival, and whether I was a merchant, or sent to him by the Pasha of Egypt. It had been my intention, before I knew of the arrival of the Mamelouks, to pass for a person sent by the Pasha upon a secret mission into Nubia, having learnt from the people of Upper Egypt, that the governors of that country dread the power of Mohammed Aly, and would not dare to molest me: but when I was apprised of the arrival of the two Begs, and being also led to believe, from the conversation of the peasants at whose houses I had slept in my way up to Derr, that the Nubian princes were as much afraid of the Mamelouks, their southern neighbours, as they are of their northern one, I thought it would be dangerous to disguise my real intentions; and, encouraged by the success of Messrs. Legh and Smelt, I candidly told Hassan Kashef, that I had merely come to make a tour of pleasure through Nubia, like the two gentlemen who had been at Derr before me; and presented to him, at the same time, my letters of recommendation. I however profited little by my candour. The frank avowal of my intentions was interpreted as a mere scheme of deception; no one would believe that I was only a curious traveller; the Arabic I spoke, and my acquaintance with Turkish manners, led the Kashef to believe that I was a Turk, and sent by Hassan Beg of Esne to watch his motions; and the two Begs, although they had behaved remarkably civil to me, upon my visiting them, strengthened the Kashef in his opinion. I spent the whole of this day, and part of the next, in negotiations with the governor, in order to obtain a guide to conduct me to the southward. An offering of soap, coffee, and two red caps, worth, altogether, about sixty piastres, which I made to him, would, at any other time, have been very acceptable; but the presents made to him by Messrs. Legh and Smelt were worth about 1000 piastres, and they had only gone to Ibrim, “while you,” said the Governor, “give me a few trifles, and wish to go beyond that place, even to the second Cataract.”— I replied, that my present was certainly not proportionate to his rank and claims; but that it was already more than my means could afford; and that I thought myself possessed of an advantage over my predecessors in my letters of recommendation from Esne. The following lucky incident at last led to the attainment of my wishes: I had been informed that a large caravan was on its way from Mahass to Esne, and that a considerable part of the merchandize belonged to the Kashef himself, who wished to sell it at Siout and Cairo. I therefore waited privately upon him, and told him, that if I returned to Esne, and the Beg who had given me the letter of recommendation, should be informed of the little attention that had been paid to his letter, in not allowing me to pass beyond the second Cataract, notwithstanding its express tenour that I should be so permitted, he would readily think himself justified in raising a contribution upon the caravan on its arrival at Esne, or impeding its route towards Siout. This became a matter of serious reflection with the Kashef; and he at last addressed me in the following terms: “Whoever you may be, whether an Englishman, like the two other persons who passed here, or an agent of the Pasha, I shall not send you back unsatisfied: you may proceed; but, farther than Sukkot the road is not safe for you; and from thence, therefore, you will return.” I requested a letter of recommendation for Sukkot, which was immediately written, and a Bedouin guide also was soon found. I bought some Dhourra and dates, for provision on the road, and left Derr a little before noon on the 2d of March, the two Mamelouk Begs in vain endeavouring to create obstacles to the prosecution of my journey. But before I continue the description of my route, I shall here give some details concerning the country I had already passed through from Assouan, and its inhabitants.

The general direction of the river from Assouan to Korosko is south; it there takes a western course, which it retains the whole of the way to Dongola. The eastern bank is, throughout, better adapted for cultivation than the western; and wherever the former is of any breadth, it is covered with the rich alluvial earth deposited by the Nile. On the western side, on the contrary, the sands of the desert are impetuously carried to the very brink of the river, by the north-west winds which prevail during the winter and spring seasons; and it is, generally, only in those places where the course of the sandy torrent is arrested by the mountain, that the narrow plain admits of cultivation. The eastern shore is, in consequence, much more populous than the western; but it is not a little singular, that all the chief remains of antiquity are upon the latter. The ancient Egyptians, perhaps, worshipped their bounteous deities more particularly in those places where they had most to dread from the inimical deity Typhon, or the personified desert, who stands continually opposed to the beneficent Osiris, or the waters of the Nile.

The bed of the river is, in general, much narrower than in any part of Egypt, and the course of its waters less impeded by sandbanks. Immediately after the inundation, the poor Nubians cultivate, on the narrow shore, Dhourra, and the grain called Dokhen (دخن), of which bread is made; but it is upon the crop of Dhourra that they depend for their subsistence; while its dry stalks serve during the whole of the summer, as food for their cattle, instead of straw. The Birsim, or lucerne of Egypt, is unknown here, as well as in Upper Egypt, south of Kenne. After the inundation has subsided, and the Dhourra harvest is finished, the soil is irrigated by means of water wheels (Sakie ساقيه), turned by cows, which throw up the water either from the river, or from pits dug in the shore; for water is every where found in plenty, on digging to the depth of fifteen or twenty feet, after the inundation; it is the same in Upper Egypt during the summer; but the water of these pits or wells has a disagreeable, brackish taste; and even the best of it is very heavy, and difficult to digest. In order that the soil may be well soaked, the fields are divided into numerous small squares, of about ten feet each, with elevated borders, so as to retain the water, which is conveyed to them by narrow side channels. The fields are then sown for the second time with barley, a kind of bean called Kasherangag, tobacco of the worst kind, and the French bean (Louby), the leaves of which afford, when boiled, a soup much esteemed among the Nubians. I seldom saw any wheat. Near Derr are some fields of lentils, peas, and water melons. On the declivity of the shore, towards the river, which is more humid, and less exposed to the sun than the upper plain, a kind of bitter horse-bean (Turmus ترمس) is sown, which does not require irrigation; they are well known in Egypt, and are the Lupini of the Italians. The wheat and barley are ripe in the middle of March. In the end of April, after the latter is reaped, the ground is sometimes sown, a third time, with Dhourra; and watered by means of the water-wheels. This is called “the summer seed” (زرع صيفي), and comes to maturity in the month of July; but the most fertile spots only are used for it.

Besides the palm and Doum tree, a variety of thorny trees of the Mimosa species (Sant صنت) grow wild on the banks of the river. The low shrub of the Senna (Senna mekke سنا مكّه), is every where met with from Esne to Mahass, growing wild, but upon those spots only which have been inundated. This Senna, however, is little esteemed for its quality, and is used only by the peasants, who are well acquainted with its medicinal virtues. The Senna of Upper Egypt is distinguished from that of Nubia, and of the mountains, by the larger size of its leaves. Among the mounds of sand on the western shore grows the tamarisk (طرفا), the same tree which lines the borders of the Euphrates, in the Mesopotamian deserts.

Of animals I saw but few, in riding along the banks of the river. The cattle of the Nubians consist in cows, sheep, and goats; and sometimes a few buffaloes are met with. The wealthier have asses. Few camels are seen, except among the merchants of Seboua, and in Wady el Arab. In the eastern mountain, the mountain goat, or Bouquetin of the Alps, (called in Upper Egypt Taital تَيتل ) is found, one of which I saw at Siout: it is called Beden in Arabia Petræa. The Arabs Bisharye speak of a wild sheep, with straight horns, which inhabits their mountains. Gazelles of the common gray species are every where in great numbers; and hares are not uncommon; some of the Arabs Kerrarish hunt them both with greyhounds kept for that purpose.

The birds of Nubia are, a small species of partridge, with red legs, which sometimes afforded me a welcome supper; wild geese of the largest kind, a few storks, the eagle Rakham, crows in vast numbers, the bird Katta, but in small flights, and clouds of sparrows, which are the terror of the Nubians, as they devour at least one-third of the harvest. A species of lapwing is also extremely common. It is the head of this bird which is represented in the hieroglyphic figures upon the augural staff; at least so it appeared to me whenever I saw the bird displaying its crest. A white water-bird of the size of a large goose, called Kork, by the natives, inhabits the sandy islands in the Nile, in flocks of several hundreds together, but I could never get near enough to examine any of them. The bird Zakzak (زقزاق) frequently seen in Upper Egypt, which is said to creep into the crocodile’s mouth, and to feed upon the digested food which that animal throws up from its stomach, does not visit Nubia; neither did I see any bird of the shape of the Ibis.

On the sandy shore, on the west side of the Nile, are numberless beetles (Scarabæi), of great variety in size and shape; I often found the sandy road on that side completely covered with the traces of their feet. The Nubians, who call them Kafers, or Infidels, dread them from a belief that they are venomous, and that they poison whatever kind of food they touch. Their colour is generally black, and the largest I have seen were of the size of a half-crown piece. The worship paid to this animal by the ancient Egyptians may probably have had its origin in Nubia; it might well be adopted as a symbol of passive resignation to the decrees of providence; for it is impossible, from the sandy mounds which they inhabit, that these beetles can ever taste water, and the food they partake of must be very scanty; they are however always seen busily and unweariedly toiling their way over the sands.

The Nubians have no fishing apparatus whatever, except at the first Cataract, at Derr, and at the second Cataract, where some fish are occasionally caught in nets. The two species of fish which seem to be most common, are called by the natives Dabesk and Meslog.

The country which I had crossed, from Assouan to Derr, is divided by its inhabitants into two parts: the Wady el Kenous, which extends from Assouan to Seboua, and the Wady Nouba, comprising the whole country south of Seboua, as far as the northern limits of Dongola. Of the Wady Nouba, and its inhabitants, I shall speak hereafter. The Wady el Kenous is inhabited by the Arabs Kenous (sing. Kensy, قنسي), who derive their origin, according to their own tradition, from the deserts of Nedjed, and who settled here at the period when the great Bedouin tribes from the East spread over Egypt. Among these were also Bedouins of the neighbourhood of Bagdad, whose descendants are still known by the name of Bagdadli, and inhabit the Wady Dehmyt, and Wady el Embarakat, on the western side of the river. The Kenous are subdivided into many smaller tribes, which have given their names to the districts they inhabit; thus, Wady Nasrellab, Abou Hor, &c. &c., are inhabited by Kenous of the tribe of Nasrellab, and Abou Hor. Great jealousies often exist amongst these different tribes, which sometimes break out in wars.

It should seem that the new settlers had soon familiarized themselves with the conquered natives, whose language they adopted, and still retain. This language has no Arabic sounds whatever, and is spoken all the way south of Assouan, as far as Seboua, and in every village to the north of the former place, as far as Edfou; numbers of Kenous having settled in Upper Egypt in later times. I have subjoined a vocabulary of the Kenous and another of the Nouba. It is a fact worthy of notice, that two foreign tongues should have subsisted so long, to the almost entire exclusion of the Arabic, in a country bordered on one side by Dongola and on the other by Egypt, in both of which Arabic is exclusively spoken. Those only of the Kenous who have been in Egypt speak Arabic; their women are, for the greater part, entirely ignorant of it. Nor is it less remarkable that the Aleykat Arabs of Seboua, and Wady el Arab, have retained their pure Arabic, placed as they are on the boundaries both of the Kenous and Nouba. The men are acquainted with both languages; but the Aleykat women understand Arabic only.

The way of living, and the manners, of the Nouba and Kenous being much the same, I shall speak of them, after I have given a description of my route.

The neighbourhood of Derr is interesting on account of a temple situated on the declivity of a rocky hill, just behind the village. Its structure denotes remote antiquity. The gods of Egypt appear to have been worshipped here long before they were lodged in the gigantic temples of Karnac and Gorne, which are, to all appearance, the most ancient temples in Egypt. The temple of Derr is entirely hewn out of the sand-stone rock, with its pronaos, sekos or cella, and adyton. The pronaos consists of three rows of square pillars, four in each row. The row of pillars nearest the cella, which were originally joined by the roof to the main temple, are of larger dimensions than the rest; they are nearly four feet square, and about fourteen feet high, and are still entire, while fragments of the shafts only remain of the two outer rows. In front of each of the four pillars are the legs of a colossal figure, similar to those of the temple of Gorne, at Thebes. A portion of the excavated rock which had formed one of the walls of the pronaos, has fallen down; on the fragments of it, a battle is represented: the hero, in his chariot, is pursuing his vanquished foe, who retires to a marshy and woody country, carrying the wounded along with him. In a lower compartment of the same wall, the prisoners, with their arms tied behind their backs, are brought before the executioner, who is represented in the act of slaying one of them. All these figures are much defaced. On the opposite wall is their battle, but in a still more mutilated: in this, prisoners are brought before the hawk-headed Osiris. On the front wall of the cella, on each side of the principal entrance, Briareus is represented in the act of being slain, and Osiris, with uplifted arm, arresting the intended blow. This is the same group which is so often seen in the Egyptian temples; but, Briareus has here only two heads, and four arms, instead of the numerous heads and arms represented in Egypt. On the four pillars in front of the cella, variously dressed figures are sculptured, two generally together, taking each other by the hand. The Egyptian Mendes, or Priapus, is also repeatedly seen. The cella of the temple consists of an apartment thirteen paces square, which receives its light only through the principal gate, and a smaller one, on the side of it. Two rows of square pillars, three in each row, extend from the gate of the cella to the adytum: these pillars show the infancy of architecture, being mere square blocks, hewn out of the rock, without either base or capital; they are somewhat larger at the bottom than at the top. The inside walls of the cella, and its six pillars, are covered with mystic figures, in the usual style; they are of much ruder workmanship than any I have seen in Egypt. Some remains of colour prove that all these figures were originally painted. On one of the side walls of the cells, are five figures, in long robes, with shaven heads, carrying a boat upon their shoulders, the middle of which is also supported by a man with a lion’s skin upon his shoulder. In the posterior wall of the cells, is a door, with the winged globe over it, which leads into the small adytum, where the seats of four figures remain, cut out of the back wall. On both sides of the adytum are small chambers, with private entrances into the cella; in one of which a deep excavation makes it probable that it was used as a sepulchre.

On the side of the mountain, near the temple, are some sepulchral pits excavated out of the rocky ground: over two of them are the following inscriptions, which I copied:


Derr being the principal place in Nubia, and the usual residence of the chiefs, whenever they are not travelling about, is resorted to by strangers, and carries on some commerce. The dates of Derr and Ibrim are much esteemed in Egypt, and the merchants of Esne and Assouan export many ship-loads from hence in autumn, when the height of the waters insures a quick passage down the river. Young date trees are also carried hence to Egypt, as the trees propagated there from seed soon degenerate. The dates are paid for in Dhourra, and in coarse linen and Melayes, of Esne and Siout manufacture; but if the harvest of Dhourra has been abundant in Nubia, the payment is then made in Spanish dollars. The state of commercial intercourse in this country is, however, very bad; dates, for example, bought at Derr, even when paid for in cash, leave, when sold at Cairo, a clear profit, after paying all expenses, of at least 400 per cent. Dhourra, on the contrary, carried from Assouan to Derr, yields there 100 per cent. profit. The hundred weight of dates at Derr is worth about eight shillings. The common currency is the Moud, or small measure of Dhourra, by which every article of low value is estimated. The dollar is rather an article of exchange than a currency. Piastres and paras have only been known here since the invasion of the Mamelouks.

The village of Derr stands in a grove of date trees, and consists of about two hundred houses. Hassan Kashef and his two brothers have each a good house. The greater part of the inhabitants are Turks, the descendants of the Bosnian soldiers who were sent by Sultan Selym to take possession of the country.

March 2d. I departed from Derr with an old Arab, named Mohammed Abou Saad (محمّد أبو سَعد), one of the Bedouins called Kerrarish (قاريش). These Bedouins, a remote branch of the Ababde, pasture their cattle on the uninhabited banks of the river, and on its islands, from Derr southward, as far as Mahass and Dongola, where they are said to be more numerous than in Nubia. They are poor; their tents are formed of mats made of the leaves of palm-trees, with a partition in the middle to separate the women’s apartment; but, notwithstanding their poverty, they refuse to give their daughters in marriage to the Nubians, and have thus preserved their race pure. They pride themselves, and justly, in the beauty of their girls. The Kerrarish are, for the most part, in the service of the governors of Nubia, to whom they are attached as a corps of guards, and guides, and accompany them in their journies through their dominions. Whilst the father and grown up sons are absent, the mother and daughters remain in their solitary tent; for they generally live in separate families, and not in encampments. These Bedouins receive occasional presents from the chiefs of Nubia, and such of them as cultivate the islands in the river are exempted from taxes. They are a very honest and hospitable people, and more kind in their dispositions, than any of the inhabitants of Nubia whom I met with. Those who are not in the employ of the governors, gain their livelihood either by acting as guides, or in collecting the senna in the eastern mountain, which they sell to the merchants of Esne at about £1. per camel’s load (from four to five hundred weight). Numbers of them also travel from Wady Halfa, on the Nile, three days journies into the western desert, and collect there the Shabb, (شبّ) or nitre, which they exchange with the same merchants for Dhourra; giving two measures of the former for three equal measures of the latter. The nitre is found on digging only a few inches deep, and covers a space of several miles in extent. This is, however, a perilous traffic, as the inhabitants of Kubbanye, a village about twelve miles north of Assouan, also engage in it; these are eleven days in reaching the nitre pits, and whenever the two parties meet, a bloody conflict ensues. Between Wady Haifa and the Shabb, one day’s distance from the latter, is a spring where is some verdure, and where a few Doum trees grow. North of the Shabb, one day, in the direction of the great Oasis, is a similar spring, called Nary (ناري), with many date trees growing round it.

After having rode along by the date groves, and well built peasants houses, for about half an hour from Derr, we ascended the eastern mountain, the road along the river side being interrupted by the rocks. On the top of the mountain is a wide plain, covered with small fragments of loose sand-stone; and bordered on the east, at about two hours distance, by a higher range of mountains. We continued along this plain in the direction of W.S.W., until two hours and a half from Derr, when we descended again to the banks of the river, near the village Kette (قتّه), where we crossed the dry bed of a branch of the stream, and alighted on an island, at the tent of my guide, where I remained for the night. These people, who all speak Arabic as well as the Nouba language, are quite black, but have nothing of the Negro features. The men generally go naked, except a rag twisted round their middle; the women have a coarse shirt thrown about them. Both sexes suffer the hair of the head to grow; they cut it above the neck, and twist it all over in thin ringlets, in a way similar to that of the Arab of Souakin, whose portrait is given by Mr. Salt in Lord Valentia’s Travels. Their hair is very thick, but not woolly; the men never comb it, but the women sometimes do; the latter wear on the back part of the head, ringlets, or a small ornament, made of mother of pearl and Venetian glass beads. Both men and women grease their head and neck with butter whenever they can afford it; this custom answers two purposes; it refreshes the skin heated by the sun, and keeps off vermin. The young boys go quite naked; but the grown up girls tie round their waist a string of leather tassels, much resembling the feather ornaments worn for a like purpose by the south sea islanders.

March 3d. I sent my guide back to Derr, to purchase more Dhourra, in order that we might give some of it to the camels, in those places where no wild herbs grow; and on his return we set out. Our road lay along a grove of date trees, and an uninterrupted row of houses, for two hours, when the perpendicular rock reached close to the river. At the height of about sixty or eighty feet above the footpath, I observed from below, the entrance to an apartment hewn in the rock, but without any road leading to it, the rock being there quite perpendicular. In like manner I have seen sepulchres cut in the rock of Wady Mousa in Arabia Petræa, which can only be approached by means of ladders, forty or fifty feet in height. In two hours and a half we reached the castle of Ibrim (إبريم), which is now completely in ruins, the Mamelouks having sustained a siege in in last year, and in their turn besieged the troops of Ibrahim Beg, in the course of which operations, the walls were battered with the few cannon that were found in the castle, and many of the houses of the village levelled with the ground.

Ibrim is built upon an insulated rocky hill, just above the river, and is surrounded by barren mountains entirely incapable of cultivation, on the tops of which are many ancient tombs of Turkish saints. The houses are constructed of loose sand-stone, as is the modern wall which surrounds the town. On the west side are some remains of the ancient wall; this had been built of hewn stones cemented together with great neatness: the stones are rather small. It appeared to me to be an erection of the Lower Empire. Within the area of the town are the remains of two public buildings, probably Greek churches, built in the same style as the ancient wall. The castle is about fifteen minutes walk in circumference. A small gray granite column was the only remnant of antiquity it contained.

The castle of Ibrim, with its territory, which commences half an hour south of Derr, and extends as far as Tosko, is in the hands of the Aga of Ibrim, who is independent of the governors of Nubia; the inhabitants being thus freed from taxes, and paying nothing to their own Aga, had in the course of years acquired, by the annual sale of their dates, great wealth both in money and cattle; but the Mamelouks, in their retreat last year, destroyed in a few weeks the fruits of a century. They took from the Wady Ibrim about twelve hundred cows, all the sheep and goats, imprisoned the most respectable people, for whose ransom they received upwards of 100,000 Spanish dollars; and on their departure, put the Aga to death; their men having eaten up or destroyed all the provisions they could meet with. This scene of pillage, was followed by a dreadful famine, as I have already mentioned. The people of Ibrim are often at war with the governors of Nubia, and although comparatively few in number, are a match for the latter; being all well provided with fire arms. They are white, compared with the Nubians, and still retain the features of their ancestors, the Bosnian soldiers who were sent to garrison Ibrim by the great Sultan Selym. They all dress in coarse linen gowns, and most of them wear something like a turban: “We are Turks,” they say, “and not Noubas.” As they are not under absolute subjection to their Aga, and independant of every other power, quarrels are very frequent among them. They have a hereditary Kady: blood is revenged by blood; no commutation in money being accepted for it when death ensues; but all wounds have their stated fines, according to the parts of the body upon which they are inflicted. A similar law prevails among the Syrian Bedouins. When a Turk of Ibrim marries, he presents his wife with a wedding dress, and gives her besides, a written bond for three or four hundred piastres, half of which sum is paid to her in case of a divorce. Divorces, however, are very rare. At a wedding a cow or a calf is killed; for to eat mutton upon such an occasion would be a great scandal to the spouse.

In no part of the Eastern world, in which I have travelled, have I ever found property in such perfect security as in Ibrim. The inhabitants leave the Dhourra in heaps on the field, without a watch, during the night; their cattle feed on the barks of the river without anyone to tend them; and the best parts of the household furniture are left all night under the palm-trees around the dwelling; in short, the people agreed in saying, that theft was quite unknown in their territory. It ought, however, to be added, that the Nubians, in general, are free from the vice of pilfering.

From Ibrim we crossed the mountain, and at one hour’s distance from it descended to the river side, at Wady Shubak (شُباق), whither most of the inhabitants of Ibrim retired, after the passage of the Mamelouks. We slept here, at the house of the children of the Aga whom the Mamelouks murdered. Wherever I alighted, a number of peasants assembled, in the evening, at the house; I always gave out that I had business of a public nature with the two chiefs, who were stationed to the south of Sukkot, and being accompanied by a man known to be attached to the Kashefs, no one dared to create the least obstacle to my journey. Indeed, travellers in Nubia, in general, have little to fear from the ill will of the peasants; it is the rapacious spirit of the governors that is to be dreaded.

March 4th. The grove of date trees continues to the south of Shubak. I found many of the houses abandoned; and at every step were graves. The Nubians place an earthen vessel by the side of every grave, which they fill with water at the moment the deceased is interred, and leave it there: the grave itself is covered with small pebbles of various colours, and two large palm leaves are stuck into the ground at either extremity; the symbol of victory thus becoming, in Nubia, that of death. Near Shubak are some mounds of hewn stones, indicating the remains of an ancient edifice. One hour from Ibrim brought us to Wady Bostan (وادي بستان). The soil, fit for culture, is here very narrow; the eastern mountain is distant about one hour; between it and the plain is a rising spot of ground covered with loose sandstones. The shape of the insulated mountains which compose this part of the chain, is remarkable; most of them resembling cones flattened on the top, or perfect pyramids; and when viewed from afar, they appear so regular, that they seem to be the work of man. In two hours and a half we came to the village of Tosko (تسقه), the southern limits of Wady Ibrim. In the rocky plain east of Tosko stands an insulated, shattered rock, with several sepulchres excavated in it; these are supported on the inside by low square pillars: in one of them, a vaulted passage leads out to a back entrance. They are of very rude workmanship; and have no sculptures upon the walls, except the figure of the cross. Near the rock are considerable mounds of rubbish. It is matter of surprise, that these are the only sepulchres met with in the eastern hills, from Assouan to this place: the sand-stone rock might have easily been excavated, as has been done in numerous places in Egypt. Tosko continues for about one hour. Three hours and a half, passed over the mountain. Four and a half, Ermenne (ارمنّه), a fine village, belonging to the territory of Nubia. Our road had been till now, in the direction of S.W. From hence, southward, we travelled W.S.W. Five hours and a half, again passed over the mountain, which is close to the river. Six hours, Formundy (فرمندي), a poor village, extending for several miles. The Nubians here grow a little cotton, small plantations of which are every where met with from Kenne, in Upper Egypt, as far as Dongola. The women weave the cotton into coarse shirts, or sell it for Dhourra to the merchants of Derr. Seven hours and a half, we passed the ruins of a Greek church, which had been used in later times as a mosque. Its walls, for half their height, are constructed of small stones, and the upper part of bricks burnt in the sun; there are many names of visitors written on the white plaister; the writing is of the latest time of the Lower Empire. The river here has many windings; and this part of it is reputed a favourite haunt of the crocodile. I saw myself half a dozen of them lying close together on a sandbank. All the Nubians, as well as the people of Upper Egypt, eat the flesh of this animal whenever they can catch it, which is, however, very seldom.

Beyond the Greek church, the road again crosses the mountain, on the other side of which, at eight hours and a half, is the Wady Fereyg (فريك). The different villages comprised under the collective term Wady, are generally separated from the Wadys on their northern or southern side by a part of the mountain projecting close to the river, which thus forms a natural division. Nine hours and a half, long after sunset, we alighted, at the house of one of the wives of Hassan Kashef, where I slept. Our day’s march, reckoning by the length of the day, must have been at least ten hours and a half. My watch had unfortunately stopped, from the dust having penetrated into it. My day’s march in Nubia is therefore calculated only by the sun’s height, and the length of the day; I may have in this way erred as to partial distances from one village to another; but the entire day’s route will generally be found correct.

March 5th. In half an hour we arrived at the Akabe of Fereyg, or the place where the mountain separates that Wady from its southern neighbour. I sent my guide, with the camels, over the mountain; and following a narrow foot-path along the almost perpendicular shore, I arrived; at one hour’s distance from Fereyg, at an ancient temple hewn out of the rocky side of the mountain; no other road leads up to it but this dangerous foot-path, neither are there any traces of an ancient road. I entered through a high narrow gateway into a small Egyptian temple, cut entirely out of the rock, and in as perfect a state of preservation, as when first finished. It consists of a cella, ten paces in length and seven in breadth, and about twelve feet high. Within it are four columns, with Egyptian capitals. On either side of the cella is an apartment which receives light only by the entrance from the cells. Low stone benches run along the walls of the cells, a peculiarity which I had not seen in any other Egyptian temple. There is an ascent by three low steps from the cella into the adytum, in which is a deep sepulchral excavation; there is also a similar but smaller one in the cella itself. The walls both of the cella and adytum are covered with mystic sculptures in the usual style, but there are none in the two side chambers. The Greeks had converted this temple into a church, and had plaistered the walls white, to receive their paintings, many of which still remain; a St. George killing the dragon is particularly conspicuous. Many Greek travellers have inscribed their names on the walls. The whole fabric is of coarse excution, and the hieroglyphics much in the same style as those at Derr. On the opposite side of the river, a little to the north of it, is the large temple or Ebsambal, and the colossal figures, of which I shall speak hereafter.

One hour and three quarters from Fereyg, I rejoined my guide, at the foot of an insulated hill, close to the water, on which a castle has been built, resembling in size and form, that at Ibrim; it bears the name of Kalat Adde (قلعت ادّه); it has been abandoned many years, being entirely surrounded by barren rocks. Part of its ancient wall, similar in construction to that of Ibrim, still remains. The habitations are built partly of stone and partly of bricks. On the most elevated spot in the small town, eight or ten gray granite columns of small dimensions lie on the ground, with a few capitals of red sand-stone near them, of clumsy Greek architecture. The rock of this hill is a fine pudding-stone, of flint, quartz, and red sand-stone; the only specimen of the kind I have met with in Nubia. Opposite the castle, the river forms a large island, called Beyllany (جزيرة بيلاني), from the name of the village nearest to it, on the western side. The mountain round Adde is composed of rugged hills of grotesque shape, which seem to have been shattered by some violent commotion of nature. From hence, upwards, the course of the river is W.S.W. Two hours and a half from Fereyg, the eastern mountain branches out far to the eastward, and closes with the river again beyond the second Cataract of Wady Halfa. The wild shrub, Oshour (عشور), called by the Arabs of the Dead Sea, Asheyr (عشير), grows here in great quantity. This plant produces a fruit, within which is a bunch of silky fibres enveloping a small bean. It has been described by Norden. It grows in every part of Upper Egypt, south of Siout, in sandy spots near the river; but is not so large there as it is in Nubia; the Egyptians call it Fetme (فتمه). From Silsilis (south of Edfou) to the district of Mahass, it is the most common weed met with on the road: its leaves are poisonous to the camels. The Coloquintida (حَنضَل) is likewise frequently met with, where the Oshour grows. Like the Arabian Bedouins, the Nubians make tinder of it. At the end of three hours we passed, in the sandy plain, a number of tumuli, or barrows, of various sizes, covered with sand; I counted about twenty-five within the circuit of a mile and a half: the regularity of their shape, which is exactly the same as that of the tumuli in the Syrian deserts, and the plain of Troy, makes it almost certain, that they are artificial. Three hours and a half, Kosko, a small village. Four hours, the large village of Endhana, also called Adhendhan (أنضانا-أضنضان). In riding along, we were invited to a funeral feast by the inhabitants of a house belonging to some relation of the Nubian princes; the possessor had died a few days before at Derr, and on receiving the news of his death, his relations here had slaughtered a cow, with which they were entertaining the whole neighbourhood; at two hours distance from the village, I met women with plates upon their heads, who had been receiving their share of the meat. Cows are killed only by people of consequence, on the death of a near relation; the common people content themselves with a sheep or a goat, the flesh of which is equally distributed; the poorer class distribute some bread only at the grave of the deceased. Four hours and three quarters; upon the hill, at the south end of Wady Endhana, opposite the village of Faras, on the west side of the river, stands an ancient ruined mosque. Five hours and a half, passed the fine island of Faras. The country is here open, but the plain, on both sides of the river, is covered with sand. Seven hours, the village Serra gharby (سرّه غربي) on the west side. Seven and a half, the ruins of a small Arab town close to the water, enclosed by a thick brick wall. Eight hours, Serra (سرّه), a fine village; eight and a half, Debeyra (دبَيرَه), where I slept. My guide always conducted me to the house of the principal person in the village; we should otherwise have often gone supperless to rest. Wherever we alighted, a mat was spread for us upon the ground, just before the gate of the house, which strangers are never permitted to enter, unless they are intimate acquaintance. Dhourra bread, with milk, was our usual supper; to this were sometimes added dates. The landlord never eats with his guests, except when earnestly pressed to do so. Our camels were not always fed by our hosts, who excused themselves, by saying that the stock of Dhourra stalks was already exhausted. If the stranger is to be well treated, a breakfast is brought in, at sunrise, before he departs; it consists of hot milk and bread, the supper being usually cold: but we were seldom so fortunate as to get a breakfast, and generally rode the whole day without tasting any thing but a few dates from our own stock, at some spot where we stopped in the morning to bait our camels upon the tamarisk or acacia trees.

March 6th. Our road lay over a fertile plain, covered with date trees and habitations, to Eshke (أشقه). The Nile had been so very low last year, that the plain had not been inundated. An old man, a relation of the governors of Nubia, on seeing me pass by his house, invited me to stop, and entertained me most hospitably. He had been, in his youth, governor of Sukkot, where he had acted with great tyranny; but he seemed to have repented of his former deeds, and was now become the benefactor of Eshke. A handful of burnt coffee, which I gave him, was a most acceptable present, and he insisted upon my staying with him one day, promising that he would cause a lamb to be killed for me; but this did not appear to me a sufficient temptation to retard my journey.

The slave caravan from Mahass, which I mentioned above, passed along the west bank of the river, while I was at Eshke; the usual route of these caravans, which generally visit Egypt twice in the year, lies across the desert, from Mahass to the Great Oasis, a journey of twenty-three days; and from thence to Siout and Cairo. It was only this year that the slave-traders, informed of the perfectly tranquil state of Nubia and Upper Egypt, had ventured to proceed along the banks of the Nile, a road they had not followed in the memory of man.

To the south of Eshke is a sandy plain; in three hours, we reached Dabrous (دَبروس); the direction of the road S.W. by S. Four hours, Sukoy (سَقوي). Five hours, Wady Halfa (وادي حلفه), to the east of which, the eastern mountain terminates in slight undulations of the ground; but these increase in size, and collect again into mountains, about thirty miles farther up. There is some trade carried on at Wady Halfa; vessels from Assouan often moor here to load dates, and the nitre which the Arabs collect at three days journeys from hence in the western desert. In summer, the navigation from Derr to Wady Haifa becomes, in many places, very difficult, except for small boats, on account of the sand banks. One of the relations of the governors of Nubia resides here, and collects the revenue.

At the end of six hours, we came to the southern extremity of Wady Halfa. The river forms here several islands, upon one of which are the remains of an ancient town, built of bricks, with a high brick wall. Seven hours, the plain over which we rode became uneven, and studded with insulated clusters of rocks, whose summits just appear above the surface of the sand. To the west is the second Cataract. Eight hours, halted for the night, in this desert, near one of the islands, which are formed by the river. The noise of the Cataract was heard in the night, at about half an hour’s distance. The place is very romantic; when the inundation subsides, many small lakes are left among the rocks; and the banks of these, overgrown with large tamarisks, have a picturesque appearance amidst the black and green rocks; the lakes and pools thus formed cover a space of upwards of two miles in breadth. I here shot a wild-goose, which afforded a supper to our party, now increased by the company of a poor young girl from Dabrous, who ran after us, when she saw us pass by, and begged we would take her under our protection as far as Wady Mershed, beyond the Cataract. From Wady Haifa to Sukkot is a stony wilderness, with many cataracts in the river, similar to that at Assouan; and the navigation is interrupted for about one hundred miles. This rocky tract is called Dar el Hadjar, or Batn el Hadjar, i. e. the rocky district, or the “womb of rocks.”

March 7th. After a march of one hour, the straggling hillocks and mounds rose into a low chain of hills, the road amongst them being a perfect sandy plain. In one hour and a half we came to Wady Amka (وادي عمقه). In the Batn el Hadjar, there occur a few spots that admit of cultivation; but they consist of very narrow strips of plain by the side of the river, where the banks are generally so high, that the waters do not reach them during the inundation, and where the soil must consequently be irrigated, by means of water-wheels. These narrow plains, called Wady, as in other parts of the country, were formerly well cultivated. Their principal inhabitants pretend to be Sherifs from Mekka, and to have come here at the time of the invasion of the other Arab tribes. They have a chief named Abdallah Ibn Emhyd (عبد الله ابن امهيد), who resides in Wady Attar, and is honoured with the title of Melek, or king, which is bestowed on chiefs of all ranks from hence southward. These Sherifs, called Omsherif ((ام شريف, pay a small tribute to their Melek, and the Melek is tributary to the governors of Nubia, who besides carry off as much of the property of these Arabs as falls in their way, whenever they pass along the Batn el Hadjar. The greater part of the Sherifs, however, have now quitted their abode, owing to the continued incursions of the Arabs Sheygya (شيكيع), who live on the banks of the river, south of Dongola, eight days journeys distant from Sukkot, across the desert; and whose depredations have so much ruined the Sherifs, that the greater part of them have retired to Sukkot, and many of them to Dongola. At present, the male inhabitants in the whole district of Batn el Hadjar hardly amount to two hundred, half of whom are Sherifs, and the other of the Bedouin tribe of Kerrarish. Some Arabs remain at Amka; and a small village is built upon a rocky island, where are the ruins of a large brick tower; from hence the Arabs cross the branch of the river every morning, (upon the trunk of a palm-tree, using their hands as paddles) for the purpose of cultivating their fields upon the shore, and return in the evening in the same manner. As we advance the river continues to be full of rocks and islands, and the country has a very wild aspect. There is no place that so much resembles the Batn el Hadjar and its Wadys, as the road along the Nile from Assouan to the first Cataract; the same rocky shore, with here and there the same narrow strip of soil, continues all along “the womb of rocks,” from Wady Halfa to Sukkot.

At two hours and a half, is Wady Mershed (مرشد). The Wadys are separated from each other by rocky tracts, which reach close to the river. At Wady Mershed there are again numerous islands in the river; upon two of them are some brick ruins, an ancient tower, and a few huts of Arabs. Our route from Wady Halfa to Mershed had been W.S.W. Above Mershed, the river is free from islands, and few rocks are seen in it; but its bed is very narrow, and the banks are high: I could throw a stone over to the opposite side. Four hours and a half brought us to Sette Hadje, a cultivable patch of ground, enclosed by rocks, with some ancient brick dwellings; it is inhabited only by an old Arab, who lives in the hut constructed over the tomb of the female saint called Sette Hadje, and who owes his livelihood to the charity of passengers: I found him extended upon his mat, with a pot of water, and an earthen vessel near him, into which I put a few handfuls of dates. From hence southwards, the river has many windings. The hills on the east side increase in height until eight hours and a half, at Wady Seras (سِراس), when they again form a regular chain of mountains, over which lies the road from Wady Sette Hadje. My old Arab guide, afraid of robbers from among the Sheygya Arabs, who are continually hovering about in these parts, to waylay travellers, hurried me along as fast as he could. We met very few persons on the road, excepting small parties of five or six Soudan pilgrims, or Tekayrne (sing. Tekroury); these courageous travellers come from all parts of Soudan to Darfour, from whence they proceed either by Kardofan to Sennaar, or direct to Dongola. From the Nile some of them take the route of Suakin, crossing the Red Sea, from thence to Djidda; others follow the Nile through Dongola and Mahass, and perform their pilgrimage with the Egyptian Hadjis, after having remained some time in the mosque El Azhar at Cairo, occupied in reading the Coran and a few books of prayers. I found, upon subsequent enquiry, that the greater part of these pilgrims were natives of Darfour, and Bergho. Among more than forty whom I spoke to at Esne, I could not find one whose country was as far west as Kashna; but I met with several who came from Wangara. The name Tekroury is given to them, I suppose, from their being natives of the district of Tekrour in Soudan. Such of them as can read and write are called Fókara (plur. of Fakyr), a term applied in Upper Egypt to all learned persons, by which is meant, such as can read the Coran, and who know how to write talismans, for preservatives against charms, and spells of the devil.

Nine hours and a half, we stopped at the southern extremity of Wady Seras, at a hut of Kerrarish Arabs, who, together with a family of the Sherifs, were watching the produce of a few cotton fields, and bean plantations. They gave us some milk for supper, assuring us that they bad no bread, and that they had not even tasted any for the last two months. I distributed a measure of Dhourra amongst them, upon condition that they should not exchange it for any thing else, but make bread of it for themselves and their women, for the latter very seldom enjoy this luxury, which is almost exclusively reserved for their husbands and brothers. In consequence of my present, the women were all set to work to grind the Dhourra between two granite stones, for the richer class only have hand-mills (رحا), like those of the Arabian Bedouins. Plenty of bread was then made, and the girls sat up, eating and singing, the whole of the night, and being separated from us only by a partition formed of tamarisk branches, they often joined in the conversation. The leaves of beans, and the grain of the shrub Kerkedan, which is black, and resembles in size the coriander seed, form the food of these people. The Kerkedan grows wild in the Batn el Hadjar, and is sown in some parts of Northern Nubia; a coffee is made from the roasted grains, which is not disagreeable to the taste, but the Arabs more usually make bread of them. The leguminous shrub Symka is also very common here, and affords excellent food for camels; it produces a pod, resembling pease, and containing several round rose coloured grains, which are edible, when green; these the Arabs collect and dry, and by hard boiling, obtain from them an oil, which they use, instead of butter, to grease their hair and body.

The Sherifs of Batn el Hadjar are of the darkest brown colour, with fine features, and are remarkably well made. Both men and women go naked; but the latter wear leather amulets round the neck, copper armlets and bracelets, and silver ear-rings. Most of them speak a little Arabic.

March 8th. From Seras we ascended a high mountain. The rock, which had been everywhere sand-stone as far as Wady Halfa, changes its nature at the second Cataract, where grunstein and grauwacke predominate; these primitive rocks continue throughout the Batn el Hadjar. In the mountain beyond Seras are granite, and immense rocks of quartz: the grunstein rocks are also every where crossed by strata of quartz. Three or four hours east of our route, a high chain of mountains extends parallel with the course of the river; it bears the name of Djebel Bilingo (جبل بَلَنك), and is uninhabited: it is regularly visited by winter rains, and the water remains in the clefts and hollows the whole of the summer. In two hours and a half we came to a plain on the top of the mountain, called Akabet el benat (عقبة البنات), the rocks of the girls. Here the Arabs who serve as guides through these mountains have devised a singular mode of extorting small presents from the traveller: they alight at certain spots in the Akabet el benat, which they call (قبضه) or (مقبضه), and beg a present; if it is refused, they collect a heap of sand, and mould it into the form of a diminutive tomb, and then placing a stone at each of its extremities, they apprize the traveller that his tomb is made; meaning, that henceforward, there will be no security for him, in this rocky wilderness. Most persons pay a trifling contribution, rather than have their graves made before their eyes: there were, however, several tombs of this description dispersed over the plain. Being satisfied with my guide, I gave him one piastre, with which he was content. On the southern descent of Akabet el benat, the principal rock is micaceous schist and chlorite, and farther down, towards the Wady Attyre, fine porphyry rocks are met with. I saw only a few specimens of green porphyry, with red slabs of feldspath; the greatest part being red porphyry, and porphyry schist. I possess specimens of all these rocks. From Seras, our route lay S.W. by S. Four hours and a half, Wady Attyre (التّيره), the principal village in the Batn el Hadjar. Here again, there are several islands in the river, with ruins of ancient brick habitations and towers upon them. The shores seem to have offered little security, even in ancient times, for I met with no ruined buildings on the eastern bank of the Batn el Hadjar; the ancient inhabitants seem to have exclusively chosen the islands for their abode. There is another cataract in the river at Wady Attyre, and a similar one between that place and Seras, opposite to Samne, on the west bank. We continued in the Wady Attyre upwards of an hour. Some date trees grow in all these Wadys, but the Doum is more common. At five hours, a wild passage across the mountain begins, called Akabet Djebel Doushe (عقبة جبل دوشه). From the top of it I enjoyed a beautiful view of the course of the river to the southward; but its narrow verdant banks are almost lost in the wide expanse of the rocky desert, where the eye, fatigued by the view of the dreary wilderness, searches with difficulty for the blue stream, often hidden by islands, and only appearing partially. Its course from hence is S.W. by S. At seven hours, we descended from the mountain into Wady Ambigo (آمبقُو). At eight hours, were several cataracts, where the stream rushes impetuously over the rocks, and carries its foaming current to the distance of several hundred feet; there is no where, however, any fall, that can be properly so called. All these cataracts resemble those of Assouan, but the river is more narrowly hemmed in by rocks than at the latter place; and its whole course through the Batn el Hadjar is so very rapid, that navigation of every kind seems to be quite impracticable. At the end of nine hours, we stopped at a hut of Omsherifs.

March 9th. To the east of Ambigo, there are high mountains; and to the south of it, the eastern chain decreases in height. The mountains of Ambigo seem to be the highest summit of the Batn el Hadjar. Our road lay alternately along the shore, and over the rocks; I no where saw any traces of an ancient road through this rugged district. In three hours we reached Wady Om Kanaszer (ام قناصر), in which is a small watch-tower built of stones, upon a hill. From hence we followed a mountainous road as far as Wady Lamoule (وادي لاموله), which we reached in five hours; here are some cataracts in the river, and several rocky islands, upon which I saw crocodiles basking. At five hours and a half, we ascended the mountain; and in six hours gained a high summit, known by the name of Djebel Lamoule (جبل لاموله), and corresponding with a similar one on the west side. At the foot of this hill, the Arabs repeat the custom of digging the traveller’s grave, but as I knew not how often a present might in this way be demanded of me by my guide, I refused to give him any thing upon his making the demand; and as soon as he began to construct my tomb, I alighted, and making another, told him that it was intended for his own sepulture; for that, as we were brethren, it was but just that we should be buried together. At this, he began to laugh; we then mutually destroyed each other’s labours, and in riding along he exclaimed from the Coran, “No mortal knows the spot upon earth where his grave shall be digged.” Seven hours brought us to a sandy plain in the mountain, called Khor Sonk (خور سُنك), Sonk being a Wady, situated below it. As the road which leads to the country of the Sheygya turns off here, this spot is more frequently visited by them, than any other part of this rocky tract, and is noted for the many robberies committed here by those Arabs; my guide shewed me the place where his cousin had been killed, at his side, in an encounter with the Sheygya, and hurried me, at a full trot, over the plain. The whole of the Batn el Hadjar is dangerous for single travellers; but it was my good fortune not to meet with any banditti; should any European be inclined to make the same journey hereafter, he may procure at Derr as many guards to accompany him as he chooses, provided he previously arranges matters with the governors of Nubia.

At eight hours and a half we issued from the mountains, and crossing a sloping plain, arrived, at the end of nine hours and a half, at the side of the river. The country opens here, and the eastern chain continues at about two miles distance from the river. At ten hours and a half, we halted for the night in a thick grove of tamarisk trees, opposite a long island, upon which are several brick ruins, and a tower of the same material. The ruins of a small village are upon the east bank: the place is called Wady Okame (عقمه); and here the dominions of the governor of Sukkot begin, although the Wady is considered to belong to the Batn el Hadjar. Close to the spot on which we slept is the tomb of a saint, Sheikh Okashe (شيخ عُقاشه), much revered by the Nubians. Offerings of earthen vessels, mats, and small pieces of linen, were spread within the enclosure of the tomb, and all around it. The inhabitants of Sukkot make frequent pilgrimages to this tomb. My guide, in constant dread of the Sheygya, would not allow me to light a fire, although the nights were now very cold.

March 10th. After a ride of two hours over low hills, in a S.S.W. direction, we arrived opposite the island of Kolbe (قُلبه), the northern extremity of Sukkot, and the residence of the governor of that district; the island is about one hour in length: the shore, on both sides, is hemmed in by huge masses of gray granite. Here some regular cultivation commences. I had a letter of recommendation from Hassan Kashef to the governor, who is an old man, named Daoud (David) Kara, distantly related to the three chief governors of Nubia, under whose control he holds his district. Being desirous of paying him a visit, in order to gain some information from him respecting the state of things farther southward, I left my guide to watch the camels, and with some Arabs, who had arrived at the place where we alighted, crossed the river upon a Ramous (ر أ موس). This kind of ferry boat is formed of four trunks of date-trees, tied loosely together, and is worked by a paddle about four feet in length, forked at the upper extremity, and lashed to the raft by ropes of straw. It precisely resembles those which are represented on the walls of the Egyptian temples. Persons who trust themselves upon such frail vehicles should be able to swim, for as these people have no idea of skulling, and use only one paddle to each Ramous, they row alternately to leeward and windward, so that the Ramous is never directed towards the shore. The old governor received me coolly; “This is not a country,” he said, “for people like you to travel in, without being accompanied by caravans.” I requested a letter of introduction to his son, who governs the southern parts of Sukkot, when he caused his scribe to write a few lines for me upon a blank corner of an old letter, the only paper that could be found. He repeatedly enquired my business; I answered, that I was the bearer of letters from Esne to the two Kashefs, who were at Mahass. After a stay of one hour I retired, recrossed the river, and continued my journey. We rode over mountainous ground, where the sand-stone again appears among the grauwacke and feldspath, until, at two hours and a half from Kolbe, we reached Wady Dal (وادي دال), which may be called the southern extremity of the Batn el Hadjar. At Dal the river is interrupted by immense blocks of granite lying confusedly across it, occasioning several foaming cataracts, and forming many rocky islands; upon one of these is a large brick building, in ruins. Here the country opens, and we continued for half an hour along a cultivable shore, overgrown with date trees, amongst which was a ruined village, called Dabbe. One hour farther, still following the plain by the side of the river, we arrived at the village of Zergamotto (زرقَمطو), where we slept. The inhabitants of Zergamotto bring rock salt from Selyma, distant two long days and a half in the western desert, and a halting-place of the Darfour caravan, in its way to Siout. Whenever this caravan passes Selyma, the Nubians resort thither, to sell dates and other provisions to the travellers. Rock salt is found also in every part of the eastern mountain from Kenne southward, and the peasants of Egypt and Nubia collect it; but it has a very disagreeable bitterish-sweet taste.

March 11th. From Dabbe our road lay S. by W. We rode along the bank of the river; where the plain is about two miles in breadth, but for the greater part barren. The river continues to be full of low islands, and rocks. In one hour and a half we came to a cluster of small hamlets, called Ferke (فرقه). In the plain are five barrows, or tumuli, evidently artificial, like those I saw near Kosko. The son of the governor of Sukkot, to whom I had the letter of recommendation, lives upon an island at Ferke. We stopped opposite the island to bait our camels upon the tamarisk trees; and as this place, according to the injunction of Hassan Kashef, was to be the termination of my journey southwards, and the farthest point to which my guide was to conduct me, the latter insisted upon complying with the orders of his master. A promise, however, of two piastres and a woollen Melaye, worth as much, overcame his fidelity, and he agreed to accompany me to Mahass; “If Hassan Kashef,” said he, “upbraids me, I shall tell him that you rode on, notwithstanding my exhortations, and that I did not think it honourable to leave you alone.” My plan was, to reach Tinareh, the chief place in Mahass, and there to cross over to the western side, as I knew that the Kashefs, who were encamped there, had a vessel at their disposal. On my way back, I intended to visit Say, and all the ruins on the western side.

Having no particular business with the governor of Ferke, I did not pay him a visit; but when he saw us riding on, he came gallopping after us on horseback, with one of his slaves, to enquire who we were, and insisted upon our returning with him to his house. In cases like this, compliance is always better than fruitless resistance; and we therefore crossed over the dry bed of a branch of the river to the island, where we found the whole neighbourhood assembled at the governor’s house, to partake of a cow slaughtered in honour of the same deceased relation, to whose funeral feast we had been invited at Endhana. The women who were present had a small drum; and some of them sang glees, in honour of the deceased, while others danced. Our host had a great desire to possess himself of my camels, and he would have done it, by giving me two others of no value instead of them, had it not been for his father’s letter. I excused my having rode on by saying that I thought his residence had been farther to the southward. He insisted that we should stay all the night with him; but as I knew this was only to extort a present from me, I gave him a large piece of soap, after which he suffered us to depart. From hence to Say, the route is W. 1 S. In two hours, we reached Mekrake (مقرقه). Four hours, Kennis (قِنّس). The plain is cultivated in a few spots only. Senna mekke grows in quantity, and is of a good quality, though still inferior to that of the Eastern mountain; it is collected here by the Arabs Kerrarish, whenever there is any demand for it at Esne. The western borders of the river are quite sandy and barren. Five hours, Sheikh Medjdera (شيخ مجدره), a small village built round the tomb of a saint. Here, as in every other part of Nubia, the thirsty traveller finds, at short distances, water jars placed by the road side, under a low roof. Every village pays a small monthly stipend to some person to fill these jars in the morning and again towards evening. The same custom prevails in Upper Egypt, but on a larger scale; and there are small caravanserais often found near the wells, which supply travellers with water. In five hours and a half, we reached Aamara (عَماره), the extremity of the territory of Sukkot, to the south of which begins the district of Say.

In the plain of Aamara are the ruins of a fine Egyptian temple the shafts of six large columns of the pronaos remain, constructed of calcareous stone, and they are the only specimen of that kind I have seen, all the Egyptian temples being built of sand-stone. The sculptures upon these columns are in imitation of those of Philæ, and are of middling execution; but much better than those of the temple at Derr: the figure of the ibis most frequently occurs: over each compartment or group of figures is a square blank tablet, as if to receive an inscription; the same thing is seen at Dakke, Kalabshe, and Philæ; but not in the more northern Egyptian temples. All the capitals of the columns are wanting. Of the cella nothing remains but mounds of rubbish, except the lowest part of the walls, and their foundations, which are of stone, reposing upon a substructure of bricks burnt in the sun the walls were probably built of alternate layers of stone and brick. A thick enclosure of brick surrounds the site of the temple, at about fifty yards distance from the columns. The temple appears to have been erected at the period when Egyptian architecture began to degenerate; the finest specimens are found at Philæ and Dakke.

From Aamara a wide plain opens: the eastern chain making a wide circuit, while, to the west, the mountains terminate. The cultivable soil on the east side is nearly one mile and a half in breadth; and between it and the mountains is a barren tract covered with small flints and pebbles, similar to that at Suez. Here the river has many windings. In seven hours we came to Ebar (ِابَر), where we slept, at the house of one of the women of the brother of Hassan Kashef; for the governors of Nubia have a number of women dispersed over their dominions, in order that they may find a comfortable home wherever they stop, in their unceasing journeys through them. Hosseyn Kashef has about twenty wives, each of whom has her own separate establishment. In the inner court-yard of the lady’s house where we stopped was a well, and water-wheel, turned by cows; by means of which the surrounding fields were irrigated: similar wheels are every where met with, but this was the only instance I saw of their being within the walls of a dwelling. During this day’s march our camels were constantly at a trot.

March 12th. Our road lay over a quartzy plain, in a direction S. 1. E. At one hour is a high insulated hill, in the plain, called Djebel Ollaky, (جبل عُلاقي). Here the island of Say (ساي) begins. In one hour and a quarter, I saw upon the island, close to the water, the castle of Say, built of alternate layers of stone and bricks, with high walls. The few guns which were formerly in it had been carried off by the Mamelouks. Say, with its territories, like Ibrim and Assouan, has its own governor, or Aga, who is independent of the governors of Nubia; it having been, like the two former places, garrisoned by a troop of Bosnian soldiers, sent hither by Sultan Selym, whose descendants still remain. The island is well cultivated on its eastern side, where the principal branch of the stream runs; on the west side, it appeared to be quite barren; its breadth is about two miles. In the middle of it is a high hill or mountain. There is a ford on the west side, at this period of the year, which I intended to cross, on my return from Mahass, in order to examine the island; but in this I was disappointed, as will presently appear. There is no Ramous or ferry in any part of it, and when the Nubians have any business on the opposite shore, they swim over, with their spear, or lance, fastened on the top of the head. I have reason, however, to believe, that there are no remains whatever of antiquity on Say, except the above-mentioned castle, which is probably of the same date as that at Ibrim.

In two hours and a half from Ebar the road takes a S.W. direction, and continues close to the river, opposite Say; a thick grove of palm trees lining the shore. In three hours we came to Koeyk (قويق); the plain is here covered with the tombs of Nubian saints. Four hours, Wady der Hamyde, opposite to which is the southern extremity of the island of Say. The Wady Hamyde has a king, or Melek, of the Arab tribe of Hamyde, who is tributary to the governors of Nubia. On the east side of the river is a large pier or jetty, formed of huge sand-stones confusedly thrown in upon each other. On both sides are numerous habitations, and thick groves of date-trees; indeed Wady Hamyde seemed to be more populous than any part of the country south of Ibrim. The dates of Sukkot and Say are preferred to those of Ibrim, and are considered superior to all that grow on the banks of the Nile, from Sennaar down to Alexandria: they are of the largest kind, generally three inches in length. As there is no navigation northwards through the Batn el Hadjar, these dates reach the northern parts of Nubia only in small quantities, as presents. They are sold to the Arabs Sheygya, who arrive here in large caravans, and take them in exchange for Dhourra (one measure of Dhourra for an equal measure of dates), for butter, and for targets made of the skin of the hippopotamus, which are highly prized by the Nubians; there are few date trees in the country of the Sheygya, and those of a bad kind. Five hours brought us to Wady Aboudy (وادي عبودي), opposite to which, in the eastern plain, is a high insulated hill. Here the river takes a direction S.S.E. The sandy and quartzy plain continues, and the eastern mountain is from twelve to fifteen miles distant from the river. Six hours, Irau (اِرَو); here many of the houses are abandoned, and there is very little cultivation. This is the southern limit of the district of Say, which name, though properly confined to the island only, is commonly applied to the whole country between Sukkot and Mahass. From hence, southwards, begins the Dar el Mahass. Our route now lay S. 1 W. To the west, the low hills again begin to form a chain, which increases in height towards the south. In seven hours we reached Eshamotto (أشامطّو). Eight hours and a half, El Waouy (الواوي), a considerable village. The river here takes a circuitous bend to the westward. We made a short cut across the plain, and at the end of nine hours and a half, halted for the night at a few huts of Kerrarish Arabs. I put our hosts into good humour by distributing some Dhourra amongst them; to testify their gratitude, two of them kneeled down by my side, and began rubbing and kneading my body, legs, and arms, in the same manner as is done in the Turkish baths. After a fatiguing journey, the limbs are benumbed; this operation restores the circulation of the blood, and induces a gentle slumber.

March 13th. The eastern mountains again approach the river, and consist here, as at the second Cataract, of grunstein. We followed the narrow shore in an easterly direction, and passed several of the villages of Mahass. The houses are constructed only of mats, made of palm leaves, fastened to high poles, the extremities of which rise considerably above the roof. The countenances of the people are much less expressive of good nature than those of the Nubians; in colour they are perfectly black; their lips are like those of the Negro, but not the nose, or cheek bones; numbers of the men go quite naked, and I even saw several grown up girls without any thing whatever round the middle. The Nubian language here has certainly superseded the Arabic, which none of the peasants understand.

In approaching the place where the Nubian governors were encamped, I found several of the villages deserted; their former inhabitants had preferred abandoning their cotton fields, and their prospects of a harvest, to submitting to the oppressive conduct of the followers of the governors, whose horses and camels were now feeding amidst the barley, while the mats of the deserted houses had been carried of to the camp, to serve as fuel. After a ride of four hours, we reached the camp of Mohammed Kashef, opposite the Wady Tinareh, a cluster of hamlets, situated round the brick castle of that name, and the chief place in Mahass; here was the termination of my journey southwards. I had told my guide to be cautious in his answers to Mohammed Kashef, and if he should be questioned respecting me, to say that he had been ordered by Hassan Kashef to accompany me, but knew nothing of my business; which was really true; for I had never allowed him to see me taking notes during our journey.

The two brothers, the Kashefs Hosseyn and Mohammed, had come to Mahass, in order to besiege the castle of Tinareh, which had been seized by a rebel cousin of the king of Mahass. The latter being Hosseyn Kashef’s father-in-law, the Kashef was bound to come to his aid, and had accordingly brought with him about sixty men, with whom I found him encamped, or rather hutted, on the western side of the river, close under the walls of the castle, while his brother Mohammed had possession of the eastern bank, with an equal number of men. They had been here for several weeks, and had often summoned the castle, to no purpose, although the garrison consisted only of fifteen men. They at length conceived the idea of cutting off the water from the besieged, by placing close in shore, just below the castle, a vessel, which they had sent for from Argo, and on board of which they put some men armed with musquets, who were protected from the fire of the garrison by a thick awning formed of the trunks of date trees thrown across the deck; these men, by their fire, having effectually prevented the besieged from obtaining water from the river, the garrison was under the necessity of making proposals for peace; pardon, and safe conduct, were promised them, and the castle was surrendered on the evening preceding my arrival.

When I reached the camp of Mohammed Kashef, he was not present, but occupied, with his brother, in taking possession of the castle. His people crowded round me and my guide, desirous to know what business had brought me among them, and supposing that I belonged to the suite of the two Mamelouk Begs, of whose arrival at Derr they had already been apprized. Shortly afterwards, Mohammed came over from the opposite bank with his suite, and I immediately went to salute him. Born of a Darfour slave, his features resembled those of the inhabitants of Soudan, but without anything of that mildness which generally characterizes the Negro countenance. On the contrary, his physiognomy indicated the worst disposition; he rolled his eyes at me like a mad-man; and, having drank copiously of palm-wine at the castle, he was so intoxicated, that he could hardly keep on his legs. All his people now assembled in and around his open hut; the vanquished rebels likewise came, and two large goat skins of palm wine were brought in, which was served out to the company in small cups neatly made of calabashes; a few only spoke Arabic; the Kashef himself could scarcely make himself understood; but I clearly found that I was the topic of conversation. The Kashef, almost in a state of insensibility, had not yet asked me who I was, or what I came for. In the course of half an hour, the whole camp was drunk; musquets were then brought in, and a feu-de joie fired, with ball, in the hut where we were sitting. I must confess, that at this moment I repented of having come to the camp, as a gun might have been easily levelled at me, or a random ball have fallen to my lot. I endeavoured several times to rise, but was always prevented by the Kashef, who insisted upon my getting drunk with him; but as I never stood more in need of my senses, I drank very sparingly. Towards noon, the whole camp was in a profound sleep; and in a few hours after, the Kashef was sufficiently sober to be able to talk rationally to me. I told him that I had come into Nubia to visit the ancient castles of Ibrim and Say, as being the remains of the empire of Sultan Selym; that I had had recommendations from Esne to himself and his two brothers, and that I had come to Mahass merely to salute him and his brother, conceiving that I should be guilty of a breach of good manners if I quitted Say without paying my respects to them. Unfortunately, my letters from Esne, addressed to the three brothers, were in the hands of Hassan Kashef, who would not return them to me when I quitted Derr, saying that I should not want them, as he had not given me permission to go beyond Sukkot. My story was, in consequence, not believed; “You are an agent of Mohammed,” said the Kashef’s Arabic secretary; “but, at Mahass we spit at Mohammed Aly’s beard, and cut off the heads of those who are enemies to the Mamelouks.” I assured him that I was not an enemy of the Mamelouks, and that I had waited upon the two Begs at Derr, who had received me very civilly. The evening passed in sharp enquiries on the one side, and evasive answers on the other; and the Kashef sat up late, with his confidents, to deliberate what was to be done with me, while I took post with my camels, under cover, behind his hut. No one had the slight[t]est idea that I was an European, nor did I, of course, boast of my origin, which I was resolved to disclose only under the apprehension of imminent danger. In the night a messenger was sent across the river to learn Hosseyn Kashef’s opinion respecting my arrival.

March 14th. Early in the morning, Hosseyn Kashef came over with a number of his men, to pay a visit to his brother, and to have a look at me. The same questions were again repeated, and the like answers returned, as on the preceding evening; but Hosseyn’s behaviour towards me was more gentle than that of his brother; for while the latter was constantly threatening to send my head to Ibrahim Beg, the chief of the Mamelouks, the former contented himself with telling me that I might return; but he begged I would leave my two camels and my gun with him; my pistols I had concealed under my wide Egyptian cloke. I at last plainly told the two brothers, that if any thing should happen to me, their mercantile speculations at Esne would certainly be the worse for it; that they had only to send to Derr, to be convinced of the truth of my story; that were I even, as they supposed, an agent of Mohammed Aly, they might be assured that he was not a man who would suffer any person in his employ to perish treacherously without revenging his death; but that being, as I told them, simply a traveller, they could have no pretext whatever for detaining me, or offering any insult to my person. These and many other arguments at last made some impression on the two chiefs; but I am very doubtful, what might have ultimately been my fate, had it not been for the arrival of two nephews of the governor of Sukkot, on a visit to their relations; they confirmed all I had stated, having seen the strong letter of recommendation from Hassan Kashef, which I brought to their uncle, Daoud Kara. The language of the two brothers now changed; but I still continued an object of great distrust, as the newly-arrived visitors were unable to give any satisfactory account of my motives for coming so far. Hosseyn Kashef returned to the opposite shore, and promised to send me back the vessel to carry over me and my camels; but soon afterwards I saw her dropping down the river, and was informed that the camp was to break up the next day, and return by slow marches to Sukkot.

Though extremely disappointed in my wish to visit the western bank of the Nile, yet I felt it would be madness to attempt to proceed farther southward. I was now without a friend or protector, in a country only two days and a half distant from the northern limits of Dóngola, the newly conquered kingdom of the Mamelouks, against whose interests I was suspected to be acting, while the governors of Mahass supported them; I knew, likewise, that the two Mamelouk Begs whom I had seen at Derr were rapidly advancing, and, from what I had heard of them, at that place, they might probably be inclined to intercept me on my return. Under these circumstances I determined to return northward immediately, as I did not think it prudent to travel in the company of the followers of Mohammed Kashef; but when I waited upon that chief to take leave of him, he abruptly told me to stay till the morrow, and to return in his company. Having already gained my principal object, that of personal safety, which could only be owing to the governor’s secret fears of offending the Pasha of Egypt, I thought I might venture a little farther, and I therefore told the Kashef, that I was anxious to reach Derr as speedily as possible, and for this reason should not wish to proceed at such slow marches as his soldiers would make. When he still persisted in desiring me to defer my departure, in the hope, probably, of extorting some presents from me, I frankly told him that I should, from that moment consider myself as a prisoner in his camp, not having been permitted to act according to my own will; “Go then, you rascal!” (Inshi ya marras), he exclaimed, in his usual brutal language. I immediately obeyed him, and in five minutes was out of sight of the camp, where I had passed one of the most uncomfortable days I remember to have experienced during four years travelling. I slept that night in a deserted hut, four hours distant from Tinareh, near the Kerrarish encampment where we had alighted two nights preceding.

It will here, perhaps, be asked, why I did not travel in Nubia as a merchant; the answer is, that merchants travel as far as Mahass only with slave caravans; they are, besides, obliged to tarry long in the countries they pass through, which was contrary to my views. I might, indeed, have carried merchandize with me, sufficient to purchase one or two slaves; but the people would then have said that it was not worth while to come to Mahass to make such a purchase, the profits upon which would not counterbalance the expenses of the journey from Esne and back again; and I should have thus been still suspected of being sent on a secret mission. On the other hand, had I carried goods with me equal to the value of half a dozen slaves, contributions would, in all probability, have been levied upon me by the governors, and I should have been detained much longer than I could have wished.

The inhabitants of Mahass pretend to be descendants of the Arabs Koreysh, the tribe to which the prophet Mohammed belonged, and who, as is well known, were partly Bedouins, and partly husbandmen. It is the tradition of Mahass, that a large party of Koreysh took possession of the Wady at the same period when numerous Bedouins from the East invaded Egypt and Nubia. The chief, or king of Mahass (ملك الدار) is of the family of Djama (جامع). He collects the revenue of his kingdom, and pays tribute to the governors of Nubia, who receive, annually, from each of the six principal places in his dominions, five or six camels, as many cows, two slaves, and about forty sheep, besides making extraordinary requisitions. I had the honour of seeing the king of Mahass, a mean looking black, attended by half a dozen naked slaves, armed with shields and lances. From hence, along the Nile to Sennaar, about thirty-five days journies, there are upwards of twenty kings and kingdoms, every independent chief being styled Melek. The power of each of these petty-sovereigns is very arbitrary, as far as relates to exactions upon the property of his own subjects, but he dares not put any of them to death, without entailing upon his own family the retaliation of blood by that of the deceased. All the respectable inhabitants of Mahass are merchants; they buy slaves in Dóngola, Berber, and in the country of the Sheygya, and dispatch a caravan to Cairo twice a year; Mahass is the nearest place, in the Black country, from whence slave traders arrive at Cairo; the distance is about a thousand miles. A male slave in Mahass is worth from twenty-five to thirty Spanish dollars, a female, from thirty to forty. At Cairo they sell at a profit of one hundred and fifty per cent.; and the merchandize taken in return produces from two to three hundred per cent., or even more under the present circumstances, as the Mamelouks are eager purchasers. Dollars are the currency in concerns of great amount; but in trifling bargains, the medium of exchange is the measure of Dhourra, before mentioned, and the pike of linen cloth, of which shirts are made; thirty pike make a piece, which is worth one dollar; at Siout its value is two piastres, or two-sevenths of a dollar. The Nubians, from Derr to Dóngola, have no commercial intercourse with Darfour, or Bournou. An Arab told me, in Mahass, that Bournou was from twenty-five to thirty days journies distant from thence, but that there was scarcely any water on the road.

The Wady Mahass extends two days beyond Tinareh; its principal places to the south are: Delligo, from two to three hours from Tinareh, on the east side of the river; farther on, Koke (كوكه), on the west side: here is the last cataract in the Nile; one day’s journey from Tinareh, is Naoury (نوري), on the east side; then Berdje (برجه), and Ferreg (فريك) on the west side. Two days journeys from Tinareh, is Hannek (حنق), where the mountains which confine the Nile through the Wady Mahass terminate. South of Hannek, half a day’s journey, an island commences, called Mosho, with a village of the same name on the west bank; and close to it is the island of Argo, a long day’s journey in length, and belonging to Dóngola; there is a brick castle upon it, the only building of any size south of Mahass. Mosho is the northern limit of Dóngola. Between Argo and Dóngola, is the village or city of Handak, which I find laid down on the African maps. The river must take many considerable turnings in the Wady Mahass, as Mosho may be reached in one day and a half from Tinareh, by a road which lies over the mountains. The Jesuit missionaries, if I recollect right, visited Mosho in their way from Dóngola to the Great Oasis.

The Wady Dóngola, where the Nubian language ceases to be spoken, extends southward on both sides of Argo, and of the numerous other islands formed in the river, for five days. South of Hannek, the immense plains of Dóngola commence; I was credibly informed that there are no rocks in this district, which, during the period of the inundation, presents a watery surface of from twelve to fifteen miles in breadth. Commerce is not so flourishing in Dóngola as it is in the states to the south of it; merchants being exposed to many vexations from the kings, as well as from the village chiefs, who seem to be almost independent of the former. A man’s property is valued, as in Nubia, by the number of water-wheels he possesses, and the revenue is collected from them. The Arabs Sheygya, since they have been in possession of a share of the revenue, take from the ground irrigated by each wheel, four Mhourys of Dhourra, two or three sheep, and a linen gown worth two dollars. The native kings take the same. Dóngola is noted for its breed of horses, great numbers of which are imported by the people of Mahass; they are chiefly stallions, the natives seldom riding mares. The breed is originally from Arabia, and is one of the finest I have seen, possessing all the superior beauty of the horses of that country, with greater size and more bone. All those which I have seen had the four legs white, as high as the knee, and I was told that there are very few of them without this distinctive mark. Prime stallions bear a high price, from five to ten slaves being paid for one. These horses do not thrive in northern climates, not even at Cairo, though Mohammed Aly has lately sent one as a present to the Grand Signior, for which he gave 750 Spanish dollars. The greater part of them are fed for ten months in the year merely on straw, and in the spring, upon the green crops of barley. The Mameloukes, since their irruption into Dóngola, are all mounted upon these horses.

There are no elephants in Dóngola; but the hippopotamus is very common in the river. Its Arabic name is Barnik (برنيق), or Farass el-Bahr (فرس البحر), the Nubians call it Ird. It is a dreadful plague on account of its voracity, and the want of means in the inhabitants to destroy it. It often descends the Nile as far as Sukkot: the peasants, as I passed, told me that there were three of them in the river between Mahass and Sukkot. Last year several of them passed the Batn el Hadjar, and made their appearance at Wady Halfa and Derr, an occurrence unknown to the oldest inhabitant. One was killed by an Arab, by a shot over its right eye; the peasants ate the flesh, and the skin and teeth were sold to a merchant of Siout. Another continued its course northward, and was seen beyond the cataract at Assouan, at Derau, one day’s march north of that place.

The city of Dóngola, by the natives called Dóngola el Adjouze (دنقله العجوز), Old Dóngola, or more properly Tongol (تنكل), is equal in size to Derr. The Bedouin tribe of Kobabish (قبابيش) reside in the country and are continually making incursions into Darfour, from whence they carry off slaves. Many individuals of the tribe of Ababde, of the eastern mountain, were also settled at Dóngola, where they had acquired great wealth, and influence; but, when the Mamelouks spread themselves over the country, as will be presently related, they retired with their chief, Hay (حاي), to Egypt. South of Tongol, or Dóngola, proceeding along the banks of the Nile, the following places are met with; near Tongol, Afar (أفار), then Daffar (دفّار); Hattany (حتّاني); Kennat (كنّات); and Ambougo (أمبوكو), which last is three days journies from Tongol, and severs or eight from Argo. Here the territory of Dóngola terminates, being divided from that of the Arabs Sheygya by a mountainous rocky tract, two hours journey in breadth, reaching close to the river, and forming the recommencement of the chain which terminates at Hannek. On the south side of this tract, or rather the east side, for the river here flows in the direction from east to west, the country of the Sheygya commences; the first city or village (Beled or Wady) is Gos (قوس), inhabited by the tribe Onye; then follows Hannek el Zebeyr (حَنق الزبير), inhabited by another tribe so called; farther on is Dar Essorab (دار الصُراب); Koreyr (كُرير); Koray (قُري); Abramnar (أبرمنار); Wosta (وَسطه); Tongazy (تُنكاسي); Koro (قرُو); Kadjeba (قَجبه), Merawe (مروه), a singular coincidence in sound with the ancient Meroë; Bargal (بركل); Noury (نوري); Kasandjar (كَسنجر); Hamdab (حمداب); Oly (أولي); Zoara (زواره); and Dollago (دلاكو); where terminates the territory of the Sheygya, the whole length of which may be estimated at from thirty-five to forty hours march. The principal of the above enumerated places are, Koray, Kadjeba, and Merawe, the two latter being situated, on the banks of the river, nearly opposite each other. Merawe may be considered as the capital, or chief residence, of the Sheygya; it has a castle built of brick. Between the city of Dóngola and Merawe is the Wady of the Arabs called Bedeyr (بدير), whose chiefs have, till lately, been tributary to the Sheygya. There is a short road from Dóngola to Merawe, over the desert, of two days and a half. From Mahass to Merawe, over the mountains, is seven or eight days easy journeys; but there is no water on the road. The valley of the Nile throughout the country of the Sheygya is no where more than three miles in breadth; in several parts of the river are small cataracts, where the mountains on each side nearly join. There are few crocodiles in this part of the river, and the hippopotamus is not met with. The tree most frequently seen on the banks of the stream is the Sant, or acacia; date trees are scarce. Dhourra, and the grain called Dhoken, are the most common productions of the fields, which are irrigated in the summer by means of water-wheels. The country is as well inhabited as the most populous parts of Egypt.

The Sheygya, of whom I have seen only one individual, at Mahass, are certainly a very interesting people, and form the most powerful state to the north of Sennaar. They have a tradition that their forefather was a man of the name of Shayg (شايق), whose four sons gave origin to their principal tribes. At present they are divided into many tribes, of which the Adelanab is the most powerful, being that of the great chief; the others are El Hamdan (حمدان); Essoleymane (سليماني); and El Amrab (الامراب); to these may be added the tribes of Onye, Zebeyr (which must not be confounded with the royal family of Argo, to which they have no relationship), and the Arabs Menasyr (عرب المناصر), who inhabit the Wady Menasyr, to the east of the country of the Sheygya, and who, although not strictly belonging to the Sheygya, may, from their intimate connection with them, be enumerated among their tribes. These different people are continually at war with each other, and their youth make plundering excursions as far as Darfour, to the west, and Wady Halfa, to the north. They all fight on horseback, in coats of mail (ذرع),which are sold to them by the merchants of Suakin and Sennaar. Fire-arms are not common among them, their only weapons being a lance, target, and sabre; they throw the lance to a great distance with much dexterity, and always carry four or five lances in the left hand, when charging an enemy. They are all mounted on Dóngola stallions, and are as famous for their horsemanship, as the Mamelouks were in Egypt; they train their horses to make violent springs with their hind legs when gallopping; their saddles resemble the drawings I have seen of those of Abyssinia, and, like the Abyssinian horsemen, they place the great toe only in the stirrup. It is from the Sheygya that the people of Mahass are supplied with saddles.

The Sheygya are a perfectly independent people, and possess great wealth, in corn and cattle; like the Bedouins of Arabia, they pay no kind of tribute to their chiefs, whose power is by no means so great as that of the chiefs of Dongola. They are renowned for their hospitality; and the person of their guest, or companion, is sacred. If the traveller possesses a friend among them, and has been plundered on the road, his property will be recovered, even if it has been taken by the king. They all speak Arabic exclusively, and many of them write and read it. Their learned men are held in great respect by them; they have schools, wherein all the sciences are taught which form the course of Mohammedan study, mathematics and astronomy excepted. I have seen books, copied at Merawe, written in as fine a hand as that of the scribes of Cairo. Whenever young men are sent to them from the adjacent countries for instruction, the chief of the Olema distributes them amongst his acquaintances, in whose houses they are lodged and fed for as many years as they choose to remain.

Such of the Sheygya as are soldiers, and not learned men, indulge in the frequent use of wine and spirits made from dates. The manners of their women are said to be very depraved. The merchants among them travel to Darfour, Sennaar, and Suakin; and, in years of dearth in Arabia, they export wheat and Dhourra to the Djidda market, by the way of Suakin. A caravan of pilgrims departs annually to these two places. Suakin is twelve days journeys distant from the borders of the country of the Sheygya.

Having thus endeavoured to give some account of Dongola, and the countries bordering upon it, I shall now add a few words respecting its political relations at the period of the irruption of the Mamelouks, and the consequences of that event, as far as they were known when I visited Mahass. According to the relation of the Arabs, Dóngola had been governed from time immemorial by the families of Zebeyr (زبير) and Funnye (فنيه), the former ruling over the northern provinces and the latter over the southern; but, in latter times, these families had only possessed the shadow of power, the real government being in the hands of the Sheygya. These Arabs had been accustomed to make continual incursions into Dóngola, and to lay waste whole districts; until at length, after the principal men of Fonnye had been slain, the chiefs of Dóngola, forced by the remonstrances of their people, entered into a treaty with the invaders, and gave up to them the half of the revenue as the price of their forbearance: from that period they lived on amicable terms with each other; but as the Sheygya chiefs resided occasionally at Dóngola, at Handak, and at Argo, in order to collect their share of the revenue, and had thus the means of acquiring influence in every part of the country, their authority soon began to preponderate. When the Mamelouk Begs reached Argo, in their flight from Egypt, as I have already related, they were received by the great chief of the Sheygya, Mahmoud el Adelanab (محمود آلادانَاب), with the wonted hospitality of his nation; and as they then declared that their intention was to settle in Sennaar, he made them considerable presents in horses, camels, slaves, and provisions. These treacherous fugitives, however, had not been a month at Argo, when, upon some slight pretext, they killed their benefactor, with several of his attendants; and then spreading themselves over the country, plundered the property of the Sheygya, and seized upon the revenue. In this state of things, one of the kings of the Zebeyr family joined the Mamelouks against the Sheygya; while the other, his brother, named Toubol ibn Zebeyr, repaired to Egypt, to seek for aid in men and arms against the new invaders, who were joined by another body of Sheygya, amounting to about eighty horsemen, the inveterate enemies of the tribe of Mahmoud el Adelanab. The Mamelouks have since been at continual war with the Sheygya, and several individuals have been slain on both sides. In January last, the former made an expedition, with their whole force, towards Merawe; but, while they proceeded southward, a party of Sheygya crossed the mountains, and falling on the rear of the Mamelouks, killed the few followers whom they had left at Argo and Handak, and plundered what remained of their property. This was the state of the country, when I was at Tinareh the Sheygya were still at Argo, the result of the expedition against Merawe was then unknown, and the partizans of both sides spread the most contradictory reports. It was evident, that under such circumstances, the two Begs whom I saw at Derr could not rejoin their companions; it was supposed that they would wait the result of the contest, in the castle of Hannek, in Mahass, which is a strong place.

It appears to me that, in the present state of their affairs, the Mamelouks have only one alternative; either to strike a last desperate blow upon Upper Egypt, if the slightest opportunity should present itself, though the vigilance of Mohammed Aly leaves them little chance of success in that quarter; or, to endeavour to seize upon some harbour in the Red Sea, where they may recruit their strength by the importation of young Georgian slaves, no others being admitted among them. Massuah is the best situation for such a project; it is distant from their present position, twenty-two days; four days across the desert to Shendy, and eighteen days from thence to Massuah, for the most part along the cultivated banks of the Astaboras. I believe that the project of invading Abyssinia is really entertained by the Mamelouks; were they to attempt it, and succeed, a new and important branch of trade might be opened to the East India Company; but woe to the country occupied by these tyrannical and unprincipled slaves! At present, they have no money left, but they have plenty of slaves with them, with which they can purchase any thing; a slave being a kind of currency in the southern countries. Many of the Mamelouks died last summer from the effects of a putrid fever, which regularly prevails in Dóngola during the hot season, and carries off numbers of the inhabitants. Unable to bear the heat in their thick woollen dresses, which they still continue to wear, they constructed a number of rafts, on board of which they passed the whole of the summer, under awnings of mats, kept continually wet by their slaves.

Return from Dar-El-Mahass to Assouan.

March 15th. My guide, as it appeared, had received secret instructions to retard my march. At sunrise, I found him still asleep, contrary to the custom of the country, which is to rise at the break of day; and shortly after we had set out, he pretended that the camel he rode was lame, and unable to proceed at a trot. Seeing clearly that his intention was to allow Mohammed Kashef’s troops to come up with us, I told him that he might dismount, as I knew my way back to Derr perfectly well, and was determined to travel with all possible haste. On hearing this, he went on, but remained several times, during the day, at the distance of a mile behind me, thinking by this means to make me wait for him.

Instead of proceeding across the desert to Waouy, we followed the river; in one hour and a half, from the place where we slept, we arrived opposite to Soleb (صلب), a fine village on the west bank. There I saw the ruins of a large temple, which it had been my intention to visit, after crossing the river at Tinareh. I offered some peasants, who were watering the fields upon an island opposite Soleb, all the Dhourra remaining in my provision sack, to carry me over, and back again, which, I think, was as much, as offering a guinea for a similar service to a London waterman; but there was no Ramous, nor any of those goat-skins, which when inflated, often serve as a conveyance on the Nile; and as I did not think it prudent to trust to my arms only, in swimming over, I was obliged pursue my route, without gratifying my curiosity. The temple appeared to have been of the size of the largest of those found in Egypt; the body of it seemed to be entire, with ten or twelve large pillars of the pronaos. I hope some other traveller will be more fortunate than myself, in being able to examine this ruin, which I believe to be the most southern specimen of Egyptian architecture; for I was credibly informed that no ancient buildings whatever are to be found in the southern parts of Mahass, or in Dóngola. It was, perhaps, a very fortunate circumstance for me, that I did not cross the river at Tinareh, and proceed down the western bank, as I should have again fallen in with the two Mamelouk Begs, who were proceeding rapidly southward on that side, and our meeting in this part of Nubia might not, perhaps, have been so friendly as it was when I visited them at Derr.

In two hours we reached Waouy; two and a half, Eshamotto; three and a half Irau; four and a half, Wady Aboudy; six hours, Dar Hamyde; seven hours, Koeyk. The insulated mountain called Djebel Oellaky, bears N.E. by N. from Waouy. The western mountain, which may be said to terminate at the southern extremity of the Batn el Hadjar, in low sand hills, begins again to the west of the island of Say, and describing, from thence, a wide semicircle westward, joins the river again near Soleb. From Koeyk we crossed the stony plain, overspread with cornelians, quartz, and agate, and leaving the river, and the village Ebar, far to our left, arrived by a straight course at the village of Sheikh Medjdera, a part of Wady Aamara, where we slept, at the house of a man, whose father was from Damascus, and had married here.

In order to explain the difference between the distances as noted in my journal up the river, and those on my return, it is to be observed that I travelled at a quick rate the whole of the way from Assouan to Derr, (except where prevented by the rocky nature of the ground), or at an average of four miles an hour, at the least. From Derr to Wady Haifa, it appears to me, that I went at the rate of three miles and a half per hour; and through the Batn el Hadjar, three miles. From Sukkot to Mahass, again four miles an hour. On my return from Mahass to Sukkot the rate was three miles and a half an hour. From Sukkot to Derr, through the sands of the western shore, three miles an hour. From Der to Assouan I travelled only two miles in the hour, as I was fearful of injuring my camels by fatigue.

March 16th. We rode this day from sunrise to sunset, resting only one hour, opposite the island of Ferke, under a tent of Kerrarish. I have already described this route. The western bank of the river from Dal to opposite Aamara is a sandy desert with scarcely any interruption. The river is full of rocks as far as Aamara, where there is a trifling cataract; from thence southward it is quite free from rocks. To the east of Ferke and Zergamotto is a high mountain, called Djebel Mama (جبل مامت), at the foot of which are the tumuli or barrows before mentioned; this may be said to form the extremity of the Batn el Hadjar, on the east side. Opposite to it, on the west side, the mountains of this tract are terminated by low hills called Kitfukko (قتفقو). We recrossed the mountain from Dabbe to Kolbe in an E.N.E. direction, and arrived at sunset opposite the island of Kolbe. The principal rock met with in passing this mountain is feldspath, and close to the river are granite, and granite schist. I wished to pass the river at Kolbe; but as it was too late in the evening to attempt it, I sent over my guide to Daoud Kara, with my compliments, and a request that he would send me a supper, and on the morrow two men, to assist me in transporting my camels, and the little baggage I had, to the west bank of the river. The guide soon returned, with a promise of what I requested; and late in the night, a slave brought us some barley soup. We slept among the rocks over the water side. My Arab had been informed that the two Mamelouk Begs had passed Kolbe two days before, on their way to Mahass, which was very agreeable intelligence to me.

March 17th. Two slaves came over, as promised, to assist us in crossing the river. The two camel’s saddles and the two sacks were placed upon the Ramous, at the head of which one of the slaves seated himself, to paddle it over, while the other took hold of the halters of the camels, with one hand, and the stern of the Ramous with the other; an inflated goatskin was tied to the neck of each camel, to aid it in swimming, but we had great difficulty to get them into the water, the Egyptian camels not being accustomed to this mode of passing the river. My guide stripped, and laid hold of the tail of his camel with one hand, while he urged the beast forward by a stick which he carried in the other. It was proposed to me to take my seat upon the Ramous, but finding that frail conveyance already too heavily laden, I followed the example of my guide, and placing my clothes upon the Ramous, swam over with my camel in the manner just mentioned. At Mahass the people are afraid to cross the river in this manner, on account of the crocodiles, so that the communication between the two shores is very irregular. The vessel, which the Kashefs had brought to Tinareh had no boatmen capable of towing it from one side to the other; if the wind was favourable, a few rags were put up to serve as sails, and were sufficient to carry the vessel across; but whenever the wind was contrary, two horses were attached to it by ropes, and being driven into the water, dragged the boat after them in swimming across.

The governor of Sukkot had left Kolbe early in the morning, to go in search of a cow that was due to him, as tribute, from the chiefs of the Omsherifs in Batn el Hadjar; I therefore breakfasted with his slaves, and pursued my journey. Kolbe appears to be an artificial island; a deep canal, too regular to be the work of nature, runs along the western side of it, and is dry in the spring season, so that we could at present wade across it. On the west side of this canal is a recess in the mountain, where is a plain that bears traces of former cultivation. There is a small village upon the island, and several ruins of brick buildings, one of which I entered, and was not a little surprised to find myself in a Greek chapel: figures of saints were painted in gaudy colours upon the walls, and the names of many visitors or pilgrims inscribed. The colours of the paintings are extremely well preserved, probably owing to the extreme dryness of the air of Nubia. I found the date to several of the names. It should seem from the quantities of brick ruins upon the islands of Batn el Hadjar, that the builders of those edifices were unable to hew the rocks of the neighbouring mountains, which are throughout of considerable hardness. In proceeding towards the northern limits of the island, I found a deep and wide well, lined on the inside, up to the top, with large stones. The rock on this side of the river is granite, crossed by strata of quartz three or four inches in thickness.

From Kolbe we rode two hours and a half to Wady Okame, in the direction of N.N.E.; in the Batn el Hadjar the Wadys on both sides of the river bear the same name. We continued four hours in the Wady, where we saw only some ruined houses. From thence the road lies over high sandy hills. Six hours and a half, Wady Sonk: the sands here descend into the river like torrents; the northerly winds blew the sand directly in our faces, and greatly annoyed us. We supped at Wady Sonk, at the hut of a poor Arab woman, whose husband had gone to Derr to sell a few goats, and bring home Dhourra in return. A plant called Kharoua (خروع), which is also found in Upper Egypt, growing to the height of four or five feet, is cultivated here, as well as in several parts of the Batn el Hadjar; a medicinal oil is extracted from its fruit, with which the people anoint their hair. The situation of most of these Wadys among the rocks and tamarisk trees is delightful, especially wherever the water is collected in little pools; but the gnats frequent the pools in such numbers, that we could get no rest for them, and we therefore quitted our station, when the moon rose, and halted again, half an hour farther, on the sands of the upper plain, at the foot of the mountain called Djebel Lamoule. We heard here the noise of the river rushing over the rocks at the foot of the western Lamoule.

March 18th. Our road lay over a high sandy plain, in the direction of E. by N.; insulated rocky hills rise above the plain, and form a hilly chain, much inferior in height to the mountains on the east side. At two hours the beginning of Wady Formoke (وادي فرمكه), lay several miles to our right, on the banks of the river. Three hours, Wady Om Kanaszer; here, upon a rocky island, are several brick ruins, and a tower of some size, of the same material. This place is inhabited by some Omsherifs, who cultivate a few acres of ground; they begged a little gunpowder of me to shoot the gazelles, which devour their harvest. These animals inhabit the western mountains in large herds, and regularly descend to the banks of the river during the night, to feed upon the herbage which grows there; I every morning found the sands above the river thickly covered with the traces of the delicate feet of this pretty animal. The Arabs have no other means of guarding their fields against them, than by setting up objects to frighten them; I frequently met with the grotesque figure of a hyena, formed of straw, and mounted upon legs of wood. The hyena inhabits the mountains on both sides of the river, and is the most formidable enemy of the gazelle. I did not hear of any other beasts of prey in these parts. In five hours we came to Wady Ambigo, or Ambougo, with large islands in the river. The high sandy plain, with insulated hills, continues on this side; and the Nile has many turnings. We always made a short cut over the mountain. Our road from Ambigo lay E.N.E. until at eight hours and a half, Wady Ambigo terminated; Djebel Doushe being on the eastern bank; the road for the greater part lies over a plain covered with what are called Egyptian pebbles; the mounds and hillocks on both sides of the road consist, for about three miles, of red porphyry. Ten hours, Wady Attyre, where we passed the house of the Melek of the Omsherifs, built of stone: this, and several other habitations, had been plundered and ruined last year by the Arabs Sheygya, who do not confine their depredations to the eastern side, but often cross the river, and lay waste the western shore. At ten hours and a half, we halted for the night opposite the hut of a Kerrarish family, who lived upon an island; they brought us some butter and milk, and received Dhourra in exchange. In the night, a little girl came over to us, and begged us to give her some Dhourra for her mother and herself, as the men never allowed them any bread. I satisfied her beyond her expectations; and early in the morning she returned with a pot of milk, as a present from her mother. I should observe, that my guide was known to this family, otherwise the girl would not have trusted herself, alone, among entire strangers. The high thorny shrub, called Syale (سياله) grows here in large quantities; it bears red berries, which are eaten by the Arabs.

March 19th. Our path, on setting out, lay along a narrow passage between rocks of granite, quartz, and feldspath; the direction north. In one hour and a half we returned to the banks of the river, near the northern extremity of Wady Attyre, opposite the Akabet el benat, on the eastern side. Throughout the Batn el Hadjar, there are a few date trees at intervals on the west bank, but not so many as on the east; no one claiming a property in these trees, their fruit is collected by the traveller. We again crossed the sands from Wady Attyre. In three hours, we reached Wady Samne (وادي سمنه), near which is a cataract in the river: the stream forces its way through a narrow passage, not more than fifty paces in breadth, formed by two rocks, which project from the opposite sides. On the east side, upon a hill over the cataract, are some brick ruins; and, on the west side, are similar ruins, with an ancient temple on the top of the hill. It is built of sand-stone, and differs in its shape from other Egyptian temples, though it somewhat resembles in its plan the small temple of Elephantine. It consists of a principal building twelve paces in length, and three paces only in breadth. On each side, stood originally four small pillars, of which two remain on one side, and three on the other; one of the former has a polygonal shaft, the others are square; they are all covered with sculptures. The pillars are joined to the main building by blocks of stone, which serve as a roof to the vestibule. There are two small gates. The inner walls of the apartment are covered with hieroglyphics, and mystic representations of the divine worship. On both sides a long ship is sculptured, with Osiris in it; and the group of two figures resting their hands upon each others shoulders is every where repeated. The roof is painted blue, and there are some remains of colours upon several of the figures. Near the posterior wall, opposite the main entrance, a statue lies on the floor, the head of which has been cut off; it is about five feet high; the arms are crossed upon the breast, and in one hand is the flail, and in the other the instrument usually called a crosier. On the exterior wall of the temple I distinguished several figures of Mendes, or the Egyptian Priapus. All the sculptures are of coarse execution; and several of the lines of the compartments wherein the hieroglyphics are cut, are not straight, as if they had been the work of young persons only learning their art. Some of the hieroglyphics on the pillars have evidently been left unfinished; and even those which are completed, are badly and rudely done. A part of the wall appears to be of a different date from the rest, as it is constructed of stones much larger, and better hewn. There seems to have been another similar building near this temple, for several capitals of columns are lying on the ground, and a large block of granite covered with hieroglyphics. All around are heaps of rubbish. The temple is surrounded by ruined brick buildings, which are certainly of high antiquity; they cover the top of the hill which overhangs the shore, and are enclosed by a double wall, or rather by a wall within a parapet; the former is of brick, from eight to twelve feet thick, and whereever entire, upwards of thirty feet in height; the parapet is constructed of stone, twenty feet in breadth, with sides sloping towards the declivity of the hill; the stones of the parapet are thrown irregularly upon each other, without cement, but those which form the sloping side are either cut, or dexterously arranged, so as to present a perfectly smooth surface, which, at the period when the work was taken care of, must have rendered it impossible for any one to climb over it. These works of defence indicate powerful enemies; but who they were, it is impossible to ascertain. Did the forefathers of the Blemmyes disturb the hierarchy of Egypt, as their descendants afterwards did the Roman praetors?

In four hours we arrived opposite the ruins of a brick tower, or small castle, upon a rocky island: here begins Wady Seras. Our road was N.E. over ground, covered with deep sand, and perfectly even, with the exception of a few low insulated hillocks. At five hours, the plain opens wide to the west, and the river takes a winding course to the eastward. At the end of seven hours, in an E.N.E. direction, we came again to the side of the river. In eight hours and a half, reached the northern extremity of Wady Seras: an ancient brick castle, called Escot (أسقُط), stands upon an island. At the end of nine hours, we halted on the high shore, over the river, opposite a small island, on which was an Arab hut; we called out to its inhabitants, and one of them swam over to receive some Dhourra, of which the women made us bread. Doum trees grow here in plenty, and the fruit had already come to maturity. The tamarisk and acacia trees also abound.

March 20th. We rode over a sandy plain, in the direction of N.E. by E., and in two hours and a half, came again to the river at Wady Djayme (وادي جيمه). The face of the country here has a less rugged appearance; the river, for several miles, is free from rocks and islands, and a narrow strip of cultivable soil lines the shore. We met with an Arab, who was digging salt in the western hills: it is found in small white pieces, mixed with sand and stones; these are boiled in water, and when the salt is dissolved, the Arabs strain the solution through their shirts, and preserve it in large earthen vessels; whenever they are in want of salt, for their dishes, they pour a little of this brine over them. From hence the road along the shore was N.N.E. The rock here is entirely grünstein. In three hours and a half, we reached Wady Mershed. On the west side, opposite the island mentioned in my way southward, stand two detached brick buildings, a small Greek convent, and a church; in which some paintings of saints are still visible on the walls. The plain here is broader than in any other part of the Batn el Hadjar, and bears traces of former cultivation; it is now entirely deserted, although many date trees grow here. From hence northward, the face of the country gradually loses its wild aspect, and the eastern chain diminishes considerably in height. In four hours and a half we came to three or four chapels, or dwellings of cenobites, close to, but detached from, each other: these may have been the habitations of ambitious monks, whom the fanaticism of party had driven from Constantinople into the deserts of Nubia. Five hours and a half, the river is again choked with rocks and islands, and continues so to the Cataract of Wady Halfa. Here the Wady Sulla (وادي سُلّه) commences: the road ascends the sandy hills which skirt the narrow plain along the shore. On the top of these hills is an immense plain, in which are a number of small insulated hillocks, some of them so regular in their shape, as to appear like the work of art. In six hours, we reached the borders of the upper plain; overhanging the river are the remains of a considerable brick enclosure, about three hundred feet square, with a thick wall; it had probably served as a watch-tower; there are no ruins whatever within the area of the enclosure. At this place a distant view opens over the river and its islands, upon one of which, just below, are some brick ruins. In seven hours and a half we came again to the river; the road N.E. by E. At eight hours we passed the celebrated second Cataract of the Nile, or The Cataract of Wady Halfa, laid down in all the maps of Nubia under the name of the Cataract of Jan Adel. The cataract is formed by a part of the stream only, at most twenty yards in breadth; its fall is more rapid, and the noise and foam greater, than in any other place in the Batn el Hadjar, or than at the cataracts of Assouan; still, however, it little deserves to be called a Cataract, or Shellal (شلاّل). There are three principal falls, or sloping rocks, one above the other, over which the water descends with great velocity. The Arabs who inhabit some of the neighbouring islands, stretch a net across the fall, and in this way catch a considerable number of fish. The high hill on the west bank, close to the Cataract, forms the termination of the primitive rocks of the Batn el Hadjar; from thence northward, as far as the first Cataract, the rock is every where sand-stone.

As the sun was near setting, when I viewed the Cataract, and our provisions, except Dhourra, were entirely exhausted, I was desirous of reaching some inhabited spot before night, and therefore proceeded at a quick trot. In the course of our passage over the sand-hills we came opposite to Wady Haifa; and in ten hours reached the banks of the river in front of Sukoy (سقوي), where I met with the remains of a temple, but in a very dilapidated state. The whole building is buried under mounds of sand and rubbish, except the fragments of shafts of columns, standing as described in the annexed figure [not included]. The four corner columns, and two of the side ones, are square, the others are round; they appeared to be about two feet and a half in diameter; no hieroglyphics, or sculptures, are visible, and the stones are in a very decayed state. The temple had been surrounded by a high brick wall, fragments of which are still seen. I observed no other remains of antiquity in my hasty view of this ruin. We continued at a brisk trot till the end of eleven hours and a half, when we again reached the bank of the river, opposite Dabrous, and crossed the dry bed of a branch of the stream to an island, where some Kerrarish Arabs were encamped, and we alighted at their tents, late at night, after a ride of twelve hours. I celebrated my safe return into the northern parts of Nubia by having a lamb, which I purchased of the Arabs for three measures of Dhourra, roasted for my supper. The island is thickly overgrown with tamarisk trees, which shoot up spontaneously upon all the islands whose surfaces consist of alluvial mud, and not of sand. I was informed, in the course of the night, that a caravan of sixty camels of the Arabs Sheygya had arrived at Wady Halfa, for dates. Although continually harassed by the predatory incursions of the Sheygya, the Nubians never offer any insult to the merchants of that nation, who visit their villages as friends.

March 21st. In passing over from the island to the main land, my dromedary sank into the mud, and it was with great difficulty that I saved it: these animals walk with a firm step through sands as high as their knee; but mud, the depth of an inch only, will make them stumble. In half an hour we passed the village of Argyn (أركين). The western shore, from the Cataract to this village, is quite barren, and continues so to the north of it, where deep sands cover the plain. In one hour and a half, we passed opposite to Eshke. Two hours and a half, saw the village of Debeyra, on the east bank; there is on that side an uninterrupted grove of date trees, from Eshke to Serra. Our road lay N.E. by N. In four hours and a half we came to Serra, nearly opposite the village of the same name, on the east side. At five hours, are the ruins of a small temple, not far from the river, in the midst of low sand hills: its main building is about twenty-four feet square; the roof has fallen in, and the lower parts only of the original walls remain; upon these the Greeks had raised mud walls, and converted the ruin into a church, which, in its turn, had become a mosque. There are no remains of columns; and the hieroglyphics, and other sculptures, which cover the walls, are worse executed than any I had seen, worse even than those at Samne, abovementioned. The fragments of a battle-piece may still be discerned upon the wall, and there is a very spirited, but rudely executed group of Briareus, seized by the hair, and under the victor’s knife, but protected by the out-stretched arm of Osiris; it differs from the similar representation so often repeated on the walls of the Egyptian temples; inasmuch as Briareus is not here a many-headed monster, but of the natural human form, holding in his arms a dying friend; both these figures have rings in their ears, and the hair of the head is cut like that of the Arabs of this part of Africa, in a form which has been mistaken for a cap by some travellers, in describing the same head-dress in the figures of the temples of Egypt. Opposite to this temple, on the east side, is the hamlet of Artynok (أرتنوق), which lies to the north of the eastern Serra. Five hours and a half, Faras, (فَرَس), opposite the fertile island of that name. The sand-hills of Serra continue till opposite Adhendhan; to the west is a wide plain, with insulated rocky hills. At seven hours is a ruined Greek church, the walls of which, in the lower half of their height, are of stone, and in the remainder of bricks. At seven hours and a half, we passed three sepulchres excavated in the sand-stone of a low range of hills; they are coarsely worked; in their interior are several Greek inscriptions of the time of the Lower Empire. Our road was now E.N.E. Opposite Adhendan the western chain of mountains terminates, and some low hills, separated from the river by rising sandy ground, continue to the northward. In nine hours we reached the shore, opposite Kosko. Nine and a half, crossed the dry bed of a branch of the stream to the island of Ballyane; and alighted, at the end of eleven hours, at the huts of some Kerrarish Arabs, on its northern extremity, directly opposite the castle of Adde. All these islands are deserted during the period of the inundation.

March 22d. We recrossed, to the shore, over the sands left on the decrease of the waters, and passed the village of Ballyane (بليني). At one hour and a half, ascended a steep sandy mountain the mountains on both sides are close to the river. On the east side is Wady Fereyg: on the west side the mountain bears the name of Ebsambal (إبسَمبَل), probably a Greek word, the final syllable bal being a modification of polis. When we reached the top of the mountain, I left my guide, with the camels, and descended an almost perpendicular cleft, choaked with sand, to view the temple of Ebsambal, of which I had heard many magnificent descriptions. There is no road at present to this temple, which stands just over the bank of the river; but, it is probable, that some change may have taken place in the course of the stream, and that there may have been formerly a footpath along the shore, by which the temple was approached. It stands about twenty feet above the surface of the water, entirely cut out of the almost perpendicular rocky side of the mountain, and in complete preservation. In front of the entrance are six erect colossal figures, representing juvenile persons, three on each side, placed in narrow recesses, and looking towards the river; they are all of the same size, stand with one foot before the other, and are accompanied by smaller figures, which I shall presently describe. They measure from the ground to the knee six feet and a half, and are placed in the following order: 1. A juvenile Osiris, with a narrow beard, and a tiara on his head, accompanied by two small upright figures, about four feet in height, one on each side of his legs. 2. Isis, with Horus in her arms, and a small figure also, on each side; though coarsely executed, the expression of the countenance of the Isis is truly grand and benevolent. 3. A youth, with the usual high bonnet upon his head, his arms hanging down, and two small figures like the preceding. These are on one side of the door. On the other side is, 4. The same youth; 5. Isis, having the globe, encompassed by two serpents, upon her head; and 6. the youth a third time; each with the two small accompanying figures, as before. Of the small figures, some of those on the side last mentioned differ from the others in having the hair on the right side of the head falling in a thick bunch upon the right shoulder, while the left side is shaved. The spaces between the niches where the large figures stand, are covered with hieroglyphics. A small door leads into the pronaos of the temple, which is supported by six square columns, each three feet square: the pronaos is thirteen paces in length, and seven in breadth. The capitals of the columns represent heads of Isis, similar to those at Tintyra, except that they are in much lower relief, and in the same style as the sculptures on the walls of the temple; the ornament represented on these heads is in the form of a temple, and the hair falls down in two thick ringlets, differing in this respect, also, from the figures at Tintyra. The narrow cells is entered from the pronaos by one large, and two small gates; it is only three paces in depth, with a dark chamber on each side. The adytum is seven feet square; the remains of a statue, cut out of the rock, are visible in the back wall, and in the floor is a deep sepulchral excavation. The walls of the three apartments are covered with hieroglyphics, and the usual sacred figures of the Egyptian temples. The figures seem all to have been painted yellow, excepting the hair, which, in several of them is black; that of Isis is in black and white stripes. Offerings to Osiris of lotus and of leaves of the Doum tree, are frequently represented; and, as in all the Nubian temples, Briareus, beneath the hand of the victor, is repeated in several places; he is here again of the natural human form. The temple of Ebsambal seems to have been the model of that at Derr, to which I think it much anterior in date; it was no doubt dedicated to the worship of Isis. The style in which the sculptures are executed denotes high antiquity. A few paces to the north of the entrance, in the rock above it, is a bas-relief of Osiris, in a sitting posture, with a supplicant kneeling with extended arms before him: both figures are surrounded with hieroglyphic characters. I was afterwards informed, at Derr, that there is, near this temple, on the bank of the river, the statue of a man somewhat above the human size, with the Egyptian corn measure under his arm; and that it is completely overflowed during the inundation.

Having, as I supposed, seen all the antiquities of Ebsambal, I was about to ascend the sandy side of the mountain by the same way I had descended; when having luckily turned more to the southward, I fell in with what is yet visible of four immense colossal statues cut out of the rock, at a distance of about two hundred yards from the temple; they stand in a deep recess, excavated in the mountain; but it is greatly to be regretted, that they are now almost entirely buried beneath the sands, which are blown down here in torrents. The entire head, and part of the breast and arms of one of the statues are yet above the surface; of the one next to it scarcely any part is visible, the head being broken off, and the body covered with sand to above the shoulders; of the other two, the bonnets only appear. It is difficult to determine, whether these statues are in a sitting or standing posture; their backs adhere to a portion of rock, which projects from the main body, and which may represent a part of a chair, or may be merely a column for support. They do not front the river, like those of the temple just described, but are turned with their faces due north, towards the more fertile climes of Egypt, so that the line on which they stand, forms an angle with the course of the stream. The head which is above the surface has a most expressive, youthful, countenance, approaching nearer to the Grecian model of beauty, than that of any ancient Egyptian figure I have seen; indeed, were it not for a thin oblong beard, it might well pass for a head of Pallas. This statue wears the high bonnet usually called the corn-measure, in the front of which is a projection bearing the figure of a nilometer; the same is upon the bonnets of the two others: the arms are covered with hieroglyphics, deeply cut in the sand-stone, and well executed; the statue measures seven yards across the shoulders, and cannot, therefore, if in an upright posture, be less than from sixty-five to seventy feet in height: the ear is one yard and four inches in length. On the wall of the rock, in the centre of the four statues, is the figure of the hawk-headed Osiris, surmounted by a globe; beneath which, I suspect, could the sand be cleared away, a vast temple would be discovered, to the entrance of which the above colossal figures probably serve as ornaments, in the same manner as the six belonging to the neighbouring temple of Isis: I am also led to conjecture, from the presence of the hawk-headed figure, that this was a temple dedicated to Osiris. The levelled face of the rock behind the colossal figures, is covered with hieroglyphic characters; over which is a row of upwards of twenty sitting figures, cut out of the rock like the others, but so much defaced, that I could not make out distinctly, from below, what they were meant for; they are about six feet in height. Judging from the features of the colossal statue visible above the sand, I should pronounce these works to belong to the finest period of Egyptian sculpture; but, on the other hand, the hieroglyphics on the face of the rock are of very indifferent execution, and seem to be of the same age as those in the temple at Derr. A few paces to the south of the four colossal statues, is a recess hewn out of the rock, with steps leading up to it from the river; its walls are covered with hieroglyphic inscriptions, and representations of Isis, and the hawk-headed Osiris.

The temple of Ebsambal serves as a place of refuge to the inhabitants of Ballyane, and the neighbouring Arabs, against a Moggrebyn tribe of Bedouins, who regularly, every year, make incursions into these parts. They belong to the tribes which are settled between the Great Oasis and Siout. When they set out, they repair first to Argo, where they commence their predatory course, plundering all the villages on the western bank of the river; they next visit Mahass, Sukkot, Batn el Hadjar, Wady Halfa, the villages opposite Derr, and lastly Dakke; near the latter place, they ascend the mountain, and return through the desert towards Siout. The party usually consists of about one hundred and fifty horsemen, and as many camel-riders: no one dares oppose them in Nubia; on the contrary, the governors pay them a visit, when they arrive opposite to Derr, and make them some presents. The incursions of this tribe are one of the principal reasons, why the greater part of the western bank of the Nile is deserted. Whenever they advance towards Ballyane, its inhabitants retreat with their cattle to the temple of Ebsambal. The Moggrebyns, last year attempted to force this place of refuge, but failed, after losing several men.

From Ebsambal our road lay E.N.E. along a barren, sandy shore. At three hours and a half from our setting out in the morning, we passed some ruined Greek chapels; and at the end of six hours and a half, alighted (opposite to Formundy, on the east side), at an Arab tent, in which was a young man, and a pretty girl, his cousin; their relations lived on the east side, and had sent them over to watch a few sown fields. I asked the girl whether she was not afraid of remaining alone with the youth? “O no,” she replied, “is he not my cousin?” (ليس أخاف ما هو ابن عمي). Cousins among the Bedouins are considered almost in the same light as brothers and sisters.

March 23d. A continuation of the high sandy shore. We left the river to our right, and made a short cut across the plain, in a N.E. by E. direction. In two hours and a half, we passed, at about one hour’­­s distance to our right, the village of Tosko, which stands on both sides of the river. Five hours, Mosmos (مُسمُس), a village on the west bank, opposite to Wady Bostan. Six hours, passed Wady Shubak, on the east bank; from thence our road was E.N.E. over a wide plain, between the western mountains and the river. At nine hours, saw, to our right, the village of Kette. About two miles distance from the river is an insulated hill, composed of sand-stone, in which a small sepulchral chamber has been formed, seven paces in length, three in breadth, and five feet and a half in height, with a sepulchral excavation in the centre; adjoining to it is a smaller chamber, in the bottom of which is a bust placed between two seats, destined probably for mummies. The sides of the principal chamber are covered with paintings, the colours of which are as well preserved as those in the tombs of the kings at Thebes, though they are not so well executed; the principal subjects are figures making offerings and paying adoration to Osiris and Apis: I observed on one side a Cynoce-phalus embalming a body extended upon a table before him; and on another, the same figure holding in his hand a balance, before which stands a sphinx: in the small chamber agricultural subjects are depicted, as ploughing, sowing, hoeing, &c. There are no other sepulchres in this place. It will always be matter of surprise that similar excavations are not frequently found in the mountains of Nubia, abundant as they are in those of Egypt, in the neighbourhood of all ancient cities. In eleven hours we came again to the river, at a village called Ayfe (عيفه); and at the end of eleven hours and a half reached Tomas where we alighted, at a house belonging to Hassan Kashef. This is a large village, and the greater part of its inhabitants are descendants of the Arabs Gharbye, by whom Nubia was formerly occupied.

March 24th. In about one hour and a half from Tomas, we arrived opposite Derr, where is a ferry to convey passengers across. After waiting some time for the boat, which happened to be on the opposite side, I saw Hassan Kashef himself enter it, to cross the river; when he reached the shore, he received me very coolly; “You had no business,” said he, “in Mahass; why did you not return, after reaching Sukkot?” He then asked me what presents I had given to his brothers. I told him that I had given them no presents, as I had none to give. “I wonder, then,” he said, “how they let you pass, for you had no letters to them.” I replied, that they had treated me very kindly, and had even killed a lamb for me; though this was not the truth, and I only said so by way of rebuke to Hassan Kashef, who had not offered me any animal food, while I remained with him. I then entered the boat, which the governor’s slaves dragged along shore, to Tomas, where the Kashef wished to inspect some fields. Here I witnessed one of those cruel acts of despotism which are so common in the East: in walking over a large field, with about thirty attendants and slaves, Hassan told the owner that he had done wrong in sowing the field with barley, as water-melons would have grown better. He then took some melon seed out of his pocket, and giving it to the man, said, “you had better tear up the barley and sow this.” As the barley was nearly ripe, the man of course excused himself from complying with the Kashef’s command: “Then I will sow them for you,” said the latter; and ordered his people immediately to tear up the crop, and lay out the field for the reception of the melon seed. The boat was then loaded with the barley, and a family thus reduced to misery, in order that the governor might feed his horses and camels for three days on the barley stalks.

I returned to Derr with Hassan Kashef, but remained there only a few hours. I dismissed my honest Kerrarish guide, Mohammed Sad; at parting, I gave him a woollen Mellaye, which he had long before expressed a great desire to possess. He was a good man, but had one defect, and a very great one in a guide: he never could be prevailed upon to tell me the distances of places; or state the spot where we should halt for the night. Whenever I questioned him on these points his constant reply was, Allah ysahhel aleyna (الله يسهّل علينا), “May God smooth our path!” and when I pressed him for a decisive answer, he would exclaim: “God is great; he can prolong distances, and shorten them.” Like many Arabs, he thought, that to pronounce, with any degree of certainty, on the future, is an insult to the Deity, and the occasion of misfortunes in a journey; few of them, therefore, ever speak of any thing to be done without adding; “In shallah” (ان شاآله). If it pleases God: but my old guide would not even go so far; and always evaded conversing on what was likely to happen. At parting, when he asked me for my Mellaye, I answered, “May God smooth your path,” a phrase usually employed towards beggars, when they are civilly told to be gone; “No,” said he, “for once, I will beg you to smooth it;” so I gave him the Mellaye, and a small present in money; and am confident that Abou Sad will never forget me. On taking leave of Hassan Kashef, I offered him my pistols, as a present, for I certainly had reason, upon the whole, to be satisfied with his behaviour towards me; but he was in a very ill humour, and told me, that they were not pistols fit for a Kashef; and that he wanted a pair of long pistols, such as the Mamelouks carry in their holsters. I promised to send him such a pair, and thus we parted. I have already written to Cairo for the pistols, and the Kashef will be not a little surprised at receiving them; for it is very unusual in the East to remember the services of any one, whose good offices are no longer wanted.

As long as Egypt enjoys a settled government, travellers may proceed through Nubia with safety, as that government will always be respected by the Nubian chiefs, at least as far as Wady Halfa. Whenever the Kashefs have nothing to apprehend from Egypt, I suspect that no traveller will be able to penetrate farther than Derr, but that he will there be stripped of his property, and sent back. In any case, it is necessary to be furnished with presents, particularly if all the three brothers happen to be at Derr; for they are extremely jealous of each other, and if a present were given to one only, the two others would certainly prevent the traveller from proceeding farther into the country.

Being furnished with a new guide, who was to accompany me to Assouan, I recrossed the river, and slept this night, at one hour and a half from Derr, nearly opposite Diwan, in a hut which some labourers had built at a water wheel.

March 25th. At one hour and a half from where I slept, is a place near the river called Hassaya (حسّايه), where a village formerly stood; here are the ruins of a small temple. The pronaos is sixteen paces in length, and consists of three rows of square columns, four in each row, and two feet square, with a row of four round ones next the cella; the whole are without capitals. The hieroglyphics are badly sculptured; the beetle is the figure most frequently met with on the columns. The pronaos is encompassed by a wall, which fills up the intervals between the outer rows of columns. The cella is entered from the pronaos through a narrow chamber; on either side of the cella is an apartment, equal to it in depth, but narrower; there is no adytum. The walls of the cella have a thick coat of plaister, on which are paintings of Greek saints. The temple is interesting on account of its preservation, being almost entire; but the sands have accumulated considerably round its walls and columns. There is a well paved terrace on the top of the cella; and the Greeks had built a cupola over the pronaos. I believe this to be the temple mentioned by Norden, as situated near Amada. About twenty yards distant from it, towards the river, are the foundations of another stone edifice.

At two hours and a half, is the village Areyga ((أريكه, opposite Shakke, on the east side. There is a short route over the mountain from Derr to Assouan; but I preferred following the banks of the river. The shore continued to be very sandy; from an excavation made by the peasants, in search of treasure, I perceived that the sands covered a stratum of rich alluvial soil, whose surface was at a height which the water does not now reach, even during the highest inundations. I had opportunities of making the same observation in several other places; which seems to prove that either the bed of the Nile or its inundations have been formerly much higher in Nubia, than they are at present; for the earth is evidently a deposit of its waters. The shore is quite barren from Areyga northwards. At four hours we passed opposite to Songary. At five hours, we came to the small village of Maleky (مالكي), opposite the northern extremity of Wady Songary. In six hours and a half, we arrived in front of the southern extremity of Wady el Arab; the shore here is quite barren, and there is only a small hamlet. In ten hours, we reached the banks of the river, opposite Seboua, where are the fine ruins which I mentioned, in describing my route southward. They stand on the side of low hills, which a narrow plain separates from the river. In front of the temple is a propylon similar to that of the temple of Gorne at Thebes. It is twenty-eight paces in length; and in the centre of its two pyramidal wings is a small gateway, leading into the court of the pronaos, two-thirds of which are buried in sand. The pronaos has five columns, without capitals, on each of its longest sides; in front of each column, and joined to it, is a colossal figure (like those at Gorne), about sixteen feet in height, having the arms crossed upon the breast, with the flail in one hand and the crosier in the other; all these figures are much mutilated. The walls of the propylon, and of the pronaos, having been constructed of small blocks of very friable sandstone, are so much decayed, that little now remains of the sculptures with which they were originally covered; but a Briareus, with two bodies, may yet be distinguished on the outside wall of the propylon. In front of the entrance, there lies on the ground a colossal human statue, the head and breast of which are buried in the sand; it probably stood on the side of the gate, like the colossi at Luxor; it is a male figure, and in the same attitude as the statues in front of the temple of Isis at Ebsambal. In front of the propylon, and about thirty yards distant from it, are two statues ten feet in height, and seven paces from each other; their faces are towards the river, and they are attached by the back to a stone pillar of equal height; they are rudely executed, proportion being so little observed, that the ears are half the length of the head; they both wear the high bonnet, and represent unbearded male figures. An avenue of sphinxes leads from the river to the temple; but the greater part of them are now buried; four remain by the side of the two last mentioned statues, differing from each other in size and shape, but all representing the bodies of lions with the heads of young men, and the usual narrow beard under the chin. I observed a hole on the top of their flattened heads, intended, perhaps, to receive a small statue. Near the temple are some mounds of rubbish and broken pottery. The whole fabric appears to be of the remotest antiquity; and to have been imitated by the more modern architects of Egypt; for the propylon, and the pronaos with its colossal statues, are found at Gorne, on a larger scale; the two statues in advance of the propylon, are the miniatures of those in front of the Memnonium; and the sphinxes are seen at Karnac. As it was long after sunset before I quitted this temple, we proceeded only half an hour farther, and alighted at the hut of an Aleykat Arab.

March 26th. In one hour and a half we came to Wady Medyk, which stands on both sides of the river. The Senna-mekke grows here in large quantities. The inhabitants of Medyk who retired to Esne after the passage of the Mamelouks, had not yet returned. Many of them died there of the small-pox. In two hours and a half, we passed opposite to Wady Nasrellab. In three hours and a half, we came to El Nowabat, a ruined village, opposite to Thyale on the east bank. The shore is here very narrow, and the western hills are low, and sandy. At five hours and a half, we saw, upon the hills, the ruins of several Greek churches. Seven hours, El Meharraka, on both sides of the Nile. Upon the rocky hill, over the river, stands a small ruined city, the houses of which had been built partly of small stones, and partly of mud; they are of Arab construction. Eight hours and a half brought us to the northern extremity of Wady Meharraka, where the plain widens considerably, being broader than in any other part north of Derr; though it is cultivated at present only near the river. Here is the ruin of a temple, consisting of a portico of fourteen massy columns, with capitals of different sizes and forms, according to the ancient Egyptian taste in architecture. They are encompassed by a wall, which being joined to the entablature of the colonnade, forms a covered portico all round. The southern wall has fallen down, apparently from some sudden and violent concussion, as the stones are lying on the ground, in layers, as when placed in the wall; a proof that they must have fallen all at once. I observed some hieroglyphics sculptured upon single stones lying about in this part. The columns on the south side are joined to each other, except the two centre ones, by a low wall, half their height, in the same manner as those in the temple of the hawkheaded Osiris at Philæ. There is one large entrance, and two smaller ones, and a stair-case leading up to the top. Several paintings of Greek saints are upon the walls; but no hieroglyphics, nor sculptures, of any kind, are visible, not even the globe, common to all the Egyptian temples; neither are there any sculptures on the columns. The walls of this ruin are very neatly and well constructed. There are several Greek inscriptions upon them, in red ink; but I could only read the following clearly


I also copied the following inscription, which is upon the Wall; but I am unacquainted with the characters, and have no opportunity at present of ascertaining what they are:


There are besides, several inscriptions in the ancient popular Egyptian character, such as is seen on the manuscripts of papyrus.

The whole portico stands upon a terrace of massy stones, eight feet high towards the river; on this side is the great gate, but, as there are no steps up to it, it is probable that it was used only during the period of inundation, when vessels might moor close under it; at present, the water does not reach the temple at the time of the inundation. The portico is fifteen paces in length, and nine in breadth: there is nothing about it which denotes it to be of Egyptian origin, except the palm-leaves sculptured on the capitals of the columns; it possesses, however, an imposing simplicity, and belongs, I think, to the last epoch of Egyptian architecture. Close to the walls of the portico are the remains of another building, which had probably been a temple similar to the above, and not a part of the same structure, for I could not perceive any corresponding parts in the two buildings. A wall only remains, and the foundations of the principal building; on the former are several sculptures, one of which represents Isis sitting under a tree, and receiving offerings; it is in high relief, unlike any thing of the kind I have seen in Egyptian temples, and more resembling Grecian sculpture. This circumstance, and the Grecian-like simplicity of the portico, lead me to conjecture that both edifices were the work of the Ptolemies, who constructed temples to the Egyptian deities in several parts of Egypt, in which they imitated the architecture consecrated to their worship. I saw no hieroglyphics on the wall.

There are large mounds of rubbish, and fragments of pottery, in this place. Several travellers have expressed their astonishment at the immense heaps of rubbish consisting chiefly of pottery which are met with on the sites of ancient Egyptian towns; and, if we are to attribute their formation to the accumulation of the fragments of earthen vessels used by the inhabitants for domestic purposes, they are indeed truly surprising; but I ascribe their origin to another cause. In Upper Egypt, the walls of the peasants houses are very frequently constructed in part of jars placed one over the other, and cemented together with mud; in walls of inclosures, or in such as require only a slight roof, the upper part is very generally formed of the same materials; in the parapets also of the flat-roofed houses a double or triple row of red pots, one over the other, usually runs round the terrace, to conceal the females of the family when walking upon it. Pots are preferred to brick, because the walls formed of them are lighter, more quickly built, and have a much neater appearance. They possess, likewise, another advantage, which is, that they cannot be pierced at night by robbers, without occasioning noise, by the pots falling down, and thus awakening the inmates of the dwelling, while bricks can be removed silently, one by one, as is often, done by nightly depredators, who break into the houses in this manner. If then we suppose that pot walls were in common use by the ancient inhabitants, the large mounds of broken pottery may be satisfactorily accounted for. As for stone, it seems to have been as little used for the private habitations of the ancient Egyptians, as it is at the present day.

Near Wady Meharraka the island of Derar commences. At eight hours and three quarters is the village of Korty. About two hundred yards from the river stands a ruined temple; it is the smallest I have seen, and may truly be called an Egyptian temple in miniature, being only ten paces in length; the cella and adytum are yet standing; the pronaos seems to be buried under the sand. Of the sculptures, a few figures, and the winged globe over the gates, remain; but the whole temple is in a very mutilated state. At the end of nine hours and a half, we stopped at the house of a Shikh, on the southern extremity of Wady Dakke (وادي دقّه).

March 27th. After an hour’s march, we came to the ruin of a temple, one of the finest remains of antiquity that is met with in the valley of the Nile. In the front stands a large propylon, thirty paces in length, in the centre of which is a gate similar to that of the propylon at Edfou; before this gate lies a fragment of the body of a sphinx. There are neither hieroglyphics nor figures of any kind upon the outer wall of the propylon; in both the wings are staircases leading up to the top, exactly similar in their construction to those in the propylon at Philæ; the two wings communicate with each other by a terrace over the gate: there are numerous small chambers one above the other from the bottom to the top, in both wings. On the wall which fronts the gate of the temple, and on the sides of the gateway, are sculptures and hieroglyphics.

Sixteen paces distant from the propylon is the entrance to the pronaos, between two columns, united to the wall, which is half their height; they have the same capitals as the columns of the open temple at Philæ, which are seen no where else in Egypt, and which are represented in the travels of Denon, who says that they approach the Grecian style by the elegance of their forms. Upon the columns of the temple of Dakke are various figures, among which, I particularly noticed one of a harper. The pronaos is ten paces in length, and seven in breadth: its roof is formed of enormous blocks of stone, at least fifteen feet long. A door leads from the pronaos into a narrow apartment, only four paces in breadth, which communicates with the adytum, by another door richly ornamented. On one side of the adytum is a small dark chamber, in which is a deep sepulchre, with a large lion sculptured in the wall immediately over it; and, on the other side, behind the wall, is a passage, communicating with the pronaos, and containing a staircase which leads up to the top of the building. The adytum is about six paces square; beyond it is another apartment, somewhat larger, communicating, by a small gate, with a narrow passage inclosed between the wall of the temple, and a thick stone wall which inclosed the building on three sides, but of which the foundations only are now remaining. A large block of granite lying on the floor of this apartment, is one of the few instances wherein granite is found in the temples of Nubia. Along the bottom of the walls are represented lotus plants in flower, to which offerings are presented.

There are no historical sculptures in any part of this temple, but the exterior walls, as well as all the apartments within, are thickly covered with figures representing religious subjects: on the former some of the figures are four feet in height; those on the latter are all beautifully executed, and equal, to the best specimens of the kind which travellers admire at Hermonthis and Philæ; indeed, I prefer the figures in the chamber behind the adytum, to any that are in the temples at those places: in no temple of Egypt have I seen such correctness of design or gracefulness of outline: some of the figures might have adorned a Grecian building. On each side of the narrow apartment behind the pronaos is a small gate, opening into the passage above mentioned; opposite to one of these gates is an avenue leading down to the river, and on the outside of the other are two long inscriptions; one of which is in hieroglyphics, and the other, immediately below it, and, apparently, by the same hand, in the common Egyptian character, like that on the rolls of papyrus. I conjecture the latter to be a translation of the former, and if so, it may prove to be of some interest. The propylon and the whole of the temple seem to have been encompassed by a brick enclosure, parts of which still remain, and traces of the rest may be discerned under the mounds of sand. The Greek Christians had appropriated this temple to their worship, several paintings of saints yet remaining on the walls. In the gateway, and on the wall of the propylon, are numerous Greek and Egyptian inscriptions, by curious visitors; of the former I copied the following:


I conjecture the temple of Dakke to have been built after the plan of Philæ; although upon a smaller scale, its execution appeared to me to be still more careful than that of Philæ: and it is extremely interesting from the high preservation of all its details. Dakke is probably the ancient Pselcis, and the small chapel at Kobban, on the eastern side of the river, Contra-Pselcis. The temple at Korty has retained its ancient name, Corti; and the portico of Meharraka must therefore stand upon the site of Hierosycaminon: the temples of Seboua, Hassaya, and Ebsambal, with their cities, are consequently unknown to the itinerary of Antoninus.

To the north of the temple are the remains of an Arab town, where I saw some tombstones with Cufic inscriptions similar to those among the sepulchres of Assouan. The plain is covered with large heaps of rubbish. From Dakke to Benbaan, a village opposite Darau, twenty-five miles north of Assouan, there is a route of three easy days across the western mountain: there is a spring in the way, called Kurkur (قُرقُر), with date trees growing near it.

At the end of three hours travelling from our setting out in the morning, we reached Wady Kostamne, situated on both sides of the river. In five hours, Wady Gyrshe; at the northern extremity of this village is a temple, cut out of the rock, which presents a fine contrast to its neighbour at Dakke, having been executed in the infancy of architectural art, when the artist produced an imposing effect not by the gracefulness, but the magnitude of his figures. This temple stands upon the top of a hill, the broad declivity of which is covered with rubbish and some fragments of colossal statues. In front, is a portico, consisting of five square columns on each side, cut out of the rock, with a row of circular columns in front, constructed of several blocks, and which originally supported an entablature. Of these columns only two remain. Before each of the square side columns stands a colossal statue of sand-stone, about eighteen feet high, holding a flail in one hand, the other hanging down; they all represent male figures, with the narrow beard under the chin, and the high sphinx cap upon the head their shoulders are covered with hieroglyphic inscriptions. On both sides of the portico is an open alley, hewn in the rock, from whence, perhaps, the materials of the front colonnade were taken. The pronaos, which is entered from the portico by a large gate, is eighteen paces square, and contains two rows, three in each, of immense columns, or rather props, (for they are without capitals,) measuring five feet by seven in the plan. In front of each of these columns is a colossal figure, more than twenty feet in height, representing the usual juvenile character, with the corn-measure or bonnet on the head, the hands crossed upon the breast, and holding the flail and crosier. Although these statues are rudely executed, the outlines of their bodies being less correct even than those of the statues at Seboua, and their legs mere round blocks, yet they have a striking effect in this comparatively small apartment; indeed, accustomed as I had been to the grandeur of Egyptian temples, of which I had examined so many incomparable specimens, I was nevertheless struck with admiration on entering this gloomy pronaos, and beholding these immense figures standing in silence before me. They immediately recalled to my memory the drawings I had seen of the caves near Surat, and other Indian excavated temples, which, in many respects, bear a strong resemblance to those of Nubia. On the side walls of the pronaos are four recesses, or niches, in each of which are three statues of the natural size, representing the different symbolical male and female figures which are seen on the walls of the temples of Egypt. The centre figures are generally clothed in a long dress, while the others are naked. All these figures, as well as the colossi, are covered with a thick coat of stucco, and had once been painted; they must then have had a splendid appearance. A door leads from the pronaos into the cella; in the centre of the cella are two massy pillars, and on either side a small apartment, which was probably a place of sepulture; in the floor of each are high stone benches, which may have served for supporting mummies, or perhaps as tables for embalming the bodies deposited in the temple; the floors have been broken up in search of treasure, and are now covered with rubbish. Behind the cella, and communicating with it by a door, is the adytum, on each side of which is a small chamber, also opening into the cella, exactly like those in the temple at Derr. In the posterior wall of the adytum are four statues, above the human size, seated; and in the centre of the floor is a large cubical stone, the use of which I cannot determine; its sides are quite smooth, and without any kind of sculpture. It may, perhaps, have served as the pedestal of a statue; or is it an inverted sarcophagus? Of the sculptures and hieroglyphics with which the walls of this temple were covered, very little is now discernible, the sand-stone being of a very friable nature, and soon falling to decay; added to this, the walls are quite black with smoke from the fires kindled by the neighbouring shepherds, who often pass the night in the temple with their cattle; enough, however, still remains to shew that the sculptures are rudely executed. The colossal figures are in good preservation, particularly those of the pronaos; those in the portico have been mutilated.

While inspecting the interior apartments of this temple with a lighted candle, for they receive no light but what is communicated through the outer gate, I was joined in the adytum by the Shikh of Gyrshe, who had hurried after me, on seeing us take the road to the building. He begged me to give him half the treasure I had found, or at least, a handful; but he was obliged to be contented with a piece of wax candle. He shewed me the place where the Englishmen (Messrs. Legh and Smelt), who had been here before me, found, as he asserted, an immense treasure, with which they loaded their vessel; one of the peasants had seen the gold! Similar tales are often spread abroad; every peasant swears to their truth; and singular as it may appear, all the inhabitants of Egypt, notwithstanding the long residence of the French in that country, and the continual passage of travellers, are still persuaded that the ancient temples are visited for no other purpose than to search for treasure.

I am uncertain whether Gyrshe, or the more northern Dandour, represents the ancient Tutzis. The spot upon which the temple just described stands, is called by the natives Djorn Hosseyn (جُرن حسين).

From Gyrshe, northward, the shore is very narrow; we rode over the rocky mountain, which is close to the river, and, at the end of six hours from Dakke, alighted at Merye (مريه), where we slept. There are only a few families in the western Merye; but the western Gyrshe is well inhabited.

March 28th. After a ride of one hour and a half, along the narrow shore, we came to Wady Gharby Dandour, or the western Dandour (غربي دندور), where I was surprised to meet with another ruin of a temple, as the shore is so narrow, that no city of any consequence could have been situated here. The shore, from the foot of the rocky hills to the banks of the river, is only thirty paces in breadth.

Before this temple stands a small propylon, or gateway, with a high projecting cornice, resembling that at Tintyra. Behind the propylon is the pronaos, with two columns in front, similar to those of the temple of Dakke. The pronaos is seven paces in length. Next follows the cella, and beyond that, the adytum; there are a few sculptures on the walls of the adytum; on those of the pronaos I observed lotus plants in flower, as at Dakke, with persons making offerings to them. On the exterior wall of the temple are figures in the style of those at Tintyra; I particularly remarked a fine figure of Horus, with a finger on his lip. This temple is, in general, extremely well built, and the sculptures are of the best times; though I conceive it to be posterior in date to the temple at Philæ, from a visible decline both in the architecture and sculpture. In front of the propylon, towards the river, is a stone inclosure, thirty-five paces in length, by fifteen in breadth; the stones with which it is constructed are in their rough state on the outside, but smoothly cut on the interior. The wall fronting the river is fifteen feet in height, and describes a slight curve. The floor of this inclosure, now covered with stones and ruins, is considerably below the level on which the propylon and the temple are built. Had it been a place for sacred processions, or for sepulture? I have seen nothing like it in any Egyptian temple; the stones and rubbish in its area, render it probable that it had originally a roof. In the rock, just behind the temple, a grotto is excavated.

In two hours, we came to Merowau (مرواو); the shore is no where more than fifty yards in breadth; but is well cultivated. Merowau belongs to Wady Gharby Dandour. Four hours and a half, Abou Hor. In the rock, a little to the south of this place, a reservoir has been cut, with an outlet, through which the water descends into a lower and smaller basin; it is difficult to conceive for what purpose they were intended, being so near the river. There are many jetties or piers in the river, which prove how anxious the ancient inhabitants had been to preserve and increase the portion of cultivable soil in this part. Here are some rocky islands. In the sides of the western hills adjoining Merowau and Abou Hor, are several small quarries, and the foundations of ancient stone buildings. Like their ancestors, the Nubians of the present day build their huts of stone, upon the declivity of the hills, wherever the shore is very narrow, that they may not encroach upon the cultivable ground. Where the plain is broad their dwellings stand in the midst of it, and are formed of mud only. Date trees, and the various species of acacia, grow all along the shore; the latter produces, in the spring, a bitter fruit, in shape like that of the Karoub, or locust tree; this the Arabs gather and sell at Assouan to the merchants of Egypt, who use it in tanning leather; it is called Garad (قَرَظ). Large quantities of it, of a superior quality, grow in the neighbourhood of Siout, and have rendered the tanneries of that place highly celebrated.

After a slow ride of six hours we reached Kalabsbe, the largest village on the west bank of the river between Assouan and Derr. At the foot of the hill, in the midst of the village, and reaching down to the river, is the ruin of a very large temple. The front of the portico consists of a large propylon of great beauty and simplicity, with a gate in the centre, by which the portico is entered; there had been a colonnade along the side wall of the latter, but one column only now remains, three feet three inches in diameter; the fragments of the others are lying in the area. On each side of the portico, and communicating with it, is a narrow, dark passage, with a door opening into the area which surrounds the temple, opposite a large gateway formed in the wall of the outer or general enclosure. The front of the pronaos is decorated with four beautiful columns, and two pilasters; the columns are united by a wall rising to half their height, similar to what is seen at Meharraka, Dakke, Dandour, Kardassy, and Debot, a mode of construction belonging apparently to the times in which the temples at Tintyra and Philæ were built. The roof of the pronaos has fallen in, and now covers the floor; of the columns which supported it, two only remain. There are no sculptures of any kind, either on the propylon, or in the pronaos, except on the back wall of the latter, or rather on the front wall of the cella, where the two-headed Briareus, under the hand of the victor, and protected by Osiris, is the most conspicuous.

The cella is fifteen paces in length, by nine in breadth, and projects several feet into the pronaos, thus forming, as it were, an insulated chamber in the midst of the temple, a mode of construction which I observed at Dakke, and afterwards at Philæ: two low columns stand within the cella. In the adytum are the remains of columns, lying on the ground, the only instance of the kind I have seen in any Egyptian temple: in its walls are some low dark recesses, and windows or loop-holes like those in the temple at Tintyra: its roof is formed of single blocks of stone reaching the whole breadth, and upwards of three feet in thickness. There is a chamber behind the adytum, as at Dakke, and communicating with it by two doors; the roof has fallen in, but it may be seen that this chamber was lower than the adytum, and had a chamber over it. In the walls of this chamber are several cells, or recesses, each of which forms two small apartments, one behind the other, divided by a narrow entrance, and just sufficiently large to hold one person; they are closed in front by a stone, which may be removed at pleasure; and were, perhaps, prisons for refractory priests, or places of probation for those who aspired to the priesthood; the persons who were placed in them may be literally said to have been shut up in the wall, as there is not the slightest appearance of any recess being there, when the stones which close the outer entrance are in their places. I observed a hollow stone in the interior of one of them, but I am not certain whether it was a sarcophagus or not.

The walls of the cella and adytum are covered with painted figures, the colours of which still remain tolerably perfect, more so than those at Philæ, owing to a coat of plaister having been laid upon the walls by the Greeks, to receive the paintings of their saints; but which has for the most part fallen off; the colours generally used are red, blue, green, and black. The hawk-headed Osiris, with a staff in one hand, is painted of a light green colour, some females, holding the lotus in their hands, are quite black; the variously coloured striped robes of the Osiris with a tiara on his head have a most gaudy appearance; the hair, in general, of all the figures is painted black, though in some it is blue; the spaces between the different figures are covered with hieroglyphics, painted red. On the lower part of the side walls of the adytum are single human figures, each with an animal by its side, generally an ox, a gazell, or a goose. The exterior walls of the temple are covered with sculptures of colossal figures, like those at Tintyra and Edfou; though not so large: they are rudely executed, and by no means correspond with the beauty of the sculpture on the interior of the chambers. Heads of sphinxes project from the walls, as at Tintyra; through which perhaps the priests delivered their oracles.

The walls of the portico are prolonged the whole length of the temple, and by means of a transverse wall in the rear of the chamber behind the adytum, form a high inclosure all round; at about twenty feet beyond which, is the general inclosure to the whole building; this is carried to the foot of the hill, which has been cut down perpendicularly, so as to serve as the end wall. In the south-west corner of the area thus formed around the temple, is a small quadrangle formed on one side by three columns, and on the adjacent interior side by a short wall built across the area; here a grotto, or sepulchre, has been hewn in the perpendicular rock, similar to what I noticed behind the temple at Dandour; it consists of a single chamber, with the winged globe over its entrance, but without any other sculpture. A flight of steps leads from the propylon down to a paved terrace which extends to the foundations of an oblong building, standing just over the river, where are some fragments of columns. Visitors by water, during the inundations, might have stepped from their vessel into this building.

The temple of Kalabshe deserves to rank, with that of Dakke, amongst the most precious remains of Egyptian antiquity. I have given merely a rapid description of it, but, I hope, sufficient to shew, that it deserves to be investigated closely in all its details. In its site, it is to be compared with the temples of Tintyra and Edfou; and it belongs to the best period of Egyptian architecture, though it bears traces, in several of its parts, of a less careful and more hurried execution, than that of the two temples just mentioned. The walls are uncommonly well built: the existing columns have the Philæ capitals, but are less nicely worked.

The Greeks had formed this temple into a church; and several of the paintings of their saints are still remaining upon the walls. In the portico I copied the following inscription:


About a quarter of an hour distant from this temple, on its northwest side, is a small temple cut out of the rock; the road to it lies through the remains of the ancient town, a heap of stones and rubbish, covering a space along the shore of about a mile and a quarter. In front of the temple is an open area (also hewn out of the rock), in which is the entrance to the cella; the cella is thirteen paces in length, by six in breadth; its roof is supported by two polygonal pillars; in the walls are two small recesses, with three statues in each. Adjoining the cells is the adytum, a small room, eight feet square. The sculptures and hieroglyphics on the walls are of the same rude execution as those at Derr. The group of Briareus is again repeated on both sides of the entrance. The walls of the open area in front of the temple are covered with sculptures representing very interesting historical subjects: on one side is a battle; the victor in a chariot, drawn by two fiery steeds, like those at Karnac, is driving his vanquished enemies before him, who are flying towards a country thickly covered with fruit trees of various shapes and sizes, some of which have large round leaves, and clusters of fruits hanging from them, with apes sporting amongst the branches. Behind the victor’s car are two smaller ones, of the same form, each drawn by two horses at full speed; and bearing a female, standing upright, with a charioteer in front holding the reins. In another compartment, on the same wall, is a triumphal procession passing before Osiris, seated naked men come first, bearing upon their shoulders large blocks of wood, probably ebony; one of them leads a wild mountain goat, a second carries an ostrich, a third holds in one hand a large shield, and in the other a gazell, and a fourth is bringing an ape into the royal presence; next comes a man bearing a block of precious wood, like the former, and driving two large buffaloes before him; the train is closed by a tall cameleopard, with its leader, followed by two prisoners, who are naked, with the exception of the skin of a wild beast tied round their waists. In another compartment, just above the latter, is a large lion, with his keeper; an animal of the size of a large goat, with long straight horns, and a pair of buffaloes. In front of these two compartments, and before the king, lie heaps of quivers and arrows, elephants teeth, skins and furs of wild beasts, and a row of calabashes, supposed, perhaps, to contain precious ointments or perfumes. On the wall opposite to this, is a compartment, in which the king is represented seated, while bearded prisoners, with their hands bound, are brought before him; amongst them a train of female slaves is distinguished, dressed in long robes, with a high head-dress of this shape [not included], over which the cloke is thrown. In another compartment, close to this, a prisoner is immolated and farther on, is a small battle-piece, in which the assault and capture of a tower are represented; a man, with an axe in his hand, is endeavouring to make a breach in the walls, from which some of the garrison are precipitated, while others are brought in prisoners. All these subjects are in bas-relief, and extremely well executed; they are the best specimens of historical sculpture that I have seen in the valley of the Nile, even more spirited than those at Thebes; the figures of the animals, in particular, are faithfully and correctly delineated. On considering the subjects they represent, they will be found very important, because they record a historical fact, no where else alluded to in any Egyptian structure. The hero of Egypt has here carried his arms into a country inhabited by lions, cameleopards, apes, and elephants none of which animals are found in Nubia or Dóngola; the elephant and cameleopard inhabit the banks of the Nile towards Sennaar, the forests on the frontiers of Abyssinia, and the banks of the Astaboras and Astapus, from whence also the most beautiful and highest esteemed female slaves are now imported into Egypt: all the above-described trophies of victory, therefore, indicate, that the battles must have been fought in the countries to the south of the civilized country of the ancient Meroe; for the skin-clad prisoners denote a savage people. The battle-pieces of Thebes, at Luxor and Karnac, seem to allude to less distant scenes of warfare. May not the castles, surrounded with water, which are there represented, relate to the fortified islands in the Batn el Hadjar, where we still meet with so many brick ruins? The headdress of the fugitives, which is close-cut hair, and not a cap, as has been erroneously described, and the short, narrow beard, under the chin, are perfectly characteristic of the southern Noubas, whose colour is not quite black, but of that deep copper tinge, which a painter, unskilled in mixing colours, would rather represent by dark red than black. It may readily be imagined, that the inhabitants of the sterile districts of Nubia, and the Batn el Hadjar, would look with an envious eye upon the riches of Egypt, and would frequently excite the resentment of the monarchs of Thebes, by making inroads from their strong-holds, upon the adjacent provinces of Egypt.

The small temple I have just described, is called by the natives Dar el Waly. Travellers proceeding by water are not likely to see it, without enquiring for it. In the hill close by, are the quarries whence the stones were hewn for the erection of the town and temples of Kalabshe. This, no doubt, was the ancient Talmis, and some mounds of rubbish on the east side, indicate the remains of Contra-Talmis. Talmis must have acquired its opulence by commerce, and not by agriculture, as the shore, in its neighbourhood, is no where more than forty yards in breadth. In ancient times, as at the present day, the traffic in dates probably supplied the Nubians with their chief means of subsistence, and gave life to the whole valley of the Nile from Wady Halfa to Philæ. Considerable profits might also be derived from the passage of vessels laden with goods from Meroe; whose traders perhaps, landed their merchandize at Sukkot, and transported it from thence upon camels, across the Batn el Hadjar. It is probable, however, that the principal part of the trade of that ancient city with Egypt was carried on over-land, by the present route of the Sennaar caravans; for had it been by water, I think that some remains of commercial towns would be met with at both extremities of the Batn el Hadjar, where the vessels must have been unloaded and reloaded, as navigation is impracticable throughout that rocky district. When we consider the cataracts which occur in the country of the Sheygya, south of Dóngola, at Koke, in Mahass, at Wady Dal, and in the Batn el Hadjar, and that the distance from Goos to Derr, through Dóngola, following the course of the river, is twenty-five days journeys, while it is only eight by the route of the slave caravans, across the mountains, it seems probable that the ancient caravans of the southern countries descended into the valley of the Nile opposite Ebsambal, where the navigation down the river may have recommenced.

We halted for the night, a little way beyond Dar el Waly, at Khortum (خُرطم), a village opposite the island of Darmout, and belonging to Kalabshe, having rode about six hours and a half in the course of the day. There was a shower of rain in the night, by which both myself and my guide caught a severe cold. The heat, which, in my journey up the river, was very moderate during the day, began now to be great, and the sudden change occasioned by the rain from almost tropical heat to winter cold, affected the health of us both.

March 29th. We ascended the mountain which interrupts the road along the shore. On its summit I saw fragments of very small Egyptian columns and capitals, lying near some Arab structures. I observed no ancient edifice near them. The rock on the southern side of the mountain is granite and feldspath; on the northern side, it is sand-stone. At the end of two hours we again reached the banks of the river, at the village of Tafa, close to the spot where the rock projects perpendicularly into the water. Here are the ruins of two small temples: one of them consists of an apartment ten paces square, the roof and one side of which are in ruins; two columns are yet standing in it, two feet in diameter, with the palm-leaf capitals. Adjoining this apartment was the adytum, the foundations of which only remain. The winged globe is over the entrance into the adytum; but I saw no other sculptures, nor any hieroglyphics. The Greeks, as usual, have painted their saints upon the walls; and a Greek almanac, and several badly written inscriptions, are also visible upon them. The other temple is a small square apartment, quite entire, with six pillars in it, similar, in size and shape, to those just mentioned. The winged globe over the gates is the only sculpture of any kind about it. Around these two buildings are numerous remains of the private dwellings of the ancient inhabitants, consisting of thick and strongly built walls of stone; this material, from its greater proximity, having been frequently used in Nubia instead of bricks.

The peasants of Tafa (no doubt the ancient Taphis) relate that they are the descendants of the few Christian inhabitants of the city, who embraced the Mahommedan faith, when the country was conquered by the followers of the Prophet; the greater part of their brethren having either fled, or been put to death on that event taking place. They are still called Oulad el Nusara (اولاد النصَارَي); or the Christian progeny. On the east bank are some ancient remains, on the site of Contra Taphis.

From Tafa northwards, as far as Dehmyt, the shore bears the name of Wady el Mebarakat (وادي المباركات). The Arabs Mebarakat are a tribe of Kenous. The uncultivated fields here are overgrown with Senna-mekke. At three hours we passed Hindau; four hours, Kardassy, where, close to the water, is a large stone inclosure, about one hundred and thirty paces in length, by one hundred in breadth; in its area are heaps of ruined dwellings built of stone. The entrance into this inclosure is by a large gateway, similar in shape to that in the front of the temple near Merowau. The walls are about ten feet in thickness, and are faced on either side with hewn stones, having the centre filled up by small ones thrown in confusedly, without cement; these walls were certainly intended for defence; it was, perhaps, a station of the Romans, against the Blemmyes. I searched in vain for remains of hieroglyphics or sculptures. About a mile farther down the river, upon the top of a hill, are the ruins of a temple, resembling in its construction that of the hawk-headed Osiris at Philæ. There remains no part but the portico; it consisted originally of eight columns, of which six are [figure not included] still standing; these are partly united with each other by a [figure not included] wall, rising to half their height, and inclosing the whole of them. Of the stones which formed the roof, one block only remains; it is at least sixteen feet in length, and reaches the whole breadth of the temple. Over four of the columns the architraves still remain; the capitals of the two others are formed by four faces of Isis, with the same head-dress as at Tintyra, but with countenances more juvenile and less grave; the ears are very peculiar, and of the annexed form. There is a sculptured figure on one of the columns only; the others bear traces of having been covered with hieroglyphics.

To the S.W. of the hill on which the above temple stands, and close to the river, are some very extensive quarries of sandstone, from whence the materials were probably taken for the erection of the sandstone temples at Philæ and Parembole, where the rocks are entirely of granite. In walking through the quarries, I came to a spot where a niche is cut in the levelled side of the rock; within it is a stone bench, which may have been the pedestal of a statue; small winged globes are sculptured above it. This niche seems to have been used by the ancient Egyptians, and subsequently both by the Pagan and Christian Greeks, as a shrine, at which they offered up their prayers to the deity for the preservation of their own health and that of their friends. Several heads of Greek saints are sculptured in the rock on both sides of the niche; and I also observed whole length figures, and small heads of sphinxes only three or four inches in length, representations, perhaps, of similar images of gold or silver offered to the Pagan deities. The adjoining rock is covered with a great number of Egyptian and Greek inscriptions. Of the latter, which are much more numerous than the Egyptian, I selected the following, as being the most interesting, from their purport.




There is also a Latin inscription, of which I could only make out the two words, FABIO. CVM. There are small niches in several other parts of the rocks of this quarry, with the winged globe over them; but I saw no inscriptions upon any, except that abovementioned.

In four hours and a half, we passed Wady Hadyd; opposite to which, on the east side, is Wady Sahdab (وادي سهداب). On a rocky hill stands an insulated column, the only remains of a small temple, whose ruins are spread about; several small sepulchres are excavated in the declivity of the hill, and heaps of rubbish indicate an ancient city. Five hours, Djara (جعره). The shore from Tafa to this place is well cultivated. Five hours and a half, Dehmyt, where the Wady Mebarakat terminates. The eastern Dehmyt is better cultivated than the western. Here are the foundations of a small square edifice built of massy stones; with a thick mud wall running parallel to the hills, and the course of the stream, for about fifty yards; it was intended, perhaps, as a barrier against the sands of the desert. In six hours and a half we came to Merys (مريس); opposite to it, on the east side, is the village Syale. There is an island in the river, with several brick ruins on it. The rock is granite, and continues so all the way to Assouan. The road from Syale lies over a sandy plain, with insulated hills of granite, which separate it from the river. On the east side, to the north of Syale, is the village of Abdoun. At seven hours and a half is Debot (دبوت), consisting of several villages lying on both sides of the river. At seven hours and three quarters is a hill, overhanging the shore, and forming part of Wady Debot, on which are the ruins of an Arab town; the houses are of brick, and seem to have been extensive, and well built. In the river are several large granite piers. At the end of eight hours, we halted for the night at a small hamlet. The Mamelouks remained in this neighbourhood several months, till the advance of Ibrahim Beg compelled them to retire: during that period, fodder became so scarce, that they were obliged to feed their camels upon the palm-leaves: they stripped all the date trees of their leaves in this vicinity, and as far south also as Wady Halfa, so that the Nubians were a whole year without any produce from the trees.

March 30th. After a ride of half an hour, over a well cultivated plain, we came to the temple of Debot, which stands upon the site of the ancient Parembole.

The temple is approached through three high, insulated gateways, with projecting cornices, like that near Merowau. The distance between the first and second gateway is twenty paces; ten paces between the second and third; and fifteen paces between the third and the pronaos of the temple. In front of the pronaos are four columns, with a wall half their height.

Along the centre of three of the interior walls of the pronaos is a compartment of sculpture, the other parts of the walls being quite bare; a peculiarity I saw no where else. Adjoining the pronaos to the left is a square chamber, the walls of which project beyond the side of the temple, and destroy its symmetry. There are no sculptures of any kind on the walls of this apartment.

The cella is an oblong square; its walls are covered with hieroglyphics and sculptures: on one side of it is a dark apartment, opening into the pronaos, and on the other side is a staircase leading up to the top of the temple: below the staircase are several small rooms. The adytum, which is entered through a narrow chamber, three paces in breadth, is ten feet in length by nine in breadth; in its posterior wall are two fine monolith temples of granite, the largest of which is eight feet in height by three in breadth; the winged globe is sculptured over each of them. They appear to have been receptacles for some small sacred animals, perhaps beetles. The places are yet visible where turned the hinges of the door, which shut up whatever was contained within. These monolith temple, are similar to those at Philæ; but differ in their construction from that at Gaou (Antæopolis), which is much larger: nor are there any hieroglyphics in the interior, whereas that at Gaou is covered on the inside with inscriptions and sculptures, some of the latter representing scarabæi. On each side of the adytum at Debot is a small room, communicating with the narrow chamber behind the cella; the walls of both are without sculptures, but contain some secret recesses, similar to those at Kalabshe, and which were destined, probably, for the same purposes. One of these rooms had an upper story, like the one at Kalabshe, but it is now ruined; the other apartments of the temple are in good preservation. The sculptures on the inside walls are much defaced; but some faint remains of their colouring are yet visible. There are no sculptures whatever on the exterior walls. A wall, now in ruins, had encompassed the whole of this temple, including the three gateways in front of it. I observed in the broken-up floor of the pronaos deep stone foundations, upon which the temple is built. I should not be surprised if subterraneous rooms were discovered here, as well as in other Egyptian temples: they would be quite in the spirit of the Egyptian hierarchy.

The temple of Debot appeared to me to have been built at an epoch when the arts had begun to decline in Egypt. Its columns and sculptures are imitations of those at Philæ, but far inferior in beauty, to their models: the small temple at Merowau seemed to be about the same age, though of more careful execution. We thus find in Nubia specimens of all the different æras of Egyptian architecture, the history of which indeed can only be traced in Nubia; for all the remaining temples in Egypt (that of Gorne, perhaps, excepted) appear to have been erected in an age when the science of architecture had nearly attained to perfection. If I were to class the Nubian temples according to the probable order of their erection, it would be as follows: 1, Ebsambal. 2, Gyrshe. 3, Derr. 4, Samne. 5, Ballyane. 6, Hassaya. 7, Seboua. 3, Aamara, and Kalabshe. 9, Dakke, and Meharraka. 10, Kardassy. 11, Merowau. 12, Debot. 13, Korty. 14, Tafa.

At a short distance from the temple of Parembole, we ascended the sandy mountain; and after a ride of one hour, again reached the river at Wady Shamet el Wah: here is a small ferry-boat, by means of which, as I wished to visit the island of Philæ, I determined to cross over to the eastern shore; for there is no road fit for camels along the western bank, the common route from Debot lying directly over the mountain to the shore opposite Assouan. Having no inflated goat-skins to tie to the necks of the camels, we fastened cords round their bodies, and towed them across, along side the boat; but as the boat was very leaky, and had only two boys for rowers, we were more than a quarter of an hour in crossing the river, and one of the camels reached the shore in an almost lifeless state. There are only six ferry-boats between Philæ and Derr; these are at Debot, Kalabshe, Dehmyt, Gyrshe, Dakke, and Seboua. There is none south of Derr, as far as the frontiers of Dongola. The owners of the boats take from every peasant a handful of whatever provision he happens to carry with him, or an armful of straw, &c.; women pass free. We landed at Sak el Djemel, the same place where I had slept on the night of my departure from Assouan; and from thence we recrossed the mountain towards Philæ by the same road as before.

It was about mid-day when I visited this celebrated island. The inhabitants of Birbe, a small village on the eastern shore, keep a boat for the conveyance of passengers to it, the ruins being often visited, and few of the Egyptian merchants, whom business brings to Assouan, returning without seeing the Cataract and Philæ. As there is no regular government in this part of the country, the people of Birbe have taken advantage of the necessity which the stranger is under of employing their boat, and make exorbitant demands upon him. On approaching the ferry, he is immediately beset by half a dozen of them, calling themselves the owners of the boat, and requiring their fare, while an equal number, representing themselves as the lords of the island, demand a compensation for permission to visit it. When I stepped into the boat, the people, who took me for a messenger from the Pasha on my way to Derr, crowded about me, and asked six piastres for carrying me over, and allowing me to see the island. This was certainly a trifling sum, for permission to examine the most precious remains of antiquity in Egypt; but I was determined, for once, not to be imposed upon by these extortioners, and offered them one piastre, to be divided amongst them; on their refusing to take it, I gave my clothes to my guide, and putting my pocket-book into my turban, swam over to the island. I had scarcely landed when the boat came after me; and they were very glad afterwards to take the piastre for carrying me back again. On a second visit, two days afterwards, I found them more reasonable in their demands. I have been told of instances where they extorted upwards of twenty piastres from strangers, by threatening to return with the boat to the main land, and leave them upon the island. Birbe is under the government of the Nubian chiefs. The territory of Assouan, belonging to Egypt, commences to the north of Philæ.

I forbear making any remarks upon Philæ, or the adjoining island of Bidge, as the great French work on Egypt has so thoroughly described all the antiquities of that country.

I returned late in the evening to Assouan, where I found my servant, who had begun to despair of my return. During the thirty-five days I had been absent, I had rested only one day, on my first reaching Derr; being in consequence a good deal fatigued, no less than the camels, I determined to devote a few days to repose; I therefore hired a room in the Okale, or public caravanserai, where I remained five days, in the course of which, I visited at my leisure the invirons of the town; the bed of the river was almost dry between Assouan and the island of Elephantine, where I generally passed the morning. The nilometer of Elephantine will continue to puzzle the researches of travellers, as long as the high banks of the river are covered with rubbish. The nilometer built by the Calif Maouya is still extant. Near the extremity of the pier which forms the harbour of Assouan is a square aperture as low as the river, with steps at the bottom, by which the rise of the water might have been easily determined; it now bears the name of Mekyas, (Nilometer). This pier is not, as has been supposed by some travellers, a Roman bridge, but a Saracen erection.

On the western shore, somewhat to the north of Assouan, is an ancient convent; it stands on the declivity of the sandy hill upon the summit of which is the saint’s tomb generally known by the name of Kobbat el Howa, or the airy cupola. In the rocks below the convent are several ancient temples and sepulchres, hewn out of the rock, which have not been mentioned by any traveller. They are interesting on account of their antiquity each of them consists of a square chamber, covered with hieroglyphics, in which are square pillars, without capitals; the largest of these pillars measure two feet and a half, and are fifteen feet in height; they are all of very rude workmanship: in some of the temples are four, in others, six, or eight pillars. The Greeks have made chapels of almost all these temples. Large sepulchral excavations remain in several of them.

The ruined convent of St. Lawrence, on the west side of the river, opposite to Assouan, little deserves the animated description which Denon has given of it. On a tombstone lying on the floor of one of its rooms, I read the following inscription, which I copied on account of the rude and uncommon appearance of the characters.


On the 9th of April, I returned to Esne.

I shall here subjoin a few general remarks upon the Nubians and their history; my stay among them was too short to enable me to enter at length into the subject; and my observations were limited by my ignorance of the Nubian language, in which all conversation among the people, in my presence, was carried on.

I have already observed, that Nubia is divided into two parts, called Wady Kenous, and Wady el Nouba (often named exclusively Saÿd); the former extending from Assouan to Wady Seboua, and the latter comprising the country between Seboua and the northern frontier of Dóngola. The inhabitants of these two divisions are divided by their language, but in manners they appear to be the same.

According to their own traditions, the present Nubians derive their origin from the Arabian Bedouins, who invaded the country after the promulgation of the Mohammedan creed, the greater part of the Christian inhabitants, whose churches I traced as far as Sukkot, having either fled before them or been killed; a few, as already mentioned, embraced the religion of the invaders, and their des[c]endants may yet be distinguished at Tafa, and at Serra, north of Wady Halfa. The two tribes of Djowabere (جوابره) and El Gharbye (الغربيه), the latter a branch of the great tribe of Zenatye (زناتيه) took possession of the country from Assouan to Wady Halfa, and subsequently extended their authority over a great number of smaller tribes who had settled on the banks of the river at the period of the general invasion, among whom were the Kenous, a tribe from Nedjed and Irak. The large tribe of Djaafere occupied the shores of the Nile from Esne to Assouan; a few families of Sherifs settled in the Batn el Hadjar; and a branch of the Koreysh possessed themselves of Mahass. For several centuries Nubia was occupied by these Arabs, who were at continual war with each other, in the course of which the kings of Dóngola had acquired so much influence over them, as to be able at last, to compel them to pay tribute. The Djowabere having nearly subdued the Gharbye, the latter sent an embassy to Constantinople, in the reign of the great Sultan Selym, to seek aid against their enemies, and they succeeded in procuring from the Sultan a body of several hundred Bosnian soldiers, under a commander named Hassan Coosy. By their means the Djowabere and people of Dóngola were driven out of Nubia, into the latter country; and to this day the more wealthy inhabitants of Dóngola derive their origin from the tribe of Djowabere. Some families of the Djowabere, however, remained peacefully behind, and their descendants, who are found chiefly at Derr and Wady Halfa, are still known by the name of their ancestors.

The Bosnian soldiers built the three castles, or rather repaired the existing fabrics, at Assouan, Ibrim, and Say; and those who garrisoned the castles obtained certain privileges for themselves, and for such of their descendants as should continue to occupy the castles, and the territory attached to them; one of these privileges was an exemption from all kind of land tax, which Selym had then for the first time imposed throughout his dominions; and as the country was thought incapable of affording food sufficient for the soldiers, an annual pension was likewise assigned to them out of the Sultan’s treasury at Cairo; the pay of the garrison of Ibrim was four purses, now equal only to £100., but then probably worth four times that sum. They were also made independent of the Pashas of Egypt. While the Pashas had any influence in Egypt, these pensions were paid; but the Mamelouks generally withheld them. Hassan Coosy, with his forces, chiefly cavalry, governed Nubia, while he lived, and was constantly moving from place to place; he paid an annual Miry to the Pasha of Egypt, but in other respects was independent of him. The descendants of such of the Bosnian soldiers as intermarried with the Gharbye and Djowabere tribes still occupy the territories assigned to their ancestors at Assouan, Ibrim, and Say; and they continue to enjoy immunity from taxes and contributions of every kind. They call themselves Kaladshy, or the people of the castles, but are distinguished by the Nubians by the appellation of Osmanli (Turks). They have long forgotten their native language; but their features still denote a northern origin, and their skin is of a light brown colour, while that of the Nubians is almost black. They are independent of the governors of Nubia, who are extremely jealous of them, and are often at open war with them. They are governed by their own Agas, who still boast of the Firmauns that render them accountable only to the Sultan.

About fifty years ago, Hamman, chief of the Howara Arabs, having taken possession of the whole country from Siout to Assouan, extended also his authority over Nubia, which he several times visited, as far as Mahass; but, at present, the political state of the country may be said to be, nominally at least, the same as when Hassan Coosy took possession of it. The present governors, Hosseyn, Hassan, and Mohammed, are his descendants; their father was named Soleyman, and had acquired some reputation from his vigorous system of government. The title of Kashef, assumed by the three brothers, is given in Egypt to governors of districts. The brothers pay an annual tribute of about £120. into the treasury of the Pasha of Egypt, in lieu of the Miry of Nubia, for which the Pasha is accountable to the Porte. In the time of the Mamelouks, this tribute was seldom paid, but Mohammed Aly has received it regularly for the last three years. The three Kashefs have about one hundred and twenty horsemen in their service, consisting chiefly of their own relations, or of slaves; these troops receive no regular pay; presents are made to them occasionally, and they are considered to be upon duty only when their masters are upon a journey. Derr is the chief residence of the governors; but they are almost continually moving about, for the purpose of exacting the taxes from their subjects, who pay them only on the approach of superior force. During these excursions, the Kashefs commit acts of great injustice, wherever they find that there is none to resist them, which is frequently the case. The amount of the revenue is shared equally amongst the three brothers; but they are all very avaricious, extremely jealous of each other, and each robs clandestinely as much as he can. I estimate their annual income at about £3,000. each, or from 8 to £10,000. in the whole. None of them spends more than £300. a year. Their principal wealth consists in dollars and slaves. In their manners they affect the haughty mien and deportment of Turkish grandees; but their dress, which is worse than what a Turkish soldier would like to wear, ill accords with this assumed air of dignity.

The mode of estimating the revenue in Nubia is not from a certain extent of ground, like the Syrian and Egyptian Fedhan, but from every Sakie, or water-wheel employed by the natives, after the inundation, and during the summer, for the purposes of irrigation; the same mode prevails on the banks of the Nile as far as Sennaar. In poor villages one Sakie is the common property of six or eight peasants; but the wealthier inhabitants have several. The number of water-wheels between Assouan and Wady Halfa, or between the first and second cataract, is from six to seven hundred. The ground watered by one Sakie, which requires the alternate labour of eight or ten cows, comprises from three to five Egyptian Fedhans. In fruitful years, the winter wheat and barley irrigated by one wheel yields from eighty to one hundred Erdebs (twelve to fifteen hundred bushels); the proportions sown of these grains are generally one fourth wheat and three fourths barley. The rate of taxation is different in different places; thus at Wady Halfa, each Sakie pays annually six fat sheep, and six Egyptian Mouds, or measures of Dhourra. In Mahass, the Malek, or king, takes from every wheel six sheep, two Erdebs, (twenty-six bushels) of Dhourra, and a linen shirt. The governors also take from every date tree two clusters of fruit, whatever may be the quantity produced, and levy a duty upon all vessels that load dates at Derr. But the whole system of taxation is extremely arbitrary and irregular, and poor villages are soon ruined by it, from their inability to resist the exactions made upon them, while the richer ones pay much less in proportion, because the governors are afraid of driving the inhabitants to acts of open resistance. The Kashefs derive also a considerable income from their office of judges; the administration of justice being a mere article of merchandize.

If one Nubian happen to kill another, he is obliged to pay the debt of blood to the family of the deceased, and a fine to the governors of six camels, a cow, and seven sheep; or they are taken from his relations. Every wound inflicted has its stated fine, consisting of sheep and Dhourra, but varying in quantity, according to the parts of the body wounded. This is an ancient Bedouin custom, and prevails also among the people of Ibrim, with this difference, that the mulct is given to the sufferer himself, and not to the Aga. If one of the governor’s tribe, or an El Ghoz (الغُزّ a name given in Egypt and Nubia to the Mamelouks) or any of the people of Ibrim is slain by a Nubian, no debt of blood is paid to the family of the deceased, he being considered a soldier, and not an Arab; but the governor still exacts his fine. Much animosity exists between the Kenous, and their southern neighbours the Noubas; the latter upbraiding the former with avarice, and bad faith, while the Kenous call the Noubas filthy slaves, living like the people of Soudan. Disputes and sanguinary quarrels often take place, in consequence, between the inhabitants of neighbouring villages; if death ensues, the family of the deceased has the option of taking the fine stipulated on such occasions, or of retaliating upon the family of the slayer. The people of Ibim generally claim the right of retaliation; but it is not considered as sufficient to retaliate upon any person within the fifth degree of consanguinity, as among the Bedouins of Arabia; the brother, son, or first cousin only can supply the place of the murderer, and such being the case, the whole family often flies.

Although the governors of Nubia extort large sums by the various means above-mentioned, yet their tyranny is exercised only upon the property of their subjects, who are never beaten or put to death, except when in a state of open rebellion, which happens not unfrequently. if a Nubian, from whom money is to be extorted, flies, his wife, or his young children, are imprisoned till he returns. This practice is much complained of by the people, and is unknown even among the tyrannical Pashas of Syria and Egypt, who respect the persons of the wives and children of their greatest enemies. The following is a curious method which the governors of Nubia have devised, of extorting money from their subjects. When any wealthy individual has a daughter of a suitable age, they demand her in marriage; the father seldom dares to refuse, and sometimes feels flattered by the honour; but he is soon ruined by his powerful son-in-law, who ex[t]orts from him every article of his property under the name of presents to his own daughter. All the governors are thus married to females in almost every considerable village; Hosseyn Kashef has above forty sons of whom twenty are married in the same manner.

The inhabitants of the banks of the Nile, from the first Cataract to the frontiers of Dóngola, do not plough their fields, after the inundation has subsided, as is done in Egypt; the waters above the Cataract never rising sufficiently high to overflow the shore. In a few places, where the cultivable soil is broader than usual, as at Kostamne, Gyrshe, Wady Halfa, &c., there are canals which convey the water towards the fields on the side of the mountain, but the water in them is not sufficiently high, as in Upper Egypt, to irrigate the low grounds near the hills. Irrigation in Nubia, therefore, is carried on entirely by means of the Sakies, or water-wheels. Immediately after the river has subsided, the fields are watered by them, and the first Dhourra seed is sown, the crop from which is reaped in December and January; the ground is then again irrigated, and barley sown; and after the barley harvest, the ground is sometimes sown a third time for the summer crop. The barley is either sold in exchange for Dhourra, or eaten green in soups. The harvest suffers greatly from the ravages of immense flocks of sparrows, which the united efforts of all the children in the villages cannot always keep at a distance; and whole fields of Dhourra and barley are often destroyed by a species of small worm, which ascends the stalks of the plant. Tobacco is every where cultivated; it retains, when dried, its green colour, and exactly resembles that of the mountains on the east side of the Dead Sea. Tobacco forms the chief luxury of all classes, who either smoke it, or mixing it with nitre suck it, by placing it between the lower gums and the lip.

The habitations of the Nubians are built either of mud or of loose stones; those of stone, as I have already observed, stand generally on the declivity of the hills, and consist of two separate round buildings, one of which is occupied by the males, and the other by the females of the family. The mud dwellings are generally so low, that one can hardly stand upright in them: the roof is covered with Dhourra stalks, which last till they are eaten up by the cattle, when palm leaves are laid across. The houses at Derr, and those of the wealthy inhabitants of the larger villages, are well built, having a large area in the centre with apartments all round, and a separation between those of the men and of the women. The utensils of a Nubian’s house consist of about half a dozen coarse earthen jars, from one to two feet in diameter, and about five feet in height, in which all the provisions of the family are kept; a few earthen plates; a hand-mill; a hatchet; and a few round sticks, over which the loom is laid.

To the north of Derr, the dress is usually a linen shirt only, which the wealthier classes wear of a blue colour; or the woollen cloak of the peasants of Upper Egypt; the head dress is a small white linen cap, with sometimes a few rags twisted round it in the shape of a turban. Young boys and girls go naked: the women wrap themselves up in linen rags, or black woollen gowns; they wear ear-rings, and glass bracelets; and those who cannot afford to buy the latter, form them of straw. Their hair falls in ringlets upon the neck, and on the back part of the head they wear short tassels of glass or stones, both as an ornament and an amulet. The richer class wear copper or silver rings round their ankles. South of Derr, and principally at Sukkot and in Mahass, grown up people go quite naked, with the exception of the sexual parts, which the men conceal in a small sack. This sack resembles exactly what is seen in the figures of the Egyptian Priapus upon the walls of the temples. The hair of the people of Mahass is very thick, but not woolly. All the young men wear one ear-ring, either of silver or copper, in the right car only, and men of all classes usually carry a rosary suspended round the neck, which they never remove; they also tie round one arm, above the elbow, a number of amulets covered with leather about three or four inches broad, consisting of mystical writings and prayers, which are sold to them by the Fokara.

The Nubians seldom go unarmed; as soon as a boy grows up, his first endeavour is to purchase a short, crooked knife, which the men wear tied over the left elbow, under their shirt, and which they draw upon each other on the slightest quarrel. When a Nubian goes from one village to another, he either carries a long heavy stick (نبّوت) covered with iron at one of its extremities, or his lance and target. The lance is about five feet in length, including the iron point; the targets are of various sizes; some are round, with a boss in the centre; others resemble the ancient Macedonian shield, being of an oblong form, four feet in length, with and-curved edges, covering almost the whole body. These targets, which are sold by the Sheygya Arabs, are made of the skin of the hippopotamus, and are proof against the thrust of a lance, or the blow of a sabre. Those who can afford it, possess also a sword, resembling in shape the swords worn by the knights of the middle ages, a long straight blade, about two inches in breadth, with a handle in the form of a cross; the scabbard, for fashion sake, is broader near the point, than at the top. These swords are of German manufacture, and are sold to the Nubians by the merchants of Egypt, at from four to eight dollars apiece. Fire-arms are not common; the richer classes possess match-locks. Hassan Kashef himself had no pistols. Ammunition is very scarce and highly valued; travellers therefore will do well to carry with them a few dozen cartridges, which are very acceptable presents. When I left the camp of Mohammed Kashef at Tinareh, his nephew ran after me for at least two miles, to obtain a single cartridge from me, telling me that he had shot off the only one he had, during the rejoicings of the preceding day.

I have already mentioned the usual dishes of the Nubians. The Dhourra bread is extremely coarse, and is made without salt. It is prepared upon the Sadj, or thin iron plate in use among the Bedouin Arabs; but as the whole operation of grinding, kneading, and baking does not occupy more than ten minutes, it may easily be supposed that it is never thoroughly baked. The Dhourra for the day’s use is ground early every morning by the women, for the Nubians never keep meal in store. In Sukkot and Mahass, the bread is made in very thin round cakes, which are placed upon each other when served up at meals. Animal food is rarely tasted by the Nubians; the governors even do not eat it every day. In the larger villages palm-wine is common; it is not unpleasant to the taste, though too sweet and thick, to be drank in any considerable quantity. It is obtained by the following process: as soon as the dates have come to maturity they are thrown into large earthen boilers, with water, and the whole is boiled for two days, without intermission; the liquid is then strained, and the clear juice is poured into earthen jars, which after being well closed, are buried under ground; here they are allowed to remain for ten or twelve days, during which the liquor ferments; the jars are then taken up, and their contents are fit to drink; but the wine will not keep longer than a year, or beyond the next date-harvest; if kept longer it turns sour. The Nubians also make a liquor called Bouza, much resembling beer; it is extracted from Dhourra or barley, but the best is furnished by the latter. It is of a pale muddy colour, and very nutritious. At Cairo, and in all the towns and larger villages of Upper Egypt, there are shops for the sale of Bouza, which are kept exclusively by Nubians. Great quantities both of the wine, and of the spirit distilled from dates, are drank at Derr, where they are sold in shops kept for the purpose, and where the upper classes are intoxicated with them every evening. From Siout, southward, through the whole of Upper Egypt, date spirits are made and publicly sold; and the Pasha levies a tax upon the venders. A kind of jelly or honey is also extracted from the date, which serves the rich as a sweet-meat. Except date trees, and a few grape vines which I saw at Derr, there are no fruit-trees in Nubia.

The climate of Nubia, though intensely hot in summer, particularly in the narrow rocky parts of the country, is very healthy, owing perhaps to the extreme aridity of the atmosphere. I do not recollect having seen a single person labouring under any disease, during the fire weeks I was in the country. Occasionally, the small-pox, as I have already observed, makes dreadful ravages in every part except the Wady Kenous; inoculation being unknown, or at least unpractised, both here and in Upper Egypt; and the several attempts that have been made to introduce the vaccine into the latter country, or rather to establish it there, having entirely failed. Some travellers have supposed that the plague is communicated to Egypt from the south; but this is a very erroneous supposition, as it never prevails in Nubia so high as the second Cataract, and is unknown in Dóngola, and along the whole route to Sennaar.

The men in Nubia are generally well made, strong, and, muscular, with fine features; in stature they are somewhat below the Egyptians; they have no mustachios, and but little beard, wearing it under the chin only, like the figures of the fugitives in the battlepieces sculptured upon the walls of the Egyptian temples. In passing along the Wadys of Nubia, it often occurred to me to remark that the size and figure of the inhabitants was generally proportioned to the breadth of their cultivable soil; wherever the the plain is broad, and the peasants from being enabled to carry on agriculture to a tolerable extent, are in comparatively easy circumstances, they are taller and more muscular and healthy; but in the rocky districts, where the plain is not more than twenty or thirty yards in breadth, they are poor meagre figures; in some places appearing almost like walking skeletons.

The women are all well made, and though not handsome, have generally sweet countenances, and very pleasing manners; I have even seen beauties among them. Denon has certainly not done justice to them; but they are worn down, from their earliest years, by continual labour; the whole business of the house being left to them, while the men are occupied exclusively in the culture of the soil. Of all the women of the East, those of Nubia are the most virtuous; and this is the more praiseworthy, as their vicinity to Upper Egypt, where licentiousness knows no bounds, might be expected to have some influence upon them. During my stay at Esne, girls came every morning to my lodging to offer milk for sale; the Egyptians boldly entered the court-yard and uncovered their faces, a behaviour equivalent to an offer of their persons; but the Nubians (of whom many families are settled at Esne) stood modestly before the threshold, over which nothing could induce them to step, and there they received the money for their milk without removing their veils.

The Nubians purchase their wives from the parents: the price usually paid by the Kenous is twelve Mahboubs, or thirty-six piastres. They frequently intermarry with the Arabs Ababde, some of whom cultivate the soil like themselves; an Ababde girl is worth six camels; these are paid to her father, who gives back three to his daughter, to be the common property of her and her husband; if a divorce takes place, half the value of the three camels goes to the latter. In Upper Egypt, when a wife insists upon being divorced, her husband has the right to take all her wearing apparel from her, and to shave her head; nobody will then marry her till her hair be grown again. The Nubian is extremely jealous of his wife’s honour; and on the slightest suspicion of infidelity towards him, would carry her in the night to the side of the river, lay open her breast by a cut with his knife, and throw her into the water, “to be food for the crocodiles,” as they term it. A case of this kind lately happened at Assouan.

Public women, who are met with in thousands in every part of Egypt, are not tolerated in Nubia, except at Derr, and these are not natives, but emancipated female slaves, who being left destitute, betake themselves to this vile profession, to gain a subsistence. The execrable propensities which the Mamelouks have rendered so common in Egypt, even amongst the lowest peasants, are held in abhorrence in Nubia, except by the Kashefs and their relations, who endeavour to imitate the Mamelouks in every thing, even in their most detestable vices.

Small looms are frequently seen in the houses of the Nubians; with these the women weave very coarse woollen mantles, and cotton cloth, which they make into shirts. From the leaves of the date-tree they also form mats, small drinking bowls, and large plates on which the bread is served at table; and though these articles are formed entirely by the hand, they are made in so very neat a manner, as to have every appearance of being wrought by instruments. The above are the only manufactures in Nubia; every thing else is imported from Egypt.

The only musical instrument I saw in Nubia was a kind of Egyptian tamboura, with five strings, and covered with the skin of a gazell: it is of the shape here represented. [not included] The girls are fond of singing; and the Nubian airs are very melodious.

The game of chess is common at Derr; and that called Beyadh is also frequently played. I have described the latter in my journal through Arabia Petræa, when speaking of the Arabs of Kerek.

I found the Nubians, generally, to be of a kind disposition, and without that propensity to theft so characteristic of the Egyptians, at least of those to the north of Siout. Pilfering indeed is almost unknown amongst them, and any person convicted of such a crime would be expelled from his village by the unanimous voice of its inhabitants; I did not lose the most trifling article during my journey through the country, although I always slept in the open air in front of the house where I took up my quarters for the night. They are in general hospitable towards strangers, but the Kenous and the people of Sukkot are less so than the other inhabitants. Curiosity seems to be the most prominent feature in their character, and they generally ask their guest a thousand questions about the place he comes from, and the business which brings him into Nubia.

If the government were not so extremely despotic, the Nubians might become dangerous neighbours to Egypt; for they are of a much bolder and more independent spirit than the Egyptians, and ardently attached to their native soil. Great numbers of them go yearly to Cairo, where they generally act as porters, and are preferred to the Egyptians, on account of their honesty. After staying there six or eight years, they return to their native Wady, with the little property they have realized, although well knowing that the only luxuries they can there expect, in exchange for those of Cairo, are Dhourra bread and a linen shirt. Such of them as do not travel into Egypt, hardly ever go beyond the precincts of their village, for, generally, the Nubians have no inclination towards commercial speculations. At Ibrim I met with two old men, who assured me that they had never visited Derr, though it is only five hours distant. Those Nubians who have resided in Egypt, and can speak Arabic, are for the most part good Mussulmen, and repeat their prayers daily: but in general the only prayer known to the others is the exclamation of Allahu Akbar. A few make the pilgrimage to Mekka, by the way of Suakin.

I estimate the whole population of Nubia, from Assouan to the southern limits of Mahass, an extent of country about five hundred miles long, with an average breadth of half a mile, at one hundred thousand souls.

I shall subjoin to this account of Nubia some notices upon the Bedouins who inhabit the mountains lying between that country and the Red sea. They consist of two principal tribes, the Ababde and Bisharye. The Ababde (عبابده) occupy the country south of Kosseir, nearly as far as the latitude of Derr. The Bisharye (بشاري) inhabit. the mountains from thence southwards, as far as Suakin, where they find pasture for their camels and cattle in the wild herbage which grows in the beds of the winter torrents. Many of the Ababde have settled in Upper Egypt, on the east bank of the Nile from Kenne to Assouan, and from thence to Derr; but the greater part of them still live like Bedouins. They act as guides to the Sennaar caravans which depart from Daraou (دَراوُ), and were formerly conductors likewise of the trade from Kosseir to Kenne; but their enemies, the Arabs Maazyu (معازي) and Ataony (عَتاونه), who live to the north of Kosseir, have succeeded in depriving them of the profits arising from this employment, which the latter now farm from the Pasha of Egypt. The Ababde are possessed of considerable property, but have a bad character, being described by all those who deal with them as a faithless people, who betray their companions, thus rendering themselves unworthy of that origin from the Arabian Bedouins, of which they boast. No oath binds an Ababde; but I was informed that they dread breaking their word, if they give it with the expression, “by the hope I entertain of remaining in good health (وحياة العا فيه).” They are known in Upper Egypt for their excellent breed of camels, particularly dromedaries, and they trade largely in Senna-Mekke, and in charcoal of acacia wood, both of which are produced from the trees, growing abundantly in their mountains; the fuel is exported as far as Cairo. The Ababde have few horses; when at war with other Arab tribes they fight upon camels, armed with a target, lance, and sword. Their principal tribes are, El Fokara (فُقَره), El Ashabat (عشَابات), and El Meleykab (مليقاب). The Ashabat seldom descend from the mountains to the banks of the Nile, but many individuals of the tribe have settled on its banks near Mograt and Demar, on the route to Sennaar, where they have intermarried with the native inhabitants. Such of them as encamp with the Bisharye speak the language of the latter.

The Bisharye, who rarely descend from their mountains, are a very savage people, and their character is worse even than that of the Ababde. Their only cattle are camels and sheep, and they live entirely upon flesh and milk, eating much of the former raw; according to the relation of several Nubians, they are very fond of the hot blood of slaughtered sheep; but their greatest luxury is said to be the raw marrow of camels. A few of these Arabs occasionally visit Derr or Assouan, with Senna, sheep, and ostrich feathers, the ostrich being common in their mountains; and their Senna is of the best kind. In exchange for these commodities they take linen shirts and Dhourra, the grains of which they swallow raw, as a dainty, and never make it into bread. These traders do not remain long on the banks of the Nile, as the dread of the small-pox soon drives them back to their tents. The Bisharye are much addicted to theft, and will even rob the house of the person who receives them as guests. Their youth make plundering excursions as far as Dóngola, and along the route to Sennaar, mounted upon camels, of a breed superior to any other, that exists between the shores of the Mediterranean and Abyssinia. Few of the Bisharye speak Arabic. They fear none but the Ababde, who know their pasturing places in the mountains, and often surprise their encampments. When the two tribes are at peace, which happens to be the case at present, the mountains inhabited by the Bisharye may be crossed in the company of an Ababdi; but the latter is not to be trusted, unless one of his nearest relations is left behind as a hostage. Great numbers of the dispersed Mamelouks fell victims to the treachery of these Arabs, and the others escaped only by keeping together in considerable bodies.

Encampments of the Bisharye are found on the northern frontier of Abyssinia; and the sea-coast from Suakin to Massuah is peopled by their tribes, the most noted of which are, Hammedab, Batra, Alyab, Amerab, Kamhetab, Hamdora, Eryab, Hazz, Modourab, Kameylab, el Amarer, all of whom live in separate encampments, and are often at war with each other. They have no fire-arms; towards the frontiers of Abyssinia some of the tribes use the bow and arrow, and, as I was informed, speak the Abyssinian language, or rather understand the Abyssinians, who are said to have greater difficulty in comprehending the Bisharye. The two languages are probably derived from the same source, like many others of the numerous dialects which prevail towards the northern frontiers of Abyssinia.

The Bisharye are kind, hospitable, and honest towards each other; their women, who are said to be as handsome as those of Abyssinia, mix in company with strangers, and are reported to be of very depraved habits. After long and fruitless enquiries for a Bisharye Arab, I at last met with a youth who had come to Esne to sell leather thongs, for the manufacture of which these Bedouins are famous. I enticed him to my dwelling by bargaining for his goods, and made him breakfast with me; but when I began to question him about his language he would stay no longer, although I offered him a shirt as a present. He imagined that I dealt in spells, which I meant to put in practise to the injury of his nation; he forced his way out of the court-yard of my house, and I could never afterwards prevail upon him to return. The words in the annexed vocabulary, were procured from a Negro slave who had been educated among the Bisharye, and sold by them to the chief of a village near Esne.

[The words derived from the Arabic, and especially from the dialect of Upper Egypt, are marked A.]




Semeyg, A.

Sema, A.


Duinat, A.

Duniatyka, A.


























Ghaimk, A.




Water *

Sea **

River *





Dahmyre, A.
















Last year



Year before last





Shaher, A.

Ramadhan (month)



Rabya el awal(do)










Tedjerky, A.



Mogrebky, A.

Megrebeddo. A.


Aryd, A.


Shore or mountain




Seevky Seevka






















She camel

Bakerak, A.

Bakerakka, A.











Djamous, A.

Djamous, A.




















































Ryshky, A.

Ryshga, A.


















Hamamga, A.





Sasurky, A.

Sar Soura, A.








Errid, ird

Eritta, irta








Namouski, A.

Namousga, A.







Date tree, Dates



Acacia tree



Tamarisk tree



Doum date









Dhourra stalks when dry






The bitter horse-bean called in Egypt Turmus






The French bean or Louby



Common horse-bean

Foulki, A.

Foulga, A.

Chick pea

Homosky, A.

Homoska, A.



Adeska A.

The Egyptian Gortum



A species of Dhourra called in Arabic dokhen




Gottong, A.



Haryrki, A.

Haryrka, A.


Dokhang, A.



Anebky, A.

Anebga, A.

Water melon

Batybky, A.

Batyhga, A.




Senna plant



Khasky, A.

Khaska, A.


Nebyg, A.

Nebyd, A.




Zeity, A.

Zeyta, A.

Date spirits

Aragyk, A.

Aragyk, A.





Falfelki, A.

Felfelga, A.


Kahwagi, A.

Gahwa, A.


Neshouki[, A.]

Neshouka, A.


Djebenki, A.

Djebenka, A.





Asselki, A.

Asselga, A.























Sariki, A.

Kelaga, A.




A man



A woman



Son or boy



Girl or daughter











Abouga, A.























Khadamky, A.


Male slave



Female slave





Borou Beker, A.











Djedryki, A.

Djedryka, A.


Kobbaki, A.

Kobbaga, A.

Old age



The head





















Sharibyk, A.

Sharibka[, A.]























Sebag, A.

Sebakiga, A.







Pudenda viri



Pudenda mulieris


Kissiga, A.













Skin or leather











Door or gate

Babki, A.



Meftahky, A.









Fershki, A.

Bereshka, A.


Hasyrk, A.

Hasyrka, A.

Large water jar



Water pot

Ibryk, A.

Ibrikka, A.

Large earthen vessel



Hand mill



Earthen plate



Thin iron plate, upon which bread is baked




Deltig, A.

Dystega, A.





Seraky, A.

Seraka, A.




Water wheel










* Shag


* Selotyeg











Bunduky, A.

Baroudki, A.

Large stick covered with iron at both extremities

Naboutdjy, A.

Nabouta, A.

A small stick



A cloak or shirt



Egyptian Mellaye

Foutek, A.

Foutaga[, A.]


Sherwalky, A.

Lebaska, A.




Red cap

Tarboshki, A.

Tarboshka, A.

Linnen bonnet

Tarkya, A.

Takyaga, A.


Khatim, A.

Khatimja, A.


Zummamki, A.

Zummamka[, A.]





Zouarki, A.

Zouarga, A.














Soubhaki, A.






Gartaski, A.

Waraka, A.


Kalamki, A.

Kalamga, A.





Foddaki, A.

Foddaga, A.





Nehasgy, A.

Nebasga, A.





Zenadki, A.

Zenadka, A.


Soufanki, A.

Taamga, A.

Water skin

Gyrbaggy, A.

Gyrbeya, A.

Wooden spoon

Malgagy, A.

Malgaga, A.

Camel’s saddle

Hawiegy, A.

Hawiega, A.




Leather provision sack




Shemagy, A.

Shemaga, A.















































Thelathyna, A.

Thelatyno, A.


Erbayne, A.

Erbayno, A.


Kamsyno, A.

Kamsyno, A.

One hundred



Two hundred



Three hundred



One thousand



Two thousand



One half



One third



One fourth



The whole

Kamelou, A.



Sahabky, A.

Sahabga, A.


Adouom, A.

Adouga, A.












Thafyga, A.





Katalki, A.






Nasrtakoss, A.

Nasraga, A.



Torbaga, A.


Shera, A.

Hagyga, A.

Fear or cowardice

















Bakhyla, A.





Meskyn, A.

Fogra, A.


Adeleybou, A.



Thalebou, A.

Thalem, A.

Wise man










Kawadjaki, A.

Saffery, A.


Hakemki, A.

Hakemga, A.


Talygabou, A.

Talek, A.





Massa or Ashrya





Shaybki, A.

Shaybga, A.

An old man



An old woman






old (ancient)







Shedydon, A.

Shedyd, A.


Oddy or Teliebou
























Gabylou, A.

Galyla, A.












Amanga djokyr











Aaly, A.

Aalya, A.


Waty, A.

Waty, A.


Nadifou, A.

Nadifa, A.


































To kill



To bring forth



To speak



To be silent



To sow





To reap



To wash



To cook



To swim



To walk



To run



To ride



To beat



To sound



To throw



To open



To shut



To tie



To unloosen



To break



To eat



To drink



To sleep



To dream



To rise



To pray

Saletta, A.

Salaka, A.

To fetch



To sit down



To laugh



To cry



To sing



To lye



To swear



To cohabit



To descend



To ascend



To travel



To buy

To sell


** Djan



** Djan


To hear



To smell



To see



To taste



To burn



To exclaim



I love you

Ayek dolli

Ayeka doller

Thou lovest me


Areka dolli

He loves me



We love each other


Werweronga dollero

I loved you


Ayeka dolligossy



I shall love you


Ayeka dollil























Endeky or Endou



Teneky or Tendou











My son

An toti

Au gaga

Thy son

En toti

En gaga

His son

Ten toti

Tan gaga

Where do you come from?

Say tonta

Seddo tony keyra

Where are you going?

Say boudjoun

Seddo djo

Will you come with me?

Erygodom bodjouna

Eydan djoana

Have you got some milk?

Enna idjy dana

Elougo soo dana

No, I have no cattle

Anna orty dāmnou

Damou, Orty gomo

Who gave you the bread?

Nyeh kalk gaterum

Nay kattyro kabaka

I do not like his son

Entoti dolmini

Tangaga doloumo

What’s your name?

En nera

Ekka nayna

I understand



I do not understand



Do not give him



Give him two piastres

Gersh owe tirou

Gersh owo tedj

What does it cost?

Mogot yre

Temen syk ylyro

I bought it for ten measures

Mashe diming djanessy

Mashe dimlou djanesy

They cheated you

Ek ghalboss

Dosy Kergo

It is only worth eight

Mash idou koby


Is your father at home?

Ambab kak ero


Yes he is at home

Neros, kak ero

How are you?

Taveb re

























The comparative is formed by putting to the positive the word More










Bread or Dhourra












Skin or leather
















A man




A woman




A boy















Osherk, A.



Sea or river






















Arm or hand


Spring or source














Pudend. viri




——— foeminæ




























Male slave




Female slave



Odlym, A.



Date-tree or dates




Senna shrub




Large trees in the mountains called





Hassyr, A.




Merhaka, A.





Earthen boiler

Borma, A.





Black or blue




To kill




To speak

Hadydo, A.



To be silent


Linen gown


To walk




To run




To ride




To beat




To throw




To eat


To drink




To sleep




To rise




To sit down




To laugh




To cry




To buy and sell

Djelabat, A.



To lye




To hear




To see




To cohabit




To bury




Good morning




Good evening




How are you?




Have you got some milk?



Ohaffyr, A.

There is






















































Description of a Journey from Upper Egypt through the Deserts of Nubia to Berber and Suakin, and from thence to Djidda in Arabia.

Performed in the Year 1814.

AFTER my return from a journey along the banks of the Nile towards Dóngola, in the spring of the year 1813, I remained in Upper Egypt, waiting for an opportunity to start with a caravan of slave traders, towards the interior parts of Nubia in a more easterly direction. A numerous caravan had set out from the neighbourhood of Assouan, only a few days before my return there from Mahass; and it was the last which performed that journey in the year 1813.

About this time, a robber named Naÿm, Shikh of the Arabs Rebatat, who inhabit the country of Mograt, (ﺕﺁﺮﻘﻣ ﺩﻼﺑ ﻲﻓ ﻦﻴﻤﻘﻣﻠﺍ ﺕﺎﻃﺎﺑﺮﻠﺍ ﺏﺮﻋ ﺦﻴﺷ ﻢﻴﻌﻧ) on the banks of the Nile, three days N.W. from Goz, had begun to infest the caravan route; several parties of traders had already been plundered by him, and the abovementioned caravan shared the same fate on its return to Egypt in October 1813. Naÿm was killed in December by a numerous armed caravan from Sennaar; and the roads then became safe. The traders, however, still delayed their departure. They were apprized that the southern countries on the borders of the Nile, were severely suffering from famine; the crops of Dhourra had failed from a scanty inundation, and such was said to be the effect of famine, that the poor Negroes had killed each other, for a few measures of Dhourra. The merchants foresaw that the expense to be incurred in feeding their slaves would eat up all their profits, and therefore determined to wait till the next harvest.

During this time I had established my principal quarters at Esne, which is three days journey from Daraou, the place from whence the caravan takes its departure. Not wishing to be much known, I kept as little company as possible, dressed myself in the poorest dress of an inhabitant of Egypt, and spent as little money as I possibly could, the daily expense, of myself, servant, dromedary, and ass, being about one shilling and sixpence; my horse cost me sixteen-pence per month. Yet, with all this I could not help creating some suspicion of my being a rich man, or of my having had the good luck to find a treasure. I was fearful of engaging in any traffic because it would have obliged me to mix with the merchants, and my person would then have become generally known. But in Egypt, there is no such condition as that of a man who lives upon his income without employment. Every body is either a cultivator or a merchant, or in some public service; and to be able to live without begging, and without belonging to any of those classes appears very strange, and exposes the individual to the suspicion of having chests full of dollars.

I had been several times at Daraou to look after the caravan, and to become acquainted with the leading people. About the middle of February my correspondent at that place sent a messenger to Esne, to acquaint me that every thing was ready for departure. I went there, but the traders still delayed; and it was not until a fortnight afterwards that the signal of departure from Daraou was given.

Daraou is a considerable village, about ten hours north of Assouan, on the east bank of the Nile. Its inhabitants are partly Fellahs of Egypt, and partly Arabs Ababde, many of whom have become settlers in the villages south of Goft, as far as Assouan; but who still keep a part of their families in the mountains; living there like Bedouins, during the season, when their agricultural pursuits do not require their attendance on the banks of the Nile, and during the remainder of the year inhabiting villages like the peasants of Egypt.

The two principal chiefs have their settlements, one at Kolétt (ﻂﻴﻠﻗ), about four hours north of Daraou, on the east bank of the river, and the other at the latter place.

From time immemorial the Ababde have been the guides of the caravans through the Nubian desert; many of them are great speculators in the slave trade, and their chiefs exact a tribute upon every slave, and upon every loaded camel passing through the desert, which does not belong to one of their own tribes.

The other part of the inhabitants of Daraou, are Fellahs, intermarried with Ababde women, who for the greater part, likewise engage in the same trade. These I have found, from sad experience, to be a worthless set of vagabonds; notwithstanding the profits arising from that traffic, they are all poor; spending their gains in drunkenness and debauchery.

I had equipped myself at Esne for my journey: but soon found on my arrival at Daraou the necessity of making some alteration in my plans. I had brought with me a camel and an ass; the former I had intended to load with baggage, provisions, and water: the latter to mount myself, according to the custom of the Nubian traders, who generally perform their travels towards the Negro countries on these animals, which they sell there and return on their camels. I had no servant. The Fellah who had faithfully served me during my whole stay in Upper Egypt I had sent, on my departure from Esne, with a packet of letters to Cairo; for I was determined to try my luck in this country alone, unaccompanied by any servant. Experience had taught me that in difficult and dangerous travels, those who have no other motive in performing them, but that of gaining their monthly pay, are averse to incur any perils, and stagger at the smallest difficulties; thus they become more troublesome than serviceable to their master: whom moreover their imprudence or treachery may expose to danger. I was in full health, and therefore not afraid of undertaking the additional fatigue, which otherwise would have been borne by my servant. Arrived at Daraou, I had an opportunity of seeing the preparations of my fellow travellers, and of observing that mine were not regulated by that strict economy which served as a rule to the others. My baggage and provisions weighed about two hundred weight. The camel however was capable of carrying six hundred weight. The water for my use on the road was to be contained in two small skins slung across the saddle of the ass. My camel therefore could carry four hundred weight more, the freight of which at five dollars per hundred weight, was worth twenty dollars. Had I slighted such a sum, I might have exposed myself to the animadversions of my companions, who would probably have thought me possessed of great wealth. I soon had an offer of a freight of four hundred weight, to convey across the desert as far as Goz, at the above price: but I considered that the loading and unloading of the camel would occasion me a great deal of trouble: I therefore thought it best to sell him, and soon found a purchaser at twenty-eight dollars in ready money, camels being at that time very scarce in Upper Egypt; it was part of the bargain, that the purchaser should carry my baggage across the Desert.

I appeared at Daraou in the garb of a poor trader, the only character in which I believe I could possibly have succeeded. It may not be superfluous that I should inform the reader in detail of the contents of my baggage, and of my provisions: at least, it had always been, with me, a great desideratum in reading books of travels, to collect such information for my own use.

I was dressed in a brown loose woollen cloak, such as is worn by the peasants of Upper Egypt, called Thabout, with a coarse white linen shirt and trowsers, a Lebde, or white woollen cap, tied round with a common handkerchief, as a turban, and with sandals on my feet. I carried in the pocket of my Thabout, a small journal-book, a pencil, pocket-compass, pen-knife, tobacco purse, and a steel for striking a light. The provisions I took with me were as follows: forty pounds of flour, twenty of biscuit, fifteen of dates, ten of lentils, six of butter, five of salt, three of rice, two of coffee beans, four of tobacco, one of pepper, some onions, and eighty pounds of Dhourra for my ass. Besides these I had a copper boiler, a copper plate, a coffee roaster, an earthen mortar to pound the coffee beans, two coffee cups, a knife and spoon, a wooden bowl for drinking and for filling the water-skins, an axe, ten yards of rope, needles and thread, a large packing needle (ﻪﻠﺴﻣ), one spare shirt, a comb, a coarse carpet, a woollen cloth (Heram) of Mogrebin manufactory for a night covering, a small parcel of medicines, and three spare water skins.

I had also a small pocket Coran, bought at Damascus, which I lost afterwards on the day of the pilgrimage, 10th of November 1814, among the crowds of Mount Arafat — a spare journal book and an inkstand, together with some loose sheets of paper, for writing amulets for the Negroes. My watch had been broken in Upper Egypt, where I had no means of getting another. The hours of march noted down in the journal, are therefore merely by computation, and by observing the course of the sun.

The little merchandize I took with me consisted of twenty pounds of sugar, fifteen of soap, two of nutmegs, twelve razors, twelve steels, two red caps, and several dozen of wooden beads, which are an excellent substitute for coin in the southern countries. I had a gun, with three dozen of cartridges and some small shot, a pistol, and a large stick, called nabbout, strengthened with iron at either end, and serving either as a weapon, or to pound the coffee, beans, and which, according to the custom of the country, was my constant companion. My purse, worn in a girdle under the Thabout, contained fifty Spanish dollars, including the twenty-five, the price of my camel, and I had besides sewed a couple of sequins in a small leathern amulet, tied round my elbow, thinking this to be the safest place for secreting them. Had my departure from Egypt not been too long delayed, I should have carried a larger sum of money with me: although I much doubt, after the experience I have since had, whether I should have been the better for it. I had originally destined two hundred dollars for this purpose, which I had carried with me from Siout to Esne, in September 1813, expecting to be able to start immediately with the caravan I was afterwards obliged to encroach upon that sum, to defray my daily expenses, to purchase my camel, &c. &c.; and a fresh supply of money which I had written for, had not arrived when the caravan started.

Having already waited so long, I was unwilling to give up so eligible an opportunity, merely on account of the low state of my funds: and the information I had collected on the state of the Negro countries, made me think it probable that if I did not make a prolonged stay there, I might succeed in my journey, even with the trifling sum then at my command. Besides I was ready to supply the want of money by an increase of bodily privations and exertions, to elude which is the principal motive for spending money in travels of this sort.

All my baggage and provisions were packed up in five leather bags, or djerab, much in use among the slave traders; those articles of which I stood in daily need, I put up in a small saddle bag on my ass.

The most substantial merchants of our caravan were fitted out in the same style as to provisions for the journey: the only dainties which some of them carried, were dried flesh, honey, and cheese; the latter, although certainly agreeable in travelling, is not a proper article of food in the desert: where the traveller should abstain from whatever excites thirst. Several of our people had among their camels she-camels in full milk, which gave them a daily supply of this agreeable beverage.

On the 1st of March, all the traders had assembled at Daraou, and early in the morning of the 2d the different goods, for loading the camels, were carried to a public place, in front of the village called Barzet el Gellabe (ﻪﺒﻼﺠﻟﺍ ﺕﺯﺭﺑ).

At noon, the camels were watered, and knelt down by the side of their respective loads. Just before the lading commenced, the Ababde women appeared with earthen vessels in their hands, filled with burning coals. They set them before the several loads, and threw salt upon them. At the rising of the bluish flame, produced by the burning of the salt, they exclaimed, “may you be blessed in going and in coming.” The devil and every evil genius are thus, they say, removed.

We were accompanied for about half an hour beyond the village by all the women and children. My principal friend at Daraou, Hadji Hosseyn el Aloüan (ﻥﺍﻮﻠﻌﻟﺍ ﻦﻴﺳﺣ ﺝﺎﺤﻟﺍ), at whose house I had lived, and who had obtained from me a variety of presents, in making me believe that he intended to undertake the journey in person, in which case he might have proved to me a most useful companion on the road, had declared the day before, that he should remain at Daraou; but his brother and his son Aly joined the caravan, and their party formed the largest and most wealthy party of the Fellah traders among us. The old man followed us with his women to a distance from the village, and at parting, recommended me to his relations; “he is your brother,” he said to his son, “and there,” opening his son­’s waistcoat, and putting his hand upon his bosom, “there let him be placed:” a way of recommendation much in use in the Arabian desert likewise, where it has some meaning, but among these miserable Egyptians it has become a mere form of speech. We then proceeded upon a sandy plain, in great disorder, as it always happens upon the first setting out of a journey. Many loads were badly laid on, several were thrown off by the camels who had for some time been unused to them, and we were obliged to encamp for the night in a small valley, with shrubs in it, about two hours and a half to the S.S.E. of Daraou, where we feasted upon the dainties which had been prepared by the ladies of Daraou; large fires were lighted, and the whole night was passed in singing and noise.

3d March. We departed early from our resting place, and entered Wady Om Rokbe (ﻪﺒﻛﺭ ﻡﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), a broad valley with good pasture, which we followed for upwards of two hours; we then ascended a steep hill, and after several ascents and descents, encamped in a valley near the source of water called Abou Kebeyr (ﺮﻴﺒﻛ ﻮﺑﺃ), having proceeded to day about six hours, very slow march. There are a few trees in this valley; and water is found every where by digging pits in the sand. The source of Abou Kebeyr which yields a very scanty supply, had attracted some Ababde Bedouins from whom we bought some sheep. The mountains we had traversed to day, were all composed of flint.

4th. March. Our route this morning lay through sandy valleys until we arrived, after about four hours march, at a steep ascent, or Akaba, where the sand and flint hills terminate. After crossing over the Akaba which is composed of granite schistus, we arrived, at the end of six hours, at a fine natural reservoir of rain water, among the granite rocks called Abou Adjadj (ﺝﺎﺠﻋ ﻮﺑﺃ); our route was in a S.S.W. direction. From hence to Assouan the distance is six hours. Just beyond the bason of rain water, begins a narrow pass among the rocks, where loaded camels proceed with difficulty. In here turning round a corner of the mountain we found our advanced men, loudly quarreling with a strong party of armed Bedouins, and before I could inform myself of the particulars, the Ababde belonging to our caravan had armed themselves, and proceeded to attack the enemy. The latter were likewise Ababde, but of a different tribe. Having been informed of our departure from Daraou, they had left their homes at Khattar (ﺭﺎﻄﺧ),a village near Assouan, to way-lay us in this narrow pass, and to levy a contribution upon us as passage money. They were about thirty, and our Ababdes as many. The individuals of both parties were naked, for it is a rule among them never to fight with any incumbrance upon their bodies, and merely to wrap a rag or napkin round their waists. They were armed with long two-edged swords, and short lances and targets, which latter were particularly useful to them in warding off the shower of stones with which the attack commenced. When I saw them thus attack each other, and then under the most horrible clamour come to close action with swords believing that we were attacked by robbers, I was about to join our people, and had already levelled my musquet at the principal man of the assailants, when one of our Ababdes cried out to me, for God’s sake not to fire, as he hoped there should be no blood between them. By the advice of our guides, the Egyptian merchants, who were armed with swords, (for nobody had a gun but myself, and few had pistols) willingly took charge of the defence of our baggage in the rear, for the Ababde were anxious to fight out the quarrel amongst themselves. After about twenty minutes’ rather shy fighting, the battle ceased by the interference of the chiefs on both sides, and both parties claimed the victory. The whole damage amounted to three men slightly wounded and one shield cleft in two. Our people however gained their point, for we passed with out paying any tribute, and I was somewhat gratified in seeing how far our Arabs might be depended upon in any future attack in the course of the journey. As for the Egyptians they had given evident proofs of the most cowardly disposition, notwithstanding their boasting language. Several Shikhs of the Ababde have a right to claim a tribute from the caravan. Others set up unfounded pretensions of the same kind, and it is the duty of the guides (Khobara plur. of Khabir, ﺮﻴﺒﺧ) to protect the caravan from such extortions. No caravan can cross the desert in safety without being accompanied by some of the Ababde, and although many of the Fellah merchants perfectly know the road, they never venture to perform it alone.

Our assailants retreated after a long parley, which succeeded the fight; and although we had at first intended to remain at Abou Adjadj for the night, our guides now thought it adviseable to push further on, because they were afraid that the opposite party might send during the night for a reinforcement of men from their village. We therefore rode three hours farther over a rocky ground until we arrived in a wide valley called Wady Houd (ﺩﻮﻫ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), where we halted. During the whole of this afternoon’s march we had observed among the barren granite rocks, great quantities of locusts.

March 5th. Wady Houd is a broad valley full of shrubs and pasturage, bordered on both sides by rocks of fine granite, similar to those of Assouan and the Cataract. We pursued our road for two hours along the valley; and at the end of three hours march came to sandrocks intersected by layers of quartz. We then ascended a slightly sloping plain, and at the end of four hours entered a wide sandy valley, in which we continued in a direction, S.W. by S. for several hours, until we reached, after about seven hours march, a narrow Wady called Om el Hebal (ﻝﺎﺒﺤﻟﺍ ﻡﺃ), or the mother of ropes; so called from its numerous windings. Here we halted after a day’s march of about seven hours and a half. The Wady is full of thorny trees of the acacia species, the dark-green leaves of which are in singular unison with the surrounding granite rocks, the surface of which is smooth and shining, and of the deepest black. The valley is in few places more than sixty yards across; the highest summits of the rocks, which are every where steep cliffs, may be about two or three hundred feet above the level ground. This evening we lighted our fires with the dried dung of the camels that had rested here before; indeed we seldom halted in the evening without finding fuel of this kind, for the traders rarely go out of the accustomed track, nor can they choose their resting places at random, being fixed to those spots where there is some pasturage of herbs and shrubs, or at least some acacia trees, upon the leaves and branches of which their camels may feed for a few hours in the evening. I found much less order at the encamping of this caravan, than I had observed among other caravans in the Eastern Desert. Our party consisted of thirty nine loaded camels, thirty five asses, and about eighty men, and it was divided into a dozen different families or messes, each of which on the halting ground formed a separate bivouac. We had two men from Assouan, the others were from Daraou, Klit, and Esne, and a few from Gous, and Farshiout. People from Siout seldom travel this road. Although the chief of the Ababde was the acknowledged head of the caravan, yet the Fellah merchants generally followed their own humour in moving and halting; and there was every evening some quarrelling about the place of halting. None of the traders had any tent; we all slept in the open air, but none ever shut his eyes without placing his baggage in such a manner as to render it difficult for thieves to attempt it without awaking him. We were not afraid of robbers from without, but it was too well known that many of our own people were of a pilfering disposition, and notwithstanding every precaution, they repeatedly indulged themselves in it in the course of the journey.

6th March. We continued in Wady el Hebal for about three hours, when we stopped near an inlet in the western chain of hills, where we found among the rocks a large natural reservoir of rain water, delightfully clear, sweet, and cool. The place is called Damhit (ﺖﻴﺤﻤﺩ), and is much praised by the Arabs, because the water is very seldom dried up. It is situated in a cleft of the mountain, which has the appearance of having been rent asunder by a violent earthquake. Large blocks of granite are heaped up at the entrance; these masses increase in quantity, in ascending through the cliff, and rise to a considerable height, among them are two other reservoirs of water of equal size with the lower, but of difficult access. The Wady itself is not without its natural beauties. It is about forty yards across, overgrown with acacia or (ﻂﻨﺳ) Sant trees, and bordered on both sides by steep shattered granite cliffs, of grotesque shapes. During heavy rains, which often happen here, the water descending from the western chain collects in a large torrent, which, as I was informed, empties itself into the Nile, near the village of Dehmyt, eight hours south of Assouan. About four hours distant from Damhit, in a S.W. direction, is a spring of good water called El Moeleh (ﺢﻠﻳﻮﻤﻟﺍ); it is resorted to by the caravans, which set out from Assouan. We remained here the whole day, for it is a general rule among caravans in the east, to make slow marches during the three or four first days of a long journey, in order to accustom the cattle, which are generally allowed several months of rest before the journey, to fatigue by degrees; and this is particularly the case when the ground affords good pasturage. Loss of time is seldom taken into consideration by eastern merchants, and least of all by Arabs, and thus I have heard it related at Damascus that the caravans from thence to Bagdad are, in the spring, sometimes three months in crossing the desert. We again met great numbers of locusts. These rapacious insects had spread sometimes in such quantities over the mountain as to eat up every green vegetable: the cattle of the Bedouins are some times reduced by these animals to the greatest distress.

7th March. After two hours we issued from the Wady and met several Bisharein Arabs. These Bedouins, whom I have already mentioned in my journey towards Dóngola, remain in winter time in the mountains near the Red Sea, where the rains produce plenty of pasture; but there being very few wells and springs in that quarter, they are obliged to approach in summer nearer to the Nile, where wells are more numerous. We were now upon an open sandy plain, without any vegetation, bordered on the east by high mountains, and towards the west, at a shorter distance, by lower hills. The whole valley of Om el Hebal is of granite, but here in the plain I again found sandstone with quartz. We were about five hours in crossing this plain, which bears the name of Birket Zokhan (ﻥﺎﺧﺯ ﺖﻜﺮﺑ), and then after seven hours slow march (in the direction S. 1° ½ E.) we stopped at the entrance of a chain of low mountains, where we found very luxuriant pasture. The herb called Towyle (ﻪﻠﻳﻮﻃ) grows here in abundance, and is an excellent food for the camels. From my first setting out from Daraou, I had been involved in continual disputes with the man, to whom I had sold my camel, and who carried my baggage. He had undertaken to take more baggage than the camel was able to bear, and in order to lighten it, he was constantly endeavouring to transfer my baggage, for the carriage of which I paid him, to my ass. This evening the camel broke down, when he accused me of having cheated him, in selling him an unsound animal, insisting at the same time upon having his money returned, a demand which was however soon over-ruled. According to justice, and to the customs even of the traders themselves, he would have been obliged to pay the further freight of my baggage out of his own pocket; but he was so loud in his oaths and lamentations, exclaiming that he was a ruined man, and besmearing his face with dirt and dust, in, sign of excessive grief, that he brought the chiefs of the caravan all over to his side, and I was obliged to contract a second time for the freight of my goods and provisions, with one of the Bedouins Ababde. As we had already been six days on our journey, our provisions were considerably diminished, and the camel’s load became every day lighter. Upon this the traders always reckon, never taking any spare camels from Egypt with them, as other desert caravans usually do, and if camels break down, their loads are distributed among the others, and the carriage is paid for according to a fair calculation. No man can ever refuse to charge his camel with part of such load, if necessity demands it, and his own camel is strong enough. We again set out after sunset, and marched about three hours farther, through several vallies, until we came to the low mountains called Om Hereyzel (ﻝﺬﻳﺮﺣ ﻡﺃ), where we stopped.

8th March. The mountain of Om Hereyzel is of a dark gray granite. We passed it, and then crossed a deep sandy plain entirely barren, direction S. 1º ½E. The road was strewn with carcases and bones of camels. Few caravans perform the journey without loosing some of their beasts, and this happens more frequently in rocky districts, of difficult passage, or in the neighbourhood of wells, where the already weakened camels surfeit themselves with water, which has the effect of rendering them incapable of resisting fatigue, and the weight of their loads. We passed many low insulated granite hillocks, and granite blocks in the midst of the sands. We halted about midday at the entrance of a chain of mountains, running S.E. and N.W., called Djebel Heyzorba (ﻪﺑﺭﺰﻫ ﻞﺒﺟ). It is a custom with caravans always to rest during the mid-day hours, when they dine, and sleep afterwards for a couple of hours. At the return from the black countries, when camels are always plentiful, and every body is mounted, the caravan travels in forced marches; but two-thirds of our people were at present on foot. Towards two o’clock we usually set out again, and alighted just before sunset. In the afternoon of this day we passed Heyzorba, and continuing in the same direction as before, halted near some rocks called Beiban (ﻥﺎﺒﻴﺑ); a day’s march of about nine hours, I had seen neither trees nor verdure during the whole day. The rocks where we rested, were of granite mixed with large masses of feldspath.

9th March. Being in want of water, we set out soon after midnight, and reached, after five hours march, the Wady Nakeyb (ﺐﻴﻘﻧ), with wells of the same name. The Wady is full of Sant trees, and has near its extremity two deep wells of tolerable water.

From the first day of our departure from Daraou, my companions had treated me with neglect, and even contempt; they certainly had no idea of my being a Frank, but they took me to be of Turkish origin, either from European Turkey or Asia Minor, an opinion sufficient of itself to excite the ill treatment of Arabs, who all bear the most inveterate hatred to the Osmanlis. I had with me a Firman of Ibrahim Pasha, son of Mohammed Aly Pasha, and governor of Upper Egypt, together with a letter of recommendation from him, addressed to all the black kings on the Sennaar route, and wherein I was called Hadji, or Shikh Ibrahim el Shamy, or the Syrian. For obvious reasons I had never let this be known amongst my companions, and all that I gave them to understand was, that I was by birth an Aleppine; they knew that I was much befriended by Hassan Beg, the Governor of Esne, under whose jurisdiction Daraou is included, as well as by the great commercial house El Habater of Esne, who had recommended me to his correspondent at Daraou. Seeing that I had brought a very small quantity of goods with me, they thought I had been forced to leave Egypt on account of debts, but I gave out that I was in search of a lost cousin, who several years ago had departed from Siout to Darfour, and Sennaar, upon a mercantile expedition, in which my whole property had been engaged. This was a pretext for my undertaking, quite suited to the notions of these people. The smallness of my adventure in goods would hardly have justified any man in his senses in attempting such a journey with mere commercial views, for after paying all the passage duties in the road, the most sanguine person could not hope for any greater success, than that of returning with the full capital. I was obliged therefore to allege some reasons for undertaking the journey. I often repeated my hopes of finding my lost cousin, and at all events of conducting my expenses in such a manner as not to be a loser on my return. My companions were not disinclined to believe my story, and thought it not at all improbable, that I might also be avoiding my creditors; but I could easily perceive at the same time that they could not divest themselves of some commercial jealousy, thinking it not improbable that I might find the means of attempting a second expedition into these countries with a large capital, in case I should return from the present with a conviction of the profitable nature of the trade. It was probably for this reason that they thought it necessary to ill treat me, in order to prevent my making any further attempt. Several Turks from Asia Minor or from European Turkey had within the last ten years endeavoured to engage in the trade, but the Daraou people had always found means to disgust them so much, as to make them abandon any second enterprize. When in addition to other motives for ill treating me, the traders saw in me every appearance of a poor man, that I cut wood, and cooked for myself, and filled my own water-skins, they thought me hardly upon an equality with the servants who are hired by the merchants, at the rate of ten dollars for the journey from Daraou to Guz, or Shendy, and back again. I had always endeavoured to keep upon good terms with the family of Alowein, who were the principal Fellah merchants, and whose good offices I thought might be useful to me in the black countries; but when they saw that I was so poor that they could have but little hopes of obtaining much from me in presents, they soon forgot what I had already given them before we set out, and no longer observed the least civility in their behaviour towards me. They began by using opprobrious language in speaking of Hassan Beg, of Esne, observing that now we were in the desert, they cared little for all the Begs and Pashas in the world; seeing that this did not seriously affect me, they began to address me in the most vulgar and contemptuous language, never calling me any thing better than Weled, “boy.” Though they became every day more insulting, I restrained my anger, and never proceeded to that retaliation to which they evidently wished to provoke me, in order to have sufficient reasons for coming to blows with me. In the beginning of the journey I had joined the party of the Alowein in our evening encampment, although I always cooked by myself; I was soon, however, driven away from them, and obliged to remain alone, the people of Daraou giving out that several things had been purloined from their baggage, and that they suspected me of having taken them. Not to enter into any further details, it is sufficient to say, that not an hour passed without my receiving some insult, even from the meanest servants of these people, who very soon imitated and surpassed their masters. When we arrived at the well of Nakeyb, and the camels

and asses went to be watered, and the water-skins were carried to be filled, some people of the caravan descended according to custom into the wells to fill the Delou or leather bucket, while others drew up the water. Having no friend to go down for me, I was obliged to wait near the well the whole afternoon, until near sunset, to the great amusement of my companions, and I should have remained unsupplied had not one of the guides at last assisted in drawing up the water from above, while I descended into the well to fill the Delou.

We were joined at Nakeyb by a small party of traders, who being in great haste to depart, had left Daraou three days before us, but afterwards thinking it imprudent to venture alone through the desert, had been waiting here for us, for several days.

10th March. After a march of three hours, over a rocky and mountainous country, along a road thickly covered with loose stones, we arrived at El Haimar (ﺮﻤﻴﺣ), a collection of wells of great repute in this desert. Just before we reached it we passed by the tomb of a distinguished person belonging to the Mamelouks, who died on this spot. His companions having inclosed the naked corpse within low walls of loose stones, had covered it over with a large block. The dryness of the air had preserved the corpse in the most perfect state. Looking at it through the interstices of the stones which enveloped it, it appeared to me a more perfect mummy than any I had seen in Egypt. The month was wide open, and our guide related that the man had died for want of water, although so near the wells. When the remnant of the Mamelouks under the command of Ibrahim Beg el Kebir, and Osman Beg Hassan, left the shores of the Nile, near Ibrim, in the year 1810, to escape from the eager pursuit of the Pasha’s troops, they retired to these mountains, and claimed the hospitality of the Ababde Bedouins, who received them in their encampments, but left no means untried of getting possession of all the property they had brought with them. Provisions were sold to them at enormous prices, and as one well or source could not afford water to so large a party for any length of time, the Mamelouks were obliged to trust to their Ababde guides to carry them from one watering place to another. During these wanderings the Ababde often carried their guests through circuitous routes in order to create a momentary distress for water, and sell their skins of water (which they secretly filled at some neighbouring spring), at the most exorbitant prices. It was a want of water, caused by these contrivances, that proved fatal to the above mentioned Mamelouk, and to others, who lie buried in the neighbourhood. Their whole corps remained several weeks at Haimar, and it was from thence that they ordered all their unnecessary servants and followers to depart: among these were several dashing Egyptian dancing girls, the price of whose charms had increased in the mountains, in the same proportion as other commodities, and who had thus been enabled to acquire large sums of money in a very short time. The dismissed followers of the Mamelouk camp formed a caravan, which was proceeding towards Assouan under the guidance of several Ababde, when, the night before they expected to reach the Nile, their guides absconded, and the next morning they found themselves attacked by a large body of Ababde, by whom they were robbed and stripped naked, and in this condition permitted to pursue their journey towards Egypt. The Ababde, as an excuse for their abominable treachery upon this and other occasions when many of the Mamelouk stragglers were robbed and killed by them, allege that the Mamelouks were the first to prove themselves unworthy of good faith and the rights of hospitality, by slaughtering the cattle of the Bedouins, and taking liberties with their women. Some such instances may have happened, but they were certainly not sufficient to exculpate the Ababde, whose treacherous character is too well known. The wells of Haimar are formed in a small sandy plain, in the midst of craggy hills. In one or two of them the water is drinkable, but in the greater part, it is of a bitterish and very disagreeable taste, though in great plenty. A nitrous crust is seen on the borders of the wells: the ground around them was still covered with the dung of camels and horses which had remained there since the time of the Mamelouk encampment. Old boots and shoes, with rags of tents and clothing covered the ground. The plain of Haimar is often frequented by large encampments of Bisharein Bedouins, who pasture here their cattle, but as the wells are within the dominion of the Ababde, they are obliged to pay a certain yearly tribute to the Ababde chiefs. This is often the cause of wars, but at present the Ababde have become more formidable than the Bisharein, and their intercourse with Egypt renders them much the wealthier of the two. It is only the northern Bisharein, who ever come in contact with the Ababde. We found only a few families of Bisharein encamped at Haimar, and passed through the plain without stopping, having filled our water skins with the comparatively sweet water of the Nakeyb. Beyond Haimar begins a wild, stony district, through which our camels had difficulty in passing. We ascended amidst granite and sand-stone rocks, for about one hour, and then descended again into the plain, about five hours and a half after our setting out in the morning. Our direction was S. 1° E. The mountains we passed are called Akabet Haimar (ﺮﻤﻴﺣ ﺔﺒﻘﻋ) and are visible at a considerable distance. The plain beyond the Akabe is sandy, with many insulated granite rocks. I could see no where any regular strata, but the rocks were all in shattered, sharpedged masses, bearing the marks of some violent commotion of the earth. In one hour we entered a fine valley called Wady Nehdyr, or Ghedeyr (the Arabic name in my journal is not quite clear ﺮﻳﺪﻏ or ﺮﻳﺪﺤﻧ), with plenty of acacia trees. We had hoped to find some rain water here, in a large basin formed by nature, but it was dry, and the quantity of camel’s dung round it, proved that it had lately been exhausted by an Arab encampment. We therefore rode on, and alighted, after eight hours and a half, at the extremity of the Wady.

11th March. Our road lay over stony hills and rocky passages, for three hours, to the well called el Morra (ﻩﺮﻤﻟﺍ), meaning “the bitter,” a name which it justly bears when compared to the sweet waters of the Nile; but the eastern Arabs, who are more accustomed to bad water than Nubians and Egyptians, would hardly perceive its disagreeable taste. It is a very large well, upwards of forty feet in depth, and I was told that it never dries up. Wady Morra extends for two or three hours, in an eastern direction. Having here taken in a small provision of water, we immediately continued our road, for five hours, to Wady Olaky (ﻲﻗﻼﻋ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ) a fine valley extending from east to west, and having its extremities (as I was told) on one side near the Red Sea, and on the other near the Nile. In time of rain considerable torrents collect in the Wady, and empty themselves into the Nile. There is excellent pasturage and many trees in the valley, for which rare advantages it is held by the Bedouins in great veneration. Our guides in approaching the Wady saluted it with great solemnity, and thanked heaven for having permitted them to arrive so far in safety (ﺔﻣﻼﺴﻟﺎﺑ ﻙﺎﻨﻴﺟ ﻱﺬﻟﺃ ﷲ ﺪﻤﺤﻟﺃ ﻲﻗﻼﻋ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ ﺎﻳ ﻚﻴﻠﻋ ﻡﻼﺴﻟﺃ). In crossing the valley, which is about one hundred and fifty yards across, each person took a handful of Dhourra and threw it on the ground, a kind of pious offering to the good genius who is supposed to preside over the Wady. At the end of six hours we entered Wady Om-gat (ﻂﺎﻗ ﻡﺃ). It has a reservoir of rain water, which renders it a resting place for caravans; but we found it dry. No valley we had hitherto passed was so thickly overgrown with acacia trees. Swarms of locusts were feeding upon the young sprigs and leaves. The ground was covered with the coloquintida, a plant very common in every part of this desert. The people of the caravan amused themselves with throwing these round gourds at each other, and warding them off with their targets, in which they shewed great dexterity. Unfortunately I had no target, and my Daraou friends so often aimed at my head, that I was at last obliged to apply seriously to the chief of the caravan for protection, a measure which saved me from a bloody nose, but procured for me the title of a “cowardly boy,” which lasted for several days, until it was exchanged for an appellation still more insulting Our direction was this day S. by W. The ground of the Wady Omgat is all sandy; the hills lose their wild, grotesque shape, and are disposed in more regular chains. Most of the trees were entirely dried up, there having been no rain for nearly three years. I was suprised not to see the footsteps of any wild animals in the sand, and no birds, except a few crows. We met several Bisharein, accompanying camels loaded with Senna-mekke, which they were carrying to Derr for sale, or to barter for Dhourra. We continued the whole evening in the Wady, and halted after about nine hour’s march.

12th March. We set out before sunrise, and in three hours arrived at the extremity of Wady Omgat, the hills of which are throughout composed of granite. We entered here upon a wide sandy plain, and beyond it crossed, for two hours, a chain of mountains composed of grunstein. At six hours we descended into Wady el Towashy (ﻲﺷﺍﻮﻄﻟﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), or the Valley of the Eunuch. It is so called from an eunuch belonging to the great temple of Mekka, who was here killed and robbed of the presents which he had received from the kings of Darfour and Sennaar . I could not gain exact information, as to the year when this murder was committed; but one of our guides told me that his father remembered it perfectly well. I have no doubt, therefore, that this eunuch was the same called Mahomet Towash, by Bruce, and whose body was found by the traveller, exactly in this situation, three days after he had taken prisoner a Bisharye Bedouin, one of the murderers; a story which appears to be made up in all its details, although true in its principal facts. The people who killed the Towashy however were not Bisharein, but the Towashy’s own guides, a party of Ababde of the tribe of Asheybab, called Hameydab, whose chief seat is at Beyheyra, a village not far from Edfou, on the eastern bank of the Nile (ﺓﺮﻴﺤﺑ ﻲﻓ ﺏﺎﺒﻴﺸﻋ ﺔﻠﻴﺒﻗ ﻦﻣ ﺏﺍﺪﻴﻤﺣ). They were much blamed for that action by their friends, and it is observed that ever since, the Hameydab have fallen into disrespect and weakness. The tomb of the Towashy is near the foot of the mountain, on the spot where he fell, and is looked upon as that of a saint or martyr. The tomb is of stone, and was erected by another tribe of Arabs. We found it covered with a few loose mats. All our people went up to it, and many of them prayed near it. In parting, they strewed some Dhourra and other offerings upon it, and filled with water a jar, which some other traveller had left there. Coloured rags had been tied upon poles near the tomb, according to a custom common among the Arabs. Several camel saddles lay about, which travellers had dedicated to the saint. We passed the hours of noon near the tomb, in the broad valley, to which it has given name. After mid-day we again started, and traversed an uneven ground of sand and stones. Our way for the whole day was S. 1° E. After about ten hours march, we halted in Wady Abou Borshe (ﻪﺷﺮﺑ ﻮﺑﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ); a chain of mountains runs here in a N.W. direction. Some Sellam trees grow in the barren sands of this Wady: this tree is a species of acacia; the Arabs value the wood for its great hardness; they use it for the shafts of their lances, and cut the thin branches into sticks of about the thickness of the thumb, and three feet in length, the top of which they bend in the fire, while the wood is yet green, and rubbing it frequently with grease, it acquires greater weight and strength. Every man carries in his hand such a stick, which is called Sélame. There is an other tree of the same species, called by the Bisharein El Dodda, which is preferred to the Sellam, for making these sticks. It grows nearer to the Red Sea. In the Wady Abou Borshe we met with some gazelles, the first we had seen since leaving Daraou; where water is only found in deep wells, it cannot be supposed that game much abounds.

13th March. We set out before sun rise, and reached, after three hours, Wady el Berd (ﺩﺮﺒﻟﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), a fine wide valley overgrown with trees. Large flocks of white birds, of the size of geese, passed over our heads, on their way northwards. The Arabs have given this valley the name of Berd (cold), because they find that even in summer, a cold breeze always reigns here; it is open to the Nile, from whence the winds at that time generally blow. We found it at the early hour of the morning in which we passed it so extremely cold, that during a short halt we set fire to several dead trees, of which there are many in the Wady. Having continued our way along it for about two hours, and then crossed a chain of hills, we halted again during the mid-day hours, in another valley. The halting at noon always gave rise to disputes. Whenever it was known before hand that the chiefs intended to stop in a certain valley, the young men of the caravan pushed eagerly forwards, in order to select at the halting place the largest tree, or some spot under an impending rock, where they secured shelter from the sun for themselves and their mess. Every day some dispute arose as to who arrived the first, under some particular tree: as for myself I was often driven from the coolest and most comfortable berth, into the burning sun, and generally passed the mid-day hours in great distress: for besides the exposure to heat, I had to cook my dinner, a service which I could never prevail upon any of my companions, even the poorest servants, to perform for me, though I offered to let them share in my homely fare. In the evening, the same labour occurred again, when fatigued by the day’s journey, during which I always walked for four or five hours, in order to spare my ass, and when I was in the utmost need of repose. Hunger however always prevailed over fatigue, and I was obliged to fetch and cut wood to light a fire, to cook, to feed the ass, and finally to make coffee, a cup of which, presented to my Daraou companions, who were extremely eager to obtain it, was the only means I possessed of keeping them in tolerable good humour. A good night’s rest, however, always repaired my strength, and I was never in better health and spirits than during this journey, although its fatigues were certainly very great, and much beyond my expectation. The common dish of all the travellers at noon was Fetyre (ﺓﺮﻴﻄﻓ), which is flour mixed up with water into a liquid paste, and then baked upon the sadj, or iron plate; butter is then poured over it, or honey, or sometimes a sauce is made of butter and dried Bamyé. In the evening some lentils are boiled, or some bread is baked with salt, either upon the sadj or in ashes, and a sauce of Bamyé, or onion poured over lentils, or upon the bread, after it has been crumbled into small pieces. Early in the morning every one eats a piece of dry biscuit with some raw onion or dates. In the afternoon we again crossed a mountainous country, and then a sandy plain, terminated by a valley, where some Doum trees afford a delightful prospect to the traveller. After a day’s march of about nine hours, we halted in that valley, near the wells called el Nabeh (ﺢﺑﺎﻨﻟﺃ). While we were crossing the before mentioned plain, we met a small caravan of eight Ababdes; coming from Berber, and bound for Daraou. They had about thirty slaves and several loaded camels with them, which they intended to sell in Upper Egypt. The intelligence they gave us was extremely discouraging. Two wells which lay before us, on our road to Berber, they had found almost dried up. In one, that of Shigre, they said, we might still find some water, but in the farther one at “Nedjeym” we must reckon upon very little or no supply. Some of our people, alarmed at this intelligence, thought of returning with the Ababde caravan, but they were dissuaded by the others. The Daraou people bought a strong camel from the other caravan, for the purpose of loading it with water, and we passed the whole night in consulting what was to be done. In Wady el Nabeh there are five or six wells, close together, three of which are brackish, and two drinkable, but the latter contain very little water, and this little was immediately consumed in filling the water-skins. On the next morning disputes arose about the water that had flowed out of the wells during the night, each party wishing to appropriate it for its own use.

14th March. The fine shade afforded by the numerous Doum trees, and the copious wells, render the Wady el Nabeh next to Haimar, and Shigre, the most important position upon this route. Small caravans generally stop here a few days, in going to Berber, in order to give their camels a little time to repair their strength. It is supposed, that the water of the Nabeh is peculiarly refreshing to them. It certainly has strong purgative qualities. Large caravans however find it impossible to remain here for more than one night, because the drinkable water is but scanty. Our chiefs were the whole morning consulting, what to do; we had a two days march to Shigre, and from thence five days to the Nile at Berber. It was impossible to load the animals with a quantity of water, sufficient for the whole journey, yet we had no water to expect south of Shigre, and very little at Shigre. There is another source called Nawarik (ﻖﻳﺭﺍﻮﻧ) in the mountains to the S.E., four days and a half journey from El Nabeh, and as many from Berber, which would have been an eligible route to take. But none of our party were acquainted with the road, excepting a Bisharye Arab, and the others were not willing to trust themselves to his guidance. A third route was pointed out to me from Nabeh, leading in a S.S.W. direction, to the Nile in three long days and a half, but that part of the Nile is inhabited by the Arabs of Mograt, who were enemies of our caravan, and whose chief, Naym, had lately been killed by a Shikh of the Ababde. Upon such occasions as these, every man gives his opinion, and mine was, that we should kill our thirty-five asses, which required a daily supply of, at least, fifteen water skins, that we should load the camels to the utmost of their strength with water, and strike out a straightway through the desert towards Berber, without touching at Shigre; in this manner we might perform the journey in five forced marches. But the Arabs can seldom be brought to take manly resolutions, upon such occasions, generally consoling themselves with the hope of Allah Kerim, or God’s bounty; so that the result of our deliberation was, that we should follow the usual track. We repaired our water skins and our sandals, refreshed ourselves with bathing in the cool wells, and then set out. It was not without great apprehension that I departed from this place. Our camels and asses carried water for three or four days only, and I saw no possibility of escaping from the dreadful effects of a want of water. In order to keep my ass in good spirits, I took off the two small water skins with which I had hitherto loaded him, and paid one of the Ababdes four dollars to carry four small water skins as far as Berber; for I thought that if the ass could carry me, I might bear thirst for two days at least, but that if he should break down, I should certainly not be able to walk one whole day without water in this hot season of the year. This evening, for about one hour, we passed along the valley, and then for two hours across a stony country (direction S. by E.), when we stopped for the night in a narrow valley. I was overcome by fatigue, my eyes had for several days been sore, and my reflections on our melancholy situation kept me long awake. A camel overloaded with water fell down this evening and broke its leg, by which accident several water skins were burst. The camel was killed in the legal way, by turning its head towards Mekka, and cutting its throat. Some of our people remained behind, and overtook us at night with some choice morsels of flesh, which they had cut from the carcass.

15th March. We set out before day break, were about one hour and a half in crossing over a rocky district, and then reached a wide sandy plain, called Gob el Kheyl (ﻞﻴﺨﻟﺃ ﺐﻗ), which has many insulated granite rocks, similar in shape to those described on the 6th. After four hours march we halted at the entrance of Wady Tarfawy (ﻱﻭﺎﻓﺮﻃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), so called from the Tarfa or tamarisk tree, that grows there. The ground was covered also with the fine Senna shrub, the verdure of which was quite a novel sight. The pulse or fruit of the Senna had now come to its full maturity, and supplied food to swarms of locusts. Many thorny tamarisks, and a few Doum trees, also, grow here, and render the valley the most pleasant of the whole route.

In general, I found the dreaded Nubian deserts, as far as Shigre at least, of much less dreary appearance than the great Syrian desert, and still less so than the desert of Suez and Tyh. We seldom passed a day without meeting with trees and water, as far at least as Shigre; they are much more frequent than on the caravan route from Aleppo to Bagdad, or from Damascus to Medina. The flatness of the Syrian desert may appear less horrid than the barren shaggy rocks of the Nubian desert; but the latter has at least the advantage of variety. As we arrived very early at our halting place in the Wady Tarfawy, the camels were sent to a side valley, at the distance of more than one hour and a half, to get some water from a pool, the slight brackish taste of which makes it probable that, besides the rain water collected in it, there is a spring at the bottom. They returned soon after mid-day. Another camel, which was pronounced unable to continue the journey, was killed to day, and many of the eagles, called Quakham, quickly assembled to have their share of the meat. Our Ababde guides had a quarrel to day with the men from Daraou, from whom they endeavoured to extort some additional payment. I was not sorry to see this dispute, hoping that it might lead to a greater cordiality between me and the Ababde, who might perhaps join their interests with mine against the common adversary. The caravan set out again about four P.M. At the moment of departure, the Arab who carried my water, brought me the largest of the four skins, and told me that his camel was unable to carry it any further. Before I had arranged two smaller skins, had filled them with the water of the large one, had tied ropes to them, and had loaded them upon my ass, the caravan had gained a great distance ahead, so that following their footsteps in the sand, I could not rejoin them till late after sunset. It is in such cases that the want of a servant or companion is chiefly felt; for slave traders show no sort of compassion for the embarrassments of their fellow creatures. We marched this evening about six hours, over stony ground, and encamped late at night in Wady Kowa, (ﻉﻮﻜ ﻲﺪﺍﻭ), a valley full of pasturage. The direction during the day was S. by E.

16th March. After a few hours rest we again started. Our road lay over a sandy flat. High mountains appeared far in the east. At the end of three hours we halted in Wady Safyha (ﻪﺣﻳﻔﺼ ﻱﺩﺍﻮ), which cannot properly be called a valley, being a strip of lower land, running across the plain, where the rain water collects, and produces some trees and shrubs. Such spots in the Arabian deserts are called Ghadyr (ﺮﻳﺪﻏ). After mid-day we continued over the plain. During the whole day’s march we were surrounded on all sides by lakes of mirage, called by the Arabs Serab. Its colour was of the purest azure, and so clear that the shadows of the mountains which bordered the horizon were reflected on it with the greatest precision, and the delusion of its being a sheet of water was thus rendered still more perfect. I had often seen the mirage in Syria and Egypt, but always found it of a whitish colour, rather resembling a morning mist, seldom lying steady on the plain, but in continual vibration; but here it was very different, and had the most perfect resemblance to water. The great dryness of the air and earth in this desert may be the cause of the difference. The appearance of water approached also much nearer, than in Syria and Egypt, being often not more than two hundred paces from us, whereas I had never seen it before at a distance of less than half a mile. There were at one time about a dozen of these false lakes round us, each separated from the other, and for the most part in the low grounds. After about eight hours march we stopped at Wady Om Doum (ﻡﻭﺩ ﻡﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). The name indicates the existence of Doum trees, but I could see no trees of any kind. I have observed that the vallies south of Omgat run generally from east to west, while those to the north of that place were parallel to our route. Our direction was still S. by E.

17th March. We set out at daylight and approached the high mountains of Shigre, which we had had in view the whole of the preceding day. After two hours march, we entered among these mountains, and then turning east, came to a fine Wady full of Doum trees, and bordered on either side by steep, and almost inaccessible cliffs. In following the windings of the valley, we arrived, after four hours march, near the water of Shigre, (ﺮﻘﺷ) where we encamped. The surrounding mountains are all of granite, and consist of blocks of various sizes, heaped upon one another in the wildest disorder. Near the opening of the mountain, where the water is found, at some distance below the highest summit, I found the rock to be porphyry of a light reddish colour, close grained, with small veins of feldspath, much resembling the porphyry I saw last year, in Wady Lamoule, beyond the Second Cataract of the Nile. The approach to the spring is somewhat difficult, being at the extremity of a very narrow passage, in a cavern or cleft of the rock, where, besides the spring, there is also a collection of rain water. The water is excellent, and very cool, but unfortunately not very copious; at least, we found only a small supply. Some pigeons were flying about the spring. The well of Shigre is famous throughout this desert. The Bisharein frequently encamp in the neighbouring Wadys, and one of their principal Shikhs or Saints is buried near the well. Travellers often make pious offerings at the tomb, and if any Bedouins happen to be encamped in the neighbourhood, some sheep are purchased from them, and killed in honour of the Saint. One of our party found behind a rock, near the tomb, an empty chest, of Egyptian workmanship, quite new, which had probably been deposited there by some trader, whose camel could not carry it further, and who expected to take it up again on his return. The Ababde guides claimed it of the person who found it, alleging that they are the masters of the desert, and that all treasures found in it belong to them. We encamped at about half a mile from the well, and our first care was to fill our water skins. The Ababde kindly permitted the Fellah traders to fill their skins first, but the latter abused the permission, by watering likewise their camels; so that after they had retired from the well, very little water was left in it. The Ababde then declared that they should be obliged to stop here until the well should fill again. We remained therefore the whole night, the Ababde sleeping at the mouth of the cavern, to prevent any body from stealing water during the night.

On the morning of the 18th March, about twenty skins were filled, but the Ababde were not yet satisfied, and the merchants, rather than protract their stay, and see their store of water diminished by the hourly waste, preferred ceding some of their skins to the guides, upon the condition of departing immediately. After much patience and labour, I had succeeded in filling two large skins, and having still some water left, I should thus have been at least as well provided as any other individual in the caravan; but I was not to be so fortunate. Having taken one of the skins upon my shoulder to the camp, I had left the other near the well, with the intention of coming back with the ass to take it away. When I returned, I found it empty. My Daraou friends had poured its contents into one of their own skins; and although they excused themselves by saying it was done by mistake, I could not by any means prevail upon them to refill it; indeed the water, now left in the well was rendered so muddy by the blueish clay which covers the bottom, that it was quite unserviceable. It was in vain that I offered two dollars for a full skin. My companions only laughed at me, saying that the price was indeed enormous, but that no one would part with his provision of water, and that they had never been in the habit of doing so. I was thus obliged to retreat from the well with the melancholy reflection that my stock of water was at the utmost sufficient for myself and ass for two days. It may here be remarked that it is of little use in travelling through deserts, to have a very large stock of water: for if the other travellers are in want of water they will take it by force; the rule being that water and bread are common to all, that is to say, that the stronger takes it from the weaker. The eastern Arabs allow the poor traveller to partake of their stock of water even when it is scarce, but the Africans are not so liberal, and all that an individual can do among them, is to lay in such a stock of water as will last as long as that of the great merchants; for he will find no supply from others, while he must give up all he can spare, and sometimes, even his whole stock, to meet the necessities of his more powerful companions. I searched about the well for some traces of ancient works, in the supposition that the place was as well known and frequented in the time when the trade of Meroe flourished as it is at present. But I could find nothing, although the situation is well suited to the construction of a fortress. The road leading up to the cavern which contains the well is almost blocked up by large masses of stones. And near it is another source, which has lately been entirely choaked up by the falling down of a projection of the mountain.

The Ababde chief of the caravan being acquainted with my misfortunes, sent for me just as we were on the point of departure, and having made some severe reflections upon the cruelty of the Egyptians towards me, made me a present of a sufficient quantity of water to fill one of the smaller skins. I was of course very sincere in my protestations of thanks and of gratitude, although I well saw that his anxiety for my welfare was not so great as his wish to mortify the Egyptians. We left Shigre in the course of the morning; it took us four hours to cross the chain of mountains, which bear the name of Djebel Shigre (ﺮﻘﺷ ﻝﺎﺒﺟ). They appeared to me the highest points of Western Nubia, but their most elevated summit is not more than eight hundred or one thousand feet above the plain. All these mountains are of granite, and are every where as wild in their shape as those about the well. After four hours march, we issued from the mountains, and by a slight descent reached a sandy plain, covered with sharp stones. Our road S. 1º W. At five hours, passed Wady Kabkaba (ﻪﺒﻘﺒﻗ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ); at seven hours, passed Wady Zeynatyb (ﺐﻴﺗﺎﻨﻳﺯ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). Trees are very scarce in these Wadys, which are nothing but low grounds with some shrubs. We marched until late at night, and halted in the plain, after a day’s journey of about eleven hours. The country we passed over, after quitting the mountains of Shigre, is one great sandy flat, occasionally interrupted by gravelly ground, with small pebbles of quartz. We likewise passed several districts of moving sands. From Daraou as far as Shigre we had constantly followed a broad beaten path, where it is almost impossible for any one who has once performed the journey to go astray. The road seldom varies in its direction, and the prominent features of the mountains on both sides serve to the traveller as a guide at the few places where the sandy ground prevents any lasting impression of the footsteps of former caravans. From Shigre southward we found no beaten path, and there being no longer any mountains in view, it requires the eye and experience of a Bedouin to keep the caravan in a proper direction, especially during the day time.

19th March. Our road was S. by W. over an immense plain, bordered by low hills in the distant horizon. After about one hour we passed Wady Dimoka-yb (a Bishary name) (ﺐﻳﺎﻛﻮﻤﻳﺩ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), full of dry shrubs. The day was intensely hot. I thought I could perceive a considerable alteration in the climate, to the south of Shigre, it being much warmer than to the north of that place. Eight hours and a half passed Wady Abou Daey (ﻲﺿ ﻮﺑﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). All these Wadys extend from east to west. Eleven hours arrived at the wells of Nedjeym (ﻡﻴﺠﻨﻟﺃ ﺭﺎﻴﺑﺃ) in approaching which, we passed, long after sunset, by several tomb-stones, called Gobour Adjouad el Arey-ab (ﺏﺎﻳﺮﻻﺃ ﺩﻮﺟﺃ ﺭﻮﺒﻗ); “the bravest men of Are-ab lie buried here,” said one of our chiefs; “their companions carry them from many days journies to this spot, that they may repose in the cool neighbourhood of the wells, and their deeds be remembered by those who pass here.” The Are-ab are a tribe of Bisharein. We had already sent some men to the wells early in the morning, to clear them of the sand, for notwithstanding the report of the caravan travellers which we received at Nabeh, our people still believed that some water might be procured here. But we found them sitting with melancholy countenances near the well, where they had been digging for several hours, without finding any thing but wet sand. Even the Bedouins now became alarmed, and nothing was left for us but to endeavour to reach the Nile by forced marches; each of us had some water left, though not more than sufficient for a single day. Nedjeym is a collection of three or four wells, where the water oozes from the ground, and collects in sand pits of twenty or thirty feet in depth. The winds often choak these pits with sand, and almost every caravan that passes must be at the trouble of digging them out. We only found one accessible, the others being filled with sand to the brim. In times of dryness, such as occurred this year, the wells are exhausted, but when the rains are not deficient they produce excellent water, in sufficient quantity to supply a caravan of middling size. The low insulated rocky hills which surround the Nedjeym are composed of chlorite and petrosilex.

20th March. Some of our people continued at work at the well the whole night, and at length by great assiduity filled the water skins. We left the place soon after midnight. Issuing from the hills which surround the wells, and diverging from the straight road that leads to Berber, we took our route over a barren plain covered with moving sands, in a S.S.W. direction. At four hours we passed Wady Holhob (ﺐﻬﻠﺣ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). All the Wadys south of Shigre empty themselves in large torrents into the Nile whenever rain falls in the eastern chain. The ground now became gravelly, covered with small black flints and petrosilex, a dark expanse of waste much resembling some parts of the desert of Tyh. No mountains or hills are any where seen. Here and there only small rocks of granite, quartz or sienite interrupt the dreary uniformity of the plain. Fortunately for us we had northerly winds, but we suffered nevertheless considerably from the heat. We drank only twice to day, and our asses were put upon half allowance. At eleven hours we halted in a Wady. I had a quarrel to day with a man of Daraou, who accused me of having opened his water skin in the night, in order to give my ass some water; he called me by the most insulting names, pelted me with stones, and seemed to have succeeded in persuading the whole caravan that I was guilty.

21st March. We set out after midnight, and marched over a sandy ground. At three hours passed Wady Amour (ﺭﻮﻣﺎﻋ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). It was a chilly night, and the heat of the preceding day had rendered us still more sensible to the cold. Wady Amour is full of Sellam trees and acacias, many of which were quite dried up: our people, to warm themselves, set several of them on fire in passing along, and the flames spreading over the valley, beautifully illuminated the travellers and their frightened beasts. Issuing from the Wady we again met with a gravelly plain, and some low grounds. In seven hours passed a Wady of Sant trees. The heat was very great, and the wind southerly; half a dozen asses had already broken down, and their riders were obliged to walk over the burning plain. I had not drank the whole day, but still gave my ass every now and then a little water to keep up his spirits. At nine hours (direction S.S.W.), reached Wady Abou Sellam (ﻢﻠﺳ ﻮﺑﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ) which abounds with Sellam trees. Here we stopped; for the beasts were much fatigued, and there were many stragglers behind, whom we might have lost in proceeding further. In order to spare my stock of water, I had lived since quitting Shigre entirely upon biscuits, and had never cooked any victuals; I now made another dinner of the same kind, after which I allayed my thirst by a copious draught of water, having in my skins as much as would serve me for another draught on the morrow. We were all in the greatest dejection, foreseeing that all the asses must die the ensuing day if not properly watered, and none of the traders had more than a few draughts for himself. After a long deliberation they at last came to the only determination that could save us, and which the Ababde chief had been for several days recommending. Ten or twelve of the strongest camels being selected, were mounted by as many men, who hastened forward to fetch a supply of water from the nearest part of the Nile. We were only five or six hours distant from it, but its banks being here inhabited by Arabs inimical to the traders, the whole caravan could not venture to take that road. The camels set out at about four P.M., and would reach the river at night. They were ordered to choose an uninhabited spot for filling the skins, and forthwith to return. We passed the evening meanwhile in the greatest anxiety, for if the camels should not return, we had little hopes of escape either from thirst or from the sword of our enemies, who, if they had once got sight of the camels, would have followed their footsteps through the desert, and would certainly have discovered us. After sunset several stragglers arrived, but two still remained behind, of whom one joined us early next morning, but the other was not heard of any more. He was servant to a Daraou trader, who showed not the least concern about his fate. Many of my companions came in the course of the evening to beg some water of me, but I had well hidden my treasure, and answered them by showing my empty skins. We remained the greater part of the night in sullen and silent expectation of the result of our desperate mission. At length, about three o’clock in the morning, we heard the distant hollowings of our watermen, and soon after refreshed ourselves with copious draughts of the delicious water of the Nile. The caravan passed suddenly from demonstrations of the deepest distress, to those of unbounded joy and mirth. A plentiful supper was dressed, and the Arabs kept up their songs till day break without bestowing a thought on the fate of the unhappy man who had remained behind. It rarely happens that persons perish by thirst on this road, and if the Nedjeym has water, it is almost impossible that such an accident should happen. Last year, however, an instance occurred, the particulars of which were related to me by a man who had himself suffered all the pangs of death. In the month of August, a small caravan prepared to set out from Berber to Daraou. They consisted of five merchants, and about thirty slaves, with a proportionate number of camels. Afraid of the robber Naym, who at that time was in the habit of waylaying travellers about the well of Nedjeym, and who had constant intelligence of the departure of every caravan from Berber, they determined to take a more eastern road, by the well Owareyk. They had hired an Ababde guide, who conducted them in safety to that place, but who lost his way from thence northward, the route being very unfrequented. After five days march in the mountains, their stock of water was exhausted, nor did they know where they were. They resolved therefore to direct their course towards the setting sun, hoping thus to reach the Nile. After two days thirst, fifteen slaves and one of the merchants died. Another of them, an Ababde, who had ten camels with him, thinking that the camels might know better than their masters where water was to be found, desired his comrades to tie him fast upon the saddle of his strongest camel, that he might not fall down from weakness; and thus he parted from them, permitting his camels to take their own way: but neither the man nor his camels were ever heard of afterwards. On the eighth day after leaving Owareyk, the survivors came in sight of the mountains of Shigre, which they immediately recognized, but their strength was quite exhausted, and neither men nor beasts were able to move any further. Lying down under a rock, they sent two of their servants with the two strongest remaining camels, in search of water. Before these two men could reach the mountain, one of them dropped off his camel, deprived of speech, and able only to wave his hands to his comrade as a signal that he desired to be left to his fate. The survivor then continued his route, but such was the effect of thirst upon him, that his eyes grew dim and he lost the road, though he had often travelled over it before, and had been perfectly acquainted with it. Having wandered about for along time, he alighted under the shade of a tree, and tied the camel to one of its branches; the beast however smelt the water, (as the Arabs express it,) and wearied as it was, broke its halter, and set off gallopping furiously in the direction of the spring, which as it afterwards appeared, was at half an hour’s distance. The man well understanding the camel’s action, endeavoured to follow its footsteps, but could only move a few yards; he fell exhausted on the ground, and was about to breathe his last, when Providence led that way from a neighbouring encampment a Bisharye Bedouin, who by throwing water upon the man’s face restored him to his senses. They then went hastily together to the water, filled the skins, and returning to the caravan, had the good fortune to find the sufferers still alive. The Bisharye received a slave for his trouble. My informer, a native of Yembo in Arabia, was the man whose camel discovered the spring, and he added the remarkable circumstance that the youngest slaves bore the thirst better than the rest, and that while the grown up boys all died, the children reached Egypt in safety.

In 1813 a large caravan arrived at Siout from Darfour. As they had undertaken their journey in the latter end of the hot season, many of their camels perished on the road, and they found themselves under the necessity of leaving a considerable part of their goods, together with many young slaves who could not march on foot, at the well of Sheb, with all the provisions that could be spared. Having hired several hundred camels, they returned to Sheb; but in the meanwhile, the thoughtless slaves had been too prodigal of their provisions, and several had died from hunger.

Such accidents as these may sometimes happen either from want of proper guides, from the necessity of taking circuitous roads, or from not having a sufficient quantity of camels loaded with water; but they must in general arise from a want of proper precaution, and I cannot help thinking that those which my predecessor Mr. Bruce describes himself to have suffered in this desert, have been much overstated. But while I think it my duty to make this remark, I must at the same time declare that acquainted as I am with the character of the Nubians, I cannot but sincerely admire the wonderful knowledge of men, firmness of character, and promptitude of mind which furnished Bruce with the means of making his way through these savage inhospitable nations as an European. To travel as a native has its inconveniences and difficulties, but I take those which Bruce encountered to be of a nature much more intricate and serious, and such as a mind at once courageous, patient, and fertile in expedients could alone have surmounted.

March 22. After partaking of a hearty breakfast, we proceeded, late in the morning, over an extensive gravelly plain, intersected by several Wadys or low grounds, running towards the river, and in general bearing few trees. Our road was S. by W. At the end of five hours we halted in one of the Wadys called Netyle (ﻪﻠﻴﺘﻧ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). The foliage of the acacia trees under which we encamped during the noon hours, is too scanty to give much shade, and the Arabs with justice compare the traveller’s endeavours to shelter himself from the burning sun under a Sant tree, to the folly of placing full confidence in the promises of the great; “Confide in his words as you do in the acacia’s shade;” has become a proverbial saying (ﻃﻨﺴﻟﺃ ﻞﻇ ﻞﺜﻣ ﻪﻣﻼﻛ). Ostriches are very numerous in this plain in several places, and we saw this morning many broken pieces of their eggs. I observed also some very large lizards, at least a foot in length from head to tail. The wind was still southerly. I again enquired, as I had often done before, whether my companions had often experienced the Semoum (which we translate by the poisonous blast of the desert, but which is nothing more than a violent south-east wind). They answered in the affirmative, but none had ever known an instance of its having proved fatal. Its worst effect is that it dries up the water in the skins, and so far it endangers the traveller’s safety. In these southern countries, however, water skins are made of very thick cowleather, which are almost impenetrable to the Semoum. In Arabia and Egypt on the contrary the skins of sheep or goats are used for this purpose, and I witnessed the effect of a Semoum upon them, in going from Tor to Suez over land in June 1815, when in one morning a third of the contents of a full water skin was evaporated. I have repeatedly been exposed to the hot wind, in the Syrian and Arabian deserts, in Upper Egypt and Nubia. The hottest and most violent I ever experienced was at Suakin, yet even there I felt no particular inconvenience from it, although exposed to all its fury in the open plain. For my own part I am perfectly convinced that all the stories which travellers or the inhabitants of the towns of Egypt and Syria relate of the Semoum of the desert, are greatly exaggerated, and I never could hear of a single well authenticated instance of its having proved mortal either to man or beast. The fact is that the Bedouins when questioned on the subject, often frighten the townspeople with tales of men, and even of whole caravans having perished by the effects of the wind, when upon closer enquiry made by some person, whom they find not ignorant of the desert, they will state the plain truth. I never observed that the Semoum blows close to the ground, as commonly supposed, but always observed the whole atmosphere appear as if in a state of combustion; the dust and sand are carried high into the air, which assumes a reddish, or blueish, or yellowish tint, according to the nature and colour of the ground, from which the dust arises. The yellow however always, more or less, predominates. In looking through a glass of a light yellow colour, one may form a pretty correct idea of the appearance of the air, as I observed it during a stormy Semoum at Esne, in Upper Egypt, in May 1813. The Semoum is not always accompanied by whirlwinds; in its less violent degree it will blow for hours with little force, although with oppressive heat; when the whirlwind raises the dust it then encreases several degrees in heat. In the Semoum at Esne the thermometer mounted to 121° in the shade, but the air seldom remains longer than a quarter of an hour in that state, or longer than the whirlwind lasts. The most disagreeable effect of the Semoum on man is, that it stops perspiration, dries up the palate, and produces great restlessness. I never saw any person lie down flat upon his face to escape its pernicious blast, as Bruce describes himself to have done in crossing this desert; but during the whirlwinds the Arabs often hide their faces with their cloaks, and kneel down near their camels to prevent the sand or dust from hurting their eyes. Camels are always much distressed, not by the heat but by the dust blowing into their large, prominent, eyes. They turn round and endeavour to screen themselves by holding down their heads, but this I never saw them do except in case of a whirlwind, however intense the heat of the atmosphere might be. In June 1813, going from Esne to Siout, a violent Semoum overtook me upon the plain between Farshiout and Berdys. I was quite alone, mounted upon a light-footed Hedjin. When the whirlwind arose neither house nor tree was in sight, and while I was endeavouring to cover my face with my handkerchief, the beast was made unruly, by the quantity of dust blown into its eyes, and the terrible noise of the wind, and set off at a furious gallop; I lost the reins and received a heavy fall, and not being able to see ten yards before me, I remained wrapped up in my cloak on the spot where I fell, until the wind abated, when pursuing my dromedary, I found it at a great distance, quietly standing near a low shrub, the branches of which afforded some shelter to its eyes.

Bruce has mentioned the moving pillars of sands in this desert, but although none such occurred during my passage, I do not presume to question his veracity on this head. The Arabs told me that there are often whirlwinds of sand, and I have repeatedly passed through districts of moving sands, which the slightest wind can raise; I remember to have seen columns of sands moving about like water spouts in the desert on the banks of the Euphrates, and have seen at Jaka terrible effects from a sudden wind; I therefore very easily credit their occasional appearance in the Nubian desert, although I doubt of their endangering the safety of travellers.

The plain which we crossed this morning was in some places covered with granite rocks, and large blocks of gneiss. We marched in a S. by W. direction, nearly parallel to the course of the river, which was about four hours on our right. We saw some low sand hills on the western banks of the Nile. At eight hours we reached Wady el Homar (ﺭﺎﻤﺤﻟﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), i. e. the asses valley, where we halted. It is said that wild asses are sometimes seen in the neighbouring desert called Homar Elwaheish (ﺶﺣﻮﻟﺃ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ). The Wady el Homar contains a few trees.

March 23d. We continued to traverse in a S. by W. direction, the same level country, where no mountains are in sight. The plain is covered with black stones, Egyptian pebbles, and quartz. I have not observed any specimens of jasper during the whole route from Daraou. We passed several Wadys, and saw some hares. At four hours we halted in Wady Belem (ﻢﻠﺑ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ), perhaps (ﻢﻠﺳ ﻱﺩﺍﻭ) full of trees. The Ababde guides obliged the caravan traders to pay them here one half of what was due to them, and several people started for Berber to carry the news of our arrival. We set out again late in the afternoon. The plain was sandy, with a slight slope towards the Nile. In approaching the river we met with large flocks of the Katta (a bird of the partridge kind). We felt the approach of the river at more than two hours distance from it, by a greater moisture in the air. The Arabs exclaimed “God be praised we smell again the Nile.” At the end of nine hours we reached about ten o’clock at night the village of Ankheyre (ﻩﺮﻴﺨﻨﺃ), the principal place in the district of Berber (ﺮﺑﺮﺑ). The caravans always make it a rule to arrive here in the night, in order that their loads may be less exposed to public examination, and that they may be able to secrete some trifles from the vigilance of the custom officers.

The road, which we had travelled is the only one that leads from Berber to Egypt, and is the general route of the Shendy and Sennaar caravans. There is a more western route from Berber to Seboua, a village on the Nile in the Berbera country, not far from Derr, the inhabitants of which actively engage in the slave trade. On that road the traveller finds only a single well, which is situated midway, four long days distant from Berber, and as many from Seboua. It is called el Morrat (ﺓﺮﻤﻟﺁ), and is very copious, but the water is ill-tasted. A great inconvenience on that road is that neither trees nor shrubs are any where found, whence the camels are much distressed for food, and passengers are obliged to carry wood with them to dress their meals, and to warm themselves in winter. The journey from Daraou to Berber had taken us twenty-two days. But it is to be observed that until we reached Haimar, and even as far as Naby, we made very short journies. The mountains to the east of Assouan and Haimar, three days journies towards the Red Sea, are said to be much higher than any we have seen. They are called the mountains of Otaby (ﻲﺑﺎﺘﻋ), which appellation is extended sometimes to the whole chain as far as Kosseir, meaning always those mountains distant from the Nile and not far from the sea. The Djebel Otaby is the exclusive patrimony of the Ababde, and is most peopled in summer time, when the Ababde settlers of Upper Egypt send there their cattle. There is much intercourse between the Ababdes of Otaby and the Bisharein of Olba. , Haimar is reckoned five days from Daraou, and we were nine days on the road. The distance from Daraou to Berber is generally computed by the traders at sixteen or seventeen days. In returning from Berber, the journey is performed more rapidly, because they are abundantly furnished with camels, are all mounted themselves, and the camels are relieved every day of their loads. They then sleep three or four hours during the day, and travel the greater part of the night, thus often performing the journey in twelve days. Messengers on dromedaries have often gone in eight days from Daraou to Berber. When the rains fall abundantly and the water collects every where on the road, in ponds or low grounds producing pasturage in the valleys, the caravans generally remain a month on their passage. We had reckoned upon eighteen days only, and had taken provisions accordingly, which was the reason why we were in so much distress for provisions and water towards the end of the journey, particularly for the beasts; my own ass fed for two days upon nothing but lentils. The traders give their camels every two or three days about twelve pounds of Dhourra; but to the most heavy loaded camel, which bears from six to seven hundred-weight, they give a daily allowance. All our animals were very much fatigued; the greater part of the camels had their backs horribly wounded, in consequence of the pressure of the loads, and of the avarice and negligence of the owners, who, in order to save a few piastres for a good and well stuffed saddle, exposed the poor beasts to the greatest sufferings. Many camels however are able to perform this journey three times, backwards and forwards, in the year.

On our arrival at Ankheyre, each merchant repaired to the house of his friend, for there are no public Khans here, and traders always lodge at private houses. The Alowein from Daraou established themselves in the house of Edris el Temsah, a man related to the chief of the place, and as I still thought that these people might be of some service to me, and wished therefore not openly to break with them, I joined their party. We were that night hospitably entertained by Edris, and the next morning crowds of visitors poured in.

The village belongs to the district of Berber, which comprises also three other large villages to the south of it: Goz el Souk (ﻕﻮﺳﻟﺃ ﺯﻮﻗ), or Goz the market place, Goz el Funnye (ﻪﻴﻨﻔﻟﺃ ﺯﻮﻗ), and to the north el Hassa (ﻪﺼﺤﻟﺃ), about three quarters of an hour distant from Ankheyre. It is a mode of division prevalent all over Upper Egypt and Nubia, to divide the country into Wadys, or vallies, each of which is composed of several villages. The name of the district is frequently applied to the principal village, and thus the word Berber is often used in speaking only of Ankheyre. The name of Berber has probably given rise to the appellation by which the Nubians are generally designated in Egypt, where they are called Berábera (plural of Bérbery); but this name is not in use in their own country, for, as I have already mentioned, in my former Journal, they are known among themselves by the names of Nouba and Kenous. The Egyptians seeing traders of the same complexion coming both from Berber and from the district of Ibrim, have applied the same name to both nations; and for a similar reason, the people of Berber are often confounded with those of Sennaar, and called Senhry.

The inhabitants of Berber are Arabs of the tribe of Meyrefab (ﺏﺎﻔﻳﺮﻴﻣ). In common with all the different Arab tribes who inhabit the Nile valley, from Upper Egypt to Sennaar, they report that their origin is from the Sherk, or east (ﻕﺮﺸﻟﺃ ﻦﻣ), meaning Arabia. The name of Meyrefab however does not appear to be from an Arabic root, and bears more resemblance to the Bisharein language. None of the tribes who live on the banks of the Nile are large, and each district is seldom more than one day’s march in length. The territory of the Arabs Sheygya is the largest. The settlements of the Meyrefab extend only for six or eight hours along the river, but many of them inhabit the neighbouring districts, as foreign settlers. They say that the Meyrefab can arm a body of one thousand free Arabs, and five hundred slaves, but in their wars with their neighbours, they seldom appear with more than four or five hundred men. Their chief is a man of their own tribe, who assumes the title of Mek (an abbreviation of Melek, king), which is common to all the petty chieftains of these countries, as far as Darfour and Sennaar. The authority of the Mek is confined to the reigning family, but is not hereditary from father to eldest son; for the king of Sennaar, who, since the succession of the royal family of Funnye has extended his authority along the Nile as far north as the southern limits of Wady Mahass, nominates to the governorship of this place any member of the family of Temsah whom he pleases, or rather he sells it to the highest bidder, after the Mek’s decease. With the exception of this nomination, the king of Sennaar exercises no authority over Berber, but he sends every four or five years one of his people to collect, in the way of tribute, some presents, consisting of gold, horses, and camels; about twenty horses and thirty camels. The kings of Dóngola, until the invasion of the Mamlouks, had always paid a similar tribute to Sennaar, and the Sheygya were bound to the same, but the latter having of late become powerful, have refused to pay it any longer. A similar tribute is exacted of the petty tribes between the Sheygya and Berber, and the king of Sennaar names their chiefs in the same manner as he does that of Berber. Many strangers beside the Meyrefab have settled at Berber, particularly natives of Dóngola and Ababde Arabs from Upper Egypt; many of these have taken up their constant residence here, others are married at Berber, and have another family in Egypt.

The Mek exercises only a feeble authority over the Arabs of his tribe, especially those who belong to powerful families; nor does he exact any taxes from the fields or their produce, but he is oppressive to strangers, the taxes and other exactions from whom make up the best part of his income. The tribute which he pays to Sennaar is collected from the whole tribe, and he takes care not to be a loser by the contribution. The sums paid to Sennaar for recognizing him in his office, after the decease of his predecessor, are generally made up by a forced loan from any caravan that may then be passing; and whichever individual of the reigning family possesses the greatest influence, and most friends and money to secure his election at Sennaar, easily places himself at the head of the government.

The four villages of Berber are all at about half an hour’s walk from the river situated in the sandy desert, on the borders of the arable soil. Each village is composed of about a dozen of quarters, Nezle (ﻪﻟﺰﻧ), standing separate from one another, at short distances. The houses are generally divided from each other by large court-yards, thus forming no where any regular streets. They are tolerably well built, either of mud or of sun-baked bricks, and their appearance is at least as good as those of Upper Egypt. Each habitation consists of a large yard divided into an inner and outer court. Round this yard are the rooms for the family, which are all on the ground floor; I have never seen in any of these countries a second story, or staircase. To form the roof, beams are laid across the walls; these are covered with mats, upon which reeds are placed, and a layer of mud is spread over the whole. The roof has a slope to let the rain water run off, which in most houses is conducted by a canal to the court-yard, thus rendering the latter in time of rain a dirty pond. Two of the apartments are generally inhabited by the family, a third serves as a store room, a fourth for the reception of strangers, and a fifth is often occupied by public women. The rooms have seldom more than one very small window, so that to have their well lighted the door must be kept open. The doors are of wood, and have the same wooden locks and keys (Dabbé) which are used in Syria and Egypt, but of still coarser workmanship. I have seldom seen any furniture in the rooms, excepting a sofa or bedstead, which is an oblong wooden frame, with four legs, having a seat made either of reeds, and then called Serír, or of thin stripes of ox-leather drawn across each other, and then called Angareyg (a Bishary word). The best of the latter kind are brought from Sennaar; many of them are exported to Upper Egypt, and Arabia, and they are used all over the black countries. The honoured stranger always has an Angareyg brought to him upon his arrival, which serves as a bed for the night, and a sofa in the day, and it is said that the peculiar smell of the leather keeps it free from vermin. Mats made of reeds are spread in the inner part of the rooms where the women sleep, as well as in other rooms, where the men take a nap during the mid-day hours, a luxury never dispensed with in these countries. When they sleep they generally spread a carpet made of pieces of leather sown together, stretching themselves out upon this, and preferring, according to the general custom of the Arabs, to sleep without any pillow, and with the head lying upon the same level with the rest of the body. In the store-room Dhourra is kept, either in heaps upon the floor, or in large receptacles formed of mud, to preserve it from rats and mice. Swarms of these animals nevertheless abound, and they run about the court-yards in such quantities that the boys exercise themselves in throwing lances at them, and kill them every day by dozens.

Besides the Dhourra, the store rooms generally contain a few sheep-skins full of butter, some jars of honey, some water-skins for travellers, and if the proprietor be a man in easy circumstances, some dried flesh. The inner court is generally destined for the cattle, camels, cows and sheep, and it has a subdivision, where are preserved the dry Dhourra stalks, which become the usual food of the cattle, when the summer heats have dried up all the verdure which the inundation had produced. The outer court in the generality of houses, contains a well of brackish water, fit only for cattle; here the male-inhabitants of the house and strangers sleep, during the hot season, either upon mud benches adjoining the rooms, or upon Angareygs, or upon the ground; here the master’s favourite horse is fed, and here all business is transacted in the open air. I have already mentioned a room of public women, often met with in these habitations. Indeed there are very few houses of people called here respectable, where such women are not lodged, either in the court-yard itself, or in a small room adjoining the yard, but without its gate; in the house where I lodged, we had four of these girls, one of whom was living within the precincts, the three others in contiguous apartments. They are female slaves, whom their masters, upon marrying or being tired of them, have set at liberty, and who have no other livelihood but prostitution, and the preparation of the intoxicating drink called Bouza. Female slaves are often permitted to make a traffic of their charms before they are at liberty, in order that they may acquire a sufficient sum of money to purchase it. When at liberty their former owners take care to make them pay house rent; some masters are said to participate in their gains, and generally afford them protection in the quarrels which frequently happen.

The night of our arrival at Berber, after we had supped, and that the neighbours who had come to greet us had retired, three or four of these damsels made their appearance, and were saluted with loud shouts by my companions, who were all their old acquaintance. Some Angareygs were brought into the open courtyard, which the principal people of our party having taken possession of, the women proceeded to give them “the welcome,” as they call it. The men having undressed to their loins, and stretched themselves at full length upon the Angareygs, were rubbed by the women with a kind of perfumed grease, much in the same manner as is used after coming out of the bath. This operation lasted for about half an hour, but the parties remained together for the whole night, without being in the least annoyed by the neighbourhood of those who were lying about in the courtyard. During the whole of our stay at Berber we had these damsels almost every evening at our quarters, and the same was the case in the other houses occupied by travellers. The rooms of the women were scarcely for a moment free from visitors. They prepare, as I have already stated, the Bouza, and as it is difficult for any person to indulge in the drinking of this liquor in his own house, where he would be immediately surrounded by a great number of acquaintance, it is generally thought preferable to go to the women’s apartment, where there is no intrusion. Many of these women are Abyssinians by birth, but the greater part of them are born at Berber of slave parents (ﻦﻳﺪﻟﻮﻣ). They are in general handsome, and many of them might even pass for beauties in any country.

The women of Berber, even those of the highest rank, always go unveiled, and young girls are often seen without any covering whatever, except a girdle of short leathern tassels about their waists. Many, both men and women, blacken their eyelids with Kohel or antimony, but the custom is not so general as in Egypt. The women of the higher classes, and the most elegant of the public women, throw over their shirts, white cloaks with red linings of Egyptian manufacture, made at Mehalla el Kebir, in the Delta. Both sexes are in the almost daily habit of rubbing their skins with fresh butter. They pretend that it is refreshing, prevents cutaneous complaints, and renders the surface of the skin smoother; the men, in reference to their frequent quarrels, add, that it renders the skin tougher and firmer, and more difficult to be cut through with a knife. I can say from my own experience that I have found great relief during the mid-day heats, from rubbing my breast, arms, and legs with butter, or my feet, if I was fatigued with walking. The cutaneous eruption called the prickly heat, which is so common in Egypt, is never seen here, and I had often occasion to admire the smooth and delicate appearance of the skin, even in men who were very much exposed to the sun. It is by the nature of their skin that these Arabs distinguish themselves from the Negroes; though very dark coloured, their skin is as fine as that of a white person, while that of the Negroes is much thicker and coarser. The hands of the latter are as hard as a board, while the touch of the Arabs, who are not of the labouring class, is as soft as that of the northern nations. The perfumed grease, which is made use of only upon extraordinary occasions, is a preparation of sheep’s fat mixed with soap, musk, pulverized sandalwood, senbal, and mahleb. It has an agreeable odour, and the men pretend that it is a powerful stimulant; but the truth seems to be, that they generally use it before they visit their mistresses.

The people of Berber are a very handsome race. The native colour seems to be a dark red-brown, which if the mother is a slave from Abyssinia becomes a light brown in the children, and if from the Negro countries, extremely dark. The men are somewhat taller than the Egyptians, and are much stronger and larger limbed. Their features are not at all those of the Negro, the face being oval, the nose often perfectly Grecian, and the cheek bones not prominent. The upper lip however is generally somewhat thicker than is considered beautiful among northern nations, though it is still far from the Negro lip. Their legs and feet are well formed, which is seldom the case with the Negroes. They have a short beard below the chin, but seldom any hair upon their cheeks. Their mustachios are thin, and they keep them cut very short. Their hair is bushy and strong, but not woolly; it lies in close curls, when short, and when permitted to grow, forms itself into broad high tufts “We are Arabs, not Negroes,” they often say; and indeed they can only be classed among the latter by persons who judge from colour alone.

The Meyrefab, like the other Arab tribes of these parts of Africa, are careful in maintaining the purity of their race. A free born Meyrefab never marries a slave, whether Abyssinian or black, but always an Arab girl of his own or some neighbouring tribe, and if he has any children from his slave concubines, they are looked upon only as fit matches for slaves or their descendants. This custom they have in common with all the eastern Bedouins, while, on the contrary, the inhabitants of the towns of Arabia and Egypt are in the daily habit of taking in wedlock Abyssinian as well as Negroe slaves.

In marrying, the bride’s father receives, according to the Mussulman custom, a certain sum of money from the bride-groom, for his daughter, and this sum is higher than is customary in other parts inhabited by Arabs. The daughters of the Mek are paid as much as three or four hundred dollars, which the father keeps for them as a dowry. Few men have more than one wife, but every one who can afford it keeps a slave or mistress either in his own or in a separate house. Kept mistresses are called companions (ﻪﻘﻴﻓ), and are more numerous than in the politest capitals of Europe. Few traders pass through Berber without taking a mistress, if it be only for a fortnight. Drunkenness is the constant companion of this debauchery, and it would seem as if the men in these countries had no other objects in life. The intoxicating liquor which they drink is called Bouza (ﻩﺯﻮﺑ). Strongly leavened bread made from Dhourra is broken into crumbs, and mixed with water, and the mixture is kept for several hours over a slow fire. Being then removed, water is poured over it, and it is left for two nights to ferment. This liquor, according to its greater or smaller degree of fermentation, takes the name of Merin, Bouza, or Om Belbel (ﻞﺒﻠﺑ ﻡﺃ), the mother of nightingales, so called because it makes the drunkard sing. Unlike the other two, which being fermented together with the crumbs of bread, are never free from them, the Om Belbel is drained through a cloth, and is consequently pure and liquid. I have tasted of all three. The Om Belbel has a pleasant prickly taste, something like Champagne turned sour. They are served up in large roundish gourds open at the top, upon which are engraved with a knife a great variety of ornaments. A gourd (Bourma ﻪﻣﺮﺑ) contains about four pints, and whenever a party meet over the gourd, it is reckoned that each person will drink at least one Bourma. The gourd being placed on the ground, a smaller gourd cut in half, and of the size of a tea-cup, is placed near it, and in this the liquor is served round, to each in turn, an interval of six or eight minutes being left between each revolution of the little gourd. At the beginning of the sitting, some roasted meat, strongly peppered, is generally circulated, but the Bouza itself (they say) is sufficiently nourishing, and, indeed, the common sort looks more like soup or porridge, than a liquor to be taken at a draught. The Fakirs or religious men, are the only persons who do not indulge (publicly at least) in this luxury; the women are as fond of it, and as much in the habit of drinking it, as the men. A Bourma of Bouza is given for one measure of Dhourra, three-fourths of the measure of Dhourra being required to make the Bourma, and the remainder paying for the labour.

In other respects the people of Berber are abstemious, and they often fast the whole day, for the sake of being able to revel in the evening. The chief article of food is Dhourra bread. As they have no mills, not even hand-mills, they grind the Dhourra by strewing it upon a smooth stone, about two feet in length and one foot in breadth, which is placed in a sloping position before the person employed to grind. At the lower extremity of the stone, a hole is made in the ground to contain a broken earthen jar, wooden bowl, or some such vessel, which receives the Dhourra flower. The grinding is effected by means of a small stone flat at the bottom; this is held in both hands and moved backwards and forwards on the sloping stone by the grinder, who kneels to perform the operation. If the bread is to be of superior quality, the Dhourra is well washed and then dried in the sun; but generally they put it under the grinding stone without taking the trouble of washing it. In grinding, the grain is kept continually wet by sprinkling some water upon it from a bason placed near, and thus the meal which falls into the pot, resembles a liquid paste of the coarsest kind, mixed with chaff and dirt. With this paste an earthen jar is filled, containing as much as is necessary for the day’s consumption. It is left there from twenty-four to thirty-six hours, during which time it slightly ferments and acquires a sourish taste. No leaven is used; the sour liquid is poured in small quantities upon an iron plate placed over the fire, or when no iron is at hand, upon a thin well smoothed stone: and if the iron or stone is thoroughly heated, the cake is baked in three or four minutes. As each cake is small, and must be baked separately, it requires a long time to prepare a sufficient quantity; for it is the custom to bring several dozen to table while hot, in a large wooden bowl; some onion sauce, or broth, or milk, is then poured upon them, the sauce is called Mallah (ﺡﻼﻣ). The bread is never salted, but salt is mixed with the sauce. This dish is the common and daily food both at dinner and supper. Although very coarse it is not disagreeable, and the sourish taste, renders it peculiarly palatable during the heat of the mid-day hours. It is of easy digestion, and I always found it agree with me; but if left to stand for a day it becomes ill tasted, for which reason it is made immediately before dinner or supper. Cakes of this kind, but still thinner, and formed of a paste left for two or three days to turn quite sour, are made for travelling provision. After being well toasted over the fire, they are left to dry thoroughly in the sun, they are then crumbled into small pieces and put into leather bags, called Abra (ﻩﺮﺑﺃ). They thus keep for many months, and serve to the traders upon occasions, when it is impossible to prepare a supper with fire. Some melted butter is poured over a few handfuls of this food, and appetite is seldom wanting to make it palatable. Sometimes the crumbs are soaked in water, and when the water has acquired a sourish taste it is drank off; this is called by the traders “the caravan beverage, Sharbet el Jellabe (ﻪﺑﻼﺠﻟﺃ ﺔﺑﺮﺵ).”

Meat is often brought upon the table boiled or roasted, and milk is a principal food of the people. Dates are a great dainty; they are imported by the Dongola merchants from Mahass, and are used only upon extraordinary occasions. They are often boiled together with bread, meat, and milk. Coffee is drank only by the merchants and the very first people, and even by them it is not in daily use. The coffee is not the Arabian or Mokha coffee, but that which grows wild in the south-western mountains of Abyssinia, from whence it is imported by the Sennaar merchants. It is sold thirty per cent. cheaper than the Mokha coffee in Egypt, but its shape and taste appear to be the same.

The effects which the universal practice of drunkenness and debauchery has on the morals of the people may easily be conceived. Indeed every thing discreditable to humanity is found in their character, but treachery and avidity predominate over their other bad qualities. In the pursuit of gain they know no bounds, forgetting every divine and human law, and breaking the most solemn ties and engagements. Cheating, thieving, and the blackest ingratitude, are found in almost every man’s character, and I am perfectly convinced that there were few men among them or among my fellow travellers from Egypt who would have given a dollar to save a man’s life, or who would not have consented to a man’s death in order to gain one. Especial care must be taken not to be misled by their polite protestations, and fine professions, especially when they come to Egypt: where they represent their own country as a land inhabited by a race of superior virtue, and excellence. On the contrary, infamous as the eastern nations are in general, I have never met with so bad a people, excepting perhaps those of Suakin. In transactions among themselves the Meyrefab regulate every matter in dispute by the laws of the strongest. Nothing is safe when once out of the owner’s hands, for if he happens to be the weaker party, he is sure of losing his property. The Mek’s authority is slighted by the wealthier inhabitants; the strength of whose connections counterbalances the influence of the chief. Hence it may well be supposed that family feuds very frequently occur, and the more so, as the effects of drunkenness are dreadful upon these people. During the fortnight I remained at Berber, I heard of half a dozen quarrels occurring in drinking parties, all of which finished in knife or sword wounds. Nobody goes to a Bouza but without taking his sword with him; and the girls are often the first sufferers in the affray. I was told of a distant relation of the present chief, who was for several years the dread of Berber. He killed many people with his own hands upon the slightest provocation, and his strength was such, that nobody dared to meet him in the open field. He was at last taken by surprise in the house of a public woman, and slain while he was drunk. He once stript a whole caravan, coming from Daraou, and appropriated the plunder to his women. In such a country, it is of course looked upon as very imprudent to walk out unarmed, after sunset; examples often happen of persons, more particularly traders, being stripped or robbed at night in the village itself. In every country the general topics of conversation furnish a tolerable criterion of the state of society; and that which passed at our house at Ankheyre gave the most hateful idea of the character of these people. The house was generally filled with young men who took a pride in confessing the perpetration of every kind of infamy. One of their favourite tricks is to bully unexperienced strangers, by enticing them to women who are the next day owned as relations by some Meyrefab, who vows vengeance for the dishonor offered to his family; the affair is then settled by large presents, in which all those concerned have a share. The envoy whom Ibrahim Pasha sent in 1812 to the king of Sennaar was made to suffer from a plot of this kind. Upon his return from Sennaar to Berber, he was introduced one evening to a female, at whose quarters he passed the night. The Mek of Berber himself claimed her the next morning as his distant relation. “Thou hast corrupted my own blood.” (ﻲﻣﺩ ﻲﻓ ﺔﻠﺴﻓ ﺕﻨﺃ) said he to the envoy, and the frightened Turk paid him upwards of six hundred dollars, besides giving up to him the best articles of his arms and baggage. I had repeated invitations to go in the evening to Bouza parties, but constantly refused. Indeed a stranger, and especially an unprotected one, as I was, must measure all his steps with caution, and cannot be too prudent.

Upon our first arrival the people appeared to me very hospitable. Every morning and evening large dishes of bread and meat and milk, often much more than we could eat, were sent to us from different quarters. This lasted for five or six days, when those who had sent the dishes came to ask for presents, as tokens of friendship; this was well understood to be a demand of repayment; and we found ourselves obliged to give ten times the value of what we had eaten. In general foreign merchants are considered as “good morsels” (ﺔﻤﻘﻟ as the Arabs say), of which every body bites off as much as he can; we were the whole day beset by people who came to ask for presents, but our companions were old traders; they well knew to whom it would have been imprudent to deny a favour, but never made the smallest present, except when necessary. I have had people running after me the whole day praying to have a piece of soap to wash their shirt. Had I listened to them I should have had ten demands of the same kind the next day. It may be taken as a general rule in these countries never to make any presents unasked, or to give more than half of what is requested, for a traveller will find it more useful to his purposes to have the reputation of parsimony, than that of generosity. The same advice would not be suitable in Syria or Egypt, and it may here be remarked, that of all the duties which belong to the traveller, that of knowing the proper seasons for making or withholding presents is the most troublesome and difficult, not only in the Negroe countries, but in every part of the East known to me.

Among the plagues that await the traveller in Berber the insolence of the slaves is the most intolerable. Being considered as members of the family in which they reside, they assume airs of importance superior even to those of their masters. The latter are afraid to punish or even seriously to reprimand them for their offences, as they can easily find opportunities of running away, and by going to the Bedouins or the Sheygya they are safe from any further pursuit. One of the slaves of Edris, to whom I had already made some little presents, tore my shirt into pieces because I refused to give it him, and when I applied to Edris for redress, he recommended patience to me, for that no insult was meant. The grown up slaves are always armed; they hold themselves upon a par with the best Arabs, and feel humbled only by the conviction that they cannot marry the Arab girls. The insolence of the slaves, as well as of the people in general, is in nothing more displayed than their behaviour with regard to smoking; if they see a stranger with a pipe in his mouth, they often take it from him without saying a word, and are unwilling to return it before they have smoked it out. To a smoker, as all the orientals are, nothing can be more disagreeable. The people of Berber are themselves immoderately fond of tobacco, but they smoke only at home when they expect no visitors, and scarcely ever carry their pipes abroad, because tobacco is a very dear commodity, and they fear lest the best whiff should fall to the lot of others. I have often seen the Egyptian traders, men who would rather give up their dinner than their pipe, reduced to desperation by the impudence of their Berber visitors.

In a small treatise on physiognomy by Ali Ben Mohammed El Ghazali, wherein he paints the characters of the different Mohammedan nations, he thus describes the Nubians: “They are a people of frolic, folly and levity, avaricious, treacherous and malicious, ignorant and base, and full of wickedness and lechery.” This picture is true in every part, applied to the people of Berber; for besides what I have already said of them, they are of a very merry facetious temper, continually joking, laughing, and singing. Even the elderly men are the same, and they have at least retained one good quality of their Arabian ancestors; they are not proud. The Mek of Berber is satisfied with common civility, and assumes no distinction of rank; the slaves of his family, shew much more haughtiness than himself.

The people of Berber, can be very polite when they think proper. In receiving strangers and in offering them hospitality, they assume an air of goodness of heart, and patriarchal simplicity, which might dupe the most practised traveller, but consummate hypocrites as they are, they seldom deceive those, who have been at Berber before. Their language is full of complimentary phrases, and they ask after your health and welfare in a dozen different forms of speech. After a long absence they kiss and shake hands with eagerness. Women are saluted by men in a very respectful manner, by touching their foreheads with the right hand, and then kissing the part of the fingers which touched the woman’s head. A common question asked in saluting is Shedid? (strong?). A still more curious expression, and one which I never heard before, is ﺐﻴﻃ ﻚﻠﻌﻧ Naalak Tayeb, “is your sole well?” meaning, “are you strong enough to walk about as much as you like?” On meeting a person for the first time after the death of a near relation, they kneel down upon one knee by his side, and repeat in a howling tone of voice, as a lamentation, “Fi’Sabil Allah, fi’Sabil Allah” (ﷲ ﻞﻴﺒﺳ ﻲﻓ), literally, “in the road of God,” but signifying that the deceased went through the right way of God and may hope to obtain the divine protection. Then they lift up the person, either man or woman, by the hand, and the common salutation passes between them.

With some surprise, I observed that in an avowed Mussulman country, the usual salute of “Salamun aleykum,” is quite out of use. The general expression of salute is only the word Tayeb? (well); repeated several times. The religious men only say sometimes, “Salam Salam,” without any other word; but they never are answered, as usual among Mussulmen, with Aleykum essalam, the common reply being “Tayeb, ent tayeb?” well, are you well? The members of the Mek’s family are saluted by the appellation of “Ya Arbab” (ﺏﺎﺑﺭﺁ ﺎﻳ), plur. of “Rab,” (lord). They have the title of “Ras,” meaning head, as Ras Edris, Ras Mohammed, &c. which is used all over these countries; and from hence the same title seems to have been introduced into Abyssinia. Government is called with the pompous title of Es Saltane (ﻪﻨﻄﻠﺴﻟﺃ), which is not applied to the existing chief, but to the government in general.

I lived too short a time at Berber to be able to witness their peculiar customs in wedding, burying, circumcising, &c. &c. which are no doubt different from the true Mohammedan customs, as prescribed by the law. Upon the death of a person, they usually kill either a sheep, or, if the relations are wealthy, a cow or camel. During our stay at the house of Edris, he killed a cow for a relation of his, who died several months before, in the time of famine, when it was impossible to find a cow to slaughter for that purpose. Almost all the religious men of Ankheyre were sent for to read some passages of the Koran in a separate room. A great number of women assembled in another room, singing to the tambourine, and howling horribly during the greater part of the night. Many poor people were treated in the court yard, with broth and the roasted flesh of the cow, while the choice morsels were presented to the friends of Edris.

I have more than once mentioned the Fakirs, or religious men. They are likewise known by the appellation of Fakih (ﻪﻴﻘﻓ), i. e. a man learned in the law. There are few respectable families who have not a son or relation that dedicates his youth to the study of the law. At the age of twelve or fourteen he is sent to some of the neighbouring schools, of which those of Damer, on the road to Shendy, of Mograt, and of the Sheygya are at present the most celebrated. There they are taught to read and write, and to learn by heart as much of the Koran and of some other prayer books, as their memory can retain. They are taught the secret of writing amulets or charms; and at the age of twenty they return to their homes, where they live, affecting great uprightness of conduct and strictness of morals, which amount however to little more than not to smoke tobacco, or drink Bouza in public, and not to frequent the resorts of debauchery.

Sometimes they write amulets upon a piece of paper, which if the unhappy lover swallows, it will force the object of his love to listen to his intreaties. There are particular Fakirs famous for love receipts; others for febrifuges, &c. The following are two amulets, one of which was given to me at Berber, and the other at Damer. If to the former, the proper name is added, no female is capable of withstanding the charm, at least such was the assurance given to me by the Fakir Mansur, from whom I bought the secret for a string of wooden beads, but I never yet had an opportunity of trying its efficacy.


The following is an amulet which protects the owner from being wounded.


The people of Berber appear to be a healthy race. There seemed to be few invalids, and the place being situated on the skirts of the desert, the air is certainly wholesome. I was told of a fever called wardé (ﻩﺩﺭﻭ) from wo[r]id (rose), which seems to be epidemic, and often proves mortal; the people of Dóngola are very subject to it; it exists during the time of high water, but does not make its appearance every year. The plague is unknown, and from what I heard during my former journey in Nubia, I have reason to believe that it never passes the cataract of Assouan. The small-pox is very destructive whenever it gains ground. Last year it was added to famine, and deaths were very numerous. It had been brought to Berber by the people of Taka, who had received it from the Souakin traders; it spread over all the country up the Nile. Grown people were attacked as well as children; it was observed even, that the latter suffered less and that more of them escaped. About one-third of those who were attacked recovered, but they bore the marks on their skin, especially on the arms and face, which were covered with innumerable spots and scars; very few instances happen where the disease is of a mild kind, or where it leaves but few marks. Inoculation, Dak-el-Jedri (ﻱﺭﺪﺠﻟﺃ ﻕﺩ), is known, but not much practised; little benefit being supposed to arise from it. The incision is usually made in the leg. Of the large family of Temsah (our landlord’s), fifty-two persons died within a few months, and while I am writing this (at Cairo, December 1815), I hear from some traders, that the same disease has again broken out, and that almost the whole family, including Edris, have perished. Their only cure for the small pox is to rub the whole body with butter three or four times a day, and to keep themselves closely shut up. The disease generally visits them every eight or ten years. They are infinitely more afraid of it than the Levantines are of the plague: and great numbers of the inhabitants emigrate to the mountains, to fly from the infection. I have heard it said in Egypt, that the small pox is rendered more dangerous in the negroe countries than elsewhere, by the thickness of the negroe skin, the fever being increased by the resistance of such a skin, to the efforts of the poison to break through it. This may be true with respect to the negroe slaves, but is not probable at Berber, where the people’s skin is quite as soft as ours. I saw few instances of opthalmia. Venereal complaints are said to be common, but if it be so, their consequences appear to be less fatal than in Egypt, for I never saw any of those ulcered faces, or mangled noses, which are so common in the northern valley of the Nile.

The Meyrefab are partly shepherds, and partly cultivators. After the inundation, they sow all the ground which has been inundated, with Dhourra, and a little barley. Just before they sow, they turn up the ground with the spade. The plough is not in use among them; last year an Egyptian employed one for the first time. They have very few water wheels, not more than four or five in the districts of Ankheyre and Hassa. They sow only once a year, and as the banks of the Nile are very high, higher in general than in Upper Egypt, many spots of arable soil remain without being inundated. The deficiency is not often supplied, as in Upper Egypt, by artificial irrigation, for the purpose of procuring several crops from the same land, so that it may easily be conceived, that famine often visits them. Thus it happened the year before my arrival, when one moud of Dhourra was sold for half a Spanish dollar. The country, however, appears, at no very remote period, to have enjoyed a more flourishing state of culture than it does at present; for I observed in the fields vestiges of deep canals, which are at present entirely neglected, although by their help, even part of the adjoining desert plain might be rendered cultivable. Dhourra is the principal produce of the ground, and the chief food both of man and beast. Wheat is not sown at Berber, and very little is found in any of the adjoining countries. The Dhourra is of the same species as that of Upper Egypt, but the stalks are much higher and stronger, rising often to the height of sixteen or twenty feet. No vegetables are grown except onions, kidney beans (Loubieh), the esculent mallow, or Bahmieh, and the Melukhyeh (ﻪﻴﺧﻮﻠﻣ), all of which are common in Egypt. No fruits whatever are cultivated, and if I am rightly informed, the lotus nebek, which grows wild, is the only one known.

The Berberys rear a large quantity of cattle, of the best kind, which in winter and spring time, after the rains, is pastured in the mountains of the Bisharein, where the keepers live like Bedouins in huts and tents. During the latter part of the spring, the cattle feed upon the wild herbs, which grow among the Dhourra stubble as thickly as grass in a meadow. In summer time, when the herbs are dried up, and there is scarcely any pasture upon the mountains, they are fed at home with the dry stalks, and leaves of the Dhourra. The principal riches of the shepherds consist in their cows and camels. They have sheep and goats, but the greater part having been consumed during the last famine, they are at present not numerous. The cows are of a middling size, and not strongly built they have small horns, and upon the back, near the fore shoulder, there is a hump of fat. This breed is unknown in Egypt; it begins in Dóngola, and all along the Nile, as far as Sennaar, no others are seen. The cows represented in the battle-pieces on the walls of several ancient temples in Upper Egypt, have the same excrescence. I saw the same species in the Hedjaz. Cows are kept for their milk, but principally for their meat, and there are a few for the purpose of turning the water-wheels.

The camels are of the best breed, much stronger, and more endured to fatigue even than the celebrated breeds of Upper Egypt: their dromedaries surpass all that I saw in the Syrian and Arabian deserts. The camels have very short hair, and have no tufts on any part of their body. The Hedjin or dromedary, is not of a different species from the camel of burthen, but they are very careful of the breed, and an Arab will undertake a journey of several days to have his dromedary covered by a celebrated male. At present there is a great demand for camels for the Egyptian market; they are bought up by the Pasha to be sent to Arabia, for the transport of army provisions, and every month three or four hundred are marched off through the desert; yet a camel is worth here only from eight to twelve dollars, though sold at Daraou for thirty or forty, and at Cairo for fifty or sixty dollars.

The sheep of these southern countries have no wool, but are covered with a thin short hair, resembling that of goats; hence the inhabitants set little value upon them, and rear them for the table only. Almost every family keeps two asses; they are of a strong breed, and are employed chiefly to bring home the produce of the fields, and transport the nitrous earth called Sabakha (ﻪﺨﺒﺳ), which is procured in the mountain: the inhabitants cover their fields with this earth, previously to sowing their seed, but whether as manure, or as a corrective to the fatness of the soil, I could not learn. Egyptian asses are much in demand, because they run faster than the native; they are rode by the great people, and are eagerly purchased on the arrival of every caravan. Horses are numerous; every family of respectability keeping at least one, and many two or three. The Arabs in the Nubian countries ride stallions only. In their wars with their neighbours, the Meyrefab bring into the field a considerable number of horsemen, who generally decide the battle. The horses are of the Dóngola breed, which, as I have already stated in my journey towards that country, is one of the finest races in the world. They are fed upon Dhourra, and its dried leaves serve instead of straw or hay: for several weeks in the spring they are pastured in the green barley. A horse costs from fifteen to forty dollars. They are not called Hoszan, as in Egypt, but Hafer (ﺮﻓﺎﺣ). The saddles, which are of the same form as those used in Dóngola, Sennaar, and Abyssinia, somewhat resemble those of the European cavalry, having a high pommel in front, bending forward on the horse’s neck. When entering on a campaign, the back, sides, neck, and breast of the horses are covered with pieces of woollen stuff, thickly quilted with cotton, which are said to be impenetrable by the lance and sword; they are called Lebs (ﺲﺒﻟ), the name given to a similar covering used by the Eastern Bedouins, but which the Meyrefab work in a neater manner, and lighter, though stronger.

Almost all the people of Berber, who are cultivators, employ the time not required by their fields, in commercial transactions; the place has thus become a principal mart for the southern trade, and the more so, as all the caravans from Sennaar and Shendy to Egypt necessarily pass here. Berber itself carries on trade with Egypt, and many small caravans load and depart from hence, without waiting for supplies from the southern markets. Almost every article of the Negro trade, including slaves, may be purchased at Berber, from fifteen to twenty per cent. dearer than at Shendy. Berber has a public market; but the late famine, and the great mortality caused by the small pox, had occasioned a momentary suspension, which had not been removed at the period of our arrival.

The common currency of the country at Berber, and all the way from thence to Sennaar, is Dhourra, and Spanish Dollars; every thing of minor value has its price fixed in Dhourra, which is measured by Selgas (ﺎﻘﻠﺳ), or handfuls. Eighteen Selgas make one Moud, or measure: one Selga is as much as can be heaped upon the flat extended hand of a full-grown man. It may easily be conceived that disputes frequently arise between buyers and sellers, from the unequal size of their hands; in such case a third person is usually called in to measure the Dhourra: ten Mouds are now given for one dollar. If a considerable quantity of Dhourra is to be measured out, the contents of a wooden bowl, or other vessel, is previously ascertained in handfuls, and this vessel is then used. They have, it is true, Mouds, or measures of wood, but nobody trusts to them, the hand-measure being always preferred. Besides the Dhourra, another substitute for currency is the Dammour (ﺭﻮﻣﺩ), a coarse cotton cloth, which is fabricated in the neighbourhood of Sennaar, and principally used by the people of this country for their shirts: one piece of Dammour is exactly sufficient to make one shirt for a full grown man; this is called Tob, or Thob Dammour (ﺭﻮﻣﺩ ﺏﻮﺗ, plural ﺏﺎﻴﺗ). When I was at Berber, one dollar was paid for two Tob. The Tob Dammour is divided into two Ferde Dammour; the Ferde (ﻩﺩﺮﻓ) makes a long napkin, used by the slaves to wrap round their waists. The Ferde contains two Fittige, (ﻪﻘﺘﻓ) which serve for nothing else than a currency; thus I remember to have bought some tobacco with a Fittige. Dhourra is generally the most acceptable medium, as sellers will not always take the Dammour at the real market price, which, moreover, varies on the arrival of every caravan from the south. Slaves, camels, horses, or any other articles of large amount, are paid for in dollars, or Tob Dammour; but the broker takes his commission in Dhourra, which he readily converts into dollars. In commerce, two reals, or dollars, are called Kesme (ﻪﻤﺴﻗ); four are termed Mithkal (ﻝﺎﻘﺜﻣ); eight, or half an ounce, Nosfwokye (ﻪﻴﻗﻭ ﻒﺼﻧ), and sixteen are called Puma, or Wokye. These denominations were taken originally from the gold weights, one ounce of gold being generally worth about sixteen dollars; but they have now become fixed appellations, and sixteen dollars are called Wokye, even though the ounce of gold should be worth eighteen or twenty dollars, as was the case during my stay at Berber.

In Cordofan, besides Dhourra and Dokhen, the usual currency is small pieces of iron, which are wrought into lances, knives, axes, &c.; besides these pieces of iron, cows are used as a representative of money in large bargains, and are thus continually transferred from one person to another.

I shall enter more into detail on the different articles of Negro trade, when I come to speak of the Shendy market; both places deal in the same commodities; there is much less trade, however, at Berber, than at Shendy, from its having no direct intercourse with any southern state, except Shendy, while the latter is visited by slave caravans from all quarters, and is at present the first commercial town, perhaps, of Africa, south of Egypt, and east of Darfour. All the slaves, and every other article for sale in the Berber market, come from Shendy; yet the Egyptian merchants often prefer this market to the more southern ones, notwithstanding the increased charges; because they can finish their business more quickly, and profit by the first opportunity to return through the desert. During my stay at Berber, a caravan set out for Daraou, consisting of about two hundred and fifty camels, and twenty slaves; several of my companions having disposed of their merchandize, returned with it. Still, however, the Berber market contains but a small quantity of goods, and is fit only for the Egyptian traders with small capitals.

In Upper Egypt the caravans from Berber are commonly called Sennaar caravans; for the Egyptians having little knowledge of the southern countries, all the caravans which arrive from thence are classed under the two heads of Darfour and Sennaar, according as they enter Egypt from the western or the eastern desert: the latter comprise the caravans from Sennaar, Shendy, Berber, Mahass, and Seboua. Every caravan arriving at Berber from the south remains there for some time, in order to engage proper guides, and make other preparations for the journey across the desert. Many of the Ababde are settled here, and are always ready to undertake the journey; for twenty dollars none will refuse to accompany a caravan, and they serve both for guides and protectors. Many traders are well acquainted with the route, but if unaccompanied by an Ababde, they would be stripped by any Bedouin of the same tribe whom they might happen to meet on the road. The caravans must pay at Berber a transit duty to the Mek, the collection of which, from every individual, requires several days. The Mek exacts from each person coming from Egypt, without reference to the number of loads or camels he may have, or whether he be a master or a servant, five Tob Dammour; his officers must be paid one Tob, his slaves one Tob; and whenever the chiefs of the Bisharein of the tribes of Are-ab and Ali-ab, or their relations, meet a caravan here, they demand one Tob more; this demand is made because the Bisharein are masters of the desert from hence to the wells of Naby: to the north of Naby the country is reckoned to be in the dominions of the Ababde, and may thus be said to form part of Egypt, the Ababde being tributary to the government of Egypt. The seven Tobs are collected by the Mek, who distributes to his people their portion; the Bisharein collect their Tob themselves; and if none of them happen to be present, the caravan does not pay any thing on their account. The Mek takes his payment either in dollars or in Dammour, or if the people of the caravan have no ready cash upon their arrival, which frequently happens, their last farthing being often invested in goods previously to their quitting Egypt, he then takes merchandize, but at a value fixed by himself. The Ababde are exempted from this transit duty, because they are themselves, as is said, “Ahl Soltane,” or independent people, in their own mountains; and it is held that one chief cannot with honour take any thing as duty from another. But the fact is, that the people of Berber are afraid of them, because, when any quarrels happen between them and the Ababde, the latter descend from their mountains and make plundering incursions towards Berber, carrying off cattle and slaves in the night. The Bisharein traders also pass duty free, but their numbers are very small; only three or four merchants of their tribe frequent this route.

The Mek exacts no fixed toll from the caravans arriving from the south, and here entering the desert, because these traders come from the capital of his sovereign; but he receives some trifling presents from each trader, proportionate to the number of his camel-loads and slaves.

The above are not the only duties exacted by the Mek and his party. They enquire after the particular merchandize brought by every merchant from Egypt, and then ask for presents beyond what is due to them: the Mek is assisted in this enquiry by the traders themselves, who inform against each other, in order to ingratiate themselves in his favour. The first week of our stay at Berber was passed in continual endeavours on the part of the Mek to obtain various presents, and corresponding efforts in the traders to elude them. Having been always represented as a very poor man in the caravan, the Mek took only three dollars from me at first; but being afterwards informed that I had some dollars in my girdle, he obliged me to give him a fourth. Were it not for his apprehensions of the more powerful chief of Shendy, and of a total interruption of the transport trade by way of Berber, he would certainly prove still more vexatious to traders by his demands. I calculate his yearly income from the caravans at about three or four thousand Spanish dollars; he spends this sum in keeping a large establishment of male and female slaves, of horses, and fine dromedaries; and in feeding daily about fifty people belonging to his household, as well as strangers. He must likewise make frequent presents to his relatives, and his party, to strengthen his influence over them; thus he has never been able to accumulate any considerable capital.

The most wealthy man of Berber, next to the Mek, was pointed out to me, with the observation that he possessed about two thousand dollars, which he gained last year, during the famine, by happening to have a full-stocked granary. The generality of the people styled respectable possess from three to six hundred dollars each, including the value of their cattle, household furniture, &c.

Berber has few channels of commercial intercourse, except Daraou and Shendy. I was told that caravans used formerly to go from hence to Dóngola, not along the Nile, because they would then be stopped at every village for toll, but across the mountains on the western bank of the river. Since the Arabs Rebatat have been at war with all their neighbours, that road has been continually infested by them, and has therefore been discontinued. At present the intercourse with Dóngola is carried on by way of Shendy only, from whence the caravans depart in a straight direction across the mountains. Many merchants from Dóngola are settled here; they trade principally in dates and tobacco; and their wives and slaves have the reputation of making the best Bouza. The Bisharein Bedouins, and the husbandmen on the banks of the river Mogren (the Mareb of Bruce), repair to Berber to buy Dammour; and they purchase from the Egyptian traders beads, antimony, nutmegs, and the various ingredients used in the preparation of the perfumed grease already mentioned. Caravans also arrive occasionally from Taka, across the eastern mountains, a journey of ten or twelve days, to buy the same articles, or to exchange ox hides and camels for them. Small caravans, composed principally of Bisharein, come also from Souakin, a journey of ten days, with spices and India piece goods, chiefly cambrics. This route is not frequented by foreign traders, from apprehension of the treachery of the Bisharein; but if any pilgrims happen to be at Berber, in their way to Mekka, when one of these caravans sets out on its return, they often take the same route, in which water is found in plenty. The usual route of the Negro pilgrims, however, is either along the banks of the Nile, or by way of Taka, of which I shall speak hereafter. I had myself some idea of trying the journey to Taka, from whence I had reason to hope that I might reach the northern frontiers of Abyssinia, in the direction of Massouah. As there were many people at Berber who had come from Sennaar, and as these, upon being questioned, by my companions, about my pretended lost relation, all agreed that no white man was then in Sennaar, I was obliged to resort to the supposition that he had quitted it, and gone on towards Abyssinia; I was thus enabled to make enquiries concerning the route across the desert to Taka, and towards Souakin, without creating suspicion; and my companions pressed me much to travel in the latter direction, and to wait at Berber till a favourable opportunity should offer for setting out. They would, no doubt, have been glad to see me undertake a journey of evident peril, thinking that if I perished, they would be entirely rid of me, for they could not divest themselves of some secret apprehensions that, if I ever returned to Egypt, I should find means of being revenged upon them for their behaviour towards me. Upon closer enquiry, however, I found that this route is quite impracticable for strangers; the people of Berber, even, are afraid to trust themselves, except in large numbers, with the Bisharein, who will kill their companions if they have a prospect of the smallest gain; and persons recommended by the Mek himself are not more secure. The traveller must always carry with him some little merchandize and baggage, in order to barter on the road for provisions, and this is more than sufficient to excite the cupidity of the Bisharein, and render him the victim of their treachery. In the course of my enquiries on this occasion, I was informed that, about five or six years before, a man had reached Berber from Egypt, who was supposed to be a Christian, because he made notes of his journey in writing. It was said that he made considerable presents to the Mek, who strongly recommended him to a small party of Bisharein; he set out for Souakin in their company, but was murdered by them in the road, and on their return, a small present purchased their peace with the Mek.

I heard afterwards that, about eight or ten years since, an avowed Christian, who spoke very little Arabic, and passed Sennaar, in his way from the north (I suppose from Egypt), was murdered by the Arabs in the mountains between Sennaar and Abyssinia, but not in the caravan route. When at Shendy, I enquired after such a traveller, but nobody knew any thing of him. Had he come by the western caravan route from Darfour and Kordofan, I think I must have heard of him, because white people (and this person was said to be white) are much more noticed in that quarter, than in the route from Egypt; and he must have been seen by some of the Kordofan travellers, with several of whom I became acquainted at Shendy. I did not hear that he was seen writing a journal.

The success of a traveller, in this part of the world, depends greatly, I may say wholly, upon his guides and fellow travellers, and their being well disposed towards him. If he is not thoroughly acquainted with the language of the country it will be very difficult for him to select proper persons for his guides or companions, or to elude the snares laid for him by villainy or treachery; it is in vain to suppose that fortune will throw in his way honest or friendly people, who are too scarce ever to be calculated upon, in preparing for a journey through these countries. The traveller must consider himself as surrounded by some of the most worthless of the human race, among whom he must think himself fortunate, if he can discover any less depraved than the rest, whom he can place some degree of confidence in, and make subservient to his views; and which can only be done by identifying their interest with his own safety. Above all, he must never be seen taking notes. I am fully convinced, that if I had ever been detected by my companions with my journal in my hand, it would have given rise to the most injurious reports, and blasted all my hopes of success. While travelling through the desert I took my notes with much more ease than during my stay at Berber. Being mounted on a good ass, I used to push on ahead of the caravan, and then alight under some tree, or rock, where I remained, unobserved, apparently occupied only in smoking my pipe, until the caravan came up; but at Berber, and at Shendy also, I was often at a great loss how to withdraw from the persons who surrounded me in the house where we lodged; and it was unsafe to walk so far from the village into the fields, as not to be observed. The having persons thus continually hanging about me, was the most disagreeable circumstance attending my stay in these countries. I might have escaped it in some measure, perhaps, by taking a lodging for myself, which I could have readily procured, but then I should have been entirely unprotected in the house of a stranger, who might have proved worse even than my companions; I should also have been unmercifully annoyed the whole day by visitors begging presents, and the little baggage I had would have been much less secure. On the contrary, by continuing to live with my old companions from Daraou, my person was far less noticed than if I had resided alone, my expenses were not so great, I acquired a good deal of information as to the mode of carrying on the trade, and found myself in some degree secure, by the respectability of my companions, however little disposed they might be to protect or favour me.

Merchants always prefer taking up their abode in some respectable house, and if possible in that of a relation of the chief, because they are then protected by the authority of their landlord, who would resent any serious insult offered to his guests. Our Ababde guides, who were in no fear of any importunities, or insolence from the Meyrefab, took up their quarters in the house of a poor Fakir, where they were much more comfortable, and more at their ease than ourselves. My companions made me contribute two dollars for my share of the landlord’s bill; I paid, besides, one dollar for my quota of the presents given to those who had sent us some dishes of meat at different times; one dollar I exchanged for Dhourra to feed my ass, and for a little tobacco: these, together with four dollars to the chief at Berber, and three to the chief of the caravan, who had a right to exact five; five dollars paid for the carriage of my baggage, and four for that of my water-skins through the desert, amounted to so considerable a sum, when compared with the state of my purse, that I could not help entertaining some melancholy thoughts on my future prospects.

When the day was at length fixed for our departure for Shendy, whither the greater part of the merchants intended to carry their goods, some presents were made up amongst our party for our landlord Edris: he was not easily satisfied; his old wife too had some claims; but after much quarrelling, he at last accepted merchandize to the value of twenty dollars, as a recompense for having entertained us in his house fourteen days. We were about a dozen in number, but the daily expense did not, certainly, amount to more than one-third, or half a dollar; for, except on the first day, when he killed a lamb for us, we never partook of any other dish from his kitchen than Dhourra bread, with butter, one large dish of which was served up at mid-day, and another late at night As we were only passengers, and had no slaves with us, our meals were provided by the master of the house; but when traders return hither, on their way to Egypt, accompanied, as they usually are, by a number of female slaves, the latter dress their masters victuals, and the owner of the house is then paid only for his lodgings.

The preceding details respecting Berber are for the greater part applicable to Shendy, and, as far as I could learn, to all the petty Mekdoms from thence to Sennaar.

The country on the western side of the Nile, opposite to Berber, is not cultivated, but I was told that, in following the course of the river, on that side, considerable settlements of Arabs are met with, especially in the country of Mograt, which is inhabited by the Arabs Rebatat, an independent tribe like the Meyrefab, extending two or three clays journey along the Nile. One of its principal places is Bedjem (ﻢﺠﺑ), three long days from Berber; it is at present the residence of Hedjel, the chief of Mograt, who succeeded his relation Naym, the famous robber, already mentioned The latter had accumulated great riches by robbing the Egyptian caravans; he expended the greater part in purchasing young female slaves, and was fond of boasting of the enjoyments of his Harem. He generally waylaid the caravans between Berber and the wells of Nedjeym, but sometimes he followed them as far as Shigré. He had frequently been fired at, but his strong coat of mail being proof against a distant musket shot, he had acquired the reputation of being a sorcerer, furnished with amulets to render him invulnerable to mortals. Some Faky having told the merchants that, as his amulets were written in defence of leaden bullets only, he might be killed with silver ones, several of the traders melted Spanish dollars into large slugs, with which they loaded their guns. Naym’s true amulet, however, was the distant firing and bad aim of his assailants. Whenever he apprehended that the strength of a caravan might be superior to his own, he used to halt at some distance from the travellers, and having ordered some particular party to withdraw from the rest, assured them that it was not against them that his intentions were directed; having thus succeeded in separating a part, he easily dispersed the remainder. He always kept his word with those who thus retired, and allowed their loaded camels to proceed untouched, although, on some other occasion, perhaps, they might be comprised amongst the number attacked. His success is the strongest proof of the cowardice and bad faith of the traders who were capable of thus abandoning their companions; such conduct, in the Arabian deserts, would consign a tribe to everlasting infamy.

Naym shewed less cruelty towards the helpless travellers than might be expected from an African robber. After stripping the caravan, he generally permitted them to take as many camels, and as much provision as would carry them to Egypt, or back to Berber; and as he knew the greater part of the merchants personally, he often returned them a slave or two at parting. Several Ababdes having been killed in one of his attacks, the whole tribe was inspired with the desire of revenge, and it was not long before they found an opportunity of exercising it. The large caravan which left Sennaar for Egypt in 1812, in company with the envoys of the Pasha, was escorted by several hundred armed Ababdes. They halted for many days at Berber, in order to prepare for their journey through the desert. During this time the Ababde chief of the caravan received secret intelligence that Naym had taken a new bride, and had fixed a certain day for his nuptials. The caravan was ordered to leave Berber on the preceding day, and the chief, accompanied by about one hundred armed camel-riders, set out the night before, for the purpose, as he said, of dividing the number of camels, and thus watering the animals with more ease at Shigré. When he had proceeded some distance into the desert, instead of following the direct road, he turned westwards, and hastened across the mountains towards Mograt. Reaching the residence of Naym, he surrounded the house and set fire to it, when Naym sallied forth and was killed, with about half a dozen of his companions. His head was carried to Egypt, and his ears sent to Mohammed Aly Pasha, then in the Hedjaz. The unfortunate bride was obliged to marry one of her husband’s murderers, who brought her to Egypt, from whence she afterwards found means to escape to Dóngola, and is now again with her family at Mograt. The fate of Naym, however, has not prevented another robber from succeeding him in these mountains, his name is Kerar, and he is chief of the Ababdes of the tribe of Asheybab. In 1814, he plundered several caravans, composed mostly of people of Berber, and retreated with his booty to his tents in the mountains of Ottaby. The Pasha of Egypt has made many attempts to seize him, but hitherto without success.

At present, as may well be conceived, there is very little intercourse between Berber and Mograt, or the more distant country of the Sheygya, except by Negro pilgrims, who follow the inhabited banks of the Nile to Egypt. The war now carried on between the Sheygya, and the Mamelouks in Dóngola is unfavourable to mercantile speculations. Several battles have been fought, in which about one hundred and fifty of the Sheygya, and fifty of the Mamelouks, have been killed. The latter captured some horses and slaves, but being unable to subdue their adversaries, and tired of a fruitless and harassing warfare, they have withdrawn their forces from the southern limits of Dóngola, and concentrated themselves in its northern provinces towards Argo, where they still remain. Their principal chief, Ibrahim Beg el Kebir, died of old age in 1815, and Abdurrahman Beg el Manfoukh is now considered as the head man amongst them. Several of the Begs, instead of going to Dóngola, came from Egypt across the desert to Berber, and Selim Beg el Towyl (ﻞﻳﻮﻄﻟﺃ ﻚﺑ ﻢﻠﻴﺳ) lived for several months in the same house we occupied. The chief of Berber being afraid of the Mamelouks, behaved to the Beg with the greatest appearance of kindness and generosity. Many persons at Berber believed that I belonged to the Mamelouks, and that I had made my escape from Upper Egypt in order to join them. Though I disliked this report, yet I preferred it to being supposed to belong to the household or army of the Pasha of Egypt. The circumstance of his having sent an envoy to Sennaar, had made people suspect that he had some design upon these countries; the chiefs every where viewed his increasing strength in Egypt with great jealousy, and he was much disliked by all merchants, on account of the heavy duties he had laid on the imports from the south; I therefore took great care to avoid exciting any suspicion that I was in his interest, and concealed the letters of recommendation I had with me, which I intended to make use of only in case of the utmost necessity.

The distance from Berber to the southern limits of the country of the Arabs Sheygya is four long days journey across the mountains on the western side of the Nile. A district called Djohfe (ﻪﻔﻬﺟ), where trees and springs are met with, forms a part of these mountains. The former king of Kordofan, El Hashemy (ﻲﻤﺷﺎﻬﻟﺃ), retired to these mountains after having been dispossessed of his territory by the present chief, called Metsellim, an officer of the King of Darfour, and he remained encamped there for several years, with a troop of followers; but he was at last so hard pressed by the Sheygya, as to be obliged to retire to Shendy, and to put himself under the protection of Nimr, the Mek of that place, by whom he was afterwards killed, having engaged, with the Mek’s brothers, in a conspiracy against him.

Journey from Berber to Shendy.

AFTER having settled all our accounts at Berber, our caravan, reduced to about two-thirds of its original number, set out again on the afternoon of the 7th of April. Several of the merchants had returned to Egypt, others remained at Berber to sell their goods, as did also many Ababdes, who had their families there, and who intended to remain till the return of the caravan from Shendy. I was not sorry to leave Berber; for the character of the inhabitants is such, that a stranger can never consider himself safe for a moment amongst them. Several of the first people of the town advised me strongly to remain, and wait for the opportunity of proceeding with a Taka caravan; but alone, I should have been entirely at the mercy of the Meyrefab, who, no doubt, intended to plunder me; I therefore resolved to proceed as far as Shendy, where I thought I should be more likely to meet with a safe conveyance towards the Red Sea.

We proceeded this evening about two miles through the sands, and stopped at the village of Goz el Funnye (ﻪﻴﻨﻔﻟﺃ ﺯﻮﻗ), belonging to Berber. Here we alighted in the court-yard of the house of a Fakir, a trader well known in Egypt, who entertained us hospitably, and asked for no presents. Whenever he visits Egypt, he quarters himself in like manner upon his acquaintance at Daraou. Late in the evening our host Edris paid us a last farewell visit, and insisted upon some further presents. After much disputing, he wrested from the Daraou traders a fine shield, worth eight dollars, the value of which we were obliged to pay him by a general contribution, in order to recover it.

April 8th. There are many ruins of modern buildings at Goz, which is now in decay; formerly, it was the chief place in Berber, and it is so mentioned by Bruce. In several places are public wells or pits of brackish water, where travellers water their beasts, the banks of the river being steep, and the descent to it very difficult. We pursued our way along the skirts of the desert, over a perfectly level plain or arable track of land, about two miles in breadth, which lay between us and the Nile. The ground was every where overgrown with the Oshour tree (ﺭﻮﺸﻋ), so often mentioned in my journey along the Nile towards Dóngola, and in the previous one through Arabia Petræa. Our path was well trodden, and might be called a high road; numerous paths diverged from it in every direction into the eastern desert. After about two hours march, we reached a woody tract, where Sant and Sellam trees grow. The country on the western side of the Nile was, as far as I could see, perfectly flat, without any mountains or hills; but a white line, indicating the sands of the desert, was every where discernible beyond the narrow stripe of arable land which borders the course of the stream. We met many travellers, on horseback and on dromedaries, and women and children either riding alone on asses, or driving loaded asses before them. This road appears to be perfectly safe for the inhabitants of the country, though it would not be so for strangers, without a proper guide. We had taken two men from Ankheyre to escort us to the limits of the Wady Berber. At the end of three hours and a half, we entered the district of Ras el Wady; and at the end of four hours reached the village of that name (ﻱﺩﺍﻮﻟﺃ ﺱﺃﺭ), where we were obliged to stop, as a transit duty is here levied upon merchants. Ras el Wady is a considerable village, larger than Ankheyre, but not so well built, and containing many huts made of mats. We went straight to the Mek’s dwelling, and encamped on the open ground before it. This Mek, whose name is Hamze, is a relation of Noureddyn, the Mek of Berber (ﺮﺑﺮﺑ ﻲﻓ ﻦﻳﺪﻟﺃ ﺭﻮﻧ ﻚﻤﻟﺃ ﻢﻋ ﻦﺑﺇ ﻩﺰﻤﺣ ﻚﻣ), but is quite independent of him Ras el Wady being a principality of itself, although I think that most of its inhabitants are Meyrefabs, and of the same tribe with those who people Berber. Like the latter place, however, it is subject to the king of Sennaar, by whom the Mek is appointed. Hamze is much dreaded by the caravan travellers, especially the Egyptians. The Daraou traders supposing that they might, perhaps, on my account, experience some ill treatment from this chief, and convinced, at all events, that my society could no longer be of any advantage to them, as they saw that I fought for every handful of Dhourra, determined to abandon me entirely. We had halted for some minutes in the plain, near a pond of water, before the village. On starting again, they ordered me, in a contemptuous manner, to keep off, and not to come near their party any more. The boys accompanied these orders with a shouting similar to that which is made in driving dogs away, and then beating my ass with the but-end of their lances, they drove him into the desert.

I had always endeavoured to keep on good terms with our Ababde companions, who, bad as they were, were still better than the Daraou people; I now asked them whether they intended to leave me to the mercy of the Meyrefab robbers, or would permit me to make one of their party. They immediately consented to my joining them, and my situation became thus materially bettered. During the whole of our stay at Berber, no dirty villainous trick or joke was left untried by my companions from Daraou to hurt my feelings and render me contemptible; at last, well assured that my bodily strength was superior to that of any of their party (for I had several times thrown the strongest of them in wrestling), the boys attempted to tire my patience by an incessant teazing, which I could not easily resent upon them, and which I thought it necessary to put up with, because I was afraid, that if I should leave the party abruptly I might expose myself to some more deliberate mischief, which I could not estimate, and had not the means of preventing.

The Mek Hamze gave us a very cold reception. We remained from morning, till late in the evening, before he sent us any food; and my companions said, that if he should hear of any of us having eaten in the meanwhile of our own provisions, he would consider it as a great affront, because we were now his guests. Two of our merchants went up to the Mek, to negotiate with him, about the sum to be paid, while the rest were all busily engaged in defending the baggage from the rapacity of the inhabitants, who had at first collected round it in great numbers, and inquiring, with apparent friendly concern, about our welfare, had soon after placed themselves in the midst of it. There was no open quarrel, but many things were found missing, and amongst the rest I lost my pipe. Late at night we were informed that the Mek would not be satisfied with less than ten dollars for each camel’s load, and four dollars from each trader; I was comprised among the latter, and the sum was paid down, partly in cash, and partly in goods. The Ababdes paid nothing, and for some presents given to them, they even secured several Egyptian camel loads from taxation, by claiming them as their own. I had reason to be afraid that the Mek would take my gun, for I had heard that he is in the habit of seizing upon all the fire-arms he can; in the preceding night, therefore, I made a pretended bargain for it with the Ababde chief, in the presence of the caravan, well knowing that my companions themselves would otherwise have betrayed me. The Ababde chief now declared to the Mek’s people that the gun was his, which nobody could deny. It was thus saved, but the Ababde took a dollar for his trouble.

The Mek remained in his house the whole night, without our seeing him; but his son came down to ask for some presents for himself, which were flatly refused. He then inquired if there was any jolly fellow amongst us, who would keep him company at the Bouza shop. One of the Egyptians stepped forward, and had the honour of being led by him to a common brothel just by, where they sat drinking and singing the whole of the night.

April 9th. This morning Mek Hamze made his appearance; on quitting his house, he walked across the plain, and set himself down on a stone bench, near a house, in front of our baggage. It being a hot day, he was quite naked, with the exception of a towel tied round his loins, and his hair had just been smeared with grease. He was attended by six or eight slaves, one of whom carried a small water-flask, very prettily made of leather, of Sennaar manufacture; another his sword, and a third his shield; so that his Mekship had altogether a most proud and commanding appearance. The merchants, who had expected to be permitted to depart early in the morning, were alarmed, and apprehended the levy of a new contribution. We all went up to him, kissed his hand, and stood before him in the most humble posture. He said he was glad to see us, that he was a great friend to traders, but that of late they had become very niggardly; he then insisted upon a present for his son, and seeing a fine ass in the caravan, told him to mount it. The owner of the ass offered in vain six dollars, as a ransom; the animal was carried to the Mek’s stable, and we were then permitted to depart. This ass happened to be the very one which had carried me through the desert. Understanding, while on the road, that Egyptian asses were in great demand in the southern countries, especially among the great people, and mine having become famous in the caravan, for his great strength and activity, I foresaw that it would be difficult for me to preserve him from the avidity of the Meks, and I therefore exchanged him on the night preceding our arrival at Berber, for one of a smaller size, and of inferior strength, belonging to one of the traders from Daraou, who gave me a dollar into the bargain; he undoubtedly flattered himself that he had over-reached me, little thinking that any body would take the ass from him, and reckoning upon selling it afterwards for ten or twelve dollars. At Berber he contrived to save the animal from the clutches of Mek Noureddyn; but Mek Hamze’s rapacity was of a more determined kind, and made him sorely repent of his bargain with me. He pretended to insist upon taking back the ass he had exchanged with me; but the Ababdes took my part, and even secretly praised me for having led him into the scrape.

A large party of Bisharein was encamped near Ras el Wady; they had come to purchase Dhourra for their summer provision. The brother of Mek Hamze had lately gone to Souakin, on his way to Arabia, with several slaves and fine horses, which he meant to offer as a present to the Sherif Hamoud, the chief of Yemen, expecting, of course, some suitable presents in return. Speculations of this sort are often made in these countries. Some of the dromedaries belonging to Mek Hamze were very fine animals, and their bridles and saddles were very fantastically ornamented. Every chief keeps a couple of dromedaries of the best race, for show, and, whenever he rides out, he is followed by them, mounted by two of his slaves.

We departed from Ras el Wady in the course of the morning. The Mek sent two of his relations, to accompany us to the limits of his jurisdiction. Our road lay partly through barren sands, and partly through thin woods of acacia trees. In two hours we passed several hamlets, where Doum trees were numerous, and in the neighbourhood of which a large island is formed in the river. The inhabitants of these hamlets are said to be great robbers, and this was, probably, the reason why our two guides made us halt here, and demanded ten dollars for having accompanied us so far. Fond as the traders are of their money, they thought that circumstances required them to submit to the imposition, and the money was paid. At this time our caravan was reduced to about twenty camels; many of the lesser traders, in order to elude the payment of passage-money, having already preceded us, and passed during the night through the desert to the east of Ras el Wady; others, who had no camels to mount, had engaged a man of Goz to conduct them by night along a perilous path by the side of the river, and they joined us again beyond the territory of Mek Hamze.

At a short distance from the hamlets, we came to a great number of new tombstones, in the desert, the melancholy proofs of the terrible ravages of the small-pox. According to the Nubian custom, and which I had already observed in the Berábera country, every tomb was covered with white pebbles, and pieces of quartz. The plain of the eastern desert is here interrupted by several sandy and gravelly hillocks. At the end of four hours, after passing through a wood of acacia trees, we reached the river Mogren (ﻥﺮﻘﻣ), not Mareb, as Bruce writes it, a name quite unknown here. After descending a high bank, we passed for at least a mile, over deep sands in the bed of the river, and then came to a pool of stagnant water, about twenty paces broad, where the water reached up to the ankle: in many places there were similar pools, but no where any running stream. I estimated the height of the banks at thirty feet, and I observed the high-water marks to be about twenty feet from the bottom, from whence it is evident that this river can never inundate the adjacent country; indeed this fact was confirmed by my companions, who told me that during the time of high-water they pass the river in a boat brought from Damer for the purpose, and that they had never seen the country on either side of the river inundated, except by the waters of the Nile. The verdant banks of the Mogren, covered with fresh herbage and tamarisk bushes, afforded a delightful scene, which I was permitted to enjoy for a full hour, as many of the camels, in ascending the steep banks on the south side of the river, stumbled, and threw their loads, thus occasioning a delay.

The Mogren forms the boundary between the territories of Ras el Wady and Damer. On its southern banks several water-wheels were at work, drawing up the water from some of the pools. The regular distribution of the fields, and the small channels for irrigation, showed that agriculture is here more attended to than in the districts we had passed. The banks of the Mogren, for about two days journey above its confluence with the Nile, are inhabited by the Arabs, or Bedouins Djaalein (ﻦﻴﻠﻋﺎﺟ); they are quite independent, and their tribes are widely spread over these countries as high as Sennaar. They are the strongest Arab tribe in this neighbourhood; they cultivate some Dhourra fields on the banks of the river, and feed many cattle.

After passing the Mogren, we rode across a sandy barren plain, overgrown with Oshour, of which I saw trees twenty feet high, and then re-entered upon the arable soil, where we were met by some of the Shikhs of Damer, whom our advanced party had despatched to meet us, and to serve as an escort against the robberies of the Djaaleins, several of whose horsemen were seen hovering about, at a little distance from the caravan, with evidently bad intentions. At the end of six hours, and after sun-set, we entered Damer (ﺮﻣﺍﺩ), a place of considerable note and reputation in this part of the world, and whose inhabitants, I was glad to find, are of a much better disposition than their neighbours of Berber. Having now joined the Ababdes of our caravan, I accompanied them to the house where they took up their quarters. We entered the dwelling of a Dóngola merchant, an old friend of my companions; he happened to be absent, but his wife gave us a kind reception, and cleaned two rooms in her court-yard, where the goods and baggage were deposited. We found here some Kordofan merchants, who had just come from Dóngola, by way of Shendy, and who gave us the latest news concerning the Mamelouks.

At Damer, from 10th to 15th April. Damer is a large village or town, containing about five hundred houses. It is clean, and much neater than Berber, having many new buildings, and no ruins. The houses are built with some uniformity, in regular streets, and shady trees are met with in several places. It is inhabited by the Arab tribe of Medja-ydin (ﻦﻳﺪﻳﺎﺠﻣ), who trace their origin from Arabia; the greater part of them are Fokara, or religious men. They have no Shikh, but a high pontiff, called El Faky el Kebir (the great Faky), who is their real chief, and decides all matters in dispute. The family of Medjdoule, in whom this office is established, has the reputation of producing necromancers, or persons endowed with supernatural powers, from whom nothing remains hidden, and whose spells nothing can withstand. Innumerable stories are related of their magic powers, of which the following is a specimen: Abdallah, the father of the present Faky, caused a lamb to bleat in the stomach of the thief who had stolen, and afterwards eaten it. The Faky is resorted to in all cases where property is stolen, and as every body entertains the greatest terror of his supposed omniscience, it is generally an easy task with hint to perform wonders. If I am not mistaken, the office of the great Faky is hereditary; of course it is essential that the successor should be a shrewd man, and well instructed in the Mussulman law, these being absolutely necessary to enable him to act his part. The great Shikh, however, is not the only person in the place who possesses magical powers; there are many Fakys of less note, who enjoy a similar credit, in proportion always to their sanctity and learning, and thus the whole town of Damer has acquired great reputation. Here are several schools, to which young men repair from Darfour, Sennaar, Kordofan, and other parts of Soudan, in order to acquire a proficiency in the law, sufficient to enable them to make a figure as great Fakys in their own countries. The learned men of Damer have many books, but they treat exclusively of religious and judicial subjects. Amongst others, I saw a copy of the Koran worth at least four hundred piasters, and a complete copy of Bochari’s Commentaries upon the Koran, worth double that sum, at the Cairo book-market. These books are brought from Cairo by the young Fakys of Damer themselves, many of whom go to study there in the mosque El Azher, or in the great mosque at Mekka, where they remain for three or four years, living during that time principally upon alms and stipends. In the schools at Damer they teach the true reading of the Koran, and deliver lectures on the Tefsyr (explanations of the Koran), and on the Touhyd, or the nature of God, and his divine attributes. They have a large well built mosque, but without a minaret; it rests upon arches built of bricks, and the floor is covered with fine sand. This is the coolest spot in Damer, and much resorted to by strangers to pass a few hours in sleep after the mid-day prayers. Around an open place adjoining the mosque are a number of school-rooms. Many Fakys have small chapels near their own houses, but the Friday’s prayers are always performed in the great mosque. The chief Fakys live with great ostentation of sanctity, and the Faky el Kebír leads the life of a hermit; he occupies a small building in the midst of a large square in the town. One part of this building is a chapel, and the other a room about twelve feet square, in which he constantly resides day and night, without any attendants, and separated from his own family. He lives upon what his friends or disciples send him for breakfast and supper. About three o’clock in the afternoon he quits his chamber, after having been shut up all the morning, occupied in reading, and takes his seat upon a large stone bench before the building. He is here joined by all his fraternity, and business is then transacted until long after sun-set. I went once to kiss his hands, and found him a venerable figure, entirely wrapped up in a white cloke. He asked me from whence I came, in what school I had learnt to read, and what books I had read; and he seemed satisfied with my answers. Near him sat a Moggrebyn Shikh, a native of Mekinéz, who had come from Mekka, to serve as his scribe, and who transacted all the public business. I was told that this person had found means to amass a large sum of money.

The affairs of this little hierarchical state appear to be conducted with great prudence. All its neighbours testify much respect for the Fakys; the treacherous Bisharein even, are so completely kept in awe by them, that they have never been known to hurt any of the people of Damer when travelling from thence across the mountains to Souakin. They particularly fear the power of the Fakys to deprive them of rain, and thus to cause the death of their flocks. Caravans pass occasionally from Damer to Souakin, for many of the Fakys are traders. On the outside of the town we found encampments of Bisharein, and Djaalein, who had come to sell their sheep. There are several public wells in the town, as well as at some distance along the roads leading to it. The principal trade of Damer is with Dóngola and Shendy; with Berber there is little intercourse, except by means of the Egyptian caravans passing that way. There is a manufacture of coarse cotton stuffs in imitation of the Dammour of Sennaar, and most of the articles of the Egyptian trade are found in the warehouses of the Damer merchants. There is no Souk, or daily market, but there is a weekly one, in which every merchant exposes his goods; the sales of cattle are said to be considerable, and the Damer mats, made of Doum leaves, are greatly in demand throughout the neighbouring country. In places like Damer, where there is no daily market, and where nothing whatever is sold publicly except on the weekly market day, the traveller finds it very troublesome to buy the articles of small value which he may be in need of. I wanted a few measures of Dhourra for my ass, but there being no metal currency less than a dollar, which would have purchased a larger quantity than I could have carried with me, I was under the necessity of imitating my companions, and went from house to house with some strings of beads in my hands, offering them for sale at about four handfuls of Dhourra for each bead. I gained at this rate about sixty per cent. above the prime cost, and had at the same time an opportunity of entering many private houses. I was somewhat surprised to find that, notwithstanding the austerity of the Fakys, a great number of Bouza shops, and houses of debauchery, were established all over the town. I repeated these walks every day during our stay at Damer. One afternoon, while crying my beads for sale, I was accosted by a Faky, who asked me if I could read. On answering in the affirmative, he desired me to follow him to a place where, he said, I might expect to get a good dinner. He then led me to a house where I found a great number of people collected to celebrate the memory of some relative lately deceased. Several Fakys were reading the Koran in a low tone of voice. A great Faky afterwards came in, whose arrival was the signal for reciting the Koran in loud songs, in the manner customary in the east, in which I joined them. This was continued for about half an hour, until dinner was brought in, which was very plentiful, as a cow had been killed upon the occasion. After a hearty meal, we recommenced our reading. One of the Shikhs produced a basket full of white pebbles, over which several prayers were read. These pebbles were destined to be strewed over the tomb of the deceased in the manner which I had often observed upon tombs freshly made. Upon my enquiries concerning this custom, which I confessed to have never before seen practised in any Mohammedan country, the Faky answered that it was a mere meritorious action, that there was no absolute necessity for it, but that it was thought that the soul of the deceased, when hereafter visiting the tomb, might be glad to find these pebbles, in order to use them as beads in addressing its prayers to the Creator. When the reading was over, the women began to sing and howl. I then left the room, and on taking my departure my kind host put some bones of roasted meat in my hand, to serve for my supper.

The ladies of Damer adorn their sitting rooms with a number of large wooden bowls or dishes hung against the walls like so many pictures. The floor is covered with fine mats of various designs and colours, for the art of dying the Doum leaves appears to be known here. I have likewise seen ostrich eggs, and black ostrich feathers put up as ornaments on the wall, over the door.

On the west bank of the river, opposite the town, is a small village, called Damer el Gharby (ﻲﺑﺮﻐﻟﺃ ﺮﻣﺍﺩ), or the Western Damer. The communication between the two places is kept up by ferryboats, of the rudest workmanship, consisting merely of the excavated trunk of a large Nebek tree.

The cultivation of the soil is much more attended to at Damer, than in any other place from Dóngola to Shendy. Artificial irrigation is carried on by numerous water-wheels, turned by cows, like those used in Egypt; this custom enables the cultivators to obtain two crops every year. Damer suffered less during the last famine than any of the neighbouring countries; but great numbers died of the small-pox. The principal produce of the soil is Dhourra; some wheat is sown, but not for exportation; it serves only for the private consumption of the great Fakys, who have learnt the use of this luxury in Egypt. Some Bamyes are cultivated, and a considerable quantity of red pepper (Sheteyta ﻪﻄﻴﻄﺷ). Of the latter a part is exported, and the people are immoderately fond of it for the seasoning of their dishes. The district produces cotton plentifully, and a little tobacco of the worst kind, for the Bisharye market. The Fakys themselves never smoke. I thought the cattle looked finer and better fed than those of Berber. Few horses are kept, but asses are numerous. Our traders bought some camels, and disposed of some of their merchandize. No passage duties are paid to the Fakys, whose principal income arises from agriculture and trade. This is the reason why Damer flourishes, caravans being never averse from staying here a few days. Our landlord was very reasonable in his demands, and our whole party, myself included, left the town well satisfied with its inhabitants. The Ababde sent some loaves of sugar to the Faky el Kebír, but quite as a voluntary donation.

April 15th. We set out early in the morning, being accompanied by two Fakys, who were to serve as guards as far as the limits of the country of Shendy. The road is dangerous, and the inhabitants upon it are robbers; but such is the fear entertained of the Fakys of Damer, that the mere sight of them marching unarmed at the head of the caravan was sufficient to inspire the country people with the greatest respect; they often came, as we passed along, to kiss the Fakys hands, and then retired. It would require an armed force to pass here, without the aid of some of these religious men. Caravans from the south halt on the northern frontier of Shendy, until a Faky arrives from Damer to accompany them.

Our companions were all under great apprehensions, in setting out from Damer, notwithstanding the presence of our guides. We kept close together, lest any stragglers should be cut off in the woods through which the road lies. I carried my gun in my hand, which I knew would frighten a host of robbers, but, according to my constant practice in travelling, I did not think it necessary to load it. The principal of the Daraou traders rode up to me, and knowing the gun to be unloaded, ordered me, in a very peremptory tone, to put in a ball; upon my refusing a sharp dispute arose; he called me at last a cowardly rascal (ﻑﺍﻮﺧ ﺹﺮﻌﻤ), who was unworthy of wearing arms; “that may be true,” I replied, “but I am at least accustomed to wear them, while you peasants find a stick or a scithe more suited to your hands than a sword.” His pride was so much hurt by this reply, that he struck me a blow with his stick across the shoulders which almost levelled me to the ground; I warded off a second blow with my gun, and was going to return it with the butt end, when our companions leapt in between us, and wrested the gun from me, which, after a moment’s reflection, I was glad of, for if I had struck the man, I should have wounded him, and it would then have become a serious business. I vented my anger in heavy curses upon my aggressor, who was blamed by every body, and especially by the Ababdes, who declared that they would resent any further insult offered to me. The bustle which this affair occasioned, together with our fears of robbers, which did not permit me to quit the caravan, prevented me from taking my notes as fully as usual. On leaving Damer we entered a wood of Sellam trees, and continued our route at a little distance from the arable ground. Near the river we saw several small villages and hamlets, among clusters of Doum trees; they are inhabited by the Arabs Mekaberab (ﺏﺍﺮﺑﺎﻜﻣ), who were formerly tributary to the chiefs of Shendy, but who have long since asserted their freedom, and now live partly upon the produce of their fields, and partly by robbery; they are at war with all their neighbours, and having acquired a reputation for superior valour, are much dreaded by them. travellers unaccompanied by one or more Fakys from Damer, are sure of being stripped by them.

At the end of six hours from Damer we quitted the valley of the Nile, and made a short cut over sand hills, which brought us, after a march of nine hours, to Hawaya (ﻪﻳﺍﻮﺣ), a village which forms at present the northern frontier of the territory of Shendy. Shendy extends de jure as far as the river Mogren, including Damer; but we have already seen that the Fokaha of Damer are quite independent. It was a beautiful evening, after a very hot day; and we all went to bathe in the river, the bed of which, near the shore, I found covered with pebbles. We encamped in an open square in the midst of the village, and understanding it to be a safe place, I took some beads to exchange for bread in the village. After a long and fruitless search, I was met by some men who invited me to go home with them, saying that their wives would take the beads. I followed them, until we reached a narrow unfrequented lane, when they turned short upon me, snatched away the beads, tore off my cap, and then finding that unarmed as I was I still made some resistance, they drew their swords. I now took to my heels, and rejoined my companions, who laughed at my misfortunes. They advised me to go to the Shikh of the village, who, they said, would find out the robbers. I met with the Shikh late at night in a Bouza hut, surrounded by a drunken party. Having described the persons of the thieves, the beads and cap were soon discovered, and returned to me. The Shikh then insisted upon my taking a merry cup with him, and, upon my refusal, he accompanied me back to our people, when I was at last obliged to pay him, as a compliment, twice the value of the stolen goods. I mention this anecdote to show how small a chance a single traveller has of passing through this country without being stripped.

April 16th. After a march of four hours from Hawaya we came to the village of Gabaty (ﻲﺗﺎﺒﻗ). Here, as in the higher parts of Upper Egypt, all the larger villages are built on the declivity of the hills of the desert, and at some distance from the soil cultivated by their inhabitants. At Gabaty I saw a very uncommon building, which covered the tomb of a saint; it is in the form of a well rounded cone, about thirty feet in height, resting upon a square substructure five or six feet high, in which is a low door. The whole is built of sun-burnt bricks. I found the entrance shut, and was told that it was opened on Fridays only. At a distance this tomb had the exact appearance of a pyramid, and I could not help thinking that such buildings might have been used as sepulchres from the earliest times by the Ethiopians, and might have given origin to the stupendous tombs of Memphis. I observed a similar but smaller structure at Shendy, but I met with them nowhere else, although every village of note has some tombs of revered saints or Shikhs.

Beyond Gabaty we rode alternately through the arable plain, and the sandy hills. The former, where it is broadest, appears to be about four miles in breadth, from the hills to the river. The harvest had long been collected, but we saw the whole plain still full of Dhourra stalks, not thickly crowded together as in Egypt, but at wide intervals asunder, evidently shewing a great neglect of cultivation. In the fields are many Nebek trees, and the borders of the desert are everywhere overgrown with Oshour. We passed several hamlets in the hills on our left; and at the end of ten hours, late in the evening, reached Djebail (ﻞﻴﺒﺟ), a large village in the hills, with several small mosques, and good buildings. It is governed by a relative of the Mek of Shendy, whose district extends as far as Hawaya. We encamped upon a piece of open ground at the back of the village. After we had retired to rest we were awakened by the servants of the principal Faky of the place, who sent us a plentiful supper. During this day’s march we often met passengers on the road, riding, for the most part, upon asses, and also a small caravan from Shendy, on its way to Berber. I observed several ancient dikes of earth, without any appearance of stone or brick in them, and many canals for the purpose of irrigating the plain, which were almost filled up with earth, and of little or no use. Near Djebail begins a chain of mountains of sandstone, running southwards, parallel with the river.

April 17th. At the end of two hours from Djebail, in crossing the arable soil, we passed low mounds consisting of rubbish, and red burnt bricks; they were about eighty paces in length, and extended quite across the arable soil, for at least one mile eastwards, turning, as I thought, towards their extremity, a little more to the south. The bricks are of a very rude make, much coarser than those now in use in Egypt. The mounds have the appearance of having served as a wall, although but little remains by which to form a judgment. Both on the northern and southern side we passed some foundations of buildings, of moderate size, constructed of hewn stones. These were the only remains of antiquity I could discover; nor could I see any stones scattered amongst the mounds of rubbish, as far, at least, as my sight could reach. A closer examination might, perhaps, have led to some more interesting discoveries, but I was in the company of the caravan, and had the wonders of Thebes been placed on the road, I should not have been able to examine them. At the end of three hours we came to Dawa (ﻩﻭﺍﺩ), a small village. The hills here take a direction more to the east, and leave a plain of at least ten miles in breadth, luxuriantly covered with wild plants, mixed with all the species of the thorny acacias, and where are a great number of dispersed huts and hamlets. The Arabs Djaalein here pasture their numerous herds of cows, camels, and sheep. They have also a few water-wheels, and grow considerable quantities of onions, with which they supply the Shendy market. Their huts are made of mats; I entered several of them, but could not get a drop of milk without paying for it in Dhourra. The road across the plain was much entangled with weeds, and overhanging branches of acacia, which rendered the passage somewhat troublesome to our loaded camels.

We rode for two or three hours in this fertile district, and then entered again upon a sandy plain overgrown with large Syale trees, where we stopped during the noontide hours, on the high banks of the river, and watered our camels. Large flocks of storks passed over our heads to the northward. At the end of seven hours from our setting out in the morning we reached the extremity of the sandy plain, where commences a tract called Boeydha (ﻪﻀﻳﻮﺑ), less extensive, but equally fertile with the plain preceding. It contains many small hamlets, in which the houses consist generally of one room only, serving for all purposes. Here are the salt-works which supply the whole country as far as Sennaar with salt. The earth, which for several miles round is strongly impregnated with salt, is collected by the Arabs in heaps upon the side of the road. The salt is separated from the earth by boiling in large earthen vessels, and the saline part is then boiled a second time, in smaller vessels. The salt is afterwards formed into small round cakes about a foot in diameter, and three inches in thickness; it is perfectly white, and has much the appearance of rock salt. About a dozen cakes are packed together in a basket; four baskets make a camel’s load. This salt constitutes a considerable branch of the Shendy trade. The Sennaar merchants buy it in great quantities for the Abyssinian markets, and exchange it in the mountains about Ras el Fil, for slaves and gold. The works are the property of the Mek of Shendy: there were about twenty boilers on the fire when I passed.

Just beyond the plain of Boeydha, where the road again enters a barren sandy desert, stands a tall date-tree, the only one of its species met with hereabouts, for no dates are grown anywhere from Dóngola to Sennaar. The merchants hail this tree as a beacon which marks the successful termination of their journey. Several people of Shendy were waiting for us, to salute their acquaintances, and take a look at the loads. As traders never enter Shendy in the day time, we halted till sun-set, and then proceeded slowly towards the town, which we reached after about nine hours march from our departure from Djebail.

At Shendy from April 17th to May 17th. We entered a large house belonging to the friends of the Ababdes, situated on the skirts of the town, towards the desert; but the next morning the Mek sent one of his slaves to tell us, that he wanted that house himself for one of his Abyssinian female slaves, who was to be inoculated with the small-pox, and whom he wished to pass the time of her illness in an open, airy, and insulated place. He ordered a house to be prepared for us in the middle of the town, and we took possession of it the next day; the owner was absent, but his wife gave us a civil reception.

Next to Sennaar, and Cobbé (in Darfour), Shendy is the largest town in eastern Soudan, and larger, according to the report of the merchants, than the capitals of Dóngola and of Kordofan. It consists of several quarters, divided from each other by public places, or markets, and it contains altogether from eight hundred to a thousand houses. It is built upon the sandy plain, at about half an hour’s walk from the river; its houses are similar to those of Berber; but it contains a greater number of large buildings, and fewer ruins. The houses seldom form any regular street, but are spread over the plain in great disorder. I nowhere saw any walls of burnt bricks. The houses of the chief, and those of his relatives, contain court-yards twenty feet square, inclosed by high walls, and this is the general description of the habitations of Shendy. The government is in the hands of the Mek; the name of the present chief is Nimr (ﺮﻤﻧ), i. e. Tiger. The reigning family is of the same tribe as that which now occupies the throne of Sennaar, namely the Wold Adjib (ﺐﻴﺠﻋ ﺪﻟﻭ), which, as far as I could understand, is a branch of the Bunnye. The father of Nimr was an Arab of the tribe of Djaalein, but his mother was of the royal blood of Wold Adjib; and thus it appears that women have a right to the succession. This agrees with the narrative of Bruce, who found at Shendy a woman upon the throne, whom he calls Sittina (an Arabic word meaning our Lady). The Mek of Shendy, like the Mek of Berber, is subject to Sennaar; but, excepting the purchase money paid for his government, on his accession, and occasional presents to the king and vizier of Sennaar, he is entirely independent, and governs his district, which extends about two days journeys farther to the south, quite at his own pleasure.

Before the arrival of the Mamelouks in Dóngola Mek Nimr had been for many years in continual warfare with the Arabs Sheygya, who had killed several of his relatives in battle, and, by making inroads into his dominions with large parties of horsemen, had repeatedly laid waste the whole western bank of the river. The Sheygya made peace with him, in order more effectually to oppose the Mamelouks, when his own brother, to whom the command of the western bank had been entrusted, declared against him, and they have now carried on war for several years, with little success or loss on either side, as they are separated from each other by the river, and can never pass it but in small parties.

The government of Shendy is much to be preferred to that of Berber: the full authority of the Mek is not thwarted by the influence of powerful families, which in these countries tends only to insecurity, nor has he adopted that system of rapacity which makes Berber so justly dreaded by strangers. His absolute power is owing to the diversity of Arab tribes inhabiting Shendy, none of which is strong enough to cope with his own family and its numerous branches. The largest of these tribes are the Nimrab, Nayfab, and Djaalein, the greater part of whom still lead the Bedouin life. The most respectable class of the inhabitants of Shendy are the merchants, amongst whom are great numbers of foreign settlers from Sennaar, Kordofan, Darfour, and Dóngola: the last are the most numerous, and they occupy an entire quarter of the town, but their nation is less esteemed than any other. They are reproached with inhospitality, and their avarice has become proverbial; the broker business, which is almost exclusively in their hands, has added to the odium of their name, so that an Arab of Shendy considers it as an insult to be called a Dongoláwy, a name here considered as equivalent to that of Jew in Europe.

Commerce flourishes at Shendy because the Mek does not extort any taxes from the merchants, which many people assured me he dared not do from his fear of the vizier of Sennaar. I am not able to judge how far this may be true; but the fact is, that caravans pay nothing whatever by way of duty; they generally make up a small present to the Mek, in order to enjoy his particular protection, and add something further for one of his brothers, who is a principal man in the place. Our party of Ababdes sent him a small parcel of soap and sugar, of which my quota amounted to half a dollar. I did not hear of any subordinate offices in the government of Shendy, and the Mek seems to unite all the branches of authority in his own person. His relatives are the governors of villages; and his court consists of half a dozen police officers, a writer, an Imam, a treasurer, and a body guard, formed principally of slaves. The character of the people is much the same as that of the inhabitants of Berber. They are kept in some order, it is true, by the Mek; but wickedness and injustice govern all their conduct, for they know that the law can do little more than endeavour to prevent crimes, and that it very seldom punishes them. Nightly robbers, drunken people who have assaulted strangers, thieves detected in the market, &c. &c. are often carried before the Mek, but he is generally satisfied with imprisoning them for two or three days; and I did not hear a single instance of his having ordered any person to be put to death, or even flogged, although such crimes as I have mentioned were committed daily during my stay at Shendy. The delinquents were permitted to return quietly to their homes, on paying a small fine to the Mek and his people. I was told that at Kordofan thieves are always punished with death.

Debauchery and drunkenness are as fashionable here as at Berber; the latter, I think, is even more common. No night passed without my hearing the loud songs of some Bouza meeting, though our quarter, that of the Dongoláwy, who are too avaricious to be addicted to these vices, was one of the quietest. At Berber public women were constantly seen in the street; at Shendy I very seldom met any of them, though within the inclosures of the houses they are almost as numerous as at Berber.

The dress, habits, and manners of the inhabitants of Shendy are the same as those of the places last described, and appear to prevail as far as Darfour, and Sennaar. I observed more well dressed people at Shendy than at Berber, and clean linen was much oftener seen.

Gold being a very current article in the Shendy market, the women have more frequently golden rings at their noses and ears than those of Berber; the people also possess more wealth. It is not uncommon to see a family possessed of a dozen slaves, acting as servants in the house, and labourers in the field.

The people of Shendy, like those of Berber, are shepherds, traders, and husbandmen. Agriculture, however, seems to be little thought of by the inhabitants themselves, being chiefly left to the Arab peasants of the vicinity; the cultivable soil in the neighbourhood of the city is narrow; but to the north and south of it are some fine arable plains. Water-wheels are common; they are erected generally on those parts of the high banks, which the most copious inundations of the river cannot overflow; by means of them the cultivators raise one winter crop; but they are too lazy to bestow the labour necessary for watering the soil a second or third time, as is done in the most elevated parts of Upper, Egypt, where also the river very seldom rises high enough to overflow the banks. Dhourra is the chief produce; Dokhen and wheat are sown in small quantities, the former for the consumption of the western traders who visit Shendy, the latter almost exclusively for the families of the great. Large quantities of onions, some red pepper (brought from Kordofan), Bamyes, chick-peas (ﺺﻤﺣ), Meloukhye, and Tormos, are always found in the market either green or dried. During the inundation some water-melons and cucumbers are sown, but for the use only of the Harem of the Mek.

The cattle is very fine; and the inhabitants say that their size and quality continue to increase, in proportion as you ascend the river. I saw no domestic animals that are not common in Egypt. Elephants are first met with at Abou Heraze, two or three days to the north of Sennaar; and they have never been known to pass to the northward of that district, which is bounded by a chain of mountains six or eight hours in breadth, reaching close to the river. I was told that tigers are frequently seen in the Wadys east of Shendy. In the mountains of Dender, a district towards the Atbara, and six or eight journies south-east of Shendy, the giraffa is found (Arabic, Zerafa, ﻪﻓﺍﺮﻇ, i. e. the elegant). It is hunted by the Arabs Shukorein and Kowahel, and is highly prized for its skin, of which the strongest bucklers are made. I frequently saw mountain-goats of the largest size brought to the market of Shendy; they have long horns bending to the middle of the back; their flesh is esteemed a great dainty. They call them Areal (ﻞﻳﺭﺁ), a name given in Syria to the red deer. In Upper Egypt they are called Teytal (ﻞﺘﻴﺛ), and in Syria Beden (ﻥﺪﺑ). They are caught by the Djaalein Bedouins in nooses, in the same manner as they catch ostriches, which are also very common in this neighbourhood. The ostrich-feathers however are inferior to those of the western deserts. Those most esteemed in Egypt are from Kordofan and Darfour, which the caravans from the latter place bring to Siout. The Djaalein peasants bring the feathers to the market in bundles, good and bad together, and exchange them for Dhourra. Their price, when I was at Shendy, was about one-tenth of what they would bring at Cairo, where the best kinds, in 1812, sold at two hundred and eighty piastres per pound. The Pasha of Egypt has lately included them among the articles monopolised by him.

The hippopotamus (in Arabic Farass el Bahhr, ﺮﺤﺒﻟﺃ ﺹﺮﻓ, or Barnick, ﻖﻴﻧﺮﺑ), is not common at Shendy, though it occasionally makes its appearance there; during my stay there was one in the river in the vicinity of Boeydha, which made great ravages in the fields. It never rose above water in the day-time, but calve on shore in the night, and destroyed as much by the treading of its enormous feet, as it did by its voracity; the people have no means of killing them. At Sennaar, where hippopotami are numerous, they are caught in trenches, slightly covered with reeds, in to which they fall during their nightly excursions. It is generally said that no musket ball can bring them to the ground, unless they are hit in the vulnerable spot, which is over the ear. The whips called Korbadj (ﺝﺎﺑﺮﻛ), which are formed of their skins, are made at Sennaar, and on the Nile, above that place, immediately after being taken off, the skin is cut into narrow strips, about five or six feet in length, gradually tapering to a point: each strip is then rolled up, so that the edges unite, and form a pipe, in which state it is tied fast and left to dry in the sun. In order to render these whips pliable, they must be rubbed with butter or grease. At Shendy they are sold at the rate of twelve or sixteen for a Spanish dollar; in Egypt, where they are in general use, and the dread of every servant and peasant, they are worth from half a dollar, to a dollar each. In colder climates, even in Syria, they become brittle, crack, and lose their elasticity.

Crocodiles are very numerous about Shendy. I have generally remarked that these animals inhabit particular parts of the Nile, from whence they seldom appear to move; thus, in Lower Egypt, they have entirely disappeared, although no reasonable cause can be assigned for their not descending the river. In Upper Egypt, the neighbourhood of Akhmim, Dendera, Orment, and Edfou, are at present the favourite haunts of the crocodile, while few are ever seen in the intermediate parts of the river. The same is the case in different parts of Nubia towards Dóngola. At Berber nobody is afraid of encountering crocodiles in the river, and we bathed there very often, swimming out into the midst of the stream. At Shendy, on the contrary, they are greatly dreaded; the Arabs and the slaves and females, who repair to the shore of the river near the town every morning and evening to wash their linen, and fill their water-skins for the supply of the town, are obliged to be continually on the alert, and such as bathe take care not to proceed to any great distance into the river. I was several times present when a crocodile made its appearance, and witnessed the terror it inspired; the crowd all quickly retiring up the beach. During my stay at Shendy a man who had been advised to bathe in the river, after having escaped the small-pox, was seized and killed by one of these animals. At Sennaar crocodiles are often brought to market, and their flesh is publicly sold there. I once tasted some of the meat at Esne, in Upper Egypt; it is of a dirty white colour, not unlike young veal, with a slight fishy smell; the animal had been caught by some fishermen in a strong net, and was above twelve feet in length. The Governor of Esne ordered it to be brought into his court yard, where more than an hundred balls were fired against it without effect, till it was thrown upon its back, and the contents of a small swivel discharged at its belly, the skin of which is much softer than that of the back. Fish are very seldom caught by the Arabs of Shendy. Nets appear to be unknown, but children often amuse themselves in angling with hooked nails.

The produce of the fields of Shendy and its neighbourhood is not sufficient for the supply of the population, the wants of which are much increased by the continual arrival of caravans. Dhourra is imported principally from Abou Heraze, in the route to Sennaar. A caravan of more than three hundred camels arrived from thence with Dhourra during my stay at Shendy, and the price, which, on our arrival, was at the rate of one dollar for twelve measures, fell to twenty measures per dollar. The price of grain varies almost daily, the market being affected by the arrival of every caravan of traders, who always buy up a considerable quantity for the food of the slaves and camels. The Mek also monopolizes the corn-trade as much as he can. At Abou Heraze and Sennaar, Dhourra is said to be in great plenty; forty measures being sold for a dollar. This grain is of the same shape and size as that of Shendy and Upper Egypt; but it is of an ash gray colour; it is said to be less nourishing, and of course is less esteemed than the other.

Horses are more numerous here than at Berber. The Mek, it is said, can raise within Shendy itself from two to three hundred horsemen. According to the custom of the Eastern Arabs, the Djaalein Bedouins ride mares in preference to stallions; but the latter are preferred by the inhabitants of the town. The Mek’s brother, Ras Saad ed Dyn (ﻦﻳﺪﻟﺃ ﺪﻌﺳ), had a horse for which he had given in the southern districts thirteen slaves; it surpassed in beauty any other horse I ever remember to have seen. At a public festival on the occasion of the circumcision of one of Mek Nimr’s sons, all the horsemen of Shendy met, and accompanied the family of the chief through the town, their horses prancing about. They appeared to me but very indifferent horsemen; none attempted any of the manoeuvres for which the Mamelouks are so famous; they contented themselves with gallopping backwards and forwards; nor did I see one bold rider amongst them. It is in this cavalry, however, that the Mek places his chief strength, and it decides the fate of all the battles he is obliged to fight with his enemies. The saddles, and bridles, as well as the stirrups, in which they place the great toe only, are the same as those used at Berber and by the Arabs Sheygya, who appear to be as celebrated for their horsemanship in this country as the Mamelouks once were in Turkey. Mek Nimr has about twenty firelocks, which he has either bought or taken from Egyptian traders; with these he arms his favourite slaves, but few of them have courage sufficient to fire them off, and there are none who dare take an aim by placing the gun against the shoulder. The sight of it alone generally frightens the enemy, and so far it fully answers their purpose, for it is always the wish of both parties to finish the battle with as little bloodshed as possible, because the law of retaliation is in full force amongst these Arabs. Several of Mek Nimr’s musquets are either broken, or so much rusted, as to make them unserviceable, and nobody could be found to clean and mend them. Having been seen one day cleaning my gun, I was supposed to be skilful in this art, and serious proposals were made to me, to enter into the Mek’s service as gunsmith. He offered me one male and two female slaves, and as much Dhourra as I might want for their maintenance; and it was with difficulty that I could persuade the slaves who made me the proposal in the name of their master, that I knew nothing of the business of a gunsmith. Travellers in these countries ought to avoid shewing their capacity in the most trifling things that may be of use or afford pleasure to the chiefs, who will endeavour to force them into their service. Not having succeeded in prevailing upon me to remain, the Mek wished at least to have my gun. He sent for it, and kept it for several days; and upon my urgent entreaties to have it returned to me, he sent me four Spanish dollars, ordering his slaves at the same time to carry me several dishes of bread and meat from his own kitchen. Upon complaining to some of the inhabitants of this treatment, they replied, that having now eaten of the Mek’s food I had become his friend, and that it would therefore be a disgrace to me to make any difficulty in parting with my gun. I was very sorry to lose it, especially when I considered in what countries I still intended to travel; but in my present circumstances four dollars were not to be despised. Seeing no chance therefore of either getting back my gun, or obtaining a higher price for it, I accepted the Mek’s four dollars with many professions of thanks.

It will appear very singular that fire-arms are not more frequently met with here, as they may so easily be imported. But the fact is, that traders are afraid to carry them, lest they should excite the cupidity of some or other of the chiefs; and it is not to be supposed, that until they are more numerous, they can be taken to market like other goods, or be paid for at a regular price. To the country people, who seldom visit the towns where traders make any stay, a musquet is an object of the greatest terror, and will frighten away dozens of them. A Djaalein Arab, who had some ostrich feathers to sell, came one day to the house where I lodged, to barter with my companions for his feathers. The moment he espied my gun standing in the corner of the room, he got up, and desired it might be removed, for that he did not like to remain near so deadly an instrument.

The envoy whom the Pasha of Egypt sent to Sennaar, related, upon his return, that the king exhibited one day a review of cavalry before him, when the envoy desired to be permitted to shew the Turkish artillery exercise, he having with him two small field-pieces mounted on camels, and three soldiers. When they began to fire, the greater part of the people fled, and many threw themselves on the ground, crying out for help. I never saw a man of these countries who dared touch my gun, unless he had been either in Egypt or Arabia; and the young men belonging to our caravan frequently got rid of troublesome visitors by laying hold of it, and saying that they were going to fire it off. If such is the case in this part of the continent, which has so much intercourse with the Turkish dominions, what must be the degree of surprise and terror upon first witnessing the effect of fire-arms among the people farther removed in the interior, where such instruments have never been seen, and scarcely heard of. This is one of the reasons which lead me to believe that with prudence and perseverance a very small body of European soldiers might make their way across these countries without opposition. Three hundred, for instance, well inured to a tropical climate, might, I am persuaded, penetrate very far into Eastern Africa. From Assouan to Sennaar they certainly would have little to apprehend. If 250 miserable Mamelouks conquered and kept possession of Dóngola, against the joint efforts of the Dongoláwy and the Sheygya, a body of experienced Europeans could not have much to fear from these Africans, divided as they are into small principalities, which possess no union among one another. The difficulties arising from fatigue, privation, and climate, might be obviated by patience and prudence; by following the banks of the rivers, where provisions and camels may be always procured, and, by selecting salubrious and elevated spots, wherein to pass the rainy season, which moreover has none of those dreadful effects experienced in the western countries of Africa. Single individuals attempting to make discoveries in the interior of this continent, through districts unfrequented by northern traders, will, I fear, always fall victims to their zeal and honourable ambition; and if the sources of the Bahr el Abyadh are ever to be discovered, it must be by an armed force. England has, by her different voyages of discovery, and her missions to explore distant countries, far surpassed all the nations of Europe: and a successful expedition through the interior of the African continent is alone wanting to render her triumph complete.

Shendy has a daily, and one large weekly market, which is frequented by all the surrounding Arabs. The common currency is the same as that at Berber, viz. Dhourra and Dammour. Slaves and camels are generally bought with dollars, or whole parties of slaves are bartered for Egyptian and Souakin merchandize. Of dollars those only are current that are coined in Spain. They are called Abou Medfaa (ﻊﻓﺪﻣ ﻮﺑﺃ), from having the supposed figure of a gun on the reverse, or Abou Amoud (ﺩﻮﻤﻋ ﻮﺑﺃ), from the columns none pass current but those with the inscription Carolus IIII., which they term Reyal Abou Areyaa (ﻊﻳﺭﺃ ﻮﺑﺃ ﻝﺎﻳﺭ), and these numerals, or lines, must be visible upon the dollar to make it pass at its full value. They say that the dollars with Carolus III. must be of less value, because they have only three lines, whence they are estimated at one-sixth below the real value. Those coined under the Ferdinands lose one-third. Austrian dollars are not taken at all. During my stay at Shendy, I found a blacksmith secretly employed in adding an I to the dollars of Charles III., for which he received two measures of Dhourra per dollar. This distinction of the numerals, it is said, was first made by the Bedouins; as it is now known amongst the merchants, little inconvenience arises from it. Gold coins have no currency; but pure gold, in small pieces, or lumps, or ear-rings, can always be procured from the Sennaar merchants at the market price. I never saw any gold dust in the possession of the traders during the whole of my journeys. The Mamelouks had sent one of their servants to Shendy with Venetian zecchins, and Turkish gold coins, in order to exchange them for dollars; the Egyptians bought them up at half their value, but they afterwards repented of it, when they recollected that they might have employed their dollars in other purchases, which would have returned them more than fifty per cent. profit in Egypt.

The market of Shendy is held upon a wide open space between the two principal quarters of the town. Three rows of small shops built of mud, one behind the other, in the shape of niches, about six feet in length by four feet in depth, and covered by mats, are occupied by the more opulent tradesmen, who carry their goods to their respective shops every morning, and back to their houses in the evening, as these shops have no door by which they can be secured. The other merchants sit upon the ground, under a kind of shed or awning of mats supported by three long poles, which can be turned in all directions, to keep off the sun, so as to afford sufficient shade to the seller and his customers at all times of the day. Similar awnings are in common use in the Hedjaz. The articles usually offered for sale in the daily market are the following:

Butchers Meat. Cows and camels are slaughtered daily for this supply, but sheep very seldom. I did not hear that they were in the habit of emasculating the animals destined for the shambles. The tallow is sold by particular merchants, who wash and cleanse it, in order to make it fit for anointing the hair and skin. Close by the butchers shops are sold pieces of roasted fat, upon which and a little Bouza, the Bedouins of the desert usually dine when they come to the town. The flesh is not weighed, but sold in lots of about two or three pounds weight. Weights, in general, are only met with in the merchants own houses; in the market they use for this purpose stones, by means of which the sellers have often an opportunity of cheating. The pound or rotolo is equal to that of Cairo.

Milk. In the morning both fresh and sour milk is brought in by Bedouin girls, and exchanged for Dhourra; they carry with them small wooden bowls, one of which the buyer fills with the grain, and receives in return three measures of milk; these girls also sell boiled chich-pease and boiled Tormous, both of which are a favourite breakfast, and called Belileh (ﻪﻠﻴﻠﺑ). Bread is never sold in the market; but there are many women living in poor huts in different parts of the town, who, for a trifling recompense, immediately grind the Dhourra, and make it into bread. It is an established custom not to eat in the market-place, nor any where in public; it is even considered very indecorous for a person to be seen chewing any food beyond the threshold of his own house: the reason of this is a superstitious notion that a hungry man may observe the eater and may envy the morsels he puts into his mouth; for there is no blessing, they say, or nutriment in food upon which another has cast an envious eye (ﺔﻛﺮﺑ ﻪﻴﻓ ﺎﻣ ﺩﻮﺴﺤﻤﻟﺃ ﻡﺎﻌﻄﻟﺃ). It is for the same reason that in the Levant, the meanest peasant never eats his dinner of bread and onions without exclaiming (ﻪﻠﻠﻤﺴﺑ) Besmillé, and inviting every one who passes by to partake with him; and he considers it a great favour if a small portion of his loaf is accepted, and as great an insult if his offer is silently refused; he expects, according to the custom of the country, that the person invited should answer him at least with the word Hannyan (ﺎﻴﻨﻫ prosit), if he does not choose to eat with him. In Turkey, this custom is not observed; and people may often be seen eating in the market places, and before their own houses. I often bought milk early in the morning in the market at Shendy, and then retired into a neighbouring hut, to drink it; but I was obliged to give the woman of the hut a handful of Dhourra for permission to do so.

Tobacco. Retail dealers in tobacco are met with in every corner of the market; the people are immoderately addicted to the use of it, and esteem it a luxury; they have not, however, the insolent custom of taking the pipes of others, like the people of Berber. The Fokara never smoke. The best tobacco comes from Sennaar, and is called Taba; when dry, it is of a dark green colour, and has much the same taste and appearance as that cultivated in the mountains of Arabia Petræa. Pipes, and pipe-heads of clay, are also imported from Sennaar. Many persons mix natron with the tobacco before they chew it. Snuff is much in use; it is made by reducing the tobacco to a fine powder, and mixing about one-third of natron to given quantities of it. They use for snuff boxes small cocoa nut shells brought from Sennaar, or very small gourds; like the inhabitants of the Hedjaz, they lay the snuff upon the thumb-nail, and never take it between the finger and thumb. The Souakin merchants take off several camel loads of the tobacco, for the Djedda and Yemen markets. Unlike the Arabs and Turks, the people of these countries spit at every whiff; and they say that he who does not, will never be a hardy bouza drinker. They squirt the spittle through the fore-teeth, a custom I should not have thought worth noticing here, had it not been a habit so totally different from that of all the Musulman smokers I ever saw.

The dealers in tobacco also sell natron, which is brought from Kordofan, whither it is imported from Darfour; and salt, from the salt mines of Boyedha; but this salt is dear, and the poor use as a substitute for it a brine, which they procure by dissolving in hot water lumps of a reddish coloured saline earth, of a bitterish, disagreeable taste, which they purchase from the Bedouins of the eastern desert; it seems to contain ochre and allum. Some of the poorer merchants sell dried Bamyes, red pepper, onions, and Meloukhye.

The grocers and druggists shops are the most frequented of any; there are always half a dozen of them opened, in which are sold cloves (ﻞﻔﻧﺮﻗ), pepper, cardamoms, (ﻝﺎﺤﻟﺃ ﺐﺣ), and tamarinds, called here Erdeyb (ﺐﻳﺩﺮﻋ), which are brought from Kordofan, in small cakes. The tamarinds are prepared by exposing the pulse together with the beans to the sun until they approach putrefaction, in which state they are kneaded into cakes. The best sort grows to the N.W. and W. of Darfour, between that country and Dar Saleht; but they abound also in the neighbourhood of Kordofan. The people of Shendy dissolve the cakes in hot water, which they drink as a refreshing beverage. Many camel loads of this excellent fruit are carried to Egypt; it is called Tamerhindy (ﻱﺪﻨﻫ ﺮﻤﺗ), the date of India, at Cairo, where it is in part imported from the East-Indies. I have seen considerable quantities of it in the hands of the Indian merchants, at Djidda, where it is called Homar (ﺮﻤﺣ); but this sort is much cheaper than the other, being loose, not made into cakes, and of an inferior quality. The Tamerhindy tree grows at Mekka and in different parts of the Hedjaz.

Sandal wood is imported from India, in considerable quantities; it forms one of the ingredients of the perfumed paste with which they rub the skin; and in cases of sickness the patient’s room is perfumed with it by strewing chips of the wood upon burning charcoal. It is sold in pieces about six inches in length. Much of it is carried to Sennaar.

Fenugreek (Helbeh, ﻪﺒﻠﺣ) is brought from Egypt, and used by the medical practitioners in this part of the country as a tonic.

The Liban (ﻥﺎﺒﻟ) is a species of gum, collected by the Bedouin Arabs who inhabit the deserts between Kordofan and Shilluk, on the road to Sennaar. It is said to exude from the stem of a tree in the same manner as gum arabic. It is sold in small thin cakes, is of a dull gray colour, very brittle, and has a strong smell. The country people use it as a perfume, but it is dear. It is much in demand for the inhabitants of Taka, and all the tribes between the Nile and the Red Sea. It is exported to Souakin; the Cairo merchants receive it from Djidda. At Cairo it is considered as the frankincense, and is called Incenso. There are two sorts, one of which is much coarser than the other. It is also imported into Djidda from Souahal, on the eastern coast of Africa, beyond Cape Gardafui; and from Abyssinia, by the way of Massouah; but this last is of an inferior quality.

Gum arahic is sold in small quantities in the markets of Shendy; but loads of it may always be had of the Sennaar or Kordofan merchants; that of which the fine white colour causes it to be most esteemed comes from Kordofan, from the districts inhabited by the Bedouins Fadhel. The trade in gum arabic by this route has of late been of little consequence, as the profits arising from it are much less than those on slaves and camels; but the Darfour caravan continues to import it. It is now, however, become scarce and dear in Egypt, and will therefore, probably, be again imported in large quantities.

Shishm (ﻢﺸﺷ), a small grain of the size and shape of the smallest lentils, of a deep black, shining colour, is imported from Darfour. It is pulverised and rubbed into the eyelids for complaints of the eyes. The Darfour caravans carry large quantities of this grain to Egypt, where it is much more in request than in the southern countries; there it is in general use amongst all classes, rather as a preserver of the eyes, than as a remedy for ophthalmia. It certainly communicates a refreshing coolness to the eye. I did not understand that any of it was exported from Egypt.

Antimony is sold in large quantities to people from all parts, and of all descriptions, to blacken the eyelids. In the open country, small pieces of antimony (Kohhel) often answer the purpose of a currency, as the peasants wives will always readily barter for it any thing that their house can afford.

A drug called Kerfé (ﻪﻓﺮﻗ), i. e. bark, is imported by the western merchants; it is a yellow-coloured bark, of considerable thickness, of a fibrous texture, and apparently belonging to a shrub, or the smaller branches of a tree, being about an inch in diameter. A decoction of it is used as an astringent in fever and dysentry; it has a very bitter taste. I was told that the tree or shrub from which this bark is procured, grows also in the mountains towards Abyssinia, in the country of the Shukorye.

I had collected small specimens of the articles above enumerated; but I unfortunately lost them through the negligence of my companions during the voyage from Souakin to Djidda. Amongst them was some of the fruit Allobé, brought from Sennaar and Kordofan. In its dry state it is of the size of a pigeon’s egg, of a brownish yellow colour, with a large kernel, inveloped in a thin fleshy substance, which has a sub-acid, and rather agreeable taste. It is eaten as a dainty; and is believed to be a remedy for flatulency, of which many people here complain. It is likewise called Tamr el berr (ﺮﺒﻟﺃ ﺮﻤﺗ), or the date of Soudan. The Allobé is said to grow on a large tree. The people of Kordofan are extremely fond of it. I have seen at Cairo a specimen of a fruit called Zakkoum, from the plains of Ramle, in Palestine, which appeared to me to be the same as the Allobé.

On the great market days, which are every Friday and Saturday, several thousands of people resort to Shendy from the distance of three or four days; the greater part of whom bring cattle for sale. Judging from the individuals I saw in the market, all these Arabs appear to be entirely of the same race, excepting only that the true Djaalein Bedouins who come from the eastern desert are much fairer-skinned than the inhabitants of the banks of the Nile, which arises probably from their taking greater care not to mix in concubinage with the negro race. I was much struck with the physiognomy of many of these Djaaleins, who had exactly the countenance and expression of features of the Bedouins of eastern Arabia; their beards are even shorter, and thinner. Some individuals of a tribe of Djaalein who border, to the south, upon the Shukorye, appeared at the market with hats on their heads, made of reeds; they were high and pointed, with broad brims, and were tied under the chin with a leather thong. They are worn both by men and women.

About four or five hundred camels, as many cows, a hundred asses, and twenty or thirty horses, were on sale on the great market-days. Every merchant then takes his stand in one of the open shops, or in the open market, and exposes part of his merchandize; for even the richest traders are not ashamed of trafficking in the minutest detail. The Egyptian, Souakin, Sennaar, and Kordofan merchants form separate corps, in the midst of which is great circle of slaves, thus exposed for sale. The country people bring to market mats, baskets, ox hides, and other skins, coarse pottery, camel saddles, wooden dishes, and other articles of their own manufacture, &c. About a dozen shoe-makers, or rather sandal-makers, from the country, work for these two days in the market, and will make a pair of sandals at an hour’s notice. The works in leather are very prettily done. The leather is tanned with the Garadh (ﺽﺮﻗ) or pulse of the acacia (Sant ﺖﻨﺳ ); the Bedouins about Sennaar are said to be the most skilful in its preparation. Leather sacks (Djerab ﺏﺍﺮﺟ, plur. ﻥﺎﺑﺮﺟ) are likewise sold here; they serve for the transport of every kind of baggage and merchandize, excepting Dhourra, gum arabic, and salt, which are carried in baskets. Many blacksmiths repair to Shendy from the country; they make and sell the small knives generally worn among these people. These knives are about eight inches long, and are worn in a leathern scabbard tied over the left elbow: they are two-edged, like those worn by the Berábera, and are of the shape here represented. [not included]

The market is so crowded, and the dust and heat are so great, during the mid-day hours, which is the favourite time for transacting business, that I was unable to remain in the market-place many hours together, and always left one of my companions in charge of the little I had to sell. In different parts of the place are stationed peasants with jars of water, which they sell to the thirsty, at the rate of a handful of Dhourra for as much water as two persons can drink. Several of the Fakys have water cisterns in the courtyards of their houses, which are always kept full, and at which every one may drink gratis. Many of them have likewise small chapels annexed to their dwellings. There is no mosque in the whole place.

The only artizans I saw at Shendy were blacksmiths, silversmiths, who work very coarse ornaments for the women, tanners, potters, and carpenters. If a house is to be built, the owner, his relatives, and slaves, with a few labourers, execute the masonry, and the carpenter is only called in to lay the roof and make the doors. Like the Bedouins of the desert, these Arabs are their own artizans upon all ordinary occasions.

There are no weavers at Shendy, but all the women and grown up children, and many of the men, are seen with a distaff constantly in their hands, spinning cotton yarn, which they sell to the people of Berber. The distaff, Mugzil (ﻝﺰﻐﻣ), resembles that used in Egypt and Syria. Cotton is cultivated in this neighbourhood, and is a general produce of all the countries on the banks of the Nile, although nowhere in any great quantity, except at Damer and about Sennaar.

The wholesale trade at Shendy is principally conducted through the agency of brokers. Most of these are Dongoláwy, who seem, in general, to be the most acute and intelligent traders of this part of the country. A caravan no sooner arrives, than every merchant’s house is crowded with brokers; but the avidity and parsimony of all parties are too great to allow them to bring their transactions to a speedy conclusion. Even after the bargain is made, each party endeavours to cheat the other before the goods are delivered and the money paid. In addition to this, every attempt to enter into an engagement of any importance becomes known all over the place, and the jealousy of the traders often prevents its taking place. No merchandize has its fixed price; there is no such thing as a price current; every one sells according to the prospect he has of cheating the buyer and bribing the broker. The purchase money, or in cases of barter, its equivalent in merchandize, is almost always immediately paid down; the longest credit I have witnessed is a couple of days; and it is evident, on the termination of every commercial transaction, that the buyer and seller reciprocally entertain suspicions of each others honesty. To oblige a debtor to settle his accounts, recourse is generally had to the slaves of the Mek, who act as police officers; but a man who is unprotected, and without friends, is sure to lose the greater part of his goods, if he allows them to go out of his hands without immediate payment.

I shall now briefly mention the different articles of the trade of Shendy with Egypt, Kordofan, Sennaar, and Souakin; premising, however, that I remained too short a time to collect the fullest and most correct information on that subject.

The principal articles imported from Egypt are the Sembil (ﻞﺒﻨﺳ), and Mehleb (ﺐﻠﺤﻣ), both of which are in great request in Soudan; the former as a perfume and medicine, the latter as a condiment, and occasionally as a medicine also. The traders usually sell them together, in the proportion of about three parts of Sembil to one of Mehleb. Thus, in general, each camel load contains about 350 pounds of the former, and 120 pounds of the latter; but sometimes it consists of equal quantities of each. The loads of these articles are termed exclusively Zamele (ﻪﻠﻣﺍﺯ), i. e. the full, or great load. Every respectable merchant coming from Egypt brings with him two Zameles. In the caravan with which I came there were eight, distributed amongst thirty-nine camels, the whole number of the beasts of transport. The Zamele is easily disposed of, in wholesale, to the Sennaar merchants, who give, in exchange, dollars, Dammour, and slaves.

There is much less demand for these drugs in the west than in the south of Africa. In the countries to the north of Abyssinia, in those south of Sennaar, and in Abyssinia itself, they are in constant use, and besides what passes by land, considerable quantities are shipped from Djidda to Massouah, for the Abyssinian market. They are here at least 250 per cent. dearer than at Cairo. The Egyptians sometimes push on as far as Sennaar, if they cannot find a ready sale for their Zamele at Shendy.

Soap. The soap which supplies all Egypt and Arabia, is manufactured at Gazé, Yaffa, Hebron, and Jerusalem. No good soap has hitherto been made in Egypt itself; there are several manufactories of it at Siout, but it is of a very inferior kind, the oil which they employ being made from the lettuce, instead of the olive. The Pasha of Egypt, however, has lately established, under the direction of an able Italian, a soap manufactory in the Delta. The oil is brought from the Archipelago, and the natron lakes furnish the alkali. Soap is a very profitable article, and in great demand in all parts of the southern countries, but it exposes the merchant to the importunities of numerous beggars of all classes, whose commonest intreaty is for a piece of soap to wash their shirt, and whom it is not always advisable to send away unsatisfied. Soap is sold at Shendy by the piece, without examining into its greater or smaller size. This is likewise the case with sugar. The loaf, weighing about four pounds, and the prime cost of which in the sugar works of Upper Egypt is one-sixth of a dollar, is sold for a dollar at Shendy. Its dearness is owing to the great risks incurred in transporting it, as a sudden fall of rain on the road might ruin a whole cargo.

Sugar is much in demand in all parts, for presents to the great people, and to the women. It is always eaten by itself, never entering into any dish of sweetmeats, or cookery.

The other chief imports of Egyptian manufacture are Takas, a sort of coarse cambric, died blue, with which the women, especially the Bedouin women, line their best clokes. It is sold in small pieces, one of which, when I was at Shendy, was worth a dollar; it is the most current article of merchandize in small bargains, and is principally bought up by the Kordofan merchants. It is everywhere very acceptable, as it serves to pay the local authorities, when dollars are not at hand. White cotton stufs, with red borders, made at Mehalla, in the Delta; they are worn by the great people, especially at Sennaar. Melayes, a blue striped cotton cloth, in which the women of distinction wrap themselves up when they sleep. The Darfour caravans also take from Egypt, as presents to kings and other great persons, scarlet cloth, and some velvet, satin, and gold-embroidered stuffs, of the lighter kind, from Lyons and Florence, together with a variety of English calicoes and cambrics. Linen made at Siout and Monfalout is in great request for shirts, but is too dear to be commonly worn. Egyptian Sheep-skins, dressed with the wool on, form also a considerable article of importation. They are used as saddlecloths for the horses, dromedaries, and asses, of the natives, and as carpets to sit upon in their women’s apartments. They are often died blue or red, and find their way to the farthest parts of the west and south. No chief of a tribe, or head of a village, is without one of these skins. The sheep of the southern countries bear no wool.

Beads. I have already mentioned the use of beads in these countries, as a kind of currency. The most common are small wooden beads, made by the turners of Upper Egypt, which are bought up chiefly by the Bedouin and other peasants. Others, of which the chief manufactory is at Déndera in Upper Egypt, are made of the kernels of the Doum, and are worn by all those who wish to distinguish themselves by an appearance of sanctity. A variety of beads, of a red and black colour, are imported from Jerusalem. There is hardly a man, woman, or, child, without a string or two of beads round the neck, or arm, or in their hands. Glass beads (Kherraz ﺯﺮﺧ) have not the same currency here as they have in Abyssinia and Darfour, though they are constantly seen in the market. The better sort are of Venetian manufacture, but the greater part are made at El Khalil (or Hebron, near Jerusalem), which furnishes the whole of southern Syria, and the greatest part of Egypt, and of Arabia, with glass ware. The white glass beads of Bohemia, called by the Italians Contaria d’Olanda, go to Darfour. Of Venetian glass beads, from four to five hundred chests, of ten cwt. each, are sold annually at Cairo, at from fifty to one hundred patacks per cwt., or from 4l. to 8l. I had an opportunity, when at Djidda, of seeing the beads destined for the Abyssinian market, of which I counted at least a dozen varieties, each known by its name, as, Om Shaher (ﺮﻬﺷ ﻡﺃ, the renowned), Serdj el Melouk (ﻙﻮﻠﻤﻟﺃ ﺝﺮﺳ, the king’s saddle), Ayn el Kahba (ﻪﺒﺤﻘﻟﺃ ﻦﻴﻋ, the whore’s eye), Alowan (ﻥﺍﻮﻟﺃ, the many-coloured), Khams djenous (ﺱﻮﻨﺟ ﺲﻤﺧ, the five sorts), Hassan Beg (ﻚﺑ ﻦﺴﺣ), Othman Beg (ﻚﺑ ﻦﻤﺜﻋ), all different species. Every district there has its particular glass bead, which is not in fashion in the neighbouring districts. The Souakin merchants import into Shendy a species of beads called Reysh (ﺶﻳﺭ), which are bought up exclusively by the Kordofan merchants, and which form the principal article of exchange for slaves, in their own country: they are likewise in demand at Darfour, Dar Saleh, and Bergho, to the west of Darfour. The Reysh come from the East Indies, principally from Surat; they are perforated balls of coloured agate, of the size of a small cherry, much resembling the marbles with which the children in Europe play. One thousand of these Reysh were worth, at Djidda, fifteen Spanish dollars. At Shendy they are sold at three Wokyes, or forty-eight dollars; and I was told that at Kordofan one thousand of them would purchase six female slaves, who, on being carried to Shendy, are there worth one hundred and twenty dollars. The Reysh are worn as necklaces by the women. The trade in this article is considered as one of the most profitable, because the beads are easily transported, and may escape the notice of the chiefs of the country.

Coral (Merdjan ﻥﺎﺟﺮﻣ) of a bad kind is brought in small quantities; the tribes of the chiefs adorn their necks with it, and also with amber. False coral (Merdjan kudab ﺏﺍﺪﻛ ﻥﺎﺟﺮﻣ) comes from Venice, and goes principally to the western countries. Of amber the transparent kind only is in request.

Paper (Papier de trois limes, from Genoa and Leghorn), is rather a heavy article here; it is more in demand in the western countries, to which it is carried by the Darfour caravans: it is, however, always found in the warehouses of the Egyptians. Pewter (Gasdir ﺮﻳﺪﺼﻗ) in thin bars, in small quantity. Old copper, principally large boilers, and pots, which are bought up by the slave traders, for their own use. Yellow brass wire (Selk Asfar ﺮﻔﺻﺃ ﻚﻠﺳ), for which there is a great demand throughout all these countries, for ornamenting the lances, by twisting it round different parts of the shaft.

Of hardware, the most current articles are razors, of that quality which, in Germany, from whence they come, may be worth three pence each; at Cairo, they are sold wholesale for twelve paras apiece. Files, almost all of which are transformed into knives, in order to obtain a good steel blade. Thimbles, scissars, needles, all of the coarsest kind, of Nuremberg manufacture; Nails, steels to strike fire; Sword-blades, of the kind, which I have already described, and which are in common use all over the Black countries to the east of the Fezzan trade. They come from Sohlingen in Germany; about three thousand of them are annually sold at Cairo to the southern traders. Antimony, in small lumps. Tar (Gitran ﻥﺍﺮﻄﻗ), with which water-skins are rubbed, to make them water-tight, and the backs of camels, to preserve them from the scab, or to cure them of that disease. Silver trinkets for female ornaments, as bracelets, ear-rings, &c.; of these the Darfour caravans take off considerable quantities from Egypt. Very small bells (sonaglii), with which they ornament, in Sennaar and Darfour, the camel’s bridle and halter. Marcasite (Roh toutiya ﻪﻴﺗﻮﺗ ﺡﻭﺭ) goes likewise to Sennaar and Darfour. Looking-glasses of Venetian and Trieste manufacture, with gilt covers, constitute a distinguished article of the Egyptian trade; the most common kinds are about four inches square; others are round, of about the same size, with a long handle, made at Cairo. No woman marries here without decorating her room with such a looking-glass.

Since the Mamelouks have established themselves in Dóngola, every Egyptian caravan brings to Shendy some articles of Mamelouk dress, as cloths, shoes, &c., which are purchased by the Dóngola merchants. Until lately the direct trade between Upper Egypt and Dóngola was prohibited by the Pasha of Egypt, and the merchants preferred this circuitous route to the danger of having their goods confiscated. During the warfare between the Mamelouks and the Sheygya, the former sent the greater part of their women to Shendy, as a place less exposed to the casualties of desultory warfare; they afterwards recalled them, but some were still there when I arrived, making themselves ridiculous by their arrogance and pretensions.

The Egyptian trade is, in general, carried on with very small capitals. I do not believe that there is a single merchant, the whole amount of whose stock exceeds fifteen hundred Spanish dollars. The family of the Alowein, with whom I came from Daraou, and who formed of themselves a party of about a dozen people, had no more than a thousand dollars embarked in their adventure. The common class of merchants have from two to three hundred dollars; even this money is seldom their own property; in general it is either borrowed by them in Upper Egypt, at high interest, or their merchandize is bought at Esne, Kenne, or even at Cairo, upon credit: the reason is, that no truly respectable merchant of Egypt ever engages in such enterprizes. A journey to Soudan is looked upon, even in Egypt, as a desperate undertaking, in which those only embark who have little or nothing to lose; and in general, the traffic in slaves, or, as it is often called in Egypt, the trade in human flesh (ﻡﺩﺃ ﻦﺑ ﻢﺣﻟ ﻲﻓ ﺏﺒﺴﺘﻟﺃ) is by no means thought creditable. The people of Daraou, however, find credit, and might easily accumulate riches, if they were not so incorrigibly vicious and dissipated, spending the best part of their profits in drinking and debauchery. The money which they borrow in Upper Egypt, and for which they generally pledge their houses or landed property, as security, is lent to them at an interest of fifty per cent. for the journey, whatever length of time they may remain absent; and the goods which are bought upon credit in Egypt, on condition of payment upon their return, are sold to them at a price raised in the same proportion. The Daraou merchants train their children, at a very early age, to this commerce. Several boys, hardly ten years of age, followed their fathers in the caravan with which I travelled from Daraou; and when once embarked in this traffic, they perform at least two journeys annually until their latest years. I have seen people at Daraou, who boasted that their great, great grandfathers (ﻱﺪﺟ ﺪﺟ) had been Sennaar merchants.

The Darfour merchants have at Cairo the reputation of being much better paymasters than those of the eastern route; they have also much larger capitals embarked in their trade, and are entrusted with more considerable sums upon credit, especially at Siout, where many of them make their purchases. It may easily be conceived, from what I have already said of the prices of several articles of trade, that the profits of the Egyptians are very great. In fact there is not a single article of Egyptian or European manufacture, which is not sold at Shendy at double or triple its prime cost in Egypt, and the products of the southern countries yield as great a profit when sold in Egypt. The rapacity of the chiefs through whose territories the caravans pass, the expense of transport across the desert, the feeding of the slaves, the tribute paid to the Ababdes, and the duties laid upon the trade by the Pasha of Egypt, are indeed heavy drawbacks, but still the profits are very considerable; and I am certain that a well chosen assortment of goods carried from Daraou to Shendy, leaves, after the sale of the return-cargo at Daraou, a clear gain of one hundred and fifty per cent., according to the most moderate calculation. I have heard of Zameles, or camel loads of Sembil and Mehleb, which, after having been exchanged at Shendy for slaves, produced at Cairo a profit of almost five hundred per cent. Of late, the Egyptian merchants have found dollars the most beneficial article of importation from Europe, because with dollars camels can be immediately procured in any quantity; but this preference will last only as long as camels continue to be in great demand in Egypt, for the transport between Kenne and Kosseir, and for the supply of the Turkish army in the Hedjaz.

There are a few instances of wealthy merchants from Egypt having come to Shendy with large capitals, as Bakim Aga, a Smyrniote by birth, who, eight or ten years ago, left Egypt with about twenty loaded camels, but who died at Shendy: his property fell a prey to the Mek, and no one has since made a similar attempt. The entire amount of the capital invested by the Egyptian merchants in the Soudan trade, I calculate to be from sixty to eighty thousand dollars, but as this sum produces a profit twice, and sometimes thrice in one year, according to the number of journeys, the whole value of the imports into these countries from Egypt, may be computed at about fifteen hundred, or two thousand dollars per annum. No dollars are re-exported from the Negro countries; they are dispersed or hoarded by the chiefs and other persons, and thus Soudan becomes a continual drain for a part of the silver of Europe.

The trade might be much improved, either by regularity in the departure of the caravans (they might quit Daraou, for instance, every two months), or by establishing factories at Berber and Shendy; for at present, caravans from all parts are often kept waiting for months for the arrival of others, to which alone they can dispose of their goods. The Nubian desert is indeed crossed almost every fortnight by small parties of adventurers; but they trade at every place on the road, and Egyptian goods can seldom be found in any quantity at Shendy (and I suppose it is the same at Sennaar), except after the arrival of the large caravans, the departure of which from Daraou is at present quite irregular. The Sennaar caravan sets out from Upper Egypt generally once a year, and returns the next year. It rests at Berber, Damer, and Shendy, and is often from two to three months on its way from Daraou to Sennaar. This caravan consists of three or four hundred men, and several hundred camels, and it is joined on its return by many Sennaar traders, chiefly agents of the king of Sennaar and his vizier, who are the principal merchants at that place. It was with this caravan that the Pasha of Egypt sent last year an envoy to Sennaar, for the purpose, as it was said, of exciting the king against the Mamelouks, and at the same time of informing himself of the practicability of invading the country with a Turkish army. Notwithstanding the contrary assertions of the government of Egypt, it is certain that the ambassador was much slighted, and narrowly escaped ill treatment in the road. He carried to the king of Sennaar presents of shawls, muslins, arms, &c. to the amount of three or four thousand dollars; in return for which the king sent to Mohammed Aly three or four ugly female slaves, some leopard skins, a civet cat, two monkeys, and a young lion, which died in its passage through the desert; the whole present was worth, at Sennaar, about eighty dollars. During my stay in Arabia I was informed that an embassy sent by Mohammed Aly to Abyssinia, had had a still less agreeable issue. Mohammed having taken possession of the town and harbour of Massouah, where, until that time, the Sherif of Mekka had kept his collector of customs, and having thus become a neighbour of the Abyssinians, thought it necessary to place himself upon good terms with the king of Gondar, preferring, by these means, to counteract any efforts which the Mamelouks might make in that direction, while he gratified his vanity in causing it to be said that the celebrity of his name had reached even the most inaccessible parts of Africa. The ambassador, however, was stopped at Axum by Ras Weled Selase, in the same manner as Mr. Salt had been, some years before. Selase took the presents destined for the king, and sent the Pasha, in return, a white linen shirt (the dress of the country), and one hundred Spanish dollars, as a subsidy for his expenses in the Wahabi campaign.

Caravans from Sennaar arrive at Shendy every six weeks, or two months. Whenever they bring Dhourra, the number of their loaded camels amounts to five or six hundred; but if they have only goods and slaves, they seldom have one hundred camels with them. The principal import from Sennaar is the Dammour, or cotton stuff, which is in use not only along the banks of the Nile, as far as Dóngola, but in Kordofan, in a great part of Darfour, and Abyssinia, and throughout the whole of Nubia east of the Nile, as far as the Red Sea. This article is always in great demand, and is therefore taken in exchange for almost every article of trade. The cotton manufactories of Sennaar, and those of Bagerme, to the west of Darfour, furnish the greater part of northeastern Africa with articles of dress.

Gold is the second article in the Sennaar trade. It is purchased by the merchants of Sennaar from the Abyssinian traders; but I have not been able exactly to ascertain in what province of western Abyssinia it is found. The principal market for gold appears to be Ras el Fil, a station in the caravan route from Sennaar to Gondar, four days journeys from the former. This route is at present much frequented by Sennaar traders, as well as by that class of Abyssinian merchants called Djebert (ﺕﺮﺒﺟ), who appear to be the chief slave and gold traders of that country. I have never heard of a single Egyptian merchant who ever pushed on as far as Ras el Fil; for although the road is not unsafe, yet every body seems to be afraid in these countries of undertaking distant journeys unaccompanied by a large party of his own countrymen. The jealousy of all classes of merchants is very great, and their known treachery prevents single adventurers from trusting themselves to their mercy, or good faith.

The Djebert above mentioned often repair to Sennaar, chiefly in search of Negro slaves; and I have reason to believe that the route from Sennaar through Ras el Fil to Gondar, and from thence to the coast, may be safely travelled in time of internal peace. The gold imported from Sennaar is principally bought up by the Souakin traders, who carry it to Djidda, where it is given in payment for India goods. It is seldom purchased by the Egyptian merchants, as it is not very profitable. At Sennaar the ounce of pure gold is worth twelve dollars; at Shendy, sixteen; at Souakin, twenty; at Djidda, twenty-two. Although the Souakin merchants might purchase at Shendy many articles more profitable than gold, they often prefer it on account of its easy transport, and the facility with which they can secrete it, and avoid paying any duty on the road.

Slaves are also brought to Shendy by the merchants of Sennaar. Since the direct caravan route from Sennaar to Kordofan has been interrupted, principally by the robberies and the rapacity of the Arabs of Shilluk, at the passage of the Bahr el Abyadh, this is the only route open to them. The slaves are chiefly either Abyssinians or of the race called Nouba (sing. Nebowy, ﻩﻮﺒﻧ). The former consist principally of females of the Gala nations, and of a few Amaaras. Upon the whole, the number of Abyssinians sent to the northward by Shendy is small. The best female Abyssinians are always purchased by the chiefs for their own harems; and in Arabia and Egypt Abyssinian slaves may be had cheaper by the Djebert traders from Massouah, who sell them at Djidda. I think that not more than one hundred female Abyssinian slaves are annually exported from Sennaar either to Souakin or to Egypt. Latterly the Mamelouks have bought up many of them, the Abyssinians being remarked above all other black women for their beauty, and for the warmth and constancy of their affection to the master who has once taught them to love him.

The name of Nouba is given to all the Blacks coming from the slave countries to the south of Sennaar. The territory of Sennaar extends, as far as I could learn from the merchants of the country, ten days journey beyond the city, in a south and south-east direction, and is inhabited exclusively by free Arab tribes, who make incursions into the more southern mountains, and carry off the children of the idolaters. These Nouba slaves (among whom must also be reckoned those who are born in the neighbourhood of Sennaar, of male Negroes and female Abyssinians; and who are afterwards sold by the masters of the parents) form a middle class between the true Blacks and the Abyssinians; their colour is less dark than that of the Negroe, and has a copper tinge, but it is darker than that of the free Arabs of Sennaar and Shendy. Their features, though they retain evident signs of Negroe origin, have still something of what is called regular; their noses, though smaller than those of the Europeans, are less flat than those of the Negroes; their lips are less thick, and the cheek-bones not so prominent. The hair of some is woolly; but among the greater part it is similar to the hair of Europeans, but stronger, and always curled. The palm of their hands is soft, a circumstance by which they particularly distinguish themselves from the true Negroe, whose hands, when touched feel like wood.

The male Noubas in Egypt, as well as in Arabia, are preferred to all others, for labour: they bear a good character, and sell at Shendy and in Egypt twenty per cent. dearer than the Negroes. The male Abyssinians, on the contrary, are known to be little fit for bodily work, but they are esteemed for their fidelity, and make excellent house servants, and often clerks, their intellects being certainly much superior to those of the Blacks. The Noubas are said to be of a healthier constitution, and to suffer less from disease than the Abyssinians. The greatest part of them are exported to Egypt; but some are sent to Souakin.

Ivory. Elephants teeth are bought up by the Egyptian merchants, but in small quantities. This branch of commerce seems to have been formerly much more flourishing; but at present there is little demand for ivory in Egypt, probably because Europe draws its supplies cheaper from Barbary and the East Indies. The importation of ivory, however, from Darfour into Egypt is still of some importance, though ivory often fails entirely in the market of Cairo.

The Negroes seem never to have known the art of taming the elephant; they catch him in pits, or kill him by discharging a shower of javelins from the trees under which he passes. The flesh is said to be eaten near Sennaar.

Rhinoceros horns; in Egyptian Arabic called Khartit (ﺖﻴﺗﺮﺧ). The rhinoceros is called in the Negroe countries Om Korn (ﻥﺮﻗ ﻡﺃ), or, the mother (i. e. the owner) of the one horn; it is evidently from this animal that the imaginary unicorn has had its origin. The Arabs have often described to me the rhinoceros as an animal like a large cow, with thick legs, and a short tail, with one long horn on its forehead, and having a skin like large scales, as hard as iron. Whenever I described the unicorn, and asked them whether such an animal, with a long horn existed, they never failed to point out the Om Korn, as the animal I meant. The rhinoceros inhabits the neighbourhood of Sennaar, but never the countries of the Nile to the north of that place. Its northern boundary, like that of the elephant, seems to be the mountain to the north of the village of Abou Heraze, two days journeys from Sennaar, which advances close to the river, and thus intercepts the passage along its banks. Neither of these animals is known at Shendy, or at Halfaya, which is two days to the south of the former place. The Khartit, or horn of the rhinoceros, is worked at Cairo into ornaments for the handles of swords and poniards, to be mounted in the Mamelouk fashion. It is dear; I have seen pieces about four inches long, and one inch thick, sold for four or five Spanish dollars each.

The Musk of the civet-cat is not sold at Shendy; but the Souakin merchants who visit Sennaar bring with them small quantities of it, which they sell again at Djidda. The principal markets for this article are Massouah, and Mekka, during the Hadj. It is brought to Cairo by the Djidda merchants.

The Whips above mentioned, called Korbadj, are imported from Sennaar only.

Ebony is brought in small pieces; the largest I saw were about one foot in length. The wood is said to grow to the south of Sennaar; but, I suspect, at a great distance, as it is very dear. Knife handles, neatly worked in ebony, are brought from Sennaar; the knives, which are worn tied over the elbow by the Arabs of those countries, are afterwards fitted into them. The Djellabs, or slave merchants, do not carry any ebony into Egypt, Cairo being supplied with it from Djidda; but I understand that it grows in the deserts adjoining to Darfour on the west.

Coffee-beans, in small quantity, the growth of Abyssinia and the Gala country. None of these are carried from Massouah to Djidda, as the coffee plant grows in the most western parts of Abyssinia only. Coffee is not commonly drank here; it is a luxury in which the chiefs alone indulge.

Leather. The best manufactories of leather, between Darfour and the Red Sea, are at Sennaar. The manufacturers exercise their skill chiefly in making camel saddles ﺔﻌﺼﻗ Gassaat), leathern sacks, and sandals. The first are exported to Egypt for the dromedaries, or riding-camels, and are sold there as high as twenty dollars. They are ornamented with many pretty leathern tassels, and are of workmanship equally elegant and durable. The leathern sacks are bought up by the Souakin merchants, and sold by them to the inhabitants of Yemen, who use them for carrying provisions in travelling; they are extremely well sewed; some of them are secured with a padlock: great numbers of them were formerly sold at Mekka to the Wahabi by the Souakin people. The leather is of the best quality, much superior to that made in Egypt and Syria, and almost as good as the Russia leather. The Sennaar sandals are worn by all the well-dressed men and women throughout Nubia; a young woman had rather wear a torn shirt than ugly sandals. They are sown with a precision and nicety little to be expected from the rude Arabs. At Shendy the best sandals cost two dollars a pair. Every place in these countries has a peculiar fashion in the form of the sandals worn by its inhabitants; so that, with a little experience, the residence of every man may be ascertained by looking at his feet. The same custom prevails in Arabia; and I remember, that when I first arrived at Djidda, wearing a pair of sandals which I had bought at Souakin, many persons, who knew nothing of me, pointed to my sandals, and asked what business I had had at Souakin.

Small water flasks (ﻩﺮﻬﻄﻣ Mattharah, or ﻪﻴﻣﺰﻣﺯ Zamzamieh), made of leather, which are much esteemed in Egypt.

To the imports of Sennaar belong likewise the Shields made of the skins of the rhinoceros and giraffa; they are made by the Bedouin Arabs, who sell them at Sennaar, and they are used all along the Nile, and across the mountains, as far as Kosseir and Kenne, in Upper Egypt.

The fruit of the Nebek, the fleshy part of which is separated from the stone, and dried in the sun; it is put up in small leathern bags and carried as far as Souakin; it affords a very agreeable provision during a journey.

The most important articles of the Sennaar trade at Shendy are camels and Dhourra, without the continual importation of which Shendy would soon be in danger of famine. The Dhourra caravans usually perform the journey by themselves, the merchants seldom joining them, but forming caravans of their own. They are more wealthy people than the Egyptian traders; and it is not rare to see a man possessing ten camel loads of Dammour, and a whole party of slaves. I was told the name of a Sennaar merchant who bought at Shendy the entire loads of an Egyptian caravan, consisting of thirty camels.

Honey, in considerable quantity, is also imported from Sennaar. As far as I could understand, the Arabs about Sennaar collect wild honey in great quantity, but do not trouble themselves with keeping beehives near their own houses.

I did not learn that any passage duties, or customs, are exacted at Sennaar; the only obstacle thrown in the way of trade is that the king always forces his own merchandize upon the buyer, before the private adventurers can enter into any bargains. The Sennaar merchants take in return from the Egyptian traders Sembil and Mehleb, in large quantities, sugar, soap, and almost every article of the Egyptian and Souakin markets. Since the interruption of the direct communication between Sennaar and Kordofan, the inhabitants of the former place have been known to buy at Shendy Negro slaves brought from Kordofan, which they can obtain here at lower prices than their own Nouba slaves at Sennaar. During my residence at Shendy, the route along the Nile to Sennaar was rendered dangerous, from the disputes that had arisen between the Meks of Halfaya and Herbadjy; the caravans therefore preferred taking the desert route, which lies parallel with the river, at about one day’s journey inland, as far as Abou Heraze, where they again join the river; a single well is met with in this route, at about three days from Shendy, and this even is sometimes not taken into the road, on account of the visits of the Bedouins Shukorye, of whom the Sennaar people entertain great fears.

The arrival of the Kordofan caravans at Shendy is quite uncertain, and depends upon the caprice of the governor of Kordofan, who often prevents the departure of merchants, in order to increase his own commercial profits. Three months sometimes elapse without any arrival, after which they come in rapid succession. The road from Obeydh (ﺾﻴﺑﺃ) (not Ibeit, as Browne writes it), the capital of Kordofan, to Shendy, is quite safe; it is performed in about fourteen days, of which the five last are through a desert without water. With the Kordofan caravans arrive also merchants from Darfour; and the intercourse between Kobé, the capital of Darfour, and Obeydh, is said to be at present very brisk, and quite safe. Kordofan has no other slaves than those brought from Darfour; its own people, it seems, do not traffic with the southern Negro countries; but since the arrival of the Mamelouks in Dóngola, a direct trade has been opened between that country and Kordofan, the northern limits of which are said to be only six days distance from the frontiers of Dóngola.

The arrival of every Kordofan caravan at Shendy fills the market with slaves, who constitute the principal import from thence. The Kordofan merchants bring likewise gum arabic, of the best quality known in the Negro countries; Erdeyb, or Tamarinds; the gum Leban; Natron from Darfour; Sheshme, the seed used in Egypt for diseases of the eye; Shooshe, a small pea of Kordofan and Darfour growth; the latter are of a fine pink colour, with a small black spot at one end, and are worn in strings as necklaces. They sell also ropes of leather. The inhabitants of the countries on the Nile make their ropes and cords of the fibrous inner bark of the palm date-tree, called Lif (ﻒﻴﻟ), or of reeds which grow on the banks of river; but all the western nations, where no date-trees grow, use for their packages twisted leathern thongs, which are of great solidity and strength, a very important advantage in travelling through the deserts with heavily loaded camels. These ropes are sold to the Egyptian and Souakin merchants, as are likewise large leathern sacks made of very thick ox-leather in Kordofan and Darfour. These sacks are used for the transport of Dhourra meal through the desert for the food of the slaves. Large water-skins (Rey ﻱﺭ) made of ox-hides, in which traders who have many slaves transport water through the desert: two of these Reys make a camel’s load; they keep the water much better than the smaller goats skins, and the thickness of the leather prevents it from evaporating so readily. Reys are a considerable article of commerce between Darfour and Egypt; they are used in all the towns of Egypt, and particularly at Cairo, to transport the water from the river to the town, for the daily use of the inhabitants. The Kordofan merchants bring likewise water-skins made of sheep-skins, in the manufacture of which great skill is shown, because the skins are preserved entire. The animals are killed by cutting off the head; and those who slaughter them possess an art, unknown to the Arabian Bedouins, of taking off the skin without cutting it, by introducing the hand at the aperture in the throat, armed with a small knife, and thus separating it entirely from the carcase. A Kordofan water-skin has thus no seams but where the legs are cut off, while the common ones are sewed up on three sides. Another import from Kordofan are large wooden dishes, or bowls, carved, as it is said, out of the root of some tree; they are rubbed with butter, and then held over the fire, to give them a black colour. These bowls often supply the place of the China ware, vessels, dishes, cups, &c. which in the more polite parts of the East are placed upon shelves along the walls of the sitting-room, as ornaments. Some of these bowls are large enough to contain sufficient food for twelve persons; they are very nicely worked; not the smallest trace of the instruments with which they are formed can be observed.

Ostrich feathers brought by the Kordofan merchants are also in great request. These merchants are people of moderate property; the greater part of them have wives at Shendy and at Darfour, as well as at Obeydh; they buy up slaves at Darfour, remain awhile with their families at Obeydh, and then bring their slaves to Shendy. They have a better character for honesty than the people of Sennaar, but the favourable opinion entertained of them does not induce any one to trust them with goods upon credit. They take in return from Shendy, a little Sembil and Mehleb, some antimony and beads, a good deal of spices, especially cloves, which are in great demand all over the western countries; a little hardware; Dammour from Sennaar; Egyptian linen; Indian cotton stuffs imported from Souakin; a few silk and cloth dresses from the Hedjaz, which are worn by the chiefs, who seem to be extremely fond of gaudy showy dresses, as a mark of distinction; some coffee-beans; but above all, Reysh, or Indian agate beads. The common currency of Kordofan, besides Dhourra, is said to be small pieces of iron, with which milk, flesh, and Dhoken bread, are bought in the market. These pieces of iron are collected and worked into axes and spear-heads. Cows are likewise taken as a medium of exchange. Slaves are often bought for so many cows; wild herbage for their food is so abundant, that nobody objects to keeping large numbers of those animals in their court-yards.

The most substantial of all the traders who at present frequent the Shendy market are the people from Souakin, or as they are more commonly called in this part of Africa, the Hadharebe, or Hadharame, that is, people of Hadremaut, in South Arabia, from whence they draw their origin. Some of these traders are always found at Shendy: during my stay there two caravans took their departure for Souakin, and one large party arrived; and no month passes without some arrivals from that quarter. The Hadhareb also visit the Sennaar market; their caravans to that place either take the road by Shendy, or the nearer one by Goz Radjeb, on the Atbara, from whence they proceed straight across the desert to Sennaar. Some of the Hadharebe also frequent Obeydh in Kordofan, but not in sufficient numbers to form a caravan of their own, and they therefore join the native traders. Their caravans are hailed at Shendy by the Sennaar and Kordofan people, as the promptest purchasers of their goods; but they create great jealousy among the Egyptians, whose rivals they are in various articles of import. The Souakin trade supplies Shendy principally with India goods. Different sorts of cambric (ﺖﻔﺑ Baft, and another sort called ﻩﻮﻨﺑ Benoueh) from Madras and Surat; and coarse muslins from Bengal are partly wanted for the use of the Shendy and Sennaar inhabitants themselves; but the greater part is given in exchange to the Kordofan merchants for slaves. They bring also spices, especially cloves, ginger (Zandjebil ﻞﻴﺒﺠﻧﺯ), India sugar, Mokha beads, as they are called, though none are made at Mokha; sandal wood, which is an article of consequence, and finds its way from hence to the countries west of Darfour, as far as Bagermé; and all the articles of hardware imported by the Egyptians, in which, however, the latter can afford to undersell them. They also bring the Dhofer, which is taken by the Sennaar and Darfour merchants. It is the shell of an animal found in the Red Sea, cut into small pieces, and used as a perfume, emitting a pleasant odour when held over the fire. The pieces of the Dhofer, cut like beads, are much esteemed in the Hedjaz and Egypt, where the ladies wear them as necklaces; they are of a black, or dark blue colour, with veins of a lighter hue. The people of Souakin export them likewise to Djidda.

The Hadharebe take in return gold, slaves (Abyssinians in preference), and all the other articles of the Negro trade, except gum arabic; though they sometimes take this article also, and sell it at Mokha, to English and American traders. Every Souakin caravan purchases at Shendy a number of horses of the Dóngola breed, which they sell to great advantage in Yemen, at Hodeyda, Loheya, and as far south as Mokha. The cavalry of the Sherif Hamoud, the present chief of Yemen, are mounted almost entirely upon horses from Dóngola, for the good breed of native Arab horses is very scarce in Yemen.

The Souakin caravans, that go as far as Sennaar, bring from thence a large quantity of tobacco, which they sell in the Yemen. These merchants enjoy more credit at Shendy than any others, because they are the richest and most numerous, all free Arabs themselves, not peasants, like those of Upper Egypt, or Blacks, like those of Kordofan; but composed chiefly of the best families of Souakin, and who are prompt to revenge an insult offered to any individual amongst them. They are always treated very politely by the Mek, to whom they make larger presents than any other traders. But I shall recur to this subject hereafter, under the head of Souakin, which at present is, next to Massouah and Cairo, the most important slave-trading place in north-eastern Africa, beyond the limits of Soudan.

The Dóngola trade is of little consequence at Shendy. The Dongoláwy bring dates, which they buy up in Mahass, and tobacco, the growth of their own country. Dates are sent to Sennaar and to Kordofan as presents to the chiefs, and are there considered, next to sugar, the most exquisite dainty they have.

The female slaves who have served an apprenticeship in the houses at Dóngola are eagerly sought for by all traders, as expert cooks, and good servants.

From the concurrence of all these traders, Shendy has become the first commercial town in the Black countries for the Egyptian and Arabian slave trade. These two trades, and the Abyssinian, are closely allied to each other, and merchants of all the three countries occasionally meet each other upon the most distant limits of their respective trades: and the imports into Africa from the north and east are much the same. The farthest limit of the trade appears to be Dar Saley, or perhaps Bagermé, to the west and northwest of Darfour. Although the countries, to a considerable distance beyond those provinces, keep up an intercourse with Darfour, for the purpose of receiving Arabian and Egyptian merchandize, they are not accessible to commercial enterprize; and merchants, with goods of any value, would in vain attempt to pass through the hostile tribes of Arabs and Bedouins who people the Bahr el Ghazal, and the idolatrous African nations between Bagermé and Afnou. Beyond Bahr el Ghazal, towards the frontiers of Bournou, the Fezzan, or Zeyla trade, as it is here termed, begins to exercise its influence, and spreads from thence far westward across Soudan. Notwithstanding my repeated questions on this head (and such questions may be put to the Black traders without fear of exciting jealousy or suspicion), I never could trace any regular intercourse, by means of caravans, between eastern and western Soudan; nor have I ever seen any merchants who came from the countries beyond Bagermé. Those persons who wish to engage in that direction join the Fezzan caravans at Bornou. The few Bornou people who come by the direct route through Bahr el Ghazal to Darfour are pilgrims who live by charity. The greater part of the slaves met with at Shendy are from the idolatrous countries in the vicinity of Darfour, Borgho, and Dar Saley. Those from Bornou, who are easily distinguished by their tattooed skin, never find their way to Shendy; such of them as are seen in Egypt, came by the way of Fezzan. Few foreign traders, except Egyptians, visit Shendy. A few Yembawy, or Arabians from Yembo, arrive occasionally by the Souakin caravans, and there are others of the same people, who accompany the Egyptian caravans, for there are considerable settlements of Yembawy at Kenne and Gous, in Upper Egypt. When I was at Shendy, there were at Kordofan, two Yembawy and one Turk from Mohil; the latter had gone thither with a small adventure from Egypt, but had spent his money in debauchery, and could not raise enough to carry him back to the northern countries. Turkish merchants going from Egypt to Darfour, and Sherifs from the Hedjaz, whose object it is to importune the chiefs for presents, occasionally come this way. While I was at Shendy an Arabian came from Souakin, who was of the tribe of Refaay (ﻲﻋﺎﻓﺭ), which is related to the great tribe of Djeheyne (ﻪﻨﻴﻬﺟ), near Yembo; he told me that he had heard that there were descendants of his own tribe of Refaay settled to the south of Sennaar, and that he intended to visit them, in the hope of obtaining some presents from them, as they had always manifested kindness to their relatives in the Hedjaz, especially to such as had undertaken the journey for the purpose of saluting them. He knew the name, and the place of residence of one of the chiefs of these Refaay on the river, about six days above Sennaar, and he left Shendy with the Sennaar caravan, on his way thither.

Persons from the Hedjaz and from Egypt sometimes pass by Shendy on their way to Sennaar, in search of young monkeys, which they teach to perform the tricks so amusing to the populace in the towns of Arabia, Syria, and Egypt. I was repeatedly asked whether I had not come in search of monkeys, for that my equipments appeared too shabby for those of a merchant. These monkey-hunters are held in great contempt, because, as the Negroes say, they pass their whole lives in making others laugh at them.

I have extended my remarks upon commerce to so great a length because it is the very life of society in these countries. There is not a single family which is not connected, more or less, with some branch of traffic, either wholesale or retail, and the people of Berber and Shendy appear to be a nation of traders in the strictest sense of the word. I have a few remarks to add upon the most important branch of their commerce, the slave-trade.

I calculate the number of slaves sold annually in the market of Shendy at about five thousand, of whom about two thousand five hundred are carried off by the Souakin merchants, and fifteen hundred by those of Egypt; the remainder go to Dóngola, and to the Bedouins who live to the east of Shendy, towards the Atbara and the Red Sea. I have already made some mention of the places from whence these slaves come. Those brought from Kordofan to Darfour, are, for the greater part, from the idolatrous countries of Benda, Baadja, Fetigo, and Fertit, to the south and south-west of Darfour, from twenty to forty days from Kobbe; each of these countries speaks a separate language. The Darfour merchants trade with Fertit, which lies about twenty days distant from Kobbe, in a southerly direction: the country is mountainous, and its inhabitants are wholly ignorant of agriculture; but they have tasted the luxury of Dhourra and Dokhen; and are said, in cases of a dearth of these grains, to sell even their own children to procure them.

Far the largest proportion of the slaves imported into Shendy are below the age of fifteen. All of them, both male and female, are divided by the traders, with reference to age, into three classes: namely, Khomasy (ﻲﺳﺎﻤﺧ), comprising those apparently below ten or eleven years; Sedasy (ﻲﺳﺍﺪﺳ), those above eleven and below fourteen or fifteen; and Balegh (ﻎﻟﺎﺑ), or grown up, those of fifteen and upwards. The Sedasy are the most esteemed; when I was at Shendy a male of this class was worth fifteen or sixteen dollars, provided he bore the marks of the small pox, without which a boy is not worth more than two-thirds of that price; a female was worth from twenty to twenty-five Spanish dollars. The price of the male Khomasy was twelve, of the female fifteen dollars. The male Balegh seldom sells for more than eight or ten dollars; and there is but a small proportion of this class, because it is thought both in Egypt and Arabia, that no great dependence can be placed upon any slave, who has not been brought up in the owner’s family from an early age. Hence there is a great, reluctance to the purchasing of grown up slaves for domestic purposes, or even for labourers. The Baleghs are chiefly bought by the Bedouins, who employ them as shepherds. The Bisharein have many of them in all their encampments. Grown up female slaves, although past the age of beauty, sometimes sell for as much as thirty dollars, if they are known to be skilful in working, sewing, cooking, &c. In Syria few slaves are kept; those which I have seen there are, for the greater part, imported by the caravans from Bagdad, and come from Souahel on the Mozambik coast.

Few slaves are imported into Egypt, without changing masters several times, before they are finally settled in a family; for instance, those from Fertit are first collected on the borders of that country by petty merchants who deal in Dhourra. These sell them to the traders of Kobbe, who repair to Fertit in small caravans for that purpose. At Kobbe they are bought up by the Darfour, or Kordofan traders, who transport them to Obeydh in Kordofan. Here they generally pass into the hands of other Kordofan dealers, who carry them to Shendy, for the Soudan merchants commonly limit their speculations to a single market; thus the Kordofan people who trade to Darfour are different from those who visit Shendy, while, on the other hand, the Egyptians who trade to Shendy only, are different from those who proceed forward to Sennaar; and, in like manner, the Souakin traders are divided into Shendy and Sennaar merchants. At Shendy the slave is bought by some Egyptian or Abadbe. Upon his arrival in Upper Egypt he is disposed of either at Esne, Siout, or Cairo. In the two first places, entire lots of slaves are taken off by merchants, who sell them in retail at Cairo, or in the small towns of Upper Egypt, in each of which they stop for a few days, in their passage down the river. Even at Cairo they are not always finally disposed of in the first instance. The Khan of the slave-traders, called Okal-ed-djelabe, which is near the mosque El Azher, is crowded with pedlars and petty traders, who often bargain with the merchants of Upper Egypt for slaves immediately after their arrival, and content themselves with a small profit for the re-sale. Again, there are merchants from Smyrna and Constantinople residing constantly at Cairo, who deal in nothing but slaves; these persons export them from Alexandria, and it often happens that they pass through three or four hands, between Alexandria and their final destination in the northern provinces of Turkey. Such is the common lot of the unfortunate slave, but many instances happen of a still more rapid change of masters. At Shendy and Esne I have seen slaves bought and sold two or three times before they were finally removed from the market; after which, perhaps, if the master at the end of a few days trial did not find them answer his expectations, he would again put them up for sale, or exchange them for others. In fact, slaves are considered on the same level with any other kind of merchandize, and as such are continually passing from one merchant to another. The word Ras (head) is applied to them as to the brute species; and a man is said to possess ten Ras Raghig (ﻖﻴﻏﺭ), or ten head of slaves, in the same manner as he would be said to possess fifty Ras Ghanam, or head of sheep. When the buyer is desired to take the slave away, it is usual to say, Soughe, (ﻪﻗﻮﺳ), drive him out, an expression which is applied only to cattle, as Soug el ghanam go damek (ﻚﻣﺍﺪﻗ ﻢﻨﻐﻟﺃ ﻕﻮﺳ).

I have seen among the young slaves on sale at Shendy, many children of four or five years old without their parents; others of the same age are met with in the market, with their mothers; and the traders so far shew humanity, that they seldom sell them separately; when such a thing is done, the vender is in general reproached with being guilty of an act of cruelty.

The traders, in buying slaves, are very attentive to their origin, because long experience has proved to them that there is little variety of character amongst individuals of the same nation. Thus the Noubas who come from Sennaar are said to have the best dispositions next to the Abyssinians and Gallas, and to be the most attached to their masters. Of the Abyssinians, those from the northern provinces, called Kostanis, are said to be treacherous and malicious, while the Amaaras are noted for their amiable tempers. Of the western Negroes those from Benda are the most esteemed, and next to them those imported into Darfour from Borgho, a Mohammedan country, whose inhabitants carry off their pagan neighbours. The slaves from Fertit are said to be ferocious and vindictive, and stand the lowest on the list.

Few slaves arrive at Shendy who have not already passed a considerable time in a state of slavery. The strongest proof of this fact is, that I never saw any who could not make themselves understood in Arabic; and the greater part of those imported from Darfour and Kordofan, besides their own native tongue, and Arabic, have some acquaintance with the idioms of those countries.

As soon as a slave boy becomes the property of a Mussulman master he is circumcised, and has an Arabic name given to him. They are seldom honoured with a true Mussulman name; such as Hassan, Mohammed, Selim, Mustapha, &c. Most of them bear such names as these: ﷲ ﺮﻴﺧ Kheyr el illah; ﷲ ﻞﻀﻓFadil ’lilah; ﻊﺳﺍﻮﻟﺃ ﻞﻀﻓFadil Elwasia; ﺪﺟﺍﻭ ﺮﺒﺟ Jaber Wadjed; ﺮﻴﺨﻟﺃ ﻡﺃ Om Elkheyr, and the like. Sometimes the names are more extraordinary, as ﺮﻴﺨﻟﺃ ﺡﺎﺒﺻ Sabah el Kheyr (good morning), ﺏﺍﺮﺟ Djerab (leather sack), &c. &c. It very rarely happens that any uncircumcised boys come from the west; and I never knew any instance of a Negroe boy following the pagan worship of his father, and refusing to become Mussulman; though I have heard it related of many Abyssinian slaves, who, after having been converted from idolatry to the Christian religion by the Abyssinian Copts, were sold by them to the Mussulman traders. I have been told of several of these slaves, particularly females, so steadily refusing to abjure their faith, when in the harem of a Mohammedan, that their masters were finally obliged to sell them, in the dread of having children born of a Christian mother, which would have been a perpetual reproach to the father and his offspring. In Soudan, the slaves, though made Mussulmans by the act of circumcision, are never taught to read or to pray: and even in Egypt and Arabia this instruction is seldom given to any but those for whom their masters take a particular liking. It may be observed, nevertheless, that they are greater fanatics than the proudest Olemas, and that Christians and Franks are more liable to be insulted by slaves than by any other class of Mussulmans.

I enquired at Shendy whether any of the slaves were eunuchs, but I was informed that no eunuchs were imported into that place during my stay, and that Borgho, to the west of Darfour, is the only country in eastern Soudan where slaves are thus mutilated for exportation. Their number, however, is very small; a few are carried to Egypt from Darfour, and the remainder are sent as presents by the Negroe sovereigns to the great mosques at Mekka and Medina, by the way of Souakin. The great manufactory which supplies all European, and the greater part of Asiatic Turkey with these guardians of female virtue, is at Zawyet ed-deyr (ﺮﻳﺪﻟﺃ ﺖﻳﻭﺯ), a village near Siout in Upper Egypt, chiefly inhabited by Christians. The operators, during my stay in that part of the country, were two Coptic monks, who were said to excel all their predecessors in dexterity, and who had a house in which the victims were received. Their profession is held in contempt even by the vilest Egyptians; but they are protected by the government, to which they pay an annual tax; and the great profits which accrue to the owners of the slaves in consequence of their undergoing this cruel operation, tempts them to consent to an act which many of them in their hearts abhor. The operation itself, however extraordinary it may appear, very seldom proves fatal. I know certainly, that of sixty boys upon whom it was performed in the autumn of 1813, two only died; and every person whom I questioned on the subject in Siout assured me that even this was above the usual proportion, the deaths being seldom more than two in a hundred. As the greater number undergo the operation immediately after the arrival of the Darfour and Sennaar caravans at Siout, I had no opportunity of witnessing it, but it has been described to me by several persons who have often seen it performed. The boys chosen, are between the age of eight and twelve years, for at a more advanced age, there is great risk of its proving fatal. — Puer, corpore depresso, a robustis quibusdam hominibus, super mensâ continetur. Tunc emasculator, vinculis sericis sapone illitis, genitalia comprimit, et cum cultro tonsorio (dum puer pro dolore animo deficit) quam celerrime rescindit. Ad hemorhagiam sistendam plagam pulvere et arenâ calidâ adurunt, et post aliquot dies calido oleo inungunt. Dein vulnus cum emplastro aliquo, quod inter Coptos arcanum est, per quadraginta spatium dierum donec glutinetur curatur. Nunquam de celotomia sub hoc cœlo audivi. — The operation is always performed upon the strongest and best looking boys; but it has a visible effect upon their features when they arrive at full age. The faces of the eunuchs whom I saw in the Hedjaz, appeared almost destitute of flesh, the eye hollow, the cheek bones prominent, and the whole physiognomy having a skeleton-like appearance, by which the eunuch may generally be recognised at first sight.

A youth on whom this operation has been successfully performed is worth one thousand piastres at Siout; he had probably cost his master, a few weeks before, about three hundred; and the Copt is paid from forty-five to sixty for his operation. This enormous profit stifles every sentiment of mercy which the traders might otherwise entertain. About one hundred and fifty eunuchs are made annually. Two years ago, Mohammed Aly Pasha caused two hundred young Darfour slaves to be mutilated, whom he sent as a present to the Grand Signor. The custom of keeping eunuchs has greatly diminished in Egypt, as well as in Syria. In the former country, except in the harems of the Pasha and his sons, I do not think that more than three hundred could be found; and they are still more uncommon in Syria. In these countries there is great danger in the display of wealth, and the individual who keeps so many female slaves as to require an eunuch for their guardian, becomes a tempting object to the rapacity of the government. White eunuchs are extremely rare in the Turkish dominions. In Arabia I have seen several Indian eunuchs of a sallow or cadaverous complexion, and I was informed that slaves are often mutilated in Hindostan. Almost all the eunuchs of Siout are sent to Constantinople and Asia Minor.

Among the slave girls who arrive at Shendy and Siout, there are several who are called ﻂﻴﺨﻣ Mukhaeyt (consutæ), from an operation which has been described by Mr. Browne. I am unable to state whether it is performed by their parents in their native country, or by the merchants, but I have reason to believe by the latter. Girls in this state are worth more than others; they are usually given to the favourite mistress or slave of the purchaser, and are often suffered to remain in this state during the whole of their life.

The daughters of the Arabs Ababde, and Djaafere, who are of Arabian origin, and inhabit the western bank of the Nile from Thebes, as high as the cataracts, and generally those of all the people to the south of Kenne and Esne as far as Sennaar, undergo circumcision, or rather excision, at the age of from three to six years. Girls thus treated are also called Mukhaeyt (ﻂﻴﺨﻣ), but their state is quite different from that of the Negroe slave-girls, just mentioned.

The treatment which the slaves experience from the traders is rather kind than otherwise. The slaves are generally taught to call their masters Abouy (ﻱﻮﺑﺃ, my father, and to consider themselves as their children. They are seldom flogged, are well fed, are not over-worked, and are spoken to in a kind manner; all this, however, results not from humanity in the traders, but from an apprehension that under different treatment the slave would abscond; and they are aware that any attempt to prevent his flight by close confinement would injure his health; for the newly imported slaves delight in the open air, and reluctantly enter houses, which they look upon as prisons. But when they are once in the desert, on the way to their final destination, this treatment is entirely changed; the traders knowing that the slaves have no longer any means of escaping, give a loose to their savage temper. At Shendy I often overheard my companions, who, although savage enough, were certainly not of the worst class of slave-merchants, say to each other, when a slave had behaved ill, and they were afraid of punishing him, “Let him only pass Berber, and the Korbadj will soon teach him obedience.” The Souakin traders with whom I afterwards travelled, shewed as little humanity, after we had passed Taka. The health of the slave, however, is always attended to; he is regularly fed, and receives his share of water on the road at the same time that his master drinks; and the youngest and most delicate of the females are permitted to ride upon camels, while all the others perform the journey on foot, whether it be to Egypt or to Souakin, as they had done from Darfour to Shendy. The hardiness of the young slaves is very extraordinary; after several successive days march at the rate of ten or twelve hours a day, I have seen them, in the evening, after supper, playing together as if they had enjoyed a long rest. Females with children on their backs follow the caravan on foot; and if a camel breaks down the owner generally loads his slaves with the packages. If a boy can only obtain in the evening a little butter with his Dhourra bread, and some grease every two or three days, to smear his body and hair, he is contented, and never complains of fatigue. Another cause which induces the merchants to treat the slaves well, is their anxiety to dissipate that horror which the Negroes all entertain of Egypt and of the white people. It is a common opinion in the black slave countries that the Oulad er-Rif (ﻒﻳﺮﻟﺁ ﺪﻟﻭ), or children of Rif, as the Egyptians are there called, devour the slaves, who are transferred thither for that purpose. Of course the traders do every thing in their power to destroy this belief, but notwithstanding all their endeavours, it is never eradicated from the minds of the slaves. Another terrible apprehension which they have is of a small jumping animal, which they are told will live upon their skin, suck their blood, and leave them not a moment’s rest. By this description they mean fleas, which are entirely unknown in the interior parts of Soudan, and of which the most curious stories are told by the people of the country, in enumerating the superior advantages of their own country over those of Egypt. Other vermin however, more to be dreaded than fleas, are too common among them. The fear of being mutilated on their arrival in Egypt operates powerfully also upon the minds of the young slaves.

Slave boys are always allowed complete liberty within the yard of the house; but the grown up males, whose characters cannot be depended upon, or whose dispositions are unknown, are kept in close confinement, well watched, and often chained. On the journey they are tied to a long pole, one end of which is fastened to a camel’s saddle, and the other, which is forked, is passed on each side of the slave’s neck, and tied behind with a strong cord, so as to prevent him from drawing out his head; in addition to this, his right hand is also fastened to the pole at a short distance from the head, thus leaving only his legs and left arm at liberty; in this manner he marches the whole day behind the camel; at night he is taken from the pole and put in irons. While on my route to Souakin I saw several slaves carried along in this way. Their owners were afraid of their escaping, or of becoming themselves the objects of their vengeance: and in this manner they would continue to be confined until sold to a master, who, intending to keep them, would endeavour to attach them to his person. In general the traders seem greatly to dread the effects of sudden resentment in their slaves; and if a grown up boy is only to be whipped, his master first puts him in irons.

It is not uncommon to hear of a slave-dealer selling his own children born of Negroe women; and instances occur daily of their disposing of female slaves who are pregnant by them; in such cases the future child of course becomes the property of the purchaser. Most of the traders have old slaves who have been for many years in their service; these are placed over the young slaves bought in trade, and become very useful in travelling; but even these too I have seen their masters sell, after they had become members as it were of the family, merely because a high price was offered for them. It is in vain to expect in a slave trader any trace of friendship, gratitude, or compassion.

Slave girls are every where thirty per cent. dearer than males of the same age. They are called in these countries Khademe (ﻪﻣﺩﺎﺧ), and not Djarye (ﻪﻳﺭﺎﺟ), as in Egypt. The finest of them are kept by the traders themselves, and are called Serrye (ﻪﻳﺮﺳ); their masters allow these girls great liberty, which they often abuse. It is falsely asserted by the caravan traders in Egypt, that it is a custom among them to respect the chastity of the handsomest female slaves; on the contrary, the traders do not observe the slightest decorum in their intercourse with the slave-girls. During our journey to Souakin, where the caravan often encamped, on account of the apprehension of danger, in one large circle, I frequently witnessed scenes of the most shameless indecency, which the traders, who were the principal actors, only laughed at. I may venture to state (whatever may be the opinion at Cairo), that very few female slaves who have passed their tenth year, reach Egypt or Arabia in a state of virginity. The grandees, and rich people of those countries, take care never to buy grown up females from the traders, except for servants; but they often purchase very young girls, whom they educate among their women.

Young slaves are bought upon trial; at Shendy one day’s trial is allowed, in Egypt three days are usually granted. Girls are often delivered in this manner for Tadjrebat leilat (ﺔﻠﻴﻟ ﺔﺑﺮﺠﺗ), as it is called, and the purchaser may return a girl without alleging any other reason than that he dislikes her, so little do these savages care about cherishing a sense of shame or honour in their female slaves, who, of course, whenever they remain any length of time in a trader’s hands, acquire the most depraved habits. Sometimes young slaves are sold under the express condition that they shall not be returned.

There are certain defects (ﺏﻮﻴﻋ Aayoub), which if met with in the male slave authorize the purchaser to return him, even so long as a fortnight after he has bought him, unless, in making the bargain, he has renounced this right. Of these defects the principal are; 1. snoring at night, which is considered as a capital defect; 2. si mingit dormiens; 3. grinding and rubbing the teeth upon each other during sleep; this is much disliked, from an idea that the boy who does so will never become attached to his master; 4. any disease which has not been completely cured, or recurs while in the hands of the purchaser, as intermittent fever, itch, &c. &c. In buying a slave it is carefully observed, and enquired, whether or not he has had the small-pox; those who have not had it sell for less than the others. Traders have told me, that in Darfour and Kórdofan, one-fifth upon an average of the young slaves die of the small-pox.

Many of the traders engage their female slaves to turn their beauty to profit, which they afterwards share with them. In our caravan one of my companions openly sold the favours of one of his females for two measures of Dhourra, of which he always received one. This man also, when a favourite little slave girl died during our stay at Shendy, with the utmost indifference ordered the body, after stripping it of every rag of Dammour, to be laid on an ass and carried to the Nile to be thrown in. It is true, indeed, that slaves are very seldom buried, the corpse being usually thrown into the river.

The merchants take great care to prevent any improper intercourse between the slaves themselves, always separating the boys from the girls at night; this is not so much done from jealousy, as because the pregnancy of the females diminishes their value. It frequently occurs however, notwithstanding all their vigilance and it is generally found that every female has some favourite among her master’s slaves. It is a received opinion also in all the countries where the slave-trade prevails, that a female black conceives more readily from her intercourse with a black male, than with a stranger. If a female proves pregnant under these circumstances, no means are left untried by the trader who owns her, to procure abortion. She is compelled to swallow certain potions, which are supposed to have this effect; and I have several times even seen masters beating pregnant women in a manner, that evidently shewed that it was for this purpose. It is a general observation in the East, that a female slave, when pregnant, easily acknowledges the true father; and several instances have come within my own knowledge, where such an avowal, which they might easily have avoided, has subjected them to great hardship. In Egypt, where almost every family keeps a couple of slave servants, abortion is still more common, and is considered as being far from a criminal act. The favourite females are often admitted by their masters to the Bouza, or drinking parties, where the great joke is to intoxicate the girls.

What I have seen and heard of the Negroes has made me conceive a very indifferent opinion of their general character; but I ought to add that I have not yet seen them in their native countries, before they fell into the hands of these vile traders, who would spoil the mildest and most amiable dispositions. I have found, however, very few instances of slaves being sincerely attached to their masters, even when well treated by them. Their general vice is an incorrigible stubbornness and haughtiness of temper, and many of them betray a deadly rancour and spirit of revenge; but in general the treacherous disposition discernible in the children even of the free Arabs of the Nile and of Nubia, is certainly not to be found among them. They are lazy and slovenly, and will not work but when forced to do so. They seem to be almost entirely devoid of every feeling but that of gratifying their appetites; and provided the slave is well fed, and receives a regular allowance of butter and meat, and of grease to besmear his body, he cares little for the stripes or curses he receives. The merchants say: “Never trust a black slave; whip him well, and feed him well, and the work will be done” (ﻪﻴﻀﻘﻣ ﻪﺟﺎﺤﻟﺃ ﻑﻮﺸﺘﻓ ﻪﻤﻌﻄﺃﻭ ﻪﺑﺮﺿﺃ ﺪﺒﻌﻟﺃ ﻦﻣﺎﺗ ﻻ). I know not whether the maxim is founded in truth or not, but it is certainly that by which the merchants are guided, when they are no longer afraid of their slaves escaping. The slaves, nevertheless, whether from strength of mind, or from a brutal apathy, manifest the same propensity to mirth and frolic. In intellect, I think they are much upon a level with the Negroe Arabs, and little lower than the inhabitants of Egypt and Syria; nor should I much blame their obstinacy, if it were not too often accompanied by malignity. I have already observed that different characters are assigned to different countries, and all that I observed of them has not diminished my belief, that with proper education the Black nations might be taught to approach, and, perhaps, to equal the white.

Though the slaves endure the greatest fatigue, they are not of a hardier constitution than Europeans; indeed, I have reason to believe that, upon the whole, they are more frequently attacked by diseases; when ill, they certainly endure them much less patiently. It is a saying among the traders that “a blow (i. e. illness) which scarcely makes an Arab stagger, knocks down a slave.” The most common disease among them is inflammatory fever, to which the people of Shendy also are very subject. The remedies applied by them are cupping on the legs, and a drink made of infusion of tamarinds, but the disorder carries off great numbers of the slaves, and especially those who have endured a fatiguing journey, which is, perhaps, chiefly owing to their exposing themselves to currents of air while perspiring, and to their sleeping the whole night quite naked. I heard many people complain of bile, which is occasioned, perhaps, by their immoderate use of the ill-fermented Bouza. Piles (Bouassir, ﺮﻴﺳﺍﻮﺑ) are very common among the country people, less among the slaves. The only remedy they know or practise for it is cauterising, by the application of a red-hot iron to the parts. I first saw here the Fertit, or genuine Guinea worm, although it is not unknown among the slaves, and Soudan merchants who come to Upper Egypt. It seems very common in Soudan, and I also saw it in Arabia. The worm does not attach itself exclusively to the leg; I have seen it issuing from the arm, the breast, and the knees, though its favourite place seems to be the calf of the leg. Persons are more rarely attacked with it in Shendy than in Kordofan and Darfour; and great numbers of the slaves and traders coming from the two latter places are affected by it. Though it occasions great pain, it does not prevent the sufferer from walking until the very approach of death. I have been shown persons who had been repeatedly attacked by it, but who had always had the good fortune to descry the worm breaking through the skin, when they were able, with patience, to draw it entirely out; for it proves mortal only when it does not issue through the skin, or when, having issued, it is afterwards broken off in the act of drawing out. Even in the latter case many persons are cured. In Kordofan and Darfour the attack of the Fertit is universally ascribed to the animal matter contained in the water which is drank after the first rains.

In Soudan it is rare that male slaves are emancipated (Maatoug ﻕﻮﺘﻌﻣ), but we find many females who have obtained their liberty. It is different in Arabia and in Egypt, where a slave very seldom remains in a respectable family for a series of years without being made free; and then he is either married to a female slave of the family, or remains voluntarily as a servant, and receives wages. It is a general custom in these latter countries to emancipate every female slave who has borne a child to her master. It is then considered discreditable, especially if the child is a male, not to present the mother with the Tezkeret el Nekah (ﺡﺎﻜﻨﻟﺃ ﺓﺮﻛﺰﺗ), or the marriage contract, signed by the Kadhi, which is the only marriage ceremony used on those occasions. If the child dies after this marriage, it is not considered improper to divorce such a wife, but provision must in that case be made for her. As the number of wives is limited by the Mussulman law to four, it sometimes happens that the rich people keep, besides their four wives, several of these emancipated female slaves, who live with them as mistresses.

Slavery, in the East, has little dreadful in it but the name; male slaves are every where treated much like the children of the family, and always better than the free servants. It is thought a mean action to sell a slave after he has been long resident in a family. If a slave behaves ill, he is generally sent into the country to work as a labourer in the fields of his master. Female slaves who are servants in families, are not so well off as males, because they generally suffer much from the jealousy of their mistresses. It is only by the Turkish soldiers that slaves are ill-treated. They purchase, in Upper Egypt, slave boys, whom they rear in their service, and who, after they have come to a certain age, and learned the Turkish language, are clothed and armed as soldiers, and enlisted into the company or corps of which their master is the chief. He then draws the monthly pay of his slave from the governor, as he does that of every other soldier; for, according to the regulations of the Turkish army, the captain, or Binbashy, receives the pay for the number of men whom he has under his command, and distributes it among them. It thus becomes a source of emolument to him to enrol slaves, to whose services the government never objects, and whose pay goes into his own pocket, as he is subject only to the obligation of feeding and clothing them. Great numbers of Black soldiers have, in this manner, been introduced into the Turkish army in Egypt; it was even thought that Mohammed Aly Pasha had formed the plan of organizing a body of Black troops, and so drilling them according to the European manner; but the great dislike to this innovation expressed by his principal officers, appears to have made him abandon it. At present, from six to eight hundred slaves are bought up annually by the Turkish officers in Egypt.

In the southern countries a slave brought up in the family (I do not here speak of the traders) thinks himself superior to every other person in it except the master: he is admitted to all the family councils, is allowed to trade, or to engage in any other business on his own account, and to do just as he pleases, provided he proves a bold fellow, and in case of emergency can wield a sword in his master’s defence; he may then misbehave at pleasure, without the fear of punishment. If a slave kills a free man his master is obliged to pay the price of blood, otherwise his own family becomes exposed to the retaliation of the relations of the slain; for the death of a slave who commits murder is not deemed a sufficient atonement for the blood of a free man.

In Arabia and Egypt the law gives to the slaves one great advantage; if they are discontented with their master, and decidedly determined not to remain with him, they have the right of insisting upon being sent to the public slave market, (Beaeni fi Souk el Sultaun, ﻥﺎﻄﻠﺴﻟﺃ ﻕﻮﺳ ﻲﻓ ﻲﻨﻌﻴﺑ), to be resold. The owner may at first refuse to part with his slave, but if, having overcome the fear of exposing himself to the effects of his master’s rage, the slave finds an opportunity of making his demand, in presence of respectable witnesses, and perseveres in this conduct, he must at last effect his purpose. Some slaves are less able to take advantage of this privilege, which the law grants to all, from being shut up in the harem, where no one hears their complaints except those who are the cause of them. According to the most moderate calculation, the number of slaves actually in Egypt is forty thousand, two-thirds of which number are males, and the rest females. There is hardly a village in which several of them are not found, and every person of property keeps at least one. During the plague in the spring of 1815, upwards of eight thousand slaves were reported to the government to have died in Cairo alone. I have reason to believe, however, that the numbers exported from Soudan to Egypt and Arabia, bears only a small proportion to those kept by the Mussulmans of the southern countries themselves, or in other words to the whole number yearly derived by purchase, or by force, from the nations in the interior of Africa. At Berber and Shendy there is scarcely a house which does not possess one or two slaves, and five or six are frequently seen in the same family, occupied in the labours of the field, tending cattle, &c. &c.; the great people and chief’s keep them by dozens. As high up the Nile as Sennaar the same system prevails, as well as westwards to Kordofan, Darfour, and thence towards Bournou. All the Bedouin tribes also who surround those countries are well stocked with slaves. If we may judge of their numbers by those kept on the borders of the Nile, (and I was assured by the traders, that slaves were more numerous in those distant countries than even at Shendy,) it is evident that the number exported towards Egypt, Arabia, and Barbary, is very greatly below what remains within the limits of Soudan. From what fell under my own observation at Berber and Shendy, I believe that the slaves of both sexes on the borders of the Nile from Berber to Sennaar, amount to not less than twelve thousand. As the population of Darfour, according to Mr. Browne, is two hundred thousand, there are probably twenty thousand slaves in that kingdom; and every account agrees in proving that as we proceed farther westward into the populous countries of Dar Saley, Bournou, Bagermé, and the kingdoms of Afnou and Haoussa, the proportion of the slave population does not diminish.

The laudable efforts made in Europe, and particularly by England, to abolish the slave trade, will, no doubt, in time, extend a beneficial influence over the Negroe countries of Western and Southwestern Africa, from whence slaves have hitherto been drawn for the supply of the European traders; but there does not appear to be the smallest hope of the abolition of slavery in Africa itself. Were all the outlets of Soudan closed to the slave trade, and the caravans which now carry on the traffic with Barbary, Egypt, and Arabia, prevented from procuring further supplies, still slavery would universally prevail in Soudan itself; for as long as those countries are possessed by Mussulmans, whose religion induces them to make war upon the idolatrous Negroes, whose domestic wants require a constant supply of servants and shepherds, and who considering slaves as a medium of exchange in lieu of money, are as eager to obtain them as other nations might be to explore the African mines, slavery must continue to exist in the heart of Africa; nor can it cease until the Negroes shall become possessed of the means of repelling the attacks and resisting the oppression of their Mussulman neighbours. It is not from foreign nations that the Blacks can hope for deliverance; this great work must be effected by themselves, and can be the result only of successful resistance. The European governments, who have settlements on the coasts of Africa, may contribute to it by commerce, and by the introduction among the Negroes of arts and industry, which must ultimately lead them to a superiority over the Mussulmans in war. Europe, therefore, will have done but little for the Blacks, if the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade, which is trifling, when compared with the slavery of the interior, is not followed up by some wise and grand plan, tending to the civilization of the continent None presents a fairer prospect than the education of the sons of Africa in their own country, and by their own countrymen, previously educated by Europeans. Faint hopes, however, can be entertained that the attention of European governments will be turned towards the remote and despised Negroes, while selfishness and a mistaken policy have prevented them from attending to the instruction of their own poor.

What I have said on the manners of Berber is applicable, in every respect, to Shendy, where the habits of the people are equally dissolute. The chief of Shendy, however, possesses much more power than the Mek of Berber, and keeps the violence and rapacity of his subjects in check. The inhabitants of the district are all free Arabs; of these the Djaalein are the most numerous, and next to them the following: 1. Ababde, who pretend to be descended from the same Djidd (ﺪﺟ) or forefather as those of Egypt; namely, Selman, an Arab of the Beni Helal, the great eastern tribe which emigrated into the northern parts of Africa, as far as Tunis, after the Mohammedan conquest; 2. Battakhein (ﻦﻴﺨﻄﺑ); 3. El Hamdeh (ﻩﺪﻣﺎﺤﻟﺃ); these, I understand, are acknowledged as relations by the Arabs of the same name who inhabit the neighbourhood of Luxor and Karnak, in Upper Egypt; Luxor has hence received the name of El Hamdye, and is more generally known in Upper Egypt by that appellation. The several tribes are constantly quarrelling with each other, chiefly respecting the retaliation of blood, to which, among the eastern Bedouins, the near relations are liable; but it appears to me that those nice distinctions which I have detailed in my description of the Bedouins, are not here attended to. Among the Djaalein the price of blood is one thousand Tob Dammour, equivalent, at the present time, to three or four hundred Spanish dollars. If the relations of the slain agree to take it, which seems to expose them to less obloquy than a similar action does in Arabia, the murderer pays the sum by instalments; a regular account is kept, and credit given for the smallest sum paid to the family of the deceased by the murderer or his family, even if it be no more than a little bread, or a few handfuls of Dhourra. Many years may pass before the whole sum is paid, and during this time the parties keep the peace.

The Djaalein have the character of being treacherous, but this is common to all the Arabs of these countries; and they have not yet so much degenerated from their forefathers, as not to know that good faith is held the first of Arab virtues: I have often heard the Djaalein boast of their sincerity to those to whom they have pledged their word as friends or companions; but this character, which they give of themselves, is not confirmed by the general opinion.

All these Arabs have two tribes of mortal enemies, the Shukorye (ﻪﻳﺮﻜﺷ) and the Kouahel (ﻞﺣﺍﻮﻗ), names which are both Arabic in their formation. They inhabit to the south and south-west of the others, and make frequent inroads upon the Djaalein, plundering the country, and driving off the cattle. Some of the Shukorye live on the banks of the Nile near Abou Heraze, but the greater part of them lead a pastoral life in the Eastern desert. The Kouahel are said to extend as far as the country of Dender, and some of them are found on the Atbara. Both tribes speak the Arabic language. During my stay at Shendy the Djaalein returned from a successful expedition against them, bringing back a booty of two hundred camels taken from the hostile encampment which was then about four days distant from Shendy. In the Syrian and Arabian deserts in like manner, there is scarcely an Arab tribe of any importance which has not a national enemy in some equally powerful tribe; the warlike spirit and rivalship of the young men of both parties being kept up by continual expeditions against each other. These, however, seldom occur between tribes who are immediate neighbours: among whom although war often happens, it is generally soon succeeded by peace and alliance.

All the Arabs of the southern countries, excepting those who inhabit the valley of the Nile, besides their daily movements from one spot to another, make two general movements in the year. In the summer they retire towards the mountains, where springs and pasturage are more abundant than in the parched plains; during the rains they spread themselves, with their flocks, over the wide expanse between the Atbara and the Nile, which in that season is clothed with abundant pasturage. The Kouahel are said to be less numerous but more powerful than the Shukorye; they are both, nominally at least, Mohammedans; it is said that their cattle is admirable.

Though I remained only a month at Shendy, and in a situation not at all favourable for such inquiries, some geographical information respecting the surrounding countries may reasonably be expected from me. In the Appendix will be found some details of this kind respecting the western countries, which, however, are the less interesting as Mr. Browne has already elucidated the geography of those parts. Of the countries to the south I was unfortunately unable to obtain any information, nor of those between Shendy and Habbesh, to the eastward. This was not owing to indolence or indifference; but to my situation with the caravan, which rendered it extremely difficult for me to take any notes whatever. Surrounded on all sides by curious observers of my conduct, and having no other protection than that which poverty gives, I knew that if suspicion was once excited, it would end in my ruin. Accurate and detailed statements of positions and distances could only have been acquired by expressly questioning the traders on this head; but nobody showed any inclination so far to oblige a person from whom no profit was to be derived, and to have paid for information would have rendered me a subject of conversation and enquiry through the whole town, where I was already but too conspicuous an object. I often indeed attempted to entice people from Sennaar into familiar conversation, by sitting down near them, and filling their pipes with my own tobacco; but they soon got tired of my questions concerning the southern countries, and put the strangest constructions upon them. Such information, therefore, I could only have derived from casual conversations during a long stay. Had I been known as a Frank traveller, like Bruce in Abyssinia, and Browne in Darfour, I might have made the best use of my leisure time, without thereby indangering my person much more than it would otherwise have been. But my case was different: I had succeeded in keeping my secret: I had still a very dangerous road before me, nor could I ever have hoped to reach the sea, had any suspicions been excited concerning my travelling projects; at least such was my firm belief. In asserting that I was unknown, I do not mean to claim the merit of extraordinary prudence, but merely to inform the reader upon what depended my success. I must be allowed to add, that if future travellers should hear me described, in these countries, as a Frank, they will have no right to disbelieve on that account the other parts of my personal history during this journey. For although the people of Daraou will undoubtedly at last discover who the poor man was who travelled with them, I was certainly unknown during the journey.

Mr. Browne, in the course of his two years residence at Darfour, collected highly valuable information concerning the Negroe countries surrounding that kingdom, but I have little doubt, that the bad opinion which the Darfour people entertained of him, was owing in great part to such enquiries. The same thing would have happened to him in any other part of Soudan, had he been permitted to quit Darfour, and it must ultimately have frustrated all his views. This remark is not made for the purpose of detracting from the merits of Mr. Browne, whose talent and perseverance were such as will seldom be found united in the same person, whose friendship for me I can never forget, and to whose excellent advice I owe much of my success. It is for the sake of those who may succeed me, that I make these observations. When Mr. Browne undertook his journey to Darfour he was not possessed of that knowledge of Arabic, and of Arab manners, which he afterwards acquired; unable therefore to attempt to pass for a native of the Levant, he never assumed any other name than that of a Frank, justly thinking that it would be more to his advantage to maintain his native character, however little it might be respected in those parts, than by an awkward imitation of native dress and manners, to expose himself to still worse consequences, and to the hourly dread of being discovered. But even as a Frank he would have been more secure in the character of a mercantile adventurer, than in that of a physician, which is a profession quite unknown in these countries. During my stay at Siout, in Upper Egypt, I became acquainted with a man who had seen Mr. Browne in Darfour, and in whose brother’s house Mr. Browne had spent a considerable part of his time. He told me that Mr. Browne, during his journey from Siout to Darfour, was busily occupied in writing down the daily occurrences, and in inquiring after the names of all the hills and valleys met with on the road; that he had a piece of lead, with which he wrote, and which never failed him. The Soltan of the English (the man observed) had undoubtedly sent him to inquire after these countries; and the king of Darfour prevented him from travelling about the country, as knowing that his sole motive was curiosity. The same person confirmed Mr. Browne’s statements respecting himself while in Darfour, of the veracity of which, indeed, no one, acquainted with that gentleman’s integrity, would ever entertain any doubt. My departed friend, who has fallen a noble sacrifice in the cause of truth and science, felt at last, that the circumstance of his taking notes had prevented him from succeeding to the full extent of his wishes; and he repeatedly advised me to use the greatest precaution in this respect. To an European reader such a maxim may look like pusillanimity, or at least excess of prudence, for it can be fully appreciated only by those persons who embark in such expeditions.

There is no communication by water between Sennaar, Shendy, and Berber; boats are used only as ferries, but even these are extremely scarce, and the usual mode of passing the river is upon the Ramous, or small raft of reeds. It is usual with the native Arabs to call the branch of the river on which Sennaar lies, and which rises in Abyssinia, by the name of Nil, as well as by that of Bahr el Azrek (Blue-River.) Thus every one says that Sennaar is situated on the Nile, (ﻞﻴﻨﻟﺃ ﻪﻴﻓﺎﺣ ﻲﻠﻋ ﻪﻴﻨﺒﻣ ﺭﺎﻨﺳ ﺪﻠﺑ); so far therefore Bruce is justified in styling himself the discoverer of the sources of the Nile. But I have often heard the Sennaar merchants declare, that the Bahr el Abyadh (White-River), which is the name invariably given to the more western branch, is considerably larger than the Nile. I was credibly informed, that between Shendy and Damour, there is a cataract in the river, similar to that of Assouan, and another of greater size and rapidity in the country of the Arabs Rebatat, below Berber.

At Shendy the river, owing to the height of the banks, often fails to inundate the adjacent lands; and the husbandmen are too lazy to aid nature by digging canals. I have already said that Shendy depends, for its Dhourra, principally upon importations from the south; but during the famine last year, part of the supply was drawn from Taka. The rains generally begin about the middle of June; their season, however, seems to be less settled than in the western countries of Soudan. In the last days of April, some slight showers fell at Shendy, and in the evening much lightning was seen to the east. So early as the 10th of May, we were informed that the bed of the Mogren was filled with water, and that its stream, then several feet deep, emptied itself into the Nile; it was therefore evident that heavy rains must have fallen either towards the Bisharye mountains, where the Mogren rises, or towards the source of the Atbara, in Abyssinia; the latter is the more probable, as we afterwards found no traces of rains in the Bisharye desert. They do not appear to be very abundant, never continuing for weeks together without intermission, as is said to be the case in Kordofan, but falling at intervals, though in heavy torrents. In the northern desert, between Berber and Egypt, but more particularly in the mountainous country north of the well of Shigre, there appears to be no fixed rainy season: all the Egyptians and Ababdes whom I questioned on the subject, agreed in stating that rain falls in those mountains both in winter and summer, but never in great quantity. The caravans are always under some apprehensions of having their bales spoiled in crossing the desert, by an occasional shower of rain, whatever may be the time of year. The same information as to the nature of the rains was given to me during my journey up the Nile towards Dóngola. In the chain of mountains extending from Assouan to Kosseir, between the river and the Red Sea, the rain falls in like manner at all seasons, while to the north of the Kosseir route, and from thence to Suez, in the mountains of the Arabs Maazy, it is much more confined to the winter season. It is well known that showers rarely fall in the valley of the Nile, but the Delta has its months when the rain falls occasionally. Upper Egypt is almost entirely deprived of rain near the river, and thus exhibits the singular spectacle of continual dryness of atmosphere in the fertile valley, while the barren mountains, at a few hours distance, have their regular falls of rain. During my stay at Esne, in Upper Egypt, there occurred in the month of September a most violent shower, which lasted for two hours; the inhabitants did not remember having ever experienced any thing like it.

The inhabitants of Shendy, in common with the Egyptians, distinguish the time of the Khamsein (ﻦﻴﺴﻤﺧ), or hot wind. The word is derived from Khamsyn (fifty), because the winds are computed to last fifty days, from the 29th or 30th of April, to the 18th or 19th of June, which is the period of the Nokhta, or dew, when the river first begins to rise in Egypt. During my stay at Esne the Khamsein began on the 1st of May, with a suffocating hot wind. I passed the early part of the same period at Shendy, where we had several days of hot winds, but whether it was in consequence of my temperate habits, which (I have reason to believe) tend greatly to weaken the effect of immoderate heat, as well as cold, or whether it was owing to the climate itself, the heat appeared much less oppressive than during the Khamsein in Upper Egypt, although at Shendy I was, day and night, exposed to the open air, without ever entering a cool room, and having seldom any thing but a shed to shelter me from the mid-day heat. It must be recollected, however, that Shendy is upon a level considerably higher than that of Upper Egypt.

The people of the countries on the Nile from Dóngola to Sennaar, and all the other true Arab tribes, as far as Bornou, speak no other language than the Arabic; and they look with disdain upon their western and eastern neighbours, whom they designate by the same epithet of Adjem, which the Koran bestows upon all nations who are strangers to the Arabic language. There exist, however, among them as many dialects, and as much difference in pronunciation and phraseology, as are found among the Arabian Bedouins. The eastern nations on the Atbara, towards Taka and the Red Sea, speak the Bisharye language, of which I have given a short vocabulary, and to the west the nearest foreign language is that of Kordofan, a dialect differing in pronunciation only from that of Four. The Arabic is well spoken in these countries, and the black Arabs appeared to me to possess a greater command of it, and to be more eloquent than their Egyptian brethren. The pronunciation is similar to that of Upper Egypt, which differs considerably from the pronunciation of Cairo and the Delta. The inhabitants of Upper Egypt, to the south of Siout, are in fact ancient Bedouin tribes, and their idiom appears to me the purest, next to that of Arabia proper. The pronunciation indeed is Egyptian, but the terms and phraseology are, for the most part, borrowed from the language of the Hedjaz, and Yemen, as I fully convinced myself afterwards, during my stay at Djidda and Mekka. The southern Arabs use many expressions foreign to the language, and which have been introduced perhaps by their intimate connexion with the Negroes. They have a great number of technical terms, which seem to be derived from the Abyssinian, and others from the Bisharye and Negroe languages.

The Djaalein particularly value themselves upon speaking their language well. I have heard Arabs of the tribe of Beni Hassan, who pasture their flocks in the Bahr el Ghazal, speaking much the same dialect as the Djaalein, and, as I particularly observed, without any tincture of the Moggrebyn. This circumstance makes it very probable, that they are of eastern, and not western origin. In the same manner there are numerous tribes of Arabs in Darfour and Kordofan, who still retain the language of their forefathers, although they speak also the idiom of the country. Few persons among the Arab tribes know how to write and read, but all express themselves with great neatness, and often very eloquently; and poets are not rare among them. Like the eastern Arabs, they celebrate the praises of their warriors in the Kaszyde (ﻩﺪﻴﺼﻗ); these are not written down, but are transmitted orally from one to another; and although they may often fail in grammatical accuracy, the measure of the verse is always scrupulously attended to. The melodies of their songs appear not to be national, for the songs of the Arabs (I do not mean the Bedouins), whether in Mesopotamia, Syria, Arabia or Egypt, retain amidst their varieties a common character, whereas the melodies of the Moggrebyns as well as of the Negroe Arabs are quite different. Those of the latter seem to originate with the Bisharye Bedouins, whose national airs approach much nearer to them than those of the Egyptians. The Ababde Bedouins have borrowed the melodies of their songs entirely from the Bisharein, and they sing in Upper Egypt the same airs, which I heard again at Shendy from the Sennaar merchants, over their Bouza. There is however, one species of song common to all these nations; I mean the Hedou (ﻭﺪﺣ), or song with which they animate their camels on the march, especially during the night; it is the favourite air of all the Bedouins in the Arabian deserts, and I have heard it on the banks of the Euphrates as well as on those of the Atbara. Among the peculiarities of all these people, is a very common practice of smacking with the tongue, when denying, or refusing any thing, and the same, but in a sharper or higher tone, as a sign of affirmation or approbation. In Turkey and Arabia this is considered as an affront, or at least as a most vulgar habit; they also snap the fingers at the person of whom they demand any thing, as equivalent to saying “Give me.”

The people of Shendy know little of musical instruments, however fond they may be of songs. The lyre (Tamboura) and a kind of fife with a dismal sound, made of the hollow Dhourra stalk, are the only instruments I saw, except the kettle-drum. This appears to be all over Soudan an appendage of royalty; and when the natives wish to designate a man of power, they often say the Nogára (ﻩﺭﺎﻘﻧ) beats before his house. At Shendy the Mek’s kettledrums were beaten regularly every afternoon before his house. A favourite pastime of the Negroe Arabs, and which is also known among the Arabs of Upper Egypt, is the Syredje (ﻪﺟﺮﻴﺳ), a kind of draughts; it is played upon sandy ground, on which they trace with the finger chequers of forty-nine squares; the pieces, on one side, are round balls of camel’s dung, picked up in the street, and on the other those of goats. It is an intricate game, and requires great attention; the object is to take all the antagonist’s pieces, but the rules are very different from those of Polish draughts. The people are uncommonly fond of the game, two persons seldom sitting down together without immediately beginning to draw squares in the sand. The Mek himself will play with the lowest slave, if the latter is reputed a good player. If a bye-stander assists one of the parties with his advice, it gives no offence to the other; sometimes they play for a gourd of Bouza, but not usually. Chess is not quite unknown here, but I never met with any one who played it.

Nothing unpleasant occurred to me during my stay at Shendy. The Ababdes with whom I lodged, although they did not shew me great kindness, yet forbore to treat me with rudeness; this was all I demanded. Their society served as a protection, for my person soon became conspicuous throughout the town, and I took care to let every one know that I belonged to the respected party of Ababde guides. Our house and court-yard were soon filled with slaves and camels: we separated into different messes, and every one delivered a daily ration of Dhourra to the female slaves, who cooked for the mess; we defrayed all our common expenses with Dhourra. Every evening some of my companions had a Bouza party; the day was spent in commercial pursuits. Soon after our arrival, in order to conciliate the Ababdes, I bought a young sheep, and had it killed for their entertainment, and I always kept my tobacco pouch well supplied for their use. I attended the market regularly, and courted the acquaintance of some Fakys, whose protection I thought might prove useful to me against the ill-will which my former companions from Daraou never failed to manifest towards me whenever we met. The son of my old friend of Daraou, to whom I had been most particularly recommended by his father, went so far as once to spit in my face in the public market-place, because I pressed him for the payment of a small sum which I had lent him, and which he denied with a solemn oath having ever received from me; indeed I never met any of these Egyptians in the streets without receiving some insulting language from them, of which, had I taken notice, they would, no doubt, have carried me before the Mek, where their superior influence might have been attended with the worst consequences to me. It was to them, as I afterwards learnt, that I was indebted for the loss of my gun; and I do not know what they might have attempted further, had I not fallen upon an expedient which was attended with the happiest effects. They had always thought that I intended to proceed straight to Sennaar, for I had never informed any one that I was bound direct to the Red Sea. They became anxious, in consequence of their own behaviour to me, that I should never return to Egypt, where I might be able to call them to an account, and where, though they certainly did not know it, a word from me to Ibrahim Pasha, who then governed Upper Egypt, would have been of the most serious consequences to them. They endeavoured therefore to prepare my ruin, by spreading the most injurious reports of me among the Sennaar merchants, whom they supposed that I should accompany; they represented me to be possessed of wealth, which I had fraudulently acquired in Egypt; and they urged that it would be an act of justice towards those whom I had cheated, to deprive me of my baggage. I had now been about three weeks at Shendy; my companions the Ababde having purchased a considerable number of slaves and camels, were preparing to return home; a Souakin caravan was also about to depart. Under these circumstances, I gave out that I had abandoned all idea of proceeding farther southward, as foreseeing that I should not have more than enough to defray my expenses beyond Sennaar. Accordingly, with the remainder of my funds, I bought a slave boy, and a camel, and declared that I intended to return to Egypt with my friends the Ababde, a course which they had often endeavoured to persuade me to adopt. This proceeding completely thwarted the plans of the Daraou people, and caused them suddenly to change their behaviour towards me; the principal man amongst them, he who struck me at Damer, repeatedly visited me, sent me several times a choice dish for my supper, and expressed his wishes that we might again meet, as good friends, in Egypt, for which country (he added) his party intended to set out soon after the Ababde, and to take guides for the journey across the desert from among the Ababde at Berber. In the meanwhile I made every preparation for my journey. I had secretly informed myself respecting the Souakin caravan, and on the eve of its departure, which happened to be two days previous to the time fixed by the Ababde for their return, I communicated my design to the chief of the latter, and by making him a small present, prevailed on him to accompany me to the chief of the Souakin caravan, and to recommend me to him, as his friend. Much ceremony is not necessary on such occasions; every person has his own beast of burthen, and joins at pleasure, whatever caravan he chooses. An increase of numbers is always desirable by the chief, as it both adds to the amount of his duties, and to the means of general defence.

It was not from any apprehensions of the consequences likely to result from the representations of the Egyptian traders, that I was induced to take the route to the Red Sea. Situated as I was, there seemed to be no great obstacle in my way to Sennaar, nor from thence to Gondar and Massouah; for I knew that the Abyssinian traders go constantly backwards and forwards between Gondar and Ras el Fil, where they are met by the Sennaar merchants; and once at Gondar, and in the fertile valleys of Abyssinia, I should, at all events, have been able to beg my way to the coast. But in this case I should have followed the footsteps of Poncet and Bruce; and am persuaded that it will not be long before Abyssinia, from its comparatively easy access by sea, will be thoroughly explored. On the other hand I thought that a journey through the country between Shendy and the Red Sea would add new information to our knowledge of Ethiopia, and being full of difficulty and danger, could only be undertaken by a traveller who had already served a hard apprenticeship; I preferred therefore traversing this comparatively small tract of ground, which might otherwise still remain for a long course of years unknown. The wish to be at Mekka in the month of November, at the time of the pilgrimage, was another consideration that had a strong effect upon me. It had indeed been a principal object with me during all the time that I was in Upper Egypt, and a motive in determining me to this second journey into Nubia. I was then, as I still am, fully convinced, that the title of Hadji would afford me the most powerful recommendation and protection in any future journey through the interior countries of Africa. From Suez or Kosseir I should have found it extremely difficult to carry my designs into effect; in going through Abyssinia, I might perhaps have been detained too long on the way by land or sea to reach Mekka at the above-mentioned period, and I knew that if I should reach Mekka without being present at the ceremonies of the Hadj, I could not hope to pass afterwards as a true Hadji, without exposing myself to daily detection.

I sold at Shendy the whole of my adventure of merchandize, and after paying my share of the expenses of our stay there, including a suitable present in money to our landlord, I bought a slave boy about fourteen years of age, partly for the sake of having a useful and constant companion, and partly to afford me an ostensible reason for going in the direction of the Red Sea, where I might sell him with profit. I still pretended to be in search of a relation, but added, that having experienced the difficulties of journeys by land through these countries, I intended to embark at Souakin for Massouah, and by that route to enter Abyssinia, where I affected to have every reason to believe that I should find my relation. I knew that the Souakin caravan consisted of two parties, one of which was bound direct to Souakin, while the other intended to take the route by Taka. It was with the latter that I resolved to proceed, and to take the chance of finding a favourable conveyance from Taka to Massouah.

I chose my slave, who cost me sixteen dollars, from among a great number, and he proved to be a very good and serviceable boy. I also purchased a camel, for which I gave eleven dollars; and as my safety entirely depended upon it, I took care to make choice of one of the strongest. I laid in a provision of Abré, or dried bread, Dhourra, Dhourra meal, and butter, and purchased several pieces of Dammour, which I knew was much in demand on the way to Taka. After all my accounts were settled, I had four dollars left; but the smallness of this sum occasioned me no uneasiness, for I calculated on selling my camel on the coast for as much as would defray the expenses of my voyage to Djidda, and I had a letter of credit on that place for a considerable sum, which I had procured at Cairo.

Journey from Shendy to Taka

Early in the morning of the 17th of May, the Souakin caravan took its departure; it had passed the precincts of the town before I had completely loaded my camel; while I was thus employed several of the Daraou people, who had just been informed of my intended departure, came to vent their rage at my having foiled them in their rancorous projects against me; it was, however, too late; I was beyond the reach of their malice. The Ababde accompanied me to a short distance beyond the town, where I took an affectionate leave of them, for I could not but consider that almost from the time of my quitting Egypt, I owed my safety entirely to their protection or interference; I was still to owe them farther obligations; for in quitting the town one of the Mek’s slaves had followed me, and, after I had taken leave of the Ababde, the caravan being then about half a mile in advance, in the plain, he continued to keep alongside of me. One of the Ababde seeing this, and observing that the slave was armed, entertained some suspicion of him. He therefore immediately turned back, and came up just in time to extricate me from the slave, who, although he had, during our stay at Shendy, partaken almost daily of our meals, had followed me for the purpose of obliging me to give up to him my pistol. He probably thought I should part with it, rather than expose myself to delay, and the consequent danger of joining the caravan alone. He had taken hold of the camel’s halter, and had already demanded the pistol, when the Ababde came up, and severely reprimanded him for his conduct. In the afternoon we arrived at El Hassa (ﺎﺴﺤﻠﺃ), a hamlet situated beyond the salt works and plain of Boeydha, not far from the place where we encamped at noon on the day of our arrival at Shendy.

March 18th. — We remained encamped at El Hassa the whole day, and were joined in the afternoon by several Souakin and Shendy merchants, who came to take leave of their friends. The Djaalein Arabs hovered about us, and endeavoured to carry off several camels while brouzing on the acacia leaves, under the guard of the slaves: this obliged me to take great care of my own camel. While driving it to the thickest groves of acacias, I met with some remains of ancient buildings close to the river, the banks of which are here very high. These remains consist of stone foundations of houses, and some brick walls; the former appear to have belonged to private buildings of moderate size, and consist of blocks of sandstone three or four feet in length, very rudely worked, and much decayed. The stones bear a small proportion to the brickwork; the bricks are of the same description as those I saw near Dawah, and form the walls of private dwellings. I saw no remains of any town wall, nor of any thing like a large edifice; the whole of what I observed seemed to have belonged to a small open city. The circumference of these ruins is eight or ten minutes walk at most; I could trace no regularity in their plan; they seemed to consist of small insulated oblong squares irregularly dispersed among the trees. Of the brick walls there were no where more than two feet standing above ground, and even this is matter for astonishment when we consider the effect which the annual rains must have upon such deserted and loosely combined structures. I could discover no other remains of any kind in the vicinity. There is a ford over the river near this place, which the Djaalein use for three or four months before the rise of the waters.

May 19th. — We set out this morning, and travelled along the eastern limits of the cultivated plain, till we reached the village of Kaboushye (ﻪﻴﺷﻮﺒﻛ), the residence of a relation of the Mek of Shendy, about three hours from El Hassa. As we had three long days march to the Atbara, we filled our water-skins at the river, which is half an hour from the village. Just as we were starting, an accident happened to me, which frequently occasions great distress to the traveller in the desert; when I had tied the water-skins to my camel’s saddle, one of the largest of them sprung a leak, out of which the water issued as from a fountain. In such cases the Arabs generally stop the hole with a peg made of the green twig of a tree, wrapped with a bit of linen; but the best substance for the purpose is the pith of the Dhourra cane, which swells in the water, and thus fits very tight. We crossed a flat district, intersected by many low grounds and Wadys, in which were shrubs and wild grass (ﺶﻗ) Gish. We passed a large encampment of Djaalein, distant four hours from the river, from which, nevertheless, they bring their daily supply of water; we encamped late at night, after a march of seven or eight hours from Kaboushye.

May 10th. — We set out before sunrise, in a N.E. b. E. direction. The caravan consisted of at least two hundred loaded camels, twenty or thirty dromedaries, carrying the richest traders, without any other loads; about one hundred and fifty traders, three hundred slaves, and about thirty horses, destined for the Yemen market; they were led the whole way by the slaves. The greater part of the loads consisted of tobacco, which the Souakin people had themselves brought from Sennaar, and of Dammour, from the same place. The caravan was under good care. Its chief was one of the principal men among the Arabs of Souakin, connected by marriage with the first tribes of the Bisharye and Hadendoa Bedouins, through whose territory our road lay; but notwithstanding this, I clearly perceived that there was a constant dread of the Bisharein. The people yielded without reluctance to the orders of the chief in every thing that related to the march of the caravan. The only strangers who had joined the Souakin merchants were a party of Tekayrne (sing. Tekroury), or black traders, consisting of five masters, ten camels, and about thirty slaves. I joined this party, as we were all strangers, and glad of each other’s assistance; I encamped near them during the whole of the journey to the coast, separating myself from the Souakin traders, who were also divided into many different parties. I soon became tolerably familiar with my companions; they rendered me many little services, of which no one stands more in need than a caravan traveller, and I was never backward in returning them; so that we continued to be upon good terms: I cannot say a friendly footing, for nobody, even in the Negroe countries, is inclined to form an intimacy with a poor man.

Of these Tekayrne one was from Darfour, another from Kordofan, and three had come originally from Bornou, from whence, many years ago, they had travelled with the caravan to Fezzan, and from thence to Cairo. The principal among them, and who became the head of our mess, Hadji Aly el Bornaway (ﻱﻭﺎﻧﺮﺒﻟﺃ ﻲﻠﻋ ﺝﺎﺣ), had travelled as a slave-trader in many parts of Turkey, had been at Constantinople, had lived a long time at Damascus, (where many Tekayrne serve as labourers in the gardens of the great), and had three times performed the Hadj: he was now established at Kordofan, and spent his time in trading between that place and Djidda. His travels, and the apparent sanctity of his conduct, had procured him great reputation, and he was well received by the Meks and other chiefs, to whom he never failed to bring some small presents from Djidda. Although almost constantly occupied, (whether sitting under a temporary shed of mats, or riding upon his camel on the march,) in reading the Koran, yet this man was a complete bon vivant, whose sole object was sensual enjoyment. The profits on his small capital, which were continually renewed by his travelling, were spent entirely in the gratification of his desires. He carried with him a favourite Borgho slave, as his concubine; she had lived with him three years, and had her own camel, while his other slaves performed the whole journey on foot. His leathern sacks were filled with all the choice provisions which the Shendy market could afford, particularly with sugar and dates, and his dinners were the best in the caravan. To hear him talk of morals and religion, one might have supposed that he knew vice only by name; yet Hadji Aly, who had spent half his life in devotion, sold last year, in the slave market of Medinah, his own cousin, whom he had recently married at Mekka. She had gone thither on a pilgrimage from Bornou by the way of Cairo, when Aly unexpectedly meeting with her, claimed her as his cousin, and married her: at Medinah being in want of money, he sold her to some Egyptian merchants; and as the poor woman was unable to prove her free origin, she was obliged to submit to her fate. The circumstance was well known in the caravan, but the Hadji nevertheless still continued to enjoy all his wonted reputation.

The Tekayrne treated me in the same manner as they would have treated any other traveller; and as travellers are always treated in these countries, where, except assisting their neighbour occasionally in lifting a camel’s load, no one thinks of any thing but his own comforts; but this was all I wished for; I was in no real need of any one’s help; and I never experienced any thing like ill treatment from the Souakin merchants that was not equally shared by the Tekayrne themselves. I was much upon my guard, behaved civilly to every body, shunned all intimacy with the slaves, with whom I was considered nearly upon a level; and shewed a proper spirit of resistance against any attempt to cheat or wheedle me out of a part of my baggage or provisions. By this conduct I have reason to believe, that I acquired the character of a hardy, active man, very selfish, stingy, and attentive to his own interests.

We travelled the whole morning across a plain composed chiefly of petrosilex. To the right we had a number of Wadys, or low grounds.

After a march of ten or eleven hours we rested; it is the custom to set out about sun-rise, to halt during the mid-day hours, or from ten o’clock A.M. till three or four P.M., and then to continue the march till late at night, and often till after midnight.

May 21st. Our road continued to traverse the plain. We this day experienced a violent Semoum. The camels of the Souakin merchants being heavily loaded with goods, had taken but a small supply of water, in proportion to the number of the slaves and horses. Towards noon, most of their skins were empty, and the chief of the caravan coming to our mess, almost forcibly took from every one of us a fourth part of the water which was left. We passed the mid-day hours upon a black gravelly plain, near some acacia trees; and after a long day’s march of ten or eleven hours, in a N.E. b. E. direction, we slept in a Wady full of shrubs and deep sands. The whole caravan went thirsty to rest. We found, almost the whole way across the desert, a well trodden path, much frequented by the people of Atbara, who carry their cattle to the Shendy market: we met several of them on the road, on their way to Shendy with mats made at Atbara of the leaves of the Doum tree.

May 22nd. — After a march of three hours among sandy plains, we came in sight of the river Atbara, and entered the groves of trees which line its banks. The luxuriant vegetation which now surrounded us filled with pleasure even the stony hearts of the slavetraders; one of whom, alluding to the dreary tract we had passed, exclaimed: (ﻪﻨﺠﻟﺃ ﺕﻮﻤﻟﺃ ﺪﻌﺑ Baad el mout el djenna), “After death comes paradise.” We marched for about a quarter of an hour among high trees, from the boughs of which we had much difficulty in disentangling the camels’ loads. There was a greater variety of natural vegetation here than I had seen any where on the banks of the Nile in Egypt. I observed different species of the mimosa, Doum trees of the largest size, whose luxuriant clusters of fruit excited the wishes of the slaves; the Nebek tree, with its fruit ripe; the Allobé, of the size of the Nebek, besides a great number of others, unknown to me; to these must be added an abundance of wild herbage, growing on a rich fat soil, similar to that of Egypt. The trees were inhabited by great numbers of the feathered tribe, whose song travellers in Egypt very rarely hear. I saw no birds with rich plumage, but observed small ones of several different kinds. Some sweet notes struck my ears, which I had never before heard, and the amorous cooings of the turtle doves were unceasing We hastened to the river, and eagerly descended its low banks to allay our thirst. Several camels, at the sight of the water, broke the halters by which they were led, and in rushing or stumbling down the banks, threw off their loads, and occasioned great clamour and disorder.

We remained but a short time at this place, and then continued our route along the banks of the river for about an hour, for the most part among the date trees, which line the borders of the desert. These trees were larger than any I had seen in Egypt. At the end of one hour we forded the river, without any difficulty, as the water hardly reached above the knees of the camels. In less than half an hour from the opposite bank, we came to the village of Atbara, so named from its vicinity to the river. As the caravan was to remain here some days, the first care of every one was to choose a proper halting-place. The Souakin merchants alighted on an open ground in front of the village, where they formed several parties among themselves. The Tekayrne and myself took possession of some thick thorny bushes on one side of the village, within which, after a few hours labour with the axe, each cut a small birth, just large enough to contain himself and his baggage, while the slaves were ordered to sleep before the entrance. We thus secured our goods from pilferers, and by spreading a few mats over the bushes, procured a comfortable shade.

The village, or more properly encampment, of Atbara, consisted of several long irregular rows of tents, formed of mats made of the leaves of the Doum tree, and containing about two hundred families of Bisharein. This is the general mode of dwelling throughout the tract of desert country lying between Egypt and Abyssinia. The bare skins of the Nubian sheep and goats not furnishing the inhabitants with the necessary materials for making tent-coverings of wool or goats’ hair, like the eastern Bedouins, their place is supplied with mats. They fix a row of poles, about twelve or fifteen feet high, into the ground, opposite to each other, and converging at the top; over these they fasten others horizontally; upon which mats are thrown in such a way as to present every where an inclined plane for the rain to run off. Every tent is furnished with two or three Angareygs, which take up nearly the whole of the interior, so that a very small part remains for any one to stand in; nor is this very necessary, as the Bisharein pass the greater part of their time reclined upon the Angareyg. In the smaller tents both sexes live together; but in the larger there is a partition across the tent, behind the Angareygs, which divides it into a front and back apartment; the latter is occupied by the women, and serves also as the kitchen; though the women never think of concealing themselves from strangers. All persons of quality have separate tents for their women, to which they sometimes add an open shed, for the reception of strangers. Whenever the Bedouins remove, the tents are struck, and the poles, mats, &c. are loaded upon camels.

Atbara is the residence of the chief of the tribe Hammadab (ﺏﺍﺪﻣﺎﻫ); which must not be confounded with the Hameydab (ﺏﺍﺪﻴﻤﺣ), a tribe of Ababde. The Hammadab are one of the strongest tribes of the Bisharye nation: the chief had travelled with us from Shendy, where he had purchased some slaves and horses. There are always a few inhabitants in this place who trade with Shendy, and wait here for the arrival of the Souakin caravans. As soon as it was known in the neighbourhood that a caravan had arrived, and intended to stop a few days, a great number of Bisharein came with Dhourra, sheep, butter, and milk, in order to barter these articles for Dammour and drugs, especially Mehleb, cloves, and incense, or Libban, from the west. Scarcely any of these people understand the Arabic language, except those who trade to Berber and Shendy; but it is understood by almost all their slaves, the greater part of whom are educated among the inhabitants on the Nile. Their dress, or rather undress, was every where the same, consisting only of a Dammour shirt, worn by both men and women; I thought the latter remarkably handsome; they were of a dark brown complexion, with beautiful eyes, and fine teeth; their persons were slender and elegant. They seemed to be under no fear of jealousy in their husbands or fathers, as they came laughing and joking quite close to our tents, and those who could not speak Arabic endeavoured to make themselves understood by signs. The beauties seemed to be fully conscious of their charms; but it was easy to perceive that they flirted with us for no other purpose than to make a better bargain for their Dhourra and milk, than the less handsome ones could obtain; and they all betrayed bad faith in their dealings with us. I had already heard in Egypt, that the Bisharein are not jealous of their women; it is with them a law of honour never to suspect their wives till they have the most unequivocal proofs of their incontinency. A Bisharye seeing a stranger kiss his wife, would laugh it off, but death would inevitably ensue if he caught her in adultery.

The Bisharein of Atbara, like all their brethren, are a handsome and bold race of people; they go constantly armed, and are seldom free from quarrels. Drunkenness is as common among them as it is among the Arabs of Shendy, and we heard every night some loud dispute in the Bouza huts. They are much addicted to pilfering, and notwithstanding all our precautions, every person in the caravan lost some small articles of baggage; several camels were also stolen, but they were afterwards returned through the interference of the chief, who exacted a handsome present for his trouble. Their propensity to theft is not the worst part of their character; they appear to be treacherous, cruel, avaricious, and revengeful, and are restrained in the indulgence of these passions by no laws either divine or human. One of the people of this village, who had come with us from Shendy, found on his arrival, that two of his best camels had been stolen. Suspecting one of his neighbours to be the thief, he came to the Tekayrne, to know whether they would, by charms, inform him if his suspicions were well founded; but they refused to give him any distinct answer, or to meddle in the business. The man then swore that if he ever ascertained who the thief was, he would cut the throats of all his children, maim his camels, and reduce him to such poverty, as would oblige him to feed with the cattle in the woods. The Bisharein are all Mussulmans, but they observe none of the rites prescribed by that religion, thus forming a remarkable contrast to the Negroe Hadjis who pass this way, and who never omit any of the exterior duties of the Musselman faith. The inhospitable character of the Bisharein would alone prove them to be a true African race, were it not put beyond all doubt by their language. Not a drop of milk could be had without purchasing it, and the women obliged us to pay for the use of some old earthen pots which we were in need of during our stay; no one would even interpret between us and such of the people as were ignorant of Arabic, without exacting at least a handful of Dhourra for his trouble; this avaricious spirit is conspicuous in all their actions, and it is not merely caravan passengers, from whom it is natural for them to extort some profit, that are thus treated; the poor Negroe pilgrims who pass this place in their way to Taka complain bitterly of the pitiless inhabitants of the banks of the Atbara.

Dhourra, and a small quantity of Loubye, or kidney-beans, are sown in the woods close to the river, without any previous preparation of the ground. Water-wheels are unknown. The extent of fertile soil is equal on both sides of the river; but nothing is cultivated on the left bank, on account of the depredations of the Djaalein on that side. In years when the river does not overflow the banks, they draw all their supplies from Taka. The same trees grow near the village which I saw on the west bank; the Nebek was the most common; its fruit is so abundant that the camels are sometimes fed upon it. The Oshour occupies the intervals between the larger trees, and leaves but little space for the growth of the Dhourra. A great number of turtle-doves and pigeons flew about; they have numerous enemies in a species of eagle, which is very little larger than the eagle Rakham of Egypt; the body is quite black, the head bald, and of a deep purple red, like that of the turkey. The Bisharein say that tigers abound in the woods, and that very large serpents are sometimes seen; but though I crossed the woods every day to bring water from the river, I never saw any quadrupeds, except innumerable hosts of rats, of the largest size, running among the Dhourra stubble, great numbers of which the slaves killed, and were delighted to eat. The large ants, which are said to be extremely obnoxious in Kordofan and Darfour, are never seen any where to the east of the Nile. During high water crocodiles are found in the river, but no hippopotami. The rhinoceros is unknown here.

The cattle of the Bisharein are very fine, and in great abundance. Their camels had just been sent to the nearest mountains, where some rains had fallen, to feed upon the fresh herbage, while those in our caravan were driven every morning into the woods to feed upon the twigs of the acacias. The flocks of sheep and goats were following the camels to the mountains; we bought two large sheep for one dollar’s worth of Dammour. The chief and some of his relatives keep horses, and wear coats of mail; there are a couple of asses belonging to every tent.

The river Atbara joins the Mogren at about two days from this village, beyond which the united stream bears the latter name. The Mogren is said to rise in the Bisharye mountains, but it is almost dry in summer; and even in the rainy season, appears to be nothing but a collection of torrents. The direct road from hence to Souakin does not cross it, whence it is evident that its course must be much more from the northward than is generally laid down in the maps. I have already stated that we found very little water in the Atbara; a few weeks before, it must have been almost dried up; for in the bed of the united stream, where we crossed it near Damer, we found nothing but some stagnant pools. During our stay at Atbara we had several light showers at night, and the days were cloudy, often with foggy mornings. On the 3d and 4th of June the river fell suddenly, leaving the greater part of the bed quite dry I afterwards observed in our way to Taka, that the fall must have been at least one foot. The banks are not more than twenty-five feet high; I did not measure the river’s breadth, but from a clear impression left on my mind, I conjecture the banks to be distant from each other at most from four to five hundred paces. The current of the stream was so slow as hardly to be perceptible.

The women of Atbara shave their heads on the death of their nearest relatives; a custom prevalent also among several of the peasant tribes of Arabs in Upper Egypt. The law of retaliation is said to exist among the Bisharein in all its force; their tribes are in continual war with each other; their national enemies are the Shukorye on one side, and the Hadendoa on the other. The Hammadab who live at Atbara have for neighbours, up the river, towards Goz Radjeb, the Beni Kurb, and in the desert the Baterab, both of the Bisharye race. The Hammadab cultivate the banks of the Atbara as low as its junction with the Mogren, below which commence the territories of the Djaalein. From thence to Berber is four long journeys, but the road is very little frequented, and the only places these people communicate with are Shendy, Goz Radjeb, and Taka, and with the Bisharein of the mountains to the northward.

After remaining three or four days at Atbara the chief of the village collected passage duty from every individual, according to the number of his slaves. Each slave pays one Tob Dammour, and the same is levied upon every camel’s load, whatever it may consist of. Those merchants who are supposed, or known to carry gold, are taxed arbitrarily, which, as may readily be conceived, gives rise to many disputes. I paid on the whole one Tob and a half; but the Souakin merchants were extremely dissatisfied with the chief on account of his extortions, and told him that they would never again return by this route. It is, however, the safest road to Souakin, the desert on this side being inhabited by tribes friendly to the Hadherebe, and to Souakin; and I was informed that the chief of Atbara is obliged to divide with several of those tribes the sums which he derives from the caravan. The road, on the contrary, from Souakin to Damer, lies through the pasturing-places of some potent Bisharye tribes inimical to Souakin, and cannot be passed but by caravans sufficiently strong to repel any attack. The day after we had paid the duties, the chief sent to every party of traders a large dish of Dhourra made into a liquid paste, and some Bouza for the use of the caravan.

The caravan, on quitting Atbara, was to divide into two parties, the one taking the direct road through the desert to Souakin, the other proceeding by Taka. The former route, for the three first days, takes a direction more easterly than Souakin, to the well of Gengerab, when it passes in a direct line to Souakin, by three watering-places, situated two days from each other. The entire journey is of ten or twelve days; the road abounds with pasturage and many encampments of Bedouins are met with in the fertile valleys, which are watered by winter torrents, giving birth to luxuriant crops of wild herbage. The part of the caravan proceeding to Taka, intended to sell there the Dammour and tobacco which they had brought from Sennaar; some of them purposed returning immediately afterwards to Shendy, while others intended to go on to Souakin. I determined to take the Taka road, and had the pleasure of seeing the Negroe merchants in whose company I travelled, follow my example. They had many slaves; their camels were weak, and on the Taka road they knew that water was to be met with daily.

May 31st. — The merchants destined for Souakin had left us on the preceding night. We departed ourselves in the morning, following the banks of the Atbara, and passing over a plain about two miles in breadth, overgrown with Doum trees and Oshour, among which the Dhourra stubble was still standing. I observed several hamlets in the thick groves of acacia trees near the river. At the end of three hours we halted upon a sandy beach near the river, where I saw several skeletons of crocodiles of moderate length lying on the ground. There appeared not the smallest elevation of ground; as far as the eye could reach, the horizon was unbroken in every direction, and the country on both sides of the river was an uninterrupted flat. A great number of rats ran, at every step, among the legs of the camels, and the slaves amused themselves the whole day with hunting them. From this place we took a short cut, leaving the river at some distance to the right, and proceeded over a gravelly and sandy plain, in a direction south. After a day’s march of about ten hours we again reached the river, and encamped for the night.

June 1st. — We continued to follow the bed of the river; the banks on both sides are overgrown with trees. This district belongs to the Beni Kurb. The soil is fertile, but bears no traces whatever of cultivation; the inhabitants of several hamlets or encampments appear to be exclusively shepherds. At a spot, where we came close to the bed of the river, I calculated its breadth at about ten minutes walk. At the end of four hours we passed Om Daoud, a large encampment of the tribe of Nefidjab of the Bisharein; this is the most southern boundary of the Bisharye dominions, and the beginning of the territory of the Hadendoa, a very powerful tribe, of which I shall again have occasion to speak; the son of their Shikh had come with us from Shendy, and we had therefore little to fear, except from their pilfering habits. The caravan halted near the village, and I walked up to the huts to look about me. My appearance on this occasion, as on many others, excited an universal shriek of surprise and horror, especially among the women, who were not a little terrified at seeing such an outcast of nature as they consider a white man to be, peeping into their huts, and asking for a little water or milk. The chief feeling which my appearance inspired I could easily perceive to be disgust, for the Negroes are all firmly persuaded that the whiteness of the skin is the effect of disease, and a sign of weakness; and there is not the least doubt, that a white man is looked upon by them as a being greatly inferior to themselves. At Shendy the inhabitants were more accustomed to the sight if not of white men, at least of the light-brown natives of Arabia; and as my skin was much sunburnt, I there excited little surprise. On the market days, however, I often terrified people, by turning short upon them, when their exclamation generally was: Owez billahi min es-sheyttan erradjim (ﻢﻴﺟﺮﻟﺃ ﻥﺎﻄﺸﻟﺃ ﻦﻣ ﻪﻠﻟﺎﺑ ﺯﻮﻋﺃ), “God preserve us from the devil!” One day, after bargaining for some onions with a country girl in the market at Shendy, she told me, that if I would take off my turban and shew her my head, she would give me five more onions; I insisted upon having eight, which she gave me; when I removed my turban she started back at the sight of my white closely shaven crown, and when I jocularly asked her whether she should like to have a husband with such a head, she expressed the greatest surprise and disgust, and swore that she would rather live with the ugliest Darfour slave.

On the side of the desert near the village of Om Daoud, were a number of tombstones; the small-pox made great ravages here last year. According to the Nubian custom, the graves were covered with pebbles of white quartz, and a pole was stuck down at each end. We here fell in with a large caravan of Bisharein, who were travelling the same road with us as far as Goz Radjeb, where they intended to purchase Dhourra. The Souakin traders entertained great suspicions of them, as they belonged to a tribe which was not altogether friendly, and we therefore kept carefully separated from them, and upon the watch.

From Om Daoud we continued along the Atbara, making occasionally short cuts across the desert. Our general direction was S.E. b. S. After a march of nine hours and a half, having seen that the Bisharein caravan had alighted at some distance from us, we halted; our chief was afraid to continue our route and halt farther on, lest we should be surprised; he thought it more prudent to have the enemy in view, than behind us, and we kept under arms the whole of the night. We lighted afire, and placed our baggage in such a manner as to serve as a protection to us, in case of an attack. The Bisharein, however, were probably in as much fear of us as we were of them; for they remained the next morning on their halting place, while we continued our journey.

June 2d. — We travelled this morning about four hours, in a south-east direction, over a plain of cultivable soil, though distant several miles from the river. No mountains were any where visible. We rested during the mid-day hours in a grove of Nebek, Syale, and Allobe trees. I here observed several unknown birds; one was of the size and shape of a black-bird, with a long tail striped with white. I saw some large crows with a white neck. The Bisharein seemed to have no names in their language for these different birds; amongst them it is a great scandal to eat the flesh of birds, and I several times heard them sneeringly call the Egyptians “bird-eaters.” On resuming our journey we entered the sandy desert in the direction of S.E. b. E. In the afternoon the Souakin traders chased with their swiftest dromedaries a wild beast which they descried at a distance; they called it in Arabic Homar el Wahsh (ﺶﺣﻮﻟﺃ ﺭﺎﻤﺣ), which means the wild ass. It did not come near enough to be distinctly seen; but they say it is of the size of a hyæna, with a head and tail much resembling those of an ass: it has no horns. In the Arabian deserts they speak of an animal to which they give the same name; whether it is really the same animal I am not certain. The ground was covered in every direction with innumerable footsteps of the Gazelle species, some of which appeared to belong to animals of a much larger size than any I had yet seen. At the end of four hours, we halted in a Wady with trees. The heat during the day was very oppressive; at night we had a shower of rain. Along the whole route I observed in the form of the sand-hills, and in the shape of the trees, evident proofs of the prevalence of strong easterly winds. A high insulated mountain in the plain bore east, four hours distant.

June 3d. — We saw this morning, while travelling in the plain, a mirage of the brightest azure, as pure and clear as those I had witnessed in the desert between Egypt and Berber. After a march of four hours (direction south), we again reached the river, nearly opposite the large village of Goz Radjeb (ﺐﺟﺭ ﺯﻮﻗ), an Arabic name. The banks on both sides were quite barren. We encamped under some Oshour trees, large enough to afford shade to the whole party. It was our intention to remain here a few days, as the Hadherebe thought the market of Goz Radjeb a fit place for disposing of a part of their merchandize. In approaching the river I saw at a distance two insulated hills close to each other in the plain, and at a short distance from the river; and when we drew nearer to them, I was extremely surprised to see upon the summit of the largest a huge fabric of ancient times. Being naturally short-sighted, and my vision having been further impaired by two attacks of ophthalmia while I was in Upper Egypt, I could not trust any eyes, and therefore asked my companions what it was that appeared like a building upon the hill. “Don’t you see,” they replied, “that it is a church?” (Kenise, ﻪﺴﻴﻨﻛ, a name often applied by the Egyptians to their ancient temples, which they ascribe to the Christians) “and no doubt the work of infidels.” We continued to approach the hill, and encamped at about half an hour’s distance from it. As soon as we had alighted, and placed our baggage in order, I started for the hills, in great eagerness to examine these Ethiopian remains: but a loud cry from the Souakin people brought me back. “The whole country,” they said, “is infested by the peasants of Goz Radjeb; you will not be able to move a hundred paces alone, without being attacked.” Indeed several suspicious looking persons were seen lurking among the trees that lined the banks of the river farther on. My companions added, that the hill was inhabited by Hadendoa robbers, who lived in caverns in it, and were at war with all their neighbours. As they could have no interest in deceiving me, I readily believed them, and returned, not with the intention of abandoning my design, but in the hope of being able the next day to concert measures with some of the country people who might come to barter with us, for their accompanying me to the ruins, which I was then fully determined to visit, whatever might be the consequences. Unfortunately I was deceived in my expectations; and I shall never forgive myself for the momentary irresolution which prevented me from examining the most interesting object which occurred during my journey.

A party of our people had crossed the river to Goz Radjeb to inquire after the state of the market. About two hours after sunset, when we were retiring to sleep, they returned, and soon after the chief of the caravan came to us, crying: “Make haste, the caravan is in fear; if we remain here we shall be attacked. Fill your water-skins, and load your camels, for we shall depart immediately.” In such cases, every feeling gives way to that of self-preservation. Forgetting for a moment the temple, I ran with two skins to the river, while my slave got the camel ready, and by the time I returned with my filled skins, the chief had set off. The people who went to Goz Radjeb had been there secretly informed that a large party of Bisharein intended to surprise us, and the immediate departure of the caravan became in consequence advisable, as it would have been very difficult to pass the river during the night, in order to take refuge at Goz, where we might have been moreover besieged for a long while. We proceeded in silence along the bank of the river; I passed the foot of the hill, but the night was cloudy, and its darkness prevented me from catching the smallest glimpse of the ruins. The barking of dogs proved to me that our people had told me the truth in saying that the rocks were inhabited. Our merchants seemed much frightened, the greatest silence was observed, no pipes were permitted to be lighted, lest the burning ashes might indicate the direction of our march, and nothing was heard but the groans of a few infirm female slaves, and the whips of their cruel masters, who obliged them to follow the caravan on foot, having lent the camels upon which they rode to some people of Goz, for the transport of goods to Taka. I cast a last look towards the object of my curiosity, and lamented the ill fortune, which last year, when at the most southern point which I reached on the Nile, had prevented me from seeing the temple of Soleb in Mahass, and now again, when I had gained the farthest term of my journey southwards, had equally thwarted my desires, and had deprived the public of what many persons might perhaps have thought the most valuable fruit of this difficult journey. May a more fortunate or a more courageous traveller be hereafter able to examine what I have thus merely pointed out.

The rock of these hills is granite; while passing them in the night, I picked up several stones, which I found the next morning to be red coarse-grained granite. The hill upon which the ruin stands appears to be the highest, being about three or four hundred feet above the river, with sloping sides covered with large irregular blocks, and masses of rock. It is perpendicular on the side towards the river, between which and the hill is a space of about thirty yards, where the road passes. The building appears to be just over the precipice, and to face the river. What I could distinguish of it were two high and extremely massive walls, with an equally massive flat roof; on the roof was a sort of cupola, the sides of which appeared to be perpendicular. I could perceive no columns, or any other building. The ruin itself is enclosed on all sides by high rocks, which hide the greater part of it from view; and in the day time I was unable to get a sight of it in front. As far as I could judge its walls must be between thirty and forty feet in height, and I suppose them to be built of granite, as they were of the same hue as the surrounding rocks. I had no telescope with me, and can therefore give no accurate details respecting these remains; but the whole building, with the exception of the pointed roof, appeared to me to be of the rudest construction, and of the remotest antiquity. I asked the Souakin merchants if they had ever seen any similar ruins in this neighbourhood, but they had never gone higher up the river, and could therefore give me no positive information, and no natives appeared whom I could question on the subject.

The village of Goz Radjeb stands in the sandy plain, at a distance of about a quarter of a mile from the left bank of the river. It is named Goz from its situation among sands. Its inhabitants are said to be a mixture of all sorts of Arabs, Bisharein, Hadendoa, Djaalein, and Shukorye, who have settled here principally for the purposes of trade. As far as I could judge, agriculture forms no part of their occupation, and I understood that they draw all their Dhourra front the neighbouring district of Taka. They possess cattle, which feed in the summer on the bank of the river, and in winter in the interior of the desert. Goz is under the dominion of Sennaar, and its chief, like that of Shendy, is of the reigning family of Wold Adjib (ﺐﻴﺠﻋ ﺪﻟﻭ). The inhabitants carry on a brisk trade with Sennaar and Shendy, and sometimes visit the market of Damer, where, as at Shendy, they sell their cattle. Slaves are always to be found in the market of Goz, which is frequented sometimes by Souakin traders, but more usually by the Bisharye and Hadendoa Bedouins, for, although they are enemies, yet, in these countries, as among the Arabian Bedouins, a free passage is allowed through a hostile territory, under certain restrictions. The caravans from Souakin to Sennaar, which do not wish to pass by Atbara or Shendy, take the route by Goz, from whence they proceed straight across the desert to Sennaar. In the winter pools of water abound in the sands; but in summer the caravans are obliged to carry water with them for the whole journey of six days this desert is said also to be destitute of trees. The route is only attempted during the hot season, because the Bedouins Shukorye encamp there during the winter, and render the road dangerous. Although the barrenness which prevails in this route in the summer often proves fatal to the slaves, the traders nevertheless prefer it to incurring the expenses which attend a stay at Shendy, and the payment of passage duties at Atbara. We marched about four hours during the night, and then rested upon deep sandy ground near some thorny trees and tamarisks.

June 4th. — We set out before sun-rise. Our road lay over an immense plain, without the smallest elevation, except the above-mentioned hills to our left, which, in the morning, bore N.N.E. and at mid-day, when we halted, N.W. The soil of the plain consists of clay, with very few stones, and is almost as fertile as that on the banks of the Nile; it is over-grown with many different species of wild herbs, and what appeared to me remarkable, each species occupied a separate spot, seldom mixing with those adjoining it, so that the whole plain had the appearance of an immense sheet of patterns. Many of the herbs were now withered.

Our direction was E.N.E.; during the morning a part of our companions quitted the caravan, and took a more southerly route towards the southern parts of the country of Taka. About noon we descried some trees at a distance, and as the heat of the sun was extremely great, every one hastened in search of a shady place. The surface of the ground, as well as the trees, afforded proofs of the prevalence of strong easterly winds. In the afternoon we entered upon a completely barren, gravelly plain, without trees or the slightest vegetation of any kind, and without any elevation, or other land marks to guide the traveller. In the evening there were some vivid flashes of lightning, which served as a direction for the march, as the people of the caravan knew the quarter from whence they came; the horizon was cloudy, and threatened rain. After a march of about eleven hours we encamped, much tired, in a Wady of trees, a part of the caravan having gone astray during the night.

June 5th. — It appeared that we had all missed our road yesterday, owing to the extreme flatness and barrenness of the plain; for we started to-day in the direction of E.S.E. After about an hour’s march we reached the boundaries of the province of Taka; where we found a rich soil as fine as that near the Nile, and much like it in colour; the march of the camels was obstructed by thick groves of Oshour and acacias. A most violent gust of wind arose, and blew about the dust and sand in such a manner, that we were unable to see ten yards before us; we in consequence lost our way among the trees, and after wandering about for some time, during which we frightened several shepherds, who mistook us for Bisharye enemies, and hastily drove away their flocks, we reached, after a three hours march, an encampment of. Hadendoa Bedouins, where we rested. One of our chief guides or Khobara (ﺍﺮﺒﺧ) was married to a relative of the chief of this encampment. We alighted in the open area surrounded by the tents, which, as in Arabia, were pitched in a Douar or circle (ﺭﺍﻭﺩ). Towards evening we were visited by another hurricane, the most tremendous I ever remember to have witnessed. A dark blue cloud first appeared, extending to about 25º above the horizon; as it approached nearer, and increased in height, it assumed an ash gray colour with a tinge of yellow, striking every person in the caravan, who had not been accustomed to such phænomena, with amazement at its magnificent and terrific appearance; as the cloud approached still nearer, the yellow tinge became more general, while the horizon presented the brightest azure. At last, it burst upon us in its rapid course, and involved us in darkness and confusion; nothing could be distinguished at the distance of five or six feet; our eyes were filled with dust; our temporary sheds were blown down at the first gust, and many of the more firmly fixed tents of the Hadendoa followed; the largest withstood for a time the force of the blast, but were at last obliged to yield, and the whole camp was levelled with the ground. In the mean time the terrified camels arose, broke the cords by which they were fastened; and endeavoured to escape from the destruction which appeared to threaten them, thus adding not a little to our own embarrassment. After blowing about half an hour with incessant violence, the wind suddenly abated, and when the atmosphere became clear, the tremendous cloud was seen continuing its havoc to the northwest. Similar hurricanes frequently happen at this time of the year, their consequences, however, are never more disastrous than what I have just detailed; in a few minutes the tents were raised, and every thing was again put in order.

The Hadendoa showed us little hospitality; we encamped in the very midst of them, that we might not be exposed to any hostile attacks in the night, during the whole of which we kept watch to preserve our baggage from their pilfering propensities. The wells were at some distance from the encampment, and as the road to them, which lay through the wood, was unsafe for strangers, the Hadendoa made us pay for the water they supplied us with. The guide and his relations feasted upon a sheep that had been slaughtered in honour of him; a few pounds of the roasted meat were sent from their board to the party of black merchants to which I belonged, and presently afterwards the Shikh of the Douar sent a slave to beg some cloves, which could not be refused, as they were evidently considered as a return due for the meat. In the Arabian deserts, such meanness would disgrace a Bedouin and the whole tribe to which he belongs.

June 6th. — Our people did not like to remain longer with the Hadendoa, because the smallness of their encampment, and its distance from any market, left our people little hopes of disposing of their goods; we therefore, against the opinion of our chief, moved on this morning in a S.S.E. direction, over the fertile grounds of Taka, which consist every where of a rich soil, but uncultivated, with trees, and wild herbs in great abundance. After a winding march of three hours through the woods, we came to a large encampment called Filik, where we intended to stop. We entered through one of the openings made in the high thick enclosure formed of the thorny branches of trees, with which all these encampments are surrounded, and we pitched our huts in the square area within. Many of the merchants had friends here, in whose tents they took up their quarters. The black traders kept close together, and as I knew that we should, at all events, remain here for several days, I hired a Bedouin, for a handful of tobacco, to construct for me a small tent of mats, which might at least afford me shelter from the sun.

Taka (ﺎﻛﺎﺘﻟﺍ ﺩﻼﺑ Bellad el Taka). The country of Taka, or as it is also called by its inhabitants, El Gash (ﺵﺎﻗﻟﺃ), is famous all over these countries for its extreme fertility. It extends in a S.E. direction for about three long days journeys in length, and one in breadth, and is peopled entirely by tribes who are part settlers and part Bedouins. One day’s journey, in a S.E. direction from Filik, which is an encampment of Hadendoa, begin the encampments of the Bedouins called Melikinab; further on live the Bedouins Segollo; one day’s journey from the Melikinab, begin the tribe of Hallenga, which is divided into the Upper and Lower, the former dwelling about one day’s journey beyond the latter. Taka forms part of the country of Bedja, which includes the course of the river Atbara from Goz Radjeb, and continues, as I was informed, to the south, as far as the mountains (of Abyssinia, I suppose), while, to the north, the chain of mountains called Langay marks the boundary of Bedja, thus including many deserts, and several hilly districts. Taka itself, however, is an entirely flat country, or rather low ground, bounded on the N. and W. by deserts, and on the S.E. by a chain of mountains called Negeyb, which, from what I learnt, runs parallel with the Red Sea. Of the nature of its frontiers to the south I cannot speak with certainty, but I believe it to be a country interspersed with mountains and fertile valleys.

The reason why Taka is so fertile, and has become so populous, is its regular inundation, a fact of which not a doubt can be entertained, although I found it impossible to obtain exact information of the causes of this inundation, or of the circumstances attending it. About the latter end of June, or sometimes not till July, for the period does not seem to be so fixed as that of the rise of the Nile, large torrents coming from the S. and S.E. pour over the country, and in the space of a few weeks (or according to some, in eight days), cover the whole surface with a sheet of water, varying in depth from two to three feet; these torrents are said to lose themselves in the eastern plain, after inundating the country, but the waters remain upwards of a month in Taka; and if I am to believe the reports of several persons who had seen the Nile, and could draw a comparison, the waters, on subsiding, leave a thick slime, or mud, upon the surface, similar to that left by the Nile. It is certain that immediately after the inundation is imbibed, the Bedouins sow the seed upon the alluvial mud, without any previous preparation whatever. The inundation is usually accompanied by heavy rains, which set in a short time before the inundation, and become most copious during its height. I was informed that the rains are ushered in by hurricanes of incredible violence, blowing from the south every evening after sun-set. The rains last several weeks longer than the inundation; but they are not incessant, falling in heavy showers at short intervals. In the winter and spring, the people of Taka obtain their water from deep wells, extremely copious, dispersed all over the country, but at a considerable distance from each other; they are in groups of half a dozen together, with large mud basins round them for the cattle to drink from, and as they supply the adjacent country to the distance of four or five miles, they are crowded the whole day with shepherds and their flocks. The water of most of these wells is brackish; but it is said that there is always found one in each group of which the contents are sweeter than the rest. They are dug to the depth of from twenty-five to forty feet, and are not lined on the sides with either brick or stones.

The produce of Taka is very disproportioned to what it might be in such a fine soil, every part of which is inundated, and where the inundation rarely fails. The people appear to be ignorant of tillage. They have no regular fields; and the Dhourra, their only grain, is sown among the thorny trees, and Ushour, by dibbling large holes in the ground, into each of which a handful of the seed is thrown. After the harvest is gathered, the peasants return to their pastoral occupations; they seem never to have thought of irrigating the ground for a second crop with the water which might every where be found by digging wells. Not less than four-fifths of the ground remain unsown; but as the quantity of Dhourra produced is, generally, sufficient not only for their own consumption, but also for the supply of others, they never think of making any provisions for increasing it, notwithstanding that when the inundation is not copious, or only partial (no one remembers its ever failing entirely), they suffer all the miseries of want. Twenty-four Mouds of Dhourra were bought here with one piece of Tob Dammour; at Shendy the same price is given for seven Mouds. Calculating the price by dollars, nearly the same quantity of Dhourra is obtained here for one Spanish dollar, as in Upper Egypt, which is the cheapest corn-market in the East. The Dhourra is of the best quality, and of the same species as that of Upper Egypt, and the countries on the Nile, but it is much larger grained, whiter, and better flavoured; it is therefore in great request, and when I was at Souakin, in the house of the Turkish officer of the customs, I eat of loaves made of this Dhourra, which were little inferior to wheaten bread. In the Djidda market the Taka Dhourra is sold twenty per cent. dearer than that grown in Egypt. I believe nothing else is cultivated except a few Bamyes and Loubyes. The people are extremely fond of onions, which have become a kind of currency between them and the Souakin traders; but no one has ever tried to grow them in Taka.

Taka is as celebrated for its herds of cattle as for its Dhourra; they are very numerous; the cows are particularly handsome, and have all humps on the back, like those on the Nile; they serve, as in Darfour and Kordofan, for a medium of exchange. The price of a large fat cow was four pieces of Dammour, or ninety-six Mouds of Dhourra, which is equivalent to about two Erdeybs, or thirty bushels. The price of a strong camel is one-fourth more. As it was now the hottest part of the year, just before the period of the rains, when the ground is quite parched up, I saw few cattle. According to the annual custom, the herds had been sent several months before to the Eastern desert, where they feed in the mountains and fertile valleys, and where springs of water are found. After the inundation, they are brought back to the plain. The camels of Taka are highly prized, from an idea that the young shoots of the acacia trees, on which they feed in the woods, render them stronger than camels fed with other food. The people use the skin of the long neck of the camel, sowed up on one side, and left open on the other, as sacks to transport their grain in, when travelling; their form is very convenient for loading. The quantity of cattle would be even greater than it is, were it not for the wild beasts which inhabit the forests, and destroy great numbers of them; the most common of these are lions, and what they call tigers, but which I suppose to be leopards or panthers. I never saw any of these animals, but I heard their howlings every night. The flocks of the encampment, near which a few sheep are always kept, are driven in the evening into the area within the circle of tents, and the openings in the thorny enclosure already described are filled up with a heap of thorns. No one dares stir out of this entrenchment during the night; it is sufficiently strong to be impenetrable to the wild beasts, which prowl about it the whole of the night, filling the air with their dismal howls, which are answered by the incessant barking of the dogs within. It rarely happens that either lions or tigers are killed in these countries; when such an occurrence happens, it is in self-defence; for the inhabitants having no other weapons than swords and lances, have little chance of conquering the king of the forest, of which this district appears to be a favourite haunt. Some of the Shikhs, but very few, have lion skins in their tents; they appeared to be of middling size; but if the testimony of the Hadendoa may be credited, a lion here sometimes reaches the size of a cow. Persons are frequently killed by them. In the woods wolves (ﺐﻳﺫ), Gazelles, and hares abound; and the Bedouins relate stories of serpents of immense size, which often devour a sheep entire. The fiercest animals, however, that inhabit these woods are the Bedjawy, or inhabitants of Bedja, themselves. Great numbers of asses are kept by all these Bedouins. In the mountains of Negeyb, the Giraffa is said to be very numerous; I saw a piece of the skin of one in the tent of a Hadendoa. Locusts are always seen in Taka, which seems to be their breeding-place, from whence they spread over other parts of Nubia. However innumerable their hosts may be, they appear to be incapable of destroying the verdure of this country, as sometimes happens in Egypt and Syria. Those I saw were of the largest size, with the upper wings of a red, and the lower of a yellow colour. The trees are full of pigeons, and crows in large flocks. I do not remember having seen any birds remarkable for their plumage. From the acacia trees gum arabic is collected, which is sold at Souakin to the Djidda merchants; from Djidda it finds its way to Egypt; but it is of an indifferent quality, owing, probably, to the moisture of the soil; for the best gum is produced in the driest deserts.

The Hadendoa Bedouins, the only inhabitants of Taka