« PreviousContinue »
Baker informs us the Nile flows; but he does not, if we rightly understand him, affirm that he actually saw the stream itself, or that it was possible to see it from a distance of eighteen miles, and the lake he distinctly says extended for an unknown distance further to the north-west.
We are most grateful to Mr. Baker for his heroic perseverance, and are aware that it was absolutely impossible for him to fulfil his own wish, which was to descend the Nile in canoes from its exit from the lake, with his own men as boatmen ;' but it is to be regretted that he was thus prevented by uncontrollable circumstances from completing his researches on the Albert Nyanza, and that he has for the present left its connexion with the Nile to rest on evidence short of actual and positive proof. Tradition, not less than modern discovery, certainly points to the high probability of the ultimate issue of the Nile from a lake, or rather from a chain of lakes. Ptolemy assigns its origin to two lakes connected with each other. The Arabian geographers, although it is not to be supposed that they were able to determine the situation of places by correct astronomical observations, have in their rude maps of equatorial Africa uniformly represented the Nile as emanating from a lake. The recent discoveries, as far as they go, remarkably confirm the general accuracy of these mediæval geographers, and it can scarcely be doubted that the Arabian settlers on the east coast of Africa had become more or less accurately acquainted with the interior of the continent, and with its inhabitants. We stated in a former paper on this subject,† that an Arabian map of about the year 800 had been recently brought to light from Lelewel's 'Géographie du Moyen Age,' representing the source of the Nile as being in a lake. A still later map, by an Arabian geographer, Edrisi, (A.D. 1151), has recently been published in a German work, I in which three great lakes are represented as connected with each other, and the Nile as issuing from the most northerly. This, as indicating the three great lakes, the Victoria Nyanza, the Tanganyika, and the Albert Nyanza, corresponds with modern explorations, so far as they have yet gone, and the map may be regarded, if the engraving be substantially accurate, as a confirmation of the hypothesis we had formerly ventured to put forth of the connexion of those great lakes with each other.
* To prevent mistakes we subjoin Mr. Baker's words :-Due N. and N.E. the country was a dead flat, and, as far as the eye could reach, was an extent of bright green reed,
marking the course of the Nile as it made its exit from the lake' (p. 133). • The exit of the Nile from the lake was plain enough'(p. 134), * I now saw the river issuing from the lake within eighteen miles from Magungo' (p. 135). "We saw from our point at Magungo the Koshi and Madi countries, and the Nile flowing out of the lake through them. We must of necessity pass through those countries on our road to Gondokoro direct from Karuma, riâ Shova; and should we not meet the river in the Madi and Koshi country, the Nile that we now saw could not be the Nile of Gondokoro. We knew, however, that it was so, as Speke and Grant had gone by that route, and had met the Nile near Miani's tree, in lat. 3° 34', in the Madi country, the Koshi being on its western. bank ; thus, as we were now at the Nile head, and saw it passing through, &c. &c.' (p. 137).
† The Nile. Speke and Grant. Quarterly Review,' No. 227.
I.Geschichte der Erdkunde bis auf A. von Humboldt und Kárl Ritter, von. Oscar Peschel.' München, 1865.
The Albert Nyanza exceeds in grandeur any of the great lakes that have been discovered in the interior of Africa. It is surrounded by mountains, 7000 feet in height on its western side, and is, according to Mr. Baker's estimate, at least sixty miles in width from the point where he first saw it, and of great but unknown extent. It must undoubtedly be considered as a very important feature in the basin of the Nile. Even at the great distance which Mr. Baker stood from the opposite shore he could plainly distinguish waterfalls which, seen from a distance of sixty miles, must belong to very considerable streams. Gorges were also visible, through which, doubtless, other large rivers flow. Of the countries to the west of the lake very little information was obtained beyond the fact of the existence of a great kingdom called Malegga, governed by a powerful king who possessed canoes and carried on a trade with the opposite coast. The furthest southern point reached by Mr. Baker was lat. 1° 13', from whence he navigated the lake along its eastern shore for thirteen days, when he arrived at Magungo, the spot where the river Somerset, which flows from the Victoria Nyanza, enters the Albert Nyanza. This stream was found to be still water for a distance of twelve miles from its embouchure. On ascending it further the banks became loftier and more picturesque, and the roar of a waterfall was heard in the distance. Upon rounding a corner of a cliff a magnificent sight suddenly burst upon the view. Between wooded
hills, three hundred feet in height, and compressed within a gorge scarcely fifty yards in width, the river made a clear leap of a hundred and twenty feet perpendicular into the abyss below. This great waterfall Mr. Baker named the Murchison Falls.
After a detention of two months in a pestilential country, in which both Mr. Baker and his wife suffered cruelly from privation and fever, the real King of Unyoro, Kamrasi himself, condescended to show himself.* Mr. Baker, to appear in as favourable
This was about the same spot whence they had started upon their journey to the lake.
a light as possible, doffed his ragged garments and arrayed himself in full Highland costume. The King of Unyoro, who was sitting in a kind of porch in front of a hut, hardly condescended to look at his visitor for more than a moment, then turning to his attendants, made some remark that appeared to Mr. Baker to amuse them considerably, as they all grinned
as little men are wont to do when a great man makes a bad joke. Mr. Baker describes the king as a remarkably fine man, with a handsome face and a dark-brown complexion, but with a peculiarly sinister expression of countenance. beautifully clean in his person, and was dressed in a mantle of black and white goat-skins. The king fully maintained the character which Captain Speke had given of him, namely, that of an importunate and insatiable beggar, demanding Mr. Baker's Highland suit as a proof of friendship, then his rifle and his watch.
Mr. Baker, while residing at the court of King Kamrasi, rendered an important service by hoisting the British ensign on the occasion of an attack on his capital by a band of Turks, in alliance with a native tribe, who retired on being informed that the country was under the protection of the Queen of Great Britain. The king was astounded at the effect which the display of the British flag had produced, and accordingly asked for it as a talisman against future aggressions.
We have very briefly followed Mr. Baker through his long journey and exciting adventures. His return to Gondokoro from Kamrasi's country was almost a triumphal march. The quantity of ivory which the leader of the Turkish expedition had obtained from him, in a great degree through the good offices of Mr. Baker, required seven hundred porters to carry it and the provisions.
This narrative of Mr. Baker's wanderings in the centre of Africa is the most picturesque description of the country and its inhabitants that has yet been presented to the world. It is written in excellent taste and in an animated and vigorous style. It abounds with striking incidents, remarkable situations, sporting adventures, and valuable geographical information. The best parts of the English character have rarely been more admirably exemplified than by Mr. Baker in his manifold trials, perplexities, and privations. Deterred by no difficulties, self-possessed in the midst of danger, inflexible in resolution, and with a keen perception of character and a consummate skill in turning it to account, he possessed a combination of qualities, the absence of one of which might have rendered the enterprise a failure, and led to the sacrifice not only of his own life but of one far more
precious precious in his estimation than his own. In closing this short notice of his work we cannot but give expression to the hope that he may long enjoy the fame which he has so fairly earned as one of the most energetic and successful of African explorers.
ART. VI.-1. The Life of Bishop Wilson. By the Rev. John
Keble. Parker, 1863. 2. The Manx Society. Publications, 1858-1865. Douglas. E have here two holy men, one the biographer of the
other, and in character not unlike him : twin Suns of the Church of whom the world has not often seen the equals, and is not likely soon to see again. It behoves us to approach them reverently, to weigh well our words, and suspect our verdict.
Like a familiar melody of our childhood, through how many a year of life's burdens
“ in this loud stunning tide
Of human care and crime has not the music of the “Sweet Psalmist' of Hursley braced and soothed us! Alas! how hard to believe that the voice which uttered it is now hushed for ever. Nor is it a light thing for us to handle--we would say presume to handle—the life, and measure the character, of such a man as Bishop Wilson. Need were, we should ascend some aërial eminence, above the din and commonplace of our own age, and survey from thence all the children of men. Think of the long length of his patriarchal age, and venerable sway, wholly and solely devoted to the service of his Lord ; think of the atmosphere of prayer in which he · lived and moved,' and of the phylactery of holy thoughts which ever guarded him, and we shall apprehend the difficulty of our task.
The test of a righteous man lies in the spirit of his prayers. Wilson was emphatically a man of prayer: and therefore he could write good prayers. In the ‘Sacra Privata,' the mariner embarking on his deep-sea, fishings, and uncovering himself (as is still the custom in Man) in prayer for a successful draughtthe convict languishing in the condemned cell — the bridegroom glorying in his bride-the husband and wife helping one another in the trial-journey of life--the husband leaning over the sick couch of his wife, and the widower in his agony -the parent invoking God's mercies on a child, and the child on a parent—are all provided for. The loyal subject zealous for his sovereign-the chaplain interceding for his patron, or the godfather for the godchild-the bishop preparing for his installation, and the candidate for ordination—the physician hanging in hope and fear over his patient—the traveller beginning a long journey—the client anxious for his lawsuit, and the conscientious judge praying that he may administer justice—here find their wants anticipated in the most apt and devotional language. When we meditate upon these wonderful effusions fitted for all occasions to the end of time, and of all but inspired excellence, we feel that we are holding communion with one who is immeasurably our superior, who was armed with a spiritual panoply that few men can put on, and who walked forth to the contests of life with an unassailable power,
Another, and we think most loveable, characteristic of Wilson's mind was his intense realization of the Divine presence on every occasion, and his recognition of all the common and special providences of life: witness the following devout and touching sentiment which Mr. Keble not unaptly places at the beginning of his work :-If Christians would but accustom themselves to render to God the glory of His mercies—to take notice of, and to give Him thanks for, the many favours, deliverances, visitations, or chastisements they every day meet with-they would most surely engage the Divine goodness and providence to multiply those blessings upon them, which they put a stop to by their ingratitude,
Wilson was not a great man, yet his praise has gone out into all lands,' and his place will know him long after the memories of more distinguished men have passed entirely away. He was not, we think, in some respects a wise man, and yet he did more for the good of his fellow-men than most wise men have done. Like most courageous and unflinching men of principle, he was not popular in his generation, and yet as long as England is England, few names will be named, wheresoever the Gospel is preached in the whole world,' more revered. He took no pains to ingratiate himself with others neither with the multitude nor the powers that be-quite the contrary. He took no part in English politics; he never filled his honorary place in the House of Lords, holding that a Bishop has no business with politics. He refused more than one offer of promotion ; for Man has usually been a stepping-stone to other Sees, and might have been so in his case. He made a conscientious vow never to be a pluralişt; he was in frequent collision with the civil powers ; he seldom stirred from his home, which was in an inaccessible corner of the British isles. Whence then this power, this fame, and influence ? One answer seems to be, he went straight to his point without compromise, unmindful of personal consequences, and that point was with him always one of conscience.